The Music Plays On

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Vladimir Ashkenazy

In January of this year the great musician, Vladimir Ashkenazy, retired from the concert stage. He is universally beloved, and orchestras and audiences welcomed him as a soloist and conductor around the world. As a conductor, Ashkenazy had a broad repertoire, but the sheer breadth of music that he recorded as a pianist over the course of sixty years is mind-boggling. There have been many interviews and documentaries of Ashkenazy, but I’d like to draw your attention to two of them.

Don’t let the very beginning of this Dutch interview hinder you. The entire interview is in English.

There didn’t seem to be a composer in whose music he didn’t excel, but Beethoven’s five piano concerti must’ve been music very close to his heart, for he recorded three complete cycles. One is currently not available (Mehta/Vienna Philharmonic), but the two that are available reveal an artist who is constantly striving to find the meaning behind the notes on the page.