Liszt: Sonata in B minor, “Liebestraum No. 3”, “Valse Oubliée No. 1”, “Gnomenreigen”, “Berceuse” – Sir Clifford Curzon
Modesty is a virtue, it is said. And that is precisely what DECCA must have had in mind when they entitled the present Liszt recording “A Recital”. More fitting and in no way over-exaggerated would have been “Essential Liszt”, for all the works on the present recording are true highlights.
The B minor Sonata is not only considered Liszt’s most important piano composition but is moreover among the most magnificent and powerful piano works ever written. Clifford Curzon performs this work with amazing sovereignity, working his way through the work’s rugged intricacies safely and surely, never missing even the tiniest motivic fragment.
After a short pause to draw one’s breath, we move on to enjoy the famous Liebestraum with its passionate recurring theme. The spirited and vigorous Valse oubliée is followed by the dazzling Gnomenreigen taken at a pace which almost verges on folly. This virtuosic firework display is brought to a contemplative close with the lyrical Berceuse in a masterly performance full of inner peace and clarity.
This recording is perfect in every sense, both musically and technically, and is therefore recommended not only to confirmed lovers of Liszt but to those who are just beginning their love affair with him.
Recording: September 1963 at Sofiensaal, Vienna by Roy Wallace / Production: Michael Brenner