The first piece is Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro". continuing on from this, Liszt had developed on the motif of "Don Giovanni", also by Mozart, and had attempted a grand scale fantasy, however sadly in the end he finished it incomplete. From that work, Busoni arranged and completed the "Figaro" section only.
Liszt freely and naturally developed his own world, so much so that you might say "is this really that 'Figaro'?" From the dark, ostentatious beginnings onwards, it is already completely Liszt's world.
Although it seems a matter of course now, I was struck speechless by the clarity of Takasu's technique. Even the three inversion passages for both hands formidable enough to overwhelm even Horowitz are performed effortlessly on the live stage by Takasu. And without thinking I find myself listening in true ecstasy to the relaxed singing style for Cherubino's famous aria, "Voi Che Sapete".
The second piece is Bellini's "I Puritani". This style of performing done only with the piano, without relying on the assistance of vocals or other instruments, is linked to the present-day "piano recital", but was in fact started by Liszt, and this piece was the final adorning piece of Liszt's commemorative and historical first recital.
Just as can be understood when looking at the written music, all but pitch black with notes, you can feel the enthusiasm put into the first recital of the youthful Liszt, infusing all the techniques he possessed and more, through the vocal quartet's "that the dawn shall not bring about darkness and suffering", the heroic coda, and so on. And Takasu's enthusiastic performance works to convey that heated, youthful passion to the audience, leaving nothing to spare. At this time Takasu is already 50 years old. Will this man never age? The audience's enthusiasm can hardly be blamed.
The third piece is Verdi's "Ernani". The so-called Hernani incidents were during the performance of Victor Hugo's drama "Hernani", an early skirmish in the Paris July Revolution. The young Liszt joined in with the rioting of the revolutionaries in the audience. Enthused about "Hernani" in the same way, Liszt painstakingly transferred the original melody of "Oh, sommo Carlo!" from Verdi's similarly titled opera to piano. Of course this was while adding Liszt's characteristic flamboyant ornamentation.
I want you to pay attention to Takasu's sonorous baritone singing style, which will touch your very nerves; it could surely be called Verdi melody. This man will give you the feeling that he truly loves opera, and that he is well-acquainted with it. It is said he immersed himself in the Rome opera houses when he studied abroad in Italy. You can fully understanding the difference between Takasu, and a pianist who is merely skilled at performing difficult musical pieces.
The fourth piece is "Norma", a grand piece to adorn this album's conclusion. Liszt himself had said "I wanted to try Thalberg's style", and accordingly, in a fashion rare for Liszt, he spun together the music of 7 pieces, adopting aria and chorus, and freely makes use of the "three-hand effect" in Thalberg's style. Naturally each of these are beautiful just by virtue of being works of the melody maker, Bellini. And of course it goes without saying that these are difficult musical pieces of continuing transcendent technique.
In spite of being done live, this recording will surprise with the height of its perfection. The passionate singing style and beauty of timbre in Norma's final cavatina, "Oh, let them not be victims", is exquisite. Even the chord jumps for "War, War", the most perilous section for a pianist, are swift and accurate for Takasu, as if they are easy. At times you may even be deluded into thinking that Takasu really does have three hands, or even more, that he is two people performing with four hands total. Takasu's musical performance has already reached a level where one becomes lost in the beauty of the music and forgets the difficulty of technique. This is without a doubt a sublime performance.