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Liszt: Piano Concertos

Franz Liszt: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 in E flat major & 2 in A major
Consolation No. 3 Valse oubliƩe No. 1
Richard Wagner: A Faust Overture; Siegfried Idyll

Daniel Barenboim, Piano
Staatskapelle Berlin/ Pierre Boulez

from Klavier-Festival Ruhr at Essen June 2011.

Accentus DVD: ACC20239 Blu-ray: ACC10239

Concert life and recording marketing are dominated by centenaries and anniversaries etc.

Would Boulez & Barenboim likely have collaborated on this project apart from the Liszt bicentenary, which is foisting that famous composer/pianist upon our attention far more this year than recently?

It is a highly successful video of concert(s) - I've not been able to establish whether both concertos were played the same night? - given to great effect by these very different musical friends.

I took it gradually. Concerto No 2, the less popular of them, comes first and we found ourselves engrossed, captivated by the freshness and conviction of its performance. The filming was restless, with close close-ups of everyone in rapid succession. We got used to it, and gradually it was the music which got through to us (these performances had previously been released on CD).

The Faust overture, never a favourite, failed to make its mark, but the account of the Siegfried Idyll is superb and has the conductor Boulez at his economical best.

The 1st concerto, marked by one relentless tune - repeated far too many times and even brought back for the peroration near the end - was less persuasive until the light-fingered finale, which becomes something of a piano+triangle duo concerto. Shame upon Boulez that he didn't invite the triangulator to take a separate bow!

Fine assured playing by everyone, with Barenboim in better form than during his marathon residency in London 2010, when he took on too much. This is a high quality production; we saw it on BluRay, but I doubt that the normal DVD version will be significantly inferior.

Peter Grahame Woolf