Liszt: The Franciscan Works

by Sandro Ivo Bartoli

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Physical release in luxurious slipcase. Comes with a separate 36-page booklet, featuring in-depth articles, essays and photography.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Liszt: The Franciscan Works via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Full Digital Discography

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of jeffrey roden: threads of a prayer volume 2, Nimrod Borenstein: Suspended opus 69, Liszt: The Franciscan Works, and jeffrey roden: threads of a prayer volume 1. , and , .

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It came as a surprise to many when pianist Sandro Ivo Bartoli, one of Italy’s most charismatic and willful musicians, moved from London to a small farm in Tuscany, producing his own food and withdrawing to the countryside. Instead of ending his career, however, the decision provided him with the time and calm required to focus on his studies and typically untypical interests. His latest recording is the first result of this move. Bringing together the mysterious Franciscan repertoire of Franz Liszt on one disc for the very first time, Bartoli is awarding his personal touch to the work of one of the most misunderstood composers – you have never heard these pieces performed like this.

The 13th album of his 20-year long recording career sees Bartoli diving headlong into the darkest period in the life of Liszt. Faced with the death of his daughter and flirting with suicide, battling with illness and out of grace with the critics, it was faith alone that kept the composer afloat. In what many perceived to be a publicity stunt, Liszt put on the robes of a Franciscan monk, gave away most of his fortune to charity and began writing in a daring and utterly unique style, somewhere at the cusp between order and chaos, tonal tradition and sonic freedom. Blending passages of massive sound clusters with breathtaking beauty and impressionist color painting, even some of his closest friends and supporters were lost with many of these pieces.

To our 21st century ears, meanwhile, they appear entirely original and fresh, from the sequencer-like arpeggios of “Les jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este” to the ten-minute epic “St. Francis Walking on the Water”. Recorded at the legendary Reitstadel concert hall near Nuremberg in a single day, the album strikingly marries years of experience with the spontaneity and intensity of a live performance. He may be dealing with darkness here – but Bartoli has never sounded more alive.


released October 16, 2015

Produced by Dirk Fischer
Liner Notes by Tobias Fischer



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