PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century

Posted by: Heretic

PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 03:35 AM

I thought it might be fun to have PW's ranking/poll of the 10 greatest pianists of the 20th century just to see how pianoworld differs or is similar to popular conceptions of the best pianists of the 20th century.

So everyone list your top 5-10 favorite/greatest pianists of the 20th century [/b] and we'll then tally them up using a system of inverse points so that a pianist ranked #1 gets 10 points, #2 gets 9 points, and a pianist ranked #10 gets 1 point, etc, so that we can sort them out by highest points so that a pianist who ranks consistently in the top 3 or 5 with many people will then probably have the most points and will be ranked #1 and will be the champion.

Keep in mind this is just for fun and to honor those pianists which we love so let's not bicker!

I will start it off with my list:

1.Sviatoslav Richter
2.Vladimir Horowitz
3.Sergei Rachmaninoff
4.Emil Gilels
5.Artur Schnabel
6.Josef Hoffman
7.Vladimir Ashkenazy
8.Alfred Brendel
9.Arturo Benedetti Michelangelli
10.Glenn Gould
Posted by: CarlosKleiberist

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 03:48 AM

I can't rank 'em... it just doesn't work that way for me... bah... I'm going to rank them in the order I like them best, not necessarily the "greatest"...

1. Sviatoslav Richter
2. Vladimir Horowitz
3. Arthur Rubinstein
4. Martha Argerich
5. Alfred Brendel
6. Glenn Gould
7. Jorge Bolet
8. Ivan Moravec
9. Emil Gilels
10. Alexis Weissenberg

yea... I really can't rank them from greatest to worst... I like 'em all.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 04:42 AM

I know nobody else will probably put this name in their top-ten, but he's my favorite, so he gets the top spot. ;\)

1. Victor Borge
2. Vladimir Horowitz
3. Sergei Rachmaninoff
4. Evgeny Kissin*
5. Martha Argerich

The rest all tend to blend together for me...can't really say who's above who. So, I've got a "top five". ;\)


*Most of career thus far has been in the 20th (with his international debut in the 80's), and not the 21st century...so I give him this spot...we'll see what he does with it now that we've transitioned to a new century. (My guess is he'll move up the list.)
Posted by: David Ramezani

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 04:51 AM

1. Paderewski
2. Glenn Gould
3. de Pachmann
4. Horowitz
5. Busoni
6. Schnabel
7. Rachmaninoff
8. Josef Hofmann
9. Victor Borge (yeah, I like him too)
10. Moritz Rosenthal
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 06:18 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by David Ramezani:
1. Paderewski
2. Glenn Gould
3. de Pachmann
4. Horowitz
5. Busoni
6. Schnabel
7. Rachmaninoff
8. Josef Hofmann
9. Victor Borge (yeah, I like him too)
10. Moritz Rosenthal [/b]
I'm jealous. I've never heard Paderewski play. \:\(

Same could be said for de Pachmann and Busoni...though I'd probably consider them 19th century pianists...especially Busoni, who lived most of his life in the 19th century.

Man, you really like your "turn of the 20th century" pianists, of whom there are very very few recordings (and almost none of good quality). But I have heard Rosenthal. Ha, so there. :p ;\)


I found this interesting. Averaging the birthdate of your "top ten", you come up with the year: 1880

Only five of the pianists on your list live past 1945, two of whom die by 1953. (The three who "survived" were Gould, Horowitz and Borge, who died in that order.) Borge came closest to seeing the 21st century, having died just a few days prior to the turn.

In order to have seen most of your "top ten" in concert, you would have to have been born prior to 1943. To remember it, you would arguably have to have been born prior to 1938. (Most people can recall memories from when they were five, but not too much younger.) To truly appreciate the memory, you would probably have to have been born prior to 1928, to at least put you in your mid-teens near the performer's death.

That, to me, is disconcerting...not because I think pianists today are "worse" or "better" than [insert pianist's name who was popular prior to 1950], but because the community hasn't seemed to be able to move on. (And then the community wonders why it is dwindling....) ;\)


EDIT: My average was 1920, which, at least, put my pianists firmly in the 20th century. I wanted to include Volodos on the list, but he really didn't "step it up" until the 1990's, so his career is kind of a half-n-half in the 20th and 21st centuries. That would've put my average birthdate in 1939, and then only two of my top five would be dead...and all the rest are still performing.


I'm still waiting for someone to say, "Liszt, duh." <---That's my favorite response. It makes my day that much easier to laugh at. Reason: Nobody alive has ever heard Liszt play, or even stood a chance at hearing Liszt play. They'd have to be 119 years old to be born before Liszt died, and almost 150 to hear Liszt while he was still performing. ;\)
Posted by: David Ramezani

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 07:14 AM

Oh, you're so right. These aren't 20th century pianists. I guess I have been listening too much to those old recordings. I love their performances because they are so alive; their playing sounds like improvisation, and that makes it much more interesting to me.

The average listener today would probably say that these pianists had no technique and that they, because of that, were poor pianists.

I have never liked the playing of modern pianists. The reason is that almost all of them follows the score to such a degree that it kills the music. It becomes like a painting: static.

But I am aware of the fact that this is a totally subjective matter and that most people don't agree with me.

About the Liszt thing I think it's very tempting to mention him. It is true that I've never heard him play, but I have heard his students play and I have read thousands of explanations of his playing, and I think that that would compensate (slightly) for not having heard him. Although he would have made the birth average even lower.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 07:20 AM

its hard for me to order them. i'll try.

1 Kristian Zimerman
2 Gyorgy Cziffra
3 Sviatoslav Richter
4 Claudio Arrau
5 Arthur Rubinstein
6 Glenn Gould
7 Sergei Rachmaninov
8 Vladimir Horowitz
9 Ivo Pogorelich
10 Leopold Godowsky
Posted by: lol_nl

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 07:42 AM

I'd say:

1. Horowitz
2. Richter
3. Gould
4. Argerich
5. Brendel
6. Zimmerman
7. Pires
8. Bolet
9. Pollini
10.Giles
Posted by: Varcon

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 09:35 AM

If the pianist played for a significant portion of the 20th century, then I feel they should be counted. Like David Ramezani, I feel that Paderewski, Rosenthal, Hofmann, Gabrilowitsch, and others should be in the upper rank. No pianist today has the reputation that Paderewski had in his day. And Novaes is probably the greatest woman pianist of the 20th century along with Myra Hess.

The sterile, pounding performances of today can't equal the musicality of some of the great artists of the first half plus of the 20th century--at least IMHO. Equaling Hofmann's or Rosenthal's technical ability would be difficult for most of today's performers.

Anyway, it all boils down to training and preferences rather than hard and fast classification, or so it would seem to me.

That's what makes artistic areas interesting is the variety of tastes that are prevalent.

\:\)
Posted by: Antonius Hamus

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 09:58 AM

In the order I would have liked to hear them in concert (based on their recordings, and some other stuff):

1. Horowitz
2. Arrau
3. Cortot
4. Brendel
5. Gilels
6. Gould
7. Mustonen \:\)
8. Richter
9. Michelangeli
10. Rubinstein
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 11:52 AM

Well here's the results in the running so far boys and girls!

1. Horowitz - 57 [/b]
2. Richter - 40[/b]
3. Gould - 33[/b]
4. Rachmaninoff - 24[/b]
5. Brendel - 22[/b]
6. Argerich - 20[/b]
7. Arrau and Gilels - 16[/b]
8. Zimmerman - 15[/b]
9. Borge - 12[/b]
10. Schnabel - 11[/b]


Looks like Horowitz expectedly pulls ahead of the pack! Any surprises so far? Seems like a decent list so far to me but I'm surprised Michelangelli and a few other giants didn't make the running yet!
Posted by: Skriabin

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 12:03 PM

1. Sviatoslav Richter
2. Vladimir Horowitz
3. Glen Gould
4. Claudio Arrau
5. Emille Gilels
6. Sergie Rachmaninoff
7. Ivan Moravec
8. Alexander Scriabin
9. Martha Argerich
10. Joesph Hoffmann
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 12:14 PM

 Quote:


1. Horowitz - 66 [/b]
2. Richter - 50[/b]
3. Gould - 41[/b]
4. Rachmaninoff - 29[/b]
5. Arrau - 23[/b]
7. Argerich, Brendel, Gilels - 22[/b]
8. Rubinstein - 16[/b]
9. Zimmerman - 15[/b]
10. Borge - 12[/b]

Updated!


[/b]
Posted by: iamcanadian

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 12:27 PM

1. Richter
2. Gilels
3. Rachmaninoff
4. Weissenberg
5. Horowitz
6. Sokolov
7. Fiorentino
8. Annie Fischer
9. Kapell
10.Wild
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 12:38 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Heretic:
 Quote:


1. Horowitz - 72 [/b]
2. Richter - 60[/b]
3. Gould - 41[/b]
4. Rachmaninoff - 37[/b]
5. Gilels - 31[/b]
6. Arrau - 23[/b]
7. Argerich, Brendel - 22[/b]
8. Rubinstein - 16[/b]
9. Zimmerman - 15[/b]
10. Borge - 12[/b]

Updated!


