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The Art Of Piano: Great Pianists Of The 20th Century

This video documentary provides a survey of 18 extraordinary keyboard artists that dominated the concert world in the mid 20th century, from Ignaz Paderewski to Claudio Arrau. Sir John Tusa narrates this comprehensive overview of some of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. The program effectively blends archival film with video clips, concert footage and rare artist interviews. Featured performers are Vladimir Horowitz, Artur Rubinstein, Sviatoslav Richter, Sergei Rachmaninov, Glenn Gould, Edwin Fischer, Claudio Arrau, Georges Cziffra, Wilhelm Backhaus, Alfred Cortot, Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Francis Plante performing live and on film. The theme of the video is tied together through interviews and commentary by conductors including Sir Colin Davis and Daniel Barenboim.

Pieces appearing in the movie:

10:01 – Rachmaninoff: Prelude Opus 2 no. 3, C-sharp minor
16:17 - Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2, 3rd Movement
22:41 – Chopin: Etude Op.25 No.10 (Octave Etude)
23:34 – Scriabin: Etude Op.8 No.12
24:52 – Scriabin: Etude Op.8 No.12
28:39 – Bizet/Horowitz: Carmen Variations
33:07 – Liszt: Grand Galop Chromatique
35:17 – Liszt: Grand Galop Chromatique
39:37 – Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23 Op. 57, 1st movement
42:27 – Chopin: Polonaise Op. 53 A-Flat Major “Heroique”
52:07 – Chopin: Etude Op. 10 No.7
52:47 – Chopin: Valse de L’adieu, or Op. 69 No. 1
1:09:10 – Beethoven: Concerto No.4, 2nd Movement
1:11:42 – Rachmaninoff: Prelude Op.23 No.5 G Minor
1:18:21 – Chopin: Etude Op.10 No.12 (Revolutionary)
1:22:14 – Scarlatti: Sonata Op. 449 (K. 27)


  1. vdM Says:

    I’m waiting for an hour and 46 minutes to spare! can’t wait :D

  2. Antonio Tadeu Camacho Says:

    Congratulations.Only Piano Street could offer piano musics of great
    quality.I liked very much of all musics.I’m a pianist and sometimes,when
    I’ve opportunity,I play F. Chopin’s Waltz Op. 69/1,and other piano pieces also,in my home.Thank you for the attention.


    Antonio Tadeu Camacho
    Industrial Designer/Pianist


  3. Don Cass Says:

    Wonderful! But I must admit I missed the divine Martha.

  4. Minja Kolak Says:

    Used to wach it on VHS, so precious and inspiring!!! Thank you so much

  5. David Says:

    Wonderful, and thank you for publishing! Of course one could argue endlessly about who was included and who was left out but I’m amazed that video footage of some of these pianists exists at all! Yes, I fully agree with many commenters that there should have been translations/captions of the foreign languages, and subtitles of the pieces being played and identification of who was speaking (strange how they identify a few but not all). Still, much of this is priceless legacy and inspiring.

  6. David Says:

    To Luca, who asked about particular pieces.
    The very opening piece is #1 of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes.
    Paderewski plays the Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor.

  7. Luca Says:

    Thank you very much for your answer David!! You’ve been really kind =)

  8. Pavel Ryzlovsky Says:

    I bought this video few years ago, and I regret that its sound was permanently asynchronised with the picture.
    As so many before me said here, this video would have been much more useful if the authors didn’t assume that everyone just knew the pieces performed. And if the subtitles were provided for the spoken words, enabling translation into the language of the viewer’s choice.
    Was it too much for the producers to anticipate (and for us to wish for)?

  9. erika neher Says:

    Long, yes, but great. The first time I saw Hoffman perform. Didn’t Columbia say they would like to have 3 chairs, Pederosky, Hoffman and Gould? Great that I finally got to see these geniuses. Would like to add this movie to my collection Is it possible to purchase this on DVD?

  10. charles panati Says:

    So much talent, so much genius, this must be what Heaven is like. With Horowitz as God.

  11. Chris Says:

    Hm, I cant watch the video. Not even with the method that was posted in one of the comments above. Living in Germany btw, it seems to be blocked by Sony.

  12. lordjairo Says:


  13. iolanda spulber Says:

    where is dinu lipatti?
    your list is without core.
    I was disapointed.

  14. feelthenotes Says:

    yes, the method that was posted above does not work to watch the video if it’s blocked. :-(
    i live in germany aswell. any suggestions pls?

  15. Culberto Says:

    This is an amazing and superb presentation. I really enjoy watching and hearing such a video. Congratulations and thanks

  16. David April Says:

    This film is very illuminating and inspiring. It was very absorbing and I enjoyed every moment of it.

  17. Vito Di Gregorio Says:

    I enjoyed a lot. Thank you very much!

  18. pannie Says:

    Wishing everybody a healthy and happy New Year and thank you Piano Street for the incredible information and interesting facts you give us all through the year. Happy New Year to all subscribers too. Thank you so much

  19. Amelia Says:

    I would like to know the piece at the end played by Claudio Arrau. It sounds like Beethoven, but that’s all I can tell about it.

  20. nilsjohan Says:

    Amelia, the piece at the end is Beethoven’s Sonata No. 32, Opus 111 in C minor

  21. Vivian Says:

    Thanks for this great movie. I especially like the very end of it because I know at least someone had shared my dream: to be able to play the piano until old age :)

  22. Muhannad Faza Says:

    Such film a grate atcheavment, and it is a grate heritage for any pianist in particular and all intellectuals as well.
    Thx a lot
    Muhannad – Pianist & Film Translator

  23. Karin Brandt Koch Says:

    I can watch this again and again. Fantastic.
    Thank you, from Karin in Vancouver BC

  24. Gary Giardina Says:

    Can anyone tell me who the woman is playing Chopin’s “Minute” waltz at the very end. It seems very strange that there is no mention of her that I can find.

  25. 8_octaves Says:


    should be Annie Fischer.


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