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Recent Albums


LISZTOMANIA is the title and theme of a piano recital at the University of Alberta, under the auspices of The Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies in collaboration with Mazurka Music and Art. The Concert is a Wirth Institute initiative in support of mental health awareness on campus. The concert took place prior to Blue Monday (the third Monday in January) which is an important date for Mental Health awareness, reported to be the most depressing day of the year. On the program are an assortment of some of the best-loved piano works of the legendary pianist and composer Franz Liszt. The Recital was recorded live and released as a CD on the Wirth Institute Label.

In many ways, Liszt epitomizes the ideals of the Renaissance artist, in the tradition of Leonardo da Vinci; he is “a universal artist, cosmopolitan in nature.” A virtuoso pianist and a prolific composer, Liszt was the radical precursor of modernity with his Zukunstmuzik (music of the future), anticipating impressionism and even an ascetic form of expressionism – “was he not one of those who started the battle against tonality?”.


Liszt also embraced his Hungarian heritage and turned to folklore and exoticism in his adaptations of the gypsy-inspired Hungarian Rhapsodies. A traveling virtuoso, crisscrossing thousands of kilometres around Europe – from Lisbon to Moscow to Constantinople – Liszt caused a sensation with his performance-persona, attaining the status of a pop icon, prompting his contemporaries to coin the term “Lisztomania.” Always a great Samaritan, he believed in Franciscan faith and charity, his vanity counter-balanced by his humility. At its most inspired, Liszt’s Mephistophelean tone is infused with a visionary mysticism.

Piano Solo

On his debut album for Anima Records, Canadian pianist Mikolaj Warszynski puts together a recital of works by Haydn, Liszt, Szymanowski and an assortment of Chopin. The animated 'Grand Sonata' in C major by Joseph Haydn Hob. XVI:50, the voluptuous Shéhérazade by Karol Szymanowski, and the dazzling Mephisto Waltz by Franz Liszt, taken together form a luminous fist half in marked contrast to the revolutionary nature of the works of Chopin in the second half:  the big C minor Nocturne Op. 48 No. 1, the turbulent first Scherzo Op. 20 with its heavenly lullaby, and finally, two contrasting polonaises – the sombre and mysterious Polonaise in E flat minor Op. 26 No. 2, and the famous ‘Heroic’ Polonaise in A flat major Op. 53. In determining the order of the Chopin selections on this album, Warszynski arranged them in an overarching form in four movements framed by the two polonaises, where the Scherzo and the Nocturne take the role of a scherzo and slow movement as if in a four movement Beethovenian sonata structure. Warszynski upholds that in these revolutionary works, “Chopin’s particular genius, was one that was able to fuse his intuitive exhortations within the bounds of reason, but the music resonates with resolve and emotion on a prophetic scale symbolizing the struggles of his defunct nation.”

Pour son début album avec le label français « Anima Records », le pianiste canadien Mikolaj Warszynski nous propose un récital avec des pièces de Haydn, Szymanowski, Liszt et Chopin. La Grande Sonate animée en Do majeur de Joseph Haydn Hob. XVI : 50, la éblouissante Méphisto-Valse n° 1 de Franz Liszt, et la voluptueuse Shéhérazade de Karol Szymanowski - ses trois  pièces dans son ensemble sont le reflet d'un monde sonore, en total contraste avec la nature révolutionnaire des œuvres de Chopin qui suivent : le grand Nocturne en do mineur opus 48 n° 1, le turbulent premier Scherzo opus 20 avec sa berceuse céleste, enfin, deux polonaises contrastées- la Polonaise sombre et mystérieuse en mi bémol mineur opus 26 n° 2 et la célèbre Polonaise « héroïque » en la bémol majeur opus 53. Pour déterminer l'ordre des pièces de Chopin, Warszynski a souhaité imaginer une forme globale en quatre mouvements encadrée par les deux Polonaises, où le Scherzo et le Nocturne prennent le rôle d'un scherzo et d'un mouvement lent, donnant à l'ensemble la structure typique des sonates beethovéniennes. Dans ces œuvres dit « révolutionnaires », Warszynski raconte : « Génie particulier, Chopin était capable de fusionner ses exhortations intuitives dans les limites de la raison. Sa musique résonne avec détermination et émotion, et symbolise les luttes de sa nation défunte. »

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