Liberace plays Kurt Weill

Liberace plays Kurt Weill

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

January 29, 2022

Not quite Brendel style.


  • music lover says:

    Brendel never played Weill,as far as we know….Maybe at home.

  • Frank Flambeau says:

    He was actually a gifted player and played at a young age with the CSO.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Finally something listenable on this site!


  • Frank Flambeau says:

    Why do so many gatekeepers in classical music attack people who appeal to the public? Another example, André Rieu. Both are/were terrific crossover artists too.

  • Patrick says:


  • fpwalter says:

    Pretty snazzy, actually!

  • BigSir says:

    The guy did have some chops.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    And he made millions. Do you remember “My brother George” who played the violin and always looked as if he hated every minute on tv?

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Liberace, as he was known by his last name, had an incredible pianistic facility – with and without the glamorous jewels on each finger. His treatment of traditional repertoire was very elegant, and genuine. His sense of styles enabled him to create many arrangements and recordings, in addition to his many ‘live’ performances. I attended his October 1969 show at the then Westbury Music Fair in the round, which was mesmerizing to an eight year old budding piano student. Funny, fifty years later in the same weekend, I played Michael Daugherty’s ‘Tombeau de Liberace’ with the Toledo Symphony. Bescahert, perhaps? Liberace also paved the way for many other pianists to follow suit, arranging music, recording their arrangements, one piano, two pianos, including Ferrante and Teicher (two Juilliard chums who made a fabulous career with their duo-piano work together). He made people smile – the best gift of all.

  • Minnesota says:

    Next, after a commercial, Liberace will play a three-minute Lisztian fantasy on “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” in styles to be determined.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Even Jascha Heifetz recorded the tune, well before it became a pop hit.

    Many decades ago I played in a somewhat rag-tag orchestra that was mostly made up of very much older, retired, musicians. My grandmotherly stand partner would now and then mention playing in symphony orchestras “with Liberace,” but she was referring either to Sam, the horn-playing father of the pianist, or George, the violin-playing brother. She thought highly of them but was no great fan of “the” Liberace. Still and all: reasonably disciplined fingers.

  • Jack says:

    I like Brendel’s version of Liberaces variations infinitely better.

  • Sean says:

    Great fun, many thanks!

  • Tobyhume says:

    “You know the bank I used to cry all the way to? I bought it.”

  • Freewheeler says:

    He was the greatest piano genius since Elton John.

  • E says:

    He could improvise on anything.

  • I recall a piano duo act was on the Dick Cavett show many years ago and somehow Liberace’s name came up.

    “How good is Liberace… really?” Cavett asked.

    They kind of froze. It was as if they were afraid to speak his name.

  • Nick says:

    Fantastic entertainer!! Great pianist too!!
    Thank you NL.

  • George says:

    Brilliant. He makes it look so easy. Great fun.

  • Joel Kemelhor says:

    During his “Viennese variation” (timing about 1:40), there’s a bit that sounds like the “English Waltz” by Percy Grainger.

  • Nick2 says:

    He was an entertainer, pure and simple, but one with extraordinary pianistic talent. As mentioned earlier, he did indeed perform with the Chicago Symphony – Liszt #2 when he was 20. But he chose a more popular and flamboyant route for a career. At one time he was the highest-earning artist in Las Vegas, paid more than Frank Sinatra and others of his ilk.

    In the UK a number of pianists also courted popularity by playing popular tunes, although without the mass audiences attracted to Liberace’s performances. I can just remember Russ Conway and a few years later Winifred Atwell.

    About 15 years ago I visited the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas. I found it desperately sad, as though Las Vegas had decided the city had moved on and was no longer interested in one of its greatest-ever stars. The display of his costumes, glitzy cars including the Rolls studded with rhinestones and other memorabilia looked cheap under poor lighting. I assume the elderly ladies who manned the box office and the shop must all have been volunteers. I suppose it is not surprising that the Museum closed for good in 2010.

    • Rudy says:

      I wanted to listen to his Liszt performance (I wonder if it was taped) and years ago I wrote to the Liberace foundation before visiting the museum (a sad experience)…The reply was that this was prívate material and nobody would be able to listen to it !!

  • JB says:

    Whether Liberace was a talented pianist or not is not really the point. I have never heard anything previously which puts great music through the mincer as much as he does with Weill’s music. Fascinatingly horrible.