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The Cziffra Appreciation Thread (Read 4786 times)

Offline brewtality

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The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
« on: February 13, 2006, 01:34:25 AM »
HA! exactly! ;D  He is just looking for another opportunity to worship Cziffra in another thread.  I tell you, the guy's obsessed!

 8)

In order to save my friend steven the trouble of having to think of an imaginative topic in which to say "Ziff is da true sheet" I thought I'd start this thread. Basically, tell us when you first heard this pianist and how it has changed your view of pianism. Also, it would be interesting to list some of your favourite ziff recs. Also if you do not like this pianist ( >:() please tell us what turns you off.

For me, I have only been a cziffra fan since about april 2004, at the time I had only just started collecting cds and my favourite pianists were Horowitz and Arrau. Then I went down to the local cd shop and found Cziffra's Transcendental Etudes. I had never heard the pieces but by the time I finished Mazeppa I was hooked. I had never heard anything so flashy in my life (even though I was a shred metal fan). The best part was that beneath the surface virtuosity there was great musicality and knowledge of repetoire (i.e. the mazeppa trill- stevie pointed this out to me). So for a while I just listened to his studio recordings (the Liszt and Chopin box sets) then Koji kindly sent me a live recital and if it were possible, Cziffra raised the bar of virtuosity even higher. Now, Cziffra has become entrenched in my top 5 favourite pianists, my favourite recording of his is the studio "les Jeux D'eau ..." such a stunning evocation of the fountains, truely inspired playing.

Offline arensky

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #1 on: February 13, 2006, 03:55:59 AM »
I was in college, a musicologist friend told me about this Hungarian pianist who was well known for his Liszt, had an unstoppable technique and temperment, but had "a rather harsh tone", as I remember him saying. I asked my teachers ( a Bartok student and his wife/assistant) about this guy my friend had mentioned, and the assistant dismissed him as "a showman, all flash and no brains". I filed that away in the back of my mind, and a couple of years later I came upon one of his Hungarian Rhapsody discs from the 50's in a used record store, and bought it for about a buck. When I listened to it I was struck by the power and spontaneity of the playing. Harsh? No. Brainless? No. I remember thinking that if this was the abscence of brains then I was going to kill a few of my own brain cells, geez what were those people thinking, this guy is FANTASTIC! I have several of his recordings, and without a doubt he is one of the greatest pianists of all time.
 
That said, sometimes he is sloppy (booze?), but it's obviously a byproduct of his temperment, and I can forgive that easily. I don't care for his recording of Beethoven's "Waldstein" Sonata, it's just, well, weird. But I also don't care for some recordings by other pianists whom I really like, so that's not important.
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Offline stevie

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #2 on: February 13, 2006, 04:15:15 AM »
 ;D

before bbc4 started, there was a channel called bbc knowlegde, and they aired the occasional musical sheet, among others, i remember, richter - the enigma, and the art of piano.

i had taped the art of piano and watched it repeatedly, and i clearly remember being absolutely floored by cziffra playing the GGC, the sheer virtuosity was just incredible, the speed...*.
i think this was around 2001, and i got his liszt 5 cd box set soon after at a crazy price, i really enjoyed most of the recordings, and especially remember listening to his la campanella over and over.

but at the time i was immature, and also had other recordings, by more modern pianists with better sound, and so i didnt delve into those cds as much as i shouldve...

time went on, and hamelin became my new idol, i really do love his solid-as-steel playing, really smooth, and really lovely and elegant alot of the time, and of course i was on the hunt to discover who had the best technique, and i got many of his cds to verify this legendary fact.

all along i had always still enjoyed cziffra, but then a few things occured, 4 specifically.

1 - i got the cziffra EMI DVD as soon as it came out, and i realised just how f*cking awesome his chopin is, and just how INSANE his LH octz were.

