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Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)

1. – 4. Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178

5. Berceuse, S. 174ii

6. – 8. Tre sonetti di Petrarca, S. 161/4-6

9. Réminiscences de Norma, S. 394 (after Bellini)

10. Ave Maria, S. 558/12 (after Schubert)

 

Track List
 
Liszt

Benjamin Grosvenor presents his first album in a renewed exclusive partnership with Decca Classics.

 

The album, Liszt, is released on 19th February 2021, signifying Grosvenor’s most substantial solo recording to date, centred around the works of the Romantic piano virtuoso and composer, Franz Liszt. The release marks Benjamin’s sixth album on Decca Classics, following the award-winning Chopin Piano Concertos in 2020.

 

Grosvenor says, “Decca Classics has been my recording home for the last decade, and I’m pleased that we are continuing our partnership with this new release. The music of Liszt has been central to my repertoire since I was introduced to it as a child, by my grandfather. I wanted with this recording to show the composer in his different aspects, including some of his original compositions, but also displaying the extraordinarily re-creative abilities he showed in his transcriptions.”

 

Release date: 19 February 2021

 

In The Press

“Spellbinding”

- The New York Times

“An ideal Liszt Sonata performance requires transcendental virtuosity, prodigious colouristic resources, a sense of drama and narrative flow and a gift for fusing both architecture and passion. Benjamin Grosvenor’s interpretation embodies these qualities and then some”

- Gramophone Magazine (Editor's Choice)

 

“[Grosvenor’s] mastery is as subtle as that of Benno Moiseiwitsch, Guiomar Novaes, Josef Hofmann, or Solomon in their time ... from the piano rises a song of princely eloquence, a mystical atmosphere, a miracle of purely pianistic beauty.”

- Classica (Chocs de l'année)


“Benjamin Grosvenor finds a very tender sound for [the Petrarch Sonnets], and once again he leaves the listener astonished at his technical brilliance, although he never lets it overpower the rest. You can feel Grosvenor's zest and passion for Liszt, and this is what makes this album so enchanting”

- WDR3, Germany (*****)

“Grosvenor delivers a broad and refined vision of [Liszt’s Sonata], generous and humble, powerful and refined … he climbs these summits with incredible distinction and delicacy. The Réminiscences de Norma are played with authority and stunning imagination … Like his Chopin (2020) Liszt is one of his most accomplished recordings.”

- Diapason Magazine (awarded Diapason d'Or)

"Grosvenor’s performance is persuasive and captivating: brilliant technique married with deep musical understanding, precision and attention to all its wildly contrasting detail … The recording is superb: warm, rich and resonant in the bass and sparkling in the upper registers with no harsh brightness. It really is, as Grosvenor put it, “a selection of music that shows Liszt as a composer in many guises” and Grosvenor too has excelled in all of them.”
-  Limelight (Recording of the Month)

“Grosvenor conjures a brand of full and rounded keyboard sonority different from that of many of his contemporaries, and recalls the giants of an earlier generation…..Grosvenor’s interpretations seem to take us to the essence of the music itself, and to the legendary playing style it sprang from”

- BBC Music Magazine (*****)

 

“The discographic playing field of Liszt's B minor sonata is huge, with space for all conceivable interpretations. Benjamin Grosvenor joins the list of performers with a very well thought-out recording … The Briton does not want to present himself as an epigone, but rather to assert his own claims. He usually succeeds in this, you can see his inner conviction … He also reveals a poetic approach in the three Petrarch sonnets”

- Concerti, Germany (Album of the Week)

“All three [works] present a master storyteller with impeccably projected melodies … a superb disc”

- International Piano (Critics' Choice)

“Many piano discs these days feature a collage of short, popular tracks aimed at playlists, but not Grosvenor’s. He has kept a judicious balance between seriousness of repertoire and the virtuoso showpieces at which he is so brilliant.”

- The Financial Times

“Grosvenor is no longer a child prodigy as he approaches 30, but he is on the way to becoming one of the greats. This marvellous recital provides the best possible advocacy ... This is artistry to match the finest ... Grosvenor is simply astounding.”

