....If you want constructive feedback... I'll say that for me, there's something missing from these recordings. I'm not yet sure quite what it is.....
I'm surprised you're not.
Guy: Let me try to say what I think Jason might have been trying to say.
Just kidding. But I'll say what I'm hearing. (I didn't listen to everything but skimmed a fair amount of it.)
First of all, to say the obvious: You're an incredible pianist! Your mechanism is wonderful, your accuracy is unbelievable, and you have a good knowledge of musicianship and good sense of what kinds of things can make etudes interesting.
If not that you were SO good, I'd leave it at that. But since you are, we can get into finer points.
Jason mentioned "something missing." There are a couple of things I could put my finger on -- and I'm betting Jason will say, to a fairly great extent, yeah that's it.
-- The nature of your lyricism -- what you do with lines.
-- The nature of your drama -- what you do with dynamics, shaping, and 'surprises.'
And I think those things are somewhat related to each other.
Recognizing that I'm criticizing at a very high level, sort of like how we might quibble and nitpick about world-class pianists....I think you don't seem that comfortable and natural with melodies, and likewise about letting music speak for itself. You know what kinds of things to do, but it doesn't seem to come naturally, or else you don't trust what would just come naturally -- and so you "do stuff." And IMO usually it works!
-- very very well, in fact. But after a little while, it becomes predictable and borderline tiresome; it's like, "oh, he's 'doing stuff' again."
I was struck by what sounded to me like a lack of lyricism and line in the openings of 10/3 and 25/1. These are pieces where the melodies are very prominent and very exposed, and to my ear, they sounded very "vertical" -- note, note, note, note; there isn't really a flow, and there isn't enough of a differentiation between melody and accompaniment. I think the reason it doesn't show so much in the other etudes is that there's more going on around the melodies (plus in most cases the melodies aren't as prominent), and so you have more opportunity to do things that make the music work.
I'm aware that what I said about "doing stuff" could be applied to HOROWITZ -- and has been, by his critics. I happen to love Horowitz's way with that, so it's not that I think it's inherently bad or anything. And to a great extent I love yours too! But the reason I found myself beginning to criticize it was that pretty soon it felt a bit unnatural and predictable, and I couldn't help feeling it's related to what I said about the melodic stuff and confidence about letting music speak for itself, and that it's sort of a compensation for those things. Or maybe it's just that you're sort of 'trying too hard,' plus that you've worked mostly on the technical stuff, drama, and surprises, and have been relatively neglecting some other aspects, like melodies.
Obviously, need I say, take this with billions of grains of salt. You're a wonderful pianist. I wish I played half as well. Heck, I wish I played a quarter as well.
But perhaps you might find some of what I've said relevant -- and I'll be interested to see if others have any similar reactions.
P.S. I wonder if part of what Jason was referring to, in asking about the recording situation, was the "tinny" sound. I didn't say anything about that because I assume it IS something about the recording situation, but I wonder if to some extent it may also reflect a somewhat-too-aggressive touch.