Listen to Beatrice Berrut's latest album: Athanor

The latest album of concert pianist Beatrice Berrut features pieces written for piano and orchestra by Franz Liszt. Immerse yourself in the passionate and visionary universe of the founder of the Neue Weimarer Schule.

Athanor: de התנור (ha tanur) the furnace.
The furnace used by alchemists in their search for the philosopher’s matter is indispensable for the maturation of the Great Work. By extension, this furnace, in the shape of a matrix, has become a symbol of their quest for perfection and the absolute. And that is where Liszt agreed with the alchemists. Eternally dissatisfied, he said that ‘the persistent search for the best possible characterises the true artist’. This search not only had an aesthetic dimension but was also of a moral order, as attest his homage to Paganini: ‘The artist’s role is to awaken and maintain in souls the enthusiasm and passion of Beauty, so close to the passion of Good’.

Why these three works on a same album?

All three were, of course, written for piano and large orchestra. However it seems to me that there is a strong link between them beyond form. Their joint particularity is their very long gestation: it took 23 years between the first sketch and public performance of the first Concerto, 22 years between the earliest sketches and definitive publication of the second, and 20 years between the rough draft of Totentanz and the version recorded here. The twenty-odd years’ gestation that these works spent in Liszt’s athanor was evidently determining: without those years of doubt and constant rethinking of the first sketches, these concertos would never have come down to us in such accomplished form.

Franz Liszt’s work is a magnificent gift to mankind, which Beethoven had predicted when Liszt was 11: ‘Go! You are one of the fortunate ones for you will bring joy and happiness to many others! There is nothing better or finer!’

Beatrice Berrut, Athanor

Life shaped by music

1985, Valais, Switzerland: Beatrice Berrut, born in the Swiss Alps in the canton of Valais, spends most of her childhood with her sister conquering the hills and mountains of her home valley. The inspiration found in the marvellous landscape, the stoic Alpine giants carved ancient rock, and the fascination by nature itself accompany her to this day on her musical journeys.

Concerts & Events

The best way to experience music is live and in good company. Share these particular moments of emotion and visit Beatrice Berrut’s concerts in your area.

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Why the Liszt Sonata changed my life

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When you play the piano, you are told since childhood that Liszt is a dubious  figure: first seen as womanizer who writes music for pianists who love to show off, then as an abbot whose obscure and mystical end of life has given birth to works that are never performed. He is never considered as…

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A season with a baton, from Meiningen to Covent Garden.

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It was in Berlin in 2007, and the audience in the Philharmonie, usually so well-behaved, applauded between the movements. It was simply impossible to keep to yourself the overwhelming emotions that Seiji Owaza and the Berliner Philharmoniker had unleashed in each of us. Their seventh Beethoven symphony had made us go from tears to ecstasy,…

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Lux Aeterna : programm suggestion

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Both Bach and Liszt are considered mystical composers. They were deeply religious and would spend much time in prayer, devoting their music to God. Even if the religion isn’t perceived the same way today, their relationship to something bigger than us all, and the door they open to this spiritual dimension is still actual and…

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The shadows of Vienna : Programme suggestion

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Behind the splendour of the Imperial city, hidden in between the pulse of a waltz, crawling behind the golden curtains of the palaces, the other face of Vienna shows up. The dark one, the tortured one, the one that Freud will unveil. It makes a brief appearance in one of Mozart’s only works composed in…

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