Van Cliburn

Biography

Born: July 12, 1934; Shreveport, LA   Died: February 27, 2013; Fort Worth, TX  
Kairos is a word used by ancient Greek writers to signify "the right point of time...the exact or critical time..." of action, a favorable planetary conjunction, or otherwise. Cliburn's career was an illustration. In the tensest days of the Cold War -- of Civil Defense, air raid sirens, bomb shelters, atomic angst, and the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik that put the Russians first into space -- handsome, lanky 6'4," Read more 23-year-old Van Cliburn, with his Southerner's air of innocent modesty and tremendous keyboard technique, in April 1958 carried off the Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow with a transcendent performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1. Timing -- kairos -- and talent combined to make his triumph symbolic, heroic, and permanently memorable; the recording he made of it soon after, with Kiril Kondrashin conducting the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, is warmly glowing with an incomparable magic that has kept his performance competitive with later interpreters decade after decade. But such moments do not happen without preparation. Cliburn's mother, who had studied with Liszt pupil Arthur Friedheim, was his first teacher. He gave his first recital at 4, played with the Houston Symphony at 13, and at 14 was heard in Carnegie Hall. Appearances, prizes, and awards followed in a regular spate without amounting to public recognition or a genuine career. At 17 he had begun studies with Rosina Lhévinne at the Juilliard School -- taken with his mother's Liszt/Friedheim connection, he became an unselfconscious inheritor of the grand Romantic tradition. And it was Rosina Lhévinne who prompted his entrance to the Tchaikovsky Competition. Following his win, of course, Cliburn enjoyed a major career, and the recordings he made in the succeeding decade possess a large-scale grandeur. He was at his best in Romantic repertoire -- Liszt, Chopin, Schumann, Grieg, MacDowell, Rachmaninov -- though his Mozart and Beethoven can seem academic. And with the years, the grand manner devolved into careless mannerism as the public clamored for a reprise of the Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1. He founded the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, TX, in 1962, to which he has devoted more time than to his own career as a performing artist. His return to the concert scene after a ten-year sabbatical was hardly noticed. But the legend, the peculiar kairos that realized itself through him, is imperishable. Read less

Biography

Born: July 12, 1934; Shreveport, LA   Died: February 27, 2013; Fort Worth, TX  
Kairos is a word used by ancient Greek writers to signify "the right point of time...the exact or critical time..." of action, a favorable planetary conjunction, or otherwise. Cliburn's career was an illustration. In the tensest days of the Cold War -- of Civil Defense, air raid sirens, bomb shelters, atomic angst, and the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik that put the Russians first into space -- handsome, lanky 6'4," Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 3, No. 2
Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 3, No. 2
I. Allegro affettuoso
II. Intermezzo - Andantino grazioso
III. Allegro vivace
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C, Op. 26: Andante; Allegro
Tema: Andantino
Variation I: L'istesso tempo
Variation II: Allegro
Variation III: Allegro moderato (poco meno mosso)
Variation IV: Andante meditativo
Variation V: Allegro giusto
Tema: L'istesso tempo
Allegro ma non troppo
Introduction: Allegro vivace
Variation I (Precedente)
Tema: L'istesso tempo
Variation II: L'istesso tempo
Variation III: L'istesso tempo
Variation IV: Più vivo
Variation V: Tempo precedente
Variation VI: L'istesso tempo
Variation VII: Meno mosso, a tempo moderato
Variation VIII: Tempo I
Variation IX: L'istesso tempo
Variation X: Poco marcato
Variation XI: Moderato
Variation XII: Tempo di minuetto
Variation XIII: Allegro
Variation XIV: L'istesso tempo
Variation XV: Più vivo scherzando
Variation XVI: Allegretto
Variation XVII: (Allegretto)
Variation XVIII: Andante cantabile
Variation XIX: A tempo vivace
Variation XX: Un poco più vivo
Variation XXI: Un poco più vivo
Variation XXII: Un poco più vivo (Alla breve)
Variation XXIII: L'istesso tempo
Variation XXIV: A tempo un poco meno mosso
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat, Op. 83: Allegro non troppo
Allegro appassionato
Andante
Allegretto grazioso
I. Allegro
II. Adagio un poco mosso
III. Rondo - Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18: Moderato; Allegro
Adagio sostenuto
Allegro scherzando
Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso
Andantino simplice
Allegro con fuoco
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18: Moderato; Allegro
Adagio sostenuto
Allegro scherzando
Allegro maestoso
Quasi adagio - Allegretto vivace - Allegro animato
Allegro marziale animato
Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16: Allegro molto moderato
Adagio
Allegro moderato molto e marcato; Quasi presto; Andante maestoso
Concerto No. 2 in A: Adagio sostenuto assai
Allegro agitato assai
Allegro moderato
Allegro deciso
Marziale un poco meno allegro
Allegro animato
Adagio sostenuto
Allegretto
Presto
Sonata in C Minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique": Grave: Allegro di molto e con brio
Adagio contabile
Rondo: Allegro
Sonata in E-Flat, Op. 81a "Les Adieux": Adagio; Allegro ("Les Adieux")
Andante espressivo ("L'Absence")
Vivacissimamente ("Le Retour")
Sonata in F Minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata": Allegro assai
Andante con moto
Allegro ma non troppo


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