The mystery pianist who might be Michelangeli

The mystery pianist who might be Michelangeli


norman lebrecht

January 18, 2020

Someone has posted a very fine performance of Beethoven’s G major piano concerto on Youtube with the claim that the soloist is the ever-elusive Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.

Others think is might be Maria Tipo.

The orchestra is the Belgrade Philharmonic and the date 1974.

Does any of our readers have more evidence?


  • Cornishman says:

    Joyce Hatto?

  • Noël says:

    There is no doubt about it and has been for some years: it is Maria Tipo. This was a concert from the Belgrade Festival. Also on the programme was Debussy La Mer and Sofoson 1 by the Serbian composer,

    Branislava Šaper Predić. The original broadcast, in fine sound, is identical to this wishywashy bootleg.The confusion was brought about by a famous pirate LP label wishing to obfuscate the issue and make some money out of it.

    • Belgrade Philharmonic says:

      Dear Noël, you are absolutely right. We found the same info in our archive.
      Best wishes, Belgrade Philharmonic

  • ET says:

    Here is a bonafide recording of Maria Tipo playing Beethoven 4th, albeit from later on.

  • Brettermeier says:

    Not exactly evidence, but:

  • Brettermeier says:

    And I found this:

    “We know that the performance (issued on cd by Exclusive and Legend) was taped in Belgrade on October 7 1973 and the conductor was Zivojin Zdravkovic. Now, during that period ABM was not present in Belgrade (his wife is on record on this). The only time ABM played in Yugoslavia was in 1971. There are no other ABM recordings of the Beethoven IV, and there is no evidence that he ever performed the concerto in public.”

    But I’m in no position to assess the accuracy of this comment.

    • Rudy says:

      I read years ago that he performed the complete Beethoven cycle under Giulini (Wiener Symphoniker) but asked the recordings of the 2nd and 4th to be destroyed. I wonder if this happened…

  • Steve Silberstein says:

    A wonderful discovery and a fine performance, no matter who played. But, it would be interesting to know more about this recording. Still worth listening!

  • Andy says:

    I think it’s Joyce Hatto

  • Edgar Self says:

    If this is the live performance in Dubrovnik attributed to Michelangeli, it has long been discredited as not by him. with a glaring wrong-note left-hand octave in the finale,

  • Philip Moores says:


    This recording was originally issued on a Rococo LP in the late 1970s.

    ABM never played the piece in public (nor number 2) and the pianist has subsequently been confirmed as Maria Tipo. See here

  • steven holloway says:

    It is Michelangeli. The concert was preserved by Yugoslav Radio, and it was broadcast by the BBC in 1974. The programme listing in the Radio Times may be seen on the internet. I think it may have been released on disc in 1978.

  • Andrew Matthews says:

    I don’t think it is Michelangeli. For a start at the beginning you can hear the turntable arm and needle dropping on he disc so It is taken from an LP. I have never seen the LP and I scouted for pirate Michelangeli recordings from the late 70s. Also it just doesn’t have his trademark playing characteristics. The totally even runs and trills and slightly heavy sfz. It is just not his piano sound.

  • Andrew Matthews says:

    Apologies, there is an LP on the legends label and appears on Amazon. But I stand by my other comments about the playing.

  • Fliszt says:

    His repertoire was minute, he played very few concerti, and I don’t recall Beethoven 4th being among them.

  • Daniel Poulin says:

    Maria Tipo is still alive; can anyone ask her if it was her? Or her daughter (an active member of a string quartet). And can the Belgrade Phil confirm who the soloist was?

  • Drew says:

    If it is Maria Tipo I’m glad . I’ve always felt she was a fabulous pianist who’s great artistry was under appreciated.

  • There is a wonderful live recording with Maria Tipo from 1992 that sounds more poetic and flexible than this 1974 recording. Here’s the link:

  • Nijinsky says:

    Anybody that can play this concerto must the Apollo the son of Zeus, but this might be Byron Janis?

  • Nijinsky says:

    And birds would sing and think it weren’t night. I actually wish it could have been Clara Haskil, who I saw driving out of a parking lot the other day, seen her with a rosary at a prayer chapel, when I was for once having time enough to be with my friend Antonio S..

    And I don’t know WHY prince “William,” gets everything that sneaks out of the horse-a-pittle when it’s supposed to dead. “THOSE” ENGLISH!

    Why isn’t this her playing… (!?)

  • David says:

    I am positively sure. The pianist is Ludwig van Beethoven. I have heard him several times and I perfectly recognize his touch.

  • Steven van Staden says:

    Definitely this is not Michelangeli.

  • Belgrade Philharmonic says:

    According to Belgrade Philharmonic archive, it was Maria Tipo who performed Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4, on October 7, 1973. under the baton of Zivojin Zdravkovic. The repertoire also included “La Mer” by Debussy and
    “Sofoson 1” by Branka Predić Šaper.

  • Jim Beam says:

    We were all hoping it was Michelangeli…
    But true, it doesn’t sounds like him.
    Thank you for clearing this up, Belgrade Philharmonic!