Review by: Jed Distler

Artistic Quality: 6

Sound Quality: 6

This release from Brilliant Classics aims to flesh out Tamás Vásáry’s solo Deutsche Grammophon discography beyond his previously reissued Chopin. A rare 1982 Brahms disc promises more than it delivers, with stiff accounts of the Op. 21 and Op. 35 Variation sets (notwithstanding interesting individual details), and generally graceful, supple interpretations of the Op. 76 pieces (Nos. 2 and 3 contain marvelous distinction of legato and detached passages). The 1970 Debussy selections won’t win contests for color and tonal magic, yet they’re scrupulously executed and intelligently shaped. Most of the Liszt pieces stem from Vásáry’s earliest sessions, where the close microphone placement and dry-point detailing reveals the MRI-like clarity of the pianist’s proficient, frighteningly honest fingerwork. However, don’t expect the kinetic sweep and dramatic impetus of timbrally similar, contemporaneous Liszt sonatas by Fleisher and Curzon, or Cziffra’s madcap Rhapsodies. An artistically uneven compilation, true, but I’m glad to reconnect with the Debussy, the Brahms Op. 76, and much of the Liszt material again, as will other piano mavens with long memories.

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: None for this collection

FRANZ LISZT - Piano Sonata in B minor; Polonaise No. 2 in E major; Don Juan Fantasy; Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos. 6 & 15; Consolations Nos. 2 & 3; Valse impromptu; Rigoletto Paraphrase; Légende de St François de Paule marchant sur les eaux; Paganini Etudes Nos. 2 & 3
JOHANNES BRAHMS - Variations Op. 21 Nos. 1 & 2; Variations on a Theme of Paganini Op. 35; Piano Pieces Op. 76
CLAUDE DEBUSSY - Suite bergamasque; Tarentelle styrienne; Deux Arabesques; Pour le piano; La plus que lente; L'Isle joyeuse; Masques

  • Támas Vásáry (piano)

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