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Franz Liszt
Sonata in B minor
Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H


Markus Groh (piano)

Avie SACD AV2097 [Recorded December 2004, Reitstadel – Neumarkt/Oberfalz, GermanyTT: 59.00]

"For God's sake! Not another recording of the
B minor Sonata!
" says Markus Groh to his Most revered Master, adopting the persona of the composer before justifying his adding to the tally in his imaginary address.

Readers of Musical Pointers will not expect a comparative survey from us and being a Liszt-avoider I do not have any CDs of the B minor sonata! This recording will serve very well to fill that gap!

Writing as a confirmed sceptic, it has been a pleasure to encounter the sonata after several years in the capable hands of the 1995 winner of the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, as good a recommendation as you can have in this compeition-dominated musical world. His account is lucid, pianistically impeccable in virtuosity and in sensitive phrasing and he builds the sections anto a convincing unity. The recording sound is of demonstration class, and the CD is greatly enhanced by the couplings with less over-played works.

Having enjoyed recently a rare performance of Liszt's Totentanz with the Orchestra of the Royal Academy of Music, I was intrigued to hear Groh play the solo piano arrangement by the composer. This works well, and was contrasted with the contrapuntal edifice which Liszt build upon J S Bach's initials.

Recommended to Lisztians and others who are as open-minded as I was not!

"Liszt playing of rare passion and musical integrity." Gramophone July 2006

© Peter Grahame Woolf