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Liszt: Mephisto Waltz, Dante Sonata / Jon Nakamatsu

Release Date: 11/14/2006 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 907409   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Liszt
Performer:  Jon Nakamatsu
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

LISZT Années de pèlerinage, Book II: Après une lecture du Dante; Petrarch Sonnets 47, 104, 123. Mephisto Waltz No. 1 . Impromptu (Nocturne). Valse-Impromptu. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. Schumann’s Widmung. Schumann’s Frühlingsnacht Jon Nakamatsu (pn) HARMONIA MUNDI 907409 (75:53)

Nakamatsu is a Read more perfectionist to whom one concedes all honors at once. In playing of effortless fluency, polish, and finesse, this program of war-horses unfolds with such straightforward simplicity that every piece seems newly minted, as if one were hearing it for the first time. Where Stephen Hough might divine the spirit of the score, teasing out expressive riches and bathing them in color, Nakamatsu hews closer to the letter, interpreting as if eschewing interpretation with a tone ranging from creamy to crisply incisive. Perhaps in deference to their origin as songs—or to the composer’s copious performance directions—the “Petrarch Sonnets” are disarmingly intimate. In “Sonetto 104,” for instance, the usually orgasmic repeated palpitating octaves loom with soufflé -like deftness as the passionate peak of a seamlessly confiding narrative. Narrative propels the “Dante” Sonata and Mephisto Waltz , though with a laconic—almost diffident—mien in the telling, recalling the more recent playing of Marc-André Hamelin (e.g., the Dukas Sonata, Fanfare 30:2). Where the young Leslie Howard, in 1985 at the beginning of his monumental Liszt series (Hyperion 66201, Fanfare , 10:4), played up the Valse-Impromptu’s giddiness and charm, Nakamatsu brings out an unsuspected wistfulness in which it seems to anticipate the Valses-oubliées by nearly 40 years. Underlining his essential fastidiousness, he notes Liszt’s call for a cadenza ad libitum on the penultimate page of the Second Hungarian Rhapsody —where pianists from Rachmaninoff to Hamelin have made ambitiously coruscating commentaries—with a brief run, the merest nod, before winging into Liszt’s final whelming bars. Perhaps because irony is nearly impossible with such a heart-on-sleeve composer as Schumann—even in Liszt’s transcriptions— Frühlingsnacht and Widmung are all rapture, projected in volatile scintillance. Sound captures the piano just as it flares into large-hall ambience, with clarity, detail, and gutsy immediacy. Highest recommendation.

FANFARE: Adrian Corleonis
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Works on This Recording

Années de pčlerinage, deuxičme année, S 161 "Italie": no 7, Aprčs une lecture du Dante by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Jon Nakamatsu (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 
Petrarca Sonnets (3) for Piano, S 158 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Jon Nakamatsu (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1839-46; Hungary 
Episodes from Lenau's Faust, S 110: no 2, Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke "Mephisto Waltz no 1" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Jon Nakamatsu (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861; Weimar, Germany 
Impromptu for Piano in F sharp major, S 191 "Nocturne" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Jon Nakamatsu (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; Rome, Italy 
Valse impromptu for Piano, S 213 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Jon Nakamatsu (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1850; Weimar, Germany 
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 2 in C sharp minor by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Jon Nakamatsu (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Hungary 
Widmung (Schumann) for Piano, S 566 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Jon Nakamatsu (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Weimar, Germany 
Frühlingsnacht (Schumann) for Piano, S 568 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Jon Nakamatsu (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; Weimar, Germany 

Featured Sound Samples

Valse-impromptu for Piano, S 213 (Liszt)
Widmung for Piano (Schumann, trans. Liszt)

Sound Samples

Aprčs une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi sonata
Sonetto 47 del Petrarca
Sonetto 104 del Petrarca
Sonetto 123 del Petrarca
Mephisto Waltz No. 1
Impromptu (Nocturne)
Valse - Impromptu
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

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