In the last few months I found an interest in listening to (and probably later playing) some of Liszt's compositions which are not often played in recitals and on cds. I'm looking for more, and it is always difficult to find interesting pieces in the phenomenal output Liszt left us.
First I'd like to share some of my best discoveries, which I rank as masterpieces :
- Fantasy and fugue on the choral Ad nos ad salutarem undam, originally for organ, but transcribed by Busoni in a superb manner :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSO0GTGopIk
Hamish Milne recorded it for Hyperion (not listenable online) and it is magnificent.
- The "Hymne Ã Sainte-CÃ©cile" transcribed from Gounod. Soyeon Kate Lee plays it in the Naxos complete piano music volume 38.
- The two part RÃ©miniscences de Lucrezia Borgia inspired by Donizetti's opera are marvellous as well, Mark Viner recently released a cd with both.
- And another one, the Midnight Procession, which is the first "Episode du Faust de Lenau", which means the first part of Mephisto Waltz number 1! Liszt asked that they should never be separated, and it is a pity that so many pianists (99.9%) tackle the Waltz and never play the first part, which shows a more introverted part of Liszt's music while still offering a few virtuoso parts with a big climax. You can find it on Kit Armstrong's Liszt cd, along with a very personal interpretation of the Mephisto Waltz, inspired by the orchestral score.
I know there is Leslie Howard's complete set, but I have two problems with it. I bought a few volumes, and I have hard time distinguishing between interesting pieces and what he recorded just for the sake of it, and also I find his playing quite boring : most pieces require a first class virtuoso who takes risks to bring the piece alive, and I don't hear this with him.
Do some of you know lesser known gems from Liszt's compositional output ? Please don't cite the classics like the sonata, ballades, etudes, pilgrimage years, harmonies poÃ©tiques et religieuses, don juan, rigoletto, tristan and isolde... Unless you have a particular interest in a former version of these pieces which would have some specificities we don't fnid in the final version.