Arts continues to do the artistic world an important service with their ambitious reissue programme dedicated to the great Peter Maag. This all-Liszt programme also includes the participation of Lazar Berman, one of the foremost pianists of his generation and makes for some thrilling listening.
The First Piano Concerto is a true barnstormer on all counts and has Maag in apocalyptic form with Berman also playing like the devil. It compares well with classic accounts from the likes of Sir Clifford Curzon, Samson François and Gyorgy Cziffra who are the painist's that come to mind in this important concerto.
It is a great pity that Maag did not find time to explore the wide oeuvre of Liszt's symphonic poems as on these two accounts, he was a born interpreter in this field. The 'Mephisto Waltz #1' comes alive in true Lisztian fashion and here I can confirm that Kurt Masur is run pretty close. 'Heroide Funebre' is similarly expansive and full of tragic grandeur, to my mind this is now the recording to have. My only snag is the rather short playing time at just 56 minutes but otherwise, this is another release to treasure for Maag fans.
Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech