Friday, June 22, 2012

about Liszt's Sonata in B Minor

This morning, I remembered something.

In 1993 -- before I started buying classical music CDs -- I would tape things from the radio onto cassette. I still have those cassette tapes, but I no longer have anything to play them back on. This morning, I remembered one of the things I had taped back then. It was Russell Sherman's recording of Liszt's Piano Sonata in B Minor.

What an unusual performance.

If I had to scrape up one word to describe it, I would clumsily call it "objective." There have been many great recordings of this piece -- probing, expressive, architectural, whatnot. But Mr. Sherman's rendition sticks in my head, owing to its oddness. And how it made me feel like I had landed inside a timeless Cubist painting.

It was also as if this sonata belonged not to Franz Liszt. Instead, it was as if Pierre Boulez or Morton Feldman had gone back in time and composed it.

Out-of-print CD from 1993

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