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Liszt: Klavierkonzerte Nos. 1 & 2/ Totentanz

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 10, 1988
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Editorial Reviews

Franz Liszt Klavierkonzerte Nos.1&2. Totentanz Zimerman; Ozawa and Boston Symphony Orch.
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
1
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5:31
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8:55
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4:02
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7:27
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8:19
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4:23
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1:44
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Product Details

  • Performer: Krystian Zimerman
  • Orchestra: Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Seiji Ozawa
  • Composer: Franz Liszt
  • Audio CD (October 10, 1988)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001G9B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,820 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Rossi on July 25, 2002
Format: Audio CD
After listening to this CD repeatedly, I feel compelled to share my thoughts and responses about the outstanding performances of Krystian Zimerman and Seiji Ozawa.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't know what could possibly keep this CD from a 5-star rating. The first review below claims huge glitches in the soundtrack...uh, there are none. And I hear no loud passages in which "mistakes have obviously been made" either. It's probably just a Richter fan disgruntled because this recording is so good. I mean, come on people! This is a digital recording of Krystian Zimerman, the master of technical prowess, made by Deutsche Grammophon, one of the absolute best record labels. That's like claiming the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's recordings have huge mistakes in the playings...it's just not plausible. ...
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Although I don't count Zimerman in the most exalted class of interpreters (despite his flawless pianism), this is a phenomenal record by any standards, the only real competition to the Richter recording of these same works. Zimerman's technical address is so all-encompassing, his sense of nuance so complete, that he makes these works sound diabolical, especially Totentanz, by far the best I've heard. The Totentanz makes leads one to think that Zimerman must have a terrific sense of humor, so clever and tastefully garish (if you can imagine it) does he make the piece sound.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
This recording of the Liszt #2 literally took my breath away. As I listened to it, I realized that something extraordinary was happening, an absolutely perfect performance. Expression, tempo, articulation, nuance, balance. As the concerto neared its climactic conclusion, the suspense was unbearable. Would they end it perfectly or would there be something, however minor, that would create a flaw? I anxiously held my breath as the concerto concluded gloriously, majestically, triumphantly. They had done it! Absolutely perfect. "Wow"!!!

I found out later that Krystian Zimerman only plays his own piano, which he personally tunes and repairs when needed...
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Format: Audio CD
Whilst I would agree with most of the comments re. the performance of these pieces, there can be no doubt that DG have no idea how to balance a piano with an orchestra. I'ts okay in the quiet passages, but during the louder sections, the piano is louder than the orchestra! So you turn down the volume to a realistic level for the piano, and then the orchestra sounds as if they are 50 yards behind the piano. Why can't recording engineers set a realistic level for the piano, or at least place the microphones at a sensible distance from the sound board?
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