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#1984020 - 11/08/12 07:08 AM What should I play for Andras Schiff?  
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So, Andras Schiff is coming to town around mid-december not only to play the complete Bartok concerti in two concerts (plus one Bach), but he'll be giving a masterclass to three of the students of the academy as well. Naturally, I signed up for it right away, suggesting to play Hammerklavier - or rather, parts of it, as we get an hour each. The decision on who gets to play for him will be made next week. Would it be wiser to play something else, however, in a situation like this? Does anyone have experience with his masterclasses? The repertoire suggested was very expected - Baroque, classical, the romantics minus the russians and Liszt, and Bartok in addition to that. Of the latter, I've played the 3rd concerto, the etudes, the sonata....and as a matter of fact, the 2nd concerto was a planned "next project" for me - but would one dare putting that into a masterclass program one month ahead, even if it would just be one movement of the piece? Time to start thinking.

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#1984046 - 11/08/12 09:18 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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I cannot suggest what to play but I can warn you to be prepared for some sarcastic or highly critical remarks. I have seen at least one of his master classes at Mannes in NYC, and he was one of three most unpleasant ones of the 150+ classes I've seen. So much so that for a while, I could not separate those classes from his playing which I generally find sensationally good.

I'd guess that anyone ready to play for Schiff has already has some experience with difficult master class teachers or at least knows this is always a possibility.

#1984048 - 11/08/12 09:30 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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As for expecting to hear critical/negative remarks, I can perhaps imagine him being that way, but then, I don't know how the pianists at Mannes were prepared. Perhaps not well enough? As for Hammerklavier, in case I'd be doing the first movement I am absolutely sure he'd make a huge deal out of that I normally play the opening jump with two hands - something he considers "disgusting" (he says so in his lectures on the complete sonatas - the one on Hammerklavier is overall very interesting). If I'd get to play for him, though, perhaps I'd focus on the 2nd and 3rd movements instead.

#1984050 - 11/08/12 09:31 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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unlpeasant in what way, by the way? I've been fortunate not to have that many nasty masterclass experiences - I just never really understood the approach some seem to have where the student is ripped to pieces or laughed at. I spoke about this with Jerome Lowenthal this summer and he felt the same way.

Last edited by fnork; 11/08/12 09:33 AM.
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#1984073 - 11/08/12 10:20 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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If one is afraid of hearing the true assessment of the person who gave the master class, one should not join the master class. I'd rather know the honest opinion, I do not need to do what I was told. But, at least, we are aware what other think about our playing.

If you do not want other to hear, you should just take a private piano lesson.

#1984078 - 11/08/12 10:34 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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When you play those first chords with separate hands, are you making sure to still have there be an impression of a bold leap?

If you're not and if he makes hay with it, it won't be just because of 'cheating,' but because of missing a musical point.

If you don't miss the musical point and he still makes hay with it, you can have a lively debate over it with him.

I think that things like this are too often argued as though the only issue is whether it's cheating and how one feels about cheating, and ignoring musical points.

#1984080 - 11/08/12 10:38 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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I believe Horowitz was so harsh he made his students cry.

#1984081 - 11/08/12 10:40 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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Originally Posted by fnork
That's very much my impression as well. As for Hammerklavier, in case I'd be doing the first movement I am absolutely sure he'd make a huge deal out of that I normally play the opening jump with two hands - something he considers "disgusting". In this situation I cannot help but wonder what a bloodbath I'd create if I'd ask him whether doing the opening jump that way is any more "disgusting" than leaving out notes which he does just a few bars later in his recording. I do believe I better stay more diplomatic though, if I'd get to play for him, and therefore playing the 2nd and 3rd movements might be an easy way out of this hassle.


He sounds like a snob.

#1984089 - 11/08/12 11:01 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
When you play those first chords with separate hands, are you making sure to still have there be an impression of a bold leap?

If you're not and if he makes hay with it, it won't be just because of 'cheating,' but because of missing a musical point.

