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Moiseiwitsch in Recital: Chopin, Stravinsky, Liszt Transcriptions
Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Igor Stravinsky
Moiseiwitsch in Recital: Chopin, Stravinsky, Liszt Transcriptions
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1


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Anton Zimmerling | Moscow, Russia | 10/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The label Arbiter specializes in issuing live or inedited recordings of great artists from the past. The sound is not for everybody, since the source tapes often display serious distortions and signs of damage.
With this reservation I can give this CD 5 stars. It is a valuable collectionist item, which adds additional information about a great pianist, Benno Moiseiwitsch. The cover notes claim that 'Moiseiwitsch's art was captured at its best in recital, as he disliked making records'. This statement is a gross simplification, but it finds some support.
May I at once say that the information about tracks on is wrong: Moiseiwitsch does not play Beethoven here, he plays Chopin, Liszt and an encore of Stravinsky.
The high points of this CD are: 1) Chopin's 2nd ballad 2) Chopin's Nocturne in G major Op 37.2 3) Moiseiwitsch interviewed by composer Abram Chasins.
I cannot say that Moiseiwitsch is playing 'better' than in his studio versions, but he plays differently: at times you feel a tremendous force, even fury in his approach - this was not typical for his work in studio.
The ballad is especially grand - it is a larger-than-life performance. The dynamic range is very big and Benno's attacks are unusually fierce, but it works here. The Nocturne is expressive up to an extreme (I am not aware of Moiseiwitsch's studio version of that piece). The b-flat minor prelude from Op. 28 is simply furious, but the studio version is more balanced: I like both versions. The studio version of Chopin's 2nd Scherzo in b flat minor, Op. 31 is accurate, but a bit uninvolved. The live version is impassioned, but not that accurate.
Moiseiwitsch's reminiscences about Rachmaninov are fascinating and convey many interesting details only a close friend and a great collegue could tell. It is really a pity that Moiseiwitch did not record all preludes of the composer: all existing Rachmaninov's miniatures with him are treasures.
Recommended for all those who love romantic piano.