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mié, 12 may


Begemot Art & Fashion Gallery

F. LISZT - 12 Transcendental Études (1826 -1852)

Mikhail Yurkov · piano

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F. LISZT - 12 Transcendental Études (1826 -1852)
F. LISZT - 12 Transcendental Études (1826 -1852)

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12 may 2021, 18:30 – 19:30

Begemot Art & Fashion Gallery, Carrer de Trafalgar, 56, 08010 Barcelona, España

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Mikhail Yurkov

Born in Belarus in 1969 and considered as a prodigy at 6 years old, Mikhail Yurkov received a specialist musical education, firstly at the Music College and then in the Conservatoire in Minsk.

His teachers, L.Yushkevich and M.Voskresenky, true masters, equipped him with a strong and exacting technique, while respecting his personality, a rebellious and mischievous character full of charm and with an innate sense of showmanship.

When he was 17 years old, he won the Soviet Republic Competition with Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto and the Minsk Philharmonic. The audience was moved by this gifted and graceful young man.

He was first discovered by the Germans who, enjoying his distinctively Slavic character and enormous physical and pianistic ability in the execution of romantics works, invited him to play in several European cities.

Angel or demon, athletic attack or feline approach, tender or violent, Mikhail is a pianist of contrasts. His playing, beautifully internalized, powerful and flexible, rhythmical and structured, gives a breath of life to the works that he makes his own.

The eminent French musicologist Marc Honegger told him : "Possessing flawless technique, Mikhail Yurkov is a truly natural soloist. His interpretation reflects personal versions of the works, onto which he often casts new light. There is the reflexion of a very rich character that can unites tenderness, reverie and streinght. His exceptional keyboard touch is only the expression of qualities of his artistic soul".

Mikhail Yurkov has been based in Lyon in France for 10 years and performs throughout Europe, particulary in Rome in front of Rachmaninov Foundation's members and the presence of Mr. Alexander Konius, Rachmaninov's grandson and Chairman of the Foundation.

In 2009, a CD recording “Rachmaninov ou la Pudeur Romantique” (« Rachmaninov or Romantic Decency ») devoted entirely to the composer, has been made very conspicuous in “Diapason” magazine, which reviewed it no less than 4 times.

The critic Alain Cochard of the same magazine “Diapason” wrote : "Mikhail Yurkov shows himself to be faithful to the promised mood on the cover of his album, something we can only congratulate when such a repertoire is involved, where we saw more than a mixture of extreme pathos and athletic performance. Carried by grand phrasing and a sweeping sonority, the Sonata No. 2 is specialised in the exploration of polyphony and avoids languidness in the middle mouvement..."

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)

12 Transcendental Études (1826 -1852)

Liszt's dazzling Transcendental Etudes are a set of sublimely moving sound illustrations, as well as extremely difficult technical studies. They're some of the legendary virtuoso's most demanding music.

They're designed to build performing skill and be engaging and enjoyable at the same time. Each has a unique sound and its own special challenges for the performer.

I think that they're characteristically Liszt - excellent examples of how astoundingly technically good the composer was at playing. But we also see Liszt the sound poet, creating images with the piano.

The Transcendental Etudes went through three stages, over 25 years of Liszt's life.

It’s interesting to see how they had evolved throught 3 existing published versions.

Liszt wrote the first set when he was just 13 years old. These early attempts are not very interesting, since they imitate the bland technical etudes which were popular at the time.

Still, you can definitely see the seeds of the final etudes, including the basic melodies and descriptive titles.

The second version is a revision of the original twelve etudes, which Liszt did in 1837. He was at the beginning of his virtuoso show days at this point, which is definitely reflected in what he transforms the etudes into.

He went a bit overboard and elaborated the pieces into monstrously formidable sound poems.

Robert Schumann said at the time that he thought only a handful of pianists in the entire world were good enough to perform this revised collection!

The third and final version (1851) of the set is the one which brought about the Transcendental Etudes as they're known today.

These are by far the most performed and recorded of all three versions. Liszt cut out a lot of the absurdly difficult bits, and made the Transcendental Etudes more musical and artistic (instead of crazy hand-breakers).

The Etudes still challenge pianists in nearly every way imaginable. They have loads of different technical problems which are very hard to play at all, let alone musically!

Liszt also indicates which fingers he wants pianists to use, which are of course awkward and make the pieces even more difficult to play!


Transcendental Études N1

PRELUDIO (C major)

A short piece, with big crashing chords and a powerfully graceful section in the second half. The energy of this little piece is a great introduction to the pianistic violence which follows…

Transcendental Études N2


An agitated piece. Liszt didn't give it a descriptive title. Some people like to call it "Fireworks". Personally I think this piece falls a little short in comparison with the others in the set.

Transcendental Études N3


A peaceful, gentle illustration of a countryside scene. It's a sleepy piece with its own magic. Apparently Liszt was inspired by the hypnotically changing scenery he saw from the window on a train journey.

Transcendental Études N4

MAZEPPA (D minor)

This loud, dramatic, and awe-inspiring piece depicts the plot of a Victor Hugo poem. In the story, the cossack Mazeppa is punished for having an affair with a noblewoman. He is tied naked to a wild horse which is set loose. Liszt's music imitates the crazy galloping of the horse, and Mazeppa's endurance and suffering.

Transcendental Études N5


A colorfully delicate yet extremely complex piece. It depicts the ghostly flickering lights which sometimes appear over swamps at twilight. Folklore attributes these strange lights to all sorts of fairies and air spirits, which Liszt illustrates with playfully.

Transcendental Études N6

VISION (G minor)

A dark and profound piece. It has captivating shades and emotions, and a slow but powerfully thoughtful flow. The pianist and conductor Feruccio Busoni thought that it depicted French Emperor Napoleon's funeral.

Transcendental Études N7


A grand and dramatic piece, full of noble feelings.

Transcendental Études N8


A fun and German-sounding piece, Wilde Jagd depicts the different parts of a hunt. The piece opens with the fury of the bloody-minded hunters, then moves through charming rustic horn calls and the furtive prey to a sublime variation of the original melody. An exciting scene!

Transcendental Études N9


A nostalgic epic, full of sweet memories and lush melodies. Liszt develops the themes and, since these are etudes after all, adds lots of difficult variations

Transcendental Études N10


A restless piece, the second one which Liszt didn't name. The music starts out very agitated but turns into a sweeping and vivid romantic melody.

Transcendental Études N11


This beautiful piece paints a picture of heavily fragrant gardens at night and strong feelings of love.

Transcendental Études 12


A stormy piece, depicting the icy wind and deep snow in a blizzard. Liszt uses fast runs on the keyboard to illustrate the frenzy of the snowy storm.


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