Tingyue Jiang Bring Fire to Henry Litolff Piano Music
Henry Litolff was a larger-than-life piano virtuoso. At least, that was his reputation. He had impressive technique (it even impressed Franz Liszt). And he was something of a ladies’ man with his wild, flowing hair (and married four times). As a publisher the Collection Litolff was highly regarded — and remains so as part of Edition Peters.
Litlolff composed over 125 works, plus eleven operas. But today, only a single work — the scherzo from his Fourth Concerto Symphonie — remains in the repertoire. Hopefully, this new series from Toccata Classics will change that.
Pianist Tingyue Jiang makes her debut with an album of world recording premieres. I love it. Jiang has the technique to play anything Litolff composed. And some of these piano works are quite challenging.
But she also has the musicianship to make sense of it all. It turns out that Litolff had a gift for melody. Each of these piano miniatures is beautifully composed. The melodies are lyrical and attractive to the ear. Well, he did write eleven operas after all.
Jiang makes each piece shine. There’s never a question about what’s foreground and what’s background material. And she lovingly shapes each phrase. It maximizes the emotional impact of each melody. And that makes this release a joy to listen to from start to finish.
Henry Litolff was a prolific composer, so there’s a lot of material left to cover. I’m definitely looking forward to volume two. Litnolff has a unique compositional voice. It’s one that bears reexamining.
Henry Litolff: Piano Music, Volume One
Tingyue Jiang, piano