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Topic Options
#1860111 - 03/11/12 08:40 PM Ax Recital - wonderful!
gooddog Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 5443
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I just got home. PianogrlNW joined me for a wonderful recital by Emmanuel Ax this afternoon.

Manny popped out on stage, gave a boyish grin and started. He seems to be so genuinely NICE.

The first half:
Aaron Copland - Piano Variations. Nice playing but I didn't particularly like the piece. It sounded like something Copland might have composed for composition class in school.

Haydn Andante with Variations in F minor Hob XVII/6 - Delicate, clear and divine!

Beethoven Variations and Fugue E flat major - Eroica Opus 35. Also divine.

Second half:
Schumann Symphonic Etudes - my gosh, Manny made it sound so beautiful and EASY! The time just flew. He added 3 additional variations that I don't have in my Henle unless they are the ones in the back of the book. I would give my eye teeth to be able to play this piece. His performance was riveting.

First encore: Debussy, Pagodes.
Second encore: Liszt, Valse Oubliee #1

Throughout, Manny produced the most marvelous colors from that piano. So beautiful. I'm floating!
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1860123 - 03/11/12 08:56 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: gooddog]
Ridicolosamente Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/08/08
Posts: 1476
Loc: Albany, NY, USA
Very cool.
I had the privilege of attending a performance in 2010 of Brahms' 2nd piano concerto. It was wonderful. He's a fantastic performer - the embodiment of music making without smokes & mirrors. He is proof that no fluff is needed for classical music to still be intriguing and exhilarating.
I've mostly heard him in the B-realm though (i.e. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms) so it's nice to see the Copland on the program.

Wish I could have been there!

-Daniel
_________________________
Currently working on:
-Poulenc Trois pièces
-Liszt Harmonies du Soir
-Bach/Brahms Chaconne for Left Hand

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#1860127 - 03/11/12 08:58 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: gooddog]
BruceD Offline

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 20231
Loc: Victoria, BC
"Manny"?
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#1860134 - 03/11/12 09:07 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: gooddog]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6651
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
I've heard him quite a few times and he's never disappointed. I'd love to hear him with the Haydn variations and the Eroica variations. And he IS a genuinely nice guy.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1860143 - 03/11/12 09:20 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: BruceD]
PianogrlNW Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/22/11
Posts: 581
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Originally Posted By: BruceD
"Manny"?


Yup - he's Manny to people in the know. Thanks Deborah for a wonderful afternoon, having a piano-filled conversation, and hearing about the Victoria Music Academy summer piano retreat.
_________________________


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#1860148 - 03/11/12 09:32 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: gooddog]
argerichfan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 9346
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: gooddog

Schumann Symphonic Etudes - my gosh, Manny made it sound so beautiful and EASY! The time just flew. He added 3 additional variations that I don't have in my Henle unless they are the ones in the back of the book.

Awesome, Deborah. Glad you had so much fun, and thanks for reporting!

Wonder why Mr. Ax didn't play all five of the posthumous variations. (All or nothing? laugh ) Obviously he had his reasons, but it has always been problematic in just where to insert those delectable outcasts. There will never be any ideal solution short of taking Schumann's ultimate word and not including them at all!

Those glorious illegitimate creatures will always haunt us. But to include them simply makes a mockery of Schumann's overall design as he published it, and I don't think the Op 13 has ever gained from their inclusion. It tends to run too long with them, as I think Schumann understood.

A shame: I LOVE those extra variations -such glorious music indeed!- but they are doomed. They do not belong in the Op 13 unless you think Schumann was wrong.

He wasn't.
_________________________
Jason

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#1860151 - 03/11/12 09:35 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: gooddog]
Carey Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 8089
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: gooddog

Aaron Copland - Piano Variations. Nice playing but I didn't particularly like the piece. It sounded like something Copland might have composed for composition class in school.


