vendredi 28 décembre 2012

Worst of 2012, if I may ??

My reviews are available in I have to pay tribute to the staff at Concertonet to offer freedom in writing, to regularly check if our facts are validated (No Lebrechtism here) and to maintain a site which at more than 25 thousands readers worldwide must be among the most read musical magazines on the web.

I would therefore let a curious reader see the cases where I was unhappy but wanted to tell a story which I did not mentioned in Concertonet. The Swiss Romande Orchestra's former music director Marek Janowski has regularly played Bruckner and has recorded on Pentatone a cycle which has been receiving glowing reviews.

He played his last concert on November 10 of this year with Bruckner's 4th Symphony in a private concert for the United Nations. I attended as a guest. This was the worst audience I ever experienced. Coughing, page turning, people talking, ..., all was there. At the beginning of the Scherzo, I asked a couple to stop behaving so badly and take example on my 14 years old son who was showing respect and politeness to audience and musicians alike.

This is not typical of the usual Victoria Hall audience. This may be typical of UN guests.

This is really a shame because the concert really began well. In such conditions (and I could see players glancing angrily at the audience more than a few times), the performance lost focus and even the usually strong instrumental level left to be desired.

I feel really bad because Janowski's last concert should have been a case for celebration. He improved the level of the orchestra and expanded their repertory. The CDs he did with the orchestra will stay, not only the Bruckner but also the Bartok violin concertos with Arabella Steinbacher as well as a French program of rare works fom Chausson, D'Indy and Saint-Saëns.

But a good concert means good works, good musicians and a good audience. The latter was really not  there on this occasion?

mercredi 26 décembre 2012

Best of 2012 - on CD

Just as quick sequel to my earlier post of yesterday on live performances ...

I enjoyed Pollini's retake on Chopin's Préludes, Hilary Hahn playing Charles Ives, ..., but the one CD which stands out is Paavo Järvi's revelatory reading of Hans Rott's Symphony coupled with two short pieces that confirms the composer's talent and originality.

If you like Mahler, Bruckner, Wagner ... then this music is for you. It is superbly played here by Järvi and his Frankfurt musicians with a keen sense of line and harmonic richness. I cannot recommend this discovery too highly.

lundi 24 décembre 2012

Best of 2012

Beckmesser is following the end of year tradition of selecting a best performance.

There are many candidates. I am convinced that Yuja Wang is a great artist with significant personality and individuality who is going to last. I miss Marek Janowski who gave us a stunning reading of Bruckner's Second Symphony and led me to better understanding of this composer. The orchestral performance of the year though was the Berlin Philharmonic multi-composer program in Geneva, a clear reminder of why they are really special and please do come back soon.

The Zurich Meistersinger was close to a near perfect evening save for an unfortunate sub-par Eva. I also had in Zurich a delightful Comte Ory which made me realize how little I really knew of Rossini. So, it is without hesitation that the performance of Zimmerman's Die Soldaten at Salzburg is my operatic performance of the year. The dramatic impact achieved in a work of this difficulty was stunning. One has to acknowledge that it is easier to do something special with modern works but this is what Festival production should be about and I look forwards to the forthcoming Gawain from the same team next year.

mardi 6 novembre 2012

Ranting about Samson and Delila

I attended yesterday's dress rehearsal of Samson and Delila at the Geneva Grand Théatre. This was below what this place has produced in the past.

French dignitary conductor Michel Plasson's tempis were slow and untheatrical and his beat was quite imprecise. This is indeed a dress rehearsal but the overall level was not where the OSR normally played. I was really sorry for the poor Mezzo Malgorzata Walewska who did as fine a job as it is possible in the circumstances. 

The producer Patrick Kinmonth joins the huge group of people who have designed costumes and scenery and cannot graduate as producers. His main concept was to stage Samson at the time where the work was written. Nothing wrong with the idea but Personen Regie was inexistant and the overall scenes were confused and without real meaning.

