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CD Review

Franz Liszt

Complete Piano Music - Volume 2

  • Transcendental Études, S. 139 (1851)
Jenő Jandó, piano
Recorded in Budapest, 18 - 21 July 1994
Produced by Ibolya Toth
Naxos 8.553119 63:59 DDD
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The Naxos "house pianist" is called upon to add yet another recording of this spectacular and difficult work to the catalog to help start a planned series of the complete piano music of Liszt. The competition in this famous set is fierce, to be sure.

Jandó's technique is certainly adequate to the task at hand. From what I've heard, which is probably only a tiny fraction of his voluminous recorded output, Jandó can play pretty much whatever is put in front of him. These are for the most part very extrovert pieces and Jandó is temperamentally suited to this sort of virtuoso display.

But I fear that he generally pounds his way through most of the set. There is no delicacy expressed in any of these performances and I found it wearisome to listen to the disc all the way through. The slower and quieter passages are merely dull and the faster ones are ponderous with much hammering at the bass octaves.

The recording quality is acceptable. The sound is clear but emphasises the bass. The piano growls a lot and the high notes drift away.

Before dismissing this disc I would like to point out that it is very inexpensive and therefore has some merit as an introduction to the music for someone who is unfamiliar with Liszt. But there is far more to this music than can be found here. There is also much better playing elsewhere in the Naxos Liszt series, but more of that anon.

Copyright © 1997, Paul Geffen