- Hungarian Rhapsody, for piano No. 8 in F sharp minor ("Lento a capriccio"), S. 244/8 (LW A132/8)
- Hungarian Rhapsody, for piano No. 13 in A minor, S. 244/13 (LW A132/13)
- Hungarian Rhapsody, for piano No. 12 in C sharp minor (aka "No. 2"), S. 244/12 (LW A132/12)
- Aprés une lecture du Dante I, fantasia quasi sonata, for piano, S. 158c
- Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178 (LW A179)
Pianist Mykola Suk was born in Kiev in 1945, won the 1971 Liszt/Bartók competition in 1971, and came to the U.S. in 1990. The notes to this release, by no less august a figure than historian-impresario Joseph Horowitz, contain the charming news that the "biographical information Mykola provided was not very informative," but he has strong partisans. This album of Liszt favorites from California's Music & Arts label, which is emerging as a viable counterpart to Britain's small connoisseur labels, shows why, and makes you want to hear Suk in the annual series, held at New York's Mannes College, from which these live recordings were taken. Suk manages to convey a sense of the spontaneity that the piano composer-virtuosi of the Romantic era must have had in their own time. The biggest canvas, the "Piano Sonata in B minor," shows him at his considerable best. The sound engineers keep their distance, with the result that the opening bars are very quiet indeed, but the remarkable dynamic range of Suk's playing comes through. That dynamic range is part of an approach that's not so much explosive as poetic. Suk is a master of the long line, hesitating in the slow opening music, rushing the sonata's fireworks and fugues, and spinning out its rhapsodic stretches in long, even strokes. There are imperfections in the notes, but this is one of those performances in which the glitches only remind you of how involved in the music you have become. In "Après un Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata," commonly known as the Dante sonata, Suk deftly brings out Liszt's use of texture to suggest extramusical content, and the three "Hungarian Rhapsodies" are brisk, with plenty of muscle. A recording that gets to the extreme, over-the-top quality of Liszt's music in a way that armies of music-school technicians never can.
|Label:||Music & Arts Program|