Due to the powerful influence Franz Liszt exerted on his contemporaries and later modernists who strove to create "the music of the future," his oeuvre is reappraised every few years, often with new insights into his genius. Of the major works that gave shape to Liszt's advanced ideas of harmony, tonality, and form, A Faust Symphony was his most successful experiment, and this symphony "in three character pictures" has been admired for its synthesis of Liszt's chief innovations, the tone poem and cyclical symphonic form. Hansjörg Albrecht's original transcription for organ on this 2018 Oehms Classics release offers a fresh take on A Faust Symphony, employing the version from 1854 without the "chorus mysticus." The colorful score translates well to the organ, almost as if it had been intended for that purpose, and Albrecht's masterly arrangement and Romantic style of registration evoke not only Liszt's own brooding organ music, but may remind listeners of César Franck, who derived much inspiration from Liszt, notably in his Grande Pièce Symphonique. Yet the most revealing aspect of this arrangement is the way it gives A Faust Symphony an introspective cast, curiously darker than the orchestral version, and as well as religious associations that tie into the Faust legend. Albrecht's virtuosic playing and skill at arranging deserve high marks, and the moody sonorities of the Klais Organ of the Gasteig-Munich Philharmonie are brilliantly captured without the sounds of the instrument's action or any background noises. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|A Faust Symphony in Three Character Pictures|