Andreas Seidel / Steffen Schleiermacher

Franz Liszt, Erik Satie: Distant Friends

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The maximalist Franz Liszt and the almost minimalist Erik Satie might seem a preposterous album pairing, but violinist Andreas Seidel and pianist Steffen Schleiermacher -- really, it is Schleiermacher whose project this seems to be, although he gets second billing -- make a strong case for its relevance. The key is that it is the mysterious late works of Liszt that are featured. Between Liszt's works of the early 1880s and the famous Gymnopédies of Satie is a period of just seven or eight years, and, more importantly, a common spareness of melodic material and, in some cases, an interest in popular music. It makes no difference that Liszt had no idea who Satie was, for Satie would certainly have known Liszt's music and might, Schleiermacher argues in his useful notes, have heard Liszt play them in person in Paris in the 1880s. Sample the celebrated Première Gymnopédie of Satie and Liszt's Nuages gris, and the distance will not seem so great. True, there is no counterpart in Liszt for the overtly satirical strain in Satie's music, but the rejection of Liszt's own larger-than-life personality in his later music seems halfway there. The work of the audiophile label MDG in the concert hall of the Marienmünster Abbey, is awe-inspiring in its clarity and consistency at very low dynamic levels. A fine offbeat choice.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 9:18
Cinq pièces pour piano
2 3:47
3 1:50
4 2:40
5 0:44
6 3:10
7 1:43
8 5:10
9 3:38
10 2:59
Choses vues à droite & à gauche (sans lunettes) violon et piano
11 1:17
12 2:02
13 1:52
14 1:47
15 5:21
16 2:17
17 3:44
18 6:22
19 3:00
20 4:09
21 3:53
22 2:56
23 4:15
blue highlight denotes track pick