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Liszt: 12 Etudes D'exécution Transcendante / Claudio Arrau

Release Date: 02/26/2008 
Label:  Pentatone   Catalog #: 5186171   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


LISZT Transcendental Études Claudio Arrau (pn) PENTATONE 5186 171 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 66:25)

Arrau was entering his seventies when these performances were taped—in quad—in March 1974. An omnicompetent technique was intact, while expressiveness, suggesting the Read more wisdom of a lifetime, blossomed. “Feux-follets” is punctilious yet quirky, leisurely and glowing, which is to say, not hustled. “Mazeppa” evinces more a canter than a gallop—virtuosically scintillant if not pyrotechnically coruscating—but still grandly compelling. If you want the fast-forward spin, try Freddy Kempf (BIS 1210, Fanfare 26:5). The remaining Études are magisterial in any company, that is, even the best of today’s pianists could learn from them. “Paysage” is all rapture; “Ricordanza” (which Busoni compared to a bundle of faded love letters) is a steady spate of surprises and felicities, like fond memories awakening; the expressive crescendo of “Harmonies du soir” takes one’s breath. And so on.

Where other players confront laborious detail, Arrau finds color and grandeur garlanding a narrative thread that he spins with compelling poetry—e.g., the heavily freighted melody of “Vision” eschews its customary lurch to emerge singing, singing . Among the classic interpretations of the dozen Études together—Kentner’s, Berman’s, Ovchinnikov’s, Gekic’s, Kempf’s—Arrau’s looms head and shoulders above the rest with a dignity animated by mercurial passion. Transferred to CD (Philips 416 458, probably in the early 1980s—the production is coyly undated), the analog sound is essentially stereophonic—caught with detailed punch as the piano flares into ambience—whether from two channels or four, with the additional clarity or depth one expects from SACD nonexistent or, at best, marginal. In either format, enthusiastically recommended.

FANFARE: Adrian Corleonis
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Works on This Recording

Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/1974 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Nehterlands 
Length: 65 Minutes 18 Secs. 

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