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Liszt & Wagner

Richard Wagner is often cited as the chief innovator of chromatic harmony in late Romantic music, mostly because of his tonally ambiguous "Prelude" to "Tristan und Isolde." Yet the strongest influence on Wagner's harmonic ideas came from Franz Liszt, who ventured further afield than Wagner dared to go. Imogen Cooper's 2017 release on Chandos explores a group of piano works by Liszt, as well as the transcription of Wagner's "Prelude to Tristan und Isolde" by Zoltán Kocsis, and Liszt's arrangement of the "Liebestod," and the program demonstrates the use of unresolved dissonances to create atmosphere and heighten tension. Compare Liszt's "Nuages gris" with Wagner's "Elegie" to hear the similarity of approach, and sample "La lugubre gondola I" and the "Bagatelle sans tonalité" to hear Liszt go to the far edge of tonality. Somewhat subtler in effect are the "Valse Oubliée No. 2," "Gretchen" (transcribed by Liszt from his "Faust Symphony"), and the "Four Pieces from Années de Pélerinage, Deuxième Année: Italie," which still reflect conventional tonality but share the ambiguity of the rest of the pieces in their subtle use of chromaticism and harmonic coloration. Cooper's playing is suitably delicate and restrained, and she avoids Liszt's flashier displays of virtuosity to emphasize his reflective and darker side. Chandos' recording is clear and reasonably close, with natural resonance.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/17/2017
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115193822
catalogNumber: 10938
Rank: 210601


  1. Valse oubliée, for piano No. 2, S. 215/2 (LW A311/2)  (06:54)
  2. Gretchen: 2. Satz aus der Faust-Symphony, transcription for piano, S. 513 (LW A190)  (19:08)
  3. Années de pèlerinage, 2nd Year ("Italie"), suite for piano, S. 161 (LW A55): 1. Sposalizio. Andante - Andant equieto - Più lent

    1. 1. Sposalizio. Andante - Andant equieto - Più lento - Quasi allegretto mosso - Adagio  (07:19)
  4. Années de pèlerinage, 2nd Year ("Italie"), suite for piano, S. 161 (LW A55): 2. Il penseroso. Lento

    1. 2. Il penseroso. Lento  (04:13)
  5. Années de pèlerinage, 2nd Year ("Italie"), suite for piano, S. 161 (LW A55)

    1. 3. Canzonetta del Salvator Rosa. Andante marziale  (03:12)
    2. 5. Sonetto 104 del Petrarca. Agitato assai - Adagio - [ ] - Adagio  (06:54)
  6. Nuages gris (Trübe Wolken), for piano, S. 199 (LW A305)  (02:32)
  7. Elegy for piano in A flat major  (01:24)
  8. Tristan und Isolde, opera, WWV 90: Einleitung

    1. Einleitung  (08:14)
  9. La Lugubre gondola I, for piano (in 6/8), S. 200/1 (LW A319a)  (04:44)
  10. Isoldens Liebestod: Schlußszene aus Tristan und Isolde, transcription for piano (after Wagner), S. 447 (LW A239)  (06:55)
  11. Bagatelle sans tonalité, for piano, S. 216a (LW A338)  (03:02)

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