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The Value of Helfgott

September 06, 1997

My husband and I attended David Helfgott's performance of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto last week, together with about 8,000 other lovers of great music. While we were absolutely delighted with the quality of his performance, we were also enchanted by the artist's humanity, which he demonstrated by his hugging and kissing certain members of the string section when he bounded onto the stage.

In his review of the concert ("Pianist Helfgott Delivers a Passable Rachmaninoff," Aug. 27), Daniel Cariaga judges his performance to be "acceptable," thereby "damning with faint praise" a courageous and successful rendition of one of the most daunting pieces in the concert repertoire. This artist has managed to overcome physical and emotional obstacles that might have crippled forever a lesser man. And his mere appearance as a much-desired soloist with many of the great orchestras here and abroad is a tribute to the courage and artistry of the man. Rachmaninoff's Third is seldom performed because of the demands it places on the pianist and the orchestra.

That this man tackles it and brings joy to the audience is remarkable in and of itself.

DOTTIE LEWIS

Encino

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