[/b]
[/b]
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 12:40 PM

where the heck's michelangelli??? No one likes him?
Posted by: sophial

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 12:46 PM

1. Horowitz
2. Rubenstein
2. Gould
4. Rachmaninoff
5. Richter
6. Gilels
7. Hofmann
8 .Michelangeli
9. Serkin
10. Ashkenazy

Sophia (not on the list )
Posted by: lol_nl

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 01:01 PM


1. Horowitz - 82
2. Richter - 67
3. Rachmaninoff - 45
4. Gould - 41
5. Gilels - 36
8. Rubinstein - 25
6. Arrau - 23
7. Argerich, Brendel - 22
9. Zimmerman - 15
10. Hoffman - 13
[/b]

Updated \:D
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 01:05 PM

1. Sviatoslav Richter
2. Grigory Sokolov
3. Glenn Gould
4. Vladimir Horowitz
5. Georges Cziffra
6. Horatio Gutierrez
7. Byron Janis
8. Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
9. Rudolf Serkin
10. Emil Gilels
Posted by: jazzyd

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 01:34 PM

Very difficult. I've stuck to the ones I find myself listening to most, rather than try to ascribe "greatness":

1. Feinberg
2. Richter
3. Fiorentino
4. Sokolov
5. Korolev
6. Egorov
7. Vieru
8. Solomon
9. Sofronitsky
10. Meyer
Posted by: TS

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 02:07 PM

1. Richter
2. Gilels
3. Sokolov
4. Gould
5. Horowitz
6. Michelangeli
7. Zimerman
8. Solomon
9. Argerich
10. Ashkenazy/Brendel (I can't decide!...)

Hehe, should be interesting to see how this Richter vs. Horowitz plays out.
Posted by: konstantin

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 02:27 PM

GODOWSKY (because of his "chopin" from carnaval !)
arrau
backhaus
rachmaninoff
fischer
kempf
richter
cziffra
lhevinne, j.
serkin

edit: whoo, i forgot horovitz... hmm, between richter and cziffra
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 02:29 PM

1. Horowitz - 95 [/b]
2. Richter - 92[/b]
3. Gould - 64[/b]
4. Gilels - 46[/b]
5. Rachmaninoff - 44[/b]
6. Sokolov - 29[/b]
7. Argerich, Rubinstein - 24[/b]
8. Arrau, Brendel- 23 [/b]
9. Zimmerman - 19[/b]
10. Michelangelli, Cziffra - 15[/b]


Updated! Many neck and neck! The giants are starting to pull away!

Interesting to note so far Gilels and Richter both top 4, both students of Heinrich Neuhaus who was student of Godowsky and possibly Arrau or Cortot I've heard..I forget.. maybe I am wrong though.

Richter and Horowitz neck and neck though!
Posted by: Dubious

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 02:45 PM

This is an imposible task, but here we go...

1. Gilels
2. Michelangeli
3. Lipatti
4. Kapell
5. Sokolov
6. Rubinstein
7. Cortot
8. Argerich
9. Moravec
10. Tureck
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 03:18 PM

About the Liszt thing I think it's very tempting to mention him. It is true that I've never heard him play[/b]
How can you mention someone you never heard play and say that he's "your favorite"?

No pianist today has the reputation that Paderewski had in his day.[/b]
I would argue that there are two reasons for this. The first is that the community clings to a past it can never recover, constantly professing the quality of [those who are dead] and refusing to hail [those who are alive]. The second is that the community has dwindled to a great degree (at least partly due to the first reason). So, it would be impossible to garner that kind of fame today, even if someone were a better pianist than "Paderewski" (to use your example).

The sterile, pounding performances of today can't equal the musicality of some of the great artists of the first half plus of the 20th century--at least IMHO. Equaling Hofmann's or Rosenthal's technical ability would be difficult for most of today's performers.
[/b]
Varcon, when were you born? I won't say what I want to say until after you tell me...just in case you are over 65.

The giants are starting to pull away![/b]
Not really...in his day, Rachmaninoff was every bit a giant as Horowitz, and he's not "pulling away" from anything. ;\)

At least Victor Borge made the list for a time. "[Laughter,] that's my only reward. The rest goes to the government." --Borge
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 03:26 PM

1. Horowitz - 98 [/b]
2. Richter - 96[/b]
3. Gould - 64[/b]
4. Gilels - 56[/b]
5. Rachmaninoff - 51[/b]
6. Sokolov - 35[/b]
7. Arrau - 32[/b]
8. Rubinstein - 29[/b]
9. Argerich - 27[/b]
10. Michelangelli - 24[/b]



Updated! Wow, Brendel's been kicked out
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 03:43 PM

There ar ea few that are stil in the running that could come back with another vote or two such as Borge, Fiorentino, Zimmerman, Moravec, Paderewski, Cortot, Hoffman, Schnabel, Godowsky, etc most of them all have over 10 points and with a few votes can make it into the bottom somewhere, Borge and Hoffman actually lead those under achievers.
Posted by: TS

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 03:53 PM

Heh, don't mean to be picky, but the numbers are a little off. I think some of the updates by other members might have been off a little if you've been refering to them for the count.

(and yes I'm too lazy to go count them all myself ;\) ..sorry )
Posted by: debrucey

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 03:53 PM

This is probably going to be a very controversial list of favourites but here we go.

Vladimir Horowitz
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Valentina Lisitsa
Evgeny Kissin
Sviatoslav Richter
Vladimir Askenazy
Grigory Sokolov
Alexander Scriabin
Claudio Arrau
Glen Gould
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 04:00 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by TS:
Heh, don't mean to be picky, but the numbers are a little off. I think some of the updates by other members might have been off a little if you've been refering to them for the count.

(and yes I'm too lazy to go count them all myself ;\) ..sorry ) [/b]
nonono they are all right \:D

I meticulously checked and double checked them, someone posted an update before that had one or two slightly off calculations that you might be referring to but I didn't use their update after having realized that.
Plus a few updates back I miscounted Rubinstein and so one update didn't have him on the list then the next update he magically appeared but like I said I corrected that so the rest should be perfect.
Posted by: ecm

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 04:22 PM

1. Ivo Pogorelich
2. Mikhail Pletnev
3. Zoltan Kocsis
4. Evgeny Kissin
5. Sviatoslav Richter
6. Martha Argerich
7. Simon Trpceski
8. Michelangeli
9. Alexei Volodin
10. Nikolai Lugansky
Posted by: TS

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 04:34 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Heretic:
 Quote:
Originally posted by TS:
Heh, don't mean to be picky, but the numbers are a little off. I think some of the updates by other members might have been off a little if you've been refering to them for the count.

(and yes I'm too lazy to go count them all myself ;\) ..sorry ) [/b]
nonono they are all right \:D

I meticulously checked and double checked them, someone posted an update before that had one or two slightly off calculations that you might be referring to but I didn't use their update after having realized that.
Plus a few updates back I miscounted Rubinstein and so one update didn't have him on the list then the next update he magically appeared but like I said I corrected that so the rest should be perfect. [/b]
;) I'll take your word for it then. I found where I miscounted Horowitz, someone added him in in a note at the bottom of their list.
Posted by: Mr. E

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 05:04 PM

1. Gilels
2. Richter
3. Rachmaninoff
4. Horowitz
5. Kapell
6. Rubinstein
7. Sokolov
8. Lipatti
9. Zimerman
10. Argerich
Posted by: Varcon

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 05:17 PM

Derelux: My point is that someone mentioned these pianists belonged to the 19th century and not the 20th. Paderewski died in 1941, Rachmaninoff in 1943, Hofmann in 1957, etc. That means that Paderewski was in the century for 41%, Rachmaninoff 43%, and Hofmann 57%. Some, like Horowitz, covered most of the century, and some were 'middle' and some of the latest ones cover maybe less that 30%.

The post asks for opinions of the 10 for the entire century--not just the latest or the last half. I listen to many and I have recordings of Friedman (yet to be mentioned), and the others. It is easy to compare and determine a personal preference. I think that is what the post is about. I was just seconding David Ramezani's preferences. So, if you think I'm mentioning them out of deference to their age--nope--their musicality. It's easy for recordings of today to be 'doctored' in the studio and correct a mistake electronically. In the days when those artists mentioned recorded it was often a 'one-time shot' with no altering. Now they have many 'takes' and the fiddling with the controls is continual. And I've heard some fine pianists live as well and some pretty awful ones.

Anyway, if you've only listened to pianists of the present era, then you need to give the others a chance as well.
Posted by: mmmmaestro007

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 05:45 PM

i can't beleive michelangeli hasn't figured near the top, anyway here is my favourites:

1. michelangeli
2. gould(for bach)
3. argerich
4. pollini
5. pletnev


i find it difficult compare poorer quality recordings with later ones
Posted by: r.peltzman

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 05:48 PM

here are some of my faves

lipatti
cortot
gilels
friedman
perahia
goode
agerich
moiseiwich
casadesus
kempf
Posted by: debrucey

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 06:16 PM

Oh damn I forgot good old Freddie Kempf. Squeese him in between Arrau and Gould.
Posted by: BDB

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 07:30 PM

I am not particularly surprised that he is not on anyone else's list, but I would put on any list, on the basis of his importance, his recorded output, and his work to advance his craft, Gerald Moore.
Posted by: WCSMinorCircuit

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 08:02 PM

1. Gilels
2. Richter
3. Horowitz
4. Arrau
5. Michelangeli
6. Zimmerman
7. Rubinstein
8. Cziffra
9. Kempff
10. Rachmaninoff
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 09:08 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Varcon:
Derelux: My point is that someone mentioned these pianists belonged to the 19th century and not the 20th. Paderewski died in 1941, Rachmaninoff in 1943, Hofmann in 1957, etc. That means that Paderewski was in the century for 41%, Rachmaninoff 43%, and Hofmann 57%. Some, like Horowitz, covered most of the century, and some were 'middle' and some of the latest ones cover maybe less that 30%.

The post asks for opinions of the 10 for the entire century--not just the latest or the last half. I listen to many and I have recordings of Friedman (yet to be mentioned), and the others. It is easy to compare and determine a personal preference. I think that is what the post is about. I was just seconding David Ramezani's preferences. So, if you think I'm mentioning them out of deference to their age--nope--their musicality. It's easy for recordings of today to be 'doctored' in the studio and correct a mistake electronically. In the days when those artists mentioned recorded it was often a 'one-time shot' with no altering. Now they have many 'takes' and the fiddling with the controls is continual. And I've heard some fine pianists live as well and some pretty awful ones.

