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Author Topic: Do you consider Alfred Brendel the best Beethoven interpreter?  (Read 13972 times)
presto agitato
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« on: December 04, 2004, 04:57:01 AM »

I do think hes the best, specially with the sonatas.

Whats your opinion?
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The masterpiece tell the performer what to do, and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the cocomposer what he ought to have composed.

--Alfred Brendel--
brewtality
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2004, 05:09:29 AM »

no, Gilels or Arrau
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kempff
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2004, 09:03:21 AM »

yes, I do. However UI consider him the best "alive" Beethoven interpreter, otherwise Kempff comes first.
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Kempff+Brendel= GOD
thracozaag
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2004, 01:28:03 PM »

I do think hes the best, specially with the sonatas.

Whats your opinion?

  In a word, no.

koji (STSD)
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zemos
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2004, 03:05:28 PM »

indeed, he's the best. with clean technique and such a gentle touch.. puts his soul in the music! one af the greatest pianists ever! IMO he's also the best in schubert, amazing...
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Too bad schubert didn't write any piano concertos...
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2004, 05:36:32 PM »

He is one of the best, along with Gilels, Richter & Kempff. I love his Waldstein and Hammerklavier renditions the best. I agree that he is also a fantasic Schubert player too.
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m
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2004, 06:09:12 PM »

He is one of the best, along with Gilels, Richter & Kempff. I love his Waldstein and Hammerklavier renditions the best. I agree that he is also a fantasic Schubert player too.

Along with Gilels, Richter??? Shocked Shocked Not even close.
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steinwaymodeld
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2004, 06:47:03 PM »

I do think hes the best, specially with the sonatas.

Whats your opinion?

NO
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shasta
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2004, 07:37:39 PM »

Best Beethoven interpreter:  My grand-teacher, Claudio Arrau.   Cool
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bernhard
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2004, 12:05:12 AM »

Not really.

I like Arrau, Backaus, Serkin, Kempf, Ivan Moracec and Andras Schiff far better.

However I do like his books and essays on music (don’t care much for his poetry though). I listen to his CDs more as a “textbook” interpretation. There are far more inspired players out there.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
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DarkWind
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2004, 02:28:52 AM »

Best Beethoven interpreter:  My grand-teacher, Claudio Arrau.   Cool

He's my Teacher's Teacher's Teacher. So I guess he would be my great grand teacher? Smiley
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shasta
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2004, 02:12:02 PM »



He's my Teacher's Teacher's Teacher. So I guess he would be my great grand teacher? Smiley

Yes, exactly!  DarkWind, we're related!!   Cheesy
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Pianoquake
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2005, 03:35:50 AM »

Brendel is the most famous, but he is definitely not the best.
His cycle for Vox and his third cycle, for Philips are both very good, but not my favourite.
But there are other excellent interpreters: Gilels, Serkin, kempff, Schnabel, Arrau, Kovacevich, Kuerti, Goode, Pollini, Richter, Solomon. Any ot them are the "best"

The question is what you prefer: emotional or detached, sonority or colour, tempo, etc.
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Nightscape
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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2005, 03:56:10 AM »

Oh yeah!  Well my teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher was Franz Liszt himself!

(Me -> Roger Price -> Sequeira Costa -> Vianna da Motta -> Franz Liszt)

And in a way..... that means that my teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher was Haydn!

(Me -> Roger Price -> Sequeira Costa -> Vianna da Motta -> Franz Liszt -> Czerny ->
 Beethoven -> Mozart -> Haydn)

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Regulus Medtner
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« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2005, 02:20:57 PM »

Do you consider Alfred Brendel the best Beethoven interpreter?

Not really. He is very good, though.
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shasta
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« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2005, 02:53:53 PM »

Oh yeah!  Well my teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher was Franz Liszt himself!

(Me -> Roger Price -> Sequeira Costa -> Vianna da Motta -> Franz Liszt)

And in a way..... that means that my teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher was Haydn!

(Me -> Roger Price -> Sequeira Costa -> Vianna da Motta -> Franz Liszt -> Czerny ->
 Beethoven -> Mozart -> Haydn)

Ummm, so was mine and Darkwinds:

Me -> my prof -> Arrau -> Krause -> Liszt

Darkwind -> his prof -> his prof -> Arrau -> Krause -> Liszt

If someone made a family tree of all of our teacher lineages, I'm sure we'd all be "related."
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Motrax
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« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2005, 02:59:03 PM »

Me -> my mother -> my mother's teacher -> her teacher -> Sergei Rachmaninoff

Though Rachmaninoff was never known to take on "pupils" as other pianists did, he had to give private lessons a few times in his life in order to feed himself. And thus, I have legacy to him. Yayyay!
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shasta
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2005, 03:51:16 PM »

Me -> my mother -> my mother's teacher -> her teacher -> Sergei Rachmaninoff

Though Rachmaninoff was never known to take on "pupils" as other pianists did, he had to give private lessons a few times in his life in order to feed himself. And thus, I have legacy to him. Yayyay!

Very cool, Motrax!   Cheesy
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xvimbi
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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2005, 05:09:57 PM »

Some people might think these discussions about "who's the best..." are pointless, and say it's a matter of taste, and therefore one can't argue about these questions. They miss a very important aspect: when I decide for myself who is best for a given piece, I find that I pick those pianists who play the way I would play it, or at least close to it. So, pondering these questions in the end really reveals insights into my own musicality.

Some people would interpret Beethoven sonatas the way Brendel does, so they think he is great. Other's would do like Gilels does, so they think Gilels is great and Brendel sucks. Therefore these questions are not so much about discussing the merits of different interpretors, but in fact ways of finding one's own interpretive make-up.

Sometimes, I find Brendel absolutely fantastic, the next day, though, I listen to the same piece and think it sucks. In reality, I am myself in a different mood, and because music involves both a performer and a listener to achieve a result, the result will be different every day.

That's my philosophical contribution for the week  Cheesy
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Dikai
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« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2005, 06:37:51 PM »

i'm from canada, and at least my favorite interpreter in canada would be robert silverman, a senior professor at UBC.  for beethoven, or in fact any composer in the classical period, i prefer the music to be followed more strictly as written.  some pianists make the music over expressive and they become somewhat "beethovanioff".  robert silverman's playing is precise, powerful, and yet it contains a great personality that we can imagine how beethoven would have played.

the thing tho, maybe not for beethoven, more for mozart, if the music is to be played as precisely as written, all the recordings from all the recording pianists would turn out somewhat the same...

but for later musical periods, the personality put into the music by the interpreter can bring life to the music.  for instance, i listened to the recording of rachmaninoff himself playing this concerto #3, didn't exactly like it, rather, ashkanasy made that piece into magic, in my opinion at least... it's plain magic...
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Dikai
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« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2005, 06:39:46 PM »

btw, please email me for some of silverman's sample beethoven sonata recordings...  the way he recorded the 32 sonatas is rather crazy, he knows every single note inside out all his life, and he recorded the complete sonatas in one "weekend", technically saturday and sunday, absolutely perfect, it's not even funny...
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PianoStudentReady2Perform
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« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2005, 07:36:58 PM »

Richard Goode is far better at Beethoven interpretation.
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Pianoquake
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« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2005, 08:13:43 PM »

i'm from canada, and at least my favorite interpreter in canada would be robert silverman, a senior professor at UBC.

I heard him play a very charming and witty sonata 18. In the same recital I also hear him play hammerklavier and I think he didn't get it.
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chopiabin
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« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2005, 08:16:12 PM »

Goode is incredible!!! I saw him perform at my school. I know I may be looked down upon for this, but I have a CD where Pletnev plays the Moonlight, Waldstein, and Appasionata sonatas, and it is the best interpretation of them I have ever heard. His playing is very even while being incredibly passionate and explosive when the music calls for it. He sort of brings taht same perfection he brought to the Scarlatti sonatas.
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Dikai
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« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2005, 08:56:22 PM »

OHHHH YEAH.. .totally forgot about him...
Goode is awesome!!  he's got my name too.....
i'm Richard Not-so-good, he's Richard Very-Goode
gOOde's gOOd!!
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DarkWind
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« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2005, 09:50:05 PM »



Ummm, so was mine and Darkwinds:

Me -> my prof -> Arrau -> Krause -> Liszt

Darkwind -> his prof -> his prof -> Arrau -> Krause -> Liszt

If someone made a family tree of all of our teacher lineages, I'm sure we'd all be "related."

