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Liszt Annees - La Suisse (complete)

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by jlr43, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello,

    Here is my performance of one of the subsets of Liszt's tripartite masterwork, the [Années de Pèlerinage. For those who are not acquainted with the work, it's a cycle of three sets of pieces evoking a wanderer's journeys through foreign lands. I present here the"first year," which recounts scenes from Switzerland. For reference purposes, the nine pieces in the set are:

    Liszt - Annees de Pelerinage, Premiere Annee (La Suisse): 1 - La Chapelle de Guillaume Tell (5:28)
    Liszt - Annees de Pelerinage, Premiere Annee (La Suisse): 2 - Au Lac de Wallenstadt (2:48)
    Liszt - Annees de Pelerinage, Premiere Annee (La Suisse): 3 - Pastorale (1:45)
    Liszt - Annees de Pelerinage, Premiere Annee (La Suisse): 4 - Au Bord d'Une Source (3:57)
    Liszt - Annees de Pelerinage, Premiere Annee (La Suisse): 5 - Orage (4:21)
    Liszt - Annees de Pelerinage, Premiere Annee (La Suisse): 6 - Vallee d'Obermann (13:10)
    Liszt - Annees de Pelerinage, Premiere Annee (La Suisse): 7 - Eglogue (3:54)
    Liszt - Annees de Pelerinage, Premiere Annee (La Suisse): 8 - Le Mal du Pays (5:22)
    Liszt - Annees de Pelerinage, Premiere Annee (La Suisse): 9 - Les Cloches de Geneve (5:58)

    I have long considered La Suisse, taken as a whole, to be Liszt's finest work for solo piano, reflecting best his peerless skill as a wizard of tone colors and as composer who can evoke vivid images through sound. (In saying this, I know I may incur the wrath of fans of the Sonata, but as weighty as that piece is, I've never really cared all that much for it, at least not enough to work seriously on it.)

    This is a cycle I've been practicing off and on for some time. Incidentally (mostly for the admins), these versions of chapelle, source, eglogue, and cloches (1, 4, 7, 9) are replacements of the ones already on the site.

    Thanks for listening.

    Joe
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ha, I knew you were up to something when you stopped by to comment on an obscure-repertoire recording of mine :p

    I sampled some of these. They sound competently done, kudos for taking on Orage and keeping it on the road.
    Can't say I like the sound much, what I miss is clarity. It all sounds rather indirect and recessed, and with what seems to a bit too much pedal so that some parts become blurry.

    I agree on Annees I Suisse representing the best of Liszt, even though I never really warmed to Orage and Cloches. Annees II Italie is a close runner-up IMHO. If I were to get back to Liszt one day it would probably be these two volumes again.

    I'll put these on the site tonight.
     
  3. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've listened to Orage and Vallee d'Obermann, the two with which I'm most familiar.

    Orage is impressively tidy considering it's far from easy: it lacks the final level of anger as evinced by e.g. Berman, but it goes without saying that not many people can play it with his ferocity.

    Obermann I quite like, I don't agree with some of it but at the same time some of my ideas regarding the piece are probably slightly idiosyncratic (when I played it my overall tempo was significantly slower than yours). Nothing particularly bothered me except I didn't feel the E major section with the "big tune" sang enough, and the repeated chord sections seemed a bit dry and not as sonorous as I'd like.

    Very creditable performances, clean and accurate and it must have taken a lot of work to put the full set together.
     
  4. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for the comments, Chris and Andrew. Some good talking points even if I don't agree with many of them.

    You got me! Umm...actually, wait, no, on second thought I think you're reading too much into this. Actually, I commented on another recording before yours. Not only that, there were others I wanted to comment on (like Francois's Schubert sonata) but they seemed too far in the past, a mega-bump as you've often put it.

    Well you know what they say about getting your ears checked :mrgreen: Sound is, of course, a pretty personal thing but IMHO this is quite clear and the best sound I've achieved in a recording (not that that's probably saying all that much, I know). Regarding the pedal, I'd naturally need specifics to see whether I hear what you're hearing, but Liszt after all tends to be rather lush music, especially the naturalistic effects like Lac, Eglogue, and Pastorale. Some have even called Liszt the first impressionist. That is to say, there are lots of natural, intended blurs in it (as there are in, say, Debussy or Ravel). The last thing one would want is for this music to sound like the auditory equivalent of fire kindling.

    Thanks. Yes, I'd heard Berman's performance of this in the past (and just relistened to it on Youtube, at least one of them). I'd say chapeaux to him for the speed. I'll most likely never have anything like that facility with octave playing, that's for sure, octaves being the weakest part of my technique (though I worked on them pretty hard for this recording). On the other hand, as with most of Berman's playing, it sounds rather like crude, rushed pounding to me, with very little in the way of nuance or balance. I'm not hearing the anger. Incidentally, I had the same reaction to a much-praised Rachmaninoff disc of his I heard recently, most of which I found to be ugly piledriving.

    I think these are both valid points. The melody issue I wondered about myself. Will take these into account in revisiting these pieces in the future, thanks.
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    These are up.
     
  6. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hello Joseph,
    What an impressive piece of work ! I have listened the Pastorale and the Vallée d'Obermann, that I recorded some years ago. I have much respect for what you did. Like me, you are struggling in the Vallée with some octaves, but you manage quite well not to loose the continuity of the music, which is the main point, I think. Your pastorale is very different from mine, in terms of tempo regularity. Mine is almost metronomic, yours is very flexible. I don't know what the piano teachers would recommend. Both options are possible, I think...
    I envy your playing of the whole book. I'll do that in the future, hopefully. Regards,
     
  7. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wonderful job, Joseph.

    Some of Lizst's virtuoso stuff is too bombastic for my taste (the William Tell, in places, sounds like silent movie accompaniment), but the lyric pieces are great.

    My favorite, both for the piece and for your playing, was the bells of Geneva. Beautiful, but the music starts almost simultaneously with the beginning of the file. I think maybe 1/2 second would help a listener who double-clicks on the file name and gets to see the media program launch before hearing the sound.
     
  8. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Stu,

    Interesting, I hadn't thought of that, but now that you mention it, I can see that -- the tremolos in particular perhaps. And I love silent movies; Liszt and Dr. Caligari would be a good pairing :p

    Yes, I love them all, but that one's up there. For me, probably would be third after Au Bord d'Une Source and the Vallee d'Obermann. Frankly, I'm baffled that Chris "can't warm" to this one. The bell effects in the bass are one of the more novel effects in Liszt IMO (which is saying quite a bit), not to mention that the tune in the B section is one of the more lovely, soaring, and fulfilled in his canon.

    Thanks for listening!

    Joe
     

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