Steve Schwartz responds to me:
>> What an overweening - and usually incorrect -- assessment of the
>> taste of "dedicated fans of Chopin".
> This is why "I don't presume to speak for them." And, yes, I have heard
> Michelangeli and Solomon. My quarrels are with the "multitudes of
My point was that having been a classical piano enthusiast for 65 years
now, I have rarely found a "dedicated fan of Chopin" who really goes for
the "cheap thrills". Presumably your experience must differ greatly.
I am very surprised, and apologise for my assumption.
Yes there are some people who like Chopin played this way, but in my
experience they usually also 'Wallow in Wagner', 'Bathe in Brahms and
Bruckner' and are quite uncritical, so that they can hardly be called
'dedicated fans'. And yes there are piano-players who go for cheap
thrills. I am a bit too old to go to concerts much of late, but in
broadcasts one can recognise the offenders and rapidly switch off.
What do you make of Schumann's remark that some Chopin pieces -- I think
the scherzi in particular--- are 'cannon covered by flowers?'. (I must
apologise for the approximate quotation but I am without my reference
books until September). One must place this together with the 'worship
of Bach and Mozart' which you rightly mention.
Perhaps I should add that my own taste is fairly eclectic: I even like
some of Pletnev's Chopin. However I am a heretic in that the post- war
Rubinstein does not attract me at all. Neat, pretty, skilled, yes: but
no real feeling, chaste or otherwise. Compare for example his 'Berceuse'
with that of Solomon. Or the Aflat polonaise. Or the Fminor fantaisie.
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