2 - i saw the most incredible piano video ever, which i still watch on a regular basis(his improv, there is ALOT to learn from it)

3 - the legendary koji sourced LIVE RECS, which are often 10 times as good as his studio recs, i remember being particularly floored by the TOTENTANZ, and his grieg concerto renewed my interest in the piece's possibilities

4 - the improv recordings i have obtained, which truly are the most stunning things i have ever heard come out of a piano.


ill randomly be more specific about why hes my favourite pianist soon, but i have to randomly, sleep

Offline bassoonypiano

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #3 on: February 13, 2006, 05:00:47 AM »


1 - i got the cziffra EMI DVD as soon as it came out, and i realised just how f*cking awesome his chopin is, and just how INSANE his LH octz were.


3 - the legendary koji sourced LIVE RECS, which are often 10 times as good as his studio recs, i remember being particularly floored by the TOTENTANZ, and his grieg concerto renewed my interest in the piece's possibilities



I have that EMI DVD and enjoy it also. I really liked his performance of Gnomenreigen. (spelling?) The Chopin was ok I guess. But I also really enjoyed the HR and the Franck.

About those live recordings of the Totentanz and the Grieg, where can I find them?

Thanks.

Offline henrah

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #4 on: February 13, 2006, 09:52:00 AM »
4 - the improv recordings i have obtained, which truly are the most stunning things i have ever heard come out of a piano.

Please let me see this Stevie, I shall ever be in your debt!!!
Henrah
Currently learning:<br />Liszt- Consolation No.3<br />J.W.Hässler- Sonata No.6 in C, 2nd mvt<br />Glière- No.10 from 12 Esquisses, Op.47<br />Saint-Saens- VII Aquarium<br />Mozart- Fantasie KV397<br /

Offline stevie

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #5 on: February 13, 2006, 12:24:00 PM »
theyre unreleased stuff, not intended to be distributed i think.

but i may randomly upload an improv later 8)

Offline tds

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #6 on: February 13, 2006, 01:22:36 PM »



4 - the improv recordings i have obtained, which truly are the most stunning things i have ever heard come out of a piano.


yeah, but whats this daddy daddy thingie?
dignity, love and joy.

Offline franzliszt2

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #7 on: February 13, 2006, 02:22:26 PM »
I'm not a great fan of Cziffra, I don;t like his transendental etudes, or anything else I have heard, with the exception of his own transcription. He was however without doubt one of the greatest virtuosos to walk this earth, but in my opinion his interpratations don't do it for me.

Offline ralessi

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #8 on: February 13, 2006, 08:59:04 PM »
TDS I NEEEDDDDDDDDDD those Improv recordings! Is there ANY way that you can find it in your heart to share the recordings you have of Cziffra's improv?!?!?!?! PLEASSSEEEEEEE im a grown man on my knees begging you (well 19)!!! thanks!

Im going to have to say that his Liszt B minor sonata is one of my favorite recordings of his.  Tied with the Rachmaninoff 2nd piano concerto. 

Cheers!
Ricky

Offline stevie

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #9 on: February 13, 2006, 11:30:28 PM »
ill upload an improv later

but first, here is my fave cziffra recording of all, and id venture to say this is my favourite piano recording of all time

http://s56.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=0HLPG5AAE2D9R0QYB6VTUWKA4D

Offline rimv2

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #10 on: February 14, 2006, 04:41:46 AM »
I have that EMI DVD and enjoy it also. I really liked his performance of Gnomenreigen. (spelling?) The Chopin was ok I guess. But I also really enjoyed the HR and the Franck.

About those live recordings of the Totentanz and the Grieg, where can I find them?

Thanks.

Cziffra was the first man ah ever watched play piano who gave me a boner. ah wasn't his looks. Just his playing was so damn sexy. ah had to take a shower after watching his gnomenreigen. ah was making love with the speakers when I first heard his Transcendental appassionata.

Ah'd kiss the man, had Ah the opportunity to meet him.

Yes, Ah am a hetersexual male. 8)

ill upload an improv later

but first, here is my fave cziffra recording of all, and id venture to say this is my favourite piano recording of all time

http://s56.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=0HLPG5AAE2D9R0QYB6VTUWKA4D

Excuse me while ah change mah pants
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Offline brewtality

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #11 on: February 14, 2006, 07:38:37 AM »
Cziffra was the first man ah ever watched play piano who gave me a boner. ah wasn't his looks. Just his playing was so *** sexy. ah had to take a shower after watching his gnomenreigen. ah was making love with the speakers when I first heard his Transcendental appassionata.

