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Re: Schiff

I had to comment on Schiff.  A confession of sorts.  I know he's good; I've
heard one or two stunning recordings of Bach concerti where he was pared
with other pianists.  Yet I can't stand his recordings of the WTC.   I
immediately returned them after hearing them.  (And I've never done that
before!)  That, however, was many years ago.   Now, because of the support
for Schiff provided here, I intend to listen to them again.  I wonder
whether my impressions will change?   (They usually don't.)   Apart from his
music--and this really is a separate issue--I have great respect for his
decision not to perform in Austria.

John Grant
-----Original Message-----
From: Bradley Lehman <bpl@umich.edu>
To: F minor <f_minor@email.rutgers.edu>
Date: Saturday, February 26, 2000 8:41 AM
Subject: Re: Schiff

>Chisa Sugihara wrote:
>>> I haven't heard Schiff's English Suites yet.  I bought his Goldbergs
>>> just for an experience, and never played it again.  If any of you have a
>>> to say anything good about Schiff's playing other than no humming,
>>> please let me know.  I am very interested to hear.  If this topic was
>>> discussed before, please forgive me.
>...and Mike Flemmer responded:
>>There is plenty good things to say about Schiff.  He is certainly
>>one of the very best Bach pianist's today.  Especially his live Bach.
>>It's fantastic.  No one should pass up a chance to see Schiff live
>>playing Bach.  I've heard a few of his live Bach performances on the
>>radio and it's spectacular.  (Schiff's Beethoven is not so hot though)
>>Schiff's recordings are a mixed bag.  The English Suites are very
>>good and the high praise from critics is well deserved.  They are
>>worth a listen and worthy of purchase too.  Schiff's Goldberg's are much
>>less desriable.  Schiff takes the opening Aria too fast and compared to
>>Gould, it sounds rushed and not as 'sensitive.'
>Hmm.  I've liked all the Schiff recordings of Bach that I've heard.  As
>Bach's biographer Forkel wrote about the Partitas, anyone who learned to
>play some of these pieces well could make his way in the world, and that's
>exactly what Schiff did in 1984: excellent recording of them.  It was one
>the first Bach-on-piano CD's I ever bought (already having most of the GG
>LP's).  I listened again to some of it this morning and am impressed with
>his touch: gentle, and sensitive, as if he were playing a clavichord
>also plays this way on piano).  There is an easy flow to his playing, with
>poise and balance.  I don't own copies of his Goldbergs, Inventions, or
>English Suites, but remember them all being similarly excellent, especially
>the gracefulness and flow in the Goldbergs.
>There's a fantastic new Schiff recording of the Busoni "Fantasia
>Contrappuntistica," which is Busoni's elaboration of the unfinished fugue
>from Bach's "Art of Fugue."  He uses the two-piano version, with Peter
>Serkin at the other piano.  I've heard about ten recordings of this piece,
>and would put this one among the very best for dimensionality and
>contrapuntal clarity.  (The reviewers in _Fanfare_ and _American Record
>Guide_ were unfortunately both too unfamiliar with this piece to make any
>substantial comparisons.)  Serkin has recorded this piece before (with
>Richard Goode at Marlboro), and his own solo debut recording many years ago
>was the Goldbergs.  So, he and Schiff both bring excellent background to
>this performance.
>Bradley Lehman, http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bpl
>Dayton VA