One of Reference Recordings’ most beloved LPs, Nojima Plays Liszt was recorded in December, 1986. It’s been a perennial of this magazine’s Super LP List, and now RR has reissued the title as a half-speed mastered 45rpm two-LP set with original liner notes by TAS Senior Writer Robert E. Greene. These, of course, are virtuoso showpieces for the piano, brimming with Liszt’s whizzing arpeggios, technicolor tone paintings, and dynamic extremes. Minoru Nojima plays them with a rare touch that combines a mind-bendingly effortless technique with a poet’s voice. (The reissue also contains Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso from the follow-up, Nojima Plays Ravel.) As recorded by Keith Johnson, the sound is fabulous, spectacular, bold, and perfect for this music. From the leaping opening of Mephisto Waltz #1, the exceptional clarity and percussive nature of Nojima’s Hamburg Steinway burst from one’s speakers with a veritable peacock’s tail of shimmering color and “hey, check this out!” sass. During slower passages the beauty of Nojima’s romantic nature is allowed to shine, as the wide dynamics and remarkable layered overtones in the air between the notes makes for a riveting experience ’til the very end.