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The very characteristic orchestral sonority of Wagner’s music has been a challenge for piano transcribers over the years. Here is a fascinating set of transcriptions played by a Finnish pianist that starts off with a transcription by a fellow Finn. Jukka Nykänen (born 1976) takes Liszt as his starting point, with deep bass growls; the full scope of the piano is utilised, resulting in an orchestral-scale storm. Marin has technique to spare, and the recording is astonishing in its presence. Liszt himself contributes the Spinning Song transcription, its atmosphere supremely captured here by Marin.

There are bound to be problems with the Tristan Prelude (‘Overture’ in the title here), as the initial cello crescendo on a single note is all but unachievable, and despite Marin’s best efforts at whipping up a frenzy at the climax, this is the weakest of the offerings here. In his booklet notes, the pianist refers to the Ring arrangements as the ‘B’ side of the disc, a deft description. Liszt’s Valhalla is indicative of that composer’s late music at times, especially in the use of tremolo. The three arrangements by Louis Brassin (1866-1924) are intriguing. Tausig’s take on the Ride of the Valkyries is stunningly done, Marin conjuring up massive blocks of sound. He cannot match Bolet (RCA) for grandeur in the Tannhäuser transcription, but this remains an important disc.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing