Liszt: Harmonies poétiques et religieusesby Steven Osborne
Anticipating the developments of his maturity, Franz Liszt's "Harmonies poétiques et religieuses" is an important transitional piece, if not especially coherent or profound. Liszt's sentimentality and chronic showmanship prevent this set of pious reveries from achieving the deepest spiritual dimensions. But there are many reflective moments in this work that indicate a growing seriousness and even presage the dark emotions and austerity of his final period. While the "Invocation," "Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude," and the "Cantique d'amour" are predictably ecstatic in their climaxes, each contains sustained passages of calm introspection. Liszt's transcriptions of his choral works -- "Ave Maria," "Pater noster," and the "Hymne de l'enfant à son réveil" -- along with the "Miserere, d'après Palestrina" are comparatively unembellished and striking in their purity. Liszt's religiosity dominates "Harmonies," but he offsets it with three poetic musings on sorrow and death. The "Pensée des morts," "Funérailles," and the "Andante lagrimoso" are surprisingly stark and subdued, and look forward to the muted late piano works. In Steven Osborne's thoughtful interpretations, Liszt's excesses are somewhat minimized and his subtleties are solidly reinforced. Osborne's low-key approach may seem antithetical to Liszt -- perhaps too Chopin-esque -- but the results are at least tasteful and often more intriguing than a flashier reading would permit.
- Release Date:
- Hyperion Uk
- Harmonies poétiques et réligieuses (10), for piano, S. 173 (LW A158)
Performance CreditsSteven Osborne Primary Artist
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