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Liszt, F.: Les preludes, arr. for two pianos, S. 637
Liszt, F.: Faust-Symphonie, arr. for two piano, S. 647
Possibly the first example of symphonic poem, “Les préludes” (1854) originated from an earlier setting of four poems by Joseph Autran from mixed chorus and piano, completed in 1845. Three years later, Liszt’s new interest in orchestration compelled him to elaborate the four movements into an orchestral overture, which he titled “Les Quatre Eléments” – The Four Elements. During his revision of the work three years later, he came across a poem by Alphonse de Lamartine, “Les preludes,” from the collection “Nouvelles méditations poétiques.” Liszt was taken by it, and chose it as the new title for the orchestral work, which was premiered in 1854 under his own direction. Several versions for piano appeared over the following years, including those of Karl Klauser and Eugene d’Albert. Liszt’s own splendid transcription for two pianos was published in 1856.
The Faust Symphony, whose full title is “Eine Faust-Symphonie in drei Charakterbildern” (A Faust Symphony in three character pictures) drew inspiration from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s eponymous drama “Faust.” The idea of writing an orchestral work on that subject occurred to Liszt some twenty years earlier, but it wasn’t until 1852 that he was compelled to give it serious thought. The work was completed in 1857, and was premiered that same year under Liszt’s baton during the inauguration of the Goether-Schiller monument in Weimar. The three movements focus on individual portrayals of the three main characters (Faust, Gretchen, and Mephistopheles), rather than unfolding as a narration based on Goethe’s work. Liszt’s own transcription for two pianos dates from the same period, but was not published until 1862.
The present recording features the two works in the interpretation of Italian pianists Giuseppe Bruno and Vincenzo Maxia, who have worked as a piano duo for nearly a decade. Their repertoire centers on the works by Liszt, Stravinsky, Ravel, and 20th-century composers. They have appeared internationally, most notably at the Chicago Duo Piano Festival. Alessandro Simonetto was the producer of the recording, which was captured by two vintage Brüel and Kiær microphones placed between his two Steinway D pianos.
Recorded @ Saletta acustica 'Eric James', Pove del Grappa,