Simone Jennarelli | Liszt: Études d'exécution transcendante, S. 139

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Liszt: Études d'exécution transcendante, S. 139

by Simone Jennarelli

Pianist virtuoso Simone Jennarelli plays the complete 12 Études d'exécution transcendante S139, the famous impressive technical and musical masterwork by Liszt. Recorded in April 2015.
Genre: Classical: Romantic Era
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 1 in C Major, S. 139: Preludio; Presto
0:51 $0.99
2. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 2 in A Minor, S. 139: Molto vivace
2:35 $0.99
3. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 3 in F Major, S. 139: Paysage; Poco adagio
5:42 $0.99
4. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 4 in D Minor, S. 139: Mazeppa; Allegro
7:14 $0.99
5. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 5 in B-Flat Major, S. 139: Feux Follets; Allegretto
4:17 $0.99
6. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 6 in G Minor, S. 139: Vision; Lento
5:40 $0.99
7. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 7 in E-Flat Major, S. 139: Eroica; Allegro
5:15 $0.99
8. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 8 in C Minor, S. 139: Wilde Jagd; Presto furioso
5:53 $0.99
9. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 9 in A-Flat Major, S. 139: Ricordanza; Andantino
5:42 $0.99
10. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 9 in A-Flat Major, S. 139: Ricordanza; Largamente
5:54 $0.99
11. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 10 in F Minor, S. 139: Allegro agitato molto
4:29 $0.99
12. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 11 in D-Flat Major, S. 139: Harmonies du soir; Andantino
9:59 $0.99
13. Études d'exécution transcendante, No. 12 in B-Flat Minor, S. 139: Chasse neige; Andante con moto
6:06 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Liszt: Études d'exécution transcendante, S139 (1851/1852, for piano)
Recorded in April 2015 at Vellon Studio, Italy.
Simone Jennarelli is one of the few pianists in the world who can play the complete three versions of the Transcendental Studies by Liszt.

Simone Jennarelli has recorded music by Brahms (Haydn Variations) and by Bettinelli for RSI (Italian Swiss Radio), the first version of the Études d'exécution transcendante by Liszt (S136, 1826), a collection of Piano Rarities and Favourites by Mozart, with the First World Recording of the Andante variato (KV Anh 138).

His huge virtuoso piano repertoire includes some of the most difficult pieces ever written, like the original piano solo transcription of the Totentanz by F. Liszt, the complete three Années de pèlerinage by Liszt and the Sonata No. 2 by Rachmaninoff.

Simone Jennarelli, composer and pianist, has studied Composition with Bruno Bettinelli (the celebrated maestro of Muti, Pollini, Abbado, Chailly). He has studied piano with the great pianist and teacher Ludwig Hoffmann, in Wien (Austria) and in München (Germany).

Simone Jennarelli is member of the League of Composers/ISCM - New York.

Simone Jennarelli has written music for orchestra, chamber ensemble, piano, organ and chorus, soundtracks for experimental short films in competition at Montecarlo Festival in IMAGINA 2007.

Simone Jennarelli is also the featured artist, the producer and the copyright owner of his own music with label SmartCgArt.

Études d'exécution transcendante, S139 (Liszt, Franz)

The Études d'exécution transcendante, S139, written in 1851 and published in 1852, are among the greatest masterworks ever written for the piano.
This surprising collection of musical and technical innovations had a long and complicated genesis (typical of the Liszt's way to write music).
In 1826, Liszt wrote his first important musical cycle, the 12 Études (or Étude) en douze exercices, S136, first version of the famous 12 Études d'exécution transcendante, S139.
In 1837, Liszt wrote the 12 Grandes Études S137, using themes and harmonies of his 1826 cycle, but, this time, he trasformed the short pieces S136 in the most monumental and impressive technical and poetical suite in the history of the music.
In 1851/52 (in the Liszt's 'Golden Age'), he rewrote the 12 Études, bringing it to a perfect musical form and updating the technical resources to the improved possibilities of the new pianos.
He changed the title of the cycle and wrote amazing Romantic poetical titles:
this way the Études d'exécution transcendante S139 were born.

1. Étude No. 1 (Preludio) (C Major)

The Étude d'exécution transcendante No. 1 S139 is a perfect example of the Lisztian conceptual evolution between the first edition of the set (1826, S136), the second one (1837, S137) and the final version (1851/1852, S139).
This very short impetuous Prelude is very similar to the Grande Étude S137 No. 1, but few differences show us the reasons of the last version (1851/1852):
Liszt gives more impressive effects by changing octave and writing little grace-notes (finale), erasing superfluous notes (non troppo presto) or simply adding one single important harmonic note (at the beginning).
In the end, the 1851/1852 version sounds full harmonic and powerful, just thanks to little, functional and well thought changes.
In the first edition 1826, the Étude No. 1 S136 was an impetuous introduction, richer of musical ideas than the No. 1 of the Études d'exécution transcendante. In the following versions, in fact, Liszt will eliminate the themes too much Biedermeier and will emphasize the full Romantic atmosphere.