Anyway, if you've only listened to pianists of the present era, then you need to give the others a chance as well. [/b]
Thanks for avoiding my question and trying to lecture me instead.... :rolleyes:
Posted by: Varcon

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 09:30 PM

Oh--sorry if it sounds like a lecture. I didn't post the quote you have of Liszt and, no, I never heard some of those greats, or you might prefer well-known, pianists mentioned as I was not around then. By that, I mean live performances. I have tried to collect recordings of some of the famous ones--Paderewski, Friedman, Hofmann, etc., and that is what I'm referring to. I hear others on Public Radio or I have some of their recordings. I'm not saying that all of the present day pianists are sterile and pounding but many are. One--23 year old and Juilliard student--did tho and stood up and said he did.

Anyway, I hope this satisfies your curiosity as this is my opinion and in no way am I trying to change yours.

You are a product of your experiences and training as am I of mine. If they differ there's no reason to get upset about it. If you haven't listened to some of the CDs or LPs of these, you might find it enlightening and, I would hope, enjoyable.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 10:14 PM

It just amazes me that people say, "Nobody could play like Horowitz!" and then they bring up some recording from 1930 that is their favorite (or the '51 Reiner Rach 3 if you prefer). The quality on that recording is absolutely horrible. HORRIBLE. If one were making a comparison solely based on recordings, by far the obvious choice would be a modern pianist, whose recordings are so much better that, despite whatever quality an ancient pianist may have had, there is such poor representation of it since their deaths, and the modern pianist should be selected every time (if one were choosing musically). But I know many people just pick "names" because they are names, and this is what I wanted to get at.

I've listened to many of Rachmaninoff's, Horowitz's, Rubinstein's, "blah blah blah" recordings, and have been turned away by almost 95% of those that come before 1960 (which, in the case of Rachmaninoff, is all of them). The quality is just so bad that you really can't tell what is going on. So, it surprises me when someone says they prefer those old, horrible recordings (regardless of who's playing) to modern recordings, which, by far, better preserve the music.

The reason I asked your age is because you may be old enough to have been alive to hear these people in concert, in which case I'd say you'd have a very valid argument for why those pianists are better. (You can compare equal mediums...one in concert to the other in concert.) But to say those old ratty recordings are better than modern ones? I just don't get it....
Posted by: germ

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/05/06 10:24 PM

How intersting this futile exercise is! People come up with really weird choices (or perhaps I have some learning to do).
Anyway, here's mine:

1. Richter
2. Rubinstein
3. Horowitz
4. Arrau
5. Pollini
6. Gilels
7. Kissin
8. Brendel
9, Schnabel
10. Argerich
Posted by: piqué

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 12:12 AM

how can you forget moravec? or lupu?
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 12:20 AM

How intersting this futile exercise is! People come up with really weird choices (or perhaps I have some learning to do).
[/b]
Anyone who doesn't list Victor Borge has a LOT of learning to do! :p ;\)

(But seriously, he was a great pianist who chose comedy instead of "serious pianist" as his calling...and he chose comedy after playing as a "serious concert artist" first. ;\) )
Posted by: krittyot

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 12:50 AM

1.Friedman
2.Simon Barere
3.Richter
#.Janis
#.Argerich
#.Zimerman
#.Horowitz
#.Cziffra
#.Katsaris
#.Freire

It's really hard to come up with the ultimate 10 names. There are still Sokolov, Weissenberg, Fiorentino, Feinberg, and to name a few that I want to include.
Posted by: SteinwayModelD

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 01:08 AM

1.) Vladimir Horowitz
2.) Richter
3.) Gilels
Cziffra
Michelangeli
Zimerman
Katsaris
Fiorentino
Freire
Feinberg
Annie Fischer
Kapell

(Actually except the first 3, from 4-12 are pretty much are the same level of greatness, i just run thru my mind and come up with their names in no particular orders.)
Posted by: SteinwayModelD

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 01:12 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
It just amazes me that people say, "Nobody could play like Horowitz!" and then they bring up some recording from 1930 that is their favorite (or the '51 Reiner Rach 3 if you prefer). The quality on that recording is absolutely horrible. HORRIBLE. If one were making a comparison solely based on recordings, by far the obvious choice would be a modern pianist, whose recordings are so much better that, despite whatever quality an ancient pianist may have had, there is such poor representation of it since their deaths, and the modern pianist should be selected every time (if one were choosing musically). But I know many people just pick "names" because they are names, and this is what I wanted to get at.

I've listened to many of Rachmaninoff's, Horowitz's, Rubinstein's, "blah blah blah" recordings, and have been turned away by almost 95% of those that come before 1960 (which, in the case of Rachmaninoff, is all of them). The quality is just so bad that you really can't tell what is going on. So, it surprises me when someone says they prefer those old, horrible recordings (regardless of who's playing) to modern recordings, which, by far, better preserve the music.

The reason I asked your age is because you may be old enough to have been alive to hear these people in concert, in which case I'd say you'd have a very valid argument for why those pianists are better. (You can compare equal mediums...one in concert to the other in concert.) But to say those old ratty recordings are better than modern ones? I just don't get it.... [/b]
You bring shame to the name and image of Horowitz, take it off your avatar, it's an insult the great artist.

By the way, I pity u on another hand, seems like your ears can only 'hear' but not 'listen', let alone 'appreciate'. Sound quality has nothing to with the great artistry as long as it's recognizable, obviously your ears are not 'trained' to listen to old recordings.

ANd yea, go listen to your SACD copy of Lang Lang's new album you Comme.
Posted by: iamcanadian

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 01:13 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by SteinwayModelD:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
It just amazes me that people say, "Nobody could play like Horowitz!" and then they bring up some recording from 1930 that is their favorite (or the '51 Reiner Rach 3 if you prefer). The quality on that recording is absolutely horrible. HORRIBLE. If one were making a comparison solely based on recordings, by far the obvious choice would be a modern pianist, whose recordings are so much better that, despite whatever quality an ancient pianist may have had, there is such poor representation of it since their deaths, and the modern pianist should be selected every time (if one were choosing musically). But I know many people just pick "names" because they are names, and this is what I wanted to get at.

I've listened to many of Rachmaninoff's, Horowitz's, Rubinstein's, "blah blah blah" recordings, and have been turned away by almost 95% of those that come before 1960 (which, in the case of Rachmaninoff, is all of them). The quality is just so bad that you really can't tell what is going on. So, it surprises me when someone says they prefer those old, horrible recordings (regardless of who's playing) to modern recordings, which, by far, better preserve the music.

The reason I asked your age is because you may be old enough to have been alive to hear these people in concert, in which case I'd say you'd have a very valid argument for why those pianists are better. (You can compare equal mediums...one in concert to the other in concert.) But to say those old ratty recordings are better than modern ones? I just don't get it.... [/b]
You bring shame to the name and image of Horowitz, take it off your avatar, it's an insult the great artist.

By the way, I pity u on another hand, seems like your ears can only 'hear' but not 'listen', let alone 'appreciate'. Sound quality has nothing to with the great artistry as long as it's recognizable, obviously your ears are not 'trained' to listen to old recordings.

ANd yea, go listen to your SACD copy of Lang Lang's new album you fuzzy kitten. [/b]
Quoted for posterity.
Posted by: Mr. E

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 01:24 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
It just amazes me that people say, "Nobody could play like Horowitz!" and then they bring up some recording from 1930 that is their favorite (or the '51 Reiner Rach 3 if you prefer). The quality on that recording is absolutely horrible. HORRIBLE. If one were making a comparison solely based on recordings, by far the obvious choice would be a modern pianist, whose recordings are so much better that, despite whatever quality an ancient pianist may have had, there is such poor representation of it since their deaths, and the modern pianist should be selected every time (if one were choosing musically). But I know many people just pick "names" because they are names, and this is what I wanted to get at.

I've listened to many of Rachmaninoff's, Horowitz's, Rubinstein's, "blah blah blah" recordings, and have been turned away by almost 95% of those that come before 1960 (which, in the case of Rachmaninoff, is all of them). The quality is just so bad that you really can't tell what is going on. So, it surprises me when someone says they prefer those old, horrible recordings (regardless of who's playing) to modern recordings, which, by far, better preserve the music.

The reason I asked your age is because you may be old enough to have been alive to hear these people in concert, in which case I'd say you'd have a very valid argument for why those pianists are better. (You can compare equal mediums...one in concert to the other in concert.) But to say those old ratty recordings are better than modern ones? I just don't get it.... [/b]
So you're an audiophile first, and a music lover second. Some people don't order their priorities the same.
Posted by: pianistical

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 01:46 AM

When I was younger I found intense neurotic playing attractive. As I grow older I tend to shun such playing and I am more and more gravitating towards healthy, honest and joyful playing(no less intense). That is why I would put Rubinstein at the top spot.

Regardless of how skillful they are, neither Horowitz nor Richter give a healthy and joyful impression.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 01:52 AM

 Quote:
By the way, I pity u on another hand, seems like your ears can only 'hear' but not 'listen', let alone 'appreciate'. Sound quality has nothing to with the great artistry as long as it's recognizable, obviously your ears are not 'trained' to listen to old recordings.
*laughs uncontrollably* Wait... *starts laughing again*

You bring shame to the name and image of Horowitz, take it off your avatar, it's an insult the great artist.[/b]
Why? Because perhaps his most popular recording of the Rach 3 (argued against the 1978 audio, and not the October video, which was far better) is not an "absolute favorite of mine"? Please...

ANd yea, go listen to your SACD copy of Lang Lang's new album you datz rite . [/b]
I'll let Lang Lang know you complimented him. (But I'll bet you don't understand that...perhaps I should...no, you know what? I won't...it's funnier this way.)

