Liszt, Jolanda Sarti, pianist $17.95
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.