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Posted October 19, 2011
Misha Dichter, pianist extraordinaire, performs the Rhapsodies of Franz Liszt. This cd invites the dedicated aficionado to keep it for reference in the study of the Hungarian Rhapsodies.
The nineteenth century genius Franz Liszt was the first artist to make his living by giving concerts. He pursued a prodigious composing and performing schedule from age 9 continuously throughout his life. Liszt charged through his life with exploration and pioneering in both music and personal pursuits. He was unconstrained by convention; rejected from the prestigious French schools, he studied privately and explored harmonies and techniques which prepared him to bridge the musical world from the classical period to the modern. Liszt lived and traveled in the major cities of Europe, astounding audiences with his artistic prowess as a composer, performer, and teacher.
The recording for this 2-CD presentation dates from 1977-85, with Misha Dichter establishing a definitive library collector's item. His picture on the cover appears dated from that era also. Dichter's career at the pinnacle of his profession has been maintained for decades. Some of the music has a curious sound-an empty auditorium, or old microphones in the 70s, or something leaves the quality of sound uncertain. His performance of these difficult, creative, pioneering compositions is unassailable. Mr. Dichter wrote the cover booklet in 2011, and happily the English version is first. More discussion of the individual Rhapsodies by this master would help distinguish favorites beyond the famous Second, and would enlighten the listener and student. A very interesting comment reminds us that the Rhapsodies, while perhaps considered Liszt's least valuable work, have become the most popular in our day.
The ordinary piano student avoids Liszt because of the enormous intervals requiring large hands, and for the complexity and difficulty of the pieces. When a student is ready for the intricacies of Liszt's artistry, the Rhapsodies await. As celebrations of the bicentenary of Liszt's birth abound in 2011, this collection of the Nineteen Liszt Rhapsodies remains on center stage.