There's a clip on YouTube called How to play "Happy Birthday" like Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Bach and Mozart
, which is not only entertaining, but also quite enlightening in the way it illustrates the 'signature sound' of each composer. It doesn't include Liszt unfortunately, but Brahms seems pretty close.
This album is Volume 10 of the Naxos series 'Liszt Complete Piano Music', which all told runs to an incredible 49 volumes / CDs.
My past experience with a similar archival release (the Nikita Magaloff boxset of Chopin's work, The Piano Masterpieces
), is that - whilst they may be complete - they're also inevitably patchy in terms of musical merit, insofar as by its very nature a completist approach means including lesser material alongside the good stuff.
As it turns out though, this particular volume at least is pretty good. There are a couple of lemons though, those being the two parts of the opening 13-minute "Scherzo und Marsch" which translates to "Frolic and March", and accordingly starts off in a rather boisterous 'jokey' manner, then subsequently sees Jando thumping his way around the keyboard, which I guess is in keeping with a march, but is far too *ahem* stride(nt) for my liking.
Beyond that point "Liebesträume: 3 Notturnos" (meaning "Nocturnal Love Dream" - roughly), two "Berceuse" ("Lullaby"), "Albumblatt" ("Short Composition"), an "Elegy" and a "Romance", all equate to what their titles imply ... languid / contemplative pieces for piano, that make for pleasantly melodic background listening.
On the strength of this album, my impression of Chopin vs Liszt is that Chopin was in the business of writing complicated pieces primarily intended to show off a pianist's technical skill and digital dexterity with little thought to tunefulness, whereas Liszt focused more on the listener experience, by providing structure to his compositions, and also decorating them with lots of pretty trills and whatnot, rather like birds twittering.
Consequently, for me Liszt wins hands down (so to speak). Rated:
by Reviewer: bluemoon