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Liszt: Klavierkonzerte Nos. 1 & 2/ Totentanz
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To open Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1, the orchestra gives a first-rate opening to usher in Krystian Zimerman. What follows is truly extraordinary! Zimerman plays the runs with a power that does not exceed beauty. Every note in his runs rings with clarity. Zimerman's sense of rhythm is impeccable, and he plays the soft sections with great sensitivity and poetry.
However, Zimerman also uses a sort of muscular playing for the louder, more aggressive playing, but it is not like the sometimes overly muscular playing of pianists like Horowitz or Argerich. Zimerman belongs to the class of self-effacing pianists like Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia who use their brilliant pianism to communicate the composer's intentions poetically.
The second concerto is full of the same graceful effort and attention to detail and poetry. Zimerman, Ozawa, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra create a nostalgic mood that escapes words. The stretto to end the concerto is brilliant and full of amazing energy!
However, I believe that the most impressive performance among those on this CD is that of the Totentanz. This is Zimerman at his most ferocious and virtuosic. He thunders away to open the Totentanz, and then he gives full attention to the urgent runs up and down the piano. Everything Zimerman does sounds terrific and makes so much sense musically. The virtuosity is incredible, and the orchestra is thrilling. The second-to-the-last variation is absolutely mind-blowing and sends chills up and down my back and arms!!
In short, this CD, I believe, is the definitive set of these works.Read more ›
This is by far my favorite recording of the piano concertos of Liszt. The sound quality is fantastic, with no audible "hissing" or glitches in the sound. His interpretation of the music is simply so much more interesting than any other that I've heard that there's no comparison. For example, at the end of the cadenza a short way into the first movement of the first concerto, he rushes the last few chords. I've never heard any other pianist do that, but it has great effect. From the austere moments to the glimmering, he plays with style Lisztian enough to satisfy whatever any Liszt lover could want. I highly recommend this CD.
One reviewer called the Liszt Concertos "bad good music" and Totentanz "good bad music", which sums it up perfectly, and Zimerman's taste in the former and relish in the latter are apparent everywhere on this glorious disc. All in all, a fine companion to the other disc of his that I would unreservedly recommend, his stunning Brahms sonatas.
I found out later that Krystian Zimerman only plays his own piano, which he personally tunes and repairs when needed...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Anything by Franz Liszt played by Christian Zimmerman is excellent. These two piano concertos are outstanding!Published 9 months ago by Lee Gaffrey
I don’t know if Liszt’s piano concertos (plus the famous Totentanz) are more than a wonderful framework for displaying the soloist’s virtuosity. Read morePublished 12 months ago by P. Adrian
This well recorded disc from 1987 delivers truly exciting performances of all three works in typically crisp manner by Zimerman. Read morePublished on December 8, 2013 by I. Giles
The conventional wisdom seems to be that this is the gold standard of Liszt concerto recordings, and it certainly is fine. Read morePublished on April 28, 2013 by Stanley Crowe
Krystian Zimmerman has a talent for bringing to the music he performs a feeling of his having spoken to the composer about his intentions in the music he composed. Read morePublished on February 18, 2008 by John F. Johnson
I heard this recording of the Liszt Piano Concerto No.1 on the radio and was amazed at the the artistry an technical skill of Krystian Zimerman. I just had to have a copy.Published on October 6, 2007 by Frank Shoufer
Krystian Zimerman is one of the greatest pianists of the modern era. His technique is outstanding, but it is the superb artistry of his performances which makes him one of the few... Read morePublished on December 20, 2006 by D. R. Schryer