Notes and Editorial Reviews
Recording of the Month
A teenage pianist demonstrates her remarkable range and artistry
Sixteen-year-old Lise de la Salle follows her earlier record of Rachmaninov and Ravel (8/03) with a richly enterprising recital of Bach, Bach/Busoni, Bach/Liszt and Liszt. Placing all my cards firmly on the table, I must say that I have rarely heard a young pianist so in love with music, so memorably and naturally immersed in the task in hand. Music is, quite simply, her world; she moves within its realm as naturally as a fish swims or a bird flies. Above all there is nothing of the chill studio about readings which have all the ease and
abounding grace, the freshness and vitality of live performances. Her way with Bach's Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue matches a breathtaking fluency with an open-hearted delight whether in exuberance or introspection. What quiet strength and resolve she brings to her Bach/Busoni. Such poise and serenity would be remarkable at any age and so, too, is her enviable lucidity and musicianship in the Bach/Liszt A minor Prelude and Fugue.
This transition takes us to Liszt himself and to playing which is, once again, the reverse of freakish or the product of an over-zealous or ambitious Svengali-like teacher. De la Salle chooses the earlier, more transparent version of La lugubre gondole, from her the acme of bleakness and despondency, most notably in the final pages where Liszt's baleful melody rises above shuddering tremolandi only to fade into oblivion. The First Mephisto Waltz moves away from 'Bach's rational, confident faith' to 'a demonic whirlwind of sharply contrasting sections, lascivious, heathen, and tumultuous' (Manuel Brug's engaging notes) and here de la Salle shows a scintillating sense of Liszt's diablerie. The recitative before the explosive coda, where the nightingales sing their hearts out, is given with a rapt sense of occasion, another example of this young pianist's range and artistry. Excellently recorded, Lise de la Salle is a talent in a million.
– Bryce Morrison, Gramophone [8/2005]
Works on This Recording
Toccata in D major, BWV 912 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Lise De la Salle (Piano)
Written: circa 1710; Weimar, Germany
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903: Fantasia
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903: Fugue
18 Chorales, BWV 651-668, "Leipziger Chorale" (arr. F. Busoni for piano): Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 (arr. F. Busoni)
Toccata in D major, BWV 912
Das Orgelbuchlein, BWV 599-644: Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 (arr. F. Busoni): Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 (arr. F. Busoni)
Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543: Prelude
Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543: Fuga
2 Legendes, S175/R17: No. 2. St. Francois de Paule marchant sur les flots
Annees de pelerinage, 2nd year, Italy, S161/R10b: No. 5. Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (Sonnet 104 of Petrarch)
La lugubre gondola, S200/R81, "Elegie No. 3" (1st version): La lugubre gondola, S200/R81
Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke, S514/R181, "Mephisto Waltz No. 1"
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