A challenging work for the listener - but an extremely rewarding piece for the performer. I performed it on my Master's recital (my teacher had me learn it without his help) and I also wrote an in depth evaluation of it as a "mini" thesis. Copland premiered the Piano Variations himself in 1930 (well after his student days). The piece initially met with some indifference - due in part to the initial difficulty that it presents to the listener and also, perhaps, to Copland's performance of it. At the second performance of the piece (again by Copland), the critic Virgil Thompson wrote "I find the music of them (the Variations) very beautiful, only I wish he wouldn't play it so loudly. One hears it better unforced. I miss in his playing of it the singing of a certain small voice that seems to me to be clearly implied on the written page."

I think it is interesting that "Manny" opened his program with the Piano Variations. Would have loved to been there !!!!
_________________________
Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai CA-65
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#1860157 - 03/11/12 09:46 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: argerichfan]
Carey Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 8089
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: gooddog

Schumann Symphonic Etudes - my gosh, Manny made it sound so beautiful and EASY! The time just flew. He added 3 additional variations that I don't have in my Henle unless they are the ones in the back of the book.

Awesome, Deborah. Glad you had so much fun, and thanks for reporting!

Wonder why Mr. Ax didn't play all five of the posthumous variations. (All or nothing? laugh ) Obviously he had his reasons, but it has always been problematic in just where to insert those delectable outcasts. There will never be any ideal solution short of taking Schumann's ultimate word and not including them at all!

Those glorious illegitimate creatures will always haunt us. But to include them simply makes a mockery of Schumann's overall design as he published it, and I don't think the Op 13 has ever gained from their inclusion. It tends to run too long with them, as I think Schumann understood.

A shame: I LOVE those extra variations -such glorious music indeed!- but they are doomed. They do not belong in the Op 13 unless you think Schumann was wrong.

He wasn't.


I think Schumann made the right choice. He may not have included the extra variations in the final version because he either felt they weren't up to snuff or they were redundant. When I learned the Opus 13 I seriously considered adding some of the posthumous five but ultimately decided to go with Schumann's final word. In retrospect, I'm glad I did.
_________________________
Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai CA-65
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#1860205 - 03/11/12 11:20 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: Carey]
argerichfan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 9346
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: carey


I think Schumann made the right choice. He may not have included the extra variations in the final version because he either felt they weren't up to snuff or they were redundant. When I learned the Opus 13 I seriously considered adding some of the posthumous five but ultimately decided to go with Schumann's final word. In retrospect, I'm glad I did.

When I performed the Schumann -my last hurrah before I switched to organ and church music- I didn't include any of the extra variations.
_________________________
Jason

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#1860219 - 03/11/12 11:57 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: gooddog]
Orange Soda King Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6694
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I heard him do an all-Schubert recital and it was unbelievable!! He's a fantastic pianist.

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#1860420 - 03/12/12 11:31 AM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: Orange Soda King]
Svengali Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/23/12
Posts: 15
Loc: South-Africa
I like the idea of a 'themed' recital (pun intended).
I often think along the same lines when considering programmes.
Ax's own cadenza to the second movement of Haydn's G majot concerto on his recording remains in my opinion one of the most beautiful.

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#1861036 - 03/13/12 12:04 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: gooddog]
gooddog Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 5443
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Here's the review from the Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thearts/2017727745_clr13ax.html
The warmth of Ax's playing has put me in a lasting good mood!
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1861094 - 03/13/12 01:58 PM Re: Ax Recital - wonderful! [Re: gooddog]
Ridicolosamente Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/08/08
Posts: 1476
Loc: Albany, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Here's the review from the Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thearts/2017727745_clr13ax.html
The warmth of Ax's playing has put me in a lasting good mood!
I like this description of Ax's playing, "the Haydn was given an intimate, personal reading that reminded the listener why Ax has been called the least percussive of pianists. His touch is amazing. The keys are not so much struck as sighed upon... There is no sense of fingers or hammers or material mechanisms: the note simply materializes and floats in the air. I have no idea how he does it." It's right on.

I think "warmth" is also a great word to describe Ax's presence and sound.

-Daniel
_________________________
Currently working on:
-Poulenc Trois pièces
-Liszt Harmonies du Soir
-Bach/Brahms Chaconne for Left Hand

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