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The Liszt Project [2 CD]

4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 4, 2011
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Editorial Reviews


Disc: 1
1. La Lugubre Gondola, S.200 No.1
2. Eine Sonate für das Album von Frau Mathilde Wesendonck in As, WWV85
3. Nuages gris, S.199
4. Piano Sonata, Op.1
5. Unstern! -Sinistre , S208
6. Piano Sonata No.9, Op.68 "Black Mass"
7. Sonata B minor, Lento assai - Allegro energico - Grandioso
8. Sonata B minor, candido espressivo
9. Sonata in B minor, Andante sostenuto - Quasi Adagio
10. Sonata in B minor,Allegro energico - Stretta quasi Presto - Presto - Prestisssimo - Andante sostenuto - Allegro moderato - Lento assai
Disc: 2
1. Aux cyprès de la Villa d'Este No.1 (Thrénodie)
2. Assai andante
3. Saint francois d'assise la predication aux oiseaux
4. Tangatu manu
5. Les jeux d'eau à la Villa d'Este
6. Jeux d'eau
7. Le Traquet stapazin
8. Vallée d'Obermann

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 4, 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B005B0YUTQ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,801 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By C. Escamilla on October 4, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I'm a HUGE Aimard fan, but there are some problems with this release. First, the good...the program is absolutely brilliant. The concept is great, and one of the best things about it is that it celebrates Liszt without overwhelming us with work after work that sounds the same (too often the case with Liszt recitals) or that we have all heard Horowitz play better! As always, and as Santa Fe so astutely points out, Aimard is perfectly at home with everything here...except most of the Liszt works. The early 20th century sonatas are phenomenal and the French modernist works are to die for. Even the unknown to me Wagner Sonata was fantastic.

Now we get to the first problem...Aimard just doesn't seem to identify with Liszt. As Santa Fe says, it's like he's trying to get us to take medicine (and it kind of sounds like he's trying to get himself to take it, too!), and that's truly unfortunate. I tried for about 20 minutes or so to love his Liszt Sonata in B Minor, but I finally gave up. The passion, the emotion, the turns of feeling, the tempo and dynamic contrasts just aren't there. Even Rubinstein, who gave a somewhat careful performance of the work, seems much more at home in the sonata than Aimard, to say nothing of Argerich, Horowitz, or my personal favorite, Zimerman. The rest of the Liszt works find Aimard sounding uncomfortable, forced, and generally out of his element.

All of that said, I think there is a much bigger issue with this release...and the problem here lies squarely on DG's shoulders. First, and foremost, a pianist of Aimard's caliber embarking on a live recording of this magnitude in Vienna should be able to get a tempered, well-tuned, working piano!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PB000001 on April 30, 2012
Format: Audio CD
The other reviewers have already stressed the brilliant and convincing programme of this CD, so I don't have to anymore. Absolutely 5 stars for that.
Then, the big 'problem' that they see: the supposedly dry and unsympathetic way in which Aimard approaches Liszt. I would say he makes a conscious effort to present Liszt in a modern light, to argue the case that it is legitimate to play a Liszt devoid of any rambling, any sentimentality.
And, except in the B minor Sonata which is admittedly rather dull, I think he pulls it off remarkably. In all, I'd even give this album 4.5 stars for making me appreciate Liszt in a totally new way. I have also found that I keep returning to this album, I don't get tired of this!
I would encourage people to go and listen to this CD themselves, and to make up their own mind as to whether the Liszt Project is a success or a failure. Because, as has been noted also in the music press, even with its flaws, this CD was still one of the absolute highlights of the Liszt year.
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Format: Audio CD
Pierre-Laurent aimard gave a two-evening recital in Vienna dubbed "the Liszt Project" (picking up on Salonen's three-night traversal of Tristan und Isolde a few years ago in Paris and Los Angeles, called the Tristan Project), and the underlying idea seems like a fruitful one, to match some works by Liszt with others that resemble them. At its simplest this involves the pairing of two pieces that evoke a fountain, the Jeux d'eau of Liszt and Ravel. they sound remarkably similar, actually, as does the pairing of Lizt's gloomy Aux cypres de la Villa d'Este no. 1 and Bartok's early Dirge no. 4.

elsewhere the matchups are much more obscure. I can't hear any resemblance between Messiaen's typically exotic, bird-like Traquet stapazin and Liszt's evocation of a grand Swiss landscape in Vallee d'Obermann. but then, I don't have the program notes, which no doubt elucidate everything. the real question is whether this high concept album is satisfying on both sides of the equation. I have no reservations about aimrd's Bartok, Ravel, and Messiaen - modern piano music has been his forte throughout his career, matched to major keyboard technique. About his Liszt, however, I have real hesitation.

In Vallee d'Obermann, for example, what's called for is a sympathy with romantic scene-painting, while Aimard stands aloof form that, giving us all the notes but little of the feeling. I'ts one thing to try and overcome some of Liszt's vulgarity and obviousness, musically speaking, but it's another to sanitize him, as Brendel does and Aimard even more so. this reading is so dry and sober that you wonder why the pianist bothered. He seems more at home with Liszt in a gloomy or religious mood, as in Nuage gris and Unstern! sinistre.
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By John M. Gotwalt on March 1, 2015
Format: Audio CD
For me his effort here is about clarity of line, chiaroscuro and overtones. I found his cerebral approach to be revelatory. I wouldn't want to live without the emotional depths of Arrau, the grand concert hall experience of Bolet, or the exuberance of Kissin, however.
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The Liszt Project [2 CD]
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