Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Louis Kentner Plays Balakirev, Lyapunov & Liszt

Though born in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire and having studied and launched his career in Budapest, Louis Kentner decided to relocate to London in the 1930’s and for the next 50 years remained a part of the British musical establishment. He was a mainstay of the Columbia catalogue throughout the 1930’s and 40s where he recorded a wide range of repertoire including the ‘Hammerklavier’ sonata and many premiere recordings of major Liszt works. APR has already devoted two CDs to the latter (APR5514 & APR5614). In the 1950s he went on to record for HMV, both as soloist and as duo partner to Menuhin, whose brother-in-law he had become through marriage.
Almost all the recordings on this set date from the end of the 78rpm era and have been unjustly neglected as a result. Two major works of the late romantic Russian repertoire, the Balakirev Sonata and the Lyapunov Transcendental Studies, here received their premiere recordings, and to many listeners, they have yet to be surpassed. Kentner had an invincible Lisztian technique ; there was no one better to tackle Lyapunov’s homage to Liszt’s own ‘Transcendentals’. He was also able to take complete command of that other virtuoso warhorse – Islamey.
Of particular interest is Kentner’s only recording of the Liszt Sonata, and a magnificent one it turns out to be. Issued on 78s in 1951 when most other labels had switched to LP, this recording had a very short life and has never previously been reissued. It is a major addition to the available discography of Liszt sonatas and to Kentner’s legacy.

Source : http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/APR/APR6020

Louis Kentner
Plays
Balakirev
Lyapunov
Liszt

Tracks

Cd. 1

Mily Balakirev
(1837-1910)

Piano Sonata in B-Flat Minor
1 I. Andantino  6:12
2 II. Mazurka. Moderato  4:41
3 III. Intermezzo. Larghetto  4:44
4 Finale. Allegro non troppo, ma con fuoco  8:29

5 Rêverie  4:50
6 Mazurka n° 6, in A-Flat major  4:39
7 Islamey (Fantasie orientale)  9:05

Franz Liszt
(1811-1886)

8 Piano Sonata in B Minor, S 178  27:57
1 Lento assai - Allegro energico - Grandioso - Cantando espressivo - Pesante - Recitativo -
2 Andante sostenuto - Quasi adagio - 3 Allegro energico - Più mosso - Cantando
espressivo senza slentare - Stretta quasi presto - Presto - Prestissimo -
4 Andante sostenuto - Allegro moderato - Lento assai

*

Cd. 2

Sergei Lyapunov
(1859-1924)

Études d'exécution transcendante, S 139

1 N°1. Berceuse. Andantino  4:27
(1939)

2 N°1. Berceuse. Andantino  4:13
3 N° 2. Rond des fantômes. Presto  3:05
4 N° 3. Carillon. Allegro moderato e maestoso  6:13
5 N° 4. Térek. Allegro impetuoso  3:42
6 N° 5. Nuit d'été. Lento ma non troppo  7:53
7 N° 6. Tempête. Allegro agitato molto  4:02
8 N° 7. Idylle. Andantino pastorale  4:29
9 N° 8. Chant épique. Allegro maestoso  7:39
10 N° 9. Harpes éoliennes. Adagio non tanto  :52
11 N° 10. Lesginka. Allegro con fuoco  6:43
12 N° 11. Ronde des Sylphes. Allegro scherzando  3:50
13 N° 12. Elégie en mémoire de François Liszt. Lento capriccioso  11:04

*

Louis Kentner - p

Recorded at Studio 3, Abbey Road, London ; June 2, 1949 [Cd. 1, # 1-4] ; June 14 & 15, 1944 [Cd, 1, # 7 & # 5] ; April 14, 1944 [Cd. 1, # 6] ; May 28 & June 4, 1948 [Cd. 1, # 8] ; March 7, 1939 [Cd. 2, # 1] ; December 13/15, 20 & 29, 1949 [Cd. 2, # 2-13]

*

The 12 Transcendental Studies originally date from 1826 when Liszt was only 15. Modelled on Czerny they were announced as Study in 48 exercises in all the major and minor /eeys — young Franz taking a leaf out of Bach’s book of the masterly “48”. The following year a further 24 Grandes Etudes were promised, though in the event only twelve actually materialised. Berlioz however was impressed : “Unfortunately one cannot hope to hear music of this kind often — Liszt created it for himself and no one else in the world should flatter himself that he could even begin to perform it.” The Transcendental Studies were indeed phenomenally difficult, but Liszt was not satisfied. After fourteen years a revised version appeared which solved a number of the problems inherent in the earlier one, while adding a more mature perspective. Besides, Liszt had heard the violin playing of Paganini, widely accepted as being possessed of the devil, and was now intent on making the same brilliant splash on the pianoforte.
Bill & Gill Newman
, 1996 (from the booklet)

Louis Kentner
Plays
Franz Liszt
(1811-1886)

Tracks

Études d'exécution transcendante, S 139
1 N° 1 in C Major (Presto)  1:04
2 N° 2 in A Minor. Fusées (Molto vivace)  2:29
3 N° 3 in F Major. Paysage (Poco adagio)  5:15
4 N° 4 in D Minor. Mazeppa (Allegro)  7:55
5 N° 5 in B-Flat Major. Feux follets (Allegretto)  4:07
6 N° 6 in G Minor. Vision (Lento)  5:50
7 N° 7 in E-Flat Major. Eroica (Allegro)  5:02
8 N° 8 in C Minor (Presto furioso)  5:27
9 N° 9 in A-Flat Major. Ricordanza (Andantino, improvisato)  10:45
10 N° 10 in F Minor. Appassionata (Allegro agitato molto)  4:36
11 N° 11 in D-Flat Major. Harmonies du soir (Andantino)  10:10
12 N° 12 in B-Flat Minor. Chasse-neige (Andante con moto)  5:54

13 En Rêve (Nocturne, S 207)  2:35

*

Louis Kentner - p

Recorded 1970 ?

6 comments:

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woland said...

Thank you for all this Kentner, a really underrated keyboard giant.

Péter Makai said...

Many thanks, Mel!

rubingould said...

Thank you so much, Mel!

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Hi,
Thanks a lot Mel!
Pedro

BachRocks44 said...

Thank you!