Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 07/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The monumental Fantasia and Fugue on the theme B-A-C-H was written for organ in 1855 during Liszt' s period in Weimar, being arranged for the piano by the same composer in 1871. The liaison between Liszt and Bach was due to Johan Christian Bach, whose music had been subject of study by him. So this sensation of total plenitude, precisely derives from having been thought for the organ. It's a piece of enormous expressive breath. The opening Fantasia makes immediate use of the B-A-C-H motif, which eventually will re-appear with a mysteriously shifting tonality in the subsequent magnificentfugue.
The Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen were written in 1862 and dedicated to Anton Rubinstein, and obviously is based on a motif from the bass line of Bach's Cantata written during Bach' s stage in Weimar and somehow established a somber perspectives that denote a sort of resignation, before the will of Rome. It' s a work of marked introspective accent, and for me one of his most relevant musical achievements among the immense catalogue of his transcriptions.
Dislike his live performance (evidently superior in all senses, Munich 1987, PSG 9537 U-edited live performances Vol. 2) , Ponti appeals and even bets for a more restrained performance, of visible Apollonian fervor, with less initial emotion and emphasizing the cantabile lines, this valid approach allows him to underline with major intensity the next Variations, making a major employment of the pedal to accent the percussive sound and so to vitalize with clear anticipation the fortissimos to come, with that leonine atmosphere hovering those wonderful pianissimos, at the eve of the final attack.
Ponti' s phrasing is as we know, subject of an obligated reference, filled of emotion and musicality. The introductory bars before the well known coda, loaded of festive mood and full joy are played with untamed spirit, what it confers a heroic vision.
It would be a wise choice to acquire this recording. The sound is excellent. The recordings are dated on Oct. 1985 at Tonstudio van Geest, Heidelberg, (FRG).