If you don't miss the musical point and he still makes hay with it, you can have a lively debate over it with him.

I think that things like this are too often argued as though the only issue is whether it's cheating and how one feels about cheating, and ignoring musical points.

That's exactly what I believe the argument would end up becoming, in this case. I do try to "make the impression" of a bold leap with one hand - but it simply is safer to play it with two. I agree that the upbeat can be somewhat broad to give this impression, and that the bass must be strong - however, changing the upbeat from an 8th-note to almost a quarter-note (as is the case when Schiff plays it) is to my mind not an ideal solution. Especially not for a composer that thinks so motivically as Beethoven, and this figure (and the upbeat gesture in particular) plays such a substantial role for the entire movement (and, one may argue, the entire piece) that I'd say it's a rather serious violation to distort the rhythm as much as some "one-hand"-pianists do. Jerome Lowenthal argued differently in my masterclass with him, posted here a while ago, but I am not yet convinced.

#1984098 - 11/08/12 11:22 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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Why not just play the leap with one hand for the masterclass to avoid having this argument? While it's definitely a risk, especially since you're not used to it, I think that someone of your abilities can do it without distorting the rhythm too much (turning the eighth into a quarter).

I'm sure you play more difficult leaps in other pieces that you play (Liszt, for example).

#1984099 - 11/08/12 11:23 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by mazurkajoe
I believe Horowitz was so harsh he made his students cry.
My teacher had several lessons with Horowitz in his home. He said the man and his wife were welcoming and courteous to the extreme.

I too have heard the Schiff can be quite cruel during master classes. I don't remember the source but it was probably here at PW.


Best regards,

Deborah
#1984119 - 11/08/12 12:09 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by mazurkajoe
I believe Horowitz was so harsh he made his students cry.
That's not unique to Horowitz, nor to piano/music teachers.

-Daniel


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#1984137 - 11/08/12 12:52 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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Originally Posted by fnork
unlpeasant in what way, by the way? I've been fortunate not to have that many nasty masterclass experiences - I just never really understood the approach some seem to have where the student is ripped to pieces or laughed at. I spoke about this with Jerome Lowenthal this summer and he felt the same way.
There are a handful of mater class teachers who are unfotunately quite well known for their nasty master classes which I have dubbed NASTER classes. IMO there is absolutely no excuse for that kind of public(or perhaps even in private)kind of nastiness, and I'd love to see one of those teachers get yelled back to in public although this will never happen for obvious reasons. I even thought of saying something from the audience during one of those classes but I chickened out.

#1984138 - 11/08/12 12:53 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by mazurkajoe
I believe Horowitz was so harsh he made his students cry.
Never heard or read anything like that and I have read several Horowitz bios.

#1984139 - 11/08/12 12:59 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: RonaldSteinway]  
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
If one is afraid of hearing the true assessment of the person who gave the master class, one should not join the master class. I'd rather know the honest opinion, I do not need to do what I was told. But, at least, we are aware what other think about our playing.

If you do not want other to hear, you should just take a private piano lesson.
A private lesson can also be cruel or humiliating for the student, but I think most would at least rather hear those kinds of comments in a private lesson.

I don't think you understand that one can make the exact same criticism in different kinds of tones. The good teachers get the same result without being ridiculously mean and humiliating to the student in a public forum. Perhaps you have never seen a master class where the teacher is very cruel and humiliating to the student?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/08/12 01:01 PM.
#1984146 - 11/08/12 01:09 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
If one is afraid of hearing the true assessment of the person who gave the master class, one should not join the master class. I'd rather know the honest opinion, I do not need to do what I was told. But, at least, we are aware what other think about our playing.

If you do not want other to hear, you should just take a private piano lesson.
A private lesson can also be cruel or humiliating for the student, but I think most would at least rather hear those kinds of comments in a private lesson.

I don't think you understand that one can make the exact same criticism in different kinds of tones. The good teachers get the same result without being ridiculously mean and humiliating to the student in a public forum. Perhaps you have never seen a master class where the teacher is very cruel and humiliating to the student?


