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When referring to the greatest "Golden Age" pianists a very comprehensive list would include but is not limited to the following:

Claudio Arrau
Gina Bachauer
Wilhelm Backhaus
Harold Bauer
Lazar Berman
Ferruccio Busoni
Teresa Carreño
Robert Casadesus
Shura Cherkassky
Van Cliburn
Alfred Cortot
György Cziffra
Annie Fischer
Ignaz Friedman
Ossip Gabrilowitsch
Walter Gieseking
Emil Gilels
Leopold Godowsky
Percy Grainger
Myra Hess
Josef Hofmann
Vladimir Horowitz
José Iturbi
William Kapell
Wilhelm Kempff
Wanda Landowska
Raymond Lewenthal
Josef Lhevinne
Dinu Lipatti
Nikita Magaloff
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
Benno Moiseiwitsch
Heinrich Neuhaus
Guiomar Novaes
Ervin Nyiregyházi
Vladimir de Pachmann
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sviatoslov Richter
Moriz Rosenthal
Artur Rubinstein
György Sándor
Artur Schnabel
Abbey Simon
Ruth Slenczynska
Solomon (Cutner)
Rosalyn Tureck
Earl Wild

One of my all time favorite "golden age" pianists would have to be Josef Hofmann and while the recorded sound is quite poor from 1938 below his playing is very unrestricted and he takes great risks with high level virtuoso playing which is not heard by today's generation of pianists:



Feel free to add in any of your favorite pianists from the past and/or any other anecdotes or stories you might have!

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He's very hasty in his playing, Chopin write Adagio at the beginning of this piece, but he starts in a rush, something that is done with a lot of pianists, not sure why. Also, I think there are many pianists of his level these days. Maybe it's more nostalgic that makes you prefer him. I have the same feeling with the "golden age" pianists. Maybe it's because they lived closer to the composers they play, or it's the idea that "in the past, everything was better". I love Horowitz for example, he's my favourite.

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After checking and going through my original list above it appears I had overlooked at least ONE great "golden age" pianist ... and, that is:



Question:

Would anyone happen to know the specific building and/or very ornate room that Bolet is playing in ... as nothing is mentioned in the video or comments as to where this had been performed?

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Hello

When did the Golden Age of pianists start and finish, roughly?


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I would add Ingrid Haebler:



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You need to give us your definition of "Golden Age" for pianists to understand your post. As far as I know that term has no precise definition and isn't even used much.

Also, your list is totally subjective. If you define Golden Age by when they were born, there would be many more pianists than you included. If you requite that pianists on the list meet a certain standard of greatness than many would disagree with some pianists on your list.

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Two Liszt pupils who made a lot of recordings are missing from your surprisingly thorough list: Arthur de Greef (Grieg's favorite pianist) and Emil von Sauer (one of my favorite performers of the La Campanella).


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The "Golden Age" is a term from Greek mythology. Pianos didn't exist at the time.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
You need to give us your definition of "Golden Age" for pianists to understand your post. As far as I know that term has no precise definition and isn't even used much.

Also, your list is totally subjective. If you define Golden Age by when they were born, there would be many more pianists than you included. If you requite that pianists on the list meet a certain standard of greatness than many would disagree with some pianists on your list.

You know that ‘great’ and ‘excellent’ are subjective. If you think there is an acceptable standard, go back to your own post of famous people who are excellent pianists and provide your objective criteria for excellence.


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Edwin Fischer
Clifford Curzon
Alicia de Larrocha


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If the Golden Age means pianists born between say 1845-1925, for example(just a random choice based on the OPs list since the OP hasn't made this clear), then there are at least 100 but probably a lot more top pianists from that era. So what's the point of making a list of them? I'm sure I can find 50 that haven't been mentioned by leafing through a book like Dubal's The Art of the Piano. I'm also sure I could list just as many born after 1925.

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Here's a book that defines Golden Age Pianists as great pianists active between 1900 and 1950.

http://www.leginska.org/greatpianists.html


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Nadia Reisenberg - 20+ concerts at Carnegie Hall



Rach Elegie




"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by Andre van Haren
(about Hofmann in the 4th Ballad) He's very hasty in his playing, Chopin write Adagio at the beginning of this piece....

I agree about preferring it not so 'hasty,' but just wanted to mention, it isn't marked "Adagio," and if someone played it Adagio, I'd complain about that too. grin

(It's "Andante con moto.")

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Jean Doyen
Marcelle Meyer
Marguerite Long
Ricardo Viñes
Moura Lympany
Maria Yudina
Vladimir Sofronitsky
Jeanne-Marie Darré
Vlado Perlemuter
Andor Földes
Yves Nat
Pierre Sancan
Alexander Brailowsky
Grant Johannesen
Dino Ciani
Gaby Casadesus
Germaine Thyssens-Valentin
Samson François

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Thanks for everyone that has added and/or will be adding other pianists to the main listing as I was not aware of some that have been mentioned above even though I thought I already had a decent knowledge and memory of most of the main players! The "golden age" or era of music was quite comprehensive and there are obviously a multitude of performers that can be considered and fit into this group.

Extra note:

I was more interested in simply sharing the various RECORDINGS by these great performers of the past since for most of them we now only have their recordings to listen to. This is why music ... and, piano music in particular ... is such a rewarding thing to be a part of -- not only in listening to these performances but also in playing the instrument which offers nearly unlimited expression.

Do appreciate all of the feedback!

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Nadia Reisenberg - 20+ concerts at Carnegie Hall



Rach Elegie



Thanks, for this!

Was not aware of Nadia Reisenberg and thanks for adding the two videos as her playing is excellent especially as I happen to like the Rachmaninoff Elegie which has always been a personal favorite of mine to play.

And, for reference here is the composer's own performance of the Elegie:


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Little known information about Nadia. Her sister is Vlara Rockmore, considered a virtuoso on the Theramin . The sisters were known to play together in concerts

Here is a link to Clara on the Theramin accompanied by Nadia



BTW: I, too, love to play Elegie. I much prefer Reisenberg and Garilov’s performances to Rach’s performance.

Last edited by dogperson; 03/13/21 05:19 PM.

"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Andre van Haren
(about Hofmann in the 4th Ballad) He's very hasty in his playing, Chopin write Adagio at the beginning of this piece....

I agree about preferring it not so 'hasty,' but just wanted to mention, it isn't marked "Adagio," and if someone played it Adagio, I'd complain about that too. grin

(It's "Andante con moto.")

@Mark_C:

Wanted to add here that Josef Hofmann never did READ and play scores with regards to note perfection and/or striving to follow the notation and all dynamic markings exactly as written by the composer. This is where his innate genius to sort of improvise the performance on the spot -- as he performed -- and, this also includes his rather uncanny and natural ability to bring out hidden inner voices and lines that would not ordinarily be played. It is the freedom he gives to the music that counts and if we listen to it expecting to hear note-perfect and/or exact renditions of any given score then he is someone you do not want to listen to.

Ironically, there are many details that I too do not AGREE with regarding Hofmann's performance of the 4th Ballade although I have definitely been taken in by the overall conception / interpretation that is very unique to his truly "old school" free-wheeling style of playing which no one else does, anymore. This is the kind of playing that the younger generation of pianists today simply do not understand.

Also, here is a legendary performance by the great Paderewski:



Before anyone might harshly criticize the above performance keep in mind that it was a pianistic habit of the day to "break hands" -- i.e., playing notes in the L.H. prior to other -- and, of course keep in mind Paderewski was quite old at the time of this performance and technically the playing will NOT compare with any modern day performances -- granted. It is his overall conception of the piece and absolute freedom he gives to the playing that is quite amazing even with the (given) mistakes.

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