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Pianist Became a Cold-War
Hero, Media Star

Wall Street Journal, by Jennifer Maloney

Original Article

Posted By:StormCnter, 2/28/2013 9:17:31 AM

Van Cliburn became an international cultural hero when he won a Cold War-era piano competition in the Soviet Union and then rocketed to unheard-of stardom for a classical musician in the U.S. Mr. Cliburn, who died Wednesday at age 78 near Fort Worth, Texas, stunned the world in 1958 when, soon after the Soviet Union had launched the first satellite in orbit, he won that country´s first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition—intended to showcase Soviet talent. The same year, his recording of Tchaikovsky´s Piano Concerto No. 1 became the first classical album to sell more than a million copies.

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: DADOFBOYS, 2/28/2013 9:27:47 AM     (No. 9200654)

Very sad. I was just listening to his Beethoven Piano Concertos the other day.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: Hazymac, 2/28/2013 10:39:50 AM     (No. 9200832)

After being gone from this forum for several months because of a medical problem (chronic cluster headaches), I must return to pay homage to this great musician and equally great gentleman, whom I met in my own living room in October 1964, when my parents headed the Nashville Symphony Guild. (I was a classically trained pianist from early childhood, as was my sister and my mother before.)

Mr. Cliburn soared to worldwide fame by winning the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in 1958, playing Tchaikovsky´s iconic First Piano Concerto, followed by Rachmaninoff´s nearly impossible Third Piano Concerto, leaving Khrushchev´s judges in a quandary, which they solved by just awarding him first prize. After all, everyone there knew that he had earned it. Since then, he has been from one end of the world to the other, pleasing and amazing audiences. When the Gorbachevs visited the White House in 1986, it was only natural that the Reagans would invite Mr. Cliburn to provide the musical entertainment.

What´s greatest about music and athletics is that these activities transcend politics and unite people from totally incompatible political backgrounds. Music is a universal language, and Mr. Cliburn was a musical ambassador.

(My piano teacher once told me that big hands were clumsy. Knowing what she was getting at--Vladimir Howowitz´s hands, for instance, were normal sized, like mine--I got irritated, and responded, "Mr. Cliburn´s hands are not clumsy!" He could span thirteen notes; I can span one octave, or eight notes.)

May this good man rest in peace. We will not see the likes of him again.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: Persecutor2, 2/28/2013 11:24:21 AM     (No. 9200919)

Amen Hazymac--and welcome back...

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Reply 4 - Posted by: thelmalou, 2/28/2013 11:44:24 AM     (No. 9200956)

RIP, Mr. Cliburn. A marvelous pianist. And good to see Hazymac here agin. I figured this might bring him out of the woodwork. ;)


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Reply 5 - Posted by: bob913, 2/28/2013 1:24:23 PM     (No. 9201133)

I tried a search at youtube on Heart and Soul by Van Cliburn. Didn´t find it. I guess he did not do as much classic music most people think.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: Rumblehog, 2/28/2013 1:46:06 PM     (No. 9201181)

Thank God, he suffers no more. What a phenomenal talent, and great Texan.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: Safari Man, 3/1/2013 12:27:04 PM     (No. 9202900)

This is off topic, but last night I was telling someone about how I was preparing for the future and how the re-election of Obama changed my whole perspective on life. Part of the discussion was the disappearance from ldot of several of our valued friends, including hazymac and photoonist.

I am thinking that, for my own sanity, I will need to shut off my internet connection once I get to a place in life where I can live without it (I´m not there yet because I still live here in the US). I hope all is well for those who have disengaged. I am very happy to see this contribution from hazymac and wanted to express my respect for his will power to disengage. Its a loss for us in the ldot family, but I hope its working out well for him. We each must do what makes the most out of the rest of our lives given that it doesn´t look like we´ll ever get back to a country we once loved.


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