Friday, January 29, 2010

...and How About Jakob Gimpel?

If you are not familiar with the name Jakob Gimpel, and were this moment able to hear one of his recordings, I feel quite confident that you would scratch your head (at least metaphorically!) and ask, "why have I not heard this pianist before this moment - where have I been?"
Gimpel was born in Poland, and died in, I believe, his 84th year.
He was, essentially, equal to virtually any pianist, alive or dead - that is; as a piano player. His playing of the instrument was nothing short of astonishing. I would suspect that the reason that History does not place him in the top bracket of great pianists is that his repertoire was somewhat limited.
However, I would invite you to look for his recordings and indulge in a thrilling experience. At least, get the film, titled "Mephisto Waltz," and listen to the incredible piano playing - this is Jakob Gimpel playing the music sound track for this film. He also did other movies, let alone perform throughout the Western World, and successfully so.
Please allow me to comment on the recent passing of Earl Wild. I have already done a blog on Wild; however, it would be remiss of me not to bow to this truly wonderful American pianist, dead at about 94. Personally, I consider Wild, along with the late William Kapell and Constance Keene and, of course, Murray Perahia, as the foremost American pianists of our time.

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