I agree with you, a teacher does not need to be nasty to convey the thought. But the student also does not need to go to the nasty teachers. Two months ago, I fired my teacher when he started getting unpleasant. There are many teachers who are very good and pleasant. Again, my point is that we do not need to put ourselves in that situation, we have a choice.

#1984163 - 11/08/12 01:59 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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Play Vers la Flamme - that ought to get his attention...

#1984172 - 11/08/12 02:25 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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You're in Finland, right? Play something by Melartin! Melancholy Garden, Noli me tangere, On High, or something else Finnish!


Scott
#1984178 - 11/08/12 02:37 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: RonaldSteinway]  
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
If one is afraid of hearing the true assessment of the person who gave the master class, one should not join the master class. I'd rather know the honest opinion, I do not need to do what I was told. But, at least, we are aware what other think about our playing.

If you do not want other to hear, you should just take a private piano lesson.
A private lesson can also be cruel or humiliating for the student, but I think most would at least rather hear those kinds of comments in a private lesson.

I don't think you understand that one can make the exact same criticism in different kinds of tones. The good teachers get the same result without being ridiculously mean and humiliating to the student in a public forum. Perhaps you have never seen a master class where the teacher is very cruel and humiliating to the student?


I agree with you, a teacher does not need to be nasty to convey the thought. But the student also does not need to go to the nasty teachers. Two months ago, I fired my teacher when he started getting unpleasant. There are many teachers who are very good and pleasant. Again, my point is that we do not need to put ourselves in that situation, we have a choice.
That's a completely different point. And I don't think it in any way justifies nastiness on the part of the mater class teacher.

It really shouldn't have to be a choice between not going a to master class or having to be humiliated.

#1984181 - 11/08/12 02:45 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by mazurkajoe
I believe Horowitz was so harsh he made his students cry.
Never heard or read anything like that and I have read several Horowitz bios.


Never read or heard anything to that effect either.

#1984214 - 11/08/12 03:49 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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Tell Schiif you're playing the Hammerklavier with the newly discovered autograph showing Beethoven intended pianists to USE TWO HANDS on the opening jump. Then stick your two hands in his face before beginning, smirk, and say something about those who thought Beethoven wanted the passage played with one hand. Then play the entire Sonata without stopping.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/08/12 03:54 PM.
#1984219 - 11/08/12 03:55 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: Auntie Lynn]  
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Originally Posted by Auntie Lynn
Play Vers la Flamme - that ought to get his attention...

heh, that'd be pretty funny actually...unfortunately, he gets to teach the repertoire he wants to teach, so that'd be out of the question. Unless I'd put one thing in the program and then go on stage playing something else...

#1984233 - 11/08/12 04:38 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
If one is afraid of hearing the true assessment of the person who gave the master class, one should not join the master class. I'd rather know the honest opinion, I do not need to do what I was told. But, at least, we are aware what other think about our playing.

If you do not want other to hear, you should just take a private piano lesson.
A private lesson can also be cruel or humiliating for the student, but I think most would at least rather hear those kinds of comments in a private lesson.

I don't think you understand that one can make the exact same criticism in different kinds of tones. The good teachers get the same result without being ridiculously mean and humiliating to the student in a public forum. Perhaps you have never seen a master class where the teacher is very cruel and humiliating to the student?


I agree with you, a teacher does not need to be nasty to convey the thought. But the student also does not need to go to the nasty teachers. Two months ago, I fired my teacher when he started getting unpleasant. There are many teachers who are very good and pleasant. Again, my point is that we do not need to put ourselves in that situation, we have a choice.
That's a completely different point. And I don't think it in any way justifies nastiness on the part of the mater class teacher.

It really shouldn't have to be a choice between not going a to master class or having to be humiliated.


You cannot change the person who gave the master class. He/she can behave whatever way he/she likes. We are the student, we have a choice to give them a chance to be nasty or not to us.

