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#1913848 - 06/15/12 05:49 AM What do you look for in an encore?  
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bennevis Offline
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I attended a concert a few days ago by Alexei Volodin. He gave 4 encores, three of which were entirely predictable (Rachmaninoff Prelude, Chopin Waltz and Nocturne), but the one I enjoyed most was a jazzy piece which I think is by Kapustin.

Some well-known concert pianists stick to very familiar, very predictable and very short one-minute encores (like Flight of the Bumblebee or the 'Minute' Waltz grin); others like to delight us by playing off-the-wall pieces by obscure composers or even their own transcriptions or compositions; still others will extend their program by 20 minutes to 1/2 hour with very substantial encores. So, someone like Mikhail Pletnev might play Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No.1 or Balakirev's Islamey or even a complete Scriabin Sonata as one of his encores (all of which I've heard from him over the years); Evgeny Kissin will play lots of very short encores (following very short main programs....), lapping up the applause in between; Stephen Hough might play Rodgers & Hammerstein or one of his own compositions etc. And I once heard Shura Cherkassky play a piece he wrote as a child called 'Prelude Pathètique'...

Amoung young pianists, only Benjamin Grosvenor seems to delight in playing unusual encores - not just Kapustin but also Cziffra transcriptions. Encores can be light relief after meaty main programs, or used to show the audience another side of the pianist's personality - to my mind, it's a pity more pianists don't exploit this and play something other than the usual Rachmaninoff Prelude or Chopin Etude/Waltz/Nocturne.

If you're giving a concert and play an encore or three, what would you play? Or what would you like to hear pianists play?


"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."
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#1913870 - 06/15/12 07:37 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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Depends on how the actual programme has ended but I usually prefer encores to be more of a 'winding down' experience.

#1913878 - 06/15/12 07:56 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey
Depends on how the actual programme has ended but I usually prefer encores to be more of a 'winding down' experience.


So, nothing flashy/dazzling then? grin


"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."
#1913895 - 06/15/12 08:40 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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No, I prefer something simple and short.

Ultimately, anything but a Cziffra transcription.

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#1914032 - 06/15/12 01:01 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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Doesn't matter too much, as long as it's done really well.

#1914041 - 06/15/12 01:10 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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I can think of two different approaches, depending upon the technical ability of the pianist:

1 For those with a lot of "chops", one "genre" that I don't think is presented enough is that of transcriptions of "light" material, by the likes of Godowsky, Evler, Grunwald, et al. You could also make a good case for the early 19th virtuoso pieces of Kalkbrenner, Thalberg, von Weber, Moscheles, et al. That is, short pieces, now generally unknown, with brilliance as its predominant reason for being.

2 For those who finish with a "heavier" extended work, I tend to prefer something that contrasts sharply with the final announced work -- for example, if it were the Prokofiev 7th Sonata, I would follow it with a short Grieg Lyric piece; if it were a long Schubert Sonata, I would follow it with a light Moszkowski Etude.

I really don't agree with numerous encore pieces, just as a personal preference -- it feels to me like the pianist is then calling too much attention to his or her own wonderfulness. I also don't agree with presenting ultra-familiar repertoire -- there is so much wonderful material that is never played, and the encore is a good opportunity to showcase that.

#1914066 - 06/15/12 01:56 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: Tim Adrianson]  
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson
I can think of two different approaches, depending upon the technical ability of the pianist:

1 For those with a lot of "chops", one "genre" that I don't think is presented enough is that of transcriptions of "light" material, by the likes of Godowsky, Evler, Grunwald, et al. You could also make a good case for the early 19th virtuoso pieces of Kalkbrenner, Thalberg, von Weber, Moscheles, et al. That is, short pieces, now generally unknown, with brilliance as its predominant reason for being.

2 For those who finish with a "heavier" extended work, I tend to prefer something that contrasts sharply with the final announced work -- for example, if it were the Prokofiev 7th Sonata, I would follow it with a short Grieg Lyric piece; if it were a long Schubert Sonata, I would follow it with a light Moszkowski Etude.

