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This well recorded disc from 1987 delivers truly exciting performances of all three works in typically crisp manner by Zimerman. Ozawa and the Boston orchestra give excellent support.

The emphasis here is on excitement largely created by fast speeds delivered with clarity. The more gentler parts of all three works are played with due regard to sensitivity but there is no denying that in these recordings these works are seen as primarily as virtuoso display works and that is what we are given.

There are other ways of playing the music of course. Equally virtuoso performances of the concertos but with added weight and more swagger can be experienced on the venerable Katchen disc/s. Those are the ones I grew up with and they still thrill especially in the remastered versions. From the same vintage and also well remastered are the famous recordings from Byron Janis on Mercury and the barnstorming Richter accounts on Philips, best heard in the 50 Great Recordings series. More recently there is a more lyrical but strong set of three performances by Nebolsin on Naxos. There is a pianist to watch and I would recommend his Chopin concertos too.

Zimerman provides an excellent roller-coaster display version of these works which will thrill most. For more weight I would recommend Katchen, Janis and Richter but be careful to get the much improved 24 bit remastered copies. Nebolsin brings a satisfyingly musical approach to these works with less emphasis on sheer display. All of these discs offer good quality and satisfaction in their different ways. Hardened collectors will probably want them all if not acquired already!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 January 2015
The soloist, conductor and orchestra are all on top form in this late Eighties recording of the two Liszt piano concertos plus the less frequently recorded Totentanz. Happily, the DG recording captures the near-incandescence well, making this CD a definite recommended buy either for those with other versions of the concertos in their collections already, or those who want an introduction to these dazzling yet profound works by one of classical music's greatest innovators.
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on 18 May 2010
I decided to buy this recording to see how it compared with recordings I own of the two Liszt piano concertos made in the early 70s on vinyl by the great, late Chilean piano maestro Claudio Arrau.
I was startled within seconds of the start of PC No1 at how rapidly the imposing and dramatic first few bars were hustled along by Ozawa, with his pianist almost rushing to catch up. This was equally noticeable at the end of the piece, with, to me, equal detriment and the overall recording seemed to lack a certain amount of power.
PC No2 was much more 'Arrau like' and I enjoyed this much more. Ozawa's tempo was much more relaxed, both the orchestra and pianist seemed more at ease and the overall performance I found far more satisfying. Zimerman's touch was beautifully light at all the right times but could be equally imposing as required.
Totentanz is a piece with which I was not familiar but it is growing on me.
If I was hearing the Liszt PCs here for the first time, I would probably mark the recording higher. But, overall, I am afraid my 70s Arrau remains my favourite.
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on 29 October 2012
I cannot fault the performance here of the soloist or orchestra, though I have to admit this is my only CD of the works so I am not overly familiar with them. The sound quality is first rate, but for me the balance is a little too forward for the soloist. With most concertos I'm in favour of projecting the soloist but the piano sound just sounds too close for me, with the result that tender moments in the slow movements are not as subtly shaded as perhaps they should be. At the same time, this is a solid performance and I am more than happy with the purchase, albeit I wouldn't be quite as glowing as the Penguin Guide.
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on 23 April 2013
this recording is just about the best performance on cd , clear concise and thoughtfull ,all together I couldnt want better as there is none better
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on 14 July 2012
If you want Totentanz as well as the concertos this disc is for you. Great performances and sound quality. I can't imagine them played any better.
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on 4 September 2015
Arrived in the time frame I was expecting .
Box intact witch is important to me.
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on 14 November 2009
The recording of totentanz on this CD is awesome. It's really violent and dramatic. Someone gave me a tape with various pieces of music on it several years ago, and it had this version of totentanz on it, and I've been searching for it ever since. I'm so glad to have finally found it! It's fantastic...
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on 26 July 2015
Good
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on 13 December 2014
I received and enjoyed it soon!
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