#1984312 - 11/08/12 07:50 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: RonaldSteinway]  
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
That's a completely different point. And I don't think it in any way justifies nastiness on the part of the mater class teacher.

It really shouldn't have to be a choice between not going a to master class or having to be humiliated.


You cannot change the person who gave the master class. He/she can behave whatever way he/she likes. We are the student, we have a choice to give them a chance to be nasty or not to us.
Glad to see that you agree that the teacher is at fault here, which was not what you originally said. The student cannot change the teacher, but it's unfortunate that those who invite these few well known nasty teachers don't start refusing to invite them anymore. Those people could change things if they wanted to.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/08/12 07:51 PM.
#1984335 - 11/08/12 08:54 PM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
There are a handful of mater class teachers who are unfotunately quite well known for their nasty master classes which I have dubbed NASTER classes.


Not to get too off topic, but here's a good example:

Youtube.com

Most masterclasses I've attended have never been this way, I have a feeling it's a rare occurrence.


#1984407 - 11/09/12 12:18 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: slava_richter]  
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Originally Posted by slava_richter
Why not just play the leap with one hand for the masterclass to avoid having this argument? While it's definitely a risk, especially since you're not used to it, I think that someone of your abilities can do it without distorting the rhythm too much (turning the eighth into a quarter).

I'm sure you play more difficult leaps in other pieces that you play (Liszt, for example).


I would suggest practising it both ways - but playing it your preferred way in your performance. If he pulls you up on it, you can mount your argument respectfully and if you fail to convince him, you'll be able to at least play it the other way without making a mess of it. I would never avoid my own interpretation just to avoid trouble with somebody. I'm happy to alter my approach if the master requests it, but ultimately I am there to have a master critique my style, not my imagination of what he might like. I think that's a dishonest way to approach such a situation.

With anything you do that is controversial or unconventional, be prepared with sound arguments for why you are doing it - both musical and technical, and even historical if possible. If you show the right combination of strength and yielding, you will gain the respect of the master. Of course you should never enter an intense argument with somebody like this - that would not be smart politics in the narrow world of classical music, but you can push it reasonably far as long as you stay on point. Only argue itensely if he questions your parentage!

#1984459 - 11/09/12 03:33 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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Forgive me for asking the obvious, but what is the allure of playing for a jerk? Even if the jerk is Andras Schiff? For example, I have read his published remarks on historically minded performance of Bach, for example, and he comes off as both uneducated and self-righteous. Like pianists of yesteryear.

Why put a guy like that in a teaching situation? What could one possibly gain from a public hour with him, aside from abuse?



Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 11/09/12 03:34 AM.
#1984473 - 11/09/12 04:34 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: fnork]  
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I agree with Peter.

On a side note, my teacher told me guitarist Andres Segovia once spat on the ground in disgust over a simple wrong note or minor mistake in a piece a student played for him in a Masterclass setting


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#1984474 - 11/09/12 04:41 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
he comes off as both uneducated and self-righteous.


Really!!!

Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose


Why put a guy like that in a teaching situation?


I think that these artists are obliged to do masterclasses. I think that the situation is ridiculous: pretty much insulting to the artist, flattering for mediocre students and mediocre music fans. I can understand that an artist detests being in such a situation. And that he takes it out on the "student", well why not!

And then you have some fellow or gal who says "I am going to show him something about the Hammerklavier!"




#1984500 - 11/09/12 07:20 AM Re: What should I play for Andras Schiff? [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Forgive me for asking the obvious, but what is the allure of playing for a jerk? Even if the jerk is Andras Schiff? For example, I have read his published remarks on historically minded performance of Bach, for example, and he comes off as both uneducated and self-righteous. Like pianists of yesteryear.
I don't know what remarks you're referring to, but my impression is that Schiff is generally considered one of the leading performers of Bach's music on the planet. I also think the critical reviews of his performances and recordings have been extremely excellent. He fills major halls playing all Bach programs.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/09/12 07:20 AM.
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