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Joined: Jan 2006
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I thought it might be fun to have PW's ranking/poll of the 10 greatest pianists of the 20th century just to see how pianoworld differs or is similar to popular conceptions of the best pianists of the 20th century.

So everyone list your top 5-10 favorite/greatest pianists of the 20th century and we'll then tally them up using a system of inverse points so that a pianist ranked #1 gets 10 points, #2 gets 9 points, and a pianist ranked #10 gets 1 point, etc, so that we can sort them out by highest points so that a pianist who ranks consistently in the top 3 or 5 with many people will then probably have the most points and will be ranked #1 and will be the champion.

Keep in mind this is just for fun and to honor those pianists which we love so let's not bicker!

I will start it off with my list:

1.Sviatoslav Richter
2.Vladimir Horowitz
3.Sergei Rachmaninoff
4.Emil Gilels
5.Artur Schnabel
6.Josef Hoffman
7.Vladimir Ashkenazy
8.Alfred Brendel
9.Arturo Benedetti Michelangelli
10.Glenn Gould

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I can't rank 'em... it just doesn't work that way for me... bah... I'm going to rank them in the order I like them best, not necessarily the "greatest"...

1. Sviatoslav Richter
2. Vladimir Horowitz
3. Arthur Rubinstein
4. Martha Argerich
5. Alfred Brendel
6. Glenn Gould
7. Jorge Bolet
8. Ivan Moravec
9. Emil Gilels
10. Alexis Weissenberg

yea... I really can't rank them from greatest to worst... I like 'em all.

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I know nobody else will probably put this name in their top-ten, but he's my favorite, so he gets the top spot. wink

1. Victor Borge
2. Vladimir Horowitz
3. Sergei Rachmaninoff
4. Evgeny Kissin*
5. Martha Argerich

The rest all tend to blend together for me...can't really say who's above who. So, I've got a "top five". wink


*Most of career thus far has been in the 20th (with his international debut in the 80's), and not the 21st century...so I give him this spot...we'll see what he does with it now that we've transitioned to a new century. (My guess is he'll move up the list.)


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
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1. Paderewski
2. Glenn Gould
3. de Pachmann
4. Horowitz
5. Busoni
6. Schnabel
7. Rachmaninoff
8. Josef Hofmann
9. Victor Borge (yeah, I like him too)
10. Moritz Rosenthal


Best regards,

David Ramezani
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Originally posted by David Ramezani:
1. Paderewski
2. Glenn Gould
3. de Pachmann
4. Horowitz
5. Busoni
6. Schnabel
7. Rachmaninoff
8. Josef Hofmann
9. Victor Borge (yeah, I like him too)
10. Moritz Rosenthal
I'm jealous. I've never heard Paderewski play. frown

Same could be said for de Pachmann and Busoni...though I'd probably consider them 19th century pianists...especially Busoni, who lived most of his life in the 19th century.

Man, you really like your "turn of the 20th century" pianists, of whom there are very very few recordings (and almost none of good quality). But I have heard Rosenthal. Ha, so there. :p wink


I found this interesting. Averaging the birthdate of your "top ten", you come up with the year: 1880

Only five of the pianists on your list live past 1945, two of whom die by 1953. (The three who "survived" were Gould, Horowitz and Borge, who died in that order.) Borge came closest to seeing the 21st century, having died just a few days prior to the turn.

In order to have seen most of your "top ten" in concert, you would have to have been born prior to 1943. To remember it, you would arguably have to have been born prior to 1938. (Most people can recall memories from when they were five, but not too much younger.) To truly appreciate the memory, you would probably have to have been born prior to 1928, to at least put you in your mid-teens near the performer's death.

That, to me, is disconcerting...not because I think pianists today are "worse" or "better" than [insert pianist's name who was popular prior to 1950], but because the community hasn't seemed to be able to move on. (And then the community wonders why it is dwindling....) wink


EDIT: My average was 1920, which, at least, put my pianists firmly in the 20th century. I wanted to include Volodos on the list, but he really didn't "step it up" until the 1990's, so his career is kind of a half-n-half in the 20th and 21st centuries. That would've put my average birthdate in 1939, and then only two of my top five would be dead...and all the rest are still performing.


I'm still waiting for someone to say, "Liszt, duh." <---That's my favorite response. It makes my day that much easier to laugh at. Reason: Nobody alive has ever heard Liszt play, or even stood a chance at hearing Liszt play. They'd have to be 119 years old to be born before Liszt died, and almost 150 to hear Liszt while he was still performing. wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
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Oh, you're so right. These aren't 20th century pianists. I guess I have been listening too much to those old recordings. I love their performances because they are so alive; their playing sounds like improvisation, and that makes it much more interesting to me.

The average listener today would probably say that these pianists had no technique and that they, because of that, were poor pianists.