I really don't agree with numerous encore pieces, just as a personal preference -- it feels to me like the pianist is then calling too much attention to his or her own wonderfulness. I also don't agree with presenting ultra-familiar repertoire -- there is so much wonderful material that is never played, and the encore is a good opportunity to showcase that.


I totally agree - just because pianists have so much music to choose from, and I personally feel many of today's concert pianists are rather too unadventurous, playing only the tried & tested, even for their encores. (For instance I've never heard any Saint-Saëns or Fauré played in concert). If everyone only played music that's 'better than it could ever be played' (Schnabel), the world of piano playing would be very boring indeed.


"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."
#1914074 - 06/15/12 02:13 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Doesn't matter too much, as long as it's done really well.


100% agreed. I enjoy hearing a very polished artist's take on classics for an encore, especially when they are bold enough to make it their own. On the other hand, something unusual is very refreshing and interesting, especially when I'm being exposed to music I was previously unaware of. Just as long as its well done...ive seen quite a few get a little carried away something showy and then start to lose control (myself included).

One thing I once did that I think worked pretty well was a short selection from Visions Fugitives by Prokovief...not all that uncommon, I know, but it was a nice contrast to the heavy program preceding it.

BTW, I'm so glad I found this forum! Excited about gaining insight from all of you.


"Practicing is not work, it is a discovery."
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#1914095 - 06/15/12 02:56 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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Originally Posted by bennevis
If everyone only played music that's 'better than it could ever be played' (Schnabel)...

I fully understand where Schnabel was coming from, but I've always had a secret chuckle since the great Parnassus pianist unintentionally endorsed Liszt's Dante Sonata! No performance I've ever heard has matched what glories I see on the printed page. (It will be a miracle if no one disagrees with me. wink )

Kissin -as is well-known- is very generous with encores, and I recall a particularly sparkling rendition of the finale of Weber's C major sonata some years ago. Hard not to admire that sheer technical finish.


Jason
#1914121 - 06/15/12 03:55 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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What I look for in an encore is the best exit. Often I have to go backstage after the show, so I try to plan not to buck the crowds going the opposite direction. smile


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#1914130 - 06/15/12 04:10 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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Bryn Terfel, after three encores at a recital in St. Paul about five years ago, announced his fourth encore--"Nearer My God to Thee"--commenting that it was the last song played by the orchestra on board the Titanic as it disappeared beneath the North Atlantic. The audience got the message, and did not demand a fifth encore. Bryn Terfel has been back to St. Paul since, and he will be again, I'm quite sure.

The same year and on the same venue, Lisa de la Salle presented a very impressive program--all big entrees by Brahms and Liszt. The audience, as is customary in St. Paul, asked for an encore. She obliged with a piece by Messiaen. The audience did not ask for a second encore. Nor has Lisa de la Salle been back to St. Paul since, and she won't be, I'm quite sure.

Go figure.

Tomasino



"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

#1914354 - 06/16/12 02:18 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: tomasino]  
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Originally Posted by tomasino
Bryn Terfel, after three encores at a recital in St. Paul about five years ago, announced his fourth encore--"Nearer My God to Thee"--commenting that it was the last song played by the orchestra on board the Titanic as it disappeared beneath the North Atlantic. The audience got the message, and did not demand a fifth encore. Bryn Terfel has been back to St. Paul since, and he will be again, I'm quite sure.

The same year and on the same venue, Lisa de la Salle presented a very impressive program--all big entrees by Brahms and Liszt. The audience, as is customary in St. Paul, asked for an encore. She obliged with a piece by Messiaen. The audience did not ask for a second encore. Nor has Lisa de la Salle been back to St. Paul since, and she won't be, I'm quite sure.

Go figure.

