Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bach and Martins

Some years ago I watched a program on German-French channel arte about the pianist Brazilian Joao Carlos Martins. Born in 1940 he was an early starter and received stardom for his Bach interpretations.

But at the height of his successes, in 1969, João Carlos Martins was knocked down during a soccer match, and hurt his arm to the point of a painful neuralgia, so that he had to stop playing piano. But in a surprising change of direction, he went into banking, managed a champion prizefighter, started a construction company, and became a multimillionaire in devalued Brazilian currency. An even more surprising development followed when, in 1981, he was appointed to the post of the Brazilian state secretary of culture; in this capacity, he exhibited an extraordinary knack for urban recovery in the direction of futuristic Americanization.

He was struck again later:

Following a recording session in Sofia in 1995, he was beaten senseless by two Bulgarian thugs. He received injuries to his skull and brain, causing the loss of use of his right arm.

Despite these setbacks he is one of the best known Bach interpreters, after Glenn Gould. Check Amazon for some of his CDs.

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