Monday, December 21, 2009

History's Greatest Pianists I

When Liszt first heard Vladimir de Pachmann play, he said to the audience, "Those who have never heard Chopin before are hearing him this evening." Enough could never be said about this man's Chopin playing (see the fabulously informative website, ).

And yet, critics of the second half of the 20th century dismissed him completely. Harold C. Schonberg just did not take him seriously. After all, he occasionally missed some notes! How could he?!

Here is a link to actual footage of this legend. The music you hear in the background is actually a 1925 piano roll of Pachmann's playing -- it isn't even a recording. And yet the piano roll has more nuance than the actual recordings of today's pianists.

By contrast, an actual recording (not a roll) of Pachmann playing the same piece two years previous can be heard here: