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#2077623 - 05/05/13 11:14 AM Kissin at carnegie hall  
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Andromaque Offline
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I had the pleasure of listening to Evgenyi Kissin in recital at CH on Friday. It was a masterful recital delivered with ease to an ecstatic audience (le tout Brooklyn, more Russian than English among the audience and more young people than average).

He presented Haydn's Eflat major sonata (whose Hoboken escapes me now) in a perfect classical style: High contrast, rarely above mf, very rythmical and overall as interesting as you can make Haydn's music to be.
He followed, in a quatum leap, with Beethoven's op. 111. Breathtakingly beautiful yet cool tempered. I was still settling in and may not have been highly focused so he did not fully engage me though it was a superb performance (Richter's Arietta remains the benchmark, as far as I am concerned, but this was close).
After intermission, he played 4 Schubert Impromptus which were truly exceptional. Such clarity of melody, such fabulous control and voicing. Really left me in awe.He ended the program with a brilliant loud brash Lisztian 12th rhapsody, which brought the audience to their feet.

He received multiple standing ovations as well as a brown teddy bear from a little girl. He played 3 marvellous encores to calm the excited fans:
1- Gluck's Melodie in Sgambatti's arrangement( a shocking counterpoint to the Liszt piece).
2- A Liszt transcendental Etude (delicious and bangless)
3- Liszt's arrangement of Die Forelle (conquered any remaining skeptics).

Quite a delight. He is an incredible performer and very interesting to watch: remained calm barely cracking a smile despite the adoring audience.

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#2077756 - 05/05/13 03:27 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
...Haydn's Eflat major sonata (whose Hoboken escapes me now)

I believe it's Hob.XVI:52, if I'm remembering correctly.

Originally Posted by Andromaque
He received a brown teddy bear from a little girl.

That would have been the first time I'd seen that. ha

Originally Posted by Andromaque
Gluck's Melodie in Sgambatti's arrangement( a shocking counterpoint to the Liszt piece).

A small suggestion: Never use the word "counterpoint" when speaking to musicians, unless you're referring to the compositional technique. Confusion is likely to ensue. grin

Originally Posted by Andromaque
A Liszt transcendental Etude

Which one? wink


Sounds exciting. Wish I'd been there!

(especially to see the little girl throw a stuffed animal up on the stage at him. grin)


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2077773 - 05/05/13 03:57 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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No, he played Hob. XVI:49, the "Genzinger" sonata (L. 59)

There are six sonatas in Eb Major by Haydn in the Landon catalogue. Hob. XVI:49 is excellent, and I like Hob. XVI:28 (L. 43) as well.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2077783 - 05/05/13 04:09 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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Polyphonist Offline
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I see. Well, I made an assumption based on previous experience (I rarely hear any of them but the one I mentioned) and was wrong. Thanks for the correction, Kreisler.


Regards,

Polyphonist
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#2077801 - 05/05/13 04:39 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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I think he's playing this same program in Boston this upcoming season for the Celebrity Series. I'm going to have to try and get in to hear him. I have heard him play once before. He's not my absolute favorite. But he's right near the top of the list.


1918 Mason & Hamlin BB
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#2077839 - 05/05/13 06:03 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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Journee Oubliee Offline
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Glad you had the opportunity to go. I'll be hearing his next recital in '14 which is supposed to include Schubert and Scriabin. The last time I heard him was like 5 years ago in an all-Chopin recital which left me ecstatic. =)

#2077840 - 05/05/13 06:05 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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Derulux Offline
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I, too, was at this recital. I wish I had known some PW people would be there-- I would have liked to meet up. smile

I had never been to Carnegie Hall before, and I found that I didn't really enjoy it (to say nothing of Kissin, who played very well). The seats were cramped together and utterly uncomfortable, the audience was condescending and in a few cases downright mean (someone in the upper balcony had to be escorted out for chiding another audience member who was unfortunate enough to cough), and I felt more like I was in a prison than a concert hall. That place, while steeped in history, should be gutted and rebuilt--airplane seats have more leg room.

As for Kissin, he played wonderfully. I tried to find out if he was signing autographs, which I think he was, but for some reason security would not let me through to where everyone was waiting. So, another foul taste of Carnegie Hall right there.. I would listen to Kissin a hundred more times, but I would never go back to Carnegie Hall to do so.



I thought the Schubert Impromptus were the best performance on the program. I disagreed with some choices he made in the G-flat (tempo, in particular), but that's not to say he didn't play it masterfully.

The Liszt Transcendental Etude was #10, which I've also played. This, however, was the single best performance I've ever heard of that particular work, live or recorded. If I drove to New York in rush hour traffic and suffered the stuffy hall and hellish seating only to listen to this piece, it would have been worth it.

And yes, the teddy bear was a first for me, too! I think it even surprised Kissin, but he appeared very gracious in accepting it. smile


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2077902 - 05/05/13 08:12 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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#2077905 - 05/05/13 08:21 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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Polyphonist Offline
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Wow, Derulux, your harsh criticism of the seating in Carnegie is surprising to me; I never thought it was that bad. Where were you sitting? wink

(Oh, it's just because I'm a New Yorker and I'm used to crowded places. grin)


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2077907 - 05/05/13 08:23 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
[Linked Image]

I LOVE it!


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2077944 - 05/05/13 09:21 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Wow, Derulux, your harsh criticism of the seating in Carnegie is surprising to me; I never thought it was that bad. Where were you sitting? wink

Admittingly, I think airplanes flew lower than I sat. At one point, I thought oxygen masks had dropped from the ceiling due to the altitude, but it was just the HVAC system kicking in. wink

I did try each balcony on the way up, and found them all to be less-than-accomodating. But I did not get to try the floor seats, so perhaps it's better there.

