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Liszt: Harmonies du Soir / Nelson Freire

Audio Samples

>Liszt, Franz : Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145
>Liszt, Franz : Sonetto del Petrarca no 104 (Pace non trovo; I) for piano (Tre sonetti no 1), S. 158/1
>Liszt, Franz : Valses oubliees (4) for Piano, S 215
>Liszt, Franz : Ballade for Piano no 2 in B minor, S 171
>Liszt, Franz : Au lac de Wallenstadt, for piano (Annees I/2), S.160/2 (LW A159/2)
>Liszt, Franz : Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244
>Liszt, Franz : Consolations (6) for Piano, S 172
>Liszt, Franz : Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139

Album Summary

>Liszt, Franz : Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145
>Liszt, Franz : Sonetto del Petrarca no 104 (Pace non trovo; I) for piano (Tre sonetti no 1), S. 158/1
>Liszt, Franz : Valses oubliees (4) for Piano, S 215
>Liszt, Franz : Ballade for Piano no 2 in B minor, S 171
>Liszt, Franz : Au lac de Wallenstadt, for piano (Annees I/2), S.160/2 (LW A159/2)
>Liszt, Franz : Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244
>Liszt, Franz : Consolations (6) for Piano, S 172
>Liszt, Franz : Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

In celebration of the Liszt year 2011, multi-award winning pianist Nelson Freire has personally selected the repertoire for his latest recording - his contribution to the anniversary of the pianist-composer's birth in 1811. The very personal selection includes Liszt showpieces such as the Harmonies du soir (12 Études d'exécution transcendante), the Hungarian Rhapsodies and Liebesträume.

"It provides a wonderful corrective to those who think of this composer's piano music as all flamboyant gestures and rhetoric. The overwhelming impact of this disc stems from the sheer beauty and elegance of Freire's playing, his crystalline tone and infinitely subtle range of touch and colour, which are combined with all the technique needed to cope with whatever challenges these pieces present him." -The Guardian

"Freire is a master of the Romantic repertoire – partly by dint of experience and maturity, which lend his pianism a grace and temperament that is always finely judged, not least in the opulent rhetoric of the Ballade No 2. But he also demonstrates a range of tone-colour and warmth of feeling that are essential to Liszt" -The Financial Times

"[Freire] wears his undeniable virtuosity lightly in this spellbinding programme of choice Liszt...It is, above all, the reflective, dreamy, romantic side of Liszt’s personality that Freire celebrates here...his selections from the Années de pèlerinages...confirm his preference for the poetic Liszt of limpid, transparent sonorities, rather than the flamboyant glitz merchant" -The Sunday Times

"This is immensely distinguished Liszt-playing...Freire seems utterly at one with the music, not only in terms of its innate poetry but also its astonishing diversity of texture and touch...Freire produces a really beautiful piano tone, too, conjuring an astonishing range of colours...Altogether an immaculate disc, enhanced by an excellently recorded balance." -BBC Music Magazine

"Freire's selection is a judiciously varied programme of works for which he has a particular fondness - and it shows...Again and again one marvels at the spontaneity of Freire's playing, his ability to think in long paragraphs and bring an almost improvisatory air to proceedings" -Gramophone

"In Mr. Freire’s rich, majestic performances, Liszt’s fireworks are always means to an expressive end. The album is anchored by a perfectly proportioned B minor Ballade and a flexible, capacious “Harmonies du Soir” (for which the disc is titled), but the highlight is an exquisite account of the six 'Consolations'." -The New York Times

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Just as the 2010 celebration of the bicentennial of Frédéric Chopin's birth inspired a large number of releases devoted to his piano music, 2011 marked the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt's birth, and similarly yields a bumper crop of recordings. Nelson Freire's 2010 album of Chopin's Nocturnes was a highlight of that year, so Liszt: Harmonies du Soir is a similar tribute that significantly adds to the pianist's comparatively small number of digital recordings for Decca. This collection of pieces in lyrical, literary, or characteristic veins gives a somewhat broader portrait of Liszt than the Nocturnes offered of Chopin, and Freire's abilities and sensibilities are revealed to a greater extent in this varied program. The refinement and lyricism that permeated the Nocturnes and their performances are replaced with a more passionate and changeable music, for here the styles, techniques, and expressions are more volatile, and the composer's extroverted tendencies stand in contrast to Chopin's reserved emotions. Freire has chosen pieces that are generally reflective and gentle in mood, though the shimmering filigree in the writing frequently erupts in dazzling displays of virtuosity, which a showman like Liszt couldn't restrain for long and which give this program its vibrant colors and interest. Decca's sound is clear and enjoyable for its pleasant ambience.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg (01/26/2011-01/31/2011).



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Works Details

>Liszt, Franz : Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145
  • Performer: Nelson Freire (Piano)
  • Notes: Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg (01/26/2011-01/31/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1862-1863

>Liszt, Franz : Sonetto del Petrarca no 104 (Pace non trovo; I) for piano (Tre sonetti no 1), S. 158/1
  • Performer: Nelson Freire (Piano)
  • Notes: Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg (01/26/2011-01/31/2011)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1843-1845

>Liszt, Franz : Valses oubliées (4) for Piano, S 215
  • Performer: Nelson Freire (Piano)
  • Notes: Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg (01/26/2011-01/31/2011)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Waltz
  • Written: 1881

>Liszt, Franz : Ballade for Piano no 2 in B minor, S 171
  • Performer: Nelson Freire (Piano)
  • Notes: Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg (01/26/2011-01/31/2011)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1853

>Liszt, Franz : Au lac de Wallenstadt, for piano (Années I/2), S.160/2 (LW A159/2)
  • Performer: Nelson Freire (Piano)
  • Notes: Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg (01/26/2011-01/31/2011)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1848-1855

>Liszt, Franz : Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244
  • Performer: Nelson Freire (Piano)
  • Notes: Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg (01/26/2011-01/31/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1847

>Liszt, Franz : Consolations (6) for Piano, S 172
  • Performer: Nelson Freire (Piano)
  • Notes: Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg (01/26/2011-01/31/2011)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1849-1850

>Liszt, Franz : Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139
  • Performer: Nelson Freire (Piano)
  • Notes: Friedrich-Ebert-Halle, Hamburg (01/26/2011-01/31/2011)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1851