da is still one of my favorite pianists in certain rep.
here iz my liszt of all time fave 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)
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
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.
The William Tell is both crazy and extremely funny in places.
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.