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23.10.05

Dip Your Ears, Addendum 48d (Clifford Curzon Recordings)

available at AmazonDecca Recordings 1938-1971, v.3
Clifford Curzon
Decca

The virtues of volume three of the Clifford Curzon series must be extolled: Curzon is one of the most pleasingly musical pianists, an artist who has a touch that a fellow artist will immediately respond to with admiration (or envy, if they are a pianist). Volume One was received with unalloyed enthusiasm, while Volume Two got a slightly less raving response--perhaps because of the success of the first. Now Volume Three, presumably the final box, is out, and the six discs contain a great variety of music. It starts with that concerto, you know... the - uh... give me one second... Beethoven? No, I know it well - but it isn't one of the Beethoven concerti... dammit. It turns out to be Schubert'sWandererfantasie as turned into a concerto by Franz Liszt. It is in mediocre sound (1937) but a very interesting rarity (Louis Lortie and, of course, Leslie Howard have also recorded it) -- and an excellent work for driving your musical guests nuts in an after-dinner guessing game.

There is lovingly played chamber music with Mozart piano quartets (and the Amadeus Quartet -1), solo works like one disc of Liszt's (including the B minor sonata, GnomenreigenLiebestraum No. 3, et al.), both Brahms concerti, "Tchaik.1", Rachmaninov #2, Grieg, and a 1945 recording with Boyd Neel conducting the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, which is not a sonic spectacular but delicious. Schubert impromptus,Moments Musicaux, and Beethoven's Eroica Variations close the set with well-recorded performances from 1964 and 1971. In one way, this box contains nothing 'special', nothing that would make it an obvious buy for even casual listeners of casual musical inclination. But it offers an immense joy of highly sensitive music making that should make this box (and Curzon) a favorite among those who earn their living with or through music.

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