Heinrich and Stanislav Neuhaus

Heinrich Neuhaus (1888-1964) is a legendary pianist and pedagogue in Russia. Living under Stalin in many ways limited his reputation in the West. He even spent time in prison during World War Two for the crime of having a Germanic last name even though he was a born Russian citizen.

The documentary called “Master Heinrich” tells his story.

His son Stanislav Neuhaus (1927-1980) was also a great pianist and teacher. His career was also hindered by the Soviet regime. He likely would have won the Chopin Prize in 1949 but in the end was not allowed to make the trip to Warsaw for political reasons. Stanislav, like his father, is little known in the West. He died tragically young and his career disappointments most likely contributed to his early demise.

Stanislav Neuhaus Documentary

The reason these stories appeal to me is my longstanding sympathy for the tenacity and nobility exhibited by unsung artists. Also, having Polish heritage as I do I am naturally drawn to Slavic music (the Neuhaus family has Polish-Russian roots). In fact the Neuhaus pianistic tradition is now in its third generation as Stanislav’s son Stanislav Bunin is also a concert pianist.

These documentary films do have English subtitles that can be activated by clicking on the icon (cc) beneath frame on right. The icon is on upper right of picture on tablet or mobile devices.

Rubinstein, Horowitz and others

After many years of listening to mostly Jazz and guitarists I have gradually changed my listening habits.

For over two years I have been mostly listening to and reading about classical pianists. Arthur Rubinstein is still a favorite but William Kapell, Dinu Lipatti, Alexis Weissenberg and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli are on my repeat listen list. The fact that their world is essentially so different from mine not only piques my interest but also makes me listen (and consequently) play in a new and more concentrated manner. So this has not only become an interesting hobby but a useful tool.

These artists can all be sampled at YouTube.

Also, give David Dubal’s shows a listen as well. Mr. Dubal (a teacher at Juilliard as well as a superb radio host) has some fascinating shows and interviews on YouTube. His shows with Horowitz, Arrau, Weissenberg, Bolet and about Lipatti and Rubinstein and many others are well worth listening to.

This has been a real education for me and a great way to approach music in a way that is less guitar-driven .

At least this is how I am spending these long winter nights.