Leslie Howard

Liszt: New Discoveries, Vol. 4

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Leslie Howard's discography of the piano works of Franz Liszt is already extensive and authoritative, so with this follow-up series of miscellanea on Hyperion, it seems to have become quite exhaustive. The 2018 release of Liszt: New Discoveries, Vol. 4 has been long in coming, following a period of seven years since Vol. 3, and the program is a similar potpourri of rarities, miniatures, album leaves, and first drafts of pieces that may or may not be familiar to listeners, even among Lisztomaniacs. This disc shares its subtitle with the long Magyar Rapszódiák No. 23 in C sharp minor, "Rêves et fantaisies," the longest and most fully developed work on the program. What follow are more like fragments and sketches, with an occasional transcription, such as the first version of the Danse des sylphes from Berlioz's La damnation de Faust and the fantasy on Rossini's opera, Maometto II, based on the chorus, "Risponda a te premiero," showing more complete realizations. However, listening to the collection can be a little like sitting through an appendix at the end of a large box set -- periodically interesting but largely frustrating, due to the brevity and obscurity of most selections. Even so, this is a necessary part of Howard's complete survey, and in consideration of his dedication to all things Liszt, anything less would be unthinkable. This volume may not be essential for everyone's collection, but it is well worth exploring for the occasional gem.

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