The Russian virtuoso discusses the transcendent joys of Liszt and why it’s important not to get carried away.

Congratulations on winning our Instrumental Recording of the Year. Have you been surprised by the global response to this album?

It’s always gratifying when an album you’ve worked so hard on, and over such a long period of time, is well received. I try not to second-guess how anything I do will be received so I’m neither suprised or not – just very happy. All artists hope that their performances will touch people or strike a chord with them (excuse my pun!) and when it happens, in the way that it seems to have done with this album, it means a lot.

What age were you when you first started playing Liszt, and what works did you start with?

My first encounter with the music of Liszt was when I played the transcriptions of Schubert songs when I was 11 years old. I played a selection, and even in the transcriptions you can see links to the composer of his own pieces. I then played the Mephisto WaltzNo 1 when I was 15 years old. With this piece...

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