31 JANUARY 2004, Page 29

More music, less noise

From Sally Alderson

Sir: Bravo, Stephen Pettitt — I couldn't agree more about showmen pianists (Arts, 17 January). I watched both Lang Lang and Kissin lead the Verbier Festival 10th anniversary concert last summer (eight grand pianos playing not entirely together) and found their antics horribly distracting. Another you could add to that list is Fazil Say, who hums along (loudly) as he plays and gives a totally new interpretation of Bach with the pedal on full and a tempo more suited to the Romantics.

I think Andras Schiff should be included in Pettitt's list of genuinely great pianists. He is a young Brendel, studious and modest, but with tremendous talent and intelligence. Let's hear more from pianists who let the music, not the man, take centre stage.

Sally Alderson