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Benno Moiseiwitsch CBE (22 February 1890 – 9 April 1963) was a Ukrainian-born British pianist.
Playing in the Grand Style (1950)
- The critics are occasionally pleased to compliment a pianist by saying that he plays in the grand style. Exactly what do they mean by that phrase? In the broadest sense, they mean a style of playing which penetrates deeper than the physical conquering of the piano. It concerns itself with the release of music. The “grand style” moved listeners through interpretation.
- Any artist worth his salt thinks music far more than he practices. Practice divides the mind between music and the mechanics of managing hands and feet. Inward hearing has its roots in musical thought.
- I am startled, occasionally, to find “intelligence” used as the antithesis of “feeling”, as though the two played against each other. Nothing could be further from the truth. No intelligent interpretation is lacking in emotional values. What this probably means is that, depending on gifts and degree of maturity, some natures emphasize brain over heart. Where such an imbalance occurs, it must be corrected by conscious and concentrated application to emotional content. If an interpretation is unduly cerebral, liveness and color can be infused into it by attention to whether the theme is now in the right hand, now in the left; whether it is supported by an accompaniment which has significance of its own, or merely hums along.
Quotes about Moiseiwitsch
- Like nearly all of the Leschetizky pupils, he represented the last vestiges of romanticism as it was actually practiced in the romantic period — which means pliancy, a perpetually singing line, concentration on inner voices and a free approach and a free approach to the notes. In Moiseiwitsch's case, freedom was always tempered by impeccable musicality.
- Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists (1987), p. 331