Bach & Liszt

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bach & Liszt
LABELS: NAIVE
ALBUM TITLE: Lise de la Salle
WORKS: Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903; Toccata in D, BWV 912; Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 (trans. Liszt)
PERFORMER: Lise de la Salle (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: V 5006
Lisa de la Salle released her first CD two years ago at the age of 14; this well-chosen programme of Bach and Liszt is the second. In addition to two ‘Bach-Busoni’ chorale preludes, Liszt’s own, seldom-heard transcription of the A minor organ Prelude and Fugue BWV543, which manages to be faithful and flamboyant at the same time, acts as a natural bridge between the two composers.

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Very few 16 year olds could deliver such a programme with such aplomb and unruffled technique. There is nothing to censure here, and much to admire: de la Salle’s playing throughout is very clean and has a limpid clarity. I particularly liked her vivid characterisation of the various sections of Bach’s D major Toccata, the elegiac quality she brings to the Bach-Busoni ‘Ich ruf’ zu dir’, the crepuscular colouring of Lugubre gondola No. 1. Overall, however, the total impression is…not exactly lightweight, but as yet penetrating only the first layer or so of the music’s expressive potential. She has plenty of time to work deeper, however, and in the meantime this disc is a considerable achievement. Calum MacDonald