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Liszt: Tone Poems; Hungarian Rhapsodies

Liszt / Solti / London Phil Orch
Release Date: 11/08/2011 
Label:  Eloquence   Catalog #: 4804920   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Liszt
Conductor:  Sir Georg SoltiIván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris OrchestraLondon Philharmonic OrchestraBudapest Festival Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



LISZT Symphonic Poems: Tasso; 1 Les Preludes; 2 Prometheus; 2 Festklänge; 2 Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe. 1 Mephisto Waltz No. 1. 1 Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos. 1–6 3 Read more class="BULLET12"> • 1,2 Georg Solti, cond; 1 Paris; O 2 London PO; 3 Iván Fischer, cond; Budapest Fest O DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 4920 (2 CDs: 156:42)


Solti never set down the complete run of Liszt’s symphonic poems, but since its original appearance on two LPs in the mid-to-late 1970s, this partial cycle has held a distinguished place in this surprisingly underrepresented part of the catalog. Especially if you find Golovanov too vehement, Masur too refined, and (in his toe-dipping into this repertoire) Karajan too plush, you should enjoy Solti’s brassy and high-adrenaline performances. Offering resilient rhythms, superb articulation (listen to the bite of the strings at the Agitato rapido that begins the second movement of Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe ), clean textures, sharp gestural profile, and plenty of orchestral weight, they sport a nearly unfailing sense of direction, even when Solti toys with the tempos. Festklänge is particularly effective. It’s rarely singled out for its terseness—but Solti’s bounce and his buoyant colors give the music such sizzle that you hardly notice how garrulous it is. It’s unfortunate that Solti never got around to Mazeppa or Hunnenschlacht (two works that would play especially well to his strengths), but we should be thankful for what we’ve got here, especially given the excellent sound (vintage Decca stereo, with a wide sound stage and solid bass) and the attractive price.


As for the fillers: The orchestral versions of the Hungarian Rhapsodies have a vexed history (in particular, the degree of Doppler’s contribution to the project remains ambiguous), one made more vexed by Iván Fischer’s decision (evident as early as the entry of the cimbalom in the third measure of the First) to tinker with the orchestration and to add some improvisatory flourishes (alterations that go unmentioned in the jacket or notes here; for more detail, see Adrian Corleonis’s astute review in Fanfare 22:4). But in contrast to Liszt’s more serious works—say, the Faust Symphony or the Sonata—the pop-oriented Hungarian Rhapsodies seem perfectly amenable to a certain amount of potchkeeing around by performers, especially when the alterations match the spirit of the original. That’s endearingly the case with these helium-filled readings, which manage to dance past the doughiness that drags down so many competing performances. All in all, warmly welcomed.


FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
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Works on This Recording

1.
Mephisto Waltz no 2 for Orchestra, S 111 by Franz Liszt
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880-1881; Budapest, Hungary 
2.
Les préludes, S 97 by Franz Liszt
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848/1854; Weimar, Germany 
3.
Prometheus, S 99 by Franz Liszt
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1850/1855; Weimar, Germany 
4.
Tasso - Lamento e trionfo, S 96 by Franz Liszt
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849/1854; Weimar, Germany 
5.
Festklänge, S 101 by Franz Liszt
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Weimar, Germany 
6.
Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe, S 107 by Franz Liszt
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881-1882; Rome, Italy 
7.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (6) for Orchestra, S 359 by Franz Liszt
Conductor:  Iván Fischer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 

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