St. Francis; Ervin Nyiregyhazi Telefunken
LP AW 6.42626
Dante Sonata, Vallee d’Obermann; Lazar
Berman DG 437 206-2
Mr. Berkofsky’s story
is an interesting one. He was crippled
in a motorcycle accident and recovered
his pianistic skill against all medical
odds. He felt that the recovery of his
abilities was a gift he was obligated
to share and has since dedicated his
career to benefit performances for charities.
This is in the image of Liszt who generally
performed half of his concerts for charity
during the height of his popularity
and thereafter came out of retirement
regularly for no other reason than to
help various worthy causes.
I am delighted to be
able to tell you that Mr. Berkofsky
is a fine Liszt pianist bringing to
his music the same aggression and daring
he likely used while riding his motorcycle.
The only slight disappointment is that
the massive piano sound tends to overwhelm
the recording apparatus resulting in
a jarring thunder rather than a deep,
warm, resonant, engulfing bass sound.
the St. Francis with tremendous
courage and daring; if the music had
had any sense it would have succumbed,
but instead resisted heroically until
the last chord. The Nyiregyhazi recording
of the St. Francis piece is one
of the most astonishing, overwhelming
keyboard recordings ever made, but of
course here it is Berkofsky who has
the better sound.
the Dante Sonata — possibly Liszt’s
single greatest work and hence the greatest
keyboard work of the mid Nineteenth
Century — but there was some struggle
along the way. Lazar Berman attains
that particular summit with less apparent
effort and better recorded sound in
one of the greatest keyboard recordings
of the Twentieth — or any — Century.
A live Berkofsky recital
must be one of the most exciting events
of any concert year, and I wouldn’t
miss it for the world. And, the added
benefit is that it’s all for charity.
Hopefully, Mr. Berkofsky’s next recital
will be better recorded.