In this eleven movement suite from Franz Liszt (1847), his creativity, versatility and originality are deftly displayed in little over an hour.
Luckily, it fell to pianist Éva Polgár to bring these long-forgotten gems to life and she did so with panache, technical wizardry and emotional understanding.
The set lifts off in a brooding, thoughtful soundscape with discreet harmonic shifts.
Polgár demonstrates understanding and clear direction with just enough “hesitato”.
Hungarian Coronation Mass I
Largely in the upper register, a light, ethereal sensitive touch leads to a song without words and bits of conversation, before unleashing power then back to the heavens.
Hungarian Coronation Mass II
Thoughtfully searching for…?
Aha! Here we go!
The epitome of delicate.
A sense of arrival and calm.
Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este
After a harp-like intro, let the games begin!
It’s all nicely voiced, including inventive cascades and harmonic shifts finished off by a divine conclusion.
Upper register magic to start, gradually spreads its wings then power and technique to burn. Lots of contrasts (some impish) reading the way to a joyful coda.
A welcome sorbet—good things (and contrasts) do come in small packages.
Overflowing with repetitive busyness, harmonic spice and even a fanfare!
Quietly reflective, then searching for resolution—suddenly optimistic then an encore of reflection.
The mostly chordal and religious of all—with a feeling of Mussorgsky, soon becoming more optimistic (and a lively finishing touch from Polgár).
Fantasy-like, impish at times. Very, very busy, but always under control. All of the cascades are beautifully balanced (right hand, left hand) with a compelling choral conclusion.
A very dark introduction then a welcome search for rest.
Now “busy” with the accompaniment before reaching Nirvana!
Everything completed with a calming coda.
A listening is highly recommended. JWR