Piers Lane (piano)
Adolf von Henselt was one of the greatest virtuosi of the nineteenth century. His trail-blazing études – at once impossibly challenging for the performer and ardently lyrical for the listener – were to influence a generation of composers, especially in Russia where Henselt settled.
Having studied with Hummel in Weimar, the ‘Henselt piano technique’ is now regarded as the link between that of the older composer and that to be developed by Franz Liszt. Notorious for his ability to play unfeasibly wide-spreading chords while maintaining a miraculous legato line, Henselt’s fanatical devotion to technical pianistic exercises should come as no surprise. The two sets of études represent the codification of his diligence, yet their worth today derives as much from their musical value as their technical complexity.
Piers Lane, whose impressive discography reveals him to be something of an étude-ist himself, more than rises to the challenge.