View Poll Results: Who was the greatest pianist?

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  • Vladimir Horowitz

    9 9.09%
  • Sviatoslav Richter

    29 29.29%
  • Emil Gilels

    7 7.07%
  • Artur Rubinstein

    5 5.05%
  • Artur Schnabel

    1 1.01%
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff

    8 8.08%
  • Claudio Arrau

    6 6.06%
  • Glenn Gould

    6 6.06%
  • Alfred Brendel

    3 3.03%
  • Edwin Fischer

    0 0%
  • Josef Hofmann

    0 0%
  • Alfred Cortot

    2 2.02%
  • Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

    4 4.04%
  • Martha Argerich

    7 7.07%
  • Other

    12 12.12%
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Thread: Greatest pianist?

  1. #181
    Senior Member lextune's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniversalTuringMachine View Post
    There is no single "greatest" Pianist.

    But if the question is who is the most important pianist since 20th century, I think the answer is quite obvious: Rachmaninov.
    You are obviously correct that there is no "greatest pianist".

    As for most important, it is not Rachmaninov in my opinion. Rachmaninov really only took up the job/life of being a concert pianist for a short while, later in life, in 1919, after careers as both conductor and composer. And he was dead by '43. For me, Rachmaninov is actually closer to being the "greatest" pianist, he certainly was one of them, than he is to being the most important.

    One of the worst stories in the history of recorded music is that Rachmaninov suggested to Victor that they record some of his big repertoire, including the Liszt Sonata, op.111, and the Chopin Preludes, and they turned him down. What an absolute travesty.

    That said, to me, the most important pianist of the 20th Century has to be either Horowitz or Rubinstein. Probably Rubinstein just by virtue of how many more concerts he gave.

  2. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by lextune View Post


    That said, to me, the most important pianist of the 20th Century has to be either Horowitz or Rubinstein. Probably Rubinstein just by virtue of how many more concerts he gave.

    You can be the most important if you haven’t recorded all the Beethoven sonatas. Those two never even played all the sonatas in concert!
    Last edited by Mandryka; Aug-15-2021 at 05:30.

  3. #183
    Senior Member Dimace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniversalTuringMachine View Post
    Cziffra's approach Chopin etudes is turning them into Hungarian rhapsody. But you can't fault him for his vulgarity because his virtuosity is too extraordinary. I still think it's best not to apply such monstrous virtuosity to such delicate work (he is not producing great sound in many of these etudes).
    Today I have red your post and I admit you are correct. Cziffie and Chopin Etüde is something peculiar. If you have him live, play them in front of you eyes, is a miracle. Awesome dexterity! If you just listen them on your HIFI aren't so enjoyable. Not very clean outcome.
    „Es gibt drei Arten von Pianisten: jüdische Pianisten, homosexuelle Pianisten -- und schlechte Pianisten.“ V. Horowitz

  4. #184
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    The problem I have with the Cziffra is just the sound, and occasionally some rubato which I don’t find very natural, but that’s a matter of taste I think.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Aug-16-2021 at 15:57.

  5. #185
    Senior Member JohnP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Animal the Drummer View Post
    I went for "other" because the one I hope to hear playing as I walk through the Pearly Gates (if I get there at all) is Dinu Lipatti. His very special combination of skill and power and his extraordinary way of giving individual moments their full due while maintaining the overall integrity of a piece have given me more consistent enjoyment than the work of any other pianist, past or present.
    I'm happy to read this for several reasons. Lipatti was one of the two pianists, the other being William Kapell, who influenced me most when I was first falling in love with classical music. I'd add that nobody has matched his poetry.

    You're right about Lipatti's ability to reveal moments that others pass over. There's a wonderful example of that in the last movement of his Schumann Concerto.

    But it was Kapell who most riveted my imagination. His fire, honesty, almost obsessive dedication, and dazzling mastery of the instrument produced some of the most irreplaceable recordings ever made. IMO, his Rachmaninoff Rhapsody, Chopin 3rd Sonata, Prokofiev 3rd Concerto, and Liszt Mephisto Waltz No. 1 are only a few of his finest efforts. Long after his death--nearly a half century--radio recordings of some of his live performances have added luster to his reputation. There are astounding Pictures at an Exhibition and Rachmaninoff 3rd Concerto.

    Thankfully, Lipatti's limited output has been in constant publication. Inexplicably, RCA buried Kapell's recordings until they released a box of every recording they had in 1998. Shortly after his death, they released an LP titled The Unforgettable William Kapell; then, they promptly withdrew it and went silent until '98.

    How the history of piano playing in the 2nd half of the 20th century would have been altered had these two geniuses not died so young is incalculable.
    “If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway holding the pen in my teeth.” (Dmitri Shostakovich)

    “Whereas other modern composers are engaged in manufacturing cocktails of every hue and description, I offer the public cold spring water.” (Jean Sibelius)

    “Once down is no battle.” (Alan Furst)

  6. Likes Animal the Drummer, mparta liked this post
  7. #186
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    Interesting to be reminded of Kapell, who I haven’t heard for a long long time. A friend of mine used to call him the greatest pianist America has ever had, and that despite his early tragic death.

    A lot of his recordings is of music I’m not interested in, but I recall liking the Chopin sonata 3 very much. On the other hand I remember liking the Bach partita 4 much less. It’ll be interesting to see if I still feel the same way now.

    I’ve just started to play his Chopin mazurkas, which is full of rubato, done organically enough though and the effect is poetic, introspective. I think the way he’s using dynamics is interesting, and it seems a great shame that the recording quality is not better, and I get the feeling he was a good colourist and had a refined touch - though the sound makes it hard to hear. He has certainly caught my attention. This is, I sense, the sort of performance which people will either love (for the poetry, and the extended tempos) or loathe (because of the poetry, and the extended tempos.)

    Absolutely amazing op59/1 !

    (I vaguely remember there’s a story about these mazurkas, that he spent a huge amount of time preparing, that he was nervous about performing them, that it was maybe his last recording. It could be a false memory though!)

    He played with Casals at Prades, and I have recordings of some chamber music there. However I just noticed this, which is tempting

    http://78experience.com/welcome.php?...disque_id=1413


    Thanks for mentioning him, it’ll be fun to go back to the performances.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Aug-29-2021 at 22:36.

  8. #187
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    I had no idea we were legion...

    Why put Richter above the rest?

    Easy. I listen to such music for one thing, really. Same thing you do.

    When I listen to him, it's more often than anyone else that he evokes within me something otherworldly.

    A handful of moments: his early Schumann recording of Op. 76/2, the march in G minor. One of the most impressive musical performances I've ever heard. I ended up trying to learn that piece. I brought it to Richter's tempo but was far from his musicality. Far, far from it.

    His Polonaise Fantasie. Dude just *gets it*. Just about anyone other than him or Chopin plays it, no thanks. His 3d Ballade is also without peer.

    Sofia recital, the fury that comes across after his early flubs.

    His Debussy. His Prokofiev. His Haydn. But most of all, his D960.
    Last edited by hawgdriver; Aug-31-2021 at 06:19.

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