Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

This Post is about one astounding pianist who has left us; and ever so often we need to recall what a master musician and an amazing interpreter he was.

When I first heard Mr. Michelangeli playing the Beethoven sonata #12 of this recording, I suddenly realized that the piece was in A-Flat Major! and the next thought was: “Hey, that’s the same key as my favorite Beethoven sonata, namely the sonata #31, Op. 110, which is in the same key”.

I recall a lecture of sorts by conductor/pianist Michael Tilson Thomas who said the the key of A-Flat was Beethoven’s key of “consolation”. Perhaps that’s why this music is so meaningful to me.

This DVD recording features the following:


  • Piano Sonata No. 11 in B flat major, Op. 22
  • Piano Sonata No. 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 ‘March Funebre’


  • Ballades (4), Op. 10


  • Piano Sonata No. 4 in A minor, D537

Performed by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (piano); Filmed at the RTSI Auditorium, Lugano, 7 April 1981 (Be sure to listen to the film of this concert, below)

Here is the philosophy of the performer, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli:

“I do not play for others, but only for myself in the service of the composer. It makes no difference whether there is an audience or not; when I am at the keyboard I am lost. And I think of what I play, and of the sound that comes forth, which is a product of the mind.“

The Financial Times wrote about him as follows:

“… Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1920-95) was a legend in his own lifetime – renowned for his beautifully polished sound, clarity of execution, strict fidelity to the composer and awareness of harmonic subtleties. Everything was planned to the highest degree of musical and technical perfection: Michelangeli was not one for freedoms, excesses, rubatos or outbursts of spontaneity. He played the way he was – with a seemingly unshakeable aristocratic reserve… Brahms’s Four Ballades Op.10 benefit most from his introspective approach, especially in the climax to the “Edward” Ballade.”

Here is this music (almost two hours) of Brahms, Beethoven, and Schubert; What masterful playing by this astounding pianist on this DVD!!



And for those of you who want more, here is Michelangeli playing Debussy’s “Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut”


What wonderful peace we had in this man’s performances!

Finally, here he is in the Ravel Piano concerto:


Tags: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano, Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert

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