|Review by Jan Hanford:|
Franz Liszt's enthusiasm for Bach led him to transcribe several of the Baroque master's organ works for piano. His purpose was "an attempt at musical education, destined to fight the public taste for tinsel and mediocrity." As a result, many listeners in the 19th century had the opportunity to hear composers they wouldn't have otherwise. And the same sensibility applies today.
The transcription does bear the fingerprints of Liszt, with his signature of dazzling technique and pounding octaves. In this case, it is a very rewarding and sometimes even exciting presentation of Bach, the sound of the grandiose organ being replaced by dramatic flourishes of piano. It gives a new perspective to this beautiful Bach piece and I couldn't be more delighted.
Unfortunately, there is only one Bach piece on this disc; I craved more. However, the theme of organ works transcribed for piano is maintained with a performance of Cesar Franck organ works. One transcription was done by Vladimir Viardo himself, and impressive achievement, and the other transcription is by Harold Bauer & Viardo. It is an important and welcome contribution to the repertoire of piano literature.
In keeping with the high quality of the transcriptions and choice of works, Vladimir's performance is also impressive. Powerful, emotional and infused with a personal consistency that I admire a great deal, he is clearly a master and a performer to whom I will be paying a lot more attention.
Also see the Pro Piano Records web site: http://www.propiano.com/.