beeth liszt 7 8

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L. v. Beethoven / F. Liszt
Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8 (Transcriptions)

Konstantin Scherbakov, piano
Naxos 8.557856

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beethoven - Symphony No. 7 in A major, S464/R128
Beethoven - Symphony No. 8 in F major, S464/R128

 

 
"This disc brings Konstantin Scherbakov’s Liszt/Beethoven cycle to a rousing conclusion. Those who have been collecting this series will already be rushing into the stores, real or virtual, to snap this issue up. Those who are as yet unfamiliar with Liszt’s Beethoven transcriptions should do the same... Unlike his operatic paraphrases and many of his other arrangements, which are wildly exciting and heavily rouged, Liszt’s transcriptions of these two symphonies were clearly respectful labours of love. His preservation of the musical lines is painstaking. ...I expected to miss the sound of the orchestra when listening to this piano transcription. I did not. I even caught myself listening to this piano version of the seventh in my mind’s ear in when I woke up one morning! The magnetism of Scherbakov’s pianism is that convincing. He is a masterful pianist, fully attuned to the dynamic differences Beethoven demands, able to play piano with a firm touch, and to bring a singing tone in his forte. Scherbakov sculpts the introduction to first movement of the seventh with subtlety, and renders the main theme with grandeur. His account of the slow movement is grave without being lachrymose and his use of rubato is subtle. His scherzo is playful, if a little understated... If in the final analysis the finale fails to convince, it is still illuminating. The eighth, however, is wholly successful. Scherbakov enjoys the humour of this piece, pointing phrases and making much of the dynamic contrasts with some wonderfully delicate playing, and real gusto where called for. ...Scherbakov’s (and Liszt’s) great achievement here is that the performances on this disc are sufficient in their own right. In fact, it is refreshing to hear such familiar music apart from the orchestra. Suddenly performance aesthetics, the battle or compromise between the old big band style and period performance practice, cease to matter. With the different timbres and tones of the instrumental voices suddenly ironed out by the keyboard, each leading voice becomes something of a primus inter pares. As great works in their own right which shed new light on well known classics, these transcriptions are well worth hearing. ...At the Naxos price, it is well worth hazarding the purchase. Patrick Waller, in his review of the Ninth Symphony in this series, said: "Each time I have listened to it I have marvelled at Beethoven’s music, Liszt’s conception for the piano, and Scherbakov’s musicianship and virtuosity. The same holds true for me with this release." Tim Perry, MusicWeb International