So you're an audiophile first, and a music lover second. Some people don't order their priorities the same. [/b]
No, actually. Any recording where the sound is balanced and not distorted will do nicely. (My favorite Horowitz Rach 3 is between the 1930 and 1941 recordings...can't really decide. What cracks me up is the 1941 is better balanced and was a RADIO broadcast never meant for mass production....)

And I prefer Rachmaninoff's own recording to Horowitz's 1951. In fact, I prefer nearly every recording of the Rach 3 to Horowitz's 1951 (except Horowitz's 1978 audio recording, which I consider a disaster...but, because it's Horowitz, it's "beautiful").
Posted by: MrCool

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 05:57 AM

1.Rachmaninoff - Rachmaninoff and everything he played
2.Richter - everything
3.Horowitz - everything , Scarlatti
4.Gilels - Brahms and Grieg , Concertos
5.Micheangeli - everything he recorded
6.Argerich - Concertos
7.Lipatti - Chopin
8.Arrau - Beethoven,Liszt
9.Rubinstein - Chopin mainly
10.Rudolf Serkin - Beethoven,Mozart

Younger generation but not great yet !! - Perahia,Kissin,Hough,Zimmerman

Did not hear enough of Paderewski or Hoffman but their recordings are of old era
Posted by: Bassio

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 07:47 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
It just amazes me that people say, "Nobody could play like Horowitz!" and then they bring up some recording from 1930 that is their favorite (or the '51 Reiner Rach 3 if you prefer). The quality on that recording is absolutely horrible. HORRIBLE. If one were making a comparison solely based on recordings, by far the obvious choice would be a modern pianist, whose recordings are so much better that, despite whatever quality an ancient pianist may have had, there is such poor representation of it since their deaths, and the modern pianist should be selected every time (if one were choosing musically). But I know many people just pick "names" because they are names, and this is what I wanted to get at.

I've listened to many of Rachmaninoff's, Horowitz's, Rubinstein's, "blah blah blah" recordings, and have been turned away by almost 95% of those that come before 1960 (which, in the case of Rachmaninoff, is all of them). The quality is just so bad that you really can't tell what is going on. So, it surprises me when someone says they prefer those old, horrible recordings (regardless of who's playing) to modern recordings, which, by far, better preserve the music.

The reason I asked your age is because you may be old enough to have been alive to hear these people in concert, in which case I'd say you'd have a very valid argument for why those pianists are better. (You can compare equal mediums...one in concert to the other in concert.) But to say those old ratty recordings are better than modern ones? I just don't get it.... [/b]
Derulux, you know i always respect your views .. but sorry there must be a misunderstanding here .. or you are very angry or ... whatever

Your talking makes no sense here, first you put rachmaninoff and horowitz as your top 2 (my top 2 also by the way ) .. then here you attack them and anyone who chooses them .. then again you say that your fav. rec. of the rach3 is rach's and horowitz FROM THE THIRTIES!!

I mean your favorites here must have the oldest and least audio quality of all rach3 recordings!! so why are you surprised that varcon here likes old recordings?

So, please explain why you like them yourself?
Posted by: Bassio

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 07:57 AM

Hey derulux, this is not a rach3 thread by the way! ;\)

But i now get your point \:\) , you mean that some people choose some pianists because of only their names, right?
If this is your point, then explain why do you like rachmaninoff and horowitz as your favorites?


You are right, i don't judge the recording by the artist's name .. but by the recording itself?

Yes .. horowitz's 78 is a bad recording which just gets the name
Just as Rachmaninoff's chopin's waltz no.10 is a bad recording

And Mrcool here generalizes that he likes everything Rachmaninoff played .. maybe its his taste .. but maybe if he could explain to me why? and which recordings did he hear? and if everythinng rachmaninoff played is his top favorites of these pieces?
(by the way mrcool, rachmaninoff is one of my best pianists too .. but i would like to know why you like him .. and derulux's reason too)
Posted by: CC2 and Chopin lover

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 08:06 AM

An insight into Rachmanninoff's true playing quality/ability can be gleaned from the "A Window in Time" recording, where works he played on a reproducing piano, in the 1920's, I believe, are meticulously digitized and replayed on an Estonia Concert Grand. This is a fascinating project the man who produced this album undertook, and probably the best representation we have today of what Rachmaninoff might have sounded like in person.
Posted by: CC2 and Chopin lover

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 08:09 AM

Correction, the reproduction is being played on a Bosie 290 SE.
Posted by: piano shopper

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 08:34 AM

1.Rosalyn Tureck
2.Claudio Arrau
3.Glenn Gould
4.Cyprien Katsaris

Other very likely painists to fill the list (have not heard enough of their works to conclude):
Horowitz,Rubinstein,Rachmaninov,Serkin,Gilels,Haskil,Radu Lupu,Fou T'song

So surprised Tureck wasn't even mentioned.
Posted by: Antonius Hamus

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 08:50 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Bassio:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
It just amazes me that people say, "Nobody could play like Horowitz!" and then they bring up some recording from 1930 that is their favorite (or the '51 Reiner Rach 3 if you prefer). The quality on that recording is absolutely horrible. HORRIBLE. If one were making a comparison solely based on recordings, by far the obvious choice would be a modern pianist, whose recordings are so much better that, despite whatever quality an ancient pianist may have had, there is such poor representation of it since their deaths, and the modern pianist should be selected every time (if one were choosing musically). But I know many people just pick "names" because they are names, and this is what I wanted to get at.

I've listened to many of Rachmaninoff's, Horowitz's, Rubinstein's, "blah blah blah" recordings, and have been turned away by almost 95% of those that come before 1960 (which, in the case of Rachmaninoff, is all of them). The quality is just so bad that you really can't tell what is going on. So, it surprises me when someone says they prefer those old, horrible recordings (regardless of who's playing) to modern recordings, which, by far, better preserve the music.

The reason I asked your age is because you may be old enough to have been alive to hear these people in concert, in which case I'd say you'd have a very valid argument for why those pianists are better. (You can compare equal mediums...one in concert to the other in concert.) But to say those old ratty recordings are better than modern ones? I just don't get it.... [/b]
Derulux, you know i always respect your views .. but sorry there must be a misunderstanding here .. or you are very angry or ... whatever

Your talking makes no sense here, first you put rachmaninoff and horowitz as your top 2 (my top 2 also by the way ) .. then here you attack them and anyone who chooses them .. then again you say that your fav. rec. of the rach3 is rach's and horowitz FROM THE THIRTIES!!

I mean your favorites here must have the oldest and least audio quality of all rach3 recordings!! so why are you surprised that varcon here likes old recordings?

So, please explain why you like them yourself? [/b]
Read more carefully...

I also would list Horowitz near the top, based on his recordings (and I think I more or less did), but I still don't pretend that what I'm hearing, when I'm listening to some recording of his, is what he *really* sounded like. And, generally, the older the recordings are the less faithfully they reproduce what the music really sounded like.

It's true that there is more to a performance than sound, but it's also undeniable that sound has its tentacles in every other aspect of a performance (determining the tempo and phrasing, or how they work, for example), and so, when the sound is as badly reproduced as it tends to be in many mono recordings, for example, then the reproduction can only be distorted in a more or less significant way. Often the playing (or what you can hear through the hiss) in such (mono) recordings sounds so different from what it really sounded like that you would have to use a *lot* of imagination and some self-deception to believe that you're hearing better playing when listening to such recordings than you are when listening to some well-made and well-played modern recording.

I've heard many times even about Brendel, for example, (who's made many *modern* recordings) that recordings don't do him justice, that he has to be heard live, to appreciate his greatness, etc.... (Although there are definitely styles that suit studio better than other styles... Gould's playing fits the studio quite well . . . but this is getting a bit outside the subject, even if that might not seem so...)
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 10:24 AM

1--10 -- Maurizio...
Posted by: jazzyd

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 10:53 AM

Now you've got something to argue about; Pollini just received 55 points. \:D
Posted by: Plwatcher

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 11:16 AM

What about Emmanuel Ax? Does anyone like him?
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 02:01 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by SteinwayModelD:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
It just amazes me that people say, "Nobody could play like Horowitz!" and then they bring up some recording from 1930 that is their favorite (or the '51 Reiner Rach 3 if you prefer). The quality on that recording is absolutely horrible. HORRIBLE. If one were making a comparison solely based on recordings, by far the obvious choice would be a modern pianist, whose recordings are so much better that, despite whatever quality an ancient pianist may have had, there is such poor representation of it since their deaths, and the modern pianist should be selected every time (if one were choosing musically). But I know many people just pick "names" because they are names, and this is what I wanted to get at.

I've listened to many of Rachmaninoff's, Horowitz's, Rubinstein's, "blah blah blah" recordings, and have been turned away by almost 95% of those that come before 1960 (which, in the case of Rachmaninoff, is all of them). The quality is just so bad that you really can't tell what is going on. So, it surprises me when someone says they prefer those old, horrible recordings (regardless of who's playing) to modern recordings, which, by far, better preserve the music.

The reason I asked your age is because you may be old enough to have been alive to hear these people in concert, in which case I'd say you'd have a very valid argument for why those pianists are better. (You can compare equal mediums...one in concert to the other in concert.) But to say those old ratty recordings are better than modern ones? I just don't get it.... [/b]
You bring shame to the name and image of Horowitz, take it off your avatar, it's an insult the great artist.

By the way, I pity u on another hand, seems like your ears can only 'hear' but not 'listen', let alone 'appreciate'. Sound quality has nothing to with the great artistry as long as it's recognizable, obviously your ears are not 'trained' to listen to old recordings.

ANd yea, go listen to your SACD copy of Lang Lang's new album you *******. [/b]
SteinwayModelD,

I've reported your post to the moderators of Pianist Corner for them to edit out the profanity in your post.

