In an earlier posting titled “Madmen of the piano” I focused on composers. Here let’s focus on the pianists.
I’ve recently spent a lot of time updating my Chopin collection; seeking out the greatest pianists I can find. The more I listen to these virtuosic dynamos … the more amazed I am that the human body can accomplish these feats. How can fingers move so rapidly? How can the rythym and timing of striking the right note go on and on … when it’s different between the two hands? – Sometimes a variable speed, rythm, reach and tone going on between the two hands. I don’t get it. I mean… they don’t all have a touch of Tourettes Syndrome do they!?
(*I remember reading that some Tourettes people have much faster reflexes and mechanical movements than normal)
Just listen to, and watch, what 10 fingers, 2 hands, 2 wrists and forearms can do!
(My vote for the “impossible” goes to Cziffra in the video)
UPDATE: As a result of the two comments above (thanks again Taneyev!) – I’ve replaced the “sleeping pianist”! with the master Maurizio Pollini
If you Google stuff like: Greatest Piano pieces or Greatest Piano Compositions; you’ll find a wealth of information. And you’ll almost always find in the list: Beethoven’s Variations on a theme by Diabelli. It’s a really strange story.
This guy Diabelli who wasn’t exactly a shining star in the composition world at the time! – Asked all the “Greats” of the day, to compose some variations on this roughly 1 minute piece. Then he would use the proceeds for charitable donations. (perhaps a forerunner of Bob Geldorf!?)
So what does Beethoven do? He composes 33 Variations on this piddly little theme! (*the critics evaluation of Diabelli’s initial effort range from praise, all the way to this trashing by critic William Kinderman, who says: “Banal, trite, a beer hall waltz”)