FRIEDMAN PLAYS MENDELSSOHN, CHOPIN & LISZT

Review by: Jed Distler

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 4

Aside from Pearl’s complete edition, Romantic piano legend Ignaz Friedman’s recordings have been hard to track down in single CD compilations. Biddulph, in essence, offers Friedman’s greatest hits: his wild and wooly Chopin Mazurkas, a luscious yet virile selection from Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words, and his rakish, over-the-top Liszt Second Rhapsody. Friedman’s epic style happily absorbs his fondness for adding octaves and double notes, filled-in fifths, and fanciful cascades like the descending run at the end of Chopin’s A-flat Ballade. This is the second of Friedman’s two recorded versions, better controlled but not as forceful as his earlier one. Friedman’s angular treatment of Chopin’s F-sharp Impromptu seems a shade brusque compared to Cortot’s more poetic 1933 reading. On the other hand, the diamond-like brilliance and incredible polyphonic control Friedman brings to the same composer’s E-flat Nocturne Op. 55 No. 2 remains unequalled. Unfortunately, Rick Torres’ overfiltered transfers are no match for those in the Philips Edition, which contain all these selections plus much more on two discs. It’s worth the few extra dollars. Biddulph, though, boasts more interesting booklet notes, penned by Friedman biographer Allan Evans.



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Recording Details:

Album Title: FRIEDMAN PLAYS MENDELSSOHN, CHOPIN & LISZT
Reference Recording: This one

VARIOUS - Various

  • Ignaz Friedman (piano)

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