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Andre Watts: Piano Recital 1986 - Franz Liszt

Liszt / Watts
Release Date: 04/24/2012 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 93718   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Liszt
Performer:  André Watts
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although André Watts recorded all of these selections commercially for EMI in the 1980s, the 1986 Schwetzingen Festival SWR broadcast recordings issued here for the first time are anything but redundant. For starters, the close-up, slightly dry yet full bodied engineering captures Watts’ sonority with more impact and realism compared to their relatively resonant, glassy-toned EMI counterparts. Secondly, the Schwetzingen Festival performances reach higher levels of inspiration, spontaneity, and communicative immediacy, all to the music’s benefit.

The two selections from the Années de Pèlerinage retain EMI’s suave surface but with more nuanced articulation in softer passages. In the Third and Fourth
Read more Paganini Etudes, Watts enlivens his rather sedate basic tempos with impetuous accents and dynamic surges. Indeed, his accelerations in the E-flat “Octave” Etude’s middle section are quite fiery in contrast to the more hemmed-in EMI version. There’s more continuity and tonal shading in the two Années de Pèlerinage selections and in the Thirteenth Rhapsody, while Valse Oubliée No 1, if not quite so winged and characterful as Horowitz or Richter, sports a few smile-inducing, curvaceous rubatos.

Writing about Watts’ EMI Liszt Sonata, I cited the performance’s big-boned virtuosity and genuine dramatic involvement, along with its metric freedom (the notorious octaves in the opening section, and the hushed ascending scales prior to the fugue) handled with musicality and taste. If anything, this stylistically similar SWR reading plays up the music’s emotional contrasts more fervently, with more abandon in the recapitulation’s climatic octaves and welcome lightness to the Fughetta. A splendid find from the Schwetzingen Festival archives, and a must for André Watts admirers.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Valses oubliées (4) for Piano, S 215: no 1 in F sharp major by Franz Liszt
Performer:  André Watts (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: February 5, 1986 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York 
2. Sonata for Piano in B minor, S 178 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  André Watts (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852-1853; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: February 5, 1986 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York 
3. Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 13 in A minor by Franz Liszt
Performer:  André Watts (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1885; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: February 5, 1986 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York 
4. Grandes Etudes (6) de Paganini, S 141 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  André Watts (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: February 5, 1986 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York 
5. Années de pèlerinage, première année, S 160 "Suisse": no 2, Au lac de Wallenstadt by Franz Liszt
Performer:  André Watts (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848-1854; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: February 5, 1986 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York 
6. Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, S 161 "Italie": no 2, Il penseroso by Franz Liszt
Performer:  André Watts (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: February 5, 1986 
Venue:  Avery Fisher Hall, New York 

Sound Samples

Annees de pelerinage, 1st year, Switzerland, S160/R10: No. 2. Au lac de Wallenstadt (At the Lake of Wallenstadt)
Annees de pelerinage, 2nd year, Italy, S161/R10b: No. 2. Il penseroso (The Thinker)
Piano Sonata in B minor, S178/R21
19 Hungarian Rhapsodies, S244/R106: No. 13 in A minor
4 Valses oubliees, S215/R37: Valse oubliee No. 1
Grandes Etudes de Paganini, S141/R3b: No. 1 in G minor
Grandes Etudes de Paganini, S141/R3b: No. 2 in E flat major
Grandes Etudes de Paganini, S141/R3b: No. 3 in G sharp minor, "La campanella"
Grandes Etudes de Paganini, S141/R3b: No. 4 in E major
Grandes Etudes de Paganini, S141/R3b: No. 5 in E major
Grandes Etudes de Paganini, S141/R3b: No. 6 in A minor

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