Robert Helps’ Repertoire

Robert Helps never engaged a "manager" to organize his life as pianist. Furthermore, the idea of deliberate and calculated self-promotion was so foreign to him, that he rarely spoke of past successes (or failures) with the aim of propagating his accomplishments or creating an image.

The result is that even his long term students, friends, and "fans" have an very approximate idea of his vast repertoire, especially in the realm of contemporary music. For example, he would casually mention his participation in a historic Webern revival concert in New York in order to develop an anecdote far more important to his sensitive psyche: his car had been parked at a meter twenty city blocks away from the hall, making it impossible for him to "receive" his public after the event.

This image of Helps literally running from the accolades of his peers and public in order to respond to more urgent needs is a poetic summation of his legendary modesty and reserve.

In the absence or more rigorous criteria for reconstructing a repertoire list for Robert Helps, the pages which follow attempt to evoke the elusive perfume of his programming style, assembling from memory a largely uncritical edition of his "greatest hits." The lists included in these pages serve to give an extremely general glimpse at this incredible pianist’s unique esthetic.

The Helps archive at the University of South Florida, Tampa, founded after the maestro’s death in 2001 may assist some courageous researcher to fill in some of the gaps…