The Piano Man

Disdaining showpieces, he went on to cut his debut disc with Beethoven’s unyielding Diabelli Variations. At the current Proms he has eschewed a blockbuster concerto slot and will appear in the thick of the orchestra as accompanying pianist, barely primus inter pares, in Karel Szymanowski’s seldom-heard fourth symphony.

‘This is not a concerto,’ he declares definitively, to avoid possible misapprehension. ‘To me a proper piano concerto, there is only one composer: Mozart. Beethoven did not write concertos – those are symphonies: God knows what the piano does there. Chopin wrote big piano works with a small orchestra to accompany, not even necessary.’

Anderszewski runs gleefully through the rest of the repertoire, dismissing one beloved concerto after another as generically inadequate until he comes to the Szymanowski symphony which he describes as ‘a 20th century degenerated concerto grosso’, a baroque invention industrially deconstructed. Szymanowski wrote the piano role in fairly simple fingerings for himself to play and Anderszewski is the first world-circuit soloist to take it up since the composer’s best friend, Arthur Rubinstein.

The Piano Man.

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