Collective Listening Project

Andrew Tyson Selects

Playlist No. 4

About the Playlist

April 2, 2020
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Pianist Andrew Tyson was set to make his PUC debut on Thursday, April 2, 2020 with violinist Benjamin Beilman but the concert was canceled due to Covid-19. In this playlist, curated by Andrew, he gives us an unusual glimpse of pianists from the “Golden Age of the Piano” that he admires. He’s curated the list via YouTube so follow the links below to hear (and see) his selections. Or, listen to some of the selections via our Spotify playlist.


“This unusual time provides an opportunity for listeners to make new discoveries. This is a woefully incomplete sampling of pianists from the first half of the 20th century. For listeners who have never explored this era of piano playing, I hope it opens up new vistas in your inner aural landscape. This so-called “Golden Age of the Piano” was a time of colorful and distinctive personalities in which imagination was valued more than perfection or fidelity to the score.

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943) plays November from Tchaikovsky The Seasons 

Rachmaninoff played for Tchaikovsky as a child. His incredible tone and uniquely wide rubato grab the ear of the listener from the first phrase.

Benno Moiseiwitsch (1890–1963) plays Schumann Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17

Benno Moiseiwitsch was considered by Rachmaninoff to be his pianistic successor and the greatest living exponent of his compositions (other than the composer, of course!). In contrast with Rachmaninoff, Moiseiwitsch is rhythmically rather strict. His elegant phrasing, voicing, and beautiful sound are nevertheless than captivating. Schumann Fantasie is surely one of the greatest musical achievements of the 19th century, and a good piece for reflection during this strange time.

Alfred Cortot (1877–1962) and baritone Charles Panzéra perform Schumann Dichterliebe

Alfred Cortot was a magician more than a musician and a poet more than a pianist. He dreams Schumann more than he plays it. His tone seems to float in the air; his unique rubato is endlessly enchanting. Charles Panzéra is a beautiful partner, but my ear always drifts to the piano part in this recording…some of the most sublime playing ever put to disc!

Moriz Rosenthal (1862–1946) plays Chopin Nouvelle Etude No. 2

This is perfume in musical form. Moriz Rosenthal, a student of Liszt, was said to have been a barn-storming, fire-breathing virtuoso in his younger days—a fact belied by the gentle elegance of his recordings. This little etude —seemingly insignificant—becomes more intoxicating with each hearing under Rosenthal’s fingers. What color!

Josef Hofmann (1876–1957) plays the second movement of Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Josef Hofmann was universally regarded as the greatest pianist of his age. A complicated musical personality, his piercing tone and immaculate rhythm compel the listener to accept even the most eccentric whims of the moment. For those curious about the more fiery aspect of his persona, check out the latter half of his Chopin Fourth Ballade.”

~Andrew Tyson