Speaking to the New York Times in 2007, Alfred Brendel said of fellow pianist Till Fellner: “It has impressed me how ambitiously he has developed his repertory, being equally at home in solo and concerto repertoire, chamber music and lieder… I heard him do the best live performance of Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage”.
Fellner’s insightful playing of the Premiere année from that collection of suites, underlines the contention, vividly conveying Franz Liszt’s literal and imaginative journeys. “Having recently travelled to many new countries,” wrote the composer in 1855, “through different settings and places consecrated by history and poetry, and having felt that the phenomena of nature and their attendant sights stirred deep emotions in my soul, I have tried to portray in music a few of my strongest sensations and most lively impressions”.
Fellner’s account of Liszt was recorded at the Musikvereien in Vienna in 2002. It is paired here with a concert recording of Beethoven’s Sonata No 32, recorded at the Mahaney Center for the Arts in Middlebury, Vermont in 2010, the year in which ECM released Fellner’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos 4 and 5 to a chorus of critical acclaim.
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