Pianists: Reluctant Master

"Without any doubt the most powerful pianistic technique in the world today!" raved the Paris-Presse. Rubinstein? Horowitz? No—and to most the name on the billboards meant nothing. But the audience that packed into Paris' Theatre des Champs-Elysees included, as one observer put it, "more pianists per square foot than ever before assembled." For among these professionals, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli has long been recognized as one of the world's best—if least known—pianists.

A strapping, hamhanded man with slicked-back hair and brooding mustache, Michelangeli ambled onstage with the baleful nonchalance of a boxer...

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