While Liszt’s version of 12 songs from Winterreise is the crowning glory of his Schubert transcriptions, there are surprisingly few recordings of the complete set. Only two are presently available (one on fortepiano), making this new recording by Leonardo Pierdomenico a notable event, and coupled uniquely with two versions of Liszt’s own music.
The young Italian pianist has already established himself as a Lisztian of renown and distinction through the Piano Classics album (PCL10151) including the Ballades, Legendes and Csardas macabre. The album won widespread critical admiration: ‘Would that half the seasoned Lisztians I know had Pierdomenico’s keen ear for stylistic differentiation within this half-century of repertory. His highly developed technique and Medtner’s ‘Winter Wind’ Sonata. Pianist-composers such as Bortkiewicz, Blumenfeld and Medtner flourished across Europe in the first decades of the last century, and so did piano manufacturers, producing ever more reliable and tonally sophisticated instruments that could cope with the rigours of these scores.
A generation before them, Viteslav Novák in the Czech Republic and Dora Pejačević in Croatia were writing less prodigiously demanding music which took its expressive cue from the tone-pictures of Schumann rather than the broader canvases of Liszt. In Ukraine, Viktor Kosenko was one of several composers here to use old church modes in his harmony, lending it both a patina of antiquity and at times an other-worldly novelty. In Romania, Georges Enescu pursued this path still further in finding a new world for the piano hardly less distinctive than Scriabin’s. Back in Ukraine, the music of Ihor Shamo embodies a kind of melancholy yearning that is both a natural inheritance from Rachmaninoff and perhaps the nearest to a ‘Slavic’ expressive trait.
All the performances here were recorded within the last decade and received with critical enthusiasm on their release. This budget reissue includes all the original sleeve notes, making it a worthwhile investment for collectors and newcomers alike.
- Piano Classics was the first label to exclusively devote itself to piano music. Since its founding in 2010 it has released countless extraordinary recordings, presenting many repertoire rarities and amazing young pianists. The press has always been enthusiastic about the label’s releases and have showered many 5-star and Editor’s Choices on them.
- To celebrate its success Piano Classics will release several 10-CD Explorer Sets, featuring highlights from its catalogue. The first set contains composers from behind what one may loosely describe as the former “Iron Curtain”. Not the usual suspects but composers to explore, discover and appreciate: Lyapunov, Bortkiewicz, Blumenfeld, Medtner, Balakirev, Glazunov, Kosenko, Novák, Enescu, Shamo, Pejačević, Gazarossian.
- Played by Vincenzo Maltempo, Mark Viner, Pavel Gintov, Saskia Giorgini, Mattia Ometto, Tobias Borsboom, Dimitri Tchesnokov, Ekaterina Litvintseva and Nare Karoyan.
- A treasure trove of the unexpected, in superlative performances and recordings, at an attractive budget price!