2. Étude No. 2 Molto vivace (A Minor)

In the Étude d'exécution transcendante No. 2 S139, we can see another significant example of the great rationality of the Liszt's revision.
This splendid and difficult Toccata in Paganini's style sounds steadfast and musically delightful in 1851/1852 version.
The Grande Étude No. 2 (one of most difficult pieces ever written for piano) shares the same musical ideas, but it shows same passages with an exaggerated harmonic density and perhaps a musical rendering not completely satisfactory.
The Étude No. 2 S136 Étude was already full Romantic, with a magnificent finale, but in a
short form.

3. Étude No. 3 (Paysage) (F Major)

The Étude d'exécution transcendante No. 3 S139 gives us the perfect idea of the Romantic Étude as poetical piece (not only virtuosity!).
This enchanted oasis of beautiful music and of amazing Pre-Impressionist effects is not really transcendental, if considered as a technical Étude, but it demands many piano tone abilities and a sensitive performer.
In the 1837 version, the Grande Étude No. 3, Liszt did not dare so much and he leaved a full virtuosic passage before the finale.
That is curious: the less difficult of the Études d'exécution transcendante S139 was, instead, in the previous version 1826 (S136), one of the most difficult in this cycle!
Despite its semblance of placidity, the Études No. 3 S136 has legato chords very hard to play!

4. Étude No. 4 (Mazeppa) (D Minor)

Unbelievable jumps, supreme co-ordination required, powerful passages, stormy octaves, whirling speed and the relief of the theme very difficult to obtain: this is the famous Mazeppa!
This piece is probably the most difficult Étude of the whole cycle (with Feux follets).
In this case the technical difficulties are at the same level of those of the more difficult Grande Études S137.
In the 1837 version there are not the beautiful cadenza at the beginning, the recitativo and the splendid finale of the 1851/1852 version.
However there are a beautiful first repeat of the main theme that recalls the orchestral Symphonic Poem Mazeppa and a crazy beginning with terrific octaves at the left hand!
The lyric central section sounds similar in 1851/1852 and in the 1837 version, but actually S139 is fluent and essential and S137 is overloaded with unnecessary notes.
The Étude No. 4 S136 (1826) seems the sketch of the musical accompaniment of the beginning of the famous Mazeppa S139: they share the same technique, but in this 1826 version there is not the magnificent main theme.

5. Étude No. 5 (Feux follets) (B-Flat Major)

If we listen to Mazeppa and Feux follets at the same time, we can understand the supreme greatness of Liszt, virtuoso composer: actually we can contemplate the whole technic of the piano concentrated in about ten minutes!
If Mazeppa is the technic of powerful sound, Feux follets is a challenge of soft touch and of beautiful effects.
Its mechanism represents the real difficult element of Feux follets: a sort of double trill, that defies the capabilities of the human resistance and precision.
The Grande Étude No. 5 is simply a more difficult version of Feux follets (and Feux follets, the 'easier version', is often called the nightmare of piano players).
The first version of Feux follets (Étude No. 5 S136) is really a more simple version of this Étude and presents also a graceful beginning and a beautiful finale.

6. Étude No. 6 (Vision) (G Minor)

The genesis of this beautiful Étude is very similar to that of the Étude No. 1.
They are the only pieces of the whole cycle almost identical both in the Études d'exécution transcendante and in the Grandes Études.
In 1851/1852 version Liszt added only few alterations, in order to improve the musical rendition.
However note the first page of Grande Étude No. 6: it is a terrific étude for the left hand only (Vision, the Transcendental Études version, is similar but the player can use both hands).
The ancestor of Vision, the Étude No. 6 S136 (1826) has the same central idea: a passionate climax (here exalted by a whirling speed) and a plastic theme hidden by an ostinato.
In the 1826 version, the jumps of the left hand represent the main difficult section of this piece, while in the following versions of this work, the technically challenging point will be represented, instead, by the arpeggios.

7. Étude No. 7 (Eroica) (E-Flat Major)

In this Étude we hear an impressive climax: after a stunning introduction, a thoughtful Tempo di Marcia develops itself up to become a terrific passage of octaves.
A triumphal coda ends the evolution of the main theme.
It has been often written that Vision is more 'Eroica' than Eroica itself, but, actually, I think Liszt used the title Eroica in an ironic and grotesque sense and in order to describe the gigantic and duelling climax section.
Grande Étude No. 7 is more difficult and is also deeply musically different from the Transcendental Études version, Eroica, and it has even an entire section, the nice 'Più animato ancora', then deleted by Liszt in the 1851/1852 version.
In the Études en douze exercices S136 there is not a real first version of Eroica (the No. 7 S136 is the ancestor of Harmonies du Soir).
Instead of this, we find the Étude No. 11 S136, that Liszt will not rewrite and that so will not appear in the following versions of the 12 Études. Probably its mood was too much Biedermeier for the full Romantic era. However, we can notice the chromatic affinities between the main theme and the main theme of Eroica (No. 7 of the Étude d'exécution transcendante).

8. Étude No. 8 (Wilde Jagd) (C Minor)

Wilde Jagd is a marvellous musical adventure and a stunning romantic masterpiece.
It is also a sort of festival of the pianistic jumps and staccato, culminating in a gorgeous and very difficult finale.
The middle section is an oasis of astonishing beauty.
In this case, the differences between the Études d'exécution transcendante and the Grandes Études are important and full of meaning.
A comparison between the initial theme of Grande Étude No. 8 and that of Wilde Jagd shows the main difference between Grandes Études and Transcendental Études: in the first cycle Liszt's music is grand, gigantic and overflowing, in the second cycle concise, compact and succinct.
Probably, the different shape of the initial theme is also a sign of the evolution of the power of sound of the pianos: in 1851 Liszt was able to obtain the same FFF by using less notes, in 1837 he had to use a very complicated pianistic form, to obtain the same results.
The Étude No. 8 S136 seems a technical exercise, but its powerful impetus already recalls the titanic energy of Wilde Jagd.

9. Étude No. 9 (Ricordanza) (A-Flat Major)

Ricordanza is one of Liszt's most beloved pieces.
Indeed, by its stupenduous arabesques and its superb melodies, it brings us to an amazing and delicate world of feeling.
The Grandes Études writing shows that the 1837 pianos needed a different way of notation to obtain certain effects, because the 1851/1852 pianos had a different sound and resonance.
The Grande Étude No. 9 in fact sounds like the Étude d'exécution transcendante No. 9 Ricordanza, but actually there are many differences in writing: the great and difficult chords of the Grande Étude have been transformed into a simple melodic line in the 1851/1852 version.
In the 1826 version, S136, we can find all the content of the famous Ricordanza: actually this piece seems the short summary of the 1851/1852 piece.

10. Étude No. 10 Allegro agitato molto (F Minor)

Busoni called this piece 'Appassionata' and indeed it is a splendid, gorgeous and impressive Romantic Étude, with one of the most beautiful 'stretta' finale ever written.
It is also very difficult to play, demanding a supreme co-ordination and a superb left hand.
Unbelievable but true, the Grande Étude No. 10 is harder to play than the 'Appassionata'.
The Grande Étude No. 10 perhaps collects the hardest piano difficulties of all time in one piece only.
Jumps, speed, acrobatics and techniques for a large hand only (an amazing hand span of eleven notes is at least physically required to play certain passages with confidence and agility) are the bearing vaults of one of most beautiful and exciting pieces ever written for piano. A terrific 'Presto feroce' precedes the marvellous finale.
The 1826 version, S136, is really more simple.
However, after an amusing beginning, this piece becomes the most Romantic piece of the 1826 cycle with its terrific and stormy finale, very difficult to play and already really transcendental.

11. Étude No. 11 (Harmonies du Soir) (D-Flat Major)

Another stunning masterpiece, Harmonies du Soir joins together in one single piece the impressionistic painting atmospheres of Paysage, the Feux follets acrobatics and the power of sound of Mazeppa (in a section of prodigious jumps).
The Grande Étude No. 11 has several different sections and I think Liszt obtained the perfect musical form of this piece in the Études d'exécution transcendante, S139.
The 1826 version (No. 7, S136) is very important because is perhaps the first example of the Pre-Impressionism of many works by Franz Liszt and the first example of his typical free arabesqued cadenza. The complexity of the harmony behind this Étude is simply incredible, if we consider how young Liszt was, when he composed this piece (he was just fourteen years old!), and the harmony treatment was really new and on an advanced level for his time.

12. Étude No. 12 (Chasse-Neige) (B-Flat Minor)

This piece is perhaps the apotheosis of the Pre-Impressionist and evocative lisztian style and an exciting and whirling Étude with tremolo effects and a splendid melody.
Actually, the impression of being in the middle of a blizzard is complete and impressive.
The Étude d'exécution transcendante No. 12, S139, is more epic and overwhelming than the Grande Étude No. 12.
The Grande Étude No. 12 presents two recitativo parts in perfect 1830 Liszt style and has some differences of writing, probably due to the different possibilities of the pianos of his time.
Perhaps the most beautiful piece of the 1826 cycle, the Étude No. 12 S136 has the same mood and the same passionate climax of Chasse-neige. There are not the gigantic tremolos of the final version but the jumps are already very difficult.
Simone Jennarelli and SmartCgArt are devoted to the musicological re-discovery and promotion of forgotten or neglected treasures of Classical Music.

Simone Jennarelli



to write a review

François Farnsworth

A phenomenal pianist for a superb cycle!
Simone Jennarelli is a phenomenal pianist: he has a great technique with a magnificent touch!
Simone Jennarelli has a rare gift: he can play the most difficult piano pieces with a formidable ease!
Before now, I seldom heard Mazeppa and Wilde Jagd so powerful and virtuosic.
His sensitive touch gives us an amazing Paysage and unforgettable interpretations of Harmonies du soir (the sound of the finale is stupendous!!!) and of Chasse neige.
This interpretation is really exciting and exalts the full epic sense of this superb cycle.
Simone Jennarelli reminds me of a great pianist: Vladimir Horowitz!
François Farnsworth