One of my favorite piano pieces is Liszt's transcendental etude “Harmonies du soir”. Unfortunately, many chords are way too large for my hands. I noticed that in all recordings I know, the pianists break up chords to arpeggios even when Liszt did not write so (starting at bar 6 in Edition Peters). Just out of curiosity: Does someone know a recording which is 100% faithful to the score? (I guess it doesn't sound much different.)

2 Answers 2


Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997) was a Russian pianist who notably could play twelfths (the infamous, largest chord of Rachmaninoff). Some chords are written in the piece to be arpeggiated.

I presume from your question you are referring to a recording in which chords written to be played without arpeggiation, are done so by the performer. As far as I can tell, this recording would be what you are after. It is one in which the performer does not take liberty with arpeggiating chords to make Liszt's monumental work more playable.

Take care :)

  • Thanks for your answer! Although I love Richter, he arpeggios the chord on bar 6, which is not written so in the Edition Peters version.
    – Brauer Suzuki
    Oct 3, 2021 at 6:29
  • Hmm, strange. You'd suspect a man of his hand size would not need to do that. Especially strange since that chord is relatively small...must be a stylistic choice. Just looked at the sheet music :/
    – Mannix Showell
    Oct 3, 2021 at 6:40

The recording is not always exact to the song, but it usually makes it more realistically possible to play. If you need to, play the chords with slight arpeggiation. Don't worry, we all have this problem too.

  • Thanks. I'm not worried about my own playing, in fact I will go for its predecessor: etude S.136 no. 7 instead. I was just curious, since literally no one seems to follow the original score. Oct 6, 2021 at 4:48
  • Yeah, original scores are pretty difficult
    – EMScales
    Oct 6, 2021 at 23:06

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