12th International Festival of Colmar - July 1st to 15th, 2000
ARTURO BENEDETTI MICHELANGELI (1920-1995)
"Music is a right, but only for those who merit it!"
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
An artist of genius, inimitable and unclassifiable
Throughout his life this inimitable and unclassifiable pianist of genius remained faithful to his very high conception of Music. Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, who cultivated perfectionism pushed to the extreme, will most certainly be remembered as the incarnation of intellectual honesty.
The career of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, a real artist in the noblest sense of this word, appears as an extraordinary musical adventure, which was also unique since not subject to the commercial constraints of the consumer society. His technical virtuosity was stupendous, but his technique always took second place to a deeper requirement, that of Music. His listeners were carried into: a world of poetry, colors and unimaginable hues where, nonetheless, passion was always under control. Only his imagination was given free rein - he paid no heed to traditional interpretations or historical context. His vision was only guided by his own sensibility.
Few pianists have provoked as much veneration as Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, undeniably a legendary figure among 20th century pianists: his unrivalled "crystalline perfection", his almost mythical aura... The great Italian pianist obviously possessed that rare and true charisma which could subjugate the public.
"It is not a profession to be a pianist and musician, confided Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. It is a philosophy, a conception of life that cannot be based on good intentions or natural talent. First and foremost there must be a spirit of sacrifice."