Sad news. One of the most memorable, and deeply moving, listening experiences in my life is that of hearing Berman's recording of Franz Liszt's "Dante Sonata". It remains the monument by which I've measured all other recordings and performances, and that compelled to study the work for myself, even though it was well beyond my reach, as I was completed captivated by his performance.
Rugged technique and dazzling imagination were abundantly manifest in everything played. His passing further removes us from a connection to the piano playing the "Grand Manner". More on the Master's life and work:
"A pianist with a bearlike build, a shock of sandy hair and a disarming smile, Mr. Berman had a gentle manner that seemed at odds with his often-muscular approach to the piano. His repertory, though, was broader than his reputation would suggest. It ran from Bach and Handel, through Mozart, Clementi and Beethoven, to Scriabin and Shostakovich. Although Mr. Berman was best known for the grandeur of his Liszt, Chopin, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff playing, he played Mozart and early Beethoven, for example, with a light touch that could surprise listeners who had typecast him as a firebrand."
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