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Joseph Moog’s ultra-demanding Liszt programme confirms his status as a pianist of an engulfing technical command. Yet in the B minor Sonata you end by recalling more of his aplomb than his subtlety, in music that forms a milestone in the history of keyboard writing. A special moment of repose comes in the slow descending scales near the close of the central Andante, the nodal and expressive centre of the sonata, but in the following fugue he is offlike the proverbial greyhound in what may well be the fastest performance on record.

Moog can sound blunt rather than numinous in the two Legends (has anyone come near Wilhelm Kempff’s inwardness and magic in his early Decca recording?) and although his storm and stress in the ‘Dante’ Fantasia leaves you agog, he ends with a heavily distorted reading of the Csárdás obstinée. A few bars of Brendel tells you how much can be achieved with a necessarily more relentless focus and directness.

BRYCE MORRISON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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