Ah'd kiss the man, had Ah the opportunity to meet him.

Yes, Ah am a hetersexual male. 8)


hahah you sho?  8)

The Totentanz was posted on the SDC i think, it is probably still available. I would upload the improvs (the highlight of which is his hungarian dances), but I don't have them on this computer. Hopefully someone else can upload them for y'all.

Offline demented cow

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #12 on: February 14, 2006, 04:15:53 PM »
random comments on the Cziff:
-Sometimes people describe some effects he does as 'disgusting'. I agree sometimes. I would cite the chords at the end of Chasse Niege as a case in point. The piece is meant to be desolate, like a depiction of some poor bastard who got dropped off at the North Pole dressed only in a barbed wire suit , a compass leading him to where he is already and only John Rusnak's Chopin cd for solace. Cziff does a fair job at this, but then totally knifes the effect by playing the last few chords as if to say 'I've done those tremolos for you, but now I'm going to frolic in the field with a butterfly net. See ya later'. For similar reasons, the trill he adds in Mazeppa is similarly disgusting in my book, though others disagree.
-I don't know why some people find his Chopin etudes disgusting. Apart from the pleasantly fast tempos he often chooses, I remember thinking that he brings out something new in many of them, say by accenting the second notes in the arpeggios in 10/1 and similar voicing effects in 25/1. People sometimes see such nuances as a sign of desperation: How can I make my Chopin etudes different to other peoples'? But he recorded them in the 50s, and I don't think there were many other complete etude sets back then. (Backhaus, and maybe Arrau are the only earlier ones I know of.)
-There's been talk of him being a mere showman, but if that were true, he would have tried to play many pieces much faster. He is clearly not trying to break speed records in many of his recordings. Comparing e.g. his Schumann Toccata to Barere's, his Beethoven Rage over a Lost Penny to Kissin's, it's clear he could have done them faster with his stupdendous technique, but he presumably wanted them slower for artistic reasons (at least if we assume he wasn't just sightreading these pieces).
-He sometimes does wonderful crescendos where instead of getting gradually louder, he creates a plateau where he's on ff and you think he's reached max, but then he gets even louder (e.g. his Liszt ballade and B-A-C-H prelude on the Great Pianists cd). That blew my head off when I first heard it.

Offline cziffra

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #13 on: February 14, 2006, 04:28:50 PM »
Awww, thanks guys 8-)

Offline brewtality

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #14 on: February 14, 2006, 11:59:01 PM »
His textual tampering usually works, except in the tannhauser which was not tasteful imo, actually I'm surprised (and disappointed) that he didn't play that transcription better; it seems like it would be right up his alley.

Offline rimv2

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #15 on: February 15, 2006, 06:27:41 AM »
hahah you sho?  8)



While listening to da Ziff play...


no ;)
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Offline mkaykov

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #16 on: February 15, 2006, 07:41:21 PM »
I have 6 improvs by Cziffra, and I will post them.

Offline barescrotum

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #17 on: February 23, 2006, 04:44:19 AM »
Czriffra sucks. He could play anything, but he was bad at everything. He just forgot that there was music beneath the notes on the page. Entertaining to watch, but you couldn't pay me to listen to it for more than a minute.

Offline m

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #18 on: February 23, 2006, 09:08:52 AM »
Czriffra sucks. He could play anything, but he was bad at everything. He just forgot that there was music beneath the notes on the page. Entertaining to watch, but you couldn't pay me to listen to it for more than a minute.

I'd love to agree with you--Cziffra indeed had a lot of trash.

But... I cannot agree with you.

When Cziffra was in the mood and his spirit got connected to what he did, he was

magnificient.

For this treasured moments I  forgive all his "trashy moments" with greatest pleasure.

To say that Cziffra sucks and was bad in everything is a little bit... exhagurated.

And no, he did not forget about music beneath the notes on the page.

The problem is maybe you don't have a connection with THIS music. No one can blame

you for that.

