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Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1869902
03/28/12 04:09 PM
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>Can't everybody read? One can follow the sheet music while an artist is playing. and...?

Check that video for yourself... Can you follow the sheet music while they are playing? Honestly I can not really when they are playing these massive chords at neckbreaking speed with pedal down. Well you can clearly hear when they are goofing up big time or when they are not playing the syncopations. But not all the notes.


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Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: wouter79] #1869933
03/28/12 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by wouter79
Richard Kastle seems to have a point and he is one of the best players of that fragment.

CHeck this video that compares all these endings of Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No.2



Yes, I've seen that. He plays it impressively, but in the end, does it matter that much?

If you were just listening you would not be able to tell the difference as to whether people were leaving out notes. The dynamics and phrasing is a different issue, but it really doesn't matter to me much that Horowitz or Hamelin left out notes, as long as the musical effect is achieved. It's not exactly a complex harmony where leaving a note out would be glaringly obvious.

Last edited by didyougethathing; 03/28/12 05:07 PM.
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1869991
03/28/12 08:09 PM
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Didn't Brendel once say that everybody cheated in the Brahms 2nd concerto? That's an exaggeration, surely, but I think probably many do. Those fast double-note runs...

Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1869996
03/28/12 08:19 PM
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Kastle played the best version, IMO, so he can walk the walk. Frankly this issue really personalizes the artists. I like the notion that they need a 'work around.' Liszt is just hard to play!


"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: wr] #1870131
03/29/12 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
Didn't Brendel once say that everybody cheated in the Brahms 2nd concerto? That's an exaggeration, surely, but I think probably many do. Those fast double-note runs...


I find it fascinating that concert pianists as super competent as Horowitz, Brendel ,Lang Lang etc do still have " work arounds" to enable them to play passages of music that they cannot play. I would imaging pianists of that stature could get their fingers around anything!



Balakirev's Islamey.......My Downfall !!
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1870454
03/29/12 01:29 PM
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Not so, it seems. At least they're trying.


"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1870478
03/29/12 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Sir Monty Golfear

I find it fascinating that concert pianists as super competent as Horowitz, Brendel ,Lang Lang etc do still have " work arounds" to enable them to play passages of music that they cannot play.

A friend of mine -whose opinion and powers of observation I respect- told me that Perahia made a lot of simplifications in the Chopin G# minor ('thirds') etude in concert. I asked him sort of incredulously: 'then why play it all?', to which he replied 'because it's beautiful music'.

I don't have Perahia's studio recording handy to compare.


Jason
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: argerichfan] #1870546
03/29/12 03:49 PM
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Is that remark meant to say that the part Chopin wrote is beautiful, as well as the part Perahia, the performer, wrote, too ? friend likes 'em both! smile

Last edited by daviel; 03/29/12 03:51 PM.

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1870649
03/29/12 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Sir Monty Golfear
I find it fascinating that concert pianists as super competent as Horowitz, Brendel ,Lang Lang etc do still have " work arounds" to enable them to play passages of music that they cannot play. I would imaging pianists of that stature could get their fingers around anything!


I haven't actually read or heard any of them say it, but I imagine there is some kind of ratio of time spent practicing a difficult passage against musical value of that passage. It's not that they can't do it, but it isn't worth the massive effort for minimal value. Or something like that.

Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1870700
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It's also a lot easier to put notes on paper than it is to execute them. Composers have been known to write music that cannot actually be played by human beings on a given instrument.


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Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1870702
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One of the piano professors at the university where I did my undergrad left an awkward note out of one of the fast scales in Prokofiev's 2nd violin sonata (somewhere in the 2nd mvmt, I forget exactly which one without a score in front of me). I was playing this piece at the same time she was and one of her students passed on the piece of advice.

The funny thing is, according to another one of her students, she chewed him out for suggesting a couple notes to leave out in the last mvmt of the Ravel trio...

I'm playing the Prokofiev 3rd concerto right now, and I admit there are two notes I leave out in the third mvmt. But nobody (including my teacher and the conductor) has noticed so far! Heh.

Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: wr] #1870729
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Originally Posted by wr
I haven't actually read or heard any of them say it, but I imagine there is some kind of ratio of time spent practicing a difficult passage against musical value of that passage. It's not that they can't do it, but it isn't worth the massive effort for minimal value. Or something like that.

