FRANZ LISZT Etudes d'Exécution Transcendente


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Piano: Aquiles Delle Vigne
Cat. #: TP1039206 | Single CD
Label: TwoPianists Records
Recorded at: EMS Studios in Brussels, March 1994


Aquiles delle Vigne has reached legendary status as one of the world’s most respected performers and teachers. The last pupil of Claudia Arrau, he has become an important historical link to both Arrau and Georges Cziffra.
This is probably the best interpretation of these etudes since Arrau.
Sang Woo Kang American Record Guide, May 2013
Delle Vigne’s career has taken him on 25 tours of Japan, 10 in Australia and extensive concertizing in the far corners of the globe, including venues such as Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, the Suda Hall in Tokyo and Salle Gaveau in Paris.
As a recording artist his vast discography includes recordings for EMI His Master’s Voice, BMG-RCA Victor, Naxos, BASF Harmonia Mundi, Pavane and EMS, all to exceptional critical claim.
This disc, recorded for the TwoPianists label, features a dazzling display of technical and musical prowess in the Transcendental Etudes by Franz Liszt. The heroic musical vision is boldly provocative, reminding us of the younger, wilder Liszt. Some will be shocked, perhaps even disagree. But there is such a force, such strength to this performance that it makes us look at the Transcendental Etudes and imagine the impact they caused when heard for the first time.


01 Prelude
02 Molto vivace
03 Paysage
04 Mazeppa
05 Feux follets
06 Vision
07 Eroica
08 Wilde Jagd
09 Ricordanza
10 Allegro, agitato molto
11 Harmonies du soir
12 Chasse-neige


Jed Distler`
ClassicsToday, July 2013

Interpretively speaking, this newly remastered 1994 recording of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes is one of the most rewarding in the catalog. Knowing that pianist Aquilles Delle Vigne studied with Claudio Arrau and Georges Cziffra (both of whom recorded the Etudes), perhaps it’s no coincidence that his approach combines elements of Arrau’s tonal heft and rhetorical breadth and Cziffra’s more volatile, impetuous virtuosity. You hear this in the first etude: booming bass notes and rippling scales—Arrau; pounced upon, slightly accelerated chords—Cziffra. No. 2’s implied countermelodies in the left hand? Arrau. No. 2’s fiery broken chords between the hands? Cziffra.
However, it’s better not to oversimplify and pigeonhole my responses to Delle Vigne’s technically masterful and thoroughly internalized interpretations, but rather to describe what makes them distinct. Mazeppa fuses headlong intensity (the roller-coaster-like, frighteningly accurate octaves) and poetic purpose (the variety with which the arpeggiated chords are spaced and voiced). Note also the natural ebb and flow of Feux Follets’ rubato—and what a pleasure to hear Eroica’s opening measures meted out in tempo, with each disparate element so perfectly characterized. The untitled Tenth etude has tremendous sweep and shape, spiced with sharp accents on the appoggiaturas, while Chasse-neige’s central climax builds in long-lined arcs.
The slower, more lyrical pieces fare equally well in Delle Vigne’s hands: note the almost three-dimensional textural differentiation he achieves in Harmonies du soir. Unfortunately, the blustery, overly reverberant ambience causes the piano to swim more than sing, and it takes a leap of faith to accept that the Bösendorfer Imperial Grand heard in eleven out of the twelve Etudes (Feux Follets was recorded on a Steinway) is not a jangly barroom upright. No matter. This is big, poetic, and thoroughly captivating Liszt playing.

José Luis Arévalo
Ritmo, June 2013
En estos 12 Estudios Transcendentales, de los que se in- corporan la version de 1851, además del Liszt teatral y efectista de virtuosismo inalcanzable, también está el compositor visionario de abundantes cromatismos melódicos/armónicos anticipo de épocas posteriores y, ante todo, el genial músico que fue. La grabación de Delle Vigne, realizada el año 1994 en piano Bösendorfer imperial de 97 teclas, excepto el Estudio n. 5. que lo es en un Steinway, padece un abuso del pedal en perjuicio de la claridad, que se nos antoja más medio de salvar algunos de los momentos de mayor compromiso técnico que recurso expresivo, así como una excesiva potencia de sonido con acentuación de los efectos orquestales. Aunque se superen los aspectos pirotécnicos y exhibicionistas, lo que sin duda ya es un mérito, pues pocos han sido los pianistas capaces de grabar la integral, tanto estruendo acaba abrumándonos, echando de menos algo más de reposo y refinamiento. Priman las enseñanzas de Cziffra sobre las de Arrau, pues de ambos fue alumno, sin que exista una búsqueda del contenido poético de la obra, como confirma por ejemplo la falta de contraste y sutileza en uno de los Estudios más expresivos (Paysage), la ausencia de emoción en el n. 10 o el fraseo sin fantasía en el temible Chasseneige.

Sang Woo Kang
American Record Guide, May 2013
Delle Vigne performs the Etudes with taste and color, somehow without overpowering the listener with virtuosity. His eloquence is apparent from the Prelude, ephemeral yet intense. As a contrast, ‘Paysage’ is well-paced, a calm and meditative respite from the unrestrained pathos in the ‘Molto Vivace’.
This is probably the best interpretation of these etudes since Arrau.