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Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli as I Knew Him

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Lidia Kozubek

This book explores the artistic principles of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, his concert activities, his art of piano playing, as well as his pedagogy and his attitude towards his students. The author presents the biographical data of the artist as well as the list of his recordings and introduces this extraordinary artist to a wider audience, especially to admirers of beautiful music and its performers. The book aims at encouraging in particular the young to follow the high artistic principles required in such a refined and unique art.
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Artistic Views and Principles

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Michelangeli used to say, ‘Music is the only reason for my existence, and the only thing that really interests me’. He even studied and learnt about the construction of various instruments, sometimes introducing improvements. He also maintained that in the final analysis his interest in his students was directly related to their musical worth.

For Michelangeli, genuine love of music was an indispensable condition for obtaining results in his work, and it alone provided the key to overcoming the colossal hardships, obstacles and even nerves involved. In his laconic, sometimes blunt, but extremely vivid style of speech, he once stated: ‘Playing is not a profession, it’s a way of life, for which strength of will and natural gifts are not enough — it also requires a tremendous spirit of sacrifice. Being a musician does not mean dressing up like a penguin and appearing before an applauding public, it means representing something that comes from a higher sphere, and it demands constant struggling and incredibly arduous work. Otherwise one does not become a musician, but a piece of scenery, capable of arousing applause for a few short seasons — a falling star heading towards nonetity’. Or again: ‘It’s not enough to use your seat and hands at the piano. Of course, in order to express yourself, you have to have the means, but nevertheless, the end is always the music’. (2)

In Michelangeli’s understanding, the artist should represent a synthesis of all that exists in the world,...

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