Haiou Zhang

Liszt: Piano Works

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Haiou Zhang's recording of Liszt pieces, released in time for the Liszt 2011 anniversary, gives him plenty of opportunities to display his technical facility. While all the selections here have their challenges, the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 is an arrangement by Vladimir Horowitz that adds even more gilt that one might imagine possible to the already ostentatious original. Zhang certainly has the dexterity to pull off this music. Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este is very harplike in his hands, just as the fluttering of birds comes through in St. François d'Assise. Zhang also can play very sensitively when the music calls for it. While his playing is impressive, his overall expression isn't as consistently communicative as it could be. The exciting passages can grab the listener's attention, but not all of the reflective ones seem to have a point or sense that they are leading anywhere. Zhang is clearly talented, but in order for him to become a mature artist, he needs to bring together each piece or movement as a whole and let the music flow organically, at least in these Liszt compositions.

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