Music Review: Joseph Moog Celebrates Liszt's Birthday

Nov 8, 2012

In commemoration of Franz Liszt’s 200th birthday, virtuoso pianist Joseph Moog decided to record an album dedicated solely to Liszt’s compositions and transcriptions. 

Joseph Moog is a German pianist that has been given many awards over his career that has just taken off.  Recently, Moog was awarded the Young Artist of the Year (2012) for his outstanding solo works. 

Liszt had a very interesting way of taking other composers works into his own hands.  He transcribed many pieces for piano, adding his own flair at the same time.  Most known for transcribing the Beethoven Symphonies for piano, you can hear some personal ornamentation in most all of the pieces that Liszt transcribed, while still staying true to the original. 

The recording begins with Hexameron – Grandes variations de bravoure sur la marche des puritains de Bellini, a melody that is Liszt’s with variations from Thalberg, Pixis, Herz, and Creny; piano masters of their time.  The theme, composed by Liszt is bombastic and pompous, but the variations go in very different directions.  Since the variations are written by piano masters and not composers, they “are full of notes and void of music” as the leaflet states.  This piece begins the recording well, showing Moog’s credibility as a professional piano player; and seemly having three hands.

The next-best track would be Ballade No. 2 in B minor.  This piece transitions several times from a torrential, heavy bass melody to a suddenly light, airy tone.  It is a fun piece, and Moog performs it perfectly.  In Adelaïde after Beethoven, Liszt’s ornamentation is obvious, but a wonderful addition to the piece.

As a whole this recording is a show of Joseph Moog’s talent, as he has become a rising star and it is also a celebration of Liszt as a composer and transcriber.