Eldar Nebolsin / Vasily Petrenko

Liszt: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2; Totentanz

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Although Liszt wrote at least two piano concertos as a teenager, these works are now lost. What we have left are two mature, long-gestated concertos of enormous scope. The first concerto was begun in 1832 but did not receive its premiere for some 23 years. Liszt began writing the second concerto in 1839, before the first concerto was even completed, and did not have it published until 1863. The numerous revisions that took place over these decades resulted in highly polished, refined four-movement concertos, both of which are played without pause. Performing these two cornerstones of the repertoire is pianist Eldar Nebolsin joined by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko. In only his second CD release, Nebolsin is already proving himself to be a formidable artist possessing inexhaustible amounts of power and energy, an elegantly refined touch, and keen musical sensibilities. Of particular note is his command of tempo and rubato, often holding back accelerandos where others plow ahead, creating a sense of enjoyable tension and anticipation for listeners. Balance between the soloist and orchestra is superb; the piano is clearly audible even when it is performing more of an accompanimental role to the orchestra's tuttis. Naxos' sound is pristine and robust. Whether as an introduction to these concertos or as a supplement to an existing collection, this album is sure to please.

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