Gramophone - January 2016 - Written by Jeremy Nicholas

A Little Liszt

Finally another fine Lisztian but of a different vintage. The American virtuoso Jerome Rose recorded a series of Liszt recitals in the mid-1970's and 1986, one of them winning the Grand Prix du Disque (from the Liszt Society of Budapest). To celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first appearance, on three Medici Classics discs, and with the repertoire ordered like a helpful reference library, are six Paganini Etudes, five Concert Etudes, four Waltzes, two Ballades, two Polonaises, Berceuse, three Liebestraüme, four Mephisto Waltzes, 'Bénédiction de Dieu', two Légendes and six Consolations.

Rose takes no prisoners in what is largely a sequence of bravura works (there are remarkable performances of Mephisto Waltz No. 1 and St. François de Paule', for instance) but he also paces and phrases beautifully ('Benediction de Dieu'). It is particularly good to have the complete Liebestraüme and Consolations in sequence and in the best recorded versions I have heard. You may turn elsewhere for more variety of touch (Gary Graffman in the Paganini Etudes) and sheer electrifying execution in 'Waldesrauschen' and 'Gnomenreigen', but as a neatly packaged collection of original works you could hardly wish for a better introduction to Liszt's genius.


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