by Goldberg on Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:05 am
Rachmaninoff was an exceptionally brilliant pianist, and I would never dare to question his interpretation of anything. On the other hand, I really do not enjoy listening to his recordings, because his interpretations are rarely what I imagine in a piece. He plays--so it seems to me--everything so sternly and severely, not to mention that it's quite evident that his technical toolkit, so to speak, is derived mostly from a strict regimine of scales, Hanon, and possible Czerny or other such works. Not to say that any of these are entirely bad, but frankly, it tends to show in a performance if one's technique is SO dependent on, or should I say derived from, learning Hanon at a mechanically fast tempo. Judging from the very poor-quality recordings that are available, his playing seems a little too surgical and not imaginative in terms of colors, nor human in terms of rubato. I'm sure that hearing him live, however, would have been a different story altogether. But since that isn't possible, I have to say I personally don't recommend his recordings.
On the other hand, Cortot, whose recordings tend to suffer from even worse quality, has a very unique and colorful voice that shines through the static and distortion. I recommend him much more highly than Rachmaninoff. Artur Rubinstein is another ideal interpreter, for he has a rather serious, aristocratic approach to playing Chopin, with a certain attention to details which aren't purely technical; as such, his playing is honest and his rubato, human. It's all purely subjective as you can tell...
One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.
You know, some people just have natural talents-like some people play the piano but aren't very tall.