Franz Liszt: Harmonium Works, Vol. 1 Lars David Kellner
- Franz Liszt (1811 - 1886): Weihnachtsbaum (S. 186/ I, für Klavier oder Harmonium)
- 1Christmas Tree, S. 186: I. Altes Weihnachtslied (Psallite)02:49
- 2Christmas Tree, S. 186: II. O heilige Nacht!05:43
- 3Christmas Tree, S. 186: III. In dulci jubilo03:29
- 4Christmas Tree, S. 186: IV. Adeste fideles04:28
- Ave Maria (für Klavier oder Harmonium):
- 5Ave Maria, S. 66703:22
- 6Ave Maria, S. 54503:27
- A Magyarok Istene (für Orgel oder Harmonium):
- 7A Magyarok Istene, S. 67404:18
- Gebet (für Orgel oder Harmonium):
- 8Gebet, S. 26502:18
- 9Resignazione!, S. 187a01:59
- Am Grabe Richard Wagners (für Orgel oder Harmonium):
- 10Am Grabe Richard Wagners, S. 26703:37
- Der Papst-Hymnus (für Orgel oder Harmonium):
- 11Der Papst-Hymnus, S. 26105:01
- O sacrum convivium (für Orgel oder Harmonium):
- 12O sacrum convivium, S. 674a07:32
Info for Franz Liszt: Harmonium Works, Vol. 1
"My reaction to Lars David Kellner’s Prokofiev disc in Fanfare 36:2 was rather mixed; this fascinating disc of late Liszt is another story. Kellner understands the enigmatic, barren world of the music of the latter stages of Liszt’s life. Liszt took his orders in 1865, becoming the Abbé Liszt; the five piano works collected under the Searle number of 192, date from between that year and 1879. The tempo indications for this group are predominantly slow, and indeed Liszt allows himself to stretch his melodies in the first three (Sehr langsam; Lento assai; Sehr langsam); only at the fourth, an Andantino, does some sense of movement, and with it, consolation, arrive, an approach to consonance that makes arrival points glow in an almost Wagnerian way. From the very first note of the first piece, Kellner is absolutely inside this music, while the enigmatic close of the final of the five pieces, “Sospiri,” is expertly managed.
The piece entitled Resignazione was written on the last page of the manuscript of Liszt’s Salve Regina, a work for organ/harmonium, and so is often listed as for those instruments. This was unpublished in Liszt’s life time (the MS is in Washington, DC). More famous is the pair of works La lugubre gondola, allegedly written in premonition of death of Wagner; we are offered the second here. Kellner has a cantabile that allows the long isngle lines to speak mournfully; a true, and extended, funeral song. There is a more transcendent belief system at work in Sancta Dorothea, its redemptive heart beautifully brought forth by Kellner before the rather more ascetic sounds of the “Vexilla Regis” first movement of Via Crucis intones forth. I choose the word “intones” deliberately; there is a feeling of chant here, of deep religiosity. This piece, written 1878/79, is subtitled “Les 14 Stations de la Croix”; this subject seems to bring out the most austere, hardcore one might say, aspects of composers (one also thinks of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Vesalii Icones). Significant interpreters of Via Crucis tends to be those who specialize in the harder-hitting music, or at least specialist pockets of the repertoire: Reinbert de Leeuw or Aribert Riemann, for example. Kellner understands the heard and structure of the work, finding maximal harmonic pain in “Simon le Cyrénéen aide Jésus à porter sa Croix” and balancing that with the soul-placating calm of the chorale “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” in the “Sancta Veronica” movement. Liszt’s use of tremolo in his late music is pronounced, and it takes a certain technique and grasp of gesture to allow them to sound with full effect; Kellner achieves this, just as he realizes that the key to Via Crucis is a complete absence of rushing. Melodies must unfold, sometimes uncurl themselves, with a sense of transcendent timelessness.
A brief word on versions of Via Crucis is in order, perhaps, to avoid confusion. The original version is S 53 and was composed 1878/9 for solo voices, mixed chorus and organ; there is an organ version (S 669b) and a version for piano four hands (S 583) as well as the present S 504a solo piano version.
The recording of the piano (a Steinway Model D) in Kleines Theater, Haar, Germany, and produced in HiRes audio, is excellent. Kellner’s performance is issued via recordJET; a search for the website reveals a fascinating enterprise that seeks to improve and expand on the work of such services as CDBaby, ReverbNation and so on. This review comes from a physical product, one of their many services. Those under the spell of the late works of Liszt should note that Kellner’s disc only overlaps by one piece with Cédric Tiberghien’s excellent recent Hyperion recording, which features the whole of the third and final book of Années de pèlerinage plus six other late pieces. The overlapping piece is La lugubre gondola II; Tiberghien finds an equivalent desolation, his staccatissimo spread left-hand chords in measures 6-8 astonishingly dry and impactful. It is a close run race, though, and anyone under the spell of the works of the Abbé Liszt should surely aim to hear both." (Colin Clarke)
Lars David Kellner, harmonium
Lars David Kellner
Lars David Kellner's CD recordings include a number of bravura pieces for piano literature: Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is one of them (published 2010), as well as sonatas and ballads by Sergei Rachmaninoff or Frédérik Chopin (2008). However, Kellner sees himself not only as a virtuoso pianist, but rather as a (keyboard) artist in a broader sense: in addition to the piano, the harmonium has been of special importance to him for some years now. With many premiere recordings he is making an active contribution to the revitalization of this special keyboard instrument. The artist's latest album with solo works by Franz Liszt, which was released in 2020 on renowned audiophile portals, is recorded on a harmonium from Kellner's instrument collection. Kellner puts great importance to bringing his audience closer to lesser known compositions for unusual keyboard instruments in their very own sound language.
It is of utmost importance for the artist to penetrate musical works comprehensively. After meticulous study of the sources, Kellner recorded the complete piano works by Leoš Janáček in their earliest version. The publication of these sound recordings, new to the world of music, caused an international sensation: ‘He posseses a full-bodied and rounded sound and solid technique, making the hardest passages sound easy. (...) His freedom with the music (...) is exceptional’ (Fanfare Mag, 8/2014). Kellner's Mussorgski album with recordings on the Horowitz grand piano was also highly acclaimed in the American Record Guide: ‘Kellner (...) finds the inner voices and deals effectively with contrasts. He reminds me of Ashkenazy’ (ARG, 12/2011). The complete Pictures at an Exhibition were premiered by Kellner in their first version (2011). His piano recitals (e.g. at the Gasteig München) and concerts with harmonium and celesta were well received by the audience and caused wide media coverage.
Since the foundation of tastenReich® (2017) Lars David Kellner's chamber music collaboration with artists such as Jürgen Geiger, Anastasia Sobyanina and other keyboard virtuosos has intensified. His love for romantic songs led to intensive concert activity with singers like Susanna Proskura or Marina Ushchapovskaya. Lars David Kellner adapted the Russian lyrics of Rachmaninoff's fourteen "Lieder ohne Opuszahl" into German, in order to bring them closer to the local audience. They were published by Sikorski Musikverlage Hamburg in 2015.
Lars David Kellner, born in 1973 in Weiden/Germany, is a pianist with multiple diplomas from the Munich Academy of Music (2001) and lives in Bavaria. His musical education was accompanied by Franz Ondrušek, Erich Appel and Karl-Hermann Mrongovius. He received artistic inspiration from Eckart Besch, Klaus Schilde and Elza Kolodin at international master classes. Kellner is a member of the German Liszt Society, the Karg-Elert Society and is on the board of the Friends of the Weiden Max-Reger-Tage.