Liszt: Piano Sonata & 3 Petrarch Sonnets & Légende No 1

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Composer: Franz Liszt
Artists: Yingdi Sun (piano)

Liszt’s solitary sonata for piano (1851-3) is perhaps the summit of keyboard writing in the romantic period. Taking Beethoven’s development of the piano sonata to its logical conclusion, and marrying it with the structure of Schubert’s ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy, Liszt created a towering masterpiece that consists of six sections, divided into sixteen, played without a break. These are interlinked with leitmotivs that develop, fuse together, clash with each other, and disintegrate over the course of the sonata’s half-hour span. It is an architectural masterpiece, and one of the most exciting works in the repertoire.

Liszt composed two Legends in 1863, both dedicated to his daughter Cosima. Although originally for orchestra, it is the piano versions that have become the most popular. The one on this CD depicts St Francis’s sermon to the birds. It is a delicate and solemn piece, a world away from the turbulent sonata.

The Petrarch Sonnets date from 1838, and were originally for voice and piano. In the versions for solo piano they become songs without words, Liszt vividly capturing the sentiments of the original poem.

0:00:00 Piano Sonata in B Minor
0:30:43 Sonetto 47 del Petrarca
0:36:00 Sonetto 104 del Petrarca
0:42:06 Sonetto 123 del Petrarca
0:48:01 Légende No.1: St. Francois d’Assise, la prédication aux oiseaux

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