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I haven't really figured him out.  I have several of the Mozart concerto series he did with Sandor Vegh and just love them.  I played his WTC Bk. II a couple of times and now it is gathering dust.  One of the things that makes his Mozart so engaging is his beautiful and variable touch (as well as Vegh's wonderfully musical conducting).  The WTC set that I listen to the most these days is Richter, "old fashioned" though it may be. I added a used tube amp to my system a while ago and I can't believe the life it has breathed into CDs like the Richter WTC that are not all that well recorded. It really enables me to appreciate even more the sensitivity and variety of his dynamics, phrasing, and touch.  Richter, like Gould, is one of those naturals - they communicate their concept of the music through the piano like we use language.  Whatever they play they make their own - it sounds almost inevitable - and like it or not, it's a real statement...... Like  Caruso singing "Over There" - he even makes that his own. How do they do it?  You can analyze it in lots of different ways, but two qualities Gould and Richter share are this authentic personal concept of the music they play and an almost superhuman control over the production of tone: touch.  There is probably nothing that draws you into a performance more than a great touch - it makes the music intimate,  personal. In reading the other comments about Schiff I was thinking about the recitals I've heard - where if you have a good seat in a good hall you can hear very naturally what the pianist is doing.  Which are the ones that I didn't want to end because the playing was so completely engaging:  Richter, Gould, and in more recent years, Radu Lupu and Richard Goode.  Different in many ways, but one thing all four had in common was playing that made me hang on every note - direct, personal - all I could do was experience the music.  I haven't heard Schiff in person, but I don't find that in his records yet.