Offline maxy

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #19 on: February 23, 2006, 10:52:10 PM »
I would say most of his Liszt is excellent.  His live Grieg concerto, Tchaik 1 concerto, Liszt Totentanz, Après une lecture de Dante are all fantastic, and not available on market.  :'(

He could somewhat be a "moody" pianist.  Like in his live rec of Schumann's Carnaval, you can really hear the parts he likes, and the parts he hates...  In the same performance there are some great moments and some really crappy moments "I don't care" style.

At his best, Cziffra was certainly one of the best out there, his level of intensity hardly matched by any of his peers.  A piano beast.  8)

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #20 on: February 24, 2006, 03:00:24 AM »
Just curious.....

Does anyone here have a recording of Cziffras version of Flight of the Bumblebee??? I saw the sheet music on someones web-site and it has me very curious as to see how good he was at arranging (sort of).

If anyone has a recording, I would love to hear it. I haven't heard any of his recordings.

Offline steinwaymodeld

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #21 on: February 25, 2006, 07:16:07 PM »
Just curious.....

Does anyone here have a recording of Cziffras version of Flight of the Bumblebee??? I saw the sheet music on someones web-site and it has me very curious as to see how good he was at arranging (sort of).

If anyone has a recording, I would love to hear it. I haven't heard any of his recordings.

i have em
Sandro Russo play it on a video
Katsaris play it on a video
Cziffra's own playing in Paris debut of the piece
Volodos
Cziffra studio one
Perfection itself is imperfection - Vladimir Horowitz

Offline stevie

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #22 on: February 25, 2006, 11:46:58 PM »
and not forgetting the fastest one of all - uematsu

Offline arensky

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #23 on: February 26, 2006, 05:52:56 AM »
There is talk of Cziffra the jazz pianist, for instance Tamas Vasary's recollection in the "Art of the Piano" vid; does anyone have any recorded examples of this facet of his playing, or know where to find it?

Ah would like to know....  8)
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #24 on: February 26, 2006, 10:52:12 AM »
Apparently, there is only one Cziffra jazz recording, his arrangement of Tea for Two. It is on   "Cannons and Flowers", a CD combined with an autobiography of sorts (it's in reality more a selection of personal memoirs). I have a copy somewhere; I'll see if I can find it.

Offline stevie

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #25 on: February 26, 2006, 12:22:19 PM »
yep, i have that too, INSANE playing, i mean literally INSANE, randomly.

i also have a couple more unreleased jazz improv recs.

Offline steinwaymodeld

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #26 on: February 26, 2006, 05:13:05 PM »
yep, i have that too, INSANE playing, i mean literally INSANE, randomly.

i also have a couple more unreleased jazz improv recs.

enjoying your 3 minutes of fame steve?
Perfection itself is imperfection - Vladimir Horowitz

Offline stevie

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #27 on: February 26, 2006, 06:56:57 PM »
ahahah random what?

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #28 on: February 26, 2006, 10:16:42 PM »
I love Cziffra.


but I find his op 10 no 4 far too slow for my taste.

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #29 on: March 01, 2006, 04:00:26 AM »
Any chance anyone can upload the recordings of Cziffras Flight of the Bumblebee... Any recording is fine...

I'm dying to hear the difference...

Offline stevie

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #30 on: March 01, 2006, 09:59:34 PM »
I love Cziffra.


but I find his op 10 no 4 far too slow for my taste.

which rec?

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #31 on: March 01, 2006, 11:48:46 PM »

Offline stevie

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #32 on: March 02, 2006, 12:40:51 AM »
true, but his 80s rec is very slow compared tobhis previous recs, i have one from the 40s i think, at around 1 46 or so, and the famous 50s rec - part of the complete set - comes in at 1 40

Offline arensky

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #33 on: March 02, 2006, 06:47:33 AM »
There is talk of Cziffra the jazz pianist, for instance Tamas Vasary's recollection in the "Art of the Piano" vid; does anyone have any recorded examples of this facet of his playing, or know where to find it?

Ah would like to know....  8)

A helpful pregnant cat has provided what I wanted to hear...

