Daniil Trifonov

Transcendental: Daniil Trifonov Plays Franz Liszt

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Transcendental: Daniil Trifonov Plays Franz Liszt Review

by Blair Sanderson

While Daniil Trifonov has established his reputation as a versatile pianist, demonstrating in his concerts and recordings an aptitude for the music of Frédéric Chopin, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, and Sergey Rachmaninov, his talents for virtuosic brilliance and fantastic speed, as well as his deeply reflective character, seem ready-made for Franz Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, S. 139. This 2016 Deutsche Grammophon release shows Trifonov in his element, executing the most difficult passages with extraordinary flair, while reserving his lyricism and introspection for Liszt's poetic meditations. For a taste of Trifonov's brilliance, try track five of disc one, the famous Feux follets, which Trifonov plays with dazzling technique and a light touch. Also included in this double CD are Liszt's Two Concert Etudes, S. 145, the Three Concert Etudes, S. 144, and the Grandes Études de Paganini, S. 141, which make up the second CD. An example of Liszt's poetic side can be found in track five of disc two, Un Sospiro, in which sparkling arpeggios are merged with a long-breathed melody, characteristic of Liszt's passionate Romanticism. For a special treat, try the final track, Paganini Etude No. 6, which is a set of variations on Niccolò Paganini's most famous Caprice in A minor, which many composers have exploited. These recordings were made in September 2015 at the Siemensvilla in Berlin, and the acoustics of the concert room provide appropriate resonance for Trifonov's powerful playing, yet his softest notes are clearly audible in these superb recordings.

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