Really? Didn't know that! Hooray!
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Floristan
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« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2005, 04:59:40 AM »

I'm liking Claude Frank right now for Beethoven. 

I like early Brendel  (Vox recordings) more than later Brendel.
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bernhard
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« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2005, 01:00:29 PM »

Oh yeah!  Well my teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher was Franz Liszt himself!

(Me -> Roger Price -> Sequeira Costa -> Vianna da Motta -> Franz Liszt)

And in a way..... that means that my teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher was Haydn!

(Me -> Roger Price -> Sequeira Costa -> Vianna da Motta -> Franz Liszt -> Czerny ->
 Beethoven -> Mozart -> Haydn)



I am really sorry to disappoint you guys, but I hate when merit is not given where it is due. You are all the great great great students of Gottlob Neefe.

Neefe who?

 I know, I know, it does not sound so glamorous to be linked to a completely unknown figure, a modest and humble music teacher who never aspired to fame or celebrity, and during his lifetime hardly attained any. But my blood boils when I see such humble and modest individuals not given the credit they deserve.

Christian Gottlob Neefe was Beethoven’s teacher (Beethoven always acknowledged that and always respected and appreciated him as such). Not Mozart (he met Beethoven only once, heard him play and said at the end: “watch out for this boy, he has a future!” or something to this effect – and even this story may be apocryphal), and certainly not Haydn, who tried to teach Beethoven a few composition rules when Beethoven was already a fully formed composer. In fact, Beethoven was livid when Haydn criticised his compositions. And eventually they departed as teacher and pupil, the teacher complaining that the pupil would not learn anything, and the pupil complaining that the teacher had nothing to teach him. In fact, as Beethoven fame started to eclipse Haydn, Haydn begged for Beethoven to dedicate  a work to him saying “to my master, Haydn”. You see, he knew that posterity might remember him only as Beethoven’s teacher. Yet Beethoven would not bulge and although he did dedicate the three Op. 2 sonatas to Haydn, he never acknowledged him as his teacher (the dedication reads simply: “Dedicated to Joseph Haydn”). They never saw eye to eye after that, although they treated each other politely.

As for Czerny, Beethoven was hardly his teacher. Czerny’s real teacher was his father (and later Werner Krumpholz). When Czerny started lessons with Beethoven he was already an established concert pianist at 10 (he was a child prodigy). Beethoven’s lessons, if one could call them that, consisted in coaching Czerny in the performance of his own works, many of which Czerny premiered.

The same is true of the many pianists who claimed to have been taught by Liszt. What a crock of potatoes. Liszt invented the concept of master classes. He would only hear already accomplished pianists. This often talked about unbroken dynastic line that goes all the way form one’s teacher all the way back to Beethoven (and now Haydn!) is but a myth. A figment of the imagination of wishful thinkers for which there is no historical evidence.

So who were the real teachers of all these accomplished pianists/composers? Modest, humble individuals, who never had the satisfaction of being mentioned simply because these pianists were basically a bunch of ungrateful, name-dropping b*****s. Wink

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
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quixoticcafe
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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2005, 10:31:00 PM »

Brendel's playing is so non-descript--It has all the flavor of Melba Toast--dry, dry, dry!!!
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wintervind
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« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2005, 12:43:14 PM »



In fact, Beethoven was livid when Haydn criticised his compositions. And eventually they departed as teacher and pupil, the teacher complaining that the pupil would not learn anything, and the pupil complaining that the teacher had nothing to teach him. In fact, as Beethoven fame started to eclipse Haydn, Haydn begged for Beethoven to dedicate  a work to him saying “to my master, Haydn”. You see, he knew that posterity might remember him only as Beethoven’s teacher. Yet Beethoven would not bulge and although he did dedicate the three Op. 2 sonatas to Haydn, he never acknowledged him as his teacher (the dedication reads simply: “Dedicated to Joseph Haydn”). They never saw eye to eye after that, although they treated each other politely.


