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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Collection, 15 Jun. 2013
By 
J. Gibbons (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Liszt: Orchestral Works and Piano and Orchestra - EMI Germany (Audio CD)
EMI have reissued their collection of Kurt Masur's Leipzig recordings of Lizst's orchestral music with a new cover design. The Gewandhaus Orchestra was in top form for these sessions recorded as a joint production with VEB in the closing years of the GDR. Kurt Masur, a fine conductor, shows complete empathy with Liszt's music and these discs remain among his very finest recordings.

Whilst Liszt's piano music has become more popular in recent years, his orchestral output, apart from a few favourites like 'Les Preludes', remains somewhat neglected. Masur includes the thirteen tone poems, the second Mephisto waltz, the Dante and Faust symphonies and the two episodes from Lenau's 'Faust'. They are remarkable works full of harmonic daring, great melodic invention and rhythmic subtlety. Masur's interpretations are first class; they treat the music with respect and are totally responsive to its varying moods.

The remaining discs include the bulk of Liszt's music for piano and orchestra. The pianist is Michel Beroff who shows great virtuosity and understanding of this technically very difficult music. Although Richter's performances of the concertos remain the finest on record, Beroff's are very enjoyable - as indeed are his of the other, lesser known, works included. As you would expect, Masur and his orchestra are ideal partners.

Masur also recorded Liszt's 'Hungarian Rhapsodies' in their orchestral form for VEB (this time in partnership with Philips). It's a pity that agreement could not have been reached so that they could have been included in this box and thus complete a very valuable body of recordings.

The discs have not been remastered but the sound is excellent. A highly recommended set.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Liszt: Orchestral Works and Piano and Orchestra - EMI Germany (Audio CD)
This is a Fantastic all round little collection.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OK You win!, 13 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Liszt: Orchestral Works and Piano and Orchestra - EMI Germany (Audio CD)
I have always regarded Liszt as the least talented known creative figure in all of the Arts - a purveyor of ugly meretricious trash. I thought much the same of Berlioz half a century ago, and forced myself to attend a performance of "L'Enfance du Christ" at the Edinburgh Festival under the young (!) Colin Davis with singers long since dead. I was more or less praying when I left. In that same season, I remember another youngish performer, one Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was giving several concerts, and at the concert which contained the premier of Tippett's "Concerto for Orchestra" there sitting next to me was D F-D.
My feelings about Liszt have remained the same, but I knew this set had almost lengendary status. At this price, I thought, I will give Liszt the Berlioz treatment. There is a famous test question;
"Was X a genius or charlatan?" to which the answer is sometimes," Yes." (eg Berlioz)
Well, I am now convinced that the answer in Liszt's case should be, "Not quite either".
I am not praying, but enjoying this stuff! And this is how to play is - straight and not OTT at all. The sound is remarkably good, too. Try it! That's an order!
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