Blast from the Past: cellist Gregor Piatigorsky

Gregor Piatigorsky, at 6'6'', was among the tallest of the musical giants from the good old days. The cellist's artistry towered impressively, too. He had superb taste, a formidabe technique and a warm personality that disarmed people onstage and off.

Piatigorsky, who died in 1976, left a mark on the cello world comparable to that left by Heifetz on the violin world. (I wonder how many of yesterday's musical greats would easily find a manager, let alone a record deal and major concert bookings, if they were facing today's classical scene, with its weakness for the fluffed and buffed, the mediocre-but-marketable.)

For this week's blast from the past, I thought we could use a reminder of Piatigorsky genuine, refined, richly communicative musicianship. Here's sample of him playing Bach, Chopin and Faure:

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