Please do not use profanity when posting in PW.
Posted by: TS

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 02:46 PM

Annnywayss... what's the count at? ;\)
Posted by: yok

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 02:52 PM

I can't get any sort of order among my personal favourites, so I've ranked the ten who I think are the greatest in the sense of the influence they have had on 20th century piano playing and repertoire.

1.Horowitz
2.Schnabel
3.Rubinstein
4.Richter
5.E.Fischer
6.Gould
7.Cortot
8.Pollini
9.Gerald Moore
10.Menachem Pressler
Posted by: David Ramezani

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 02:58 PM

I don't understand. Is it really so much easier to listen to the fifteenth track of this recording

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000003...v=glance&n=5174

than the ninth track of this

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000I...v=glance&n=5174

?

Maybe I have learned to listen to old recordings by having done that very much. I can even listen to recordings like the third track of

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005P...v=glance&n=5174

But I must admit that some of the music "is gone" in the last recording. Some of the pedalling effects cannot be heard. But the second recording mention I think is just as acceptable as the first.
Posted by: curry

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 03:06 PM

1.Josef Lhevinne
2.Josef Hofmann
3.Sergei Rachmaninoff
4.Abbey Simon
5.Gina Bachauer \:\)
6.Vladimir Horowitz
7.Alfred Cortot
8.Jose Iturbi
9.Cutner Solomon
10.Artur Rubinstein
Posted by: lol_nl

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 03:48 PM

Hey where's the update? Are we losing track? At least I'm really confused but it seems like Richter has beaten Horowitz \:D ....
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 08:40 PM

Both of you two are right...Bassio and Mr. Hamus...concerning my "views". Bassio, you hit the surface, that people are deceiving themselves based on a "name", but Mr. Hamus goes much deeper into it to really get to some meat and potatoes. I think, after those two posts of yours, I'll say nothing else. \:\)

I think we need a few more people to vote, though...Borge fell off the list...and that shouldn't be allowed. \:\(
Posted by: Emanuel Ravelli

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 10:48 PM

Here's my starting lineup:

1. Rachmaninoff
2. Gilels
3. Richter
4. Kapell
5. Sokolov
6. Rubinstein
7. Lipati
8. Argerich
9. Zimerman
10. Volodos
Posted by: prokofiev

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/06/06 10:50 PM

This was really hard, but here goes. There is probably some degree of arbitrariness.

1. Richter
2. Rachmaninoff
3. Horowitz
4. Prokofiev (don't have a lot to judge on for this one \:\( , but I love his third concerto recording)
5. Kapell

Other candidates: Andsnes, Brendel, Pletnev, Volodos, Zimerman
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/07/06 12:42 AM

1. Vladimir Horowitz
2. Grigory Sokolov
3. Cyprien Katsaris
4. Ivan Moravec
5. Martha Argerich
6. Santiago Rodriguez
7. Mikhail Pletnev
8. Vladimir Sofronistky
9. Denis Matsuev
10. Boris Berezovsky - a little below par, but his recent Rachmaninoff preludes were a full blown orgasm
Posted by: mmmmaestro007

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/07/06 03:45 AM

10. Boris Berezovsky - a little below par, but his recent Rachmaninoff preludes were a full blown orgasm:

opus,

if this was the case, shouldn't it have been your number one choice? lol
Posted by: CC2 and Chopin lover

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/07/06 09:14 AM

Curry,
I love Abbey Simon's playing as well. His Rachmaninoff is superb!!!!
Posted by: Bassio

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/07/06 04:44 PM

I did not listen to many pianists but here are some pianists i like and listen to most

1- Rachmaninoff
2- Horowitz
3- Cortot
4- Gould
5- Brendel
6- Rubinstein
7- Cziffra
8- Richter
9- Arrau
10- Tureck

Others i did not listen to much but i heard that they are great:
Hofmann, Godowsky, Gilels, Michelangeli


Anyway, how's richter versus horowitz?
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/07/06 08:02 PM

Liberace

Seriously, one more vote for Lipatti
Posted by: Contrapunctus

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/08/06 04:11 PM

1. Martha Argerich
2. Sviatoslav Richter
3. Emil Gilels
4. Leif Ove Andsnes
5. Evgeny Kissin
6. Cyprian Katsairs
7. Georges Cziffra
8. Glenn Gould
9. Maurizio Pollini
10. Myra Hess
Posted by: Dave Spelvin

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/08/06 05:53 PM

Such a difficult question. While I readily acknowledge the greatness of folks like Richter, Pollini, and Pletniev, among so many other steely-fingered types, I find that I love what they do less often than others who are less perfect technicians. Respect and love are not the same. If the point of the question is to list the ones who can play louder and faster than anyone with the fewest mistakes (not meaning that they always do play louder and faster), then put me down for the guys above plus Michaelangeli, Horowitz, Sokolov, Rachmaninoff, Lhevinne, Rubinstein (for the sheer force of his musicality) et al. But if you're asking who I'm on most intimate terms with, who I love and hate as though they were family members, then it's Cortot and Gieseking. I feel that I'm an active participant in their music making. They never cease to amaze and awe and infuriate me, sometimes in the same phrase.
Posted by: r.peltzman

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/09/06 02:31 PM

It's a pity when great playing is ignored because of the recording limitations of the time. One needs to filter out the hiss, and cracks and pay attention to the ARTISTRY. (If one has the capacity to do that - is another issue.) I'd take the worst sounding recording of Friedman playing a Mazurka than ANY state of the art recording of one. Thank God it was put to vinyl - it's an inspiration.
Posted by: Baldwinfan.718

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/09/06 03:53 PM

1. Sergei Rachmoninoff
2. Vladimir Horowitz
3. Victor Borge
4. Martha Argerich
5. Evgeny Kissin
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/10/06 12:21 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Baldwinfan.718:
1. Sergei Rachmoninoff
2. Vladimir Horowitz
3. Victor Borge
4. Martha Argerich
5. Evgeny Kissin [/b]
Rock! Another vote for Borge! \:D
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/11/06 12:44 PM

Sorry guys been away for past few days but finally....


THE BIG UPDATE!

DRUM ROLL PLEASE............


1. Sviatoslav Richter - 201[/b]
2. Vladimir Horowitz - 194[/b]
3. Sergei Rachmaninoff - 126[/b]
4. Emil Gilels - 113[/b]
5. Glenn Gould - 97[/b]
6. Martha Argerich - 79[/b]
7. Arthur Rubinstein - 68[/b]
8. Claudio Arrau - 62[/b]
9. Grigory Sokolov - 58[/b]
10. Arturo Benedetti Michelangelli - 54[/b]

I'll make a list of top runners up as well that are close to edging the list if they have some more votes:

Kristian Zimmerman - 38[/b]
Georgy Cziffra - 38[/b]
Evgeny Kissin - 37[/b]
Alfred Brendel - 32[/b]
Maurizio Pollini - 30[/b]
Alfred Cortot, William Kapell - 28[/b]
Cyprian Katsaris - 26[/b]
Artur Schnabel, Josef Hoffmann - 22[/b]
Victor Borge - 20 (for derlux)[/b]


Anyhow, top 10 seems like a good and accurate list to me, in fact the top 4 or 5 are identical to how I had my top!
Posted by: lol_nl

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/11/06 03:33 PM

I Got 6/10 in top ten (Richter and Horowitz in top 2 as well)

and 2 in the close edging list.

Very happy with the list, wouldn't be able to create such a great list myself (I couldn't think of any more people who were good as well, but I see you could!).

Richter congratulations!

Did he die in 1997? One of my CD's says he died in 1982 in Munich, the other says he is alive, but Decca says he died in 1997 \:\) .
Posted by: Requiem Aeternam

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/11/06 03:53 PM

He's still alive.


(deluded Richter fan)
I can dream can't I? :rolleyes:
Posted by: TS

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/11/06 04:01 PM

Haha, you are not alone.
Posted by: iamcanadian

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/11/06 06:06 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by lol_nl:
Did he die in 1997? One of my CD's says he died in 1982 in Munich, the other says he is alive, but Decca says he died in 1997 \:\) . [/b]
He died in August 1997.
Posted by: Wzkit

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/11/06 09:39 PM

This is really hard. There's just so many different things to like in different pianists that its really quite impossible to give a hard ranking. But here's a try anyway.

1. Horowitz
2. Richter
3. Sofronitzky
4. Pletnev
5. Sokolov
6. Ivan Moravec
7. Michelangeli
8. Esteban Sanchez
9. Argerich
10.Gilels

And there're so many others I love and respect: Feinberg, Rachmaninoff, Nelson Friere, Zimmerman, Cortot, Cziffra, Arrau, Cherkassky, Nikolayeva...the list is endless!
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/12/06 12:30 AM

Victor Borge - 20 (for derlux) [/b]
*laughs* Thank you. \:D
Posted by: Sonata

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/12/06 10:14 PM

1. Tea Kalandadze
2. Dubravka Tomsic

I'm suprised that no one heard of these two great pianists.

3.Cyprien Katsaris
4. Martha Argerich
5.Krystian Zimerman
6.Evgeny Kissin
7.Alexis Weissenberg
8.Glenn Gould
9.Alfred Brendel
10. LangLang? \:\)

To Derulux:
You are a real man! I don't care what you said right or wrong, but whatever who attacks you, you are always smile and respond with humour. That's really good. We don't like some messages contain irrational arguements or to blame others, do we?
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/13/06 01:20 AM

To Derulux:
You are a real man! I don't care what you said right or wrong, but whatever who attacks you, you are always smile and respond with humour. That's really good. We don't like some messages contain irrational arguements or to blame others, do we?[/b]
Thank you for the kind words. \:\) I do try to maintain my sense of humor at all times. It is the only thing that keeps me sane. And I always try to maintain my perspective on life: my time here is severely limited, so why not use it for the benefit of others, instead of demoralizing everyone I come across? And if I can make people smile or laugh in the process, then, as Victor Borge would say, "That is my only reward. The rest goes to the government." ;\)

Now, do me a favor and vote for Victor! "V for Victor!" :p \:D
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/13/06 01:30 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Sonata:
1. Tea Kalandadze
2. Dubravka Tomsic

I'm suprised that no one heard of these two great pianists.

