Harmonies poétiques et religieuses

“Korstick’s uncompromising search in the text and on the instrument for his own, for the right solution also leads in this recording to unprecedented, sometimes surprising, but always convincing results – because Michael Korstick not only has the intellectual capacity, but also all the artistic possibilities to give it a – his – masterful expression. The delirious wavering of the Invocation (No. 1) between triumphant certainty of salvation and existential despair, between humble self-abasement and powerful self-assurance is a masterpiece in itself. Korstick’s reading of this exponent of Romantic piano literature must be celebrated as both a new discovery and a rediscovery. A milestone.”
German Liszt Society

“From the outset, the high-flown rhetoric and dense textures of ‘Invocation’ are delivered with grace and conviction. The less elaborate pieces, the ‘Ave Maria’, ‘Pater noster’ and ‘Hymne de l’enfant à son réveil’, all derived from Liszt’s own choral settings, are models of simplicity and directness. The two highly personal pieces that conclude the cycle, ‘Andante lagrimoso’ and ‘Cantique d’amour’, for all their wealth of detail, are strikingly sincere.

But it is in the grandes machines, the three big extended works that form the backbone of the Harmonies, that Korstick is at his most impressive. ‘Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude’ is spacious, questing yet disarmingly intimate. ‘Pensée des morts’, the earliest of the set and, in many ways, the most harmonically and rhythmically daring, emerges with the naturalness of speech. The most familiar and abused of the set, ‘Funèrailles’, Liszt’s monument to the so-called Martyrs of Arad executed at the end of the Hungarian Revolution, profits most from being heard in context. In this mighty funeral march, Korstick evokes the great spectacles of public mourning that we know from 19th-century photographs and written accounts. After that, the rolling, organ-like textures of the ‘Miserere d’après Palestrina’ come as the inevitable and only possible answer.”

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