As if 95 discs encompassing the entire oeuvre of Liszt's piano music was not enough, Leslie Howard is now already into his second volume of 'New Liszt Discoveries', another fascinating compendium of works that have been forgotten for over a century. At just under 80 minutes, this release is also a splendid exercise in economy packaging and provides the discerning piano enthusiast with a veritable treasure trove of music.
The first eight pieces are grouped together in what is known as the 'Preludes et Harmonies poetiques et religieuses'. These date from an 1845 sketchbook and include some wonderful music such as the 2nd in C minor, 'Langueur' or the 4th in D flat questionably tiled 'Derniere illusion'. We are also told that the 4th, 6th and 8th pieces have been completed from other material by Howard himself who plays, as usual, as though he were the composer re-incarnated.
I greatly enjoyed the 'Concerto sans orchestre' which features some dazzling virtuoso parts, summarily dispatched by the indefatigable Howard. The minute Album Leaves are undiscovered gems as is the sprightly Hungarian March. Finally we have a fascinating draft of the evergreen 'Lieberstraume #3' which is dated at sometime in the 1840's. This window on the composer's work is a fine way to end this essential disc, another towering statement of purpose from the great Leslie Howard and the ever enterprising Hyperion label.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech