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Liszt - Michele Campanella Plays Liszt's Bechstein

Liszt / Campanella
Release Date: 07/26/2011 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 94148   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



LISZT Late Masterpieces Michele Campanella (pn) BRILLIANT 94148 (78: 16)


Historische Ungarische Bildnesse, S 205. Sancta Dorothea, S 187. Carrousel de Mme P[elet]-N[arbonne], S 214a. Resignazione, S 263/187a. Romance oubliée, Read more class="ARIAL12"> S 527. Toccata, S 197a. Schlaflos! Frage und Antwort, S 203. En rêve, S 207. In festo transfigurationis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, S 188. Recueillement, S 204. Am Grabe Richard Wagners, S 202. Nuages gris, S 199. 4 Valses oubliées, S 215


Michele Campanella’s several Liszt recordings have been available, in one format or another, for decades now. This, however, is a new release, recorded in February 2011 in Siena’s Palazzo Chigi Saracini. The “gimmick” behind this CD, if you want to call it that, is that Campanella is playing on a Bechstein piano (No. 247) that belonged to Liszt himself when he lived in Weimar, and that later followed the composer to Rome. (It currently resides in the Liszt Salon in the aforementioned palace.) The booklet notes go into great length about the piano itself, as well as its history. There’s also a discussion of the bust of Liszt that sits on the piano; both can be seen, in the Liszt Salon, on the booklet’s cover. What isn’t included in the booklet notes is any discussion of the music. That’s a shame, because while some of this music is familiar, most of it is not, although I assume all of it has been recorded before, at least in Leslie Howard’s complete Liszt series for Hyperion. For example, each of the seven Historic Hungarian Portraits alludes to an important artistic or political figure from the composer’s homeland, and appreciation of the music is enhanced by knowing a little bit about who these people actually were. Fortunately, such information is readily available in the age of the Internet. I still wonder, though, about the identity of Mme. Pelet-Narbonne, and what her carrousel had to do with anything. (No doubt a Fanfare reader, perhaps one owning Howard’s set, will write in and explain this!)


There’s a good selection of music here. Many collections of this sort dwell on the mystical element in Liszt’s late piano music, with tempos usually ranging from slow to slower, and moods from gloomy to gloomier. Campanella’s contains a mix that will sustain the listener’s interest throughout a generous 78-minute playing time. The overtly virtuosic element characteristic of much of Liszt’s earlier piano music is not completely absent here, but it is not emphasized. One might say that the demands placed on the pianist’s fingers are no greater than those placed on his intellect, or on his sensitivity. Campanella is up to par on all of these. One might ask for a more heroic approach to the Historic Hungarian Portrait s, or for him to tease more in the Valses oubliées . Still, I don’t think these performances misrepresent the music; I find them very satisfying. As for the piano itself, although there are ways in which it is different from contemporary pianos—it is “over strung,” meaning that its strings are longer—in its clarity and warmth (different from a Steinway, for example, which has a more powerful and brilliant sound), it is not markedly different in sound from other Bechsteins that I have heard.


This is another disc deserving of a warm welcome during this Liszt bicentennial year.


FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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Works on This Recording

1.
Historical Hungarian Portraits (7) for Piano, S 205 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1870; Rome, Italy 
2.
Sancta Dorothea for Piano, S 187 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Rome, Italy 
3.
Carousel de Mme Pelet-Narbonne for Piano, S 214a by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831-1837 
4.
Resignazione, S 187a by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Rome, Italy 
5.
Romance oubliée for Piano, S 527 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Rome, Italy 
6.
Toccata for Piano, S 197a by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865-1881; Rome, Italy 
7.
Nocturne for Piano, S 203 "Schlaflos, Frage und Antwort" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Rome, Italy 
8.
Nocturne for Piano, S 207 "En rêve" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Rome, Italy 
9.
In festo transfigurationis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, S 188 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Rome, Italy 
10.
Recueillement for Piano, S 204 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880s; Rome, Italy 
11.
Am Grabe Richard Wagners for Piano, S 202 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Rome, Italy 
12.
Nuages gris for Piano, S 199 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Rome, Italy 
13.
Valses oubliées (4) for Piano, S 215 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Michele Campanella (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Rome, Italy 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Correction to Tuttle's review December 27, 2012 By Marvin J. Ward (Williamsburg, MA) See All My Reviews "I enjoy this title very much but need to correct an error in Raymond Tuttle's piece, which I see he has made as a result of the information in the notes in the accompanying booklet. An "over-strung piano" has nothing to do with the length of the strings; they are not inherently longer. It means that the bass strings are passed rightward over those of the middle registers; it is also referred to as cross-stringing. It can exist on grand pianos of all sizes and on uprights as well. It is the opposite of parallel or straight stringing, which was the norm until the mid-19th century. Its advantage is that it allows the case to be smaller, but it also requires the piano to have a more homogenized and uniform tone across with less differentiation and variety among the registers, as the notes indicate. Bechstein, Blüthner, and Steinway, all founded in 1853, were the 1st companies to do this as standard practice, as well as to use cast iron frames on all their instruments. The cast iron frame was invented in Boston in 1825 by Alpheus Babcock, and Jonas Chickering was the 1st to use them in instruments beginning in 1843, but those instruments were parallel strung. Bechstein made a few parallel strung instruments in its early years, but Blüthner and Steinway never did. Liszt owned several different pianos of different makes over the years, several of which still remain. In his early years, he generally preferred Érards because they were sturdier than other parallel-strung instruments with entirely wooden frames, and owned more than one over the years. He also owned and played Boisselots, one of which is still in the museum in his Weimar home. While Liszt clearly liked this instrument, since he took it with him when he moved to Rome, it should not be assumed as a result that it was his 'favorite' one. It does have a very nice tone, however. I ordered the CD because of its using this piano, because of the pianist who is a renowned Liszt specialist, and for the selection of pieces, and, like Mr. Tuttle, am disappointed that the booklet contains no information at all about the works." Report Abuse
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