Tomasino



Exactly! The whole point of Encore(s) is to gague the audience and your time together and give them what they want. That is, more of whatever it is you are doing that they want to hear. But remember the adage, "Leave 'em wanting more." Has anyone ever played the game "Apples to Apples"? We have a strategy saying at our family game table when playing that one-- "know your audience."

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
#1914365 - 06/16/12 03:14 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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I really don't care too much what gets played (as long as it isn't some horribly jarring shift from what came before), as much as the spirit in which it is played. I love it when the pianist seemingly goes into relaxed party pianist mode, and plays for sheer pleasure and fun. Showing off their chops is welcome, too.

But that's not always appropriate - I remember one concert of heavy duty stuff, I think it was late Beethoven, and I just couldn't imagine what sort of encore would work after that. I completely expected there wouldn't be any at all, which would have been fine and quite understandable, but the pianist did oblige, with a set of Schubert dances that somehow were just the perfect thing. Wonderful.

Encores are a great time to play music that is probably completely unknown to most of the audience. I remember Cherkassky doing that - he once treated us to an eerie piece by Miakovsky called "The Snow Wraith" that I'll never forget. And Hamelin doing some wild Antheil I'd never heard before was a great encore. Another good one of that kind was Tomsic playing one of her husband's Macedonian Dances.

The cleverest encores of all must be the sassy "Cinq Bis" by Francaix, each one titled with a different encore situation. Here are a few of them -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtSWjCNfnOo

#1914532 - 06/16/12 01:20 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: Tim Adrianson]  
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Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson
...I really don't agree with numerous encore pieces, just as a personal preference -- it feels to me like the pianist is then calling too much attention to his or her own wonderfulness. I also don't agree with presenting ultra-familiar repertoire -- there is so much wonderful material that is never played, and the encore is a good opportunity to showcase that.


Also, What works after late Beethoven is more late Beethoven, one or two of the op 119 or 126 Bagatelles. (Except that after Op. 111, it's probably best not to play an encore.)


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
#1914565 - 06/16/12 02:24 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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Pollini is usually generous with encores - but he never gives one after Beethoven's Op.111. Which I think is right.


"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."
#1914642 - 06/16/12 06:14 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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after Bach-Goldberg, Beethoven-111, Schubert 960 it's quite hard to play a crowdpleasing nothingness, but there is this stunning (pianist bend-over plucking the strings-thingy) piece that does the job perfectly.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
#1914663 - 06/16/12 07:22 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Pollini is usually generous with encores - but he never gives one after Beethoven's Op.111. Which I think is right.

Perhaps. Raymond Lewenthal wrote that he heard (or heard of) a pianist following the Op 111 with the Liszt 12th Rhapsody as an encore. One shudders at the thought.

OTH, the Beethoven Op 111 has a rather mystical, hallowed significance, as if its ending in silence must be the end of music as we know it. But that seems rather silly: Beethoven went on to write the Diabelli Variations (chock full of bawdy - and quite possibly bodily- humour), not to mention the bagatelles Op 119 and 126. And don't forget his arrangement of the Grosse Fuge for piano 4 hands which is considered his last work for piano.





Jason
#1914721 - 06/16/12 11:13 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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Sometimes I think about learning pieces, then realize that I'll never be able to fit them into a programme except as an encore, or part of a big set. Like the Revolutionary etude, Rachmaninoff's E minor musical moment, or Scriabin's D sharp minor etude.


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Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#1914761 - 06/17/12 02:12 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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I'd prefer to end it with a bang.

#1914884 - 06/17/12 11:21 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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A singer, who's name I can't remember, sang a beautifully sentimentalized version of Tom Lehrer's "The Old Dope Peddlar" as an encore at the same concert venue in St. Paul I wrote about above. Here's the first verse:

When the shades of night are falling,
Comes a fellow ev'ryone knows,
It's the old dope peddler,
Spreading joy wherever he goes.
Ev'ry evening you will find him,
Around our neighborhood.
It's the old dope peddler
Doing well by doing good.

