Liszt: Années de pèlerinage I, II, III

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LABELS: Philips Duo
WORKS: Années de pèlerinage I, II, III
PERFORMER: Alfred Brendel, Zoltán Kocsis (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 462 312-2 Reissue (1987)
The third book of Liszt’s ‘Years of Pilgrimage’ is a very different affair from its predecessors. While Books 1 and 2 are impassioned, Romantic tone poems inspired by images of art and nature, the final collection – written nearly three decades later – consists largely of threnodies. The stylistic rift justifies the involvement of two pianists on these recordings. Brendel’s performances of the Swiss and Italian years, ending with an electrifying account of the Dante Sonata, are surely among the finest things he has done; but Kocsis is scarcely less impressive in the austere world of late Liszt. A real bargain. Misha Donat