ALBUM TITLE: Schubert, Liszt
WORKS: Schubert: Wanderer Fantasy, D760; Impromptu in G, D899; Kuppelwieser Walzer; Hungarian melody in B minor, D817Schubert/Liszt: Lieder transcriptions
PERFORMER: Brigitte Engerer (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: MIR 043
French Pianist Brigitte Engerer here explores a paradox – how music’s supreme lieder composer also launched, with a single work, the virtuoso Romantic piano tradition of which Liszt became the ultimate exponent. Besides his enthusiasm for the Wanderer Fantasy, Liszt was a kindred spirit to Schubert in his song transcriptions. His fairly straightforward arrangement of ‘Aufenthalt’ sounds as if it could have stepped out of his own Années de pèlerinage. And for all its stormy chromatic scales, the more elaborate ‘Der Wanderer’ transcription isn’t at all overcooked. Engerer’s expressive way with the G flat Impromptu relates more to the pianistic era to come than Schubert’s own – fair enough, in context. Aided by an ultra vivid acoustic and recording, she conjures some remarkable sounds from Liszt’s transcriptions, from ‘Die Stadt’ in particular. In the Wanderer Fantasy she’s up against Murray Perahia’s unsurpassed mastery of line and trajectory, but emerges in good shape. Firepower is kept in reserve until it’s really needed: much of the Scherzo section has a whimsical quality that rings likeably true, and Engerer surges through the virtuosic finale with no problem whatever.