The most complete set ever recorded of Liszt’s output for the organ: new recordings, made on the superb, recently restored instrument of Perugia Cathedral by a musician with a catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings on Brilliant Classics.
Liszt the piano virtuoso, the inventor of the orchestral symphonic poem, the apostle of ‘the music of the future’, is a familiar figure. Liszt the organ enthusiast is not so well known. His fondness for the instrument is shown by frequent references in his correspondence, by his transcriptions for it, and, most of all, by a handful of original masterpieces.
Liszt's first and largest work for the organ was the Fantasy and Fugue on Ad nos, ad salutarem undam, based on the chorale sung in the first act of Meyerbeer’s opera Le Prophète. ‘A kind of curiosity’, he wrote to his publisher, but then later to a friend accounted for it as ‘one of my least bad productions’. As well he might, for it is highly dramatic, full of fire and energy: the fugue is almost a symphonic poem in its own right, whose cumulative impact is succeeded only in his organ writing by the Prelude and Fugue on
Liszt’s veneration for Bach also expressed itself in his other major original masterpiece for the instrument, the set of variations on the lamenting ‘Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen’ cantata melody. His profound faith and fascination with the tonal rainbow afforded by the organ also inspired a great deal of lesser-known music, however, both original and transcribed. Allegri’s Miserere receives a dramatic transcription, while the pellucid simplicity of Mozart’s Ave verum is treated respectfully, like the Agnus dei from Verdi’s Requiem. Indeed nearly all of Liszt’s output for the organ shares a devotional quality quite foreign to its common use among 19th-century composers as a vehicle for volume and virtuosity.
Adriano Falcioni’s recordings for Brilliant encompass many of the Romantic era’s most celebrated organ composers. Praise in Fanfare for his previous albums: ‘Falcioni clearly has the right feel for this repertoire, in tempos and registrations and ability to bind together phrases and sections into coherent larger wholes’ (Reger, 95075). ‘A top contender… Everything is idiomatically played by Adriano Falcioni on a fine instrument… Strongly recommended’ (Brahms, 94460). Further praise for the Reger album, recorded on the same organ as the present set of Liszt, came from the Italian Organ Compendium: ‘Highly recommended to our readers, who will find an excellent repertoire, a very good interpreter and an instrument of great interest.’
Many still think of Franz Liszt as that pianist with long hair who wrote and played effective and brilliant piano works, and who was apparently a great lover and, strangely, a monk as well. In reality, Liszt was a many‐faceted man of great cultivation and sensitivity whose enormous musical output was more or less ignored for decades, but nowadays more and more works are getting long‐needed examination and consideration.
Among these neglected works is the large corpus of Liszt organ music. Liszt played the organ himself, and his improvisations on the instrument made a shattering impact. Like in his piano music Liszt brought organ composition to a next level.
This new recording present the complete works for organ by Liszt. Apart from the famous and mighty B.A.C.H. Variations, the “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” Fantasy and the “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam” Fantasy there is a wealth of unknown works, transcriptions, original works , liturgical works, and a complete Mass and Requiem.
Played by one of Italy’s foremost organists, Adriano Falcioni, on the Tamburini-Corna organ of the San Lorenzo cathedral in Perugia, a magnificent instrument which does full justice to the enormous scope of this music. The complete specifications of the instrument are included in the booklet.
Adriano Falcioni made already successful recording for Brilliant Classics of organ works by Franck, Brahms, Reger, Bruhns, Muffat and Daquin.