As always, the Geneva chorus comes out strongly. Let us not forget that the beginning of the work allows them to sing some of the finest music in the piece. But the highlight was Latvian Tenor
Aleksandrs Antonenko. He is the strongest dramatic tenor I have heard since say a Domingo. The tone is big yet there are no tensions. His phrasing is musical and his stage presence quite effective. Catch him whenever you can and let us hope he does not oversing.

dimanche 28 octobre 2012

The Kurtags in Paris ...

The video will be available until Jan 23, 2013. This is a marvelous testimony. Thanks to the cité de la musique for giving us this concert.

Duo Márta et György Kurtág : Johann Sebastian Bach, György Kurtág, concert enregistré à la Cité de la musique le 22 septembre 2012

Concert diffusé sur

Take your time and enjoy every sip.

samedi 27 octobre 2012

Hans Werner Henze

Passed away at today.

I attended in Salzbourg the Dress Rehearsal of his opera l'Upupa which has been preserved on DVD. The composer was there, a little stiff but dignified. He said a few words to thank the musicians. The music was fresh and ensembles sparkling like what you find in some of Richard Strauss's works. Well, he might not have liked the comparison but ...

A couple of years ago in Geneva, Janowski conducted his 9th Symphony with the OSR. No doubt there was a clear intention to write such a dark work for his "9" Symphony as if this could help to distance from the Germanic art. But in the end, it was a very Germanic work, full of ambition and attempting to rewrite the entire world in music.

Autumn season sale

Arturo Toscanini's belongings will be auctioned at Sothebys while the OSR is selling second-hand instruments flightcases.

Just wondering if there are still markets for these ?

mardi 23 octobre 2012

Article on Paris's forthcoming Philarmonie

I am not alone in having very strong doubts on the upcoming Paris Philarmonie, a ranting theme which has been recurrent in these pages, see here and here..

Concertonet's founder Philippe Herlin has expressed a similar view on his blog which includes latest figures on cost overruns.

This comes at a time when both US Presidential candidates are clashing over the role of the state. The challenger of the current president has actually stated he would cut state funding for arts which he believes not the be the sort of activity a state should sponsor.

The French situation raises another question: would art be better off, ie shielded away from blatant mistakes such as this unnecessary Philarmonie project if the state were not to intervene ?

Has there been some precedents, has there been a case when civil servants could be associated with an artistic breakthrough, ... ?

lundi 15 octobre 2012

Have you heard of Heino Eller ?

He is an Estonian composer who taught the likes of Tubin and Pärt. I was not aware of him until I heard his 3 symphonies on a radio broadcast.

These are strong works, superbly orchestrated and with a genuine sense of drama.

Unsurprisingly, he has a good wikipedia page which is linked to another page from the Estonian music center here.

His symphonies have not been recorded so let me know if you are interested. This is a major composer.

jeudi 11 octobre 2012

James Levine to resume conducting

Music-lovers of the world, but mostly from New York, rejoice, James Levine is due to come back to the Met on the 2013 - 2014 season for 3 runs of Berg's Wozzeck, Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte and Verdi's Falstaff. No Gargantuan Wagnerian evening but three masterpieces, the Wozzeck being one where he is second to none, actually, all three.

He will also be at Carnegie Hall on May 19 for a Sunday afternoon Met Matinee concert. His concert should include Beethoven's fourth Piano Concerto with E Kissin as soloist but also and mostly Sibelius's 4th Symphony.

Please, do not change the program, I just grabbed one of the last ticket ...

Blatant Self-Promotion

here ... this is on my day job ... but there is a reference to my work at Concertonet ... so this is not entirely unmusical ...

Also, in French and in Concertonet ...
  • N Järvi's inaugural concert in Geneva
  • and A Altinoglu's concert the week after

mardi 4 septembre 2012

Back in Geneva ...

