Both for those that would like to find out for the first time what Liszt is all about, and for those few that are very familiar with the Paganini of the 88: LOOK NO FURTHER!
It doesn't get any better than this.
After I heard throughout the seventies about this "unknown" great of the romantic repertoire, I was fortunate enough to see him for the first time about a month after he recorded the first issue of this now legendary Liszt series. While his technique may not have exactly been what it used to be before (e.g. Orage in Suisse of Les Annees), all the performances benefit from the wisdom of many, many years. While all the performances are of a uniform Olympic level, two issue stand out in my mind.
First, there is the cd of Schubert Liszt transcriptions. Bolet really sets the standards for "singing" on the piano. His version of "Der Muller und der Bach" has to be believed to be heard.
Most importantly though, there is "Suisse" the first year of Liszt's years of pilgrimage. I own this disc from the day it appeared on the shelves and still listen to it every month. Surely, there are more technically brilliant versions. For the true "Liszt Nuts", I would certainly advise Leslie Howard's version of "L'Album d'un voyageur", that contains the first version of many of the "Suisse" pieces, and some additional pieces that Frenz (for reasons that escape me completely) excluded from the later Suisse. Yet, nobody, not even Brendel or Berman, have come close to Bolet on delivering on the central theme of Suisse, man finding himself back in an exploration of nature.
While they stem from the earlier days of digital recording the recordings are still more than respectable and benefit greatly from Bolet's attention for color, aided by his favorite Bechstein.
Many of these recordings have not been available for a while. Get them before they're history!