Thursday, 27 January 2011

"Nice Rach" - Piano Legends: Benno Moiseiwitsch, CBE on Rachmaninov

The Ukrainie has produced some great pianists - Horowitz, and without exception, one is pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch. Moiseiwitsch, once student of Leschetizky, according to Wikipedia:  was particularly known for his interpretations of the late Romantic repertoire, especially the works of Sergei Rachmaninoff (who was an admirer of his playing and referred to Moiseiwitsch as his "spiritual heir"). At the piano, Moiseiwitsch was noted for his elegance, poetry, lyrical phrasing, brilliance, rhythmic freedom, and relaxed virtuosity. Moiseiwitsch met Rachmaninov in 1919 after performing in concert in Carnegie Hall.

The first is a video interview from the documentary "Art of the Piano" Benno discussing his initial meeting with Rachmaninov approving of his performance of his favourite piece - B Minor Prelude.

The second is a radio interview, from the Panorama show, on the theme: "Reminiscences of Rachmaninov", it is most likely recorded in the USA.

And part II. Some highlights:

To know more about Moiseiwitsch, behind the scenes, here's a transcript of another interview from what I assume are notes from his Arbiter Records recording label in 1959 (pre-cd days). It covers his outlook on life and reflections as a concert pianist. Here's a 1950 article "Playing in the Grand Style" with which he refers to playing in the grand style of Anton Rubinstein, Rachmaninov, and Paderewski. 

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