Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)
Hot on the heels of his 2020 Diapason d’Or and Gramophone Award triumphs, British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor presents his first album in a renewed exclusive partnership with Decca Classics.
The album, Liszt, is released on 19 th February 2021, signifying Grosvenor’s most substantial solo recording to date, centred around the works of the Romantic piano virtuoso and composer, Franz Liszt. The release marks Benjamin’s sixth album on Decca Classics, following the award-winning Chopin Piano Concertos in 2020.
Grosvenor says, “Decca Classics has been my recording home for the last decade, and I’m pleased that we are continuing our partnership with this new release. The music of Liszt has been central to my repertoire since I was introduced to it as a child, by my grandfather. I wanted with this recording to show the composer in his different aspects, including some of his original compositions, but also displaying the extraordinarily re-creative abilities he showed in his transcriptions.”
Dominic Fyfe, Decca Classics’ Label Director, adds, “I am delighted that Benjamin will start a new chapter with Decca Classics. Decca has been a lifelong home to the legacies of such legendary pianists as Clifford Curzon, Julius Katchen, Vladimir Ashkenazy and more recently Nelson Freire. Benjamin richly deserves his place in such company. He builds on a distinguished discography: both his debut and most recent albums garnered Gramophone awards as well as numerous international honours. His new Liszt recital perfectly captures his compelling pianism and flair for imaginative programming.”
The centrepiece to the new album, Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, is widely regarded as the composer’s ultimate masterwork and milestone of the Romantic piano repertory. The record also features three remarkable Petrarch Sonnets, among the most beloved of Liszt’s works, and his dazzling fantasy on Bellini’s ‘Norma’ in which the composer explored virtually all the dramatic capabilities of the instrument in his time. Liszt closes with the charming encore ‘Ave Maria’, Liszt’s popular transcription of Schubert’s familiar work.
Winner of the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition at the age of eleven, Benjamin Grosvenor is now an internationally regarded pianist performing with esteemed conductors and orchestras across the world. A BBC New Generation Artist from 2010-2012, Benjamin has performed at the BBC Proms on a number of occasions and in 2015 starred at the Last Night.
In 2011 Benjamin signed exclusively to Decca Classics, becoming the youngest British musician ever – and the first British pianist in almost 60 years – to sign to the label. His recordings have received numerous awards and in October 2016 he was announced as the inaugural recipient of the Ronny and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize at the New York Philharmonic. Playing since the age of six, Benjamin graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2012 with the ‘Queen’s Commendation for Excellence’.
1. – 4. Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178
5. Berceuse, S. 174ii
6. – 8. Tre sonetti di Petrarca, S. 161/4-6
9. Réminiscences de Norma, S. 394 (after Bellini)
10. Ave Maria, S. 558/12 (after Schubert)