Magazine article Gramophone

Liszt * Schumann: 'Duels'

Magazine article Gramophone

Liszt * Schumann: 'Duels'

Article excerpt

Liszt * Schumann

'Duels' Beethoven/Liszt Symphony No 7, Op 92--Allegretto Liszt Plano Sonata, S178 Schumann Krelslerlana, Op 16 Simon Ghraichy pf Challenge Classics (F) CC72698 (74' * DDD)

The Mexican-Lebanese pianist Simon Ghraichy avoids the now routine pairing of the Liszt Sonata with the Schumann Fantasy, substituting instead Schumann's thorny Kreisleriana for a welcome contrast.

In the Liszt Sonata, Ghraichy seems intent on an unconventional, even contrarian interpretation. The very legitimate device of 'breaking the hands'--playing the hands not precisely simultaneously for expressive effect--is lavishly applied. At the very beginning, however, 'breaking' the descending octaves only serves to ambiguate their ominous portent. Elsewhere, this profligate avoidance of solid chords weakens the underlying rhythmical scaffolding. Ghraichy's tendency to release surges of energy, a la Rachmaninov, at climactic moments causes him to obscure passages in splatters of notes, even as he plays havoc with the pulse. Unfortunately the overall effect is of grand rhetorical gestures reduced to hollow grandiloquence. …

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