Beatrice Berrut presenting her newest album: Metanoia

The Swiss concert pianist and Bösendorfer Artist Beatrice Berrut is presenting her newest album Metanoia, with selected pieces by Franz Liszt. Immerse yourself in the mystic sound universe of the Hungarian composer and genius and discover moments of virtuosity, human vulnerability and spiritual inspiration.

Music as healing, music as consolation, and also suffering as a direct inspiration of the act of creating music: at no time has this been more apparent than in the Romantic era, with composers such as Liszt, one of the most contradictory individuals of that period.

The first part of his life was devoted to triumphant tours to every corner of Europe, where he astonished and delighted audiences with his solo “recitals”, for which he composed strong, characterful, virtuosic works displaying his amazing abilities as a pianist. Later his life became more

obscure, more visionary, opening the way for atonality, and finally leading him to adopt the Franciscan habit (his “mantle of renunciation”) and withdraw far from the worldly salons that had brought him fame in his youth. His life, with its shift from the glory of playing before aristocratic audiences to years punctuated by spiritual retreats behind the walls of a monastery, may be seen as an illustration of metanoia. In his life as in his work, Liszt managed to reconcile the extremes, thereby awakening archetypes that are rooted in the human subconscious: his music always represents a

stylised struggle between good and evil, light and darkness. His writing, which may at times be described as Manichean, nevertheless explores all the pains and joys that a human soul can experience and creates an unbreakable thread between feelings that are very remote from each other.

Thus he is in accord with the Jungian concept of healing, in that he “legitimises” and unifies those contradictions by assuming and exalting them. And indeed, what would joy be without sorrow?


(from the Greek μετάνοια): a mental transformation, a reorientation of one’s way of life; also, in a religious sense, penitence, repentance, a spiritual conversion. In Carl Jung’s psychology, metanoia indicates a spontaneous attempt of the psyche to heal itself of unbearable    conflict    by    melting    down    and    then    being reborn    in    a    more    adaptive    form.    

More recently, in 1991, the mountaineer Jeff Lowe famously climbed the north face of the Eiger via a new and    extremely    difficult    route    (since    unrepeated),    which    he    named Metanoia    after    the    life-changing    spiritual    experience he had there.

Beatrice Berrut: Metanoia. Piano Works by Franz Liszt. Recorded on a Bösendorfer Concert Grand 280VC.

Could light exist without darkness? The world achieves a balance through those conflicting values.

And he gives us too the right to be contradictory, inconsistent in our enthusiasms, changing in our moods. There is clearly a parallel between the metanoia, or transformation, that is to be observed in the works I have chosen for this programme – beginning with a struggle in the flames of Dante’s Inferno and ending with the contemplative

 ecstasy of the Consolations – and the radical shift in orientation that took place in the composer’s life: from seducer to canon, from a composer of rhapsodies to the author of the Bagatelle sans tonalité. The religious meaning of metanoia – a spiritual conversion – is also represented by his taking of holy orders and the episodes in his works that express religious devotion: the fourth of his Consolations, for instance, which is to be played “avec dévotion”.

Liszt’s music is very complex in its message, and technically very sophisticated. Tackling it is like being faced with a notoriously difficult mountain peak, the scaling of which demands great effort and involves moments of loneliness and desolation. But all the suffering of the ascent is then rewarded by the exhilaration of achieving the summit. We are left deeply transformed, enriched by what may prove to be a life-changing experience.

Moments of Imagination

As a source of profound transformation, consolation and even healing, and a means of acceding to a spiritual (not necessarily religious) life, music clearly has a role to play, and the influence it has on each one of us is most intimate and personal.

Today, more than ever, listening to music provides us with brief moments of relief and relaxation that are essential to build up our inner world, our emotional individuality. Liszt’s metanoia, his courageous path towards light and serenity, provides a touching and liberating example of a man who assumed his consuming passions and sublimated them in the works he created.

What could be more successful than a life whose fruits continue to bring enjoyment to one’s fellow beings well over a century after their composition? 

Beatrice Berrut

Translation: Mary Pardoe

Beatrice Berrut

Bösendorfer Artist

Described by the Irish Times as “a revelation, an exceptional pianist”, whose “transcendent playing revels in multiple layers of genius and beauty”, and by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “a standout in all categories”, Beatrice Berrut has appeared throughout Europe, America and China. She has played at venues such as the Berliner Philharmonie, Preston Bradley Hall  (Chicago Cultural Center), London’s Wigmore Hall, the Victoria Hall in Geneva, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Teatro Coliseo in Buenos Aires. She gives recitals as well as appearing as a soloist (Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Philharmonie

Südwestfalen, Orchestra della Svizerra italiana, North Czech Philharmonic Teplice, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, amongst others).

Beatrice Berrut was born in the Swiss canton of Valais, and after studying at the Conservatoire in Lausanne and at the Heinrich Neuhaus Foundation in Zurich, she trained for five years with Galina Iwanzowa at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. She went on to
expand her performing skills at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in the class of John O’Conor, who studied with Wilhelm Kempff, there obtaining her Recital Artist Diploma. In 2005 Beatrice

Berrut was invited by Gidon Kremer to take part in his festival in Basel (Les Mosaïques). She plays with renowned partners such as Shlomo Mintz, Itzhak Perlman, Frans Helmerson and Mihaela Martin. She has received many prizes: she was winner of the Eurovision Young Musicians competition in 2002 and the Prix de la Société des Arts de Genève in 2006; in 2011 she was voted “Revelation” by the Association of Music Critics of Argentina and received the Canton of Valais Sponsorship Prize and the “Griffon Culturel” awarded by the Association du Chablais. She also appears regularly on radio and television.

© Beatrice Berrut 2017. Photography Aline Fournier.

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Immerse yourself into the sound universe of the Swiss concert pianist, flawlessly painting unique oeuvres of music with the brilliant colours of the Bösendorfer Sound.