Since I love discussing various recordings of major works, I think it’s worth getting most of our recommendations in one thread. So either post a query for recommended recs of a work, or quote someone else’s query and give recommendations of your own. Feel free to follow up on your own query with recommendations of your own. Recommendations can be commercial or non-commercial, and feel free to share any non-commercial recommendations so the rest of us can listen.
So, to get the ball rolling, what are the best recs of the Liszt Sonata?
In addition to those mentioned, an underrated one is the Brendel recording on Vox.
I also liked Fiorentino on APR.
I remember liking Zimerman too (not usually a pianist I listen to).
I heard an interesting one by Debargue earlier this year.
While he’s still a work in progress, he brought out a bass line in the penultimate restatement of the grandioso theme which I have never heard anyone else do.
This is my favourite work by Schumann but I don’t think I’ve heard a version that I would call entirely satisfactory.
I think Hofmann is the closest (only person to play the first piece the way I think it should go), but his version is incomplete, which is unforgiveable.
Im going to mention one which I mentioned recently which is perhaps more controversial. Leslie Howard… One of the best things to come out of the complete set of Liszt. He does what it says on the tin and it works, he doesnt hold back either.
I also second Zimerman
I think there can be a lack of attention to detail whe it comes to the Liszt Sonata. I can usually tell if I cam going to like a recording after I have heard those G octave leaps on the first page.
Talking of great Schumann pieces, Peter Donohoe opened a can of worms on his Facebook page about the concerto. He said its one of his favourite pieces, but a few people passionately disagreed. I have to say I’m with the latter.
I have never understood the fuss about this piece. I always get bored listening to it, it doesn’t seem to go anywhere, just rambles. When compared to his solo masterpieces, Kreisleriana, the Fantasie, Carnaval, 2nd Sonata, Etudes Symphoniques, as far as I’m concerned the concerto doesn’t touch them…
Am I missing something? Will a certain recording change my mind? I have listened to quite a few.
What were they complaining about? The Rondo?
I remember there was a hardcore anti-Schumann faction on Pf and Gamingforce back in the day.
Ridiculous, especially considering their mania for every single obscure forgotten pianist composer.
Liszt Sonata: Richter/Carnegie 1965. Only one I need! Honorary mention to Zimerman/DG, which was my introduction to the piece, and to Arrau and Gilels who also play it well (along with many others - including da Trimofov).
Schumann Kreisleriana: Tied between Wang/Carnegie 2016 and Horowitz/Carnegie 1968-11-24. Honorary mention to Brand/Amherst 1983, which is also interesting. Not at all as many others who do this to my taste, but one other I can at least mention is Lupu/Decca. Possibly my all-time favorite Schumannist, but this is a cozy read at the fireplace to my ears of what I see as a highly complex, demonic work.
It’s funny how people can be blind sometimes. I’ve certainly been on my anti-Brahms/Schumann etc rants as well, but always tacitly understood they are great composers - which Herr Kalkbrenner is not. There’s a similar thing going on with Anton Rubinstein even among some very senior researchers. I can’t remember where it’s from now, but there is a quote from a Liszt student I think (Siloti?) who says somewhere that Rubinstein made a greater impression on him than Liszt, which has made some people go “LOOOK! Rubinstein was the greater pianist!”. Well. There is one source saying that - all while the overwhelming consensus in the literature is to the exact opposite. But since this one source stands out so much some people take it as a kind of hidden truth, casting doubt over all other testimonies (not that I think you can weigh them, but I think it’s beyond dispute who was the greater influence on their time, and hence - by some measure - the greater pianist).
Another example of this is me and Trifonov. He really SUCKS. But only for being such an outstanding pianist.
Incidentally, I’d be curious which works people feel there are “definitive” recordings of - not likely to ever be improved upon. I feel that way about a few pieces. Sokolov’s BWV 831 or Petrushka for instance, and maybe Richter’s Liszt sonata (though I’m not sure every aspect of that work can be encapsulated in a single performance). Just let’s not start a fist fight… I for one am perfectly aware this is very much in our heads, and that there’s no gospel.