Lise de la Salle brings Liszt to Life

Pianist Lisa de la Salle delivers a masterful rendition of three of Liszt's masterpieces and other composers.

Composers: Liszt, Schubert, Wagner, Mozart
Repertoire: Dantte Sonata, Ballade no. 2, Mazeppa, Funérailles, Ständchen, Isoldes Liebestod and other works.
Artists: Lise de la Salle
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Instrumental
Label: Naïve V5267

Music: Three of Liszt’s masterpieces (Dante Sonata, Ballade no.2 and Funérailles) interspersed with arrangements of vocal works by Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Wagner, and the late Nuages Gris: a well-contrasted programme of Liszt the dramatist, melodist, transcriber and musical prophet. 

The Performance: This gifted young French pianist is back on form after her recent misconceived Chopin disc. True, her piano tone can sound quite brittle at times (try Mazeppa and the transcription of Lacrymosa from Mozart’s Requiem) and over-emphatic (the opening of the Dante Sonata) but Ms de la Salle is a Lisztian to the manner born. The turbulent passions expressed in the Ballade, Funérailles and Liebestod are powerfully conveyed while the Schubert and Schumann song transcriptions are beautifully phrased (the latter, incidentally, confusingly titled Liebeslied, is better known as Widmung and heard here in the second more elaborate of Liszt’s two versions).

The Verdict: This is a disc, produced by the pianist herself, that gets better as it goes along and, despite some reservations about the piano sound, has some impressive performances that truly inhabit Liszt’s world.

Want More? Ms de la Salle’s highly praised second disc (2004) with works by Liszt and Bach (Naïve, V 5006).