2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
42 members (Chouca, anotherscott, Burkey, 1957, David Lai, clothearednincompo, 11 invisible), 398 guests, and 364 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566075 12/31/05 02:21 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 9,868
9000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 9,868
This guy:

[Linked Image]


I'm surprised to read often that he is not very popular on this forum. He is one of my favorite pianists, particularly for his Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies, which I think are quite incredible. His Chopin Etudes are very unique - perhaps not the same how I might interpret them, but very interesting, and quite impressive.

I find his capricious style to be quite suitable for Liszt's rhapsodies, though I suppose some might not like it.

Out of curiosity, if you do not like Cziffra's style, could you possibly explain why not? Similarly, if you do like his style/recordings, perhaps you might explain what it is that you like about it/them?


Here is a sample excerpt from his Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. His capricious style is quite clear here:

http://www.savefile.com/files.php?fid=7554634


Sam
Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566076 12/31/05 02:46 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,124
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,124
I think his Liszt and Bartok are very good. I'm having a hard time recalling what else I've heard of his, though.

His Chopin annoys me for some reason. Just the whole way he interprets it does not click with me. That's the best reason I should give.

But actually, from what I HAVE heard, he is an overall great pianist and I love his background history.

Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566077 12/31/05 03:31 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 312
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 312
Cziffra is one of my favorites, though, oddly, I sometimes really hate what he does with (to!) a piece. His Liszt is unparalleled...simply without peer. Especially the rhapsodies. I feel, when listening to his Liszt, as if he *is* Liszt.

His Chopin Etudes are astounding, if idiosyncratic. But other Chopin I've heard him do (i.e. the b-flat minor Scherzo, the Waltzes, the Polonaises, the Sonatas) has fallen somewhere on the scale between "mildly irritating" and "what the $#@! was he thinking???!?"

I think what causes this is his inherently "gypsy" (read: improvisatory) approach to just about everything he plays. In pieces which already have that about them (like, most notably, the Liszt Rhapsodies), that quality in Cziffra simply highlights that quality in the music, and it sounds fresh and spontaneous and effervescent and blistering. But it works less well with music that doesn't have that quality so much (read: music with actual structure!); in such music, "spontaneous" and "fresh" can become "wayward" and "willful". Sometimes the line is fine.

And yet, his Beethoven Für Elise is the most beautiful I've heard; simple and flowing. He just plays it; he doesn't seem at any great effort to "interpret" it. He just allows it to unfold. And some of his other Beethoven and other earlier music is just as compelling and beautiful. So go figure.

Fundamentally, what I love about Cziffra is his control of the piano, his ability to color every note without losing the shape of the phrase (or, more accurately, when he does lose the shape of the phrase, it isn't because of that; it's usually because of some weird rhythmic thing he does). It's as if he has 88 fingers, ready and waiting. Sometimes what they're ready and waiting for is less than revelatory, but it's at least interesting.

For my money, his best playing was in the '50s and '60s; as he got older, it got heavier and his pedaling got lazier. He tended to mark beats more. For me, his indispensable recordings are of the Liszt Rhapsodies and Transcendental Etudes, Balakierev's Islamey, all of his own transcriptions (the disc "Message a tous les pianistes" is staggering), his Liszt Concerti and Tchaik 1 disc, his Liszt Tannhauser Overture, and the disc of encores (with the baroque pieces). There's a video of him playing the Schumann Toccata that raises the hair on the back of my neck. There are others that I'm not thinking of, surely, but that's a good sampling. (His Philips set is worth having for Chopin's Op. 10 no. 4 alone!)

Whatever you may think about Cziffra, he was definitely a heavyweight, and much more than just a "circus-pianist". Definitely worth checking out if you haven't heard him. (I defy you to listen to, for instance, his Blue Danube Transcription, and not be moved to a fit of ecstatic dancing – followed by the desire to saw your own hands off out of sheer depression!)


"Some people have a way with words; others... ... ... ...not...have way, I guess."
- Steve Martin
http://www.reverbnation.com/michaelsheppard
http://www.youtube.com/user/realpianistcomposer
Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566078 12/31/05 03:52 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 827
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 827
I have a love hate relationship with his playing (as, I know, many do). Some stuff is simply jawdropping, and other stuff makes me nauseous...


