Originally released in installments as five separate CDs, Franz Liszt: The Sound of Weimar collects all of the symphonic poems and some of Liszt's other major orchestral works, as performed by Martin Haselböck and the original instruments ensemble, the Orchester Wiener Akademie. The 13 symphonic poems were composed between 1848 and 1858, and they include such favorites as Les Préludes, Mazeppa, Hamlet, Prometheus, and Tasso.
These works, as well as the Dante Symphony and the Evocation à la Chapelle Sixtine, are played with the instrumentation Liszt required when he conducted his music in Weimar; they are performed with the exciting tone colors and innovative techniques that made these pieces so influential. The small orchestra consists of nearly 40 musicians, and they produce music that is lean in texture and surprisingly light in effect, especially when compared to most modern recordings. In Liszt's time, these works were regarded as avant-garde because of his fresh approach to handling the orchestra, particularly in the exposed writing and unusual combinations of instruments. The resulting chamber-like transparency is quite different from the thicker, homogenous sectional orchestration by more conservative composers of the day. Due to his scholarship and expertise in playing Liszt's organ music, Haselböck is authoritative in his direction, and his research reinforces the authenticity of the performances. The recordings have an extraordinarily wide dynamic range and focused microphone placement, so the quality is close to audiophile standards.
|A Symphony to Dante's Divina Commedia|
|Inferno / Franz Liszt||Martin Haselböck / Wiener Akademie Orchester||20:48|
|Purgatorio / Franz Liszt||Martin Haselböck / Wiener Akademie Orchester||16:41|
|Magnificat / Franz Liszt||Martin Haselböck / Wiener Akademie Orchester||6:43|
|Evocation à la Chapelle Sixtine / Franz Liszt||Martin Haselböck / Wiener Akademie Orchester||15:08|