Behind this is incidentally the place where I park my car every day to reach my office

and if the day was sunnier, you could have seen the water jet from the lake.

These are for the upcoming concert for the start of the season which will include Das Lied von die Erde with P Groves and T Hampson, a review of which will naturally be in Concertonet.

dimanche 26 août 2012

Breaking news: OSR Site hacked

The web site of the Swiss Romande Orchestra has been hacked by the pro-Iranian groupe Ashiyane. The hacker group struck one of the French Socialist leader site as a previous victim.This is to the best of my knowledge the first strike on a classical music site.

I guess the real lesson is not artistic but is that all institutions should ramp up the security on their sites, which is not the case here and that Internet should become a primary vehicle treated very seriously.

mardi 7 août 2012

Paavo Järvi's recording of Hans Rott works

... is out.

As quoted earlier, Jaarvi knows the piece and does a particularly great job of the scherzo.

The surprise here is the Suite, two movements which are clearly unfinished and the sign of work in progress of a major composer. The scherzo compares well with any of Bruckner's and the second, Sehr Schnell has some wonderful string writing.

Highly recommended.

mardi 31 juillet 2012

Is Pop Music "simple"

Much to my regret, my kids are not really into classical music. My daughter prefers pop although she would probably acknowledge the value of the classics and my son does not care.

However, whenever I am asked by them how I feel towards samples of music which they make me go through, my reaction is often that pop music lacks ambition. My analysis (or as my kids would say my prejudices) seems vindicated by a Spanish study.

But maybe this is normal. Its success comes from being immediately accessible: One tune, one key, ... It  is just not for me but as a business, it works.

mardi 24 juillet 2012

Lebrecht has done it again

This is always a surprise but strong and serious musicians do not hung up the phone when UK journalist Norman Lebrecht calls them. He regularly interviews the likes of Gergiev, Dudamel, Barenboim, J Baker, ... and has regular presence and BBC and at the Daily Telegraph.

Yet, whenever one knows about a certain topic, there is little to doubt that Lebrecht very rarely cross checks his facts and always goes for the easy provocative, but ultimately false comment.

Last year, he made negative comments on the Swiss Romande Orchestra (and sneering ones on the Geneva musical life and Switzerland as a whole). My answer was published on an editorial at Concertonet.

He has repeated the same thing on commenting on the sudden departure of the OSR's GM.

Just one example: on this entry, the OSR is described as moribound. How can he say this, nothing in his columns suggest that he has heard them in the last 10 years. The OSR fills its hall with more than 95% capacity. It has several recording contracts. M Janowski is finishing an acclaimed Bruckner cycle, N Jäarvi has recored music by Chabrier and Swiss composer J Raff. P Rophé has recorded contemporary works by W Blank. The OSR has toured in Russia, Italy and Germany ..?

How many orchestras can claim to do this ? If the OSR is moribund, then the list of dead should then be very long.

But Lebrecht knows better ... and everyone who is serious about the state of classical music has no dounts about his laughable prejudiced comments. One could have thought that he would be ashamed and would become more serious ... yet, he keeps crossing the lines of serious journalism again and again.

So, next time, you see a report signed by N Lebrecht. Just remember this must be as serious as the latest reports on movie stars on tabloids and has nothing to do with classical music.

vendredi 8 juin 2012

EMI: the encore

Like in many concerts, just when you thought the pianist was leaving the stage comes another encore;

mercredi 23 mai 2012

Will you be in Times Square in New York on June 21 ?

If so and if you like Philip Glass, go here, download the score , learn and sing it.

I wonder where they got the idea ...

Classical Music and Ipod

Probably like me, you love your Ipod and hate Itunes. whose structure is designed for everyone except classical music fans.

Cheers up, here is an interesting source of info: called "Taming iTunes for Classical Music".

Also, to answer a few friends email, I use at home a Wifi system by Sonos, which works flawlessly.