I have never liked the playing of modern pianists. The reason is that almost all of them follows the score to such a degree that it kills the music. It becomes like a painting: static.

But I am aware of the fact that this is a totally subjective matter and that most people don't agree with me.

About the Liszt thing I think it's very tempting to mention him. It is true that I've never heard him play, but I have heard his students play and I have read thousands of explanations of his playing, and I think that that would compensate (slightly) for not having heard him. Although he would have made the birth average even lower.


Best regards,

David Ramezani
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its hard for me to order them. i'll try.

1 Kristian Zimerman
2 Gyorgy Cziffra
3 Sviatoslav Richter
4 Claudio Arrau
5 Arthur Rubinstein
6 Glenn Gould
7 Sergei Rachmaninov
8 Vladimir Horowitz
9 Ivo Pogorelich
10 Leopold Godowsky


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
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I'd say:

1. Horowitz
2. Richter
3. Gould
4. Argerich
5. Brendel
6. Zimmerman
7. Pires
8. Bolet
9. Pollini
10.Giles


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If the pianist played for a significant portion of the 20th century, then I feel they should be counted. Like David Ramezani, I feel that Paderewski, Rosenthal, Hofmann, Gabrilowitsch, and others should be in the upper rank. No pianist today has the reputation that Paderewski had in his day. And Novaes is probably the greatest woman pianist of the 20th century along with Myra Hess.

The sterile, pounding performances of today can't equal the musicality of some of the great artists of the first half plus of the 20th century--at least IMHO. Equaling Hofmann's or Rosenthal's technical ability would be difficult for most of today's performers.

Anyway, it all boils down to training and preferences rather than hard and fast classification, or so it would seem to me.

That's what makes artistic areas interesting is the variety of tastes that are prevalent.

smile

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In the order I would have liked to hear them in concert (based on their recordings, and some other stuff):

1. Horowitz
2. Arrau
3. Cortot
4. Brendel
5. Gilels
6. Gould
7. Mustonen smile
8. Richter
9. Michelangeli
10. Rubinstein

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Well here's the results in the running so far boys and girls!

1. Horowitz - 57
2. Richter - 40
3. Gould - 33
4. Rachmaninoff - 24
5. Brendel - 22
6. Argerich - 20
7. Arrau and Gilels - 16
8. Zimmerman - 15
9. Borge - 12
10. Schnabel - 11


Looks like Horowitz expectedly pulls ahead of the pack! Any surprises so far? Seems like a decent list so far to me but I'm surprised Michelangelli and a few other giants didn't make the running yet!

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1. Sviatoslav Richter
2. Vladimir Horowitz
3. Glen Gould
4. Claudio Arrau
5. Emille Gilels
6. Sergie Rachmaninoff
7. Ivan Moravec
8. Alexander Scriabin
9. Martha Argerich
10. Joesph Hoffmann

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Quote


[b]1. Horowitz - 66

2. Richter - 50
3. Gould - 41
4. Rachmaninoff - 29
5. Arrau - 23
7. Argerich, Brendel, Gilels - 22
8. Rubinstein - 16
9. Zimmerman - 15
10. Borge - 12

Updated!


[/b]

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1. Richter
2. Gilels
3. Rachmaninoff
4. Weissenberg
5. Horowitz
6. Sokolov
7. Fiorentino
8. Annie Fischer
9. Kapell
10.Wild

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Quote
Originally posted by Heretic:
Quote

[b]
[b]1. Horowitz - 72
2. Richter - 60
3. Gould - 41
4. Rachmaninoff - 37
5. Gilels - 31
6. Arrau - 23
7. Argerich, Brendel - 22
8. Rubinstein - 16
9. Zimmerman - 15
10. Borge - 12

Updated!


[/b]
[/b]

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where the heck's michelangelli??? No one likes him?

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1. Horowitz
2. Rubenstein
2. Gould
4. Rachmaninoff
5. Richter
6. Gilels
7. Hofmann
8 .Michelangeli
9. Serkin
10. Ashkenazy

Sophia (not on the list cool )

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1. Horowitz - 82
2. Richter - 67
3. Rachmaninoff - 45
4. Gould - 41
5. Gilels - 36
8. Rubinstein - 25
6. Arrau - 23
7. Argerich, Brendel - 22
9. Zimmerman - 15
10. Hoffman - 13


Updated laugh


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1. Sviatoslav Richter
2. Grigory Sokolov
3. Glenn Gould
4. Vladimir Horowitz
5. Georges Cziffra
6. Horatio Gutierrez
7. Byron Janis
8. Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
9. Rudolf Serkin
10. Emil Gilels


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Very difficult. I've stuck to the ones I find myself listening to most, rather than try to ascribe "greatness":

1. Feinberg
2. Richter
3. Fiorentino
4. Sokolov
5. Korolev
6. Egorov
7. Vieru
8. Solomon
9. Sofronitsky
10. Meyer


"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
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