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Record Box - Planning your collection - with Bill Newman


Global Fascinations and Sophistications

Louis Lortie and George Pehlivanian


Liszt works for Piano and Orchestra, Volume 1 (c) 2000 Chandos Records Ltd

Liszt's transcriptions concern here music for piano and orchestra, but what is equally remarkable is his powers of heightening the expressive qualities without detracting from the virtues of the original scoring. The onus on both parties is the importance of staying together throughout the sudden changes of mood and pace. French-Canadian Louis Lortie and an American conductor, new to me -- George Pehlivanian -- who won the Grand Prize at the Besoncon Conducting Competition, working with the Hague Residentie Orchestra find a fine balance for recreating exactly for what Liszt intended his re-workings to represent. This was not merely for purposes of his own performances, but also helped past composers and contemporaries to find rightful acceptance with audiences.

Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy has stayed in pianists' repertoires on both counts, Liszt's 'enhancements' to the piano part further decorated by the orchestra without harming the sturdy bravura of the first and final parts or the morose, serious timbre of the central section, its overall form intact. Elsewhere free imagination is in full rein to provide settings commensurate with 'theatre' backgrounds: Beethoven's Triple Concerto opening is suggested before the Ruins of Athens Turkish March makes its appearance.

Weber, very much 'a man of the theatre', is strongly pictured by the full regalia expressiveness of Liszt's orchestra setting, its solemn beginnings no doubt harking back to his own Hungarian Fantasia! Berlioz' Lelio, falling in the shadow of his Symphonie Fantastique, is improved on by turning it into a grand fantasy spread over three distinct sections. The composer's fleeting and frenetic visions still dart about all over the place, but take on new vistas which make for more compact sense compared to the original's obtuse, melancholy meanderings [listen -- track 9, 2.50-3.42].

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Copyright © 1 November 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK







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