3.Cyprien Katsaris
4. Martha Argerich
5.Krystian Zimerman
6.Evgeny Kissin
7.Alexis Weissenberg
8.Glenn Gould
9.Alfred Brendel
10. LangLang[/b]? \:\)

Never seen a thread go downhill so quickly
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/13/06 01:35 AM

It would almost be excusable if Richter and Horowitz were actually AHEAD of Lang Lang on the list...but to suggeset Lang Lang is greater than them.............................................
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/13/06 01:40 AM

It's only his opinion, Heretic. ;\)

Maybe he hasn't heard Richter or Horowitz. Maybe he has, and he doesn't personally connect with their styles.
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/13/06 01:47 AM

This is true, but would Lang Lang even be considered 20th century pianist??? More like 21st century..
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/13/06 01:49 AM

Well, I'd say he's late 20th and early 21st.

I'm not sure I would consider him one of the "best" of the 20th century, but he might very well become one of the "best" of the 21st. Who knows? He's still very young (23? 24?)
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/13/06 02:02 AM

Well his (in)famous "breakthrough" occurred in 1999 when he substituted for andre watts so I suppose that puts him in the last year of 20th century but he didn't accomplish anything in 20th century...


on a side note though..I just read something interesting about him. People have been marvelling lately at those child prodigies that played some single Chopin etude at 14 or whatnot. It says here Lang Lang performed all 24 Chopin Etudes at age 13!
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/13/06 02:04 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Heretic:
It says here Lang Lang performed all 24 Chopin Etudes at age 13! [/b]
Where is 'here'? (just out of curiosity, because I might read it if it's on the web)

I'd believe that. He's certainly got chops.
Posted by: Heretic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/13/06 02:29 AM

wikipedia
Posted by: Sonata

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/13/06 04:40 AM

Well, I think if you like piano, you should heard of Richter or Horowitz. They were not in my list, that because I've got their CDs, but the quality of record is not very clear, so I might put them in 11 and 12. And Lang Lang might not belong to 20th, but he is really great in his age, I think we should judge by their skill or talent, not age. By the way, I am female. \:\)
Posted by: lol_nl

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/14/06 11:59 AM

I think he is great. Sonata can have her own opinion \:\) . Although I won't put him in my list, I can understand why people are putting him in the list. He is not THAT bad, come on...

I also understand why people dislike him, but he is so critisesed, he just doesn't deserve it. Keep in mind that he is still young and I think in the future he might ever grow up \:\) , no matter how many centuries it's going to take \:\) .

Why are people so harsh on a 23 (24?) year old who still has to develop his "true" musicality?
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/14/06 08:23 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Heretic:
It would almost be excusable if Richter and Horowitz were actually AHEAD of Lang Lang on the list...but to suggeset Lang Lang is greater than them............................................. [/b]
*scoffs* What threw me was that someone put Lang Lang above Victor Borge. That just shouldn't be allowed. ;\)
Posted by: searchers

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/15/06 04:19 AM

1-Hofmann
2-Rachmaninoff
3-Busoni
4-Horowitz
5-Godowsky
6-Richter
7-Rosenthal
8-Friedman
9-Serkin
10-Cortot
10-D'Albert
10-Paderewski
Posted by: searchers

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/15/06 04:28 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by yok:
I can't get any sort of order among my personal favourites, so I've ranked the ten who I think are the greatest in the sense of the influence they have had on 20th century piano playing and repertoire.

1.Horowitz
2.Schnabel
3.Rubinstein
4.Richter
5.E.Fischer
6.Gould
7.Cortot
8.Pollini
9.Gerald Moore
10.Menachem Pressler [/b]
Posted by: searchers

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/15/06 04:32 AM

If you are ranking those who had the greatest influence on 20th century piano playing, I am very surprised that you do not mention Josef Hofmann. Artur Rubinstein, Horowitz and Gould were enormously influenced by Hofmann's playing - each heard him as a child. I am sure you read that Gould decided to become a concert pianist after coming home from Hofmann's last Toronto recital in 1938.
Posted by: yok

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 03/15/06 05:12 AM

I gave strong consideration to Hofmann (and many others). As you say, he was revered by many great pianists, including Rachmaninoff and both Josef and Rosina Lhevinne, who were in turn influential as performers and teachers. As the teacher of Cherkassky, Hofmann can be said to have passed down a certain nineteenth-century style of piano playing with a degree of freedom, personal idiosyncrasy and beautiful sound production well into the late twentieth-century. But when I was making my list I tried to think of who made twentieth century piano playing in terms of both repertoire and style. If you go to almost any recital today I think you could trace at least some of the programming and interpretation to the influence of one of the top 8. (Moore and Pressler are there, obviously, for the status they have given to the role of collaborative pianists.) With Hofmann, I'm not so sure this is the case. Maybe if a salon piece by Moszkowski or Weber or some such is played as an encore, you could point to Hofmann, but equally Horowitz, Bolet and others could be named. I guess this is all pretty academic but it is interesting nonetheless. It shows that even when you try to use an objective criterion (these are by no means my 10 favourite pianists) it is impossible really to agree.
Posted by: pianistical

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/11/13 04:14 AM

1. Rubinstein (The most naturally talented pianist. His playing has nobility, beauty, spine and when called for a thundering steely fortissimo. The most versatile and total pianist IMO)
2. Rachmaninov
2. Alexei Sultanov (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrbJJ31EeLU)
3. Cortot
4. Kempff
5. Glenn Gould
6. Ashkenazy (when young)
7. Pletnev
8. Schnabel
9. Horowitz (Good but overated. A craftsman who indulges in in exaggerates colorful tonal production at the expense of honest and healthy playing. His banging on the keyboard sometimes feels very inorganic. To me he sounds artificial.
10. Richter (Good but overrated. Too heavy playing with little breathing air. His playing is solid like a rock. I just wish he would let in some air and sunshine to make his playing more complete.)
Posted by: wr

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/11/13 07:38 AM

I wasn't tricked this time.

Sometimes you can tell a zombie thread from the peculiar odor that arises when you read the subject line and see an unfamiliar (i.e., long-gone) username as the original poster, but still, the thread runs to several pages. It just smells weird...
Posted by: Serge Marinkovic

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/11/13 04:48 PM

1. Rachmaninov-everything a delight. My teacher heard him practicing and listened to scales and scales in thirds along with excerpts of Bach WTC.
2. Richter- he is my personal favorite because of his exciting and innovative interpretations. Ex Liszt B Minor super loud or super soft a dream state, then super slow or super fast with perfect clarity and tone balance. A superb surgeons hands.
3. Kapell- at my last lesson with maestro Wild he felt Kapell to be in the category of Rach.
4. Horowitz-saw his last performance in NYC at the Met 1989, so much feeling in the air, his playing touched my soul for those moments like none other live.
5. Gilels- saw him at his last Carnegie Hall recital in April 1983? The second half's Schumann Symphonic Etudes left me in awe. The Bach WTC encore three or four measures into an early Prelude I stood up because his tone was so clear and perfect for Bach better than Gould at that moment. By the end of the fugue everyone in my row was standing. Just a perfect moment. Like Horowitz's last Traumeri at the MET in 1989. God for those few moments allowed human attainment of perfection.
6. Michalangeline (sp)
7. Sokolov- will rearrange my schedule in Winter/Spring 2014 to see him in Europe. I have waited too long.
8. Kempff
9. Lipatti
10. Pletnev- I have like Sokolov everything he has recorded with piano. Sublime pianist everything is held in a different light with him. Really going up in my estimation as his career seems to rekindle itself after an injury?

All superb technicians and artists and performed for 20 years or more. Lipatti died of Lukemia right at 20 years service and Kapell the same but from a plane accident. To be the best of the century need to be technically superb, superb and interesting artist, play at that level for at least twenty years [Cliburn service was not continuous or in latter years that technically free and artistically innovative]
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/12/13 11:41 AM

WHY AM I NOT SEEING CLIBURN HERE???????????

Who cares if he was not "continuous". I'd rather have even 3 years of great, artistic playing than 50 years of horseshit.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/12/13 12:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
WHY AM I NOT SEEING CLIBURN HERE???????????
....

Because the members who know best weren't here yet in '06. ha

But since then (like in this other thread) we do know. smile
Great that you love him too!

We've had threads like this more recently and Van has indeed gotten his due.
Posted by: TwoSnowflakes

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/12/13 01:05 PM

I'm just happy that Derelux got Victor Borge in there. I wasn't here in 2006, but I'm pretty sure that had Derelux not done that, I would have been summoned by some bat-signal wrinkle in the time-space continuum to come here and make sure it was done.
Posted by: Michael Sayers

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/15/13 06:38 AM

I'll have a go at this. Here are my personal nineteen - who is counting, right? - favourite (to replace the word "greatest") pianists for the 20th century - that is what we really are doing, right, listing favourites?

In no particular order:

1) Ferruccio Busoni
2) Alexander Siloti
3) Eugene d'Albert
4) Edwin Fischer
5) Ignacy Jan Paderewski
6) Ervin Nyiregyhazi
7) Raymond Lewenthal
8) Vladimir Horowitz
9) Vladimir de Pachmann
10) Edouard Risler
11) Josef Hofmann
12) Carl Reinecke (piano rolls only)
13) Egon Petri
14) Gunnar Johansen
15) Jorge Bolet
16) Ernst Levy
17) Louis Kentner
18) Raymond Trouard
19) Martin Berkofsky (he is the only one on the list who still is living!)

