Great Pianists of the 20th Century

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Great Pianists of the 20th Century – Complete Edition
Great Pianists of the 20th Century - Complete Edition - Cover Art - Brendel site.jpg
Box set by Various artists
Released July 20, 1999
Recorded various
Genre Classical
Length 200 CDs
Label Polygram
Producer Tom Deacon

Great Pianists of the 20th Century was a 200-CD box set released by Philips Records in 1999 and sponsored by Steinway & Sons.

The box set comprises 100 volumes featuring 72[1] pianists of the 20th century, each volume with two CDs and a booklet about the life and work of the featured pianist. The set contains a variety of composers from different eras, from Baroque to Contemporary classical. The material was the result of a collaborative association between Philips (who had access to the Polygram Records back catalogue) and a number of other labels, notably EMI Classics, as no single label possessed a representative set of recordings for every pianist considered to be significant. Material from Warner Classics and Sony Classics was also used.

The majority of the pianists feature on one set only, with sixteen appearing on a second set. Seven artists (Arrau, Brendel, Gilels, Horowitz, Kempff, Richter and Rubinstein) are featured across three sets. The nature and size of the project meant that popular works (such as Beethoven's Emperor Concerto, Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto and Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and other solo pieces) appear several times.

Perceptive pianophiles have pointed out various errors in the set, including misattributed recordings and use of unauthorized takes. For example, the Paderewski volume contains a performance of Liszt’s "La Leggierezza" which was actually recorded by Benno Moiseiwitsch – also included in the latter’s volume. Further, the liner notes claim the cadenza of the piece was by Moiseiwitsch, while it was actually by Theodor Leschetizky.[2] The first of two Cortot volumes was withdrawn when it was discovered that a previously rejected performance of Schumann’s Kreisleriana was issued by mistake. The volume was reissued with the correct take.[3] The series has also been criticized for the lack of remastering of historic recordings, notably in the Hofmann reissue which degraded the transfers originally issued by Ward Marston.[4]

The German edition of the set (and possibly others) includes a bonus CD with Clara Haskil (Sonderausgabe zur Edition) —raising to 5 the total number of CDs with her. This bonus CD contains her interpretation of some of Scarlatti's piano sonatas from her 1947 Westminster LP, and is the first printing on CD of these recordings, according to the CD cover (Erstveröffentlichung auf CD).[5]

List of volumes[edit]

Each volume contains 2 CDs.[6]

  1. Géza Anda
  2. Martha Argerich
  3. Martha Argerich II
  4. Claudio Arrau
  5. Navarino Chopranov
  6. Claudio Arrau II
  7. Claudio Arrau III
  8. Vladimir Ashkenazy
  9. Wilhelm Backhaus
  10. Daniel Barenboim
  11. Jorge Bolet
  12. Jorge Bolet II
  13. Alfred Brendel
  14. Alfred Brendel II
  15. Alfred Brendel III
  16. Lyubov Bruk & Mark Taimanov
  17. Robert Casadesus
  18. Shura Cherkassky
  19. Shura Cherkassky II
  20. Van Cliburn
  21. Alfred Cortot
  22. Alfred Cortot II
  23. Clifford Curzon
  24. Gyorgy Cziffra
  25. Christoph Eschenbach
  26. Edwin Fischer
  27. Edwin Fischer II
  28. Leon Fleisher
  29. Samson Francois
  30. Nelson Freire
  31. Ignaz Friedman
  32. Andrei Gavrilov
  33. Walter Gieseking
  34. Walter Gieseking II
  35. Emil Gilels
  36. Emil Gilels II
  37. Emil Gilels III
  38. Grigory Ginsburg
  39. Leopold Godowsky
  40. Glenn Gould
  41. Friedrich Gulda
  42. Friedrich Gulda II
  43. Ingrid Haebler
  44. Clara Haskil
  45. Clara Haskil II
  46. Myra Hess
  47. Josef Hofmann
  48. Vladimir Horowitz
  49. Vladimir Horowitz II
  50. Vladimir Horowitz III
  51. Byron Janis
  52. Byron Janis II
  53. William Kapell
  54. Julius Katchen
  55. Julius Katchen II
  56. Wilhelm Kempff
  57. Wilhelm Kempff II
  58. Wilhelm Kempff III
  59. Evgeny Kissin
  60. Zoltán Kocsis
  61. Stephen Kovacevich
  62. Stephen Kovacevich II
  63. Alicia de Larrocha
  64. Alicia de Larrocha II
  65. Josef & Rosina Lhévinne
  66. Dinu Lipatti
  67. Radu Lupu
  68. Nikita Magaloff
  69. Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
  70. Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli II
  71. Benno Moiseiwitsch
  72. Ivan Moravec
  73. John Ogdon
  74. John Ogdon II
  75. Ignacy Jan Paderewski
  76. Murray Perahia
  77. Maria João Pires
  78. Mikhail Pletnev
  79. Maurizio Pollini
  80. Maurizio Pollini II
  81. André Previn
  82. Sergei Rachmaninoff
  83. Sviatoslav Richter
  84. Sviatoslav Richter II
  85. Sviatoslav Richter III
  86. Arthur Rubinstein
  87. Arthur Rubinstein II
  88. Arthur Rubinstein III
  89. András Schiff
  90. Artur Schnabel
  91. Rudolf Serkin
  92. Vladimir Sofronitsky
  93. Solomon
  94. Rosalyn Tureck
  95. Rosalyn Tureck II
  96. Mitsuko Uchida
  97. Andre Watts
  98. Alexis Weissenberg
  99. Earl Wild
  100. Maria Yudina
  101. Krystian Zimerman



  1. ^ Guttman 1999, 2005.
  2. ^ Manildi & Malik 2012. See entry for Paderewski.
  3. ^ Manildi & Malik 2012. See entry for Cortot.
  4. ^ Manildi & Malik 2012. See entry for Hofmann.
  5. ^ Clara Haskil bonus CD. OCLC 46597756.
  6. ^ Detailed track listings for Box 1 and Box 2 are available at Accessed 22 November 2009.