Poetry and pyrotechnics are perfectly combined in Daniil Trifonov’s five-star pianistic triumph.

Liszt
Transcendental Etudes, Paganini Etudes et al
Daniil Trifonov p
Deutsche Grammophon 4795529 (2CD)

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.  – Daniil Trifonov

Liszt’s transcendent new champion

It took Franz Liszt 26 years to produce the final version of his Twelve Studies in Increasing Degree of Difficulty. The earliest version dates from 1826, but the pianist-phenomenon decided that these pieces were not difficult enough. Other pianists could still manage to play them! While these 12 Etudes and the others in this recital were designed to showcase Liszt’s superhuman technique, Liszt the poet is still in evidence.

Recordings have tended to lean towards one or other extreme. Generally, young pianists show off their skill. Older pianists stress the poetry and musicality. Trifonov, a contemporary wünderkindwith an old soul, displays the...

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