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Pianos and Pianists - Consultant Editor Ates Orga


J.B. Priestley on
Vladimir Ashkenazy

"Ashkenazy appeared, almost apologetically, to play the Beethoven No 4. He has an odd platform manner for a concert pianist who, though still young, is already world-renowned. He is small and silent and shy - sparing of talk, like his blonde Icelandic-London wife - but his diffident appearance masks formidable resources of will, determination and personality ... Though he has exiled himself from the USSR, partly because it exercises too strict a control over the artists it sends abroad, Ashkenazy brings from Gorky, where he was born [in 1937], and Moscow, where he was trained, a certain Russian-ness of spirit, melancholy and melting and yet fiery, that makes many essentially German compositions, like this Fourth Concerto, sound new and strange ... [Mozart: Piano Concerto No 27] Bent over the keyboard like a visitant elf, Ashkenazy gave us a beautiful performance. In the middle movement, the Larghetto, the piano ceased to be a percussive instrument; very quietly, very delicately, he made it sing; this was no longer an elf but some kind of other being, humming to himself as he wandered across Elysian fields"

- J.B. Priestley on Vladimir Ashkenazy's appearances with Istvan Kertesz at the opening and closing concerts of the London Symphony Orchestra's visit to the 2nd Florida International Music Festival. Peabody Auditorium, Daytona Beach, Florida, Wednesday July 12th/Sunday August 6th 1967. J.B.Priestley © 1968 Trumpets Over the Sea

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