Daniil Trifonov: my top five legendary pianists
For an exclusive playlist, IDAGIO spoke to pianist Daniil Trifonov, who presents a spontaneous choice of five legendary piano recordings that inspire him.Read more…
Bach: Italian Concerto in F major – Glenn Gould
Glenn Gould is one of my favourites in general, and not only when it comes to Bach. He made very interesting and original recordings of Beethoven's music, for example, and an extremely unusual recording of Chopin's Third Piano Sonata – very much in his style. But I've chosen the Italian Concerto, which was a piece I used to play a lot when I was still studying in Moscow, aged 17 or 18. It's actually one of those pieces that I played when I was applying to universities in the States – one of my audition pieces. This is my favourite recording of it, and one of my favourite Glenn Gould recordings overall as well.
Beethoven: Sonata for Piano No. 31 in A flat major – Edwin Fischer
With Beethoven it would be an extremely long list, of course, when you've got such musicians as Gieseking and Schnabel. I've chosen this particular piece because I'm playing it now. I've been listening to a lot of recordings over the past months – and I could have at least six favourite recordings of just this piece! Out of them, though, I think my personal favourite would be Edwin Fischer's. There's so much fluidity and natural expression in his playing; it flows in an extremely organic way. I would say, in general, the music I really go for is music that feels like a stream of consciousness, and that's what the best performers capture.
Chopin: Scherzo No. 4 in E major op. 54 – Vladimir Horowitz
The first name that came to my mind when thinking about this list was of course Horowitz. I remember once doing a blind text with recordings of this Scherzo – with about ten or 12 recordings by different pianists – and I was asked to choose my favourite. I had a clear favourite, and that turned out to be the Horowitz. His recordings are incredible in general, and his live ones especially. He really was a master of live performances, where the music is born in the moment – the Moscow Recital is one of the most incredible concerts ever. And though a lot of his Chopin recordings are great, this is probably my favourite.
Chopin: Barcarolle in F sharp major – Dinu Lipatti
Lipatti, of course! When I was preparing for the Chopin Competition I was listening to a lot of Chopin. There are Cortot and of course Friedman, but Lipatti in the Waltzes and, as here, the Barcarolle, was also one of my favourites. It certainly influenced the way I saw these works when I was learning them. Unfortunately Lipatti didn't leave a lot of recordings – he died tragically young – and there are some recordings where there's doubt that they're even him. But the famous album with the Waltzes and the Barcarolle is great.
Scriabin: Deux Poèmes – Heinrich Neuhaus
Of course, I couldn't not include my favourite composer, Scriabin. I actually wanted to have Scriabin playing himself (in his Op 32, for example), but then I went for Heinrich Neuhaus, who understood Scriabin's idiom incredibly well. And the recording quality's better – it was made several decades later. Neuhaus was of course also a kind of father to many great pianists in Russia, and in fact both my teachers were students of students of Neuhaus. He didn't leave a lot of recordings, but those he did I find extremely inspiring.
Bonus Choice – Scriabin: Le poème de l'extase – Evgeny Mravinsky, Veniamin Margolin, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Well, this isn't technically a piano recording, but it's just one of those pieces that, when I heard it, helped me realize what I had to do, that I really liked classical music. It's a tricky piece in general, and can sometimes have a different impact in concert – it sometimes feels as though the orchestration somehow works differently in the recording studio to in the concert hall. That's what I especially like about this recording: that you can hear each voice, each element; and the solos are played with a lot of personality. There's always a lot of personal voice in Scriabin, and I hear that with the musicians of the Leningrad Philharmonic in this recording.
[Due to geo-blocking restrictions, some tracks might be unavailable in certain territories.]