Ervin Nyiregyhazi (1903-1987) was one of the rare pianists who could hold an audience in his spell. Unfortunately, the CBS Masterworks recordings from around 1976 are a little eccentric for most of our faint-hearted listeners, who like obvious musical choices that are cliched and somewhat boring. Nevertheless, while these present recordings of transcriptions by the controversial pianist are occasionally bizarre and wilful, there is a magnificent feeling of chance-taking that is rare among recorded artists today. Listen to the extraordinarily pellucid tone in the Wagner excerpts, and the overwhelming power and majesty of some of the pianism in the Verdi Trovatore excerpt. The Tschaikowsky is also colossal in scale, the Lensky theme never sounding more beautiful or monumental. If only there were more recordings of this man, perhaps we could have a clearer idea of his talent. But alas, we only have a few hours of recorded bits, and almost none of it is well-known repertoire. Still, if Sony has some sense of history, perhaps they can release the 1970s albums once again onto CD, as well as some unreleased material. (There is sure to be more of this!) But now we must content ourselves with this fascinating, yet flawed, aural experience from a dissolute, dipsomaniacal diva of the keyboard.