- Zack -
Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566079 12/31/05 08:09 AM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 2,846
M
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 2,846
I don't like Cziffra. I LOVE Cziffra. laugh

"For my money, his best playing was in the '50s and '60s; as he got older, it got heavier and his pedaling got lazier"

I'd agree with that too. Not that his later recordings aren't great as well.

"And some of his other Beethoven and other earlier music is just as compelling and beautiful. So go figure"

His recordings of early keyboard music are fantastic (Couperin, Rameau etc)

Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566080 12/31/05 12:14 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,230
A
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
A
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,230
Quote
Originally posted by pianistcomposer:
Cziffra is one of my favorites, though, oddly, I sometimes really hate what he does with (to!) a piece. His Liszt is unparalleled...simply without peer. Especially the rhapsodies. I feel, when listening to his Liszt, as if he *is* Liszt.
(...)
For my money, his best playing was in the '50s and '60s; as he got older, it got heavier and his pedaling got lazier. He tended to mark beats more. For me, his indispensable recordings are of the Liszt Rhapsodies (...)
Do you mean also the ones he recorded in the 70s?

Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566081 01/02/06 12:39 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 312
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 312
I actually only own the 2-disc EMI recording of the complete Rhapsodies (including the Spanish Rhapsody) from the late '50s; they're amazing. But if the one you're talking about (from the '70s) is the one that's floating around now on one disc (in other words, incomplete), then yeah, they're awesome, too; I don't own that one, but I've listened to it at a friend's.

I guess I meant that it was from the late '70s that his playing started to decline; and keep in mind, this is Cziffra, so a "decline" for him would be something that most of the rest of us would aspire to on a great day! I'm thinking of his recordings of his arrangements of the Brahms Hungarian Dances, for instance, and some other Liszt and such that I've heard from the late '70s and '80s. Sorry I wasn't more specific before.


"Some people have a way with words; others... ... ... ...not...have way, I guess."
- Steve Martin
http://www.reverbnation.com/michaelsheppard
http://www.youtube.com/user/realpianistcomposer
Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566082 01/02/06 06:03 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 206
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 206
Decline? hrm. You should check out his Karten 1980 recital if you ever get the chance (it's not commercially published as far as I know). At some parts he is quite heavy on the pedal, but it's not disturbing. The playing is simply jaw-dropping, the best 2nd Rhapsody you'll ever hear.

Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566083 01/02/06 06:14 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,278
E
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,278
Cziffra is often judged by the fact that he always plays Liszt. He plays fantastic according to me, but I have one notice:
When I was on seminar this summer, we heard a Cziffra recital on DVD, where (among other) he played Chopin's Polonaise As-dur. His octaves in the LH in the middle part were amazing! The fastest I ever heard, however, the whole piece is misconcepted by him. I more prefer the way Horowitz plays it.

Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566084 01/02/06 06:20 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,230
A
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
A
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 2,230
Pianistcomposer, thanks for the clarification.

I've been checking out things a bit, there's a ridiculously inexpensive set of five discs of Cziffra playing Liszt. It contains the complete HR's, and T studies, both from the 50s, and some other stuff... However, there's also a new, supposedly superior remastering of the studies... Has anybody here compared the sound quality of the newer and earlier remasterings?

Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566085 01/02/06 06:50 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 206
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 206
The Liszt box has some good stuff, but you should really look for live recordings by him.

He is indeed often judged by the fact that he only plays Liszt, but that's just what you see in stores. He did some GREAT baroque (even played organ and stuff, there's a BEAUTIFUL transcription of him playing a Bach piece on organ) and I've heard an amazing Ravel Alborada too.

And what you say about Chopin being misconcepted by him. Cziffra is Cziffra, when you hear him play Chopin, you hear him play Cziffra, and that goes for pretty much everything he plays.


I really didn't like Cziffra that much about 2 years ago, when I also got his Liszt set, and that didn't really help at all. It was when I heard his live recitals (often bootlegs, sadly) that I became addicted.

Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566086 01/02/06 07:32 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,235
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,235
This is pure laziness, but I just had a conversation with Anima about the topic on MSN Messenger, and decided to follow his advice and copy what I said onto the forum, not because it is particularly seminal but because I wanted to contribute a little something, particularly because Cziffra is my absolute favorite pianist and I feel a strong affinity not only to his interpretations but also his philosophies on music and pianism in general--I've read his autobiography (ok, collection of memoirs) through several times, and each time I am reminded, thrilled, at what a grand and full personality he had, without ever transcending into the arrogance which is often wrongly attributed to him. Ok, below is what I said on MSN...please ignore the lowercase, I know it's irritating but, as I said before, I'm too lazy to go in and edit it.

see what throws me off is that the way i feel about music, every pianist should instinctively turn towards cziffra because he was the most natural and free-willed pianist in history, yet at the same time he was also the most intelligent......in the sense that he stayed with traditional expectations without slavishly adhering to formalist teachings

he just did what he felt was naturally right and correct
?
and it ended up producing the best imaginable result no matter what music he played
?
pianists these days are too afraid to do that. they want teachers to guide them up the mountain with as many safety harnesses as possible, and holding their hands, and encouraging them the whole way...it's a cyclical process...the teacher fails at finding the essence of the art, and so the student does
?
cziffra was outside of that system, though, moreso than any other famous pianist i can think of.
****
His lessons with Thoman, one of the last surviving Liszt pupils, at the Liszt Academy with Dohnanyi directing, was also significant in his artistic development because it undoubtedly provided him WITH that understanding of the actual traditional background which he is often accused of breaking like some free-spirited demon. He was free-spirited, yes, and his meteoric performance personality is something that all of his admirers love, but at the same time it's important to understand that he never butchered the music he played, instead opting to study in-depth each composer whose works he played, and then perform the pieces with as much respect to the composer as he could possibly produce after careful analysis (it was said of him that he was "in a constant state of analysis" with his music, and that's why no two recordings of the same piece are ever the same--in fact, his general view on music interpretation was that each piece is not a set of structured values but rather a living organism that is, of course, constantly changing; this to me represents a transcendence of formalist theories that, in Cziffra's case, might have actually not required formal lessons at all, given his aptitude for improvisation)--this is why his Chopin and Schumann, to me, are particularly superb, because they exhibit a refined virtuosity that the music inherently demands. Chopin was not a showman, even though he wrote difficult pieces, and Cziffra playing Chopin was also not much of a showman, enjoying the music in its own right instead of showing off its difficulties. Liszt, however, was a showman, and when Cziffra played Liszt, he had the same irreverence towards rules as did Liszt, who, it is said, hardly ever played a piece, especially his own, the same way twice--this includes altering the scores with extemporaneous gestures, which Cziffra admirably mastered as well.

I used to consider Cziffra, a little facetiously, as the "reincarnation" of Liszt, perhaps for that reason, but that was when I had only listened to his Liszt, for the most part, and it was hard to imagine that he had another side to him. In fact, I think it's unfair to call him such a thing, not because he could not play like Liszt (and I think that no one else since Liszt has played as closely to that style as Cziffra--but take my words lightly, because I have not heard every single pianist in history), but because he could also play other composers very closely to their disctinctive styles, as dictated by the music they composed. I actually consider Schumann to be the best example in this case. Cziffra would spend months researching each composer in depth, and also analyzing scores even more frequently than he practiced them physically. I think this resulted in a profound artistry and honesty in his performances, mixed with a superior capability at the instrument, which was almost an extension of his mind as far as I'm concerned.

Also, I have over 24 hours of his recordings on my computer, as well as several videos, so I consider myself fairly well acquainted with him. He's truly been my idol for piano playing ever since I've started learning, and although I do not claim to be a connoisseur, he remains tops on my list.

Re: Do you like Cziffra the pianist?
#566087 01/02/06 07:40 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,893
I
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
I
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,893
Quote
Originally posted by Goldberg:
he was the most natural and free-willed pianist in history, yet at the same time he was also the most intelligent......
Replace 'most' with 'least' and we'll be in agreement.

Harsh - I know - but I simply do not understand how anyone could take that statement seriously.


Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Karsten Collection
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our October 2020 Free Piano Newsletter is Here!
---------------------
3,000,000+!
------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Key Linkage, instead of Key Pivot ?
by Charles Cohen - 10/24/20 09:02 PM
Thumping sound from keys
by MsTwinkle - 10/24/20 06:48 PM
Korg D1 fault
by MrButcher - 10/24/20 04:41 PM
Counting sixteenth notes
by Prestzie - 10/24/20 02:09 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics202,387
Posts3,016,862
Members99,010
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4