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Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

One of the most enigmatic performers of the 20th century, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli was also one of the most compelling and, paradoxically, one of the least-heard pianists of his generation. Michelangeli was famous for having canceled nearly as many performances as he gave, and he committed little of his vast repertory to disc.

Michelangeli was born on January 5, 1920, in Orzinuovi, Italy. His father was a dedicated amateur musician who introduced young Benedetti to the art. After early studies on the violin, Michelangeli took up the piano, entering the Milan Conservatory at the age of ten.

In 1939 Michelangeli's concert career began in earnest after he claimed top honors at the International Piano Competition in Geneva. Of his triumphant performance at the competition, no less a luminary than the great Alfred Cortot exclaimed, "A new Liszt is born!" Service in the Italian Air Force during World War II interrupted Michelangeli's career; taking the stage again at war's end, however, he soon earned a place among the top performers of the day.

In 1960 Michelangeli performed Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto in Vatican City for the Pope. A triumphant 1964 appearance in Moscow reportedly had the audience in an uproar, and in 1965 Michelangeli became one of the first Western artists to concertize extensively in Asia.

In the 1970s and 1980s he made fewer and fewer concert appearances, owing both to consistent health troubles and his growing aversion to public display. During a performance in Bordeaux in October 1988 he suffered an aortic aneurysm onstage; nevertheless, he resumed performing the following season. He gave his last public performance in 1990 and died five years later died from the chronic medical problems that had plagued him since childhood.

Michelangeli regarded the life of a concert pianist as one of labor. His own schedule included upwards of ten hours of practice a day; he suggested to his pupils that they cease practicing only when the pain in the fingers and shoulders became too great for them to continue. Michelangeli took his role as a mentor very seriously; he held various teaching positions in Italy and throughout Europe, and included Martha Argerich and Maurizio Pollini among his pupils.

To many Michelangeli's playing was the ideal blend of technique and uncanny musical depth. His subtlety, revealed in such masterly recordings as Brahms' Paganini Variations, is in restraint and detachment -- calculated to temper power and fury, not to replace it. His performances of Mozart, Haydn, and Scarlatti are particularly esteemed.

Michelangeli never wholly embraced life as a concert artist. He felt that to pour such adulation on a performer was a disgrace, and that it distracted the performer from the very essence of his duty. A deeply private man, Michelangeli had a tendency to distort the truth during interviews, making it difficult for musicologists and historians to build an accurate portrait of his life; he will likely remain a fascinating, little-understood man.
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Fryderyk Chopin

1. Intermezzo Andante Spianato E Grande Polacca Brillante Op.22

2. Mazurka Op.68 N.2

3. Mazurka Op.30 N.3

4. Mazurka Op.33 N.4

5. Berceuse Op.57

6. Ballata In Sol Minore Op.23

7. Valzer Op.69 N.1

8. Valzer Op. Postuma

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Track List: Schumann: Carnaval

1. Carnaval, Op. 9

2. Faschingsschwank Aus Wein, Op. 26: I. Allegro

3. Faschingsschwank Aus Wein, Op. 26: II. Romaze

4. Faschingsschwank Aus Wein, Op. 26: III. Scherzino

5. Faschingsschwank Aus Wein, Op. 26: IV. Intermezzo

6. Faschingsschwank Aus Wein, Op. 26: V. Finale

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Track List: Schumann: Piano Concerto; Debussy: Images

Composer: Robert Schumann
Title: Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 54

1. Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 54: I. Allegro Affettuoso

2. Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 54: II. Intermezzo (Andantino Grazioso)

3. Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 54: III. Allegro Vivace

Composer: Claude Debussy
Title: Images (6), For Piano, Sets I & II, L. 110 & L. 111

