View Poll Results: Who was the greatest pianist?

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  • Vladimir Horowitz

    9 9.18%
  • Sviatoslav Richter

    29 29.59%
  • Emil Gilels

    7 7.14%
  • Artur Rubinstein

    5 5.10%
  • Artur Schnabel

    1 1.02%
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff

    8 8.16%
  • Claudio Arrau

    6 6.12%
  • Glenn Gould

    6 6.12%
  • Alfred Brendel

    3 3.06%
  • Edwin Fischer

    0 0%
  • Josef Hofmann

    0 0%
  • Alfred Cortot

    2 2.04%
  • Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

    4 4.08%
  • Martha Argerich

    7 7.14%
  • Other

    11 11.22%
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Thread: Greatest pianist?

  1. #91
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    If I had to pick one pianist to listen to, it would be Pollini - no one is as consistently good across a wider range of repertoire, from Beethoven to Chopin to Boulez

  2. #92
    Senior Member Neo Romanza's Avatar
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    Greatest living pianist: Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Greatest dead pianist: Franz Liszt

    Although, in all honesty, I don’t like using the term ‘greatest’ as it implies that the talent is unmatched and beyond this world, which we all know is untrue.
    Last edited by Neo Romanza; Jul-16-2020 at 19:48.
    "When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    The same could be said of Artur Rubinstein
    Artur Schnabel
    Sergei Rachmaninoff
    Edwin Fischer
    Josef Hofmann
    Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
    Martha Argerich
    That's not true for Rubinstein and Argerich. I have RCA's comprehensive Arthur Rubinstein collection, his discography and repertoire are huge.

    Edwin Fischer has a reference recording for WTC, Schnabel has a reference recording for Beethoven's sonatas. Both are essential for any pianist and enthusiast. I don't think Sofronitsky's Scriabin is of the same importance.

    There are so many legends written about Hoffman and Rachmaninoff that the comparison with Sofronitsky is not appropriate.

    Michelangelic also has far more presence than Sofronitsky in terms of discography. Many of his classics (Debussy, Ravel, Beethoven Concertos) are well recorded. There are even several recital DVDs.

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    He gave us some excellent Chopin and he has been the only pianist who has convinced me that Scriabin has the potential to be great music (he seems possessed in some of those live Scriabin recordings). But yes, his small discography is a barrier.
    Gilels also recorded some great Scriabin. Horowitz was personally connected at young age with Scriabin so he also championed his work pretty well. His preludes and sonatas are grossly overlooked in my opinion (I play some of his preludes). His use of harmony is cooler and more distant sounding than Chopin but still dreamy and magical. I find him to be a better Chopin "imitator" than say Faure.
    Last edited by UniversalTuringMachine; Jul-16-2020 at 20:03.

  5. #95
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo Romanza View Post
    Greatest living pianist: Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Greatest dead pianist: Franz Liszt

    Although, in all honesty, I don’t like using the term ‘greatest’ as it implies that the talent is unmatched and beyond this world, which we all know is untrue.
    Two problems here:



    Ashkenazy is retired
    We have no idea how Liszt actually played although he must have been phenomenal

  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniversalTuringMachine View Post
    That's not true for Rubinstein and Argerich.
    Not convinced for solo music, especially for Argerich

    Quote Originally Posted by UniversalTuringMachine View Post
    Edwin Fischer has a reference recording for WTC, Schnabel has a reference recording for Beethoven's sonatas. Both are essential for any pianist and enthusiast. I don't think Sofronitsky's Scriabin is of the same importance.
    .
    Your confusing first (Fact) and reference (Value).

    Quote Originally Posted by UniversalTuringMachine View Post
    There are so many legends written about Hoffman and Rachmaninoff that the comparison with Sofronitsky is not appropriate.
    There are many legends about Sofronitsky, for example, that he was inspired by heroin, or that he had a special relation with Scriabin. The only thing that makes Hoffman legendary is that he founded the Curtis.


    Quote Originally Posted by UniversalTuringMachine View Post


    Michelangeli also has far more presence than Sofronitsky in terms of discography.
    Not convinced for solo material. I can send you a Sofronitsky discography by PM If you want, it’s enormous.

    Quote Originally Posted by UniversalTuringMachine View Post
    Many of his classics (Debussy, Ravel, Beethoven Concertos) are well recorded.

    Many of Sofronitsky’s classics are well enough recorded.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-16-2020 at 21:45.

