Stories from A Book of Liszts

Variations on the
theme of Franz Liszt

By John Spurling

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Piano – János Balázs

Executive Producer: Catriona Oliphant
Producers: Roy McMillan (spoken word) and Adrian Edwards (music)

Music recording in collaboration with the Palace of Arts – Budapest

Original book cover design by Sunandini Banerjee for Seagull Books

Franz Liszt – Un sospiro Etudes de concert No 3 – Janos Balazs piano

Stories from A Book of Liszts by John Spurling – Make-believe and Lies (Jonathan Keeble) / The Snow Princess (Jilly Bond)

Readings and music to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Franz Liszt.

John Spurling’s highly original novel, A Book of Liszts (Seagull Books May 2011), celebrates the extraordinary life of Franz Liszt – composer, conductor and virtuoso pianist – whose incomparable skill and personal charisma dazzled audiences all over Europe, from London and Paris to Berlin, Moscow and even Constantinople.

In an exciting collaboration with the Palace of Arts – Budapest, readings by Jonathan Keeble and Jilly Bond, accompanied by a new recording of 15 of Liszt’s piano works performed by the prize-winning Hungarian pianist, János Balázs, and recorded at the Palace of Arts – Budapest, bring the romantic and passionate genius vividly alive.

ISBN 978-0-9560740-7-2
RRP £17.99


John Spurling, born in Kenya to English parents, is a playwright, novelist and critic.  Since his first play MacRune’s Guevara was performed by the National Theatre company in 1969, he has had some 27 plays produced on stage, television and radio.  His first two novels, The Ragged End and After Zenda were published in 1989 and 1995.  He has written critical books on Samuel Beckett’s plays and Graham Greene’s novels and was The New Statesman’s art critic from 1976 to 1988.  Photograph of John Spurling © Nick Spurling 2010

János Balázs was born in 1988.  He began his formal music studies at the age of eight at the Járdányi Pál Music School under Erika Hornyánszkyné Becht, and at the age of nine won the National Piano Competition in Nyíregyháza.  In 2002, he entered the School for Specially Talented Children at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, where he studied under Gyöngyi Keveházi and István Gulyás.  In 2004, he won the Georges Cziffra International Piano Competition, and in 2005 the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition, the youngest pianist ever to do so.  He released his first solo recording in 2005, when he also won the Lions Clubs International Piano Competition.  In 2010, he won the Nishinihon International Piano Competition.

His repertoire ranges from the Baroque and the Romantic to the music of the 20th century, and he is a great follower of Georges Cziffra.  He has performed with Tamás Vásáry, András Schiff, and Zoltán Kocsis.  He regularly gives concerts in Hungary, and has performed at music festivals across Europe.  He has also given a three month concert tour in Japan, and in 2011 makes his US debut in Albany,New York.  He released his first solo recording of works by Liszt in 2005 with Budapest Music Centre Records.  He has since released another recording of works by Liszt and also a recording of works by Chopin.  His next release is a recording of Schumann and Schubert Lieder with the tenor, Dániel Pataky.

Jonathan Keeble has featured in over 400 radio plays for the BBC appearing in everything from Shakespeare to Sherlock Holmes to Dr Who.  He also played the evil Owen in The Archers.  An award-winning reader, Jonathan has recorded many audiobooks, including being the voice of The Joy of Sex, but refuses to say how he got the job.  For Chrome Audio, he has recorded A Journey through France and A Journey through Italy, playing William Hazlitt and George Gissing.

Jilly Bond has recorded over 100 radio plays for the BBC.  Credits include: the Woman’s Hour serials, Degrees of Separation and Falco; The Barchester Chronicles; and The Archers.  On stage, she has performed at the Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Royal (Bath), Belgrade Theatre (Coventry), Octagon Theatre (Bolton), and the King’s Theatre, Glasgow as well as at the Young Vic, Royal Court, and Southwark Playhouse.  Recent appearances include Servant or Mistress: Sex in the 18th Century Novel (Shrewsbury Festival) and Glasshouse (Tobacco Factory, Bristol).  She has recorded over 120 audiobooks, winning two Earphones Awards in the USA.  For Chrome Audio, she has recorded A Journey through France and A Journey through Italy, playing Marguerite, Countess of Blessington.


CD 1 (Readings with music)

Paganini in a Time of Cholera
Jonathan Keeble / Piano – János Balázs
Mephisto Waltz No 1 – Andante lagrimoso – Wohin – Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in C sharp minor

Lovers Meeting
Jilly Bond / Piano – János Balázs
Preludio – Molto vivace – Les cloches de Genève

CD 2 (Readings with music)

Make-believe and Lies
Jonathan Keeble / Piano – János Balázs
Valse oubliée No 4 – Hungarian Rhapsody No 15 in A minor

The Snow Princess

Jilly Bond / Piano – János Balázs
Consolation No 3 – Waldesrauschen – Pastorale – Chasse-neige – Hungarian Rhapsody No 15 in A minor – Auf dem Wasser zu singen – Un sospiro

CD 3 (Music for Stories from A Book of Liszts)

Selected works by Franz Liszt
Piano – János Balázs

  1. Les cloches de Genève – Nocturne
  2. Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in C sharp minor
  3. Consolation No 3
  4. Waldesrauschen
  5. Pastorale
  6. Wohin?
  7. Mephisto Waltz No 1
  8. Chasse-neige
  9. Preludio – Etudes d’exécution transcendante No 1
  10. Molto vivace – Etudes d’exécution transcendante No 2
  11. Andante lagrimoso
  12. Valse oubliée No 4
  13. Un sospiro
  14. Auf dem Wasser zu singen
  15. Hungarian Rhapsody No 15 in A minor

This entry was posted on Sunday, January 16th, 2011 at 5:45 pm and is filed under Audiobooks, Our work. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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