Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli playing Chopin’s Prelude in C# minor opus 45.
[Note, much later: I have found an absolutely breathtaking recording of the same thing here, with much better sound quality, but the one I embedded above before I dashed off to work, in spite of the scratchiness and audience noises, has a certain intimacy and freshness.]
Early this morning I found a CD in my mailbox: a Chopin recording by Italian pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (Amazon review). I don’t know if I should say who it was from, I don’t really have permission, but thank you, thank you, thank you.
I haven’t listened to much classical music lately–usually it’s something more like Pancha and Shanti’s Chautari.
I put the CD in the computer and fired it up while I started tea in the other room. At first it reminded me of my childhood, and Sunday afternoons listening to Mantovani and his Orchestra after Sunday dinner. But it was very quickly obvious that Michelangeli was different, expressive without being sentimental, and I started listening more in the spirit of “the soundtrack of your life”, going about my routine with the music in the background. Then the music sort of went under me and up at the sides, and I was listening in a different way. I’m not a music critic, so I don’t know how to describe the sensation except as a physical shift. It was track 11, Prelude in C# minor opus 45 (the video above).
Michelangeli has sort of gotten under my skin today. For something with better sound quality, I have found a free download of Michelangeli playing Chopin’s Grande Polonaise brillante précédée d’un Andante spianato, op. 22 and Debussy’s La Sérenade interrompue, and to see his stage style, the video of Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 2, No. 3 mentioned in one of the Amazon reviews.