Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 1 – 9, transcribed for piano by Franz Liszt

This is a long piece. Its length is a function of intersecting thematic lines: a number of topics we’ve been discussing on the site – tempo and metronome markings in general; tempo and metronome markings in Beethoven’s symphonies; the piano, pianists, and the virtuosity of Franz Liszt (in particular) – all intersect in this post.

Cyprien Katsaris
Cyprien Katsaris

Let’s start with my recommendation and move on from there. Cyprien Katsaris (born 1951) performing Beethoven’s Symphonies, transcribed for piano by Franz Liszt.

While I write these words I’m listening to Katsaris’ performance of the breakneck fourth movement of Mr. B’s Symphony No. 4, and I’m doing everything I can to focus on typing and not jump out of my skin! In Katsaris’ hands, the symphony is easily as exciting, visceral, and slam-dunk powerful as it is when performed John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantic. Katsaris’ performances of these transcriptions have to be heard to be believed. I do not kid; I do not exaggerate; and I would never waste your time or money: you must have this recording. Stop reading, go on Amazon (or wherever), order it, and then come back. I’ll wait.

I’m going to make a statement, for some an imprudent statement. Here it is: Franz Liszt was, almost certainly, the greatest pianist to yet have lived.

Please, before anyone goes Krakatoa on my derriere, allow me – per favore – to qualify that statement fully on Patreon…

Full post on Patreon

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