[/quote)]

To finish the story about the dedication of Beethoven's OP 2 -

When Beethoven's Op.2 sonatas were being published Haydn asked himwhy he didn't put the dedication "to my master Haydn". To this Beethoven responds "Because I didn't learn anything from you"

Kind of gives you a picture of Beethoven's character!

 In my opinion, Op2 does contain influence of Haydn, mostly in the second movements.




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wintervind
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« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2005, 12:46:14 PM »

O yea, the original question

No, I don't think Brendel is the best Beethoven interpreter.
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timoth
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« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2011, 11:36:46 PM »

he plays nicely even gilels plays nice beeth, mmm, i heard the records by annie fishcer of the 32 sonatas and i love it, also clara haskil plays good, and kempff
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pianist1976
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« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2011, 11:44:50 PM »

Having in account that (in my opinion) the music work as an ideal will be always greater than any individual interpretation and, as a consequence, there's no such a thing as "the best interpreter", I'd like to say that I really enjoy many of Brendel's Beethoven renderings.
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john11inc
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« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2011, 12:06:24 AM »

Yes, unequivocally.


EDIT- I misread the title of the thread.  I read "best Beethoven interpreter" as "best narcotic sleep aide".
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« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2011, 12:45:53 AM »

1) It seems weird that this thread is finally bumped after 6 years of waiting in the archives...

2) I'm surprised no one has mentioned Daniel Barenboim in their opinion on who's the best Beethoven interpreter.

Personally I haven't heard any of Barenboims sonatas, but I'd be intrigued to listen to them.
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« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2011, 02:22:03 AM »

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Daniel Barenboim in their opinion on who's the best Beethoven interpreter.

Barenboim is a pretty mediocre pianist. He is a decent conductor, though. If you want to hear some good performances of him, his Beethoven might be good, but only if he is conducting, not playing piano.
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perfect_pitch
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« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2011, 05:24:32 AM »

Damn... didn't know that about Barenboim.

I'll need to listen to his performances then. Seems a shame that his credit goes towards his conducting, despite him being a pianist.
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omar_roy
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« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2011, 07:00:10 AM »

There are some videos of Barenboim up on YouTube playing Beethoven sonatas.  I don't think he's a bad pianist at all, but he's nothing spectacular either.  He's certainly a better conductor than a pianist.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Richard Goode.  His rendition of the Sonatas is very good.  If one is studying the Sonatas and needs a recording, the look no further.  His interpretations are very "pure" in the sense that they are very true to the score and the "composer's intent."  Clean, solid Beethoven at its finest.

Schnabel is more of a guilty pleasure for me.
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2011, 07:54:53 AM »

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Richard Goode.  His rendition of the Sonatas is very good.  If one is studying the Sonatas and needs a recording, the look no further.  His interpretations are very "pure" in the sense that they are very true to the score and the "composer's intent."  Clean, solid Beethoven at its finest.

Complete agreed. Richard Goode's set for me is the best "encyclopedic" set, as far as that it is very sqeaky clean and is great for getting familiar with the sonatas. Perhaps one might want to seek out other interpretations after hearing his, but he is still a great starting point.
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minor9th
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« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2011, 05:47:08 PM »

He's good, but he's not "the best"--no one is! I prefer Gilels, Richter, and lately, Michael Korstick.
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« Reply #40 on: February 16, 2011, 07:10:13 PM »

richter and kempff for the win.
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« Reply #41 on: February 18, 2011, 06:53:48 AM »

Barenboim
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« Reply #42 on: February 18, 2011, 09:40:26 AM »

Schnebel and Goode for complete editions.


Although Fischer convinces me completely, and I am excessively picky.
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« Reply #43 on: February 18, 2011, 05:15:28 PM »

Gilels!!
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« Reply #44 on: February 18, 2011, 06:21:12 PM »

Schnebel and Goode for complete editions.
I know who Dieter Schnebel is, of course, but I think that you meant Artur Schnabel in this context!

Best,

Alistair
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