Not all of the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies are flat-out showpieces like the best-known ones, so this disc makes for a better listening program than you might expect. And Jénö Jandó, who must be the hardest-working pianist in the recording business, has a real flair for this music. He plays with the combination of free rhythms and virtuosity that the music demands, and he even indulges in a bit of improvisation when the spirit moves him. This was probably something Liszt did himself, and other great Liszt interpreters such as Rachmaninov and Cziffra have done the same thing. Jandó doesn't quite have Cziffra's overwhelming virtuosity, but he plays musically and the result is a highly entertaining disc.
"thoughtfully constructed programme …keyboard poetry above all else … unfailingly beautiful sound" - Classic FM Magazine
Ivan Fischer's version of these ever-popular classics is as valid an essay in stylistic restoration as the most scholarly period-instrument performance of Bach or Handel… The transcriptions have been reworked and in one or two movements an improvised cimbalom part has been added, played by a well-known Hungarian musician, Kalman Balogh. Not a record for purists perhaps, but I found the results invigorating and thought-provoking.- S.J. Gramophone, March 1987.
I haven't enjoyed a set of performances of the Hungarian Dances so much since I played them with the local youth orchestra at the age of 14. In a way, Ivan Fischer's version of these ever-popular classics is as valid an essay in stylistic restoration as the most scholarly period-instrument performance of Bach or Handel. - S.J. Gramophone, March 1987.
Recommended without reservation.
In the "Zorba" ballet suite, Mikis Theodorakis uses almost exclusively well-known popular songs which he composed mainly in the 1960s. Some of them have been incorporated in the work as melodies, some of them as vocal pieces. It took twenty years before the composer became his normal self again; he first had to experience the disillusionment at the end of the 1970s concerning the social progress in Greece in order to be finally able to pick up the musical material, continue the compositional impetus of the 1950s and develop an appreciation for the genre of the opera in the mid-eighties which suits his composer's mentality both as a melodist and as a symphonic composer very well.