MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
56,451 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 







Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews


TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

Jonny-Bradley-handmade-knives
Johnny Bradley
Handmade Kitchen Knives

 


 


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom

jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Phantasie in C major, op 17 (1839) [30:12]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Piano Sonata in B minor, S.178 (1853) [29:11]
Sándor Falvai (piano)
rec. November 2015, Phoenix Studio, Diósd, Hungary
CELESTIAL HARMONIES 13312-2 [59:41]

Recordings of Franz Liszt’s Piano Sonata somehow build up in my library. How many can I stand? Quite a few, apparently. Despite my occasional pruning, this new version is a highly welcome addition. I was unfamiliar with Sándor Falvai, who is a distinguished Hungarian pianist, and former director of the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. His is a fine performance.

The Liszt Sonata often becomes a platform primarily for virtuoso display, often quite dazzling and fun. But all the razzle-dazzle can get in the way of the actual music. Falvai gives us virtuosity in the service of music.

Falvai is certainly virtuoso enough. Crisply articulated cascades early in the piece inform the listener that his technique is completely assured. Falvai moves through the Sonata at a smart pace, completing it in under thirty minutes, a bit faster than most. Although he never seems rushed, he delivers plenty of drama by knowing when to heighten the tension, sometimes through silence. This is a seasoned, well-considered interpretation that still manages to end somewhat dreamily, as if gazing upon the stars.

Liszt dedicated his sonata to Schumann, whose Phantasie in C major, Op. 17 was dedicated to Liszt. Liszt never played the Schumann in public, nor did Schumann the Liszt. There are only five other recordings of this natural pairing, one by Pollini.

Schumann began his work as part of a campaign to raise funds to build a monument to Beethoven in Bonn, later deciding to offer the work in praise of Liszt. While ostensibly inspired by Beethoven, Schumann was also motivated by his great love, Clara Wieck, from whom he was separated by her father. Schumann inserted coded passages, quoting Beethoven’s An die ferne geliebte to underscore his message to his own distant beloved.

Falvai’s intelligent and energetic approach does not quite overcome my lingering lack of enthusiasm for Schumann. I somehow get stuck at the four-square rhythms and gloomy atmosphere. Falvai conveys his Schumann enthusiasm clearly, producing some wonderful sounds at the end of I (originally entitled “Ruins” before the published version removed all titles). The second movement march (once called “Triumphal arch”) steps along nicely, if somewhat obsessively, with cleanly dispatched dotted rhythms. The final movement is poetic and intense.
 
The notes are in German only, although I cannot imagine this would dissuade a reader of MusicWeb International from purchasing this fine disc. Falvai’s Liszt is exceptional, and if the interesting Liszt-Schumann mutual admiration society appeals, this should be an easy choice.

Richard Kraus

 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

December
(short month)


Orphic Moments


Metamorphoses Books I & II

November


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali


Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4


French Cello Concertos

 

October


Shostakovich