Born: 18 May, 1907 London, England
Died: 1 September, 1982
In his lifetime Clifford Curzon was regarded as 'the greatest living Mozartian.' He was that, but much more. Anyone who has heard either his recording of the Mozart Concerto K. 595 or was lucky enough to hear Curzon 'live' can testify to his supreme mastery of Mozart's music. But to 'tag' a pianist, especially Curzon with one composer is ultimately unfair.
Curzon began his career as a fiery virtuoso and was still playing the Tchaikovsky concerto in 1974 at the age of sixty-seven! It was however the world of the great classic and romantic composers where he was most at home. Curzon heard Artur Schnabel in the late 1920's and interrupted his flourishing career to study with the great Austrian pianist. Thereafter he devoted himself tirelessly to interpreting the music of Brahms, Schubert, Beethoven and of course his beloved Mozart.
Clifford Curzon recorded exclusively for Decca from the early 1940's until his death, but as Decca's longtime A&R chief Ray Minshull reported in an article some years ago, Curzon rarely had a contract. It was mostly a gentleman's agreement. Curzon's excursions to the studio were not all that frequent, but as a testament to the quality of his work on disc, most of it is still available today.