It was a wonderful parody of the kind of well roasted chestnuts audiences often expect as an encore. Most, however, did not understand nor appreciate it, and were truly offended. A handful of us, though, thought it was hysterical, and applauded long and loudly, hoping she had another encore up her sleeve that might possibly top it. Well, we didn't get it, but we got a lot of glares and stares from many in the audience.

Like Lisa de la Salle, who played Messiaen as an encore on the same concert venue, this singer has not been asked back to St. Paul, and she won't be, I'm quite sure.

Tomasino



Last edited by tomasino; 06/17/12 11:44 AM.

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

#1914929 - 06/17/12 01:22 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: tomasino]  
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Originally Posted by tomasino
[...]
The same year and on the same venue, Lisa de la Salle presented a very impressive program--all big entrees by Brahms and Liszt. The audience, as is customary in St. Paul, asked for an encore. She obliged with a piece by Messiaen. The audience did not ask for a second encore. Nor has Lisa de la Salle been back to St. Paul since, and she won't be, I'm quite sure.
Go figure.
Tomasino


Are you saying that St. Paul judges an artist's audience popularity by the encores performed? Even after "a very impressive program" de la Salle won't be invited back?

I'm trying to "go figure."

Regards,


BruceD
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#1914940 - 06/17/12 01:57 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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Originally Posted by bennevis
but he never gives one after Beethoven's Op.111. Which I think is right.

I wouldn't think one is appropriate. Neither is playing one after 109, 110, D 960, D959, and a myriad of other pieces.

#1914956 - 06/17/12 03:09 PM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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An encore seems to be possible after the fourth movement of D960...but an encore after the late Beethoven sonatas doesn't seem to work.


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#1915130 - 06/18/12 04:43 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
...but an encore after the late Beethoven sonatas doesn't seem to work.


Have you actually heard someone try it, and have a "failed" encore?

To me, the last few Beethoven sonatas may pose unusual problems for encores, but I don't see that as a reason to just write the idea off. After all, one function of encores can be to gently help to transition the audience back to "real life" after some extraordinary musical experience.



#1915138 - 06/18/12 05:26 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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I usually look for some showpiece, something impressive and short. It's also a good opportunity to choose something obscure or not frequently programmed.

But one time the encore piece I heard was the Albeniz Tango in D. It was the strangest choice for an encore piece ever. Were we not clapping hard enough???


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#1915164 - 06/18/12 08:08 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
After all, one function of encores can be to gently help to transition the audience back to "real life" after some extraordinary musical experience.



Very good point, I hadn't thought of that!


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#1915168 - 06/18/12 08:28 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

But one time the encore piece I heard was the Albeniz Tango in D. It was the strangest choice for an encore piece ever.
Why was it strange? Plenty of great pianists or pianists with big technique play "simple" pieces as one of their encores.

#1915170 - 06/18/12 08:31 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Plenty of great pianists or pianists with big technique


Are you feeling the need to clarify after a recent thread on mediocre guitar players? laugh

#1915177 - 06/18/12 08:45 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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If you were a guitarist, you'd make Malaguena your encore.. smile

#1915183 - 06/18/12 08:50 AM Re: What do you look for in an encore? [Re: bennevis]  
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Some may prefer not to know in advance, but I like it when pianists, after being called back repeatedly and realizing they won't be able to get away grin without an encore or three, let the audience know how many they'll be playing. Like Horowitz used to do, so charmingly. That way, people in the audience know how long they have to clap for grin.....or whether they want to leave immediately.


"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."
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by noodleq. 05/22/17 10:54 PM
Sympathetic vibrations
by DonHillPianos. 05/22/17 09:54 PM
Attack In England - Multiple Deaths
by Piano World. 05/22/17 09:46 PM
broken arpeggio scales/fingerings
by sonnichs. 05/22/17 09:36 PM
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