I have produced and recorded some of the most gifted pianists of the last few decades, from Jorge Bolet to Earl Wild to Rian de Waal. (see [...] ). My collection of recordings ranges from the earliest documentation of masters such as Petri, Friedman, Rachmaninoff, etc. to modern technical wizards such as Hamelin and Kissin. I consider all but a handful of today's "pianists" not to be worthy of that title. I write this about myself not to brag, but to give weight to what I am about to say next:
This recording of transcriptions by Joseph Moog is one of the most stunning recordings EVER made.
This young man has fingers which surely know no limits. But thankfully those fingers are controlled by EARS which, along with a natural sense of musicianship, give him the that wonderful, rarely-in-a-lifetime gift called STYLE!
Every lover of true Romantic virtuoso piano music should buy this disc. You will listen to it repeatedly.
Liszt's Norma Fantasy is given a brilliant reading and its huge technical hurdles are easily jumped my Moog. His performance blows away almost every other. The Busoni Sonatina and the Godowsky Gardens are great. Moog's performance of the Chopin-Godowsky "Minute" Waltz ranks among the best on record.
Curiously, Moog seems a bit lost in his performance of Godowsky's version of Saint-Saens "Swan." The piece is played in a very straightforward manner, as if Moog were playing it for the very first time. He plays it in a "nice" manner, and I prefer to hear a bit more sublime sleaziness as provided by Godowsky's chromaticism.
But the performances of Moszkowski's "Venusberg" and Friedman's "Voices of Spring" rise to the ULTIMATE level of pianism. The colors produced in the Moszkowski are breathtaking, created by superb use of the pedals as indicated in the score. And the Friedman easily matches performances by the composer himself, which is no mean feat. The manipulation of rhythms and abundance of colors as created by Moog in the Friedman transcription allow the listener to experience not a performance, but pure music!
Young Joseph Moog has brought to life again the same herculean artistry which was possessed by Jorge Bolet and Earl Wild during the 1950s-1970s in their live performances.
Everyone involved in this production did a splendid job. The recorded sound is first-rate and the instrument is superb, obviously maintained by a master piano technician and tuner.
This disc will never go onto a shelf with my main collection of CDs. It will forever remain right next to my player. That is, whenever I take it out!