Monday, April 6, 2009

Iturbi - A Great Pianism Unfulfilled?

The noted pianist, Jose Iturbi, one of the foremost musicians from Spain, has been a kind of dilemma to me all these years.
As a child, I was magnetized by the brilliance of his playing, especially of the Spanish masters, for which he was known throughout the musical world.
Iturbi, in actuality, was unequaled for his sheer pianism. His uncanny sense of keyboard location was a constant wonder to me. Countless times I asked myself "how CAN he do what he does without even looking down at his fingers or the keyboard?"
As the years went by, and my understanding of the process of the totality of performance grew, I came to view this man with growing apprehension and disappointment, when it became apparent ( and this is only my view - there may be those of you who do not agree) to me that the synthesis, the totality of his entity never did form. He remained for me only a wonderful player of the piano who only occasionally touched greatness in his attachment to the music he performed.
I once mentioned to one of the more eminent of the younger pianists on the world stage that I did not think of him as a pianist, primarily; rather, a great musician who used the piano to make his point. He liked my description.
Sadly, this description does not, in my view, apply to Iturbi.

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