4. Images (6), For Piano, Sets I & II, L. 110 & L. 111: I. Reflets Dans L'eau. Andantino Molto

5. Images (6), For Piano, Sets I & II, L. 110 & L. 111: II. Hommage à Rameau. Lent Et Grave

6. Images (6), For Piano, Sets I & II, L. 110 & L. 111: IV. Cloches à Travers Les Feuilles. Lent

7. Images (6), For Piano, Sets I & II, L. 110 & L. 111: VI. Poissons D'or. Animé

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Track List: Piano Maestro

1. Children's Corner, L 113 - Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum

2. Children's Corner, L 113 - Jimbo's Lullaby

3. Children's Corner, L 113 - Serenade For The Doll

4. Children's Corner, L 113 - The Snow Is Dancing

5. Children's Corner, L 113 - The Little Shepherd

6. Children's Corner, L 113 - Golliwog's Cake -Walk

7. Preludes, Book 1, L 117 - Danseuses De Delphes

8. Preludes, Book 1, L 117 - Voiles

9. Preludes, Book 1, L 117 - Les Sons Et Les Parfums Tournent Dans L'Air Du Soir

10. Preludes, Book 1, L 117 - Ce Qu'A Vu Le Vent D'Ouest

11. Preludes, Book 1, L 117 - La Fille Aux Cheveux De Lin

12. Preludes, Book 1, L 117 - La Sérénade Interrompue

13. Preludes, Book 1, L 117 - La Cathédrale Engloutie

14. Preludes, Book 1, L 117 - La Danse De Puck

15. Preludes, Book 1, L 117 - Minstrels

25. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Préambule

26. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Pierrot

27. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Arlequin

28. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Valse Noble

29. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Eusebius

30. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Florestan

31. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Coquette

32. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Replique

33. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Papillons

34. Carnaval, Op. 9 - A.S.C.H. / S.C.H.A. (Lettres Dansantes)

35. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Chiarina

36. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Chopin

37. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Estrella

38. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Reconnaissance

39. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Pantalon Et Colombine

40. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Valse Allemande

41. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Paganini

42. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Aveu

43. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Promenade

44. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Pause

45. Carnaval, Op. 9 - Marche Des Davidsbundler Contre Les Philistins

46. Faschingsschwank Aus Wien, Op. 26 - 1. Allegro

47. Faschingsschwank Aus Wien, Op. 26 - 2. Romanze

48. Faschingsschwank Aus Wien, Op. 26 - 3. Scherzino

49. Faschingsschwank Aus Wien, Op. 26 - 4. Intermezzo

50. Faschingsschwank Aus Wien, Op. 26 - 5. Finale

51. Waltz #2 In A Flat, Op. 34/1, "Valse Brillante"

52. Waltz #9 In A Flat, Op. 69/1, "L'Adieu"

53. Mazurka #47 In A Minor, Op. 68/2, CT 97

54. Mazurka #49 In F Minor, Op. 68/4, CT 99

55. Mazurka #29 In A Flat, Op. 41/4, CT 79

56. Mazurka #22 In G Sharp Minor, Op. 33/1, CT 72

57. Mazurka #20 In D Flat, Op. 30/3, CT 70

58. Berceuse In D Flat, Op. 57, B 154

59. Piano Sonata #2 In B Flat Minor, Op. 35, B 128, "Funeral March" - 1. Grave, Doppio Movimento

60. Piano Sonata #2 In B Flat Minor, Op. 35, B 128, "Funeral March" - 2. Scherzo

61. Piano Sonata #2 In B Flat Minor, Op. 35, B 128, "Funeral March" - 3. Marche Funèbre

62. Piano Sonata #2 In B Flat Minor, Op. 35, B 128, "Funeral March" - 4. Finale: Presto

63. Mazurka #38 In F Sharp Minor, Op. 59/3, CT 88

64. Valse In E Flat, Op. Posth.

65. 4 Ballades, Op. 10 - 1. Andante, Allegro, Andante

66. 4 Ballades, Op. 10 - 2. Andante, Allegro Non Troppo

67. 4 Ballades, Op. 10 - 3. Intermezzo: Allegro

68. 4 Ballades, Op. 10 - 4. Andante Con Moto

69. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Theme

70. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 1, Book I

71. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 2, Book I

72. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 3, Book I

73. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 4, Book I

74. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 5, Book I

75. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 6, Book I

76. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 7, Book I

77. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 8, Book I

78. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 9, Book I

79. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 10, Book I

80. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 11, Book I

81. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 12, Book I

82. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 1, Book II

83. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 2, Book II

84. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 5, Book II

85. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 6, Book II

86. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 7, Book II

87. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 8, Book II

88. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 10, Book II

89. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 12, Book II

90. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 13, Book II

91. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 3, Book II

92. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 4, Book II

93. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 13, Book I

94. Variations On A Theme By Paganini, Op. 35 - Var. 14, Book I

95. Chacconne

96. Italian Concerto In F, BWV 971 - 1. Moderato

97. Italian Concerto In F, BWV 971 - 2. Andante

98. Italian Concerto In F, BWV 971 - 3. Allegro Vivace

99. Harpsichord Sonata In D, K 96

100. Harpsichord Sonata In D, K 29

101. Harpsichord Sonata In C Minor, K 11

102. Harpsichord Sonata In C, K 159

103. Harpsichord Sonata In A, K 322

104. Harpsichord Sonata In D Minor, K 9

105. Harpsichord Sonata In B Minor, K 27

106. Galuppi: Presto In B Flat

107. Piano Sonata #5 In C - 1. Andante

108. Piano Sonata #5 In C - 2. Allegro

109. Piano Sonata #5 In C - 3. Allegro Assai

112. Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 16 - 2. Adagio

113. Piano Concerto In A Minor, Op. 16 - 3. Allegro Moderato Molto E Marcato

x

Track List: Chopin: Ballade No.1 In G Minor, Op.23

1. Ballade No.1 In G Minor, Op.23: Largo - Moderato - Con Fuoco

x

Track List: In Compagnia Di Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

x

Track List: Images

1. Reflets dans l'eau

2. Hommage à Rameau

3. Mouvement

4. Cloches à travers les feuilles

5. Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut

6. Poissons d'or

7. Canope

8. Bruyères

9. Doctor Gradus as Parnassum

10. Jimbo's Lullaby

11. Serenade for the Doll

12. The Snow is dancing

13. The little Shepherd

14. Golliwog's Cake-Walk

x

Track List: Chopin: 10 Mazurkas; Prélude Op.45; Ballade Op.23; Scherzo Op.31

1. Mazurka No.45 In G Minor Op.67 No.2: Cantabile

2. Mazurka No.34 In C Op.56 No.2: Vivace

3. Mazurka No.47 In A Minor Op.67 No.4: Moderato Amimato

4. Mazurka No.49 In A Minor, Op.68 No.2: Lento

5. Mazurka No.48 In C Op.68 No.1: Vivace

6. Mazurka No.22 In G Sharp Minor Op.33 No.1: Mesto

7. Mazurka No.20 In D Flat Op.30 No.3: Allegro Non Troppo - Risoluto

8. Mazurka No.19 In B Minor, Op.30 No.2: Allegretto

9. Mazurka No.25 In B Minor Op.33 No.4: Mesto

10. Mazurka No.51 In F Minor Op.68 No.4: Andantino

11. Prélude No.25 In C Sharp Minor, Op.45: Sostenuto

12. Ballade No.1 In G Minor, Op.23: Largo - Moderato - Con Fuoco

13. Scherzo No.2 In B Flat Minor, Op.31: Presto - Sostenuto

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