Refined Precision

Geza Anda was most known for his performance of the complete Mozart Piano Concertos, particularly as his recording of the second movement of the beautiful C Major Concerto K.467 had been chosen for the popular 1967 Swedish movie ‘Elvira Madigan.’ Yet like many pianists who were typecast, he was capable of far more and in the 1950s had played an enormous repertoire that included virtuoso works – his 1955 Liszt Sonata broadcast from German radio is one of the best on record, and there exists a 1952 broadcast performance of Ravel’s Left-Hand Concerto that is stunning.

Yet Anda was indeed a distinguished gentleman, a refined artist with incredibly precise touch capable of adding a beautifully polished iridescent sheen to his tone. This stunning recording of Ernst von Dohnanyi’s arrangement of the Valse Lente from Leo Delibes’ ballet Coppelia was made at EMI’s Abbey Road Studio #3 on January 3 & 4, 1954. Anda’s delightfully crisp articulation and rich singing tone are complemented by his sprite sense of rhythm (including a few tongue-in-cheek nuances), and he demonstrates an amazingly full dynamic range. The closing measures feature a harp-like effect that is spellbinding, and it is doubtful whether there is a pianist alive capable of playing this way or of a recording engineer capable of capturing such a nuance so vividly. This is quite simply one of the most charming piano recordings ever made.

  • Koji Attwood

    It’s used far less, but actually the terms are interchangeable.