Liszt: Piano Sonata in B minor, Vallee d’Obermann, Rapsodie espagnole, Funerailles

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ALBUM TITLE: Liszt – Piano Music
WORKS: Piano Sonata in B minor, Vallee d’Obermann, Rapsodie espagnole, Funerailles
PERFORMER: Arnaldo Cohen
Panache and poetry brilliantly fuse


when Arnaldo Cohen plays Liszt, as

borne out by the Brazilian pianist’s

earlier recorded efforts on behalf of the

composer, including a fine B minor

Sonata issued by Carlton in the early

1990s. Cohen’s remake of the Sonata

benefits from BIS’s roomier, more

three-dimensional sonics, along with

the pianist’s increased fluidity and

commitment. Like Claudio Arrau,

Cohen fully savours the dramatic

implications within slower, rhetorical

sequences, yet raises the scintillation

factor threefold in the infamous

octave passages enough to run neck

and neck alongside Martha Argerich’s

molten temperament (DG).

Note, too, how Funérailles acquires

a rarely achieved unity by virtue of

Cohen’s controlled freedom and longlined

phrasing, and the tumultuous

central section truly emerges from the

desolate music that precedes it, rather

than sounding like a tacked-on octave

étude. Similar comments apply to the

narrative mastery with which Cohen

sustains Vallée d’Obermann. He shares

Arrau’s patience in how he shapes the

brooding opening section without

pushing ahead or fidgeting. And for

all the surface flash and imaginative

colorations characterising Cohen’s

dazzling romp through the Rapsodie

espagnole, the pianist’s carefully

considered tempo relationships and

transitions direct your ears to the

music behind the glitter.

Cohen is that rare Lisztian whose

interpretations both illuminate and

entertain, and one hopes that BIS will

keep this under-recorded keyboard

master busy for years to come. A firstclass


release in every way. Jed Distler