Most of this disc is taken up with Liszt's Christmas Tree, an unusually modest suite based on Christmas carols. It also offers charming pieces by Reger, Tchaikovsky, Rebikov, and Lyapunov based on Christmas themes, and a couple of Bach transcriptions. Eteri Andjaparidze, whose first CD was a sensational Prokofiev collection, plays this music truly superb musicianship and the kind of pianistic color that has become a rarity. Her Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is the most beautiful I've heard since Dinu Lipatti's. And wait until you hear her delightful playing of Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride! It's deliciously witty and charming.
Liszt poured a wealth of ingenuity and an astonishing degree of diversity into works for piano. EMI Classics' exclusive 10-CD set of Liszt's greatest piano works features keyboard virtuosi from generations past and present including Leif Ove Andsnes, Aldo Ciccolini, Georges Cziffra and Lionel Rogg.
So what if Liszt spent most of his life in France and Germany and never learned to speak Hungarian? The music of the Magyars' fiery favorite son played by a hot-blooded local boy is an irresistible combination. Even the delightful Dohnanyi filler (variations on ''Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star'') doesn't really douse the flames. Put it in the CD player and let 'er rip! Just be sure to remove all flammable vestments first. (Entertainment Weekly)
Alice Sara Ott's 2008 recording of Franz Liszt's 12 Transcendental Etudes may be the right prescription for jaded listeners who are sure they've heard all they need of this composer. To the extent that any pianist can make Liszt's music sound fresh, innovative, and interesting again, after years of mistreatment at the hands of sentimentalists and show-offs, Ott succeeds brilliantly on all three points.