Among Franz Liszt's favorite piano students, Carl Tausig was an acclaimed virtuoso in his own right and regarded in some quarters as Liszt's superior in control and accuracy. Tausig's faithful solo piano transcription of the Faust Symphony was likely inspired by Liszt's groundbreaking piano arrangements of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, and Tausig may have considered his keyboard version as a suitable companion piece to Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor. Quite amazingly, even though the Faust Symphony has been adequately represented in orchestral performances and recordings, Tausig's piano transcription receives its world premiere recording in this 2016 Hungaroton release by István Lajkó. The richness of the arrangement and its dazzling technical displays make it an attractive vehicle for Lajkó, though it requires considerable restraint in extremely quiet passages where Liszt uses only a single line to carry the thought, particularly in statements of the main theme, in which four augmented triads unfold in a questioning gesture. Lajkó's delicate touch gives these exposed melodies a feeling of hushed anticipation, and he conveys the sense of reverie that informs Liszt's music, even at its most austere. Hungaroton's recording is close-up and clean, so every detail is audible and Lajkó's subtle shadings are easy to detect.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson