exquisite intellect

anonymous asked:

Do you think that Hannibal was in love with Bedelia? I mean, not on the same level as Will but... on some level nevertheless?

When it comes to Hannibal, the concept of “in love” is a little weird, I think. I remember Bryan (I think it was Bryan) saying at one point that if there was anyone on the show that Hannibal was in love with, it was Bella Crawford. Obviously that opinion changed, but it does suggest something about what being “in love” means to Hannibal. And I think by that definition, Hannibal is–to some extent–in love with anyone who living a life that he finds beautiful. He is a romantic at heart, which is why he’s so damn Extra™.

Bella Crawford’s life was so poignant to Hannibal because it was about to come to an end, and she was handling it with such grace and dignity. Jack, too–who had given his life to death, and whom death had followed home–was similarly beautiful. Alana, with her intense opinions; her passionate, blood-pumping vigor; and her response to death and grief, was also someone he could love.

And of these other characters, Bedelia was probably the closest to his heart. I think the time that he knew her–which was longer than he knew any other regular on the show–and the intimacy that he entrusted her with (albeit behind a human veil) are both the strongest evidence of this. If you look at the little things, his regard for her is unlike any that he has for anyone else: he never found her wanting as his psychiatrist (which is huge praise, coming from him), he had no particular interest in killing her in spite of the short life expectancy of most people who knew him intimately (until she pushed back, that is), he was hurt when she ended their doctor-patient relationship, he carried that hurt through the end of the second season when he saw her again, and his desire to “savor” her when he eats her kept him from pursuing that action when he had the best opportunity. He felt protective of her and wanted to have a “friendly” relationship with her that was more than just doctor-patient (at least once she “treated” Neal Frank). It was just prevented by the fact that he could never be truly honest with her and had to be behind his human veil, as she established by insisting that she was attacked even when she wasn’t, and they both knew it. She kept him behind a veil, and he kept her there as well, but she’s a person he truly appreciates and enjoys.

Moreover, I think Bedelia is symbolic of many of the things that Hannibal values most in life: exquisite taste, beauty, intellect, an unparalleled understanding of human nature, a capacity for cruelty and even violence. She’s controlled and thoughtful and measured. Thus, I think she’s symbolic to him of the person that he was before Will changed him, which is why he was willing to set aside her abandonment and take her to Florence with him. He wanted to deny the change that Will wrought in him and reconstruct that person who was once in control. Who better to do it than the person who had been there as he had crafted and polished the person that he once was, who had, in her role as his psychiatrist, even helped him craft it? He couldn’t take anything else with him from Baltimore and his life there to help him rediscover who he was, but he could take her, and maybe she could help him be who he once was.

As it turned out, the change Will evoked in Hannibal was irrevocable. But that doesn’t mean that the sentiment–the regard, the emotion–wasn’t present in Hannibal with regard to Bedelia. So yes, I think that in his way, in some capacity, he was in love with her.

A (not complete) Guide to some of the greatest Pianists of the 20th Century 

ANDA, GÉZA (1921–1976) Hungarian, a pupil of Dohnányi (Dohnányi studied with Liszt pupil István Thoman) and Kodály. From the outset of his career, he was what one might call a philosopher-virtuoso. In his lifelong quest for the perfect balance of head and heart, between intellect and instinct, he explored many facets of music-making. In 1941, he made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic under Wilhelm Furtwängler, who dubbed him “troubadour of the piano.”

ARRAU, CLAUDIO (1903–1991) Born in Chile just a few years after Rosita Renard, he studied in Germany with the same teacher, Liszt pupil Martin Krause, and went on to a long career and fame. The possessor of a remarkable tone, gold alloyed to bronze.

BACKHAUS, WILHELM (1884–1969) Born in Leipzig, the decisive influence of his life was his study with d’Albert. By 1909 he was already the echt Germanic musician, studying manuscripts and urtexts. It is a bit surprising that he had a fondness for Chopin’s etudes.

BARTÓK, BÉLA (1881–1945) The great Hungarian composer is not as famous as a pianist but had in fact placed second to Backhaus for the Rubinstein piano Prize in 1905. He studied piano with Liszt pupil István Thoman. 

BOLET, JORGE (1914–1990) Brought as a boy from his native Cuba to Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute, he had lessons with Rosenthal, Godowsky, and Hofmann, but it was the discipline instilled in him by David Saperton that formed his gigantic technique. He credited later-coaching with Abram Chasins for his luscious tone.

BRAILOWSKY, ALEXANDER (1896–1976) Born in Kiev of Polish background, he gave complete Chopin cycles between the two world wars. This Leschetizky pupil was not well served by recordings, only a few of which are faithful to his art. In person his tone was intimate and inviting.

BUSONI, FERRUCCIO (1866–1924) An Italian who adopted German culture, he was an intellectual, and a unique interpreter; with Liszt, Anton Rubinstein, and Hofmann, one of history’s towering pianists. A composer of music some of which still seems beyond the public, in his day his Chopin interpretations were considered strange and controversial.

CHERKASSKY, SHURA (1909–1995) Born in Odessa, the foremost pupil of Josef Hofmann, whom at the start he shamelessly imitated, finding his own pianistic voice only after his teacher’s death. A favorite in England where he resided, he was one of the last pianists with a fabulous, romantic tone.

CORTOT, ALFRED (1877–1962) He studied at the Paris Conservatory with Chopin’s associate, Émile Descombes. Because of his embrace of the emerging phonograph, Cortot was one of the twentieth century’s most famous Chopin players, particularly associated with the ballades, etudes, and preludes. It is said that Rachmaninoff found his etudes “too musical.”

FRIEDMAN, IGNAZ (1882–1948) A Polish pupil of Leschetizky, this colossal virtuoso was overshadowed in his day by several of his contemporaries, but as he made more recordings than the others, he is well-remembered as one of the giants of romantic piano playing. His Nocturne op. 55, no. 2 recording is almost universally admired and might just be the greatest Chopin recording ever made.

GIESEKING, WALTER (1895–1956) Born in France of German parents, he became the foremost interpreter of French impressionistic piano music, his gradations of piano and pianissimo almost limitless. While not primarily a Chopin specialist, his few recordings of Chopin’s music are object lessons in romantic style.

GINZBURG, GRIGORY (1904–1961) He studied in Moscow with Alexander Goldenweiser and won fourth prize in the 1927 Warsaw Chopin Competition. His many recordings have only recently become widely available.

GODOWSKY, LEOPOLD (1870–1938) Born in Lithuania, almost completely self-taught, his more than 50 arrangements of the Chopin etudes brought piano technique to new heights. In front of the recording horn and microphone he tended to emotional restraint and in general his playing was not well served by the phonograph.

HOFMANN, JOSEF (1876–1957) The only protégé of Anton Rubinstein, he is considered one of the four or five greatest pianists in history. Similar to Busoni in that his playing was unlike any else’s, he combined note perfection with imaginative, sometimes willful interpretations.

HOROWITZ, VLADIMIR (1903–1989) Born in Kiev, he became the pianist whose name was synonymous with fabulous technique in the twentieth century. His tone was not always ideal for Chopin, and his interpretive decisions sometimes bizarre, but he loved Chopin, played it often, and sometimes produced miracles of Chopin interpretation.

KAPELL, WILLIAM (1922–1953) The “great hope” of American pianists, whose life and career were cut short by a plane crash. Possessor of a sovereign technique and a gleaming tone, his commercial recording of mazurkas is devoid of charm, but this live performance shows better how he played in person.

KÁROLYI, JULIAN VON (1914-1993) A Hungarian, pupil of Dohnányi in Budapest and Cortot in Paris, he was one of the leading pianists of the 20th century, but has now unjustly faded into obscurity. The main attraction in Karolyi’s playing, a combination of deeply probing intellect, an exquisite touch and discerning dynamics in the delicate moments, stupendous virtuosity, and musicianship of the highest level.

KOCZALSKI, RAOUL VON (1884–1948) A Polish prodigy said to have played a thousand recitals by age twelve, he studied with Chopin’s assistant Mikuli. Living in Germany he had the opportunity to record much Chopin, his specialty. His two E-flat Nocturne recordings contains variant readings said to stem from Chopin through Mikuli.

LARROCHA, ALICIA DE (1923–2009) The Spanish mezzo-soprano Conchita Supervia took an interest in this prodigy and at one of her own recording sessions insisted that the engineers record the nine year old. De Larrocha’s legs were too short to reach the pedals so she accomplished the legato with her fingers alone.

LHÉVINNE, JOSEF (1874-1944) A fellow student at the Moscow Conservatory with Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, he was much influenced by Anton Rubinstein’s playing. A long-time teacher at New York’s Juilliard School, he was an astonishing bravura player but not as comfortable in slower, poetic works.

LIPATTI, DINU (1917–1950) His early death from leukemia robbed the world of one of the greatest pianists of the day. Born in Rumania, he studied with Cortot in Paris. His musicality and artistry were combined with crystal-clear pianism and a self-effacing attitude that perfectly fit the developing new aesthetic of performance.

MICHALOWSKI, ALEXANDER (1851–1938) Polish, a student of Moscheles, Reinecke, and Tausig, he coached with Chopin’s pupil Mikuli when he was forty, but it is unclear that this changed his approach to his playing, one of the oldest styles captured by recordings. He taught scores of Polish pianists.

MOISEIWITSCH, BENNO (1890–1963) Born in Odessa but British by adoption, he was one of the towering poetic voices among pianists of his day, admired by Rachmaninoff and Hofmann. His studies with Leschetizky brought out his rare individuality and artistry.

NOVAES, GUIOMAR (1895–1979) At the age of fourteen she prevailed over 400 contestants for a place to study with Philipp at the Paris Conservatory, astounding Debussy and Fauré. During her long career she played with imaginative personality and one of the most transcendent piano tones ever recorded.

OHLSSON, GARRICK (b. 1948) Winner of the Chopin Competition in 1970, he has recorded the complete works of Chopin and often plays all-Chopin recitals. His championing of the Busoni Piano Concerto was a pianistic highlight of recent decades.

PACHMANN, VLADIMIR DE (1848–1933) Perhaps the most renowned Chopin specialist ever, his style harkens back to the Hummel school, although it was Liszt and his emphasis on individuality of expression that had the greatest role in shaping Pachmann’s playing. Godowsky considered him unique and supreme among all pianists.

PADEREWSKI, IGNACE JAN (1860–1941) The most renowned pianist after Liszt, for decades the embodiment of Polish majesty, famed for his personality and dedication to Poland.  By the time he first recorded, his playing had begun to deteriorate, but this mazurka shows his temperament and artistry.

RACHMANINOFF, SERGEI (1873–1943) A pupil of Siloti and Sverev in his native Russia, hearing Anton Rubenstein was the defining influence on his pianism. He moved to the west in 1918 and became a recitalist noted for persuasive interpretations. After Busoni’s death, his playing was comparable to that of his friend Hofmann’s as the greatest of the age.

RENARD, ROSITA (1894–1949) Born in Santiago, Chile, she studied with Liszt pupil Martin Krause. An impulsive virtuoso with fiery temperament and an astonishing technique, she was also, paradoxically, a simple and deeply religious person. Her only Carnegie Hall recital was recorded four months before her death.

ROSENTHAL, MORIZ (1862–1946) Born of Polish parents but formed by Germanic culture, his first teacher was Mikuli. He became the Liszt pupil with the most transcendent technique after Tausig, but it was Anton Rubinstein’s playing that most influenced his art. He didn’t develop the poetic side of his playing until late, fortunately just before he recorded.

RUBINSTEIN, ARTHUR (1887–1982) Perhaps the most satisfying Chopin specialist of the recent past, his great career was long in developing; he didn’t take first place until after the death of other pianists presented here. Never a probing interpreter, healthy playing combined with an attractive public personality sufficed, and coincided with the newly emerging aesthetic.

SAUER, EMIL VON (1863–1942) Another Liszt pupil who was influenced by Anton Rubinstein’s playing, he was born in Germany and studied with Anton’s brother Nicholas in Moscow before going to Liszt. An elegant virtuoso with a personal style, he enjoyed a full career and love-life. His recordings are classics.

SOFRONITSKY, VLADIMIR (1901–1961) Born in Russia, his family moved to Poland when he was three, where he studied with Michalowski. In 1916 he began studies at the Petrograd Conservatory and eventually married his fellow student, Scriabin’s daughter Elena. Only twice did he venture outside of the Soviet Republic.

SOLOMON [CUTNER] (1902–1988) An English-born prodigy, he stopped playing in his teens and went to live and study with Mathilde Verne, a Clara Schumann pupil. He dropped his second name, resumed concertizing, and first recorded in 1929. His career was cut short by a stroke in 1956.

WILD, EARL (1915–2010) Truly the last pianist trained in the grand romantic tradition, he studied with Barere and Petri. His transcriptions of Rachmaninoff songs are among the best ever penned.

© Gregor Benko, 2010