Blast from the Past: pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
Please forgive the recent breaks in manic blogging; I slipped away for the holidays and am only now returning to reality, ready again to expound, pontificate and whine with regularity.
I happened to noticed that three eminent pianists share a January 5th birthday: Alfred Brendel, Maurizio Pollini and one no longer with us, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. And thinking about the latter instantly suggested the next candidate for my internationally clamored-for Blast from the Past feature.
Talk about your patrician artists. Michelangeli was the epitome of the musical aristocrat, a pianist who maintained extraordinary standards of stylistic integrity and taste. His playing could reach a level of exquisite poetry, with a wealth of subtle coloring and perfectly judged rubato (that art of rhythmic elasticity seems in particularly short supply today). Michelangeli, who died in 1995, was, like the other true keyboard giants, in a class by himself. Here are just a few reasons why (the third Chopin clip starts with the last couple notes of another piece, but the performance I want to share starts a few seconds later):