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Franz LISZT (1811-86)
Transcriptions and Paraphrases

Réminiscences de Norma (Bellini), S394 (1841)[14'14]. Chants polonais, S480 - No. 2, Frühling [2'31]. Rigoletto (Verdi) Paraphrase, S434 (1859) [6'44]. Frühlingsnacht (Schumann), S568 (1872) [2'45]. A Faust Symphony, S108 - Gretchen (1854-7) (arr. Mocsari) [18'01]. Widmung (Liebeslied: Schumann), S566 (1848) [4'08]. 'Liebestod' from 'Tristan und Isolde' (Wagner), S447 (1867) [6'05].
Karoly Mocsari (piano).
Rec Salle Adyar, Paris, on 13th-15th November 1990. [DDD]
TIMPANI 1C1004 [55'02]
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Karoly Mocsari has been a prize-winner at the International Liszt Competition. He studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. His teachers include Yvonne Lefébure and Jorge Bolet. It would appear Bolet ignited the flame of the Romantic virtuoso within him, for not only does the present recording offer Liszt's own paraphrases and reminiscences, it also includes Mocsari's own arrangement of the second movement of the 'Faust Symphony,' which takes up nearly half of the disc's playing time.

Despite being typical of its genre, the 'Réminiscences de Norma' does not capture this pianist at the height of his powers. The opening is dark and dramatic, but more fantasy is required. Technically, Mocsari has no problems - it is merely that he has a tendency towards the over-literal. The final pages are too dry to be truly effective. Try Bolet on Philips ‘Great Pianists of the Twentieth Century’ 456 814-2 or Campanella (456 052-2) for accounts which get closer to the spirit of Liszt.

Mocsari is again up against Bolet (and Arrau, for that matter) in the 'Rigoletto' Paraphrase. Once more, in spite of his obvious technical prowess, his statement of the theme of 'Bella figlia d'amore' emerges in a blunt fashion.

Three of Liszt's arrangements of other composers' music intersperse the longer items in this programme. They act as 'tonics' in between the heftier items. In 'Frühling' (Chopin), Mocsari's literal left hand slightly detracts from the simplicity Liszt tries to project. He is freer and less inhibited in Schumann's 'Frühlingsnacht'.

Finishing the recital with the 'Liebestod' is entirely apt: listen to the initial Lisztian chords (a statement of intent if ever there was one), before they subside into 'Mild und leise'.

A unique item to the disc is Mocsari's own transcription of the 'Gretchen' movement of Liszt's 'Faust Symphony' (there is an 1877 arrangement of this movement by the composer, but it is for two pianos). Mocsari summons up some wonderfully Lisztian sonorities as well as rising to the challenge of presenting Gretchen's theme with the utmost tenderness, as he does also when it returns, decorated, later in the piece.

Sound Engineer Igor Kirkwood has done a fine job in capturing the piano sound. In all a fascinating release, not least for the 'Gretchen' arrangement.

Colin Clarke


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F. LISZT
Norma (Bellini) : Reminiscences

- F. LISZT
Fruhling (Chopin) : Transcription

F. LISZT
Rigoletto (Verdi)

F. LISZT
Fruhlingsnacht (Schumann) : Transcription

F. LISZT
Faust Symphonie (Liszt) :

F. LISZT
Liebeslied (Schumann) ; Transcription

F. LISZT
Tristan und Isolde (Wagner) : Liebestod




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