Can too much talent be a problem? Rudolf Buchbinder might appear a bit flippant in making a recording of the complete Mozart piano concertos while simultaneously conducting and playing, performing all the Beethoven sonatas in seven days, or interpreting all of Beethoven’s concertos in a single day.
He seems to pull off many things without requiring much effort. “Pope of the Piano” Joachim Kaiser called him “the greatest natural pianistic talent I’ve come across in my life.” And this is also apparent in technical matters. Even in the most difficult passages, Buchbinder refrains from writing fingerings. “There are three types of fingerings: the ones you study, the ones you recommend to colleagues, and the ones you happen on during concerts,” as the Viennese pianist explained.
Which doesn’t mean Buchbinder is careless. Quite the contrary. He puts in a titanic amount of work, according to biographer Michaela Schlögl. He owns a large collection of historical scores and first editions that he studies with pedantic thoroughness. Anything mannered is foreign to him. First and foremost is the work itself.
Buchbinder’s interpretations grow and develop the more often he devotes himself to a cycle. When he plays Schubert, his interpretations are free from any false sentimentality. His early Haydn recordings were groundbreaking. Beethoven has accompanied him all his life. In great masterpieces, Buchbinder explains, there is always something new to discover.