Chopin, Mussorgsky, Berg, Bernstein, Brahms, Schumann, Beethoven, Liszt, etc

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Berg,Bernstein,Brahms,Chopin,etc,Liszt,Mussorgsky,Schumann
LABELS: Nimbus
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Shura Cherkassky
WORKS: Piano works by Chopin, Mussorgsky, Berg, Bernstein, Brahms, Schumann, Beethoven, Liszt,
PERFORMER: Shura Cherkassky (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: NI 1748 ADD/DDD Reissue (1981-87)
‘Pedal with your ears, not your feet,’ Vlado Perlemuter used to tell his pupils. ‘But Madam,’ said Cherkassky’s teacher, the great Josef Hofmann, (to a lady who had expressed astonishment at the smallness of his hands, ‘we do not play the piano with our hands.’ And Cherkassky himself? ‘I just play the way I play.’ Instinct, mind, passivity. Cherkassky was one of the least intellectual pianists who ever lived, though he was by no means as simple-minded and unsophisticated as he sometimes liked to make out. He was a musician of often profound insights, for whom playing the piano was as natural as breathing, a man who ‘thought’ with his fingers and his inner ear, and who did what they told him (and they seldom told him the same thing twice). He had an authentic genius which seemed to have by-passed conventional notions of intelligence. And his appearance and manner, like his personal eccentricities (he was highly superstitious), falsely nourished the image of him as a kind of loose cannon. His playing was nothing like so ‘bizarre’ as his reputation often suggested. But even at his most capricious, he played with a near-unique colouristic palette, served by a prodigious technique whose like is scarcely to be found today. As this treasurable collection makes plain, his interpretative range was pretty near all-embracing, and he repeatedly did things of jaw-dropping, even revelatory beauty. That this was the playing of a man in his mid-to-late 70s only adds to one’s pleasure. A ‘must’ for all true pianophiles. Jeremy Siepmann