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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - Liszt: Années de pèlerinage, et al
Artist - Charles Owen

For those unaware, with his critically acclaimed AVIE Records releases of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Fauré and Sergei Rachmaninov to his credit, the celebrated British pianist Charles Owen scales the heights of Franz Liszt’s anthology Années de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse (“Years of Travel, First Year: Switzerland”), which evokes the great 19th-century pianist-composer’s Swiss sojourns with aural impressions of the Alpine landscape, its peaks and valleys, mountains and streams, and the country’s distinctive folk music.

FRANZ LISZT (1811–1886)

1-9) Années de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse S160
Chapelle de Guillaume Tell (5:32)
Au lac de Wallenstadt (3:50)
Pastorale (1:51)
Au bord d’une source (4:24)
Orage (4:39)
Vallée d’Obermann (14:30)
Eglogue (3:21)
Le mal du pays (Heimweh) (5:43)
Les cloches de Genève – Nocturne (6:13)

10) Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude
No. 3 from Harmonies Poétiques Et Religieuses G153 (17:32)

Charles Owen, piano

Recorded on October 19th-31at, 2020, Menuhin Hall, Yehudi Menuhin School, Cobham, Surrey, UK this stunning opulent recording opens on the melodic Chapelle de Guillaume Tell and the delicate Au lac de Wallenstadt, before bringing us the gently playful Pastorale, the staggered embrace of Au bord d’une source and then the vibrantly free-flowing Orage.

The near-15 minute opus Vallée d’Obermann is up next and is itself followed by this particular phase rounding out on the kittenish Eglogue, the ornate pairing of both Le mal du pays (Heimweh) and Les cloches de Genève – Nocturne, the entire recording closing on the quite breathtaking near-18 minute opus Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude (No. 3 from Harmonies Poétiques Et Religieuses G153).

Indeed, literary references abound in the album’s concluding piece, the emotional Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude (“The Blessing of God in Solitude”) which was inspired by a poem penned by Liszt’s friend Alphonse de Lamartine.

Emotions ran equally high for Charles Owen who turned to Liszt during lockdown. The uncertainty of being homebound throughout the pandemic was eased by the extra meaning and solace of the composer’s evocations of journeying, experiencing the natural world and its sense of beauty and liberation.

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