Liszt: A Faust Symphony

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Liszt
LABELS: Philips Solo
WORKS: A Faust Symphony
PERFORMER: Lajos Kozma (tenor)Amsterdam Concertgebouw Chorus & Orchestra/Antal Dorati
CATALOGUE NO: 442 642-2 DDD (1982)
Antal Dorati’s thrillingly demonic live traversal of Liszt’s orchestral masterpiece is often superb. Each of the three protagonists (Faust, Gretchen, and in the finale, Mephistopheles) is vividly portrayed; orchestral playing is highly charged, yet scrupulously disciplined, but tenor Lajos Kozma’s intonation falters during his soaring declamation of Goethe’s redemptive Chorus Mysticus, in the final pages of the work. Dorati sensed the magnetic aura surrounding this epic, instinctively pointing crucial structural details, and evincing every psychological undercurrent within this mammoth score.

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The first-generation digital recording is brash and top-heavy, though this mid-price reissue deserves consideration, especially from collectors who have yet to be fully convinced by this overwhelming and revolutionary symphony. Michael Jameson