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  8. #97
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    I've enjoyed Garrick Ohlsson's Scriabin a lot lately, and given his wide repertory it's possible he may be overlooked...

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  10. #98
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    A barrier to what?
    To people appreciating him, because he’s known mostly for the somewhat niche repertoire of Scriabin. No problem with having a small repertoire or recorded legacy at all.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art is an attempt to transport into a limited quantity of matter, modeled by man, an image of the infinite beauty of the entire universe." - Simone Weil

    "Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret." - Johann Sebastian Bach

  11. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    To people appreciating him, because he’s known mostly for the somewhat niche repertoire of Scriabin. No problem with having a small repertoire or recorded legacy at all.
    Well I never listen to his Scriabin because I’m not interested in the music, I know him for his Schubert, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Schumann. I think he’s got a reputation as a scriabinist because he was related to the composer by marriage - I’m not sure how well he knew Scriabin in fact.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-16-2020 at 22:03.

  12. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Not convinced for solo music, especially for Argerich

    Your confusing first (Fact) and reference (Value).

    There are many legends about Sofronitsky, for example, that he was inspired by heroin, or that he had a special relation with Scriabin. The only thing that makes Hoffman legendary is that he founded the Curtis.

    Not convinced for solo material. I can send you a Sofronitsky discography by PM If you want, it’s enormous.

    Many of Sofronitsky’s classics are well enough recorded.
    Thanks for pointing out my ignorance of Sofronitsky and I am swayed by your conviction.

    I have not confused about fact and value because a small discography (a fact that I recognize) of Schnable or Edwin Fischer is a much smaller barrier than say that of Sofronitsky. I am pointing out that your use of analogy is not appropriate because the value of these reference recordings is significantly higher, at least for most of us.

    Martha does have a somewhat restricted solo repertoire but she is also live and performing all the time. She has an enormous presence. It is implicitly assumed and obvious that Sofronitzsky was hardly present in the non-Russian concert scene and no longer with us post-war, so by not conditioning on this and bringing Martha as an analogy as a counter-argument for "small discography is a barrier" you have brought a confounding factor. It is precisely because Sofronitzsky has so little presence that his small discography and limited repertoire becomes a further barrier.

    Sofronitsky’s classics are not as well recorded as Michelangeli and that's a simple fact. The difference is quite large. For music lovers who are not into "historical recordings", they will have a barrier to access Sofronitsky's art but no difficulty buying those DG stereo recordings of Michelangeli's Debussy albums.
    Last edited by UniversalTuringMachine; Jul-16-2020 at 22:03.

  13. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    To people appreciating him, because he’s known mostly for the somewhat niche repertoire of Scriabin. No problem with having a small repertoire or recorded legacy at all.
    His Chopin is very good to my ears. And his Scriabin is excellent, there is no doubt about that.

  14. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by philoctetes View Post
    I've enjoyed Garrick Ohlsson's Scriabin a lot lately, and given his wide repertory it's possible he may be overlooked...
    Yes indeed. Ohlsson is very overlooked.

  15. #103
    Senior Member Neo Romanza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Two problems here:



    Ashkenazy is retired
    We have no idea how Liszt actually played although he must have been phenomenal
    Which is why I said greatest living pianist and whether they continue to perform or not is irrelevant. As for Liszt, we don’t know how Bruckner played organ either, but he made jaws drop and dazzled people whoever got the chance to hear him doing one of his long improvisations from the various accounts that have been written about him.
    Last edited by Neo Romanza; Jul-16-2020 at 23:58.
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  16. #104
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    This thread is really revealing a lot of ignorance re: Sofronitsky. It seems people are not aware that he really is in the upper echelon with any other pianist you could possibly name. He is not "just" the quintessential interpreter of Scriabin but indeed an elite virtuoso and interpreter absolutely no lesser than his successors Richter or Gilels. If you don't believe me, listen to any of the many CDs dedicated to his legacy on the Vista Vera or Denon labels. Seriously.

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  18. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    This thread is really revealing a lot of ignorance re: Sofronitsky. It seems people are not aware that he really is in the upper echelon with any other pianist you could possibly name. He is not "just" the quintessential interpreter of Scriabin but indeed an elite virtuoso and interpreter absolutely no lesser than his successors Richter or Gilels. If you don't believe me, listen to any of the many CDs dedicated to his legacy on the Vista Vera or Denon labels. Seriously.
    True, and understandably. It's just difficult to get hold of his recordings and explore all there is to him.

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