This set brings together the five separate albums containing Franz Liszt’s transcriptions of Beethoven’s nine symphonies performed by the pianist Yury Martynov. Reducing these complex works for piano solo was an enormous challenge for Liszt, who nevertheless succeeded in recreating their prodigious character and their incredible power. ‘An event on a period piano, thanks to which we rediscover the colors... of the orchestra’ (Pianiste): the piano combines the whole orchestra, sometimes even with vocal soloists and chorus, bringing their voices together in a single instrument. The energy and the textures of the symphonies are laid bare and magnified in the interpretation of Yury Martynov on a Blüthner piano dating from 1867 and anRead more Érard piano of 1837, both from the collection of Edwin Beunk: the Russian pianist reveals ‘details usually obscured in orchestral performances, which come to light thanks to his meticulous phrasing and colouring of every bar’ (The Guardian).
Yury Martynov is one of the few pianists around with the technical resources, musical grasp and conviction to recreate this legacy persuasively. In doing so, he amply demonstrates its continued usefulness and vitality. It seems safe to say that he has given us the Beethoven-Liszt cycle for our time, and one unlikely soon to be superseded.