February 15, 2022

Liszt: Harmonies poétiques et religieuses from Saskia Giorgini reviewed by MusicWeb International

“This is a brilliant recording. Saskia Giorgini is clearly a supremely talented pianist who thinks very deeply about the music she plays here. The recording is clear and bright, and the Bösendorfer piano is well suited to this repertoire. The playing is restrained and perfectly phrased.”

Saskia Giorgini is one of the most promising pianists of her generation, who has won several competitions and is hailed for her technical command and the beauty and poetry of her sound. Her PENTATONE discography features well-received recordings of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin (2020) and Respighi Songs (2021), together with Ian Bostridge.

“Liszt ends the cycle with a joyful outburst of love in Cantique d’amour. (I played it, too, years ago.) The opening improvisatory bars lead to a lovely singing tune in E major, which evolves through a series of key changes and harmonic changes, almost like a set of variations, each more complex than the preceding one. The control here is lovely; the middle part from 2:22 is magnificently played. This is hard to bring off as the tune has to be picked out among an awful lot of notes. This cleverly transmogrifies into the opening theme, again in a different key, which is varied several more times, becoming increasingly ardent as the work draws towards its close. The last 30 seconds are like a cry of joy. This performance makes them overwhelmingly powerful and joyful.”

Jonathan Welsh

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Photo by Julia Wesely