The list is subject to change without notice wink

M.
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/15/13 11:51 AM

Where is Cliburn????????
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/15/13 12:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Where is Cliburn????????

OK, you're forcing me to do a list. ha

In no particular order (not necessarily anyway grin -- just the order that I think of them) and apologies to the many that I'd like to include but "10" is "10."
Also I oughta say that on things like this I have sort of a bias against the younger ones, not because they're younger but because I think we really need the benefit of time to know how to consider them.
And BTW, while Michael had a point that what we're really doing is giving favorites, not really greatest, I'm trying to do the latter. The list would be a bit different for "favorites."

Horowitz
Rubinstein
Cliburn
Schnabel
Rachmaninoff
Hofmann
Argerich
Lhevinne
Gould

.....so, where are we so far: That's 9 -- room for one more. And to my surprise, this isn't as hard as I assumed it would be. That's really all the pianists I feel I 'have to' include. So, let's see, who do I give the honor of being 'the other one':

Paderewski

Remember that concepts of "greatness" can differ. I certainly don't mean that all of these 10 necessarily 'played the piano better' than any number of other pianists.
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/15/13 12:10 PM

For me it would be:

Rachmaninov
Horowitz
Cliburn
Richter (you didn't include Richter/??? tsk tsk)
Rubinstein
Serkin
Schnabel
Tureck
Gould

And for me, 9 for now haha!

I agree that there is a difference between "favourite" and "greatest". I tried to stick with the latter, but of course most of my favourites seem to be in the "greatest" as well =)
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/15/13 12:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
(you didn't include Richter/??? tsk tsk)

I talked about him in this post on another thread.

I invited anyone to try to say what it is about Richter -- not just about what was so great, but what he really was at all; I never perceived him as having any clear identity. Nobody bit. (Argerichfan said a little about what he thought Richter brought to Brahms 2nd but that was it.)
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/15/13 12:20 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfJVpjI3wJM

Hear his Schubert, most of all.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/15/13 12:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfJVpjI3wJM

Hear his Schubert, most of all.

Sure. I like a lot of his performances and love a few of them. But that's true for dozens of other pianists.

What about what I asked up there.....can anybody try to say something about it?
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/15/13 12:29 PM

Say about what? Identity? Well, one thing obviously is that I can't imagine anybody else playing Schubert like that, he opened a whole new world there. It's his. And I think it's pretty special. You can argue the "no identity" card for every single pianist if you wanted to (except Horowitz probably, haha).

At the end of the day, to each their own. But surely we can learn to acknowledge greatness and give credit when credit is due...
Posted by: vers la flan

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/15/13 11:29 PM

Hi Mark C, how are you?

Not entirely sure what you're asking for here regarding Richter. Some examples of how you would characterize the "identity" of other pianists would be helpful. But, I'll give it a shot.

Richter strikes me as a perfect balance of his bloodline -- a strict sense of structure from his German side and the hot-bloodedness from his Russian side. Thus, his interpretations at their very best have this mixture of a clear and consistent rhythmic underpinning combined with a controlled (sometimes just barely) impetuousness. In many ways, it's a perfect metaphor for the contradictory aspects of his nature and identity. There's a reason why his documentary is subtitled "The Enigma." He's a difficult personality to pin down. Reading his memoirs and notes and interviews, he strikes me as rather self-effacing and aloof about certain things that others might consider essential real world considerations, but he was very, very serious about music. Guarded, but wryly humorous and outspoken regarding his opinions on music and musicians. Not one to suffer fools gladly but reverent to those he admired.

... I also jotted a few things about how I perceive his pianism but afterward it seemed like the kind of stuff you weren't really looking for (?)

Incidentally, I'm unclear about the significance of nailing down an identity regarding what it has to do with one's art. But perhaps that would make more sense to me should you clarify what you're after here.

Cheers!
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 12:01 AM

Originally Posted By: vers la flan
Not entirely sure what you're asking for here regarding Richter.

Funny, because you answered it totally. grin

Quote:
Richter strikes me as a perfect balance of his bloodline -- a strict sense of structure from his German side and the hot-bloodedness from his Russian side. Thus, his interpretations at their very best have this mixture of a clear and consistent rhythmic underpinning combined with a controlled (sometimes just barely) impetuousness. In many ways, it's a perfect metaphor for the contradictory aspects of his nature and identity.

Well said, I guess -- and I'd have to guess that this is what keeps him from having any well-defined identity to me, because it's a mix.

Also my impression is that he played quite differently at different times, maybe reflecting the mix you talked about, maybe also reflecting (I know this is dangerous to speculate, but what the hey) not having a constant sense of how it all fit together?

Quote:
There's a reason why his documentary is subtitled "The Enigma." He's a difficult personality to pin down.

That seems completely in line with what I said before: lack of a clear identity, no clear projected sense of exactly what he was.

Quote:
I also jotted a few things about how I perceive his pianism but afterward it seemed like the kind of stuff you weren't really looking for (?)

Sure it would be!

Quote:
Incidentally, I'm unclear about the significance of nailing down an identity regarding what it has to do with one's art....

For me and I'd guess probably for most people, "greatness" in a musician or really anyone in the arts depends on some kind of uniqueness, and usually some tangible and describable kind of uniqueness. And with great musical performers, generally there's something we could call a "personality" involved as part of it, and without some fairly clear projected identity, it's hard for there to be a projected personality.

I'm surprised that you're surprised about my having talked about "identity." Wouldn't you be able pretty easily to take those 10 pianists I mentioned and characterize each of them with a few words or phrases and in a way that adds up to a pretty clear image?

Actually I think what you said about Richter is a pretty good job of doing that for him, maybe just about as good a job as could be done. And as per the things I noted, I think that at the same time it also reflects why he maybe doesn't so clearly project an identity.
Posted by: Ferdinand

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 02:10 AM

Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
For me it would be:

Rachmaninov
Horowitz
Cliburn
Richter (you didn't include Richter/??? tsk tsk)
Rubinstein
Serkin
Schnabel
Tureck
Gould
...

It's good to see a mention of Serkin.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 02:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
It's good to see a mention of Serkin.

Which one? grin
Posted by: Ferdinand

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 02:38 AM

The great one.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 02:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
The great one.

Now wait a minute -- dad wasn't too bad either! ha
Posted by: bennevis

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 06:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C


What about what I asked up there.....can anybody try to say something about it?


Let me try to pin down Richter grin .
He is totally uncompromising in his playing, going to extremes, if he thinks that's what is required to do justice to the music - from stretching meditative slowness to the point of stasis (e.g. Schubert's D960) to going almost berserk in some Russian music, and even something like Chopin's Ballade No.1 and Beethoven's Appassionata (listen to his Carnegie Hall concert on his first visit to the USA). He never tries to draw the listener in with color or pyrotechnics (unlike Horowitz) and wants you to concentrate on the music rather than his playing, which may be why he preferred the more neutral tonal qualities of the Yamaha CFIII to the Steinway D from the 1960s onwards - and why he increasingly withdrew to playing in tiny venues, often announced at the last minute, rather than big concert halls.

This philosophy can produce anything from the deadly dull (if the listener isn't prepared....) to the outmost in visceral excitement, from the most sublime statements to the grossest misrepresentation of the music (at least, to some ears).

I must admit that of the several CDs I have of Richter from various stages of his life, there are a few that I wouldn't care to listen to again; several that I'd listen to only if I was in the mood; but many that to my ears, are almost definitive. Apart from his celebrated Sofia concert, there's his Liszt Sonata (live Aldeburgh recital), Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Debussy Estampes, Schubert D784 etc (from Tokyo 1979), Bartók, Szymanowski, Hindemith......
Posted by: Orange Soda King

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 08:43 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
The great one.

Now wait a minute -- dad wasn't too bad either! ha


Pretty sure Ferdinand meant dad. wink
Posted by: vers la flan

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 05:50 PM

Hi Mark C, thanks for the response.

I think it's appropriate that Richter's identity doesn't come across to you as he seemed to insist that it didn't (insistence on fidelity to score, dark stage illuminating only the sheet music and keyboard, etc.) He famously rebuffed a compliment from Gould (who said he was the only one who made Schubert compelling to him) by saying it was Schubert who was compelling, not himself. Anyway, can't the elusiveness of character -- the "enigma" -- be a compelling quality in itself?

BTW, I'm not necessarily trying to win you over. I absolutely respect your perspective. I imagine your take on Richter to be somewhat in line with Rubinstein's initial impression (nothing special), only without the subsequent unconscious response.

Quote:
Also my impression is that he played quite differently at different times, maybe reflecting the mix you talked about, maybe also reflecting (I know this is dangerous to speculate, but what the hey) not having a constant sense of how it all fit together?


I do think his playing changed a bit, notably in the sixties, where he mellowed just a tad and reined things in enough to have greater control. All part of the natural growth of an artist, I think. Perhaps due to his having more access to western European sensibilities, a sense of refinement which he was initially criticized of missing in some circles.


Quote:
For me and I'd guess probably for most people, "greatness" in a musician or really anyone in the arts depends on some kind of uniqueness, and usually some tangible and describable kind of uniqueness. And with great musical performers, generally there's something we could call a "personality" involved as part of it, and without some fairly clear projected identity, it's hard for there to be a projected personality.


Well, some talk up Richter as a chameleon, playing differently for each composer. While that's true to some extent, I think that's pretty much the case for most pianists, right? Nevertheless, I find his playing really distinctive regardless of what he's playing. The quality of his tone is so solid, so definite. Rarely "wet" (sometimes detrimentally on the dry side) and never "muddy." It's difficult for me to come up with a pianist with a comparable sound, the granite-like blocks of his chords and the stark relief of his melody lines. The only one I can think of is Rachmaninov. I would be remiss if I didn't also mention his enormous dynamic range and his unparalleled control over the entire spectrum.

