Artist: Gabriela Imreh
Album: Liszt: Soirées de Vienne
Release Date: 1998
Franz Liszt’s Soirées de Vienne are not wholly original; he based them on waltzes of Franz Schubert that originally appeared in an 1821 publication — one of only a few to appear in Schubert’s lifetime — entitled 36 Original Dances, published as Schubert’s Opus 9. All 36 had been written in the five or so years leading up to 1821; eight of the waltzes included are known to have been written by Schubert in a single day.
Their style is relatively simple technically, idiomatic, and, all except for Schubert’s special melodic and harmonic gifts, indistinguishable from countless other Viennese waltzes and ländler produced in Biedermeier Vienna. From this source, Franz Liszt fashioned nine pieces of his own and dressed them up in his signature style; while it only takes about 25 minutes — minus repeats — to perform Schubert’s original Opus 9 in its entirety, in her Connoisseur Society recording of this Liszt cycle, pianist Gabriela Imreh requires a bit more than 75 minutes, almost the length of a CD.Liszt’s Soirées de Vienne is anything but ordinary; while the waltz rhythm remains a recurring element; Liszt throws open the sashes on Schubert’s music, internally transforming it into something more meditative and vaguely reflective of his own impressions of Vienna, stripping out the gemütlichkeit of the Biedermeier aesthetic and adding some measure of glitter, but not much. Imreh negotiates this territory very well; with every turn of the corner in Liszt’s music she seems to be following Liszt’s own journey as he passes from one Viennese strasse into another. This is in keeping with the wandering spirit of Liszt’s early piano music, such as the Album d’un voyageur and its corresponding revision, Années de pèlerinage. It would be so easy to play these graceful and periodically spirited pieces as though they were nothing but parlor fluff, but Imreh takes the hard road, investing them with real substance and sheen; No. 6, Allegro con Strepito, is particularly poetic and lovely. One of the advantages of anything released on the Connoisseur Society label is the superb sound quality and the level of care producer E. Alan Silver tends to lavish on his productions. Arabesque’s Gabriela Imreh Plays Liszt: Soirées de Vienne should satisfy anyone interested in this rare Liszt literature and moreover would make an ideal companion for dining or late-night reading. Originally issued in 1998, this disc was reissued in 2009 on the Arabesque label.
|Soirées de Vienne, Valses caprices d’après Schubert (9), transcription for piano, S. 427 (LW A131)|
|Allegretto malinconico||Gabriela Imreh||7:36|
|Poco allegro||Gabriela Imreh||8:34|
|Allegro vivace||Gabriela Imreh||9:47|
|Andantino a capriccio||Gabriela Imreh||6:39|
|Moderato cantabile con affetto||Gabriela Imreh||9:17|
|Allegro con strepito||Gabriela Imreh||8:02|
|Allegro spiritoso||Gabriela Imreh||6:13|
|Allegro con brio||Gabriela Imreh||10:45|
|Preludio a capriccio||Gabriela Imreh||8:25|