Ravel, Liszt, Chopin

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Chopin,Liszt,Ravel
LABELS: Appian
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Cziffra Live at Senlis
WORKS: Jeux d’eau; Liebestraum No. 3; Polonaise-Fantaisie; Étude en forme de valse
PERFORMER: Georges Cziffra (piano)
These live recordings amply demonstrate Cziffra’s strongly evocative pianism. The acoustic is a little bright for my taste, but it does provide a crisp focus for his boldly projected lines. Throughout this programme Cziffra’s fluid, spontaneous musicality – toughened by the most miraculous technical precision – creates interpretations of outstanding expressive breadth and power. He magically conjures the water imagery in Ravel’s Jeux d’eau with a potent blend of sparkle and subtle tonal shades. However, it is in the selection of Liszt pieces that Cziffra’s fiery passion and dazzling virtuosity takes full flight. He plays with satisfying warmth in the third Liebestraum, compelling energy in the tenth Transcendental Study, thrilling menace in Gnomenreigen and shimmering atmosphere in Les jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este.


Cziffra’s Chopin is distinguished by eloquent fingertip control. His accounts of the Polonaise-Fantaisie and Fantaisie-Impromptu appeal openly to the senses; while he presents the emotional balance of the Introduction and Variations with natural charm and stirs noble emotions in the A flat Polonaise. A scintillating performance of Saint-Saëns’s Étude en forme de valse completes this highly attractive issue. Nicholas Rast