Inspired somewhat by a fellow blogging pianist’s (and what a pianist!) entries entitled “Pause Button”, I thought I would take a little time every once in a while to let you in on some of my favorite pianists. I will never use this as a place to ‘review’ other pianists (there’s no need for that!), but I hope that you will find some interest in some names that come to mind when I think of great piano playing. Who knows - you may even discover a new favorite pianist! The first name I’d like to share is Ignaz Friedman. Believe it or not, due to my rabid score collecting (which continues to this day - perhaps the subject of a future post), I knew of him as a composer long before I had heard his piano playing. His Tabatière à Musique and Bach Transcriptions were favorites of mine, and actually still are.
Friedman was a big talent, and although he was not as famous as fellow pianists Hofmann and Paderewski, he was certainly capable of some incredible playing. He settled in Australia after WWII and taught, concertized, and continued to compose until his death in 1948. He made several recordings and was much admired by colleagues including Benno Moiseiwitsch, Leopold Godowsky, and Moriz Rosenthal. I included some of his playing in my post about Mendelssohn.
I don’t remember when I first heard Friedman’s playing - sometime in the last ten years - but I do remember what the piece was: Chopin’s Nocture in E flat, Opus 55, No.2. Rather than write about the performance, I think I’ll just let it speak for itself - you’ll soon understand why his playing struck me the way it did.