Heritage of Fire
When I was three years old my mother would play records with music from Wagner’s Flying Dutchman. Wagner’s music belongs to my earliest musical memories. When I was about eighteen years I discovered the Liszt transcriptions, in particular Isolde’s Liebestod. From then on I was completely spellbound and started looking for all kinds of transcriptions; after that I started to discover the original opera’s and their stories. Wagner’s music has in a way become a heritage of my youth. It has become a fiery passion. Friedelind Wagner, Richard Wagner’s independent-minded granddaughter, wrote her memoirs called Heritage of Fire, in which she describes what is was like to grow up being one of Wagner’s granddaughters. In her story I recognize the sense of being overwhelmed by the expressiveness and ambivalence of Wagner, his heritage and his music. It’s a world in itself full of contradictions, love, conflicts, beauty and ideals.
Tannhaüser and Parsifal
In terms of complete mastery of the piano, Leopold Godowsky belongs to the giants of the Romantic era and was almost completely self-taught. His approach of his ‘Scènes from Tannhauser’ is highly pianistic and personal and is different from most transcriptions. By adding inner voices and beautiful accompaniments in the left hand Godowsky aims for an original view on piano technique without disregarding Wagner’s original score.
With my Parsifal-transcriptions I have tried to capture the magical atmosphere of this music. I have taken the sonority of the piano as a basis upon which to find a good balance between the epic and the intimate.
The b-minor Sonata is an incredible musical journey and is in many ways comparable to Wagner’s grand scale music dramas. Pianist Alfred Brendel called this sonata the most powerful and intelligent after Beethoven and Schubert. The sense of transformation is unique in Liszt’s sonata with the musical material constantly reinventing itself. The final page of the piece goes from euphoria to sudden introspection and with the final bass note all tension is resolved.