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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 8, 1996
Pianists fall into two groups: charmers who can make inferior music sound better than it is and those who -- to paraphrase Artur Schnabel -- are attracted to music that is better than it can possibly be performed. Schnabel was famously a member of the second group, and he set standards for musical integrity that were unequalled in his time.But Schnabel's achievements were matched and might eventually have been surpassed by Leon Fleisher, his most important student and artistic heir. But Fleisher, who Sunday evening performed the opening concert in this season's Shriver Hall Series, can now only rarely perform the music of which he was once the predestined interpreter.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 8, 1996
Pianists fall into two groups: charmers who can make inferior music sound better than it is and those who -- to paraphrase Artur Schnabel -- are attracted to music that is better than it can possibly be performed. Schnabel was famously a member of the second group, and he set standards for musical integrity that were unequalled in his time.But Schnabel's achievements were matched and might eventually have been surpassed by Leon Fleisher, his most important student and artistic heir. But Fleisher, who Sunday evening performed the opening concert in this season's Shriver Hall Series, can now only rarely perform the music of which he was once the predestined interpreter.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | May 11, 1994
Last week Stephen Prutsman brought a Friedberg Hall audience to its feet in cheers with a triumphant performance in what may be the most technically fearsome piano concerto in the repertory, Prokofiev's Concerto No. 2. Tonight in Kraushaar Auditorium with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and conductor Anne Harrigan, however, the young pianist will perform what he calls a "genuinely scary piece," Mozart's Concerto No. 15.What? The Mozart, which was composed for the fortepiano, the modern piano's fragile ancestor, more difficult than the Prokofiev, with percussive demands that chal-lenge to the utmost the modern instrument's cast-iron frame and steel strings?
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 26, 1996
Beethoven probably would have agreed that his 32 piano sonatas deserved to be called "the New Testament of keyboard music."The titan of Bonn knew his own worth; and while he knew that Bach's "Forty-Eight" deserved to be classed with the Old Testament in its importance to keyboard players, he was confident that his own work for solo keyboard constituted an even greater dispensation.Although almost every great pianist since Liszt has included several Beethoven sonatas in his repertory, the man most responsible for their current pre-eminence was the Austrian Artur Schnabel (1882-1951)
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 26, 1996
Beethoven probably would have agreed that his 32 piano sonatas deserved to be called "the New Testament of keyboard music."The titan of Bonn knew his own worth; and while he knew that Bach's "Forty-Eight" deserved to be classed with the Old Testament in its importance to keyboard players, he was confident that his own work for solo keyboard constituted an even greater dispensation.Although almost every great pianist since Liszt has included several Beethoven sonatas in his repertory, the man most responsible for their current pre-eminence was the Austrian Artur Schnabel (1882-1951)
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | April 8, 1991
The great Artur Schnabel once settled an argument with another pianist about which of them was the favorite of intellectuals by joking that the second halves of his programs were "as boring as the first."Schnabel was never boring, of course. Of the pianists of his generation, only he was able to make the most abstruse, abstract music consistently interesting.Something on the same order could be said about the Arditti String Quartet, which performed last night in the Shriver Hall Concert Series.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | February 27, 1998
David Zinman's program with the Baltimore Symphony last night was challenging. It began with Barber's brilliant andenergetic "Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance" and closed with Bartok's barbarously driven "Miraculous Mandarin Suite."In between came music equally, though differently, difficult: Mozart's Concertos Nos. 19 in F Major (K. 459) and in A Major (K. 488), which featured Mitsuko Uchida as soloist.As the exit of dozens of people before the "Mandarin" demonstrated, it was clearly Uchida's Mozart for which the audience had come.
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May 6, 1995
Charles Cecil Wall, 91, who dedicated much of his life to preserving George Washington's Mount Vernon home in Virginia, died Monday in Greenwich, Conn. He was resident director of Mount Vernon for 39 years, taking on many of the first president's habits and hobbies.In 1980, he authored "George Washington: Citizen Soldier." Like Washington, he regularly surveyed the 500-acre estate on horseback, and kept a boat to inspect frontage on the Potomac River. He planted the same type of flowers that Washington grew.
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By Holly Selby and Holly Selby,SUN STAFF | December 3, 1997
Renowned pianist Leon Fleisher yesterday announced publicly that he has left his position as artistic director of Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts, a post he has held since 1985.Fleisher, who also has taught at Peabody Institute for 39 years, yesterday sent a letter to Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Seiji Ozawa and to board members, in which he first thanked them for the opportunity to direct at Tanglewood, then stated: "I have not resigned. I consider myself to have been relieved of my position as Artistic Director."
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | January 19, 1997
Had anyone had told me 40 years ago that Mieczyslaw Horszowski would become one of the world's hottest pianists, I would have laughed.But I wasn't laughing in the 1990-1991 concert season -- I was just trying to find a ticket to his Carnegie Hall recital, which had been sold out months in advance. In that season -- his last, as it turned out -- the 98-year-old Horszowski's only competition in the pianist-everyone-wants- to-hear sweepstakes was the 18-year-old Russian phenom- enon, Evgeny Kissin.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | May 11, 1994
Last week Stephen Prutsman brought a Friedberg Hall audience to its feet in cheers with a triumphant performance in what may be the most technically fearsome piano concerto in the repertory, Prokofiev's Concerto No. 2. Tonight in Kraushaar Auditorium with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and conductor Anne Harrigan, however, the young pianist will perform what he calls a "genuinely scary piece," Mozart's Concerto No. 15.What? The Mozart, which was composed for the fortepiano, the modern piano's fragile ancestor, more difficult than the Prokofiev, with percussive demands that chal-lenge to the utmost the modern instrument's cast-iron frame and steel strings?
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | November 1, 1990
In the years since 1965, when a mysterious hand ailment destroyed his two-handed piano career, Leon Fleisher has played almost all the important left-handed concertos for piano and orchestra. Not until Monday night, however, had Fleisher given a left-handed solo recital. That recital in Charleston, S.C., will be followed Saturday night by one in the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater -- a benefit for the Theater Chamber Players, of which Fleisher is music director.Playing a recital is much tougher than a concerto, Fleisher says.
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By Sara Engram and Sara Engram,Evening Sun Staff | December 8, 1990
If you're like me, one of the biggest questions on your mind when you read an obituary is the age of the deceased.Subconsciously, perhaps, I wonder: Did he live a full life? Was her life complete, or did death rob her of precious time? And always: Was this person older than me, or younger?We know that no one guarantees us anything on this Earth except, of course, that our time is temporary. Even so, we cling to the notion that there is an allotment of time, a specific number of years that makes a full life.
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