review: Great Contemporary Pianists Speak for Themselves

Great Contemporary Pianists Speak for Themselves by Elyse Mach

Great Contemporary Pianists Speak for Themselves by Elyse Mach

For a compendium of great musical insights, this book would be very difficult to beat! In time I'll add here a small excerpt from each of the chapters.

Emil Gilels was the first major Soviet musician to perform in the United States since Sergei Prokofiev in 1921.
Emil Gilels was the first major Soviet musician to perform in the United States since Sergei Prokofiev in 1921.

Quotes with my notes in italics:

"I was introduced to the piano at a very early age... " - Exposed to music during his formative years

"The day I enjoyed most was when the piano tuner came... I would sit down at the piano for many hours... because I derived pleasure from hearing the clean sound." - Immersed in the sounds\

"I did a lot of fantasising with music... " - Imagination involved

Re the process: "It is different each time I play, and it is a process which... includes the mastery of the work, knowing the detail, being comfortable with it, and then adding the fantasy."

" I don't play works if I personally don't like them." - Needs emotional connection to the material

Pianists interviewed in the book:

  • Claudio Arrau
  • Vladimir Ashkenazy
  • Alfred Brendel
  • John Browning
  • Misha Dichter
  • Rudolf Firkusny
  • Glenn Gould
  • Vladimir Horowitz
  • Byron Janis
  • Rosalyn Tureck
  • Andre Watts
  • Paul Badura-Skoda
  • Jorge Bolet
  • Youri Egorov
  • Janina Fialkowska
  • Leon Fleisher
  • Emil Gilels
  • Stephen Hough
  • Zoltan Kocsis
  • Garrick Ohlsson
  • Cecile Ousset
  • Murray Perahia
  • Ivo Pogorelich