This is a concept I extend to entire pieces. In contemporary repertoire there's a lot that's quite difficult. The decision I make is whether it is worth it TO ME to take upon myself all that work (i.e., do I believe in the integrity of the work and its level of intrinsic interest). I'm willing to take on a piece that will take a year to learn (given other obligations) if it is illuminating and helps me grow musically or intellectually.

I'm very happy to cast aside works that don't make the cut...even if a famous piece by a famous composer. Less time out of my life. smile

Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: wr] #1870810
03/30/12 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Sir Monty Golfear
I find it fascinating that concert pianists as super competent as Horowitz, Brendel ,Lang Lang etc do still have " work arounds" to enable them to play passages of music that they cannot play. I would imaging pianists of that stature could get their fingers around anything!


I haven't actually read or heard any of them say it, but I imagine there is some kind of ratio of time spent practicing a difficult passage against musical value of that passage. It's not that they can't do it, but it isn't worth the massive effort for minimal value. Or something like that.


I think that is a very valid point.


Balakirev's Islamey.......My Downfall !!
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1871393
03/31/12 09:53 AM
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The most blatant example I've heard of a top-class pianist cheating was Elisabeth Leonskaya playing the notorious octave scales near the end of the first section of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy as single notes, trying to make them sound strenuous when they are actually child's play when played as single-note scales.

I just wondered - if you can't play those octaves as written (you can always make a slight agogic ritenuto like many pianists do, if you really can't play them accurately in tempo), why play the Wanderer at all? To me, it just makes a mockery of what Schubert intended. It is like playing the octave glissandi variation of the Brahms/Pag as single note scales or glissandi, completely missing the point.

Other examples of cheating - though not quite in the same league, and most pianists actually do them - are not playing the octave glissandi in the finale of Beethoven's Waldstein as octave glissandi and having to leave out a few notes to do so; similarly in Beethoven's 1st Piano Concerto, though here you can play it as an octave scale without missing out any notes.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: bennevis] #1871437
03/31/12 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
I just wondered - if you can't play those octaves as written (you can always make a slight agogic ritenuto like many pianists do, if you really can't play them accurately in tempo), why play the Wanderer at all? To me, it just makes a mockery of what Schubert intended. It is like playing the octave glissandi variation of the Brahms/Pag as single note scales or glissandi, completely missing the point.

But here's a perspective to consider. Suppose you cannot play those octaves at speed. You have two options: to play them as single notes, or to slow down slightly. It is probably better to slow down as you suggest, but I don't think it's black-and-white. The way I see it, one option is a distortion of texture; the other is a distortion of rhythmic pulse. Which is the lesser evil? I think it's a fair question, and I think we shouldn't automatically label the option which leaves out notes as the greater evil. The point is not to hit all the notes!

Here's another example. Last year my father was working on Beethoven's op.101, and towards the end of the first movement, there's a sequence of increasingly intense chords (diminished? I think). One of the chords at the end of the sequence was too big a stretch, and he was rolling it. But I noticed that that chord was easily playable if one left out one of the inner voices, and so here we had the same kind of question: which is the lesser evil, to not play every note on the score, or to commit a rhythmic violation? In this case, I argued (and he agreed) that the first approach was better.

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: bennevis] #1871438
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Originally Posted by bennevis
The most blatant example I've heard of a top-class pianist cheating was Elisabeth Leonskaya playing the notorious octave scales near the end of the first section of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy as single notes, trying to make them sound strenuous when they are actually child's play when played as single-note scales.

I just wondered - if you can't play those octaves as written (you can always make a slight agogic ritenuto like many pianists do, if you really can't play them accurately in tempo), why play the Wanderer at all? To me, it just makes a mockery of what Schubert intended. It is like playing the octave glissandi variation of the Brahms/Pag as single note scales or glissandi, completely missing the point.

Other examples of cheating - though not quite in the same league, and most pianists actually do them - are not playing the octave glissandi in the finale of Beethoven's Waldstein as octave glissandi and having to leave out a few notes to do so; similarly in Beethoven's 1st Piano Concerto, though here you can play it as an octave scale without missing out any notes.


This reminds me of one time when I turned pages for a 2-piano concert (performed by professional pianists). One of the pieces was an arrangement of the Nutcracker Suite - I seem to recall Argerich was one of the people involved in creating the arrangement but this was years ago so I could be remembering wrongly. Anyways, I noticed some really fast octave scales coming up and I remember looking to see how in the world the pianist would do them, but she just played them as regular scales.

