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Georges Cziffra Plays Chopin, Liszt & Franck (EMI Classic Archive)
Georges Cziffra Plays Chopin Liszt Franck
EMI Classic Archive
Actors: Georges Cziffra, Benno Moiseiwitsch
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     1hr 17min


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Movie Details

Actors: Georges Cziffra, Benno Moiseiwitsch
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: EMI Classics
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 02/10/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 17min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

CZIFFRA plays poetic FRANCK ,CHOPIN and phenomenal LISZT
arffizc | LONDON | 09/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"GEORGES (Gyorgy) CZIFFRA is remembered as the flame-throwing,tightrope-walking virtuoso par excellence. But there was another side to Cziffra's volatile temperament witnessed here in this 1965 INA archive film of a 'live'performance of Franck's Symphonic Variations. An affectionate smile from a 22 year old Gyorgy Cziffra his father, seated at a Pleyel grand piano, heralds a beautifully reflective and poetic account of Franck's tenderly questioning score. Seeming at times to be deeply communing with himself, Cziffra, in the penultimate variation and with eyes closed, ruminates, as if in a dreamlike trance, pianissimo piano figuration against the cello theme, casting a magic spell over his adoring audience. In contrast, riveting archive film from a recital Cziffra gave in the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in 1961 demonstrates Cziffra at the height of his tremendous powers. Delivering the A flat Polonaise Op.53 of Chopin with virile masculine strength and exuberance its rapid left-hand octaves are enveloped in what can only be described as a white-heat haze of vibrating reflexes. The semiquaver roulades that lead back to the main theme are genuinely improvisatory and it is this quality that impresses in the studio film (Bernard Gavoty's Les Grands Interpretes of 1963) of Cziffra's lyrically rippling playing of Chopin's B flat minor Scherzo and Impromptu in G flat. In Liszt's Sixth Hungarian Rhapsody from the 1961 recital, Cziffra abandons himself totally to his inner fire and recreative forces. He adds improvisatory cimbalom effects to the cadenza passages and tears up the keyboard for the final octave onslaught. In the 'Appassionta' Etude in F minor, Cziffra takes a slower tempo than usual, but plays with such yearning, soaring passion, its coda so frenetic that one expects pianist and piano to spontaneously combust. Needless to say, the audience roars its approval while Cziffra admits exhaustion. Cziffra's studio account of Liszt's Valse Impromptu is full of old fashioned caprice and charm the added final glissando style arpeggios a delight while his astounding playing of Gnomenreigen and Grand Galop Chromatique demonstrates that Cziffra remains a 20th century keyboard phenomenon.
The substantial bonus here is Moiseiwitsch's magnificent 1954 BBC studio account of Liszt's impossible transcription of Wagner's Tannhauser Overture. He plays with his usual full-toned grandeur, and if the final torrent of double octaves that envelop the 'pilgrims theme' aren't the equal of Jorge Bolet's 1974 Carnegie Hall or Cziffra's EMI account, the effect is still breathtaking. Presentation, booklet notes and rare photographs of the artists are superb. This DVD has been awarded the Prix de l'Academie Charles Cros. Encore!"
A Virtuoso as well as A Poet
BLee | HK | 04/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"People used to associate Cziffra with a virtuoso instead of a poet. This DVD proves otherwise: he is quite a poet. And this is not just evident from his superb Chopin pieces, it is also evident from his Franck and his Lizst. And partly because of his interpretation , his sense of drama is never too strong and his touch is generally light: Even his choice of piano (Pleyel and Gaveau etc) suggests that he is a pianist more poised to delight than to impress. Nevertheless, his playing is quite modern, and he is quite a structuralist.

The sound here is acceptable and the films are not too grainy. There is a lot of depictions of his hands from a perfect point of view. But the camera doesn't particularly cover his hands when we come to the more difficult passages. Moreover, the speed of some of the films is not fast enough to give us a clear view of his hands in action in the fast passages. And yet, his hands and fingers moves even faster than Kissin. Even though that is done without compromising any music at all, but that is done at the expense of blurring the images of his hands for a whole passage a number of times! Fortunately, that consists of only a small proportion of the films only.This DVD is rather short with a running time of only 78 minutes and we have Moiseiwitsch playing Tannhauser as a bonus. Perfect phrasings and articulations with a beautiful tone: with a tiny bit of Hofmann's spontaneity or else Friedmann's originality, EMI would sure issue a solo album for this great artist of the Golden Period of Pianists."
Stunning performers
Nir Roi Liebermann | Israel | 03/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In This DVD You can listen to Cziffra in his top form.
He is playing the piano like few pianist can, the best part is the Rhapsody no.6 of Liszt ,which in this part , you see Cziffra "flynig over " the piano and makes a perfect sound that the person who will hear it want to cry from the perfection."
Les Fowler | USA | 09/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Flawless Playing. Technically unbelievable musician. Video and audio quality is older and therefore not 100%, but still good. Some concert footage and some in-house (literally). Probably the most difficult piano pieces I've ever seen. Must See!"