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Great Interpreters Play Liszt


Release Date: 01/13/2009 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 93786   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl WildLazar BermanSviatoslav RichterGyörgy Cziffra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 10 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is pretty much a case of rounding up the troops. A look at the head note will show some classic performances, others rather wizened in years but still long on class, and still others that are lesser known. Astute discographers will note that the process of rounding up also constitutes a sub-group of Brilliant’s own catalogue. We’ve had the Klára Würtz performances in a ‘Romantic Piano Music’ disc for example [92122] and its extraction here is worthwhile; she’s a much under-appreciated player and these recordings, made in 2003, reflect well on all concerned. Further digging shows that the Pizarro Hungarian Rhapsodies can be found on 92790 and the Brendel Liszt performances can be found in Brilliant’s huge box set devoted to Read more the pianist [93761]. And so on.

Earl Wild’s disc derives from a 1968 Vanguard session called ‘The Demonic Liszt’ though you wouldn’t know it from the notes here – though to be fair all the recording dates are noted throughout the ten discs. It’s predictably brilliant, full of panache and brio - a fabulously voiced Réminiscences de 'Robert le Diable' de Meyerbeer: Valse infernale prominently. The Mephisto Waltz No.1 is every Wildeans ticket to ride and includes his own sulphurous emendations. No reservations at all.

The second disc is shared between Lazar Berman and Richter. You’ll find the Richter performance of the Sonata on 92229, intense, powerful, sepulchral, with passing digital imperfections but vertiginous dynamic contrasts. Berman made a series of fantastic Liszt recordings and these 1972 inscriptions are exceptionally fine as are the ones in the later disc devoted to him. He is virtuosic but astutely musical and offers a powerful contrast to the next named musician. Because when Cziffra comes on the scene fireworks are seldom far behind. But these are his Hungaratons and not the EMI discs from the late 1950s. He essays a barnstorming series of transcriptions and paraphrases. His Grand galop chromatique is blisteringly madcap, his Tannhäuser of greater clarity but not necessarily greater warmth or impact than Moiseiwitsch’s, and there’s a stunning if rather forceful Les Jeux d'eau à la Villa d'Este.

Vladimir Ovchinikov recorded his set of the Études d'éxécution transcendante for EMI in the late 1980s. He has technique to burn and these are, in the main, highly persuasive performances. His Preludio is excellent, the A minor Etude dynamic and intense and here and in Paysage his expansive romantic cantabile delights the ear. Mazeppa is impressive from any perspective and there’s commanding authority in Eroica. Occasionally he can be too plain – Ricordanza – but as a whole this is a valuable retrieval. Pizarro’s two discs of Hungarian Rhapsodies present occasionally father fuzzy recording quality but good performances. He is splendid in No.5 finding its hooded soul with unerring eloquence aided by a full and expressive range of tonal colours. As with Ovchinikov there are times – in Nos. 6 and 10 for example– when he lacks the kind of Cziffra-like brio necessary.

Talking of whom Klára Würtz’s Gnomenreigen is almost as fast as Cziffra’s and her Mephisto Waltz No.1 is possibly more searching as a performance than his, though less daemonic. Her brief contribution to the box is powerful. Brendel’s entire Vox, Vanguard and Turnabout recordings form the thirty-five CDs of the ‘Brendel Edition’on Brilliant. They include the four CDs’ worth of Liszt recordings he set down. Here we have two but they are quite enough to convince anyone of Brendel’s authority in this repertoire. Hard edged though the recordings can be there’s no gainsaying the controlled eloquence, virtuosity and phrasal assurance of Tremolo from the Paganini etudes nor the immaculate Petrarch sonnets. If his Sonata recording had been here as well that would have been a clincher.

