- Audio CD (Jan. 12 2007)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: EMI Classics
- ASIN: B00005AVML
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #89,826 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Hungarian Rhaps, S.244: No.2 in c#|
|2. Hungarian Rhaps, S.244: No.6 in D flat|
|3. Hungarian Rhaps, S.244: No.8 in f#|
|4. Hungarian Rhaps, S.244: No.9 in E flat 'Carnival In Pest'|
|5. Hungarian Rhaps, S.244: No.10 in E|
|6. Hungarian Rhaps, S.244: No.11 in a|
|7. Hungarian Rhaps, S.244: No.12 in c#|
|8. Hungarian Rhaps, S.244: No.13 in a|
|9. Hungarian Rhaps, S.244: No.14 in f|
|10. Hungarian Rhaps, S.244: No.15 in a|
I am not actually a huge fan of Liszt--but my Mom was and is. Her favorite piece that she played on our piano was Hungarian Rhapsody #6, and our whole family loved to listen to this recording for its insane tempi, the rhythmic variations and pure fire in the expression. Would that we could ever play a tenth as well as Cziffra.
Cziffra, who was a Hungarian Gypsy (Rom, more properly) had a career that read like an adventure novel. He was imprisoned during the war, made to carry bricks and mortar hods with those precious hands. He ended up in Paris, playing in jazz clubs (now that would have been something to hear!) His life was never easy, though he did enjoy, finally, monstrous popularity both in France and internationally.
This recording is perhaps the most characteristic of his playing, as the Rhapsodies are a fine canvas for exuberant expression and frank liberties not only with tempo and rhythm but even with the score itself. This is a recording that makes my heart palpitate every time I play it. It is over the top--but then, so was Liszt himself. Absolutely breathtaking.
There is a certain style and technique that every composer demands of his performers. No performer is universally perfect, but some come closer to achieving the particular style of a given composer that other performers. Artur Schnabel, despite his clumsy fingerwork, gives us the definitive Beethoven interpretations with his broad-sighted view of the structure of the sonatas, combined with great rhythmic vitality and dynamic contrasts. Glenn Gould, despite his near-total oblivion to Baroque performance practice, gives us the most contrapuntally lucid, rhythmically and dynamically even, and inspiring readings of the Bach keyboard works ever recorded. And Gyorgy Cziffra, despite his outrageous fluctuations in tempo and alterations of the score, provides the most thrilling and technically dazzling plowing through of these 10 hungarian rhapsodies. Cziffra plays the hungarian rhapsodies extravertedly, with wit, finesse, THE greatest technique I have ever heard, occasionally with a tempo, and usually with what Liszt wrote. The last two comments are where contraversy arises. Cziffra added passages and notes into some of the rhapsodies that slightly change the flavor of the music, but it always sounds like Liszt. He also omits the fast scale near the end of number 15 (I don't know why; throughout he plays much harder scales brilliantly), but the performance does not suffer at all from his odd decisions. Also, Cziffra was trained in the 20s and 30s, when alterations of the score were very commonplace (the university had not yet become the primary patron of the music at that point; therefore the intellectual piety towards the composers' marks had not yet developped).Read more ›