The Complete Liszt Piano Music

The Complete Liszt Piano Music, by Leslie Howard ★★★★★
This set consists of all the known piano music of Franz Liszt, including his solo works, transcriptions of other composers’ works, and orchestral pieces. In the section on rare works, even short 12 second snippets were included. The entire set consisted of 99 CDs, all but the last CD packed with music. The recordings themselves are very forward and realistic, sounding much like the piano is next to you in the room. Liszt has been known for the complexity of his compositions, thus limiting the number of performers willing to tackle his pieces. Yet, Howard does this with aplomb. Before hearing this set, I was familiar with the volume by George Bolet, and the short pieces by Earl Wild and Cziffra. These recordings place Leslie Howard with the best of all possible performers of Liszt. There is not a single piece in this set that lacks luster or has been performed better by somebody else. In the nearly 122 hours that it took to listen to this entire set, the only tedium was in listening to the rare snippets – perhaps Howard didn’t need to be so complete in his complete compendium! Liszt’s music lends itself to showmanship. Yet, Howard gives one more than showmanship, and his interpretations are neither extreme nor flamboyant, but very creative with a touch that draws out the soul of the composition. This is highly recommended by me as a “must-have” for classic music lovers.