Of course I can’t pass up an opportunity to create a terrible pun, and in this case it’s apt. Yes, it’s the 200th anniversary of virtuoso pianist and underrated composer Franz Liszt, and the music world is being inundated by recitals and recordings. Naturally, it’s easy to be jaded about anything Lisztian under the circumstances, so I’m pleased to report that last night’s recital of some of the composer’s barnburners at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church in Manhattan (about a 5 minute walk from Lincoln Center) was one of the best programs I’ve seen all year. And the artist is a name you’re unlikely to know, but should. Continue reading
Another of those wonderful, massive New York City thunderstorms is under way. It started ratcheting itself as the quietest point in Liszt’s Les Preludes (the 1937 Polydor recording by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Paul van Kempen, released in a very good transfer on Tahra) was playing on the stereo. The storm added gratuitous but welcome special effects, showing that once in a while these sonic juxtapositions are serendipitous.