Arts Blog

Kirill Gerstein offers Transcendental Liszt

Pianist Kirill Gerstein, a favorite of Portland audiences for his orchestral and solo recital appearances, has just released a CD that illustrates both the pianist’s abilities and those of the composer of these works.  Franz Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes simultaneously pay homage to his good friend Chopin (Etudes, Opp. 10 and 25), and Bach, while propelling the form into the future, going so far as presaging the impressionism of Debussy.  Mr. Gerstein shares the remarkable story of how Liszt first worked out the ideas of these 12 etudes at the age of fifteen; then he reworked them into an almost unplayable state; finally, in this 1852 version, is a set of works that challenge the soloist (and the listener’s idea of what an “etude” is), as well as telling vivid stories (like the German folk legend, Wilde Jagd – Wild Hunt), and painting pictures in sound (such as Chasse-neige, and Harmonie du soir).  There’s more to discover in the attached audio feature, including some thrilling passages from these transcendent compositions.

Liszt: Transcendental EtudesGerstein
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