"...I’ve been banging on for years about Williams’s prowess as a Beethovenian, but he is no less formidable a Lisztian. If there is flamboyance here, it’s in the music: Williams is too serious and concentrated for nonsense. His playing of the Petrarch Sonnets is poetry although tempered with the Williams steel. His Tarantella ... is a miracle of speed and light, while his Dante Sonata is powerfully dramatic and Isolde’s Liebestod pulses inexorably to the climax. Williams’s expansiveness with the great Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude is balanced by the effortless manner in which he keeps it on the move. A superior album which is highly recommended..."
Michael Tumelty - The Scotsman - August 2012
"...Williams is a superb Liszt interpreter, never content to use even the most technically demanding music as just a vehicle for flashy display, but always looking beneath the elaborate surfaces for deeper rigour and meaning. That doesn’t mean he ever understates the music’s sense of theatre or misjudges its sense of scale, though; there’s a tremendous power and intensity to his Dante Sonata that’s maintained from the taut opening phrases to the very final bars. He prefaces his sequence with the Tarentella that ends Venezia e Napoli, Liszt’s supplement to the Italian Annee, and adds the Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude and the transcription of the Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde as mighty, powerfully wrought postscripts."
The Guardian - October 2012
Performance **** Recording ****
"The musical demands presented by any Liszt programme are so wide-ranging that nor even a pianist of Llyr Williams’s class will necessarily succeed in meeting all of them, all of the time. By the same token, there will be plentiful areas that do succeed, and brilliantly. Williams is entirely on terms with the virtuoso requirements of the Tarantella from Venezia e Napoli ... the middle section sings with appealing soulfulness... while Williams responds to the expressive warmth of the Petrarch Sonnets with much loveliness, his way of lingering on a phrase surely eddies the music’s flow a touch more than it needs, or than he intends. This approach to expressive nuance persists in an otherwise formidable performance of the Dante Sonata.In Bénédiction de Dieu he takes us into a different and majestic world. Those long melodic lines seem to lift and swell within vast surrounding spaces (shades of the formidable Claudio Arrau are in evidence here); and Williams’s way with the opening accompanying figuration - emphasising the underlying arpeggios rather than the slow-motion trill above them - sounds beautifully right. The intricate part-writing of Liszt’s transcription from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, too, comes across with a stellar combination of absolute clarity and gorgeous piano sound."
Malcolm Hayes - BBC Music Magazine - January 2013
Interpretaion ****** Sound ***** Repertoire *****
Carsten Dürer - Piano News (Germany) - January/February 2013
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