Simone Jennarelli | Liszt: Grandes Études - Jennarelli: Sunpoem No. 1

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Liszt: Grandes Études - Jennarelli: Sunpoem No. 1

by Simone Jennarelli

Pianist virtuoso Simone Jennarelli plays the complete 12 Grandes Études, the "impossible" version by Liszt of his Études d'exécution transcendante, the monumental "culmen" of the Lisztian piano technique. Recorded in March 2016.
Genre: Classical: Piano solo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Grande Étude No. 1 in C Major, S. 137: Presto
0:48 $0.99
2. Grande Étude No. 2 in A Minor, S. 137: Molto vivace
2:27 $0.99
3. Grande Étude No. 3 in F Major, S. 137: Poco adagio
5:31 $0.99
4. Grande Étude No. 4 in D Minor, S. 137: Allegro patetico
6:18 $0.99
5. Grande Étude No. 5 in B-Flat Major, S. 137: Egualmente
3:58 $0.99
6. Grande Étude No. 6 in G Minor, S. 137: Largo patetico
5:34 $0.99
7. Grande Étude No. 7 in E-Flat Major, S. 137: Allegro deciso
5:31 $0.99
8. Grande Étude No. 8 in C Minor, S. 137: Presto strepitoso
7:15 $1.99
9. Grande Étude No. 9 in A-Flat Major, S. 137: I. Andantino
4:27 $0.99
10. Grande Étude No. 9 in A-Flat Major, S. 137: II. Tempo rubato
6:30 $0.99
11. Grande Étude No. 10 in F Minor, S. 137: Presto molto agitato
5:31 $1.99
12. Grande Étude No. 11 in D-Flat Major, S. 137: Lento assai
9:45 $1.99
13. Grande Étude No. 12 in B-Flat Minor, S. 137: Andantino
6:28 $0.99
14. Sunpoem No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, J 9: Adagio misterioso
6:14 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Franz Liszt
12 Grandes Études S137/R2a (1837, for piano). [Duration: 70'00]
Simone Jennarelli
Sunpoem no. 1 "04:00 a.m. The Sun is mirroring in the moon". [Duration: 6'13]
Recorded in March 2016 at Vellon Studio, Italy.

Simone Jennarelli is the only pianist (with Leslie Howard) who has recorded the complete three versions of the Transcendental Studies by Liszt: the Étude en douze exercices S. 136 (1826), the 12 Grandes Études S. 137 (1837) and the Études d'Execution Transcendante S. 139 (1851).

Simone Jennarelli has recorded music by Brahms (Haydn Variations) and by Bettinelli for RSI (Italian Swiss Radio) and 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.

SmartCgArt is devoted to the musicological re-discovery and promotion of forgotten or neglected treasures of Classical Music.

Franz Liszt - 12 Grandes Études S137/R2a (1837, for piano).

This recording is the last fascinating volume of an exciting piano adventure: the recording of the complete 36 studies, which form the complete three versions of the Transcendental Etudes by Liszt, one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of music.

The Franz Liszt's 12 Grandes Études S137/R2a (1837) represent the piano technique at its unprecedented maximum level of difficulty. Liszt himself reached here the virtuoso "culmen" of his own piano technique, still nowadays without comparison. In no other piano piece Liszt achieved such a "beyond the physical limits" technique.

But, actually, why are these mythical Études considered impossible to play?
The first reason is the abundant presence of complicated technical passages, which seem impossible to play correctly even at low speed.
The second reason is the large number of jumps at high speed: it is really difficult to play these without any mistake.
The third reason is certainly, for the pianists, the unusual endurance required, i.e. the monumental Grande Étude No. 8: in order to play this study the pianist must play at the highest speed and with the most power possible for 7 or 8 minutes, and the finale is the most exhausting section!

Here (in an ideal order of difficulty) a description of these legendary Grandes Études and of its amazing technical difficulties:

The Grande Étude No. 10 perhaps collects the hardest piano difficulties of all time in one piece only and one should think that Liszt wrote this study with the special purpose of composing the most difficult piano piece ever.
Ferruccio Busoni himself (one of greatest virtuosi of all time) wrote that the Grande Étude No. 10 (1837) presents almost insurmountable difficulties.
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.
Note that the part for the left hand and the crossing hands passages are really extraordinary and, after a first reading of the score, actually, it seems impossible that a pianist can really play such an unbelievably difficult piece.
Transcendental Etude No. 10 is much... much easier.

The Grande Étude No. 2 is a splendid Capriccio, with an exciting Paganini style. It is musically very different from the piece No.2 of Transcendental Etudes and it is much more difficult:
the "Tempo giusto iniziale" has very uncomfortable repeated notes for the right hand and the "arditamente" presents an absurd crossing hands passage.
But the most difficult point is the central section, with its extraordinary jumps and monumental arpeggios: I think this is one of the most technically demanding piano pages in the history of classical music.

Grande Étude No.8 - This magnificent, splendid and hyperromantic study is a real challenge for the human endurance: the duration of this study is the double of that of the famous Wilde Jagd.
In the central section (a musical idea abandoned in the 1851 last version) there is the "culmen" of the difficulty: a crazy cadenza which requires stunning power and superhuman co-ordination. And consider that: the monstrous finale of Wilde Jagd, here, is really more difficult.
A comparison between the initial theme of Grande Étude No. 8 and that of Wild Jagd shows the main difference between Grandes Études and Transcendental Etudes: in the first cycle Liszt's music is grand, gigantic and overflowing, in the second cycle concise, compact and succinct.
The Grande Étude No.8 is the very centre of the Grandes Études cycle, with its grand and symmetric monumental form.

