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Katsaris Plays Liszt, Vol. 1

Liszt / German Sym Orch Berlin / Remmereit
Release Date: 01/10/2011 
Label:  Piano 21   Catalog #: 41   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The maverick pianist Cyprien Katsaris has unleashed a torrent of recordings on his Piano 21 label and the first volume in his Liszt series is no different from the others in presenting archive performances alongside much more recent fare.
 
There are thus a lot of different locations and dates, which are noted in gruesome detail in the head note.
 
The first eight tracks on CD1, the Hungarian Rhapsodies, the two Elegies and Liebesträume and the Klavierstücke No.2 are all very recent, dating from 2011, as is Sospiri. The Rhapsodies are galvanizing, intrepid, outsize, brilliantly engaging and sometimes very textually suspect. Whether these
Read more emendations persuade one that the music is being caricatured is a decision for you. Maybe the octave cadential passage in No.2 - he plays four of the twelve, by the way - is a clincher for the nay-sayer; but, then, maybe not. This is edge of the seat playing, and the highly personalised emendations and interpolations part of his posthumous relationship with Liszt. With the other works he has less need to drape his own colours, rather to rely on acute phrasing and warmth of tone. That said, though, Liebesträume is quite direct. The third of the Klavierstücke is played with touching simplicity. The first four Klavierstücke were recorded live in June 1975, at Fête Romantiques de Nohant and are private recordings. The first disc ends with the Second Piano Concerto played by the German Symphony Orchestra, Berlin directed by Arild Remmereit at the Philharmonie in Berlin in 2007. This is a Katsaris speciality, with dramatic accelerandi, vast reserves of energy and excitement, and a devil take the hindmost feel throughout. Remarkable.
 
The second disc presents the darker side of Liszt’s imagination with a sequence of lugubrious, and death-fixated pieces. Again, textual fidelity is certainly not always a given but the drum roll evocations in the Trauer-Vorspiel und Trauermarsch are viscerally arresting, Unstern! is profoundly sepulchral whilst heroic pianism infuses RW - Venezia . It would be easy, and tempting, to cite Horowitz as a stylistic model for the live 1974 performance, given somewhere in France, of the Sonata in B minor. It gives an indication of the kind of passion that emanates from Katsaris’s performance, but the correspondence is only partial. The drama here is intense, even coruscating, and it’s a performance that should be heard by all Lisztians, even if they part company from it.
 
Recording quality varies from location to location, from 1974 (basic, decent) to 2011 (excellent) and points in-between.
 
These two discs are clearly not without their contentious textual moments. Some will reject the performances on those grounds alone. Katsaris is never frivolous, though he is flamboyant, and he is always passionate, declamatory, and exciting. It’s hard to reject so compelling a performer.
 
-- Jonathan Woolf , MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 2 in C sharp minor by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Hungary 
Date of Recording: 02/2011/04/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 10 Minutes 34 Secs. 
2.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 3 in B flat major by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1885; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2011/04/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 4 Minutes 53 Secs. 
3.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 7 in D minor by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1885; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2011/04/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 5 Minutes 29 Secs. 
4.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 5 in E minor "Héroide élégiaque" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1885; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2011/04/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 7 Minutes 7 Secs. 
5.
Elegy for Piano no 1, S 196 "Puszta" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/2011/04/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 5 Minutes 55 Secs. 
6.
Elegy for Piano no 2, S 197 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/2011/04/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 4 Minutes 45 Secs. 
7.
Liebesträume for Piano, S 541: no 3, O Lieb, so lang by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1850; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/2011/04/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
8.
Piece for Piano in A flat major, S 189a by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 02/2011/04/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 1 Minutes 37 Secs. 
9.
Kleine Klavierstücke (5), S 192 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865-1879; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 06/20/1975 
Venue:  Live  Fêtes Romantiques de Nohant 
Length: 7 Minutes 34 Secs. 
10.
Kleine Klavierstücke (5), S 192: no 5, Sospiri by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865-1879; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/2011/04/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
11.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in A major, S 125 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839/1861; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/01/2007 
Venue:  Live  Berlin Philharmonie, Großer Saal 
Length: 18 Minutes 11 Secs. 
12.
Trauervorspiel for Piano, S 206 no 1 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg 
13.
Trauermarsch for Piano, S 206 no 2 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg 
14.
Unstern: sinistre, disastro for Piano, S 208 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: after 1880; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 02/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 6 Minutes 33 Secs. 
15.
Nuages gris for Piano, S 199 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/20/1989 
Venue:  Live  Tsuda Hall, Tokyo 
Length: 2 Minutes 59 Secs. 
16.
Die Trauer-Gondel (La Lugubre gondola) for Piano (in 4/4; 1st draft), S 199a/1 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882 
Date of Recording: 02/2011 
Venue:  Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg / 
Length: 4 Minutes 6 Secs. 
17.
Die Trauer-Gondel (La Lugubre gondola) for Piano (in 4/4; 2nd draft), S 199a/2 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883 
Date of Recording: 12/20/1989 
Venue:  Live  Tsuda Hall, Tokyo 
Length: 6 Minutes 33 Secs. 
18.
R. W. - Venezia, S 201 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/20/1989 
Venue:  Live  Tsuda Hall, Tokyo 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
19.
Am Grabe Richard Wagners for Piano, S 202 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/20/1989 
Venue:  Live  Tsuda Hall, Tokyo 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
20.
Sonata for Piano in B minor, S 178 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852-1853; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1973 
Venue:  Live  France 
Length: 29 Minutes 35 Secs. 

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