Pianist returns to label after six decades

Pianist returns to label after six decades

News

norman lebrecht

January 13, 2022

The American pianist Ruth Slenczynska was a rising star on Decca in the 1950s.

Things tapered off for a while in her career, but Ruth turns 97 today and is celebrating with a new release, on Decca.

She is the last living pupil of Sergei Rachmaninov.

Comments

  • Paganono says:

    In her come-back years, Slenczynska established herself as an sturdy, honest, sincere player – but it would be a disservice to burden her with the mantle of “greatness”. Her mature career found it’s niche in minor circuits. She gave up trying to establish herself in New York concert halls, as throughout the 1950’s the Manhattan critics routinely slaughtered her. However, she bravely played her 50th anniversary recital at Town Hall in 1984 and was favorably reviewed.

  • Sol Siegel says:

    …and, I believe, of Artur Schnabel.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    A legend – so well deserving to be honored always. How blessed are we that she still graces the earth.

  • RW2013 says:

    The double-note Prelude that she plays with such ease is probably the most difficult work of SR.
    Many happy returns and long life!

  • Anonymous says:

    The fetishization of very old artists in the classical music industry is exceeded only by the fetishization of the very young artists.

    • Minnesota says:

      A comment worthy of its anonymity.

    • When Wilhelm Backhaus was 12, after his debut concert people were saying “Phenomenal for his age!”.

      Approximately seventy years later, after playing all of the 32 Beethoven sonatas at the age of 80, the critic wrote: “Phenomenal for his age!”.

      When Backhaus was asked about this, he said: “You see? In all these years I haven’t made any progress at all.”

      Source: https://www.koelnklavier.de/texte/interpreten/backhaus.html

      I believe that Arthur Rubinstein also liked to relate this anecdote; perhaps he “borrowed” it from Backhaus, or Backhaus from Rubinstein. But it could apply to many other pianists as well.

  • Ronald Vogel says:

    Slenczynska was a Colossus! Wow, thank you for posting.

  • 88 says:

    A wonderful lady and musician with a remarkable story. I recently saw a live-streamed recital from May of 2021 (96 years old!) in which she played Chopin’s Fantasie, Polonaise in F#, Berceuse, and selections from the Preludes among a few other things. God bless her.

  • Milena Zlatarova says:

    I found the whole personality of Ms Ruth Slenczynska quite intriguing, also her playing. I enjoyed very much her interview to Andrew Ford on ABC Radio. The world is full of fascinating stories! Thank you for sharing!

  • christopher storey says:

    I don’t know whether the TV appearance did her a disservice, but although she demonstrated superlative technique, the E flat minor Prelude was taken at a pace so fast that it was rendered unmusical, and although that did not apply to the B flat , she came across as a terrible piano smasher in that . Not to my taste I’m afraid , but I’m glad she is still playing at 97

    • William Glazier says:

      We must have heard two different performances. I have no idea what you heard.. I heard two technically thrilling, inspired, authentic pieces delivered in the grand style by a stunning artist

  • Anmarie says:

    What a charming, almost child-like personality…
    Then she played Rach!

  • A Dolfadam says:

    Perfection. Greater than Horczowski at that age.

  • William Glazier says:

    A Brilliant pianist. One of the legendary greats. I have studied with her for well over10 years and learned incredible things from her, after having studied with other major artists. Patient, detail oriented, thorough..a Goddess of the keyboard.
    Bill Glazier

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