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Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8

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Product Details

  • Performer: Scherbakov
  • Composer: Beethoven, Liszt
  • Audio CD (Aug. 29 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • ASIN: B000GNOHM8
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,269 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Poco Sostenuto - Vivace
2. Allegretto
3. Scherzo
4. Allegro Con Brio
5. Allegro Vivace E Con Brio
6. Allegretto Scherzando
7. Tempo Di Menuetto
8. Allegro Vivace

Product Description

Transcriptions pour piano des symphonies de Beethoven : Symph. n°7 op.92, n°8 op.93 / Constantin Scherbakov, piano

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9f6b05f4) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f81a204) out of 5 stars Liszt's Titanic "Seventh" and "Eighth" Sept. 2 2006
By Hexameron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For Lisztians and collectors who relish their Cyprien Katsaris recording(s) (Beethoven/Liszt: Symphonies Nos. 1-9), this release may not be worth buying. Katsaris is simply indomitable because his recording presents the Liszt piano transcriptions with extra doubling and slight alterations in the service of producing greater sonority. However, I believe Scherbakov eradicates all other contenders, namely Gould and Howard. And if you want a stellar interpretation of Beethoven's symphonies, Scherbakov's artistry here is recommendable. Yet this recording may not be desirable for those seeking all of Scherbakov's Beethoven-Liszt: instead of just buying this release, I would recommend purchasing the box set (Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 1-9 Transcribed by Liszt [Box Set]).

In the preface to his edition of the piano transcriptions Liszt says: "The name of Beethoven is sacred in art. His symphonies are nowadays universally recognized as masterpieces. No one who seriously desires to extend his knowledge, or create something new himself, can ever devote sufficient thought to them, or ever study them enough." Liszt's reverence for Beethoven is evident and his genius in the art of transcription has done tremendous things with Beethoven's symphonic works. Liszt's transcriptions capture all of the orchestral effects, textures, and more importantly, the spirit of Beethoven. As such, I don't think even the purists who lambaste "piano reductions" can find fault with Liszt's magnum achievement.

I am a strong fan of Konstantin Scherbakov; I like his pianism, interpretations, and his outlandish repertoire (Godowsky, Lyapunov, Shostakovich, Medtner). Scherbakov's handling of Beethoven-Liszt is exemplary: he has the necessary musicality and steely technique to communicate both composers. Compared to Katsaris, Scherbakov also has a better understanding of Beethoven's tempi, which is vital. Liszt's transcription of the eloquent and robust Seventh Symphony is impeccable. Liszt masterminds convincing orchestral effects on the piano. From mimicking the lower sonorities of the strings to translating an entire orchestral fanfare into piano chords, Liszt accomplishes them admirably. Scherbakov also gives an inspired performance with both a clean articulation and energetic abandon.

The Eighth Symphony is, of course, another Beethoven masterpiece and Liszt's transcription is not only meticulously faithful, but compensates well for the lack of orchestra. Liszt and certainly Scherbakov turn the first movement into a pianistic tour-de-force. I found the "Tempo di Menuetto" movement infinitely more charming on the piano with its lilting musical ideas. In the last movement, Beethoven explores strange rhythms and unusual dissonance which the piano amplifies with clarity and a fine precision. Scherbakov conveys Liszt's pianistic devices and figurations with an appropriate mind-set of generating the illusion of a denser texture.

Bottom line: It's difficult to find any reason not to buy this recording unless one already owns Katsaris's or would like to own all of Scherbakov's Beethoven-Liszt, in which case I recommend buying the box set. While I feel Katsaris's recordings are supreme, I must still endorse Scherbakov. He is a pianist of quality fiber who plays with panache and brings much-needed technical excellence and musical verve to Beethoven's (and Liszt's) works of art.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe0d630) out of 5 stars A Marvelous Finish to Scherbakov's Beethoven/Liszt Transcriptions Series Sept. 3 2006
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
[First, let me suggest you read Hexameron's fine review of the disc. He provides a lot of information that I will omit from my review. He, like I, think this is a stunning finish to this wondrous series by a pianist who has been recording a lot for Naxos in recent years, going from triumph to triumph.]

Wagner called Beethoven's Seventh Symphony 'the apotheosis of the dance' and that is an apt description. Each movement MOVES, even the Allegretto which could also be thought of as a sort of funeral march (although I prefer to think of it as a celebration of plucky persistence). Liszt, as with the other symphonies, did an amazing job of transcribing this complex work for piano solo. This is not really one of those piano transcriptions that were constructed for the use of amateur pianists in their homes; this is a virtuoso work that requires enormous skill and musicality. There are defects, of course, in its realization largely because of the limitations of the piano. For instance, Liszt had to resort to octave tremolos far too often to imitate sustained tones in the orchestra. He had difficulty bringing out the delicious counter-melodies of the second movement, although Scherbakov does as good as job as anyone could do. I prefer his account to that of Katsaris on the Elektra label, the only other recording I know. (There is one by Leslie Howard, but I am not fond of his playing in general and have not sought out his recording of the Beethoven/Liszt symphonies on Hyperion.) As for the markedly rhythmic first, third and fourth movements, both Liszt and Scherbakov cannot be praised highly enough. This is really exciting stuff and I defy any listener to sit quietly in their chair without the urge to get up and move, perhaps even dance wildly, particularly so in the Scherzo. Scherbakov conveys the big rhetorical flourishes of the symphony with panache, but he also plays the tender quiet moments, as at the beginning of the Allegretto, equally well.

The Eighth Symphony is virtually the Seventh's polar opposite. It is genial, almost as pastoral as the Sixth, and altogether more modest in effect. I have particular fondness for it and am well pleased by Scherbakov's presentation. The transcription doesn't require quite the chops that the Seventh does and one is thus more able to react to Scherbakov's musicality rather than just gape at his virtuosity. I particularly like how he unreels the delightful second movement with its gentle staccato wind chords which Liszt transposed an octave down so the melodies could be heard above them. The finale is the most demanding pianistically with its whirling thirds required to be played leggierissimo. Scherbakov takes that and all the rest in stride.

This recording is not, of course, for the casual music lover. They would almost certainly prefer the orchestral originals. But for pianists, lovers of piano playing, Liszt completists and the insatiably curious this is a first choice for this repertoire, as are all the others in Scherbakov's Liszt/Beethoven series.

Scott Morrison
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By L. A. Shields - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These transcriptions are amazing. Liszt was a brilliant artist and knew how to get an orchestral sound out of the piano. I also think that the performer did an excellent job interpreting these pieces.