Jean Muller: Transcendence
Jean Muller, Solo Piano, JCH Productions
Philharmonie Luxembourg, SMC, July 5 – July 8, 2013
Produced by Marco Battistella
Editing by Jean Muller
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 23, 2014
See a review of a Weill Hall recital of this music.
All tracks composed by Franz Liszt.
Listening to Jean Muller’s Transcendence CD brought back to mind his evocative June 22, 2014 recital at Weill, with the same dynamic, driven presentation of Liszt’s Méphisto-Valse No. 1, arranged by Busoni/Horowitz, and his 12 Études d’exécution transcendante. The inserted book of notes, in French and English, describes dramatically the nature of each Étude and the Valse, benefitting from Mr. Muller’s sophisticated education and musical background. The reader will learn from the notes that this Luxembourg-born artist has performed in over 300 concerts in Europe, as well as renowned festivals.
#5 – Étude No. 4, “Mazeppa” “Mazeppa” was inspired by the Hugo poem, about a Polish cavalier tied naked to the back of a horse and sent into the wild, as punishment for seducing a noblewoman. It is evocative of a silent film score, so filled with flourishes of angst and melodrama. Mr. Muller draws the listener in with the shifts of volume and tempo, as the music becomes more sedate, and the cavalier is rescued, his life returned to one of reward and fulfillment. As the struggle subsides, so does the momentum of haunting repetitive scales.
#8 - Étude No. 7, “Eroica” “Eroica” is written in homage to Beethoven, a composer whose inspiration was dear to Liszt. Its key is the same as Beethoven’s “Eroica Symphony”. Toward the end of this track, one hears multiple octaves played with compelling clarity and force, up and down the scale. Mr. Muller plays with intense focus and reverence to the nature of Liszt’s intentions.
#9 – Étude No. 8, “Wilde Jagd” The French name for this Étude is “Chasse Sauvage” (Wild Hunt), with a musical recreation of a hunting scene. Interpreted musicality of horns, guns, and dogs are included with jagged rhythms, plus a central dreamlike theme that transports the hunter to a bucolic reverie. Following this dream, the musicality builds once more, with higher and higher notes evocative of climbing hills, rocks, and such.
#13 – Étude No. 12, “Chasse-neige” is composed as an impression of swirling squalls of snow, with treble notes, often taken a chord higher to symbolically chill the notes. It’s tantalizing and tranquil, bringing the series to a finale of quietude and surrealism, as a single chord suddenly fades out. The listener has an immediate desire to hear the entire CD once more, very soon.