Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt

1. Sonetto del Petrarca No. 123
2. Funérailles
Studi Transcendentali:
3. No. 1 Prelusio 
4. No. 11 Armonie della Sera 
5.  No. 10 Studio in Fa minore


Franz Liszt, Jolanda Sarti, pianist $17.95 Add to Cart

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Among the great composers of the 19th century, Franz Liszt (Doborjan 1811 - Bayreuth 1886), and his immense sphere of artistic production, is certainly the least known. Of course his Second Hungarian Rhapsody and Dream of Love are very well known, but very few of his other compositions have reached popularity or have been as frequently performed as those of Chopin, Schubert, or Brahms.

There are many reasons for this gap between the composer and the general public; however, the most important one is the great difficulty in performing his piano compositions. And as a great deal of his music was written for this instrument, there are, therefore, few pianists who are able to overcome these extreme difficulties and so present only rare occasions for listening to his music. This has led to a serious absence of his music in concert halls.

It is, therefore, with great interest that one listens to a pianist and virtuoso like Jolanda Sarti, who has demonstrated with this recording to possess all the qualities which classify her among the few pianists able to adequately penetrate the complex Liszterian harmonic structure and to express not only the acrobatic virtuosity of his movements, but the intense hidden poetry.

The programme that has been chosen is very intense and challenging. The Transcendental Studies, from which the Prelude is taken (Opus 10 in A minor), and Evening Harmonies are (apart from the nervous and explosive, but aphoristic prelude) compositions of ample breadth permeated with that harmonic sumptuousness and pompous phrasing that greatly influenced Wagner and Richard Strauss.

At this point it seems that the piano alone completely embodies all the power and tones of an entire symphonic orchestra, with the specific imitative echoes (the beginning of "Distant Bells" from Evening Harmonies) and with very intensive explosions of sound and musical chords that at times go beyond the natural limit of five fingers, requiring the pianist to play more than one key with the same finger. It is perhaps in these complex and very difficult pieces, very similar to the symphonic poetical form, that Mrs. Sarti reveals her greatest talent.

Exuberant temperament, technically well-prepared, and great expositive lucidity are the qualities that allow her to master even "Funerailles" (taken from Harmonies Poetique et Religieuses). In this piece, as well, Liszt imitates specific orchestral sounds, such as trumpets, horns, etc., which clearly underline the symphonic role played by his pianoforte. The long, dramatic octave pedal, very much like that in Chopin's celebrated Polonaise in A-flat major, builds into incumbent, tremendous explosions with both hands, and once again finds a prompt and adequate response by the interpreter of this recording.

In Patrarca's Sonnets, composed both as a lieder and piano composition, Liszt makes the instrument perform another unexpected transformation. If the piano had previously assumed the tones and sonority of an orchestra, it is now as melodious, inspiring, and touching as a true operatic voice. There is always a strong theatrical component in Liszt-adequately perceived and performed with ample and inspired musical phrasing by this Pianist from Modena.

- Leone Magiera


Alessandro CasagrandeAlessandro Casagrande

Jolanda Sarti, pianist
Donatella Debolini, soprano
Andrea Passigli, pianist
Enrico Caproni, French horn



1.   The Hunt for pianoforte, Opus 9 
2.-13. Signs of the Zodiac for pianoforte, Opus 24 
Two Lyrics for soprano, horn, and pianoforte, Opus 43 (based on the text of Reiner Maria Rilke) 
14. Night and Soul 
15. The Mystic Night 
16.   Tempo Sinfonico for pianoforte and orchestra, Opus 42 (Version for two pianos)

Alessandro Casagrande, Jolanda Sarti, pianist $17.95 Add to Cart

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Alessanro Casagrande was born on April 11, 1922 in a family dedeicated to music. His father owned the only musical instrument and book shop in the town, he played the double bass and together with an uncle who played the clarinet, belonged to the local orchestra "S. Falchi." By the age of twelve, Casagrande had already written several pieces for the piano. Among these were "Folgi d'album," published in 1937 by Maurri editors in Florence. Although he began early as a composer, his studies for pianoforte took over and he received his diploma in 1942. In the future, he turned out to be an excellent teacher and in 1966 he conducted the "S. Falchi" orchestra and took courses to complete his studies at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena (1948) and in Salzburg (1949), but because of health problems, his studies were interrupted. In the meantime, after becoming director of the Music Institute in Terni (1947), he began to compose again as a study and as creative activity (with V. Mortari). He received his diploma in 1956. Most of his works come to light from 1948 until his death in October of 1964.

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