Franz Liszt is often portrayed as the supreme virtuoso of the piano who played everything with ease and created the most astonishing pieces with great facility. However, the reality was that Liszt was a conscientious and hardworking composer who often took his time perfecting his craft, as he did in his 12 Transcendental Études, a project that took close to 30 years to complete. These studies were more than conventional exercises, insofar as they reflected Liszt's poetic ideas, translated into character pieces of technical brilliance, Romantic atmosphere, and affecting sensitivity. This 2014 release on Hungaroton is József Balog's second album for the label, and it is a remarkable demonstration of his pianistic prowess as well as a showcase for his artistry, a balancing act very much in keeping with Liszt's intentions. Hungaroton's recording is clean and clear, so every detail of Balog's playing can be heard, even in the softest études, though the tone of the piano is quite hard and metallic in the loudest passages.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Transcendental Études, S. 139|