Liszt at the Opera (CD)

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Louis Lortie

In this new release, the exclusive Chandos artist and award-winning pianist Louis Lortie continues his exploration of piano works by Franz Liszt. His previous Liszt releases have been critically acclaimed, Gramophone describing his performance of the complete Années de Pèlerinage as ‘spellbinding’. Here Lortie turns his hand to the composer’s opera transcriptions and paraphrases, works that revolutionised composition for the piano with their unheralded technical innovation. The original works by Liszt based on Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Gounod’s Faust not only demonstrate the dazzling technical possibilities of the piano but reveal the unique and fascinating musical imagination with which Liszt transformed some of the best-known music in the operatic repertoire. Completing the disc are several more or less straightforward transcriptions based on operas by Richard Wagner who, despite a rocky start to their relationship, forged a close musical bond with Liszt. Among them is the popular transcription of the ‘Liebestod’ from Tristan und Isolde. Liszt never completed a transcription of its natural musical companion, the Prelude to the opera, so here Louis Lortie has recorded his own arrangement of it.