"I still don’t know why my playing is considered so disturbing. I remember in school, as a child, I learned that the flame of a candle is composed of a yellow light, which actually burns, and a blue light within it, which is ice cold. That is true of human beings as well. Perhaps it is the sight of that blue light in me that frightens certain people."
Born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1929, Alexis Weissenberg was a pianist of titanic powers. I still remember the first recording I ever heard of his (the complete Rachmaninoff Preludes) and how mesmerized, astonished, and moved I was after that 70 minutes of music.
His playing has often been described as "cool" and some would go as far as to accuse him of being an empty virtuoso - but if you take the time to actually listen to his playing, you will find a Bach Goldberg Variations full of wizardry, a complete Chopin Nocturnes full of poetry, a Rachmaninoff 1st Sonata and a Stravinsky Petrouchka that are unsurpassed, and so many other treasures.
He lived a very interesting life (you can read more about it here) and even had time to compose and play jazz. He was by all accounts also a talented artist, even designing Christmas cards at one point in order to help pay the bills!
But below you will find the pianist I know and love - full of fire, poetry, drama, and a steely, uncompromising control of the music and the instrument.