Lang Lang, Vienna Philharmonic, Valery Gergiev – Liszt: My Piano Hero (2011)
DSD64 (.dsf) 1 bit/2,82 MHz | Time – 01:05:38 minutes | 2,58 GB
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 01:05:38 minutes | 1,29 GB
Souce: SACD-R | Artwork: Front Cover | Genre: Classical | © Sony Classics
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt’s birth, virtuoso pianist Lang Lang has selected some of the composer’s most characteristic pieces for his 2011 Sony release, Liszt: My Piano Hero. Prominent on this album is the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, which features Lang Lang in a high-energy performance with Valery Gergiev and the Vienna Philharmonic. Without a doubt, most of Lang Lang’s fans will savor this Romantic showpiece, and for technical brilliance and drama, the performance doesn’t disappoint. He is especially lively and vivid in this work, and his interactions with the orchestra seem spontaneous and playful, as one might well imagine Liszt would have been. But Lang Lang seems more introspective and personally involved with the solo keyboard pieces that make up the greater part of the album. Here also is the flashy side of Liszt, but there is a greater emphasis on the poetic and rhapsodic, so Lang Lang indulges in reflective pieces as much as the flashy encores. Highlights include La Campanella, the Grand Galop chromatique, Liebestraum No. 3, the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6, and the arrangement of Schubert’s Ave Maria.
The Music: Alternating the lyrical Liszt with the bravura, Lang Lang’s tribute to his ‘piano hero’ mixes old favourites with some lesser-known pieces, transcriptions with original works – and rounds off with the high octane First Piano Concerto.
The Performance: There is some quite exquisite playing here (Consolation No 3, ‘Un sospiro’ and the rarely heard Romance ‘Ô pourquoi donc’ that opens the programme), and bursts of electrifying dexterity (Grand gallop chromatique and Hungarian Rhapsody No.6). The First Concerto is exciting and hard driven though not without a real sense of repose where required. But, if you’re interested, compare Lang Lang with Liszt virtuosi of earlier times, such as Horowitz and Cziffra, and a keen ear will reveal what is lacking: tonal finesse and subtlety (listen to Horowitz playing the Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos 6 and 15).
The Verdict: Love him or loathe him, it is hard to remain indifferent to Lang Lang. If a newcomer, or indeed an impressionable youngster, were to experience Liszt’s music for the first time through this disc it could prove to be a door opener.
Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
1. Romance “Ô Pourquoi Donc” in E Minor, S 169 – 3:05
2. “La Campanella” in G-sharp Minor from Grandes Études De Paganini, S 143/3 – 4:47
3. Consolation No.3 in D-flat Major, S 172/3 – 4:19
4. Grand Galop Chromatique in E-flat Major, S 219 – 3:58
5. Liebestraum No.3 in A-flat Major, S 541/3 – 4:53
6. Hungarian Rhapsody No.6 in D-flat Major, S 244/6 – 7:19
7. “Un Sospiro” in D-flat Major from Trois Études De Concert, S 144/3 – 5:26
8. Hungarian Rhapsody No.15 in A Minor “Rákóczy March”, S 244/15 (Horrowitz Version) – 5:43
9. Ave Maria (Schubert), S 558/12 – 6:31
Piano Concerto No.1 in E-flat Major, S 124
10. I Allegro Maestoso – 5:47
11. II Quasi Adagio-Allegretto Vivace-Allegro Animato – 9:33
12. III Allegro Marziale Animato – 4:09
Label: Sony 88697 891402
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Original Recording Format: PCM
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64