Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

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Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli in 1960

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (5 January 192012 June 1995) was an Italian classical pianist.

Quotes about Michelangeli

  • I think Michelangeli in some repertory is absolutely incredible, especially Debussy.
    • Leif Ove Andsnes, in At the piano : interviews with 21st-century pianists (2012) by Caroline Benser
  • Interesting pianist, but I think he is just a little bit meshuga.
    • Vladimir Horowitz, quoted in Harold C. Schonberg, Horowitz: His Life and Music (1992)
  • He's a real perfectionist. But I think that this fanaticism and and the extreme instrumental standards he set for himself prevent his imagination from taking flight and stop him expressing any real love for the work he's performing so impeccably. It's 'inspiration' that's missing. Is this a notion that's been banished from today's dictionaries? It would be a great shame if this were so. But – one doesn't judge a master.
    • Sviatoslav Richter, in Bruno Monsaingeon, Sviatoslav Richter: Notebooks and Conversations (2002), p. 257
  • If there is an Italian school, it is represented by the puzzling and redoubtable figure of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, the most important Italian pianist after Busoni (if Busoni be considered Italian). Purely as a playing machine, Michelangeli is a legend to his colleagues, who put him in the Horowitz class as a super-virtuoso. Some of his playing is startling in its sheer pianistic polish and perfection. His fingers can no more hit a wrong note or smudge a passage than a bullet can be veered off course once it has been fired. In addition he is a complete master of tonal application, as evidenced in his performance of Gaspard de la nuit. By any standards this is one of the triumphs of modern pianism. The puzzling part about Michelangeli is that in many pieces of the romantic repertoire he seems unsure of himself emotionally, and his otherwise direct playing is then laden with expressive devices that disturb the musical flow.
    • Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists 2nd ed. (1987)
  • ["How was he when the concerts were over?"] Sometimes he resembled children in having fun with few things. He was essential in this too. But his greatest passion, outside of music, were racing cars. He drove a Ferrari. One day he took me from Moncalieri, where he taught courses, to Turin in his car. He darted through the streets. I was terrified. And he didn't say anything; he was like a statue, dead serious. He looked like Buster Keaton. When we stopped in front of the station, he turned his bird-like head and opened his mouth: "Don't tell me I have scared you"
    • (Salvatore Accardo) article in La Repubblica (05-01-2014)