Notes and Editorial Reviews
"Feltsman's stakes a claim as one of the finest 'central' recordings of the Liszt Sonata. He is helped in this by one of the finest piano recordings I have heard from CBS. Given that his insight into lyrical and mysterious paragraphs surpasses Ousset's, that would seem to confirm his superiority. But it has to be said that every now and again he momentarily sacrifices dramatic continuity by mannered delays (track 1 at 1'21'', track 3 at 1'35'' and 2'23'') or softenings (track 3 from 3'20'' and at 7'27'')—the last of these seriously undermines what should be the most overwhelming climax of all. I mention these things not to dissuade anyone from hearing what I am convinced is one of the finest Liszt Sonatas on record, but just as a
caution that is only one of the finest. In their own very different ways Brendel and Richter offer experiences of transcendence which Feltsman does not, or does not yet, reach out for. And Peter Donohoe on his recent EMI recording carries the listener through dramatic paragraphs with a far-sightedness Feltsman has yet to learn (Donohoe's cantabile is no match for Feltsman's though).
The remainder of Feltsman's recital is every bit as fine. The Petrarch Sonnets are exquisitely done, drawing the listener in by the power of their dreamily evocative lyricism. Incidentally, the gap of eight seconds between the last note of the Sonata and the first of the Petrarch Sonnets is quite inadequate. Just occasionally there are signs of the same premature easing-off which affects the late stages of the Sonata, and there is one textual reading—B flats from 1'47'' to 1'52'' in ''Sonetto 47''—which seems to me highly implausible. For a truly visionary account of ''St Francis preaching to the birds'' Lisztians must hunt down Ervin Nyiregyhazi's LP recording on International Piano Archives (IPA111); but Feltsman is still wonderfully eloquent. This is surely the finest of his recordings to date and it deserves to be widely heard."
-- Gramophone [5/1990]
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