Both are recommended.

samedi 21 avril 2012

Quick question: who is the conductor Al Gore compares Tim Cook to ?

Two clues, he is reported to have said: now that we have rehearsed the work, let us rehearse the spontaneity ... and he was in his time famous enough to be on the cover of Time:

Second question: how many do you think will understand Al Gore's analogy ?

(Answer on here.)

mardi 10 avril 2012


Fred Kirshnit is featured on this CMBB Video available here.

Fred is a former Concertonet then New York Sun then critic. He is a dear friend and I am openly jaleous of his writing style on music.

Those who know him will be surprised to see him with a tie but will not be surprised to hear him speak so eloquently of his activities at CMBB on which you can donate here.

mardi 27 mars 2012

Ina archives to be posted on Youtube

As stated earlier, the French Institut National de l'audiovisuel have great archives.

A new partnership has been signed between them and Youtube under which more than 50 000 documents will be made available.

Plenty to look fowards to.

mercredi 14 mars 2012

Le Crabe-Tambour

This has nothing to do with music but French movie director Pierre Schoendorffer has passed away.

le Monde has a tribute. His movie "Le Crabe-Tambour" based on the nickname given to a French soldier during the war is a matserpiece which opposes two views of what honor is, one person (Jean Rochefort) being obeying and the other one following one's convictions (Jacques Perrin). The movie has density and a lot is felt but not said and not expressed in words.

vendredi 9 mars 2012

Kleiber experiences

This is a follow-up to a post about Charles Barber about Carlos Kleiber.

1) Tom Service of the Guardian has a review of Mr Barber's book. Hidden in it is a YouTube interrview of Kleiber himself which I did not knew.

My limited German enabled me to understand the interview. Kleiber does not speak too fast and has a certain foreign accent I cannot totally place. The interviewer was certainly unaware that he was asking too many questions about his father.

2) The Scala pefrormance of Bohème reviewed here in French in its DVD format is available in full on YouTube.

If you have not heard it, this is an absolute must:


3) Finally, as I refered earlier, I thought I would quickly write about the all too rare performances I heard Kleiber. All were at the Opera, twice in Munich, twice in London, once in New York and twice in Vienna.

  • I first heard him in the Summer of 1981 in Der Rosenkavalier. Cast was G Jones, B Fassbeander, L Popp, K Moll. At this time, I did not knew the work as I now do but vividly remember Kleiber starting the act 1 introduction without waiting for applaudes to stop, the dancing rubato at the end of act 2 (I had a standing seat and the entire row was following Kleiber's beat), the floating woodwinds in act 3 and the singers.
  • I heard the same production in the Summer of 1984, again at the Munich Festival. Jones and Popp were replaced by J Beckmann and B Booney doing what should have been her first Sophie with Kleiber. Her stage presence and quality of voice was stunning. I knew the work much more and could appreciate the subleties of tempis as well as the wonderful texture Kleiber got from his orchestra). 
  • In 1987, Kleiber conducted Otello with Domingo - Ricciareli - Diaz in London at Covent Garden. My first ticket application was rejected. I send them a letter saying that I was going anyway to be in London for my work, that I had been a junior friend of Covent Garden while studying at Imperial College and that I would appreciate to be on a waiting list. I also added that I was aware of the massive demand and of the efforts they were doing to accomodate as many as possible. They send me a ticket at the edge of the orchestra pit which got freed when the staging was modified. I was at one meter of Domingo when he entered with his Exultate but more importantly was seeing 3/4 of Kleiber. I cannot find interest on the stage, I was mesmerised by Kleiber who just knew when to step in and when to let the music go. At this day, this remains one of my top 5 performances at the Opera. I wrote a letter to thank Covent Garden.
  • This performance was revived in January 1990. An announcement was done that Domingo was not in the best health and I was not seated in front of Kleiber but remember being really moved by the evening and enjoying the stage.
  • I spend two years in the US back to studies at the Harvard Business School from 1990 to 1992. During my first week-end, I remember opening the New York Times and seeing that Kleiber was conducting Rosenkavalier. I called the box-office, asked wether the C Kleiber mentioned in the newspaper was a Carlos. I then asked if they had a ticket and there were indeed a few outstanding. I then asked if this was really Kleiber as normally there would be a sold-out house, the lady at the phone laughed and confirmed this was the case ... I went there. Cast had now F Lott, AS Von Otter, B Booney and A Haugland. Great singers although I started missing my first Rosenkavalier cast, maybe my memory made it better and better, ..., and was impressed by Haugland. Kleiber conducting was still magestrial but had an Automnal feeling as if the center of gravity of the work had moved from say Sophie to the Marschallin.
  • I went to Vienna in 1994 for two performances of the Rosenkavalier. These are the ones that are available on the DG DVD. The Automnal feeling was more pronounced this time. The orchestra played just amazingly. This was special and I have to add that in between the two performances, I met my wife. We had our second date at the second performance. Videos of this have been available including some with both stage and conductor:

