There aren't so many good recordings of the sonata - in most of them I lose focus for most of the middle. Apart from Levy, I remember enjoying an Arrau one (maybe the one you cited, I think so), a late one from Richter on Philips, Cor de Groot, one from Sofronitsky (can't remember which), one from Cherkassky (can't remember which) and Valentin Giorgu. Cortot and the early Horowitz a notch below,
Some of the more recent recordings are very good, IMO: Hamelin
; the already mentioned Zimerman
. What all these have in common is a complete command of the music, no shoddy split octaves, etc. - and an understated approach. Liszt suffers from over indulgence in the virtuostic aspects.
If you like the organ music and you like what Chorzempa does with Wienen, Klangen . . . I can let you have Chorzempa doing the rest, my own transfer.
I may ask you for that - but I'm okay for now.
The problem I have with the transcriptions is that they don't do anything other than add annoying ornament. For really great transcriptions you need to go to D'Anglebert.
I think you have to look at the historical context for the Liszt transcriptions in order to fully appreciate their worth. Liszt was a tireless promoter of other composers' music, e.g. Berlioz and even lesser composers whose work he wished to promote and whose music (even Berlioz) was not often performed. These transcriptions served a duel function of bringing the music to a wider audience and also to showcase the partitioning orchestral music successfully to the piano. Also, there are two types of these kinds of works that Liszt wrote: the orchestral "reductions
" (which translated the orchestra score to the piano fairly directly. Yes, there are filigree insertions, but he usually provided an ossia
for anyone who wished to leave them out) and the fantasias
which Liszt wrote using the themes of another composer, but created entirely new works.
The latter works are arguably more original, but even the orchestral reductions are worthwhile and in the right hands offer a new reading of a known work.