Valuable for collectors, otherwise a bit of an overkill



Wagner (Tausig), Verdi (Liszt) * * *
Transcriptions & Paraphrases
Orazio Sciortino (piano)
Sony Classical

Why should one listen to two hours of paraphrases and transcriptions of Wagner and Verdi extracts by Tausig and Liszt? Probably we should not. And probably that is not the purpose of this CD. To review the CD, listening over and over is no fun. I LOVE Wagner and Verdi, and I also find these transcriptions and paraphrases either a revelation to listen to, or at least important in pianistic respects. So, for collectors too, this CD is important. Indeed, it contains Tausig’s complete Wagner paraphrases and Liszt’s complete Verdi transcriptions. Sciortino is a pianist who has a wonderful ear for the melody, in an operatic way, in a declaratory tone as far as the Verdi goes. The “Miserere du Travatore” is good proof of that, whereas Agnus Dei from the composer’s Requiem is full of colourful pianissimos. Nevertheless, it is a tiring CD to listen to, simply because transcriptions are more burdensome on the listener, with repetitive tools of expression, the orchestrated sound of the piano and the limited sphere of the operatic idea without the voices. By the time the first CD ends the joy is already over. It is for this reason that this CD is more for collectors, or admirers of Liszt and Tausig, and not Wagner and Verdi. Nevertheless, the Wagner part is more interesting, if only because the “paraphrases” are more ingenious than Liszt’s virtuoso transcriptions. Also, Wagner’s composition style provides for a more interesting piano rendering, whereas Verdi’s operatic genius makes less sense on the piano. For serious collectors only.

Feyzi Erçin



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