I have been after to a few Rosenkavaliers in the theater. I have the various DVDs and some pirate recordings.  It is a masterpiece but I just cannot hear it again after these amazing live performances. I consider myself unbelievably lucky for these rare events.

Post-Scriptum: I have ommited one thing. In the early days of Internet, Toru Hirasawa compiled tons of information on Kleiber, son and father. We exchanged some mails and gave hime some informations on the casting of the Rosenkavalier I had heard in Munich. He very kindly put my name on a list of people who helped. The point here is that I would recommend any Kleiber fans to rush to his web site which is a gold mine of great information.

mercredi 29 février 2012

Mason Bates Interview

... can be found here.

Do take the time to hear him. I have alreay mentioned my impressions on his works, Mason Bates is probably the most significant american composer of his generation.

What is striking is how he explains why and how his work is the modern continuity of former creations. John Adams's autobiography makes a very similar point in his evolution.

This is a remarquable interview of a real personality of today. I wish now that we will soon be able to hear his works in Europe very soon.

jeudi 16 février 2012

A Meistersinger by Masters

I was in Zurich where I attended a presentation by futur intendant of the Zurich Opera A Homoki as well as a superb Meistersinger which once again puts Bayreuth productions in perspective and shame.

A full review is here.

dimanche 5 février 2012

Lesson from the past from France's wonderful Video Archive Ina

YouTune is not the only place where it is possible to find some treasures from the past. I recommend French-speaking readers to go to the wonderful archive site of France's Insitut National de L'audiovisuel.

I will come back with more documents as I explore what they have but have already found an excerpt of the Cosi Fan Tutte done in 1983 with Daniel Barenboim conducting his Orchestre de Paris. Staging was done by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. Cast included (by memory) Julia Varady, J Rodgers, D Rendall and the Don Alfonso of Carlos Feller was a mastery of casting.

This was for many and for me a revelatory performance at a time where the Opera de Paris was going from scandal to scandal. (Have a look at the paragraph "Les éphémères" in the Opera de Paris Wikipedia page). This performance reminded or taught many in France of what homogeneous Opera performance where all contribute and participate to a single unified concept can be. And it took the leadership of Hugues Gall who brought his professionalism from Geneva Grand Théatre to the "Grande Boutique".

There is another treasure which is an interview of Patrice Chéreau commenting on the sacking of Daniel Barenboim by Pierre Bergé.

I already spoke about this which was a shocking event when I was younger and lived in Paris in an earlier post called: La mémoire courte or Short memory. Chéreau has a great point which is to say that there should be no reason for every new incoming political group to systematically reverse every decision done by their predecessor. He then refers to the two ministers of culture of the time, François Léotard and Jack Lang. You cannot run either a country or a company an Opera House or ... if you switch courses systematically.

