An Evening With Liszt – Gabor Farkas

„Liszt’s technical challenges are met and surpassed in an impressive debut.
It is a pleasant task to welcome a new name on the block with a debut recording as impressive as any I have heard in the past few years. From the word go you know you are in a safe pair of hands – not that Farkas is inclined to play it safe when it comes to tempi and the music’s more perilous passages – with a warm, velvety sound throughout his wide dynamic range, and an innate grasp of Liszt’s idiom.
The greatest compliment I can pay him is that there are none of the kind of disquieting mannerisms that send you scuttling back to check the score. And when the big technical challenges hove into view (the final page of the Twelfth Rhapsody, the stretta/presto passage towards the end of the Sonata) you know that Farkas will deliver, and then some.
The two Verdi paraphrases come off splendidly (the booklet reminds us that, despite Liszt’s admiration of Verdi, the two of them never met even though on one occasion they were both in the same audience for the same performance of Massenet’s Le Cid). Ogden in the Réminiscences de Boccanegra offers more dramatic contrasts in his classic account, but Farkas makes the ending more convincing and coherent.
Pathos comes in the form of the rarely heard Ave Maria (1862) before the fireworks of the Rhapsody and the mighty Sonata. This last is a reading that can hold its own with the best. Farkas thinks in big paragraphs. He has also found a way of binding its “four movements” into a single and compelling narrative. A name to watch.”

Jeremy Nicholas