Magazine article Gramophone

Liszt: Piano Concertos-No 1, S124

Magazine article Gramophone

Liszt: Piano Concertos-No 1, S124

Article excerpt

Liszt Piano Concertos--No 1, S124; No 2, Op 125. Totentanz, S126 Beatrice Berrut pf Czech National Symphony Orchestra / Julien Masmondet Aparte (F) AP180 (56' * DDD)

This interesting new recording of Liszt concertante works with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra under Julien Masmondet is the orchestral recording debut of the Swiss pianist Beatrice Berrut. Although she is amply equipped with the requisite virtuosity, Berrut distinguishes herself as a musician with bold ideas of considerable originality and possessing the courage of her convictions. Clearly conversant with Liszt's ways and means, she imbues each of these three formidable works with distinct character and atmosphere.

For Berrut, phrasing is paramount and her sense of the long line is inerrant. In Totentanz, for instance, from the beginning of the canon variation (4'03") through the clarinet solo (7'30"), Berrut describes a seamless expressive arc, as persuasive as it is affecting. From the presto eruption that prepares the repeated-note fugato through the elaborate cadenza evoking the trumpets of the Last Judgement, Berrut's reading is fleet and lithe, exhibiting admirable rhythmic acumen and tensile strength.

Throughout the E flat Concerto (No 1), in addition to those predictable moments in the Quasi adagio, Berrut refreshingly keeps the recitative elements of the musical discourse centre stage. The high-flown rhetorical gestures of the first movement, given plenty of space and emphasis, readily transition into a genuine dialogue between soloist and orchestra which culminates in undulating gossamer runs, holding the clarinet aloft as the timpani quietly signal closure. …

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