September 13, 2012
Franz Liszt began writing his piano solo transcriptions of the Symphonies by Ludwig Van Beethoven in 1838, when he was an acclaimed concert pianist. I believe he performed himself the Fifth, the Pastoral and the Seventh (the first three he wrote) during his so well-famous recitals around Europe. These beautiful works show the enormous respect Mr. Liszt had for Beethoven, which turned into some of the most amazing transcription he ever made.
I am now in Chicago, where I performed the Eroica for the first time live and an amazing feeling of excitement pervades me as I recall my recital. Some months ago I decided I would record the complete cycle. I decided it in a second.. I did not, not even for a moment, stop and think how much of a “big deal” it would be.. You know, some crazy decisions should be taken like this, not too seriously.. or otherwise the insanity of the idea would just make you refusing the future! Now, after the release of the first volume (with Symphonies n. 1 and n. 6) and the recent performances of Eroica, I can say my intuition was right: this monster repertoire is the most beautiful musical adventure of my life.
I always loved the cello and I would love my son (who is now only 1 month old!) to be a cellist (but, hey, he’s in charge of his destiny, so I’ll probably end up with him being a sailor. I’ll deal with it!) and sometimes I thought I would have preferred being one too. Well, I have changed my mind. I have no words to describe what a marvelous sensation I feel being able to give a rendition of these amazing masterpieces with just my piano! Surely it takes a lot of work and a large time devoted to studying the orchestral score and to find a way to bring out the countless details that LVB wrote and Liszt faithfully transcribed. But I am glad, today, to be able to unveil the deepest magical world of Beethoven and to be forced to think about technical solutions which are oriented not to a level of mere virtuosity but to a highest level of deep devotion. It is almost a religious experience!
The official release of Volume 1 is going to be on October 30th, 2012. You will find the CD at your local store and I will do my best to provide some backstage material on the social networks so you’ll know what’s behind it!
I am sure that you will appreciate this hard work and I hope those beautiful transcriptions will enlighten your hearts as much as they did to me.