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#343905 - 12/19/07 05:31 PM Nyiregyhazi bio
Tavner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/01
Posts: 376
Loc: San Diego
Just finished Kevin Bazzana's new bio of Ervin Nyiregyhazi entitled "Lost Genius". What an eccentric. You can't make up stuff any more bizarre than what you read in this book. Once I started it I couldn't put it down. Talk about a case of "what if.......". The guy was a genuine prodigy, but fell apart when he came to the US in the 1920's. A string of bad managers, bad decisions in his personal life (he had 10 wives!), and alcoholism et al., contributed to his downfall.

But, Nyiregyhazi apparently had a spectacular technique. He championed Liszt throughout his life to the detriment of his career. He tried to program Liszt too much too often apparently. There's a recent reissue of one of his few recordings which I've ordered. Unfortunately, his recordings in the 1970's were disappointing because his playing had deteriorated so much by then.

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#343906 - 12/19/07 06:26 PM Re: Nyiregyhazi bio
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23763
Loc: Oakland
If a pianist plays in a forest where no one can hear him, is he playing at all?
Semipro Tech

#343907 - 12/19/07 10:31 PM Re: Nyiregyhazi bio
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1189
Loc: San Francisco, CA
He once had a recording session scheduled with my piano coach's brother-in-law. Ervin showed up totally sloshed and continued to get moreso throughout the event. Needless to say, the whole event was a complete rout. Self-Destruction 101...

#343908 - 12/20/07 03:46 AM Re: Nyiregyhazi bio
Robert Kenessy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 394
Loc: Enebyberg Sweden
Just as with pop stars the real contributions come from talented people who fulfill three more requirements:
1) mentally stable
2) hard working
3) socially enough skilled
Robert Kenessy

.. it seems to me that the inherent nature [of the piano tone] becomes really expressive only by means of the present tendency to use the piano as a percussion instrument - Béla Bartók, early 1927.

#343909 - 12/20/07 04:38 AM Re: Nyiregyhazi bio
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
What's wrong with having ten wives? In a troop of gorillas, the strongest male will mate with all the females, and the other males will mate with none. Perhaps we would have better pianists if brilliant pianists were more liberal as well.

#343910 - 12/21/07 01:20 PM Re: Nyiregyhazi bio
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1702
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Originally posted by Antonius Hamus:
What's wrong with having ten wives? In a troop of gorillas, the strongest male will mate with all the females, and the other males will mate with none. [/b]
Nyiregyhazi would hardly have qualified as the strongest (outside of his fortissimo playing). He wound up sponging off of most of his wives, some of whom married him out of pity. An exception was his ninth wife, who he virtually rescued from a nursing home. It was her illness which compelled him to concertize in 1973--to raise money for an operation.

Self-Destruction 101 is a good way of summarizing N's life story. He had amazing talent, was spoiled rotten as a kid, and never learned the ability to work well with others. An extremely passive personality, he didn't have the drive it takes to build a career. Even when provided the means to revive his career and given a piano, he lacked the committment to practice.

A fascinating and tragic story.
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

#343911 - 12/21/07 06:59 PM Re: Nyiregyhazi bio
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3916
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
You will occasionally run into someone who has a gift that seems sent from heaven, and who needs only the usual amount of energy and discipline to really amount to something. And even though that kind of needed organization and drive seems to be the most common of human abilities, they are so totally lacking in the ability to use the rare talent they have, that they amount to nothing.

They may end up living off handouts from others. I've seen this perhaps twice. It's sad.

With regard to ten wives, the grandfather of a classmate of mine had had nine. I was at my friend's wedding, and he introduced me to his grandfather. I said what seemed to me to be the most natural thing to say* "I understand you've had nine wives." Instantly my friend and his grandfather responded in unison, very loudly, "NO. THREE. THREE," because, as I later found out, the current wife didn't know about six of them.

*Others have told me this is a very impolite thing to say. Even if I had known that then, I'd still have asked the question, because it produced a great story.
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians


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