 :o :o ;D 8)

I live in more than one musical world, I play classical and jazz piano. I was interested to hear Cziffra's jazz to see if it was real or just a classical pianist screwing around with jazz as an amusement. Well, Cziffra was a jazz pianist, not a faker. The only faults are that his swing feeling could be more swinging but he makes up for it with his own Czardas style of stride swing; and after all self expression and individuality are a big part of jazz, and he has these in abundance. He was clearly influenced by Tatum, who he exceeds in digital dexterity but not in jazz style, and suprisingly Cziffra's LH was not as astonishing as I though it would be in jazz. But this is looking for spots on the sun...

Cziffra is as or more inventive than many modern jazz pianists; his renditions of "Sophisticated Lady" "Blue Skies" "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "Honeysuckle Rose" look back to the 1930's but are very modern in conception, frequently avoiding tonality or obscuring it ala Cecil Taylor or Lennie Tristano. Oh yeah, the technique ... scary  :o . He seems to enjoy a certain Tatum device, that of passagework running up or down in a wall of sound on a transitional or "weak" harmonic progression, followed by a restatement of the tune. What he does with this is astonishing, it's like Tatum with 3 or 4 hands.

Well, I have something new and important to study and assimilate (if I can)...

Thanx, pregnant cat!    8)
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Offline vlhorowitz

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #34 on: December 01, 2007, 07:58:50 AM »
Has there ever been another musician who endured what this pianist had to go through ? I finally had the chance to read the translation of his memoirs; what strength this man had. Never had a thing in life - but still chose to touch us through music. One of the greatest things to read about - unfortunately, someone had to actually live through all of it. It's a shame most of the world doesn't know a thing about him.
"Sometimes my fingers work, sometimes not, - the hell with them! I want to sing anyway," WK, 1953.

Offline dnephi

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #35 on: December 02, 2007, 04:53:00 AM »
At first, I thought he was just a very good romantic interpreter.  And then, all of a sudden, it dawned on me how impossible everything he was doing was!

As time has gone on, my respect for his unabashed insanity, incredible technique, and wonderful musicality has only increased.

Daniel

(Totentanz Cadenza, anyone??? 8))
For us musicians, the music of Beethoven is the pillar of fire and cloud of mist which guided the Israelites through the desert.  (Roughly quoted, Franz Liszt.)

Offline thalberg

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #36 on: December 06, 2007, 12:14:26 PM »
Any chance anyone can upload the recordings of Cziffras Flight of the Bumblebee... Any recording is fine...

I'm dying to hear the difference...

It's on youtube.
&feature=related

Offline term

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #37 on: December 06, 2007, 12:55:19 PM »
And from cziffra himself:
http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=NuxEvdvKJ88
starting at around 1:20...it's just insane.......
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something." - Plato
"The only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth" - Eco

Offline everran

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #38 on: July 17, 2017, 02:21:45 PM »
Dropping this link to a rare Cziffra recording in case there's any life in this thread.  :)

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=49437.0

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #39 on: July 17, 2017, 03:53:23 PM »


Staggering, and very entertaining additions.

Offline nw746

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #40 on: July 19, 2017, 10:36:52 AM »
Surprised no one has mentioned his Années de pèlerinage, which I think must be one of the great piano recordings. Not only is his technique at its usual level but he plays them as basically one 2 1/2 hour long work with a coherent trajectory from start to finish, which I've not heard anyone else do successfully, and makes them sound almost like great music.

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: The Cziffra Appreciation Thread
«Reply #41 on: July 21, 2017, 02:20:45 PM »
Cziffra has always mostly been a basis of comparison for me with virtuoso jazz pianists, oddly enough. My first favourite pianists consisted of Bobby Enriquez and Art Tatum, who were known to play quickly and, to many, virtuosically.

However, after hearing Cziffra's "Flight of the Bumblebee" I suffered a severe re-questioning of my current idols. I don't know if anyone else feels the same way, but sometimes, when we get introduced to some world; the movie world, the music world, the sports world, etc., we get to develop biases for certain characters or figures, and it's hard to accept that there are others equally good (or better), once we discover these new "challengers".

Now I think the question of virtuosity/technical command is a rather hard question to consider. Would today's pianists have better technique than of yesterday's? They usually play faster, I think. But then, yesterday's pianists seem to be usually more creative in how they perform, with apparently deeper ideas on tonal color, expressive nuances, etc. Could this be considered a technical advantage? Etc. Things like that.

Once I put the "competition" aspect into piano music, it becomes like this. It's like Palpatine vs. Voldemort, Batman vs. Spiderman again. Whichever character you were into first, of course, is the one you feel should win (deja vu; I think I remember deja-vuing over this before, so that makes it a Double Deja Vu. Anyone felt this before?).

EDIT: I had typed the above response BEFORE I read this one by arensky.

I live in more than one musical world, I play classical and jazz piano. I was interested to hear Cziffra's jazz to see if it was real or just a classical pianist screwing around with jazz as an amusement. Well, Cziffra was a jazz pianist, not a faker. The only faults are that his swing feeling could be more swinging but he makes up for it with his own Czardas style of stride swing; and after all self expression and individuality are a big part of jazz, and he has these in abundance.

I wish there were more recordings of him playing jazz. I know only, as far as American jazz goes, of recordings of him improvising through Tea for Two and Sophisticated Lady. He mentions in his book that he could jam with a big band, and even impressed their leader so much so that he was told to maybe exceed even Tatum in how he improvises.

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He was clearly influenced by Tatum, who he exceeds in digital dexterity but not in jazz style, and suprisingly Cziffra's LH was not as astonishing as I though it would be in jazz. But this is looking for spots on the sun...

Unfortunately for me (as I am a Tatum fan) there are many times I think Cziffra exceeds Tatum technically. This is because, from my observations, Cziffra has a lot more use of differing textures, colors, etc. (which he used to his advantage, resulting in performances that, in my opinion, seem to sound more "exciting" and "virtuosic" than Tatum, actually). You could say that this was because he was a classical concert pianist, while Tatum on the other hand did verbally deny being a concert pianist.

In defense of Tatum, I would say Art could and did play maybe as fast (in terms of dexterity) as Cziffra (anyway, I've heard many people play "faster" than Cziffra - I myself can if I force myself, but this kind of discussion is useless, speed is not really technique). It's just that I think Cziffra had an overall better control of piano textures/colors/nuances.

As for the LH, Tatum is freaky in that respect (have you heard "I Wish I Were Twins"? It's nuts!) but Cziffra could play very fast LH also. The crazy last section of his "Trisch Trasch" polka, with the very fast stride-like figure, is proof of this.

The only one from jazz whom I feel could "match" Cziffra in terms of "sheer technique" (as far as the ability to make rapid runs sound virtuosic and intimidating go) would probably be Oscar Peterson, whom I feel maybe has "better technique" than Art Tatum. Maybe Oscar was classically trained. Strangely enough, after listening to Oscar and then to Tatum, I feel that Tatum is slightly superior still. It's kind of a rock<paper<scissors<rock thing (Tatum<Cziffra=Peterson<Tatum).

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Cziffra is as or more inventive than many modern jazz pianists; his renditions of "Sophisticated Lady" "Blue Skies" "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "Honeysuckle Rose" look back to the 1930's but are very modern in conception, frequently avoiding tonality or obscuring it ala Cecil Taylor or Lennie Tristano.

Where did you get all these recordings?! Are they on YouTube? I only know Sophisticated Lady and TF2!

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Oh yeah, the technique ... scary  :o . He seems to enjoy a certain Tatum device, that of passagework running up or down in a wall of sound on a transitional or "weak" harmonic progression, followed by a restatement of the tune. What he does with this is astonishing, it's like Tatum with 3 or 4 hands.

Isn't that a Lisztian device? I'd like to hear what "device" you're mentioning. Could you cite a specific example from a recording where he uses this?

I do know though that he uses a similar device as Tatum's - it's a quick ascending figure using two (in Tatum's case) or three (in Cziffra's case) chromatic notes and an upper note a third higher than the first note; here's Cziffra doing this, as compared to Tatum doing it.

true, but his 80s rec is very slow compared tobhis previous recs, i have one from the 40s i think, at around 1 46 or so, and the famous 50s rec - part of the complete set - comes in at 1 40

Which recordings are these? Are they on YouTube? Are you referring to the 1962 one?