Liszt famously refused to hear some pieces in his masterclasses. Among them, not only his own Polonaise No. 2 in E Major, as it was overplayed and frequently badly played but also were Tausig's transcription of Bach's organ Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Chopin's Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor.
Arthur de Greef was one of the Liszt pupils from the late 1870s through the 1880s, contemporary with Rosenthal and Albéniz. He is best known for his 30-year association with Grieg, who spoke of de Greef as the finest performer of his works there was.
De Greef stands out amongst the Liszt pupils, and indeed from almost everyone of his generation, for the quite modern approach he had to interpretation. His performance is "anti-interventionist" and highly objective, in a non-romantic sort of way. His performances of Chopin prefigure the approach taken by Artur Rubenstein, of great delicacy and a certain cool straightforwardness.
His solo piano work has one failing - that of failing to generate the widest range of dynamic levels, and absence of a certain kind of beckoning intimacy. To be quite honest, I am not personally a fan of his solo performance, though it will appeal to many who find the 19th century style of piano too affected. The performances bear repeated hearings though, and my initial negative reaction often softens into one of "I see exactly what you mean, and you do it very well for all that, but I just wouldn't do it that way myself."
This performance of the Liszt Polonaise no.2 is, however, a cracker. Again, de Greef shows he is best able to work in larger structures, articulating the architecture to create a satisfying and exciting musical experience. The recording dates from 1927. The more I hear it, and the more slightly less-satisfactory performances by other great pianists I hear, the more I start to think that this de Greef recording is really very special indeed...