Daniil Trifonov

The headshot of twenty-five-year-old pianist Daniil Trifonov stares out just now from the covers of both of Britain’s leading music magazines, Gramophone and BBC Music — well-deserved accolades coinciding with the release of his stunning new Liszt recital. Even in a concert culture hungry to applaud “the next big talent,” Trifonov is unquestionably more than a flavor of the month. A product of Moscow’s Gnessin School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music, he has technique to spare, even in the taxing repertoire he has selected for these CDs. His readings of Liszt’s 12 Transcendental Etudes are galvanizing throughout. He throws off sparks aplenty in Mazeppa, Feux follets, and Wilde Jagd, as one would expect, but perhaps even more impressive is how captivatingly beautiful the less barnstorming movements emerge under his hands, including an elegant take on Ricordanza that makes it sound like Chopin. His rhythmic sense has energy no matter what the tempo, and his touch, tone, and voicing never stop entrancing the ear. A selection of concert etudes occupies the second CD, including the famous set based on Paganini themes. The fast figuration is stunning and apparently effortless (he makes even La campanella sound easy), but again, the lyric movements set Tifonov apart; you will not be able to settle for listening to his performance of Un sospiro just once.