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Joined: Nov 2006
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Originally Posted by Hatchestron

I suspect a few people on this forum will know next to nothing about Annie Fischer. Just bear in mind that Richter, Pollini, Schiff, Vásáry, Clifford Curzon, Kocsis and Marta Argerich, and conductors Otto Klemperer and Sir Georg Solti, all regarded her as as a musical goddess.

A stellar list of pianists! And you can add Jorge Demus who reportedly said about Fischer: on top of the female pianists, together with beloved Clara Haskil and Elly Ney

That's interesting about Haskil. I've heard her recording of the Beethoven 3rd Concerto, and I can certainly understand the weight of Demus's comment. As for Elly Ney, I suspect I've only heard recordings from when she was well past her prime, e.g. a sloppy Brahms F minor. She certainly had a cult following, but unlike Haskil, critical opinion was considerably more polarized. Ney was probably a pianist of the you-had-to-be-there variety.


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Annie Fischer was a fascinating personality though. She had quite a small repertoire of works she played in public but had something profound to say about each one. Apart from the Viennese classics (was there ever a better Mozart player?) she also played Schumann and Chopin with a conviction that is usually the domain of composer specialists. Schiff (for whom I have little sympathy otherwise) said that he didn't know of another artist who could reproduce the voice of a composer so convincingly across such a variety of styles (I'm not sure I totally agree with him.)

She was also a chain smoker who lived to be 81. Watch this piece of rehearsal footage (thankfully back on YouTube!) and you'll see her puffing away during the orchestral tuttis. She used to have someone wait by the stage with a lit cigarette which would go straight into her mouth, the moment she went off the podium!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7Uf_M-s1eA

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It seems so strange now to see someone smoking on stage. Martha Argerich is another smoker of course. Maybe that their secret... grin

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She was smoking in the rehearsal room. Not on stage. Whoever made that video intercut some concert footage with the rehearsal footage. The conductor is Tamás Vásáry (a superb pianist himself of course!)

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Originally Posted by Hatchestron
She used to have someone wait by the stage with a lit cigarette which would go straight into her mouth, the moment she went off the podium!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7Uf_M-s1eA


Leonard Bernstein did too:)
Thank you for introducing Annie Fischer! I will definitely be looking more into her. What fresh, inspired playing!


"Love has to be the starting point- love of music. It is one of my firmest convictions that love always produces some knowledge, while knowledge only rarely produces something similar to love."
Arthur Schnabel

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Originally Posted by kbrod1
HJ Lim recorded the entire set at 24yo.


She omitted Nos 19 & 20 though.

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