Vintage treat #2: An old master, 85, revisits the Beethoven concertos

Jerome Lowenthal, a legend among pianists, showed how it’s done this summer at Bloomington, Ind.

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  • Thank you. A real treat. Always worth rolling out the superlatives when talking about Jerome Lowenthal. The audience also looks refreshingly attentive.

  • Edward Auer and Jerome Lowenthal’re great pianist that wasn’t appreciated by jury of Tchaikovsky competition.

  • A great artist and the loveliest of men. I spent three summers (1982-84) in his vicinity at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. I will always remember his great sense of humor and his kindness, as well as his stellar performances of Age of Anxiety, Tchaikovsky’s 2nd concerto and several recital performances (one of them with Perlman). He was renowned among staff and students for the vigorous way he gave the A to his playing partners.

  • Why do these pieces sound so fresh – in spite of the rather lame orchestra and the fact that they have been polished incessantly by aggressive over-familiarity, and have been so often condemned to fill-in the gaps of routine programming? Why don’t John Adams, Philip Glass, Tom Adès, Wolfgang Rihm, Pascal Dusapin, Nico Muhli, Mohammed Farouz, Mason Bates, Jörg Widmann, etc. etc. etc. (etc.)…. write anything, that could stand in the shadow of these works without blushing and still offer some freshness after a long time – say, 30 years? Is it merely a matter of talent – was LvB just ‘better’? Or produced those times just ‘better’ talents? Or do we think these pieces are good because we can hear them many times so that they can be plumbed for any depth and possible meaning in the smallest corners? Or have modern times simply eroded the very notion of musical talent?

    But today, with the enormous accessibility of music and its devastatingly wide range of variety that is available under any button, one should think that there have never been more benefitting circumstances for composers than today. There are many truly gifted performers today, probably many more than ever before. So it cannot be the modern times. It must be a psychological question, not an aesthetic one.

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