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2010 is the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s and Schumann’s births—and offers a timely reminder of the piano recital’s decline

By Martin Kettle   January 2010

Maurizio Pollini: one of the last great recitalists

Classical music’s overdependence on anniversaries—an inevitable result of the art form’s enduring inability to replenish the repertoire—means that two of the dominant concert hall themes of the new year are safely predictable. The 200th anniversaries of the birth of Chopin in March and Schumann in June do not merely mean that we are going to hear even larger amounts of their music than usual. It also means that 2010 will be a year of many piano recitals.

There was a time when most of the musical public would have found this…

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