GMCD 7184 – Music by Anton Liste

Steve Davislim – Tenor, James Rutherford – Bass, William Fong – Piano, Andrew Zolinsky – Piano

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American Record Guide January / February 2001

Anton Liste (1772-1832) is another unknown composer. At least this is the first recording of his music to ever come my way. Born in Hildesheim, Germany, he was sent to Vienna when he was 17 and spent three years studying with Albrechtsberger. By 1804 he moved to Zurich. He gave voice and piano lessons and, a few years later, took the leadership of the orchestra as welll. By 1811 he was well enough known that he took a mountain-hiking trip with Carl Maria von Weber. He founded a choir that was evidently the only one in Zurich to perform oratorios. Not many of Liste’s works have survived. These at least give some insight into his capabilities. His two piano sonatas show that he was fond of experimentation and prove that he wrote with considerable imagination. The Duet Sonata even concludes with a fugue! They sound rather like early Beethoven. His Cantata for the reopening of a Masonic Lodge in Zurich in 1811 is a setting of a text by a fellow Mason, Heinrich Lavater. It is a pleasant early-romantic piece. The three part songs are drawn from Liste’s Op. 1. They are charming, with Schubertian overtones. This recording is generally fine. The pianists seem first rate, the vocalists very good. One must wish, though, that a chorus rather than two soloists had performed the cantata. The recording is very clear and well balanced. The notes are perhaps briefer than would have been desirable, but that is only a minor quibble. Texts and translations.

BBC Music Magazine November 2000

Anton Liste (1772-1832) has languished on obscurity since his death. And on the evidence here you can understand why, with his amiably unmemorable sonatas aping the manner of early Beethoven but lacking the dynamism, passion or intellectual rigour. Sympathetic, committed performance.
Richard Widmore