(Mar 19, 2019)
Perhaps the greatest interpreter of Beethoven…
This is one of the massive Beethoven Sonatas, the “Appassionata”, played by Claudio Arrau. I was fortunate to hear him live when I was around 14 or 15. He was 58 at the time, and for a performing pianist that is around the physical peak.
I don’t know his age here, but I’m guessing he was in his 60s. The important thing is that he played at such a high level consistently throughout his life, still playing incredibly well in his 80s. No mugging. No agonized looks, no “acting”. Just pure quality, and he was more faithful to the score than anyone else I’ve ever heard.
He was a musician’s musician, a pianist’s pianist.