So ten CDs, variously sourced, form the contents of the box. The recordings range across the years and the labels. These things are invariably difficult to adjudicate and recommendation will invariably be personal. For what it’s worth I found the box a well-chosen selection.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Réminiscences de "Robert le Diable": Valse infernale, S 413 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Germany 
2.
Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145: no 2, Gnomenreigen by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1862-63; Rome, Italy 
3.
Mephisto Polka for Piano, S 217 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Rome, Italy 
4.
Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke, S 514 "Mephisto Waltz no 1" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859-1860; Weimar, Germany 
5.
Réminiscences de Don Juan (Mozart), S 418 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Germany 
6.
Paraphrase on a Waltz from Gounod's "Faust", S 407 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1861; Weimar, Germany 
7.
Années de pèlerinage, première année, S 160 "Suisse": no 1, La chapelle de Guillaume Tell by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848-1854; Weimar, Germany 
8.
Années de pèlerinage, première année, S 160 "Suisse": no 2, Au lac de Wallenstadt by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848-1854; Weimar, Germany 
9.
Années de pèlerinage, première année, S 160 "Suisse": no 6, Vallée d'Obermann by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848-1854; Weimar, Germany 
10.
Années de pèlerinage, première année, S 160 "Suisse": no 8, Le mal du pays by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Weimar, Germany 
11.
Années de pèlerinage, première année, S 160 "Suisse": no 9, Les cloches de Genève by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Weimar, Germany 
12.
Sonata for Piano in B minor, S 178 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852-1853; Weimar, Germany 
13.
Overture to Wagner's "Tannhäuser", S 442 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Weimar, Germany 
14.
Paraphrase on Quartet from Verdi's "Rigoletto", S 434 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Weimar, Germany 
15.
Wedding March and Dance of the Elves from Mendelssohn's "A Midsummernight's Dream", S 410 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849-1850; Weimar, Germany 
16.
Tarantelle di bravura "La Muette di Portici" (Auber), S 386 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846 
17.
Grand galop chromatique for Piano, S 219 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Switzerland 
18.
Valses oubliées (4) for Piano, S 215: no 1 in F sharp major by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Rome, Italy 
19.
Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145: no 1, Waldesrauschen by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1862-63; Rome, Italy 
20.
Années de pèlerinage no 3, S 163: no 4, Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867-1877; Rome, Italy 
21.
Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145: no 2, Gnomenreigen by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1862-63; Rome, Italy 
22.
Valse impromptu for Piano, S 213 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1850; Weimar, Germany 
23.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 19 in D minor by Franz Liszt
Performer:  György Cziffra (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; Budapest, Hungary 
24.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Vladimir Ovchinikov (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
25.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Artur Pizarro (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1886 
26.
Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145: no 1, Waldesrauschen by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Klára Würtz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1862-63; Rome, Italy 
27.
Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145: no 2, Gnomenreigen by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Klára Würtz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1862-63; Rome, Italy 
28.
Liebesträume for Piano, S 541: no 3, O Lieb, so lang by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Klára Würtz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1850; Weimar, Germany 
29.
Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke, S 514 "Mephisto Waltz no 1" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Klára Würtz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859-1860; Weimar, Germany 
30.
Années de pèlerinage no 3, S 163: no 4, Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Klára Würtz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867-1877; Rome, Italy 
31.
Sonata for Piano in B minor, S 178 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Emil Gilels (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852-1853; Weimar, Germany 
32.
Réminiscences de Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti), S 397 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835-1836; Geneva, Switzerland 
33.
Paraphrase on the "Miserere" from Verdi's "Trovatore", S 433 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Weimar, Germany 
34.
Réminiscences de Norma (Bellini), S 394 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Paris, France 
35.
Weber's "Oberon" Overture, S 574 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Weimar, Germany 
36.
Bénédiction et Serment from Berlioz's "Cellini", S 396 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852; Weimar, Germany 
37.
Pilgrim's Chorus from Wagner's "Tannhäuser", S 443 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861; Weimar, Germany 
38.
Grandes Etudes (6) de Paganini, S 141 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
39.
Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, S 161 "Italie": no 4, Sonetto 47 del Petrarca by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 
40.
Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, S 161 "Italie": no 5, Sonetto 104 del Petrarca by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 
41.
Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, S 161 "Italie": no 6, Sonetto 123 del Petrarca by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 
42.
Venezia e Napoli, S 162: no 3, Tarantella by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Weimar, Germany 
43.
Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, S 173 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1852; Weimar, Germany 
44.
Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, S 161 "Italie": no 7, Après une lecture du Dante by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 
45.
Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke, S 514 "Mephisto Waltz no 1" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859-1860; Weimar, Germany 
46.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139: no 1, Preludio by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
47.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139: no 3, Paysage by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
48.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139: no 5, Feux follets by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
49.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139: no 6, Vision by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
50.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139: no 10 in F minor by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
51.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139: no 11, Harmonies du soir by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
52.
Transcendental Etudes (12) for Piano, S 139: no 12, Chasse-neige by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Weimar, Germany 
53.
Rhapsodie espagnole for Piano, S 254 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lazar Berman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1863; Rome, Italy 

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