[f_minor] Not Gould but ...

Marco Poli marco.poli at unimi.it
Fri May 27 06:57:34 EDT 2011

	thanks for the links, I downloaded them 
all on my iPod and started listening to them. 
They are revealing, and I'm happy to be able to 
listen to them time and again.   I've attended 
some of these talks "live", but I find it very 
useful to stop and reflect on Schiff's comments.
In my opinion, Schiff is a particularly endowed 
and intelligent pianist, and he obviously loves 
to guide the audience towards a deeper 
understanding of the music he plays.  I've always 
admired his self-restraint, his sense of 
understatement, but also his self-reliance.
I assisted to many of his concerts here in 
Milano, where he has regularly played for many 
years now: he often prefers to present thematic 
cycles: I remind a Bach cycle - a very 
accomplished one (a testimonial is his first 
recording of the  Goldbergs - the Decca one, not 
the later ECM -, one of my favourites. apart from 
Glenn's, of course.  When he played it in 
concert, he asked the audience not to applaude).
He also played all of Beethoven's sonatas and an 
extensive and very emotional Schubert cycle - by 
the way, I'm so sorry that Gould, although 
admiring Richter's interpretation, never recorded 
Schubert's sonatas, especially the late ones: 
with his super-human sense of form (the 
Goldbergs, Beethoven's Bagatelles) he would 
probably have greatly enriched our understanding 
of these tragic pieces.
Like Glenn, Schiff is my opinion one of the not 
so frequent "thinking pianists": he's not only a 
virtuoso, but tries to convey a coherent 
"philosophical" message, embracing all the music 
he deals with.   I also appreciate his 
willingness to teach without putting himself in a 
metaphorical pulpit - this remembers me of the 
wonderful lectures Leonard Bernstein used to give.
A suggestion: listen to his recordings of the 
works of György Kürtag and Leos Janacek.

Kpapademas, I too have recently been listening to 
Glenn's Sibelius album: wonderful!  Among his 
less frequented but revealing recordings, I would 
also include Strauss's Sonata and Brahm's 

Stefyz, I've been careful to remove any personal 
or academic reference - although I can't 
understand the importance, negative or positive, 
they have for you: personally, I couldn't care 
less.   I was surprised by the vehemence of your 
message.  Hope this time I'm not touching any 
sensitive nerve ...


>Awfully quiet around here lately I must say - 
>still catching up with your Leonard Cohen 
>albums? "The Future" is my favourite ... not for 
>nothing the GG Prize, n'est-ce pas?
>Just last week I found a series of "live" 
>lectures on Beethoven's Sonatas given by Andras 
>Schiff in London and I fell under the spell. Has 
>anyone else heard them? If so, will you please 
>comment on them? I wept during the second 
>'movement' of Opus 111, I just fell apart: it 
>wasn't because of Schiff's narrative, it was the 
>music and how Schiff played it. There is no 
>irony intended here for those of you who might 
>be chuckling. No no. Sorry. I really blubbed and 
>was relieved not to have been among the 
>'publicke' in such a state although there must 
>have been plenty of people in the audience who 
>found themselves wiping away tears and 
>suppressing sobs, if the amplitude of the 
>belated applause accounts for anything; applause 
>which Schiff had already expressed was not 
>entirely welcome in such circumstances. Here at 
>my little home station I applauded as well, loud 
>and clear, once the shock of beauty's sting had 
>pulled its weight of tears from my soul. Then I 
>staggered to the window for an eyefull of night 
>Unfortunately the first "three parts" of this 
>series/link are no longer completely active 
>(there are just a few brief moments of music or 
>discourse and then silence). The 'series' begins 
>at: "Part Four: towards The Pastoral". I began 
>listening at Part Eight and without ever 
>intending to do so I did nothing other than 
>listen for an entire evening (and then I blubbed 
>and then I went outside for a walk in the night).
>Spoiler alert: Schiff plays Sonata 14 Opus 27 no. 2  as fast as ...
>SOS: can anybody tutor me on how I can keep these downloads from The Guardian?

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