Top critical review
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Off the pace
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.