Notes & Reviews:
Noseda's survey of Liszt's Symphonic Poems culminates with the 'Dante' Symphony, which is coupled with the orchestral version of the 'Two Legends'. Inspired by the 'Divine Comedy', the 'Dante' Symphony was completed in 1856 and dedicated to Richard Wagner. Likening his friend Wagner to Virgil, who guided Dante through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, Liszt wrote, "you are my master, and my author", thus himself quoting Dante. The 'Two Legends' are best known as solo piano works and rarely heard in Liszt's own orchestral version. Commenting on Volume 4 in the series, 'Classic FM' wrote that 'Die Ideale' is "utterly gripping in Noseda's hands and puts fine versions by Bernard Haitink and Kurt Masur quite in the shade".
Franz Liszt - Eine Symphonie zu Dantes Divina Commedia, S 109
Duex Légendes, S 354
Gillian Keith (Soprano)
Ladies' Voices of the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
We're reminded that the Purgatorio pre-empts not just the harmonic irresolution of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde but the sickly sensuousness of Parsifal. The Deux Légendes, meanwhile, are orchestrations, undiscovered until 1975, of St Francis of Assisi: the Sermon to the Birds, and St Francis of Paola Walking on the Waves, neither of which is quite as good as its piano original. They're wonderfully done, but it's the Dante Symphony that makes the disc such essential listening.
Liszt's mastery at musical depictions of dramatic fury is borne out by this arresting performance of his two-part but multifaceted symphony inspired by Dante's Inferno and Purgatorio
The Independent on Sunday
Textural precision is foremost in "Deux Légendes", with an exhilarating wash of brass, low woodwind and frenzied strings in "St François de Paule marchant sur les flots". Most impressive, however, is Noseda's navigation of the bombastic colourations of "Eine Symphonie zu Dantes Divina Commedia".
Once again in this superb series Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic erase all possible bombast and inflated rhetoric in performances of a special refinement and romantic fervour.
... throughout, you are made to feel the composer's humility before Dante's greatness. Once more Chandos has done the orchestra and conductor proud in a recorded sound of a special brilliance and transparency.
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