“The Olympian sonority and perfect mechanism make the Steinway the ideal instrument for the artist.”

Guiomar Novaes

Guiomar Novaes (1895-1979) was a Brazilian pianist noted for individuality of tone and phrasing. She is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century.

Novaes commanded a very large repertoire in her early touring days. She played with an aristocratic approach, a perpetually singing line and complete spontaneity. Her natural approach to the keyboard was part of her appeal. The tone and subtlety of her tone recalled the great Romantic pianists of previous generations. Her technique was supple, with no striving for effect.

Harold C. Schonberg recalls in his book The Great Pianists that her performance of the Schumann concerto in the late 1950s "was strikingly reminiscent of Josef Hofmann's [performances]. It had much the same suppleness, tonal subtlety and unswerving rhythm." In his obituary of Novaes in The New York Times, Schonberg stated: "The sheer beauty of her playing managed to transcend any other considerations; it was its own reward. There may have been more monumental pianists, more intellectual pianists, but it is hard to think of a pianist whose playing gave as much sheer pleasure as that of Guiomar Novaes.”

David Dubal writes in The Art of the Piano that her playing was "first and always personalized. She delighted in details, leaving one wondering why others never saw or savored them. Even at capricious moments, she had that marvelous and indispensable trait of a great interpreter - the power to convince. In whatever she touched there was a feeling of intimacy, and it was Chopin she touched most."

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