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As pendant to his 'Italian' years of pilgrimage, Liszt added tributes to Venice, where he was rowed by a gondolier who had transported Byron, and Naples. The three pieces, originally written in 1840, are paraphrases of music by others. The 'Canzone', for instance, paraphrases a gondolier's song from Rossini's Otello, and the 'Tarantella' is based on a piece published by the Cottrau firm in Naples. This last makes scintillating use of the repeated note possibilities recently provided by Sébastien Erard from his piano factory [listen -- track 10, 0:00-1:05]. That Frederic Chiu has the astounding technique apparently effortlessly at command for this fiercely demanding music is largely due to Liszt the keyboard pioneer. It is constantly exhilarating to hear the magical sonorities and supersonic speeds this pianist can attain. If occasionally the upper reaches of the piano seem to lack resonance, this may be because Chiu chose a Yamaha for the recital rather than a Steinway. Otherwise the sound is constantly thrilling.

Copyright © 18 December 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK


Liszt: Années de Pèlerinage

HMU 907263 Stereo 64'50" 2001 harmonia mundi usa

Frederic Chiu, piano

Deuxième année: Italie; Venezia e Napoli



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