Album: Dénes Várjon, Precipitando: Berg, Janácek, Liszt (ECM New Series)


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The Independent Culture

Pianist Dénes Várjon here attempts to uncover connections between composers, with specific reference to the influence Liszt had upon Berg and Janácek.

Berg's debut piece, the Sonata op. 1, straddles the Romantic and Modern idioms, and sounds accordingly unsettled. Janácek's limpid "In the Mists" likewise has the air of being suspended between ancient and modern; but it's Várjon's treatment of Liszt's Sonata in B minor that stands out here, gripping right from the quiet opening through the establishment of the various motifs. Negotiating dynamic shifts of emphasis, Várjon displays that most valuable of gifts: the ability to play in a way which makes you listen anew to the familiar.


Download this: Sonata in B minor; In the Mists