Kenneth Hamilton Plays Liszt, Volume Two: Salon And Stage

Kenneth Hamilton

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Format: 2CD

Cat No: PFCD210

Release Date:  14 July 2023

Label:  Prima Facie

Packaging Type:  Digipak

No of Units:  2

Barcode:  7141148048929

Genres:  Classical  Solo Instrumental  

  • Description

    Prima Facie presents Salon and Stage, the second volume of Kenneth Hamilton's internationally acclaimed Liszt series. In contrast to the first album, Death and Transfiguration, this recording offers a life-enhancing selection of virtuoso transcriptions from song and opera. But it happily shares with its predecessor Hamilton's passion for these pieces. He has sought out Liszt's oft-ignored recommendations on their interpretation and studied the reminiscences and recordings of his students. He has, in effect, tried to think like a Liszt pupil, and to immerse himself in a performance tradition that goes well beyond the printed text.

    His rendition of Schubert's haunting "Leise flehen meine Lieder", for example, includes a captivating cadenza composed by the elderly Liszt forty years after first arranging the song. His Soiree de Vienne no.6 features piquant revisions written for Sophie Menter, Liszt's favourite female student; while his touchingly unsentimental performance of the famous third Liebestraum adopts authentic variants passed down by Frederick Lamond, one of Liszt's very last pupils, and is played with an attentive ear to the composer's own advice on interpretation.

    Hamilton's approach has met with truly rewarding critical resonance. For Andrew Clements (The Guardian) Volume 1 was "liberating and totally refreshing". Jeremy Nicholas (Gramophone) wrote, "I cannot recommend this release too highly". Guido Krawinkel (Klassik Heute) commented, "without too much overloaded ballast, the music, immaculately realized, takes centre stage", while David McDade (Music Web International) concluded, "Just as I was beginning to despair of ever hearing Liszt that really set the heart racing, along comes Kenneth Hamilton". The release was among the Gramophone Best Classical Albums of 2022, a BBC Radio 3 Record Review Recording of the Week, and a Music Web International Recommended Recording.

    Described by the Moscow Kommersant as "an outstanding virtuoso - one of the finest players of his generation", by Tom Service in The Guardian as "pianist, author, lecturer and all-round virtuoso", and by Stefan Pieper in Klassik Heute as a "pianist, scholar, radical thinker and philosopher", Kenneth Hamilton is well known as a recitalist and recording artist of emotional depth and striking originality. His CDs have attracted both critical acclaim and a large number of listeners worldwide.


    PFCD167 Kenneth Hamilton play Liszt, Vol. 1: Death and Transfiguration

    No.1 of The Guardian Top 10 Classical Recordings of 2023

    An Arts Fuse "Best Album of 2023

    "Hamilton is an unusual virtuoso offering penetrating insights into Liszt's music not just with his playing but also with his scholarship. You emerge from the notes as well as the music with your appreciation of Liszt's extraordinary musicianship significantly enhanced." Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review

    "Pianistic flair and technical brilliance are the hallmarks of this winning record…Hamilton's ability to combine pianistic flair and technical brilliance with an acute understanding of how this music came into existence makes these performances very special indeed. 5 STARS" Andrew Clements, The Guardian

    "My reaction to Hamilton's superb playing is an appreciation of the hugely diverse emotional effect of these pieces, and a sense of the numinous which should always be present in Liszt's music. One must not overlook the sheer technical wizardry: Kenneth Hamilton fully satisfies my expectations." John France, Music Web International

    "Kenneth Hamilton is a specialist in Liszt's music, and it is good to see not only that he has embarked on a major series of Liszt recordings, but that this one, the second in the series, landed on Classical best seller lists…Liszt lovers will have a feast here." James Manheim, AllMusic

    "A glorious triumph…a wonderful voyage of discovery, with a splendid tour guide." Ralph P. Locke, Arts Fuse

    "Classical Highlight" for August on AllMusic

    "The first volume of Kenneth Hamilton's Liszt was very well received, and on the strength of this second double CD one can hear why. He knows when to storm and when to reflect, and there is impressive playing of the utmost delicacy…This is a cracking disc in great sound, a marvellous blend of the familiar and unfamiliar." Rob Challinor, Music Web International, RECOMMENDED RECORDING

    "an engrossing listen…Hamilton once more emerges as a born Lisztian in his unforced virtuosity…This is as well conceived and ear-opening a collection as its predecessor, and is as warmly recommended. Vol 3 is keenly awaited." Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone

    "I have not heard such an outstanding Liszt recital for a very long time. Kenneth Hamilton unquestionably plays on the level of the greatest virtuosos…This recording is not just unreservedly recommended to all friends of the piano and of Romanticism, but should be taken to heart." Thomas Baack, Klassik Heute

    Artistic Quality 10/10; Sound Quality 10/10; Overall Impression 10/10

    A Klassik Heute Recommended Recording

    "For anyone who has encountered the first volume in what I hope is a long, long series of recordings, the words "Kenneth Hamilton plays Liszt Volume 2" will be sufficient to have them reaching for their wallet…Hamilton has pulled off a considerable coup in finding a new and invigorating way to present this trickiest of corners of Liszt's output in a way that can help the modern listener to grasp why this music was such a big deal at the time. But more than that, this is a set that allows Liszt to woo, wow and seduce us all over again." David McDade, Music Web International

  • Tracklisting

      Disc 1

      Side 1

      • 1. Richard Wagner/Franz Liszt: Overture to Tannhauser (S442)
      • 2. Wagner/Liszt: "Song to the Evening Star" from Tannhauser (S444)
      • 3. Franz Schubert/Liszt: Soiree de Vienne no. 6 (revised version: S427/6ii/6b)
      • 4. Schubert/Liszt: "Leise flehen meine Lieder" (with late cadenza: S560/7a)
      • 5. Wagner/Liszt: "Am stillen Herd" from Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (S448)
      • 6. Eduard Lassen/Liszt: "Ich weil' in tiefer Einsamkeit" (S494/2)
      • 7. Lassen/Liszt: "Lose, Himmel, meine Seele" (S495)
      • 8. Felix Mendelssohn/Liszt: "Auf Flugeln des Gesanges" (S547/1)
      • 9. Wagner/Liszt: "Spinning Song" from Der fliegende Hollander (S440)
      • 10. Charles Gounod/Liszt: Hymn to St Cecilia (S491)

      Disc 2

      • 1. Peter Tchaikovsky/Liszt: Polonaise from Eugene Onegin (S429)
      • 2. Hans von Bulow/Liszt: Dante's Sonnet (S479)
      • 3. Giuseppe Verdi/Liszt: Rigoletto Paraphrase (S434)
      • 4. Giacomo Meyerbeer/Liszt: "Illustration" No. 1 from L'Africaine (S415/1)
      • 5. Verdi/Liszt: Aida Paraphrase (S436)
      • 6. Liszt: Liebestraum no. 1, "Hohe Liebe" (S541/1)
      • 7. Liszt: Liebestraum no. 2, "Seliger Tod" (S541/2)
      • 8. Liszt: Liebestraum no. 3, "O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst" (S541/3)
      • 9. Verdi/Liszt: Ernani Paraphrase (S432)
      • 10. Clara Schumann/Liszt: "Geheimes Flustern hier und dort" (S569/10)
      • 11. Gounod/Liszt: Waltz from Faust (S407)