Franz Liszt: Transcriptions of Symphonic Poems


The music on this recording features solo piano versions of Liszt’s orchestral music, either produced by Liszt or transcribed under his supervision.

According to the sleeve notes, Liszt often revised his own music while transcribing it, or gave the task to his pupils and select associates, overseeing their work and then revising before publication. These transcriptions often include revisions to the earlier versions of the symphonic poems, leaving a trail of revisions.

Liszt himself didn’t like solo piano transcriptions of the symphonic poems, because of the inability of a single performer to translate the orchestral score.

As far as we can tell, some of the transcriptions on here will not be known even to fans of Liszt. The pieces include transcriptions by Karl Klauser, Frederico Spiro and Robert Freund, all in conjunction with Liszt.

That’s the history but what’s it sound like? Peaceful but also powerful in places is the answer. It’s a calming CD. Despite the composer’s fears, pianist Sergio Monteiro is clearly on top of all the work and his playing is as delicate or as robust as required. The best-known piece is probably Les Préludes, which even we had heard before. It’s accessible music too, for anyone who wants to get some piano music but doesn’t want anything too heavy.

Out on Naxos, 8.573485.


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