Grande Étude No. 5 - Could you imagine something more complicated than Feux-follets? Yes, you could and Liszt did it!
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).
Note that the simple musical lines of Feux-follets become complicated blocks of chords in the Grande Étude No. 5 (in the Grande Étude No. 9 and in Ricordanza we can find a parallel situation).
The peak of the difficulties is in the "leggero" before the Finale, where the left hand needs real magic, in order to play such passage.

The Grande Étude No. 7 is much more difficult than Eroica: the central section and the "Più animato ancora" (then deleted by Liszt in the 1851 version) are like a technical nightmare (because there is a crazy combination of jumps for the left hand and a lot of absurd positions for the right hand).
This is also deeply musically different from the Transcendental Etudes version, "Eroica" and we know Busoni preferred the 1837 version.

Grande Étude No. 11 - Why this monumental piece is much more difficult than Harmonies du Soir? Because only in the 1837 version there are four pages full of unbelievable technical requests, and in the "Grandioso" section you can find the most difficult arpeggios in the history of the piano literature.
At full speed only we can appreciate the gigantic climax which leads the listener to the apotheosis of the "Grandioso" section.
After the Grande Étude No. 8 this is the piece which requires the greatest endurance.
The Grande Étude No. 11 reveals some impressionistic painting atmospheres and explores new effects in timbre.

Grande Étude No. 4 - At the first reading, this Mazeppa's ancestor could seem easier than the Transcendental Etude No. 4, but the central part is more difficult, the finale is overloaded with harmonic doublings and the beginning (at full speed) is really a technical challenge (with its octaves for the left hand).
The Grande Étude No. 4 is also the culmination of the grand technical fantasy of Franz Liszt. The initial mighty theme is almost technically impossible: the right speed could seem beyond the human limits and the final sections are vigorous and colourful like fireworks,... but for the fingers. The first repeat of the main theme and the "espressivo e un poco marcato il canto" are beautiful and recall the orchestral Symphonic Poem Mazeppa.

The Grande Étude No. 12 is really difficult because the jumps are almost impossible to play
without any mistake. Moreover the "sempre FF e marcatissimo" section seems an acrobatic show!
The Grande Étude No. 12 has two recitativo parts in perfect early Lisztian style (not present in the famous Chasse-Neige) and it is an exciting and whirling étude in tremolo effects, with a splendid melody.

The first page of Grande Étude No. 6 is a terrific étude for the left hand only (Vision, the Transcendental Etudes version, is similar but the player can use both hands).
Here it's simply extraordinary that the left hand only must lead four musical voices at the same time! However, in this case, also, one can say that the Lisztian idea is skilful as usual and this page for the left hand only is not of a gratuitous difficulty, but the musical sense is actually exalted by this left hand amazing writing.

The Grandes Études writing shows also that the 1837 pianos needed a different way of notation to obtain certain effects, i.e. FFF, because the 1851 pianos had a different sound and resonance.
The Grande Étude No. 9 in fact sounds like the Transcendental Etude No. 9 Ricordanza, but actually there are many differences in the music writing: great and difficult chords of the Grande Étude have been transformed into a simple melodic line in the Transcendental Etude.

The Grande Étude No. 1 is a very short impetuous Prelude (it is very similar to the version of Transcendental Etudes), but the 1837 peculiar writing of the chords in the "non troppo presto" makes this study a little more difficult than the Transcendental Etude No. 1.

The Grande Étude No. 3, a tender and soft barcarola, has a virtuoso section "Presto agitato assai", not to be found in the Paysage of Transcendental Etudes.
The impossible difficulties are all in this virtuoso section: prodigious jumps for the left hand and a problematic co-ordination.
Therefore, playing the Grandes Études (1837), a pianist can't rest even if he plays
the easiest Grande Étude!

An interesting consideration about the Lisztian style: only at high speed we can appreciate the sense of some Liszt's inventions, which can seem strange at low speed.
Actually in the Grandes Études there are many passages full of "strange" and unusual doublings:
they can seem a flaw (I think Schumann thought this when criticized the Grandes Études), but at the highest speed these doublings make an impressive and virtuosic effect, a sort of a musical roar, that anticipates the clusters of the music of the 20th century!

Simone Jennarelli - Sunpoem n°1 "04:00 a.m. The Sun is mirroring in the moon" (23 February 2010, for piano).

"Sunpoems" are inspired by an idealization of the Sun and of the other heavenly bodies.
It is a musical journey, disclosing and enriching the hidden landscapes of human heart.
It starts from the description of sensible visions, either verisimilar or filtered by oneiric and surrealistic suggestions.

The Sunpoem n°1 "04:00 a.m. The Sun is mirroring in the moon" is a piano piece technically complicated, in which I wanted to exalt the Lisztian idea of "orchestral piano": so every hand leads two musical lines and the sound effect is that of a piece for four hands.

In Sunpoem n°1 "04:00 a.m. The Sun is mirroring in the moon" the sun itself, represented as a pure idea, is depicted as a streaming light reflected in the Moon.
A nostalgic lunar atmosphere prepares a sophisticated interweaving of the theme of the moon with that of the sun.
The dawn of a new day is awaited in a vibrant air full of expectations.

I want to thank my family for their precious support and especially Leone M.
I want to thank the painter Francesco Jennarelli who created the beautiful oil-painting "A musical dawn" for the cover art of this album.

Simone Jennarelli



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