Richter is in the camp of the score worshipers, of which I personally am not. Yet the strength of his convictions are so strong, so convincing, that I can't help but be won over. I consider a number of his recordings to be benchmarks. I think that the times where he fails (interpretively rather than technically) are often the times when his conviction is lacking and the lack betrays him since it is so strong otherwise. He has admitted, for example, that he just didn't get Mozart. And while I am no authority on Beethoven and have no issues with the performances in question that I've heard, he admitted that he had no idea if his renditions of the later sonatas are any good or not. Generally speaking, though, I think he had a strong grasp on the music he performed, and in this I respectfully disagree with your speculation that he lacked a constant sense of how things fit together.

If I were to distill how I characterize Richter's playing in brief, I would use the following words: austere, unsentimental, direct, clear, vivid, driven, rhythmic, solid, powerful, spacious.
Posted by: vers la flan

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 05:58 PM

Hi bennevis, how are you?

I think you characterize Richter's playing admirably. I slightly depart from your assertion that he "never tries to draw the listener in with color," though I do know what you're talking about. I find his Debussy quite colorful, for example.

Super duper thumbs up for mentioning his Schubert concert in Tokyo. That is a particularly exceptional performance, even for him.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 06:05 PM

Great replies here from Bennevis and Vers, and better than I've seen anywhere about what it was 'that made Richter Richter.'
I would offer, though, that I think much of what Bennevis said:

Originally Posted By: bennevis
....going to extremes, if he thinks that's what is required to do justice to the music - from stretching meditative slowness to the point of stasis (e.g. Schubert's D960) to going almost berserk in some Russian music, and even something like Chopin's Ballade No.1 and Beethoven's Appassionata (listen to his Carnegie Hall concert on his first visit to the USA)....

.....applies to any number of top-level Russian pianists of the last couple of generations. (Who?? I couldn't tell you, just that those are the characteristics I associate with Russian pianists in general in the latter part of the 20th century.) Maybe we could say that Richter "did it the best," but even so, if some of the main stuff we can say about him is stuff that many other pianists did......well, I'd go back to what I said before.

BTW that recording of the Appassionata was my first acquaintance with Richter. It was right around the time it came out. The recording was passed around a lot among my crowd and discussed a lot, especially in comparison with Horowitz's recording.

Originally Posted By: vers la flan
....I respectfully disagree with your speculation that he lacked a constant sense of how things fit together.

That's more than fine -- I would never assert it as being so.
Posted by: vers la flan

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 06:15 PM

Hi all,

I feel I've participated in a bit of threadjacking, so out of respect to the original intent I'll present a list of my candidates for Greatest Pianists of the 20th Century. As others have mentioned, the criteria for "Greatness" includes various factors from technical address to cultural impact. This list is most definitely mutable, but at the moment, in order:

Sviatoslav Richter
Vladimir Horowitz
Arthur Rubinstein
Glenn Gould
Van Cliburn
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Josef Hofmann
Leopold Godowsky
Alfred Cortot
Artur Schnabel

It pains me to leave out some of my favorites (Gilels, Sofronitsky, Lipatti) while some inclusions are given grudgingly, though respectfully.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 06:37 PM

In no particular order:
Rachmaninov
Richter
Gilels
Horowitz
Zimerman
Pletnev
Argerich
Friedmam
Perahia
Rubintein
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 06:45 PM

Here is the list from BBC magazine from a few years ago. They polled 100+ of the greatest living pianists and based the list on their replies.

In at no. 20 ("last place" though given the caliber....):Claudio Arrau

19th place: Josef Hofmann

18th place: Walter Gieseking

17th place: Glenn Gould

16th place: Murray Perahia

15th place: Wilhelm Kempff

14th place: Edwin Fischer

13th place: Radu Lupu

12th place: Ignaz Friedman

11th place: Krystian Zimerman

10th place: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

9th place: Martha Argerich

8th place: Emil Gilels

7th place: Artur Schnabel

6th place: Dinu Lipatti

5th place: Alfred Cortot

4th place: Sviatoslav Richter

3rd place: Vladimir Horowitz

2nd place: Arthur Rubinstein

And in 1st place: drum roll please.........

Sergey Rachmaninov!
-++
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/16/13 11:52 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Here is the list from BBC magazine from a few years ago. They polled 100+ of the greatest living pianists and based the list on their replies.

I don't see BBC Magazine all that frequently (I generally prefer Gramophone), but I did see that list. (I think a mate of mine emailed it to me.)

Very hard to argue with those stellar names. And yet... I have heard Leif Ove Andsnes several times, and I find it impossible to believe that this prince of pianists is not more highly regarded. He is awesome in concert, it is a sound like I have never heard before!

I wish he would get on with the Brahms Bb, and stop wasting his time with Rach 3, which, IMO, doesn't suit him anyway.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/17/13 09:44 AM

10) Horowitz

9) Horowitz

8) Horowitz

7) Horowitz

6) Horowitz

5) Horowitz

4) Horowitz

3) Horowitz

2) Horowitz

1) Horowitz
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/17/13 07:04 PM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
10) Horowitz

9) Horowitz

8) Horowitz

7) Horowitz

6) Horowitz

5) Horowitz

4) Horowitz

3) Horowitz

2) Horowitz

1) Horowitz

Well at least Vladimir de Pachmann wasn't on your list. (Unlike several pages above.)

Judging from some of the recordings of his I have heard -and with input from Harold Schonberg- I would suppose one just had to be there.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/17/13 07:30 PM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Well at least Vladimir de Pachmann wasn't on your list. (Unlike several pages above.)

Judging from some of the recordings of his I have heard -and with input from Harold Schonberg- I would suppose one just had to be there.

Actually he'd be one of my "honorable mention"s.

The argument for him (if you believe this, which I do) is that he's the closest thing we've got (and to anything we had in the 20th century) to how Chopin played. Of course I'm talking about if you take away the eccentricity and craziness, which admittedly is sort of making him into a different person. smile
Posted by: Derulux

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/17/13 08:06 PM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
10) Horowitz

9) Horowitz

8) Horowitz

7) Horowitz

6) Horowitz

5) Horowitz

4) Horowitz

3) Horowitz

2) Horowitz

1) Horowitz

Not even an honorable mention for Rachmaninoff?
Posted by: ClsscLib

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/17/13 09:54 PM

I'm not really qualified to make comparisons, but in this order, these are the pianists whose recordings I most often choose to hear:

Pletnev
Moravec
Gould
Rubenstein
Barenboim
Horowitz
Brendel
Richter
Hewitt
Michelangeli


.
Posted by: UberB

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/18/13 05:40 AM

1. Cory Hall (aka BachScholar)
2. Alfred Brendel
3. Angela Hewitt
4. Andras Schiff
5. Lang Lang
6. Murray Perahia
7. Maurizio Pollini
8. Vladimir Ashkenazy
9. John Rusnak
10. Li Yundi

Click to reveal..
Here's my real list.
1. Richter
2. Gilels
3. Lipatti
4. Arrau
5. Michelangeli
6. Kapell
7. Sokolov
8. Rubinstein
9. Annie Fischer
10. Horowitz
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/18/13 10:12 AM

Originally Posted By: UberB
9. John Rusnak

.....is pretty terrible. ha

What do you like about him?

BTW, a look at the Amazon page for his Chopin Etudes will show a review from a familiar person. grin
Posted by: JoelW

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/18/13 10:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C


BTW, a look at the Amazon page for his Chopin Etudes will show a review from a familiar person. grin


"I am ASTONISHED............." laugh
Posted by: BruceD

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/18/13 01:45 PM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
10) Horowitz

9) Horowitz

8) Horowitz

7) Horowitz

6) Horowitz

5) Horowitz

4) Horowitz

3) Horowitz

2) Horowitz

1) Horowitz


... and this from the poster who calls Rubinstein "stupid!"
Posted by: Old Man

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/18/13 04:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Well at least Vladimir de Pachmann wasn't on your list. (Unlike several pages above.)

Judging from some of the recordings of his I have heard -and with input from Harold Schonberg- I would suppose one just had to be there.

Actually he'd be one of my "honorable mention"s.

Gee, Mark, Pachmann gets an honorable mention, but no mention at all of that most neglected of pianists, Alexander Brailowsky? Not even a crumb? grin A.B.'s Totentanz remains my favorite version to this day.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/18/13 04:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Old Man
Gee, Mark, Pachmann gets an honorable mention, but no mention at all of that most neglected of pianists, Alexander Brailowsky? Not even a crumb? grin A.B.'s Totentanz remains my favorite version to this day.

Cool!
And BTW indeed Brailowsky would also make that next list, although not as high as Pachmann.

But, Brailowsky most definitely would make my list of 10 FAVORITES (as opposed to greatest).

There would be a lot of overlap between my 'greatest' and 'favorites' lists, for the first 3 people:

1. Horowitz
2. Rubinstein
3. Cliburn

After that, they diverge totally.
Brailowsky makes it, and then I think the rest of the spots would have to be reserved for my teachers. grin
(Most sincerely.)

Malcolm Bilson
Robert Silverman
Seymour Bernstein
Eric Heidsieck
Elizabeth Wolff
Sandro Russo
Posted by: JoelW

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/18/13 06:28 PM

My real list:

(favorites, not historically greatest)

1) Horowitz
2) S. Bunin
3) Pre-insane Pogorelich
4) Pletnev
5) Rubinstein
6) Gould

Don't think I can go to ten.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: PW's 10 Greatest Pianists of 20th Century - 08/18/13 06:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
...and then I think the rest of the spots would have to be reserved for my teachers. grin
(Most sincerely.)

Malcolm Bilson

Mark ... I don't doubt your sincerity and I am sure Bilson was fabulous as a teacher and as an individual.

OTH, if Bilson had stuck to teaching and not entered the recording studio, well, the mystery would still be intact.