Favorite Cziffra performances

da :ziff: is still one of my favorite pianists in certain rep.

here iz my liszt of all time fave :ziff: recz

Scarlatti sons: 1955 Prague studio

Fant on BACH (Torino 1959)
Dante Sonata (Torino 1959)
Spanish Rhapsody (Torino 1959)
Gnomenreigen Paris 1963 (VID)
Grand Galop: Tokyo 1964 (VID)
Totentanz (1962 live with Benzi)
Rhapsody 2 (Prague 1955)
Rhapsody 6 (1962 BBC VID)
Rhapsodies 12, 15, 19 (Hungaroton 50s’)
Fantasy on La Muette (Hungaroton 50’s)

Chopin Concerto No. 1 (4.22.1967 VID)
Schumann Toccata (BBC 1962 VID)

Do you have that Chopin PC vid? I’m interested

My by far favorite Cziffra recording is the Zurich 1978 rehearsal his son recorded. The feeling I have is that Cziffra was very “aware” of his audience and always felt (or wanted) he had to impress or entertain, so it’s a joy to hear him here in a relaxed state, just playing for himself and for the fun of it. In spite of all repeats, rhythmizations etc, I think the playing is absolutely heavenly.

As to “real performances” however - and this is from a non-Cziffra maniac so I might very well forget things I haven’t heard in 15 years - what spring to mind are:

  • HR8, stereo rec
  • RK/Cziffra Bumblebee, Paris 1957
  • Liszt/Auber and Liszt/Gounod, EMI 1958 (recorded back to back during the same session)
  • Grand Galop Chromatique, London 1963 (or Tokyo 1964, whichever)
  • Gnomenreigen… not sure which rec, it’s a relatively late one

For me the live Schumann F# minor sonata and the studio les jeux d’eaux à la villa d’Este.

I forgot to mention the Hungarian Fantasy, from either Carnegie 58 or the Milan 1959 broadcast.

I prefer to listen to Cziffra up to 1967, preferably live…

The Gounod/Liszt Faust, the Benzi Totentanz (obviously). Some of the live HR6s are incredible.
The Strauss paraphrases, but especially the Zigeunerbaron; he emanates such joy in his mu*ic-making here.
Il Trovatore.
The William Tell is both crazy and extremely funny in places.

the one where he totally smears out the final theme climax? cause i love that one

welcome back festin and Anima!

as for the Gnomenreigen - I happen to love his early Hungaroton studio rec of that as well, so classic and pretty…
the 1963 VID iz awesome too.

Maybe! I still haven’t looked in to which one it is I’m thinking about (if I’m thinking about Cziffra at all…)

The best Gnomenreigen is still Barere, Cziffra, Rachmaninoff, Lipatti

Probably in that order too. There are like 10 Barere recs of it

Richter’s gnomenreigen is amazing too. Arrau also.

I’m also partial to Arrau’s, though randomly I don’t particularly like the piece.

There’s not much you can do with it really - I think just about anyone who “can” play it play it pretty well. The standouts for me are those who really transcend virtuosity - Cziffra & Grosvenor primarily (if you can cope with the latter’s liberties) - but Arrau, Rach, Pletnev etc etc are excellent too.

I completely forgot Richter’s wonderful performances.

I love Gnomenreigen…
even a random tiny piece like that or Grand Galop shows Liszt’s supreme mastery of form. The proportions just sound… right.

I think it’s Liszt excellent dramatic sense. He almost always knows the right amount to say.

Ya’ll missed Benjamin Grosvenor’s gnome thing… Its my favorite of the coked up versions





reading full post next time lol

Yeah. :wink: Not as big a BG fan as I should be, but he does this one quite well. Lots of detail, and impeccable technically.