I suppose simplifying some octave scales in a performance of a transcribed work could be seen as a bit different story than taking the same short cut in a work originally meant for piano.

Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1871618
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I think that in a transcription, anything goes, especially if you are the transcriber/arranger. But in a great composer's work, if you simplify/cheat and the result is clearly audibly different (as it is in the Schubert Wanderer Fantasy example mentioned earlier; not so much in the Beethoven Waldstein), I'd say that you shouldn't do it. But that's just my opinion - Liszt after all changed his own music on the spur of the moment, and many pianists leave out notes or simplified his textures (often unnoticeable in performance or recording) if they see fit. But simplify Schubert (even in a Lisztian piece like the Wanderer)?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1871802
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Can't play fast octaves? You just have to practice more :P No such thing as octaves or chords that are too fast, unless you have a hand size => stretching problem.

I think it's best to try your best to follow, and then if everything is going fine except some spot where you absolutely have no way of playing it, then cheat if you have to, and don't tell anyone!

Last edited by trigalg693; 04/01/12 04:30 AM.
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1871814
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Quote
>Other examples of cheating - though not quite in the same league, and most pianists actually do them - are not playing the octave glissandi in the finale of Beethoven's Waldstein as octave glissandi and having to leave out a few notes to do so


Well on the old pianos you could actually do an octave glissando with 1 hand without too much efford. On a modern grand this is hard if possible at all (anyone who can do it here? I can sort of because of my big hands but even then I'm not really fond of the result)

Quote
One of the chords at the end of the sequence was too big a stretch, and he was rolling it. But I noticed that that chord was easily playable if one left out one of the inner voices


You have this same issue with Debussy fille aux cheveux de lin. There are wide chords are there not written as arpeggio's, but virtually everyone plays them as arpeggios or broken chords. Even my hands were too small for 1 chord even after changing the note-to-hand distributions and I dropped one inner note.


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Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: wouter79] #1871848
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Originally Posted by wouter79
[quote]>Other examples of cheating - though not quite in the same league, and most pianists actually do them - are not playing the octave glissandi in the finale of Beethoven's Waldstein as octave glissandi and having to leave out a few notes to do so


Well on the old pianos you could actually do an octave glissando with 1 hand without too much efford. On a modern grand this is hard if possible at all (anyone who can do it here? I can sort of because of my big hands but even then I'm not really fond of the result)

quote]

I've not played a Broadwood of Beethoven's time, but I've played on Pleyel and Erard grands of Chopin's time, and octave glissandi are fairly easy on them because of their shallower, lighter action. But I've also heard quite a few female pianists playing the Brahms/Pag superbly on modern pianos, so smaller hands aren't necessarily an insurmountable problem in octave glissandi - for some.....


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: bennevis] #1871852
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Originally Posted by bennevis


But I've also heard quite a few female pianists playing the Brahms/Pag superbly on modern pianos, so smaller hands aren't necessarily an insurmountable problem in octave glissandi - for some.....


Do you believe that all females have smaller hands?




"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

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Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1871853
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Yes - when you compare a man and a woman of the same height, the woman's hand span is almost always smaller. So is the size of her feet.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: bennevis] #1871895
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Yes - when you compare a man and a woman of the same height, the woman's hand span is almost always smaller. So is the size of her feet.


That may very well be true, but we can't just say, "females can play this or that, so hand size doesn't matter". It has nothing to do with being female.



"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

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Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: Sir Monty Golfear] #1872016
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I heard that due to Scriabin's small hands, he rolled many chords when playing his compositions (I can't remember whether the source mentioned if he did this in other people's compositions). Apparently he did this whether or not he had indicated the chord to be rolled.

I seem to recall that he didn't play his etude in 9ths because it was too difficult for his hand size.

Re: Do the top Pianists ever take short cuts or "cheat" ? [Re: bennevis] #1872280
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Yes - when you compare a man and a woman of the same height, the woman's hand span is almost always smaller. So is the size of her feet.


This doesn't actually sound likely, I have a hard time believing it's true, but it could be right.

For what it's worth, in my experience replace "woman" with "Asian" and that statement becomes true though frown Not complaining about my 10 key reach though, it's more than adequate.

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