Commentary Magazine


Music & Recording

To the Editor:

In “Beethoven & the Pianists” [April], Samuel Lipman reminds us that today’s recordings make musicians sound better than they are. The engineer is the modern player’s necessary accomplice. This brings to mind the story of the pianist and the conductor listening to the playback of the concerto they have just finished recording. Let us suppose the concerto is the “Emperor.” I imagine the conductor has a towel around his neck, but I have trouble picturing the pianist. Let us say he is looking eagerly for approval. The good news, the conductor tells him, is that the recording sounds great. The bad news is that we’re playing the concerto next week in Carnegie Hall. I wonder if Mr. Lipman can tell us the identity of either one.

Thomas Putnam
Buffalo, New York

_____________

 

Samuel Lipman writes:

The question is not whether I know who the artists involved are: the question is whether they know.

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