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Rediscovered Liszt Recital Original recording remastered
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Bolet links every note seamlessly to the next, like a string of beads, an effect reinforced by a pearly, limpid tone. Bolet always refused to subordinate his lyric gifts to mere technical facility, so even pieces other virtuosos turn into barn-burners, like Funérailes and Rhapsodie espagnole, are more measured here, with each note given its full value and the flashier aspects present but secondary to the total picture. The final track, Liszt's dazzling piano arrangement of Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture, is breathtaking, not only because of Bolet's supreme mastery of this devilishly difficult piece, but also because it was recorded in one impromptu take after a formal recording session was over.
The entire contents of this disc, recorded in 1972 and 1973, were buried in RCA's vaults and never released until now. Their discovery and release are something to be grateful for, since they burnish Bolet's posthumous reputation and give enormous pleasure. --Dan Davis
Top Customer Reviews
Although Bolet released several CDs of Liszt music; most prominently the double CD on Decca in the mid 1980's, I believe this one to be his finest. I am currently an undergraduate piano student, and I have become inspired to play the music of Liszt through hearing great pianists such as Bolet. I am currently playing and learning the Spanish Rhapsody, Tannhauser Overture, Liebestraum No. 3, and Un Sospiro; all of which are featured on this album.
The recordings on this CD are approximately ten years earlier than the one released on the Decca label, the mid 1970's. I believe that Bolet was technically as well as musically in his prime during this period of his life. This assessment is based on a comparison of his recordings from the 1970's vs. the 1980's, as well as the testimony of my longtime piano teacher, who while completing his graduate studies at Juilliard had an opportunity to see Bolet perform at Carnegie Hall in the mid 1970's, although this performance does not correspond with the one released on the "Great Pianists of the 20th Century".
The Un Sospiro recording on this album is one of the best. With Bolet as well as other great pianists, technical proficiency is not an issue in his playing. Looking at strictly the musical aspects, his interpretation of this piece is great. It has an overall mood of melancholy, more than anything, which I think is particularly evident in the closing measures of the piece.
The Spanish Rhapsody and Tannhauser Overture are two unfortunately neglected pieces among the piano literature.Read more ›
Just when you think you've got enough records, enough great performances, enough emotional and monetary investment, along comes a cd like this and makes this hobby of collecting all worthwhile. Fabulous!
Well this CD has proven me wrong! Wow! I remember first listening to this CD in a library while studying for some stupid AP exam (chemistry ) and 5 seconds into the first piece (Liebestraum Nr. 3) I was hooked and could NOT pay attendtion to the stupid book anymore. I sat there and listened all the way to the 5th track motionlessly before returning to read about acids and bases, and even so I was routinely interrupted by the beautiful music. In fact now days I listen to the CD EVERYDAY, especially the Tannhauser Overature at the very end.
Bolet plays beautifully. From the first Liebestraum Nr. 3, he gives us true meaning of the word "Libebestraum" (or "Dreams of Love" translated) with a very gentle touch but is nevertheless full of "passionato" and "expressivo". The second track (Gnomenreigen), the 7th (Grand Galop chromtaique) and especially the 5th (La campanella) are all "cute" pieces that are great for encores. Un sospiro (track 3) is probably my favourite: it has the qualities of a cantabile but is infused with a passion that is rarely expressed by other pianists. Bolet's techique is flawless and the meleody sings with a rare beauty.
Now onto the centerpiece of the CD, the Tannhauser. Legend has it that this was such a diffcult piece that even Liszt himself when performing had to stop in the middle to rest. It is littered with octives, double octives, diffcult chords and plenty of fast and trill like passages. For Mr. Bolet, he decided to record this in an impromptu after a day of recording.Read more ›
I never dared hope that such a recording would ever surface. (Just what other holdings does RCA have?). A pity more recent recordings do not have such glorious sound. Very little, if any editing was done to these performances; Bolet preferred long takes and great honesty. Better to have a few finger slips than a pallid, careful performance. Bolet manages to keep all the balls bouncing and still keep his own! Also of note is the Rhapsody Espagnole, which Bolet frequently performed live but never commercially recorded--until now. The only extant version came from a live performance at Indiana University in 1972 (Lyra House LHL 1002). This is a must for all those who love truly great piano playing in the tradition of Rachmaninoff, Hofmann, Lhevinne and Godowsky or want to know it. Recommended without any reservations.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am happy to have a recording of the lost tapes that Bolet recorded and were never produced on CD until many years later. I believe his interpretation of Liszt's Liebestraum No. Read morePublished 1 day ago by A. Hiniker
I watched Jorge play live in Norway in the sixties. Never forget that concert. Now listening to this CD brings all the good memories back. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Dagfinn Moe
This is great Liszt playing, BUT DO NOT BUY THIS CD!! Instead get the Complete RCA and Columbia Album Collection in which it is included. Maarston also has two sets of Bolet live. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Dr. J. J. Kregarman
The best player in piano solo history on La campanella. Clear, passionate, and elegant. Educational!Published 16 months ago by wyang37694
I have found my favorite on the keys! Bolet! His playing is refined, spot on. Subtle mastery, every note seems to gently flow, while containing complete definition.Published on July 12, 2013 by chuck deccio
When I was a child my grandmother would practice these pieces on her gran piano as I lay beneath it. They transported me then. They tansport me now.Published on April 30, 2013 by Julie A. Hall
I cannot imagine any performance which would surpass these. Bolet is a superb artist in these works. Recommended without reservation.Published on April 1, 2013 by Opera lover
A superb work. Cubans are renowned musicians, but their reputation rests primarily in the Cuban style of music. Read morePublished on January 1, 2013 by A. Simon