What Chéreau is saying echoes what my old country is going through right now with the upcoming presidential elections. The purpose of this blog is not to take a position the two candidates but to highlight that it is a political tradition to take the systematic counter position that the opposition is taking. May it be in economy or in arts, there is no need to describe the disastrous impact of such dogmatism. And do I need to add that I am sorry for my old country bad habits ...

jeudi 2 février 2012

I have bought Ives's Violin Sonatas

So, summary of last episode ... I could not download via the DG, Amazon, Itunes site the tracks of Ives' Violin Sonatas by H Hahn and Valentina Lisita.

I gave it another try a couple of days via my Ipad through Itunes ... and in a bizarre twist of the cyber world, got my order accepted.

Thanks to iCloud, the content got synchronized  to my Ipod and my PC and I am listening to Ives's works as we speak.

I had send a mail at the customer care mail of Universal and got the following response from the support team:


Hello Antoine.

Thanks for your e-mail regarding your attempt to download Charles Ives' 'Violin Sonatas.'

On occasion, and due to licensing laws, some records are not available in certain territories as is the case with the record you are attempting to download.

I hope this provides the clarification you were looking for.


Name Withheld

Universal Music Direct Support تم


I have to add that the timeliness of the response was spotless. I have one concern though, the subject of the mail was: RE: . Universal Music Issue Resolved: (UMDS-70447) Product enquiry which means that the Support group decided themselves that the Issue was resolved. Given my experience, I thought I had been able to buy the tracks thanks to them ... so was surprised by the content.


My response:

Dear ...

Thanks for your reply.

I am a classical music reviewer at concertonet but have also a blog. I wrote on it  about my experience at I included how I tried with no success to get the tracks first with you and then on Amazon and Itunes.

Also, I did a last try yesterday to buy the tracks with my Ipad with exactly the same credentials as on my PC on the same country and ... my purchase could go through via Itunes. The tracks are now synchronized thanks to iCloud on Itunes on my PC and my Ipod as well. Enclosed is a screen shot:

If this is OK with you, I will narrate this unusual story on my blog as a follow-up of the earlier story.

Antoine Leboyer


I will let you know if an answer comes. But I am so surprised why there would be such restrictions ? Any ideas anyone ?

lundi 30 janvier 2012

I want to buy Ives Violin Sonatas !!

Buying digital tracks on the web can be just crazy ...

I wanted to get the recent recording of Ives's Violin Sonatas by Hilary Hahn and Valentina Lisita. Like many, ie 99% of us, I no longer buy physical CDs but buy digital tracks.

I visited the DG web site, selected the content, proceeded to checkout and filled all information on payments, where I was suddenly told that I cannot buy this in Switzerland:

Same by the way for Amazon:

(and sorry for the self-promotion since my book is on the bottom right of the picture ...).

and Itunes (which believes that everyone is Switzerland speaks German):

Why is there such a restriction ? I have stopped using Itunes because of their crazy DRM constraints ? Why do editors do such a great job to ensure that hurdles are put in between their offers and potential buyers ?

(and for French readers, my review of the opening concert of the 2008 season of the OSR with Hahn as a soloist is here.)

mercredi 25 janvier 2012

Books (the sequel ...)

I have taken some more time to read the books I mentioned on an earlier post.

Of the three, I was left dry is on the one on George Szell. The author Michael Charry display a genuine respect for Szell but Szell beginning go too fast. One does not get a sense of how he developped. The other topic of Szell's famous dicatorial attitude is briefly mentioned but too cautiously (and can I remind readers of a Szell joke of him saying to the orchestra: let us rehearse the music and then we will rehearse the spontaneity ...)

This being said, it has made me buy the Grammar of Conducting, a book Szell recommended. I will keep you posted on it.

