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Have we got time for an encore?

June 23, 2018 by norman lebrecht

25 comments.


Amazing golden days video of Mr & Mrs Ashkenazy.


Comments (25)

  1. John Rook says:

    How strange; I was only thinking about Ashkenazy’s performance of this piece yesterday. More precisely his first recording of it, which variously filled me with unbounded admiration for his craft and a crushing desire on my part never to touch a piano keyboard again. I didn’t go through with the latter.

    It’s hard to describe how fiendishly difficult Op.10, n°1 is, and to hear it again with Ashkenazy’s incredibly even touch is a joy. He may have spent most of his adult life on the podium, but for me he will remain peerless at the keyboard.

  2. William Robertson says:

    Good to see this again after so many years. A horribly difficult piece for small hands but Ashkenazy, whose hands and fingers appear small (but not that small) manages perfectly. Arthritis was still along way off (with that I can sympathize).

  3. esfir ross says:

    VA recorded 24Etudes with Melodia when he was in his early 20th. Amazing good!

  4. Phyllis Stringer says:

    There doesn’t seem to be much mention of Mr. A’s non-musical activities these days when he was a student.
    I read somewhere that he ‘spied’ on his peers at the behest of the KGB.

    1. buxtehude says:

      Please be careful with such charges.

    2. norman lebrecht says:

      That’s an outrageous allegation, made without a shred of evidence. You read somewhere? Specify a source of withdraw this false claim.

      1. Gennady says:

        Anyone who was leaving the country for tour or scientific conference etc. had to visit so called First Department, actually KGB, to get instructions and to sign papers. Without any exception. It was just the part of the procedure. And it means nothing for the reputation of the artist or scientist.

  5. La Verita says:

    Clean your glasses pal, the KGB spied on him & his foreign wife – until he couldn’t stand it anymore and defected.

    1. esfir ross says:

      VA didn’t defected, got official permission to move to Island, his wife country. You can read in autobio and VA bio by Ortiz

      1. La Verita says:

        No, he got permission to take his wife & baby to the UK on a concert tour, and then when it came time to return, he announced that he wasn’t going back to the USSR. To cover their embarrassment, the Soviets let it be known that if he returned, he could come & go as he pleased- and he wisely chose not to take them up on their “offer”. It was in fact a cleverly calculated defection.

  6. Phyllis Stringer says:

    I read it, I think, in the Guardian about ten years ago.
    Perfectly prepared to withdraw post as offence is obviously being taken.

    1. Sue says:

      Of course, only that rag “The Grauniad” would write something libelous like that about VA. Disgusting news outlet, full of embittered, public school educated pseudo intellectuals.

      1. John Rook says:

        Couldn’t agree more. Still, they do have the occasional lucid moment, such as reporting that the policy of separating children from their parents at the US/Mexico border had been going on all through the Obama presidency and that no-one had objected in the press.

        1. nimitta says:

          Your comment is misguided, John Rook, and proves Sue’s point about the Guardian.

          It’s a self-justifying right wing lie that the Obama administration separated children from their parents at the border as a matter of policy. This foul lie was first put out by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who also was heard to claim falsely in another speech just days apart that the Trump administration was NOT separating kids from their families at all. These people have no shame.

          Here’s a bit from factcheck.org: ““Previous administrations used family detention facilities, allowing the whole family to stay together while awaiting their deportation case in immigration court, or alternatives to detention, which required families to be tracked but released from custody to await their court date,” [Theresa Cardinal] Brown and her co-author, Tim O’Shea, wrote in an explainer piece for the Bipartisan Policy Center’s website. “Some children may have been separated from the adults they entered with, in cases where the family relationship could not be established, child trafficking was suspected, or there were not sufficient family detention facilities available. … However, the zero-tolerance policy [initiated by the Trump administration and conceived as a political strategy by advisor Stephen Miller] is the first time that a policy resulting in separation is being applied across the board.””
          https://www.factcheck.org/2018/06/did-the-obama-administration-separate-families/

          You’re helping to spread Mr. Trump’s big lie, John Rook, by implying that the press would only report on child separation if perpetrated by his administration. Trump is beating the drum of an insidious narrative in which the free press is “the biggest enemy of the American people”. No, it’s HIS enemy, but not because of partisanship as his supporters are told by Fox News. It’s because the free press is working hard to keep up with the myriad lies and relentless anti-immigrant propaganda Trump’s presidency spews every day to stoke the racism and fear of its far right base, which is ironically a minority itself.

          1. jaypee says:

            Never discuss with trumpazees… You’re just losing your time: they don’t have the intelligence to understand or the honesty to admit they’re wrong. Just call them by their names: deplorables, idots, fascists, morons, traitors…

          2. Anon says:

            And, FDR never put Japanese-American citizens in internment camps. It’s just a big lie made up by Japanese-Americans.

          3. Sue says:

            I don’t believe I mentioned Trump – nor have I mentioned him before. He doesn’t turn up on my radar.

      2. jaypee says:

        Sue, what’s wrong with the Guardian?
        Oh… I know: anything that doesn’t show 100% support for cretin donald is “a rag”. Did I guess right?

        1. Sue says:

          Look at my comment above. And I’m not American. The Donald doesn’t interest me.

      3. Eric says:

        I guess gratuitous potshots at public schools is acceptable in England?

    2. buxtehude says:

      The point for you to learn, is not to level serious accusations so casually — as in you aren’t sure of the source, and sound fuzzy as to what it was you actually read.

      In such circumstances, what was it that prompted you to weigh in?

  7. Alex Davies says:

    Extraordinary! He played that so fast I was able to listen to it in its entirety while I put on a pair of socks. OK, a little time was taken up in choosing which pair of socks to put on, but still… Of course, I don’t know him personally, but Ashkenazy has always seemed a very decent sort of a chap too. Certainly never heard or read anything unpleasant about him.

    1. John Rook says:

      He’s an absolutely lovely man who always took time for me when I went to his South Bank recitals in the 1970s. He used to live next door to my mother and would regularly ask after her.

  8. Walter Winterfeldt says:

    Last year on my birthday I flew to Reykjavik just to hear Maestro Ashkenazy conduct the Iceland Symphony. After the rehearsal I met his wife Dody and then when he came out he could not have been nicer. We spoke for several minutes and then he invited me to lunch in the Harpa Center. It was a thrilling occasion and the concert was superb, with Brahms’ 4th. Last November I went to Cleveland to hear an Elgar/Beethoven program, equally superb with the Cleveland Orchestra. A fabulous musician and a great man.


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