- Sydney Morning Herald

“[Grosvenor's] use of pedals, his subtle articulations, the grand dynamic which he uses without ever reaching the limits of the piano, his swift fingers and his transparent chords, his divine cantabile, his harmonic tensions, the polyphony, its rhythmic pulsation even in the slowest passages are that of a giant who reconciles forever the Puritan Liszt and the generous Liszt installed in his century and ours.”

- Pianiste


“Listen to the unreal colour of the last chords of the Liszt Sonata ... An evocative power which closes a thirty minute journey of confounding maturity, and which elevates Grosvenor to the rank of one of most eminent Lisztians of the beginning of the century.”

- Le Figaro


“It is above all with the heart that [Grosvenor] approaches Liszt's famous Sonata in B minor, in a dizzying polysemy of shapes and colours. He keeps this same syncretic impulse between prayer and reverie in the three Sonetti di Petrarca ... the Ave Maria is almost mystical “Schuberto-Lisztien”. Réminiscences de Norma summon grand opera and transcendent virtuosity: Grosvenor reveals himself more than prodigious, a poet."

- Le Monde

“At only 28 years of age, [Grosvenor] is playing in the realm of the very greatest … he illuminates the smallest detail with expressive intent, while remaining attuned to the larger continuous form. At 28, he reconciles the Puritan Liszt with the generous Liszt emblematic of his century as never before. What can be said of the rare Chopinesque Berceuse and the Petrarch Sonnets?  Soaring from the piano a song of princely eloquence, a mystical atmosphere, a miracle of purely pianistic beauty”

- Classica (Choc de Classica)


“The B minor sonata emerges as a turbulent, unsettling drama. Cascades of virtuosic gestures and seemingly spontaneous surges, and a dazzling range of tone colours put to good use as well … after the Ave Maria I just had to go back to the top and listen again, it’s that good.”

- BBC Radio 3 Record Review


"a disc of flame and momentum which restores to the composer's piano its almost orchestral dimension. The beauty and richness of the sounds captivate ... A final salute to the transcriber with an incandescent Reminiscences of Norma and a radiant Ave Maria complete this dazzling portrait of supreme expressive force."

- Le Soir, Belgium (****)


“the British pianist delivers a "Sonata in B minor" dazzling with color and emotion … Already one of the records of the year”

- L’Echo, Belgium (*****)

“a magnificent version of the piano Sonata in B minor by Liszt”

- France Musique

“Grosvenor plays the Liszt sonata with breathtaking accuracy. Not only technical, but also interpretative. In the hands of lesser pianists this music sounds like a rough rock with smooth spots, but with Grosvenor you are drawn into a story. At times it is pure imagination and fantasy… Grosvenor is not yet 30, but his Liszt sounds mature, full-blooded romantic, and then full of questions and doubts, as it was for Liszt himself.”

- Klara Radio, Belgium


“the freedom and breadth of the Sonnets is the absolute jewel of this gifted CD”

-  Le Devoir (****.5)

 

“This disc is one of full maturity: that of a performer who combines speech, intention and supreme musicality … he achieves a flawlessness, touchingly eloquent … Irresistible.”
- Classique News

“Every concert and every recording of Grosvenor's music is long awaited and desired, so rich is his personality and his extraordinary pianistic mastery … His vision of the famous Liszt Sonata is immediately among the most inspired ... Magisterial!"

- Qobuz


“this disc is exceptional in its entirety ... with his instinctive understanding of the music and impressive pianistic capabilities, Grosvenor is bound to become one of the most celebrated artists of his generation”

- Interlude, Hong Kong


“In all these works, Grosvenor consolidates his Lisztian empathy with insight and integrity whatever the idiom, and always at the service of the composer. The poetry of the Petrarch Sonnets is both ardent and sensitive ... The transcription of Schubert’s Ave Maria is beautifully voiced with what sounds like a sleight of three hands, supreme with no hint of saccharine, and all captured in sound of sovereign clarity to match that of the pianist.”

Music Web International


“Outstanding in every way”

- Europa Disc