Liszt: Études D'exécution Transcendante
Label: PIANO CLASSICS
Having gained the Gold Medal and the Audience Award at the XVI International Gina Bachauer Piano Competition in 2014, Andrey Gugnin (b.1987) is in huge demand as both a concert and recording artist. Following that particular competition success (one of many, including the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2016), Gugnin recorded Pictures at an Exhibition, which has become a tour de force for Gugnin on recent tours of Europe, America and Asia. Glenn Gould, Emil Gilels and Sergei Rachmaninov are Gugnin’s ‘piano heroes’: the last two noted exponents of Franz Liszt in their own right, and among the composer’s vast output, still only a fraction of which is generally known, the Transcendental Etudes are the pre-eminent works to embody the contradictions and contrasts at the heart of the man and his music: ‘transcendent’ both in terms of the demands they make upon the performer and yet, at points, in their spiritual aspirations. ‘Half Franciscan, half gypsy’ was Liszt’s own description of himself, not entirely ironic, and it chimes with the extraordinary variety of these studies, encapsulated by the expressive distance between the last two, the visionary ‘Harmonies du soir’ and the unstoppable force of ‘Chasse-Neige’: ‘a sublime and steady fall of snow which gradually buries landscape and people’ according to Ferruccio Busoni. In Andrey Gugnin these studies find a pianist with both the technique and the sensibility to encompass the precipitous leaps of ‘Wilde Jagd’ and the Mendelssohnian eye for landscape in ‘Paysage’.