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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Van Cliburn Live in Moscow 1972: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Sadly, the music world lost one of the true giants recently.  Harvey Lavan Cliburn, Jr passed away in Fort Worth Texas at the end of February at the age of 78.  Even superlatives fail to truly convey his impact on classical music. Countless young pianists have grown up trying to emulate his sound, his style, his storytelling.  He leaves a legacy that is almost unmatched.  His name is on every single short list of the greatest pianists of all time.  He was a true legend in every sense of the word.

I had never seen this clip of him performing Sergei Rachmaninov's Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 until now.  This was recorded in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in 1972.  I performed in the Great Hall as a wide-eyed 14 year old visiting the Soviet Union in 1990 with the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble.  Seeing footage from there is really a trip as I can remember the space well.  It seemed like a place where some important music making had occurred.  I wish I had seen this footage before that concert.  It would have inspired me!

This is a really special clip.  I can't even remember life before YouTube and the ability to watch things like this historic performance from right on my phone.  What an age we live in.

Mr. Cliburn, you are dearly missed.  May you rest in peace.