The one by Riccardo Muti on the other hand spends a significant time on his formative years. It really makes appreciate the value of the Italian conservatory systems and their teachers. Muti, very correctly, identifies what he ows to to all his professors who saw his potential and developped him. While one can have an image of a fairly over confident conductor, he comes out as more humane and profound. The parts on the later years may be less interesting as he is keen on not forgetting anyone ... but the beginning is revelatory. (On Muti, may I direct readers to the blog of Chicago critic Andrew Patner which includes a number of regular interviews of Muti. Highly recommended.)

Charles Barber's book on Carlos Kleiber is fascinating and I really recommend it.I am guessing that it was written by the author, ie, there was no ghost writer interviewing someone and putting words into a book. Baker became a regular penpal with Kleiber, probably because he reached out to him in a direct and unaffected manner and also because he seemed to share a similar sense of humor. Maybe, this was a breath of fresh air as everyone was probably bowing with the utmost respect to him.

he first part is as detailed description of Kleiber's life as one can read. I was unaware of many details, a fascinating one being the story of the recording sessions with Michelangeli.

The second part includes a significant part of the Baker - Kleiber's correspondance. It contains unique jewels as one can appreciate Kleiber's encyclopedic knowledge, quick wit, ... and understand some of his concerns (read the letters on the mistakes on Orchestral parts ...). There are also some great insights on Kleiber's commenting when to pre-beat.

Whether one will understand and graps Kleiber's genius is another story. Maybe like Kane's Rosebud, one should respect and "do not trespass".

When time allows for, I will try to write my own Kleiber stories of the 7 unforgettable Operas I heard him conduct from 1981 (Rosenkavalier in Munich Jones - Fassbaender - Popp - Moll) to 1994 (Rosenkavalier in Vienna Lott - Von Otter - Bonney - Moll). This will be another post.

mardi 24 janvier 2012

Bruckner Glass !!

The Berlin Staatskapelle under Daniel Barenboim was in Victoria Hall to perform a superb Bruckner Third Symphony.

This work is among the rarely played of his Austrian composer works. My wife who is Austrian had never heard it live and had a great comment: "the first mouvement sounded like Philip Glass".

Well, think about it !

jeudi 5 janvier 2012

Generation Pollini

Maurizio Pollini 70th birthday is today.

Every musician has a figurehead who is the reference. For me, for us, this is Pollini. An artist which represents modernism and progress in his artistic filed. In their times, this might have been Hans von Bulow or Gustav Mahler (the conductor not the composer).

I first heard Pollini in concert as early as 1976 when he played Schubert's last three Sonatas. I was 15 at the time and discovered the piano repertory because Pollini regularly visited Paris and played major works.

What constantly amazed me would be some Pollini's characteristics:
  • Every note which is heard has a meaning and is part of a greater whole that Pollini makes you aware of,
  • When you hear him play Bach or Mozart, you can hear where Beethoven will go, late Beethoven leads to Schumann, Chopin leads to Debussy or Boulez, ..., No one else has ever made us aware of the influences composers have had from one to the others,
  • No sentimentality and posturing yet his playing and his phrasns are very poetic and expressive.
I have unique memories of revelations in concert. He once played Webern op 27 in between Stockhausen Klaviestucke and the Brahms op 116. The uniqueness of Webern sparce colors was a striking contrats to the orchestral piano writing of both Brahms and Stockhausen. Suddenly Webern's modernism was made so obvious.

On another occasion, I heard him play Beethoven's Hammerklavier sonata. This was the first time I heard the work. It felt so logical and so coherent that I bought the score the following day believing it to be fully playable. There is no need to mention I realised how wrong I was and how much work and art there had been to make this titanic work sound so approchable.

One should be grateful for his recorded legacy although his artistery can really be appreciated in concerts. On many occasions, he appears tense in the beginning of his concerts, probably going on stage is still not natural. But once he starts relaxing, tempi usually settle down and miracles can take place.

70 is a young age and we can expect to hear him again on many occasions. For younger generations, do hear what many of us believe to be the most important pianist of our time. For mine, no encouragement is needed.