. . . a triumph. After the opening salvo of the "Etudes d'exécution transcendante", Trifonov attacks the A minor study with tremendous ferocity, so much so that on page 4 he had me scurrying to check the score. There are the left hand's clearly marked accents against the right hand's semiquaver octaves but which I could not recall anyone illuminating quite so clearly . . . This is unquestionably one of the great recorded performances of the "Transcendental Studies". The three sets of studies on CD2 are equally compelling, with Trifonov's eye for pointing up subtle details likely to appeal to Lisztian connoisseurs -- the left hand's rhythmic support in "Gnomenreigen", for example . . . Every decent record collection should have at least one version of all four sets of these studies. It is quite a feat for a single pianist to deliver what are, in effect, top-of-the-pile performances of almost all of the 23 separate titles -- but that is what Trifonov offers. Even if you have Berman, Cziffra and Berezovsky in the "Transcendentals", and Hamelin and Graffman in the "Paganini Studies", you will want to hear Trifonov, who also has the benefit of superior recorded sound (the piano is closely but not claustrophobically captured by Marcus Herzog, with the occasional pedal thump). Trifonov's is the best kind of virtuoso playing, where one is hardly aware of the notes being played, allowing one to simply bask in the genius of Liszt's musical narrative and the transcendant execution of an awesomely gifted pianist. (Record Review / Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone online / 07. October 2016)


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