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Liszt: The Complete Symphonic Poems for Two Pianos, Vol. l
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Liszt: The Complete Symphonic Poems for Two Pianos, Vol. I
Georgia & Louise Mangos, duo-pianists
Cedille Records CDR 90000 014

"You might not think you were in the market for the Liszt Symphonic poems knocked out on a pair of pianos -- but the Mangos sisters offer such high-spirited accounts that most orchestral accounts seem diluted by comparison . . . The Mangos sisters are first-rate Lisztians . . . even without the excellent sound this would be an absolutely smashing debut . . . Highest recommendation." (Fanfare)

"You must hear this disc." (American Record Guide)

This is the first volume in our historic collection of Liszt's own two-piano versions of his 12 symphonic poems from the Weimar period (1848-61). The 3-disc series comprises the first complete recording of these works, most of which had disappeared from the repertoire by the turn of the century.

The Mangos sisters have been performing the Liszt in concert with gratifying results. "These works really have the ability to ignite an audience," Louise Mangos says. "It's unusual to get a robust, standing ovation for music that hasn't been heard in 125 years. But audiences respond to these works as if they were familiar favorites." The Chicago-area concert pianists and music professors discovered the scores, which have never been published in modern versions, while scouting for duo-piano repertoire in European libraries, collections, and music shops.

"In comparing the two-piano versions of the Symphonic Poems to the orchestral scores," write the Mangos sisters in their program notes, "one finds many similarities in Liszt's approaches to the two mediums. Liszt strove to expand the repertoire of sounds for all the instruments of the orchestra as well as for the piano, creating new sound textures for both by broadening their dynamic range and expoiting extreme registers of pitch to an unprecedented degree. The feature that most unifies the two mediums is the force and brilliance of Liszt's virtuosic writing, which makes the two pianos sound truly orchestral in timbre.

"Ultimately, however, we fell that the flexibility of two players, as opposed to a full orchestra of about seventy musicians, adds an extra dimension to the two-piano transcriptions that makes them superior listening experience. They sound more vital because they can be played with abandon. The nuance of tempo, volume, and texture is so agile between two players that it begins to take on the quality of spontaneous virtuoso improvisation. (One must remember that Liszt saw virtuosity as a means of heightening dramatic content, not as mere technical exploitation.)

"Finally, we hope this recording awakens the grand Lisztian spirit within all of us." (Georgia & Louise Mangos)
Click here to download the CD booklet.

Click the Cedille Player at the upper left to hear excerpts from the tracks highlighted in red below. These have been carefully chosen as representative of the recording program.

PROGRAM (66:32)

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)

World Premiere Recording

The Symphonic Poems for Orchestra of Franz Liszt as Transcribed for Two Pianos by the Composer

1. Ce qu on entend sur la montagne (27:31)
2. Tasso, Lamento e Trionfo(15:45)
3. Les preludes (14:00)
4. Orpheus (8:43)

Recorded: January 22, 23, 1993 in Lund Auditorium. Rosary College, River Forest, Illinois / Producer: James Ginsburg / Engineer: Bill Maylone / Cover: "Two Pianos" - Glass Block Impression by Erik S. Lieber / Design: Cheryl A Boncuore / Notes: Keith T. Johns; Georgia & Louise Mangos