Michael Kaykov – Liszt: Unrivalled (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:02:14 minutes | 514 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Odradek Records
American pianist and scholar Michael Kaykov plays an array of Liszt’s most powerful piano pieces, including the Sonata in B minor, as well as two of Beethoven’s ‘Sechs geistliche Lieder von Gellert’ in transcriptions by Liszt, on whom Beethoven once bestowed a ‘kiss of consecration’. Of these Beethoven songs we hear Liszt’s arrangements of the noble, imposing ‘Gottes Macht und Vorsehung’ (‘God’s Might and Providence’), and the sombre ‘Busslied’ or ‘Song of Penitence’ a perfect fusion of Beethoven’s original material with Liszt’s enriched pianism.
When Liszt joined Wagner and his wife Cosima Liszt’s daughter in Venice in 1882, he became fixated on the passing funeral gondolas and went on to write two versions of the dark-hued ‘La lugubre gondola’. Michael Kaykov plays the second version, which is even more uncompromising than the first, its tonally ambiguous soundworld typical of Liszt’s late output. Written a year earlier, Liszt’s impressionistic ‘Nuages gris’ has achieved almost legendary status as a work that paves the way towards modernity, with its twinging dissonances, loose approach to tonality and haunting ending. Also dating from 1881, ‘Unstern!’ (‘Unlucky!’) shows just how forward-looking Liszt’s music became, with bare tritones, whole tones, jarring dissonances and a terrifying climax.
Liszt’s staggeringly demanding ‘Scherzo und Marsch’ combines two movements into one larger structure a principle that would be taken to further extremes in the Sonata in B minor. This work is one of the most innovative piano sonatas of the 19th century: a continuous whole in which all four movements are amalgamated. The recital is completed by the third of Liszt’s Three ‘Caprices-Valses’, the ‘Valse de concert sur deux motifs de Lucia et Parisina de Donizetti’, which is based on themes from Donizetti’s operas ‘Parisina’ and ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’, and is striking for its wealth of ideas and for Liszt’s deft combination of waltz themes from the two operas.
1-01. Michael Kaykov – Sechs geistliche Lieder von Gellert, S. 467: No. 1, Gottes Macht und Vorsehung (01:12)
1-02. Michael Kaykov – Sechs geistliche Lieder von Gellert, S. 467: No. 3, Busslied (04:36)
1-03. Michael Kaykov – La lugubre gondola, S. 200, No. 1 (03:47)
1-04. Michael Kaykov – Scherzo und Marsch, S. 177 (12:17)
1-05. Michael Kaykov – Nuages gris, S. 199 (01:46)
1-06. Michael Kaykov – Piano Sonata in B Minor, S. 178 (26:36)
1-07. Michael Kaykov – Unstern!, S. 208 (03:35)
1-08. Michael Kaykov – Caprices-Valses, S. 214: III. Valse de concert sur deux motifs de Lucia et Parisina de Donizetti (08:21)