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Great Pianists: Benno Moiseiwitsch 2

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Audio CD, August 21, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Weber/Tausig : Rondo brillant, op.65, J.260, "Invitation à la danse" - Mendelssohn : Scherzo, op.16 n°2 - Romances sans paroles n°3 op.19 & n°22 op.53 - Liszt : Rhapsodie hongroise n°2 - Etude de concert n°2 - Rêve d'amour n°3 - Wagner-Liszt : Ouverture de Tannhauser / Benno Moiseiwitsch, piano<br>

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Unlike the first volume of historic performances by Benno Moiseiwitsch released by Naxos, which was devoted to major works, the second volume is filled almost entirely with encore pieces, most of which are now rarely heard. The one exception--and it is itself an infrequent visitor to concert halls--is Liszt's gigantic transcription of Wagner's "Tannhauser Overture." In this 1938 recording, one of the pianist's greatest, Moiseiwitsch achieves what even so great a modern master as Jorge Bolet (BMG) failed to do--realize Liszt's seemingly impossible aim of reproducing the sonority and might of the orchestral score on the piano.

The short pieces are just as superb. The 1939 performance of Weber's "Invitation to the Dance" (in Taussig's dazzling arrangement) is matched in elegance and tonal beauty only by the recordings of his fellow Leschetizky students, Ignaz Friedman (Danacord), and Artur Schnabel (APR), both of whom perform Weber's original text. Moiseiwitsch's version of Liszt's Concert Étude in F Minor ("La leggierezza") deserves its legendary reputation. This transcendent reading, with the limpid delicacy and beauty of its leggierissimo playing, brings the work's title to startling life. Moiseiwitsch's dazzling virtuosity was disciplined by calm but intense musicality. He was able to make much-abused pieces such as Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3 and his Second Hungarian Rhapsody sound fresh: whether through the liquid poetry of his playing in the former or his rhythmic élan and devil-may-care good humor in the latter. Any of these performances would make this disc worth buying at full price; Naxos's super-budget price makes it irresistible. --Stephen Wigler


1. Rondo in E flat, Op.11
2. Andante in F, Wo0. 57: Andante Favori
3. Rondo Brilliante In D flat, J.260 (Invitation To The Dance)
4. Fantasiestucke, Op.12: Grillen
5. Romance No.2
6. Waldszenen, Op.82: Vogel Als Prophet
7. Scherzo in e, Op.16 No.2
8. Song Without Words No.3 in A, op.19 No.3
9. Song Without Words No.22 in F, Op.53 No.4
10. Etude Caracteristique, Op.2 No.6
11. Etude De Concert No.2 in f
12. Hungarian Rhap No.2 in c#
13. Liebestraume No.3 in A flat
14. Isoldes Liebestod (Fragment)
15. Tannahuser Ov

Product Details

  • Performer: Benno Moiseiwitsch
  • Composer: Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Ludwig van Beethoven, Carl Tausig, Robert Schumann, Felix [1] Mendelssohn, et al.
  • Audio CD (August 21, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005K3PJ
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,744 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Luke birkla on June 8, 2004
This issue is spectacular. Sound quality, for me is of little consideration when buying a cd. One has to learn to glimpse beneath the veneer of hiss and cracking, and hear the soul and artistry of the player.
This cd, has been beautifully transferred, and reveals the genius of Benno Moiseiwitsch. His artistry is beyond description, it transcends the categories we are used to hearing. Technically, and emotionally, this is a unique record, of a particular tradition or school of pianists. I have never heard piano playing like this, and don't expect to. I shall say no more...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amy on August 20, 2007
If you wonder what a piano can do under the hands of an effortless technician start by listening to Weber's Invitation to the Dance. Moiseiwitsch's sprints through Hummel's E flat Rondo and Mendelssohn's E minor Scherzo. Moiseiwitsch nonchalantly plays Henselt's fingertwisting etude Si Oiseau J Etais. Moiseiwitsch's Liszt playing is amazing. Few other pianists in history have made Liszt's arrangement of Wagner's Tannhauser Overture sound so utterly easy to play, or the Third Liebestraume and Second Hungarian Rhapsody so unhackneyed, heartfelt, and natural as breathing. Play the F minor Etude de Concert and you'll be awestruck by Moiseiwitsch's controlled freedom at the piano. This is one of my all time favorite piano recordings, and I envy anyone hearing it for the first time. Schumann's Prophet Bird and F sharp Romance also show the pianist's eloquent lyricism. On the cd there is also two Mendelssohn Songs Without Words, and the Wagner/Liszt Liebestod. This cd is one that all piano lovers can afford, and no piano lover can afford to miss.
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By Polymath on October 16, 2013
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In 50 years of listening to many classical pianists I have rarely if ever heard anyone play the Romantic repertoire with the remarkable combination of lyrical expression and effortless virtuosity that Benno Moiseiwitsch displays on this CD. What more is there to say?
One little comment having nothing to do with the CD per se. I take minor issue with the lead-in Editorial Review: namely, while Moiseiwitsch's reading of the Liszt transcription of the Tannhauser Overture is indeed fantastic, Bolet's, while not quite as magisterial, is nonetheless not too shabby!
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Seth Joseph Rosenbloom on September 7, 2004
Just listen to the Wagner-Liszt overture, and you'll know why I gave this item five stars.
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