UTH SLENCZYNSKA was correct when she said “these kind of gestures died along with silent film in the 1920s.” Excessive gestures and “faces” while performing have been universally condemned by the great pianists. I’ve never been a fan of Arthur Rubinstein’s playing, but he was correct when he noted that “each and every extra gesture of this kind takes away from concentration the pianist ought to be giving to the music.”
Click here to watch a pianist who is so busy focusing on making theatrical “gestures” that he ends up playing wrong notes, breaking tempo, and committing other offenses.
The guy in that video should have been focused on his playing. Here’s how that passage should be played (in a slightly different version by Liszt/Busoni/Horowitz):
Horowitz does a great job, just like Friedman, Rachmaninov, Hofmann, and so many others.
FOR YEARS I REFUSED to listen to Glenn Gould because of his loud humming (while he performs). Friends would say, “But Jeff, Gieseking hummed. Tiegerman hummed. Why do you hold this against Gould?” The difference is that Gould’s humming destroyed the music. However, I eventually realized that if one listens to Glenn Gould while driving, somehow the engine sounds drown out all his humming. Since that time, I’ve listened to Gould with great enjoyment.