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Jonathan Welsh
MusicWeb International, July 2017

…a magnificent recording of a formidable set of works. …the best of the currently available recordings of these works. There appears to be nothing that Mr. Jin is not capable of playing and his virtuosity, technique and musicianship is phenomenal. I should also say that I am really impressed that Naxos continues to find superhuman pianists who are willing and able to record so well the more virtuosic piano music of Liszt from the 1830’s, before he refined his style to something less difficult. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Alan Becker
American Record Guide, July 2017

When recording the complete piano works (this is Volume 45) it is necessary to cover all bases. Keith Anderson’s absorbing notes do cover many of the differences between the versions; and Jin, Associate Director of the Performing Arts center at Beijing’s Keystone Academy, has the technical equipment to handle all of the immense difficulties. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Review Corner, June 2017

Liszt was one of the most remarkable pianists of all time, and were he alive today he’d probably be in a prog band, trading keyboard solos of fearsome technical complexity with someone like Dream Theater’s John Petrucci. Happily, interminably long and dull prog solos were still more than 100 years away when Liszt composed these, so they’re mostly short, but equally complicated. Sometimes a little too complicated, and pianist Wenbin Jin deserves praise.

It’s entertaining, admittedly. The complexity does get a little too much in places, the speed and difficulty seeming to be the point rather than the enjoyment the listener extracts, but on the other hand it’s rich and luscious, and its virtuosity means it never gets dull. © 2017 Review Corner Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2017

Seldom performed in the concert hall, this Forty-fifth edition in the complete piano music of Franz Liszt contains the original 1837 version of the Douze Grandes Etudes. Though Liszt later asked that this should not be played, as it had been superseded by a later version, it appears as part of his catalogued works, and Leslie Howard was, a couple of decades ago, to record it for the first time as part of his complete Liszt cycle. Composed when he was just twenty-six, it shows that he was a pianist who could perform the most preposterously difficult feats of dexterity that the score encompasses. Move to more recent times and the level of achievement by today’s virtuosos has lifted technical possibilities to new levels, though I guess the Chinese-born pianist, Wenbin Jin, needed the four days over which the disc was recorded to achieve the perfection we hear and enjoy. After a brief finger-warming opening etude, the studies grow in length and complexity, Liszt tantalising the listener by writing in a way that makes you believe three hands are involved. Much of the work depends on dexterity, but as we hear in the Third and Sixth study, it was equally an exercise in creating long lyric lines that had become possible by the modern pianos of the Liszt era. Maybe if we lived in a fantasy world Jin’s left hand would seem to be less rhythmically precise as it works furiously to create the ‘accompaniment’ to the melody in the right hand. But listen to him thrillingly surmount the incredible difficulties in the mercurial Eighth and Tenth study, or the massive climax to the Eleventh, and you may consider that comment as being most ungrateful. The engineer had the unenviable choice of a warm or a dry tone to help inner clarity. He opted for warmth. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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