Liszt, B Minor Sonata, Après une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata, Hungarian Rhapsodies,
(released on December 8, 2009)
Works of Franz Liszt
Ukrainian-American pianist Mykola Suk, winner of the 1971 International Liszt-Bartok Competition in Budapest, was then featured on two concerts of Liszt's music, only the second of which, on Saturday night at Georgetown's Gaston Hall, I was able to attend. Whatever his past accomplishments, in two of Liszt's more challenging warhorses Suk glided over too many of the technical demands (often clumsy octaves and elided right-hand runs) and wallowed too much in the most gelatinous rubato, dragging out all of the slow sections (you can listen to an MP3 file of Suk playing Liszt's B minor sonata). Joseph Horowitz, the artistic director of Post-Classical Ensemble, has waxed rapturous in print about Suk's way with Liszt, at least in part because Suk occasionally abandons the printed score and improvises, as Liszt and his students reportedly did with his music. If there was much improvisation on Saturday night, it was only in terms of tempo and rhythmic regularity.
Joe Banno, Post-Classical Ensemble (Washington Post, February 15)
Andrew Lindemann Malone, Live at the Piano (DMV Classical, February 16)