Still, I don't think it's too much to ask in this day and age for the hall to be built with comfortable seating. I've sat nearly everywhere at the Kimmel in Philly, and never had this problem. Heck, of all the 15-20 concert halls I've been in within the US, Carnegie was by far the least comfortable.


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2078139 - 05/06/13 05:41 AM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Piano Doug Offline
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Wow, Derulux, your harsh criticism of the seating in Carnegie is surprising to me; I never thought it was that bad. Where were you sitting? wink

(Oh, it's just because I'm a New Yorker and I'm used to crowded places. grin)


Surprising to me too!

Originally Posted by Derulux
Still, I don't think it's too much to ask in this day and age for the hall to be built with comfortable seating. I've sat nearly everywhere at the Kimmel in Philly, and never had this problem. Heck, of all the 15-20 concert halls I've been in within the US, Carnegie was by far the least comfortable.


Carnegie Hall was built in 1891; hardly this day and age. The Kimmel Center opened in 2001, 110 years later.

Originally Posted by Derulux
That place, while steeped in history, should be gutted and rebuilt--airplane seats have more leg room.


Ouch! Carnegie Hall has one of the most acoustically superb performance venues in the world. It is legendary for the warmth and clarity of its sound. To have it "gutted and rebuilt" for greater comfort might risk its most cherished quality.

The main auditorium was renovated in 1986, with the goal of preserving its acoustics and historical architecture. After the renovation, comments began circulating that the sound had been somewhat compromised. After several years, it was discovered that a new concrete slab had been poured under the stage during the renovation. It was removed and the sound was restored to its original state. Carnegie Hall is all about great acoustics.

I agree with you that it is a long, long way up to the upper reaches of the auditorium. Those stairs never seem to end. And, I've experienced a seat or two up there with bad legroom. However, the sound up there, as throughout the hall, is magnificent, and the orchestra and first tiers are very comfortable.

When I think of Carnegie Hall, I think of the many memorable performances I've heard there over several decades. So many great pianists (including Rubenstein's last concert there in 1976). So many great orchestras (Boulez conducting the Staatskapelle Berlin Chorus and Orchestra in Mahler's 8th a few years ago was one of the greatest performances of anything I've ever heard).

Derulux, give Carnegie Hall another chance!

#2078277 - 05/06/13 10:52 AM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Piano Doug]  
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Originally Posted by Piano Doug
Derulux, give Carnegie Hall another chance!

. . . and do NOT come during rush hour!


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#2078282 - 05/06/13 11:06 AM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted by Piano Doug
Carnegie Hall was built in 1891; hardly this day and age. The Kimmel Center opened in 2001, 110 years later.

Two things. First, Carnegie (specifically Stern) was renovated in 1986. Second, even Yankee Stadium was torn down and rebuilt when it no longer fit the times. wink

Quote
I agree with you that it is a long, long way up to the upper reaches of the auditorium. Those stairs never seem to end. And, I've experienced a seat or two up there with bad legroom. However, the sound up there, as throughout the hall, is magnificent, and the orchestra and first tiers are very comfortable.

The sound is magnificent. I don't believe adjusting the seat size/leg room would diminish that. I'm not suggesting to destroy the architecture at all.. just fix the seating.

Quote
Derulux, give Carnegie Hall another chance!

Perhaps. If you, and others, would meet me there before a performance, then perhaps the social atmosphere would outweigh the bruised shins. wink

Originally Posted by LoPresti
. . . and do NOT come during rush hour!

No worries there. I took a train, had lunch in the city, and walked to the hall. I'm no novice to NYC; that's where my family is from. It was just my first experience at Carnegie. smile


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2078346 - 05/06/13 01:24 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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RE the seats:

Severance Hall has the same problem. The orchestra level seating is fine, but the balcony seats are purgatorial.


Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell
#2078365 - 05/06/13 01:41 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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I have heard here and there that Severance Hall has decorative features that are inspired by patterns from somebody's (donor) wedding dress. True?

#2078392 - 05/06/13 02:16 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
He played 3 marvellous encores to calm the excited fans.

Quite a delight. He is an incredible performer and very interesting to watch: remained calm barely cracking a smile despite the adoring audience.



Only three encores? wink

The last time I went to a concert of his (some years ago), he was prepared to play encores non-stop as long as the audience kept up the applause - and he milked it for all it was worth, making the audience work hard for each encore (no matter how short - and most of them were very short). That by itself wouldn't be a problem - I could just leave when I'd had enough. But his main program was so short (barely an hour long) that I got the unpleasant feeling that his encores were 'built-in' to his program. Which was why I stopped going to any more of his concerts. (His robotic bows and unsmiling demeanor didn't put me off in the least grin).

But it looks like his Carnegie Hall program is of decent length, so I may start going again, if his program appeals.


"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."
#2078455 - 05/06/13 04:08 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Derulux]  
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Originally Posted by Derulux
The seats were cramped together and utterly uncomfortable .. I felt more like I was in a prison than a concert hall.

I had that same experience back in 1974 at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. Cramped seats, no leg room, etc. But I too heard a pretty good pianist. I'm trying to recall his name .... oh yes, some Russian guy named Vladimir Horowitz. For some strange reason, I quickly forgot about the cramped seat. smile

#2078517 - 05/06/13 06:34 PM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Old Man]  
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Originally Posted by Old Man
Originally Posted by Derulux
The seats were cramped together and utterly uncomfortable .. I felt more like I was in a prison than a concert hall.

I had that same experience back in 1974 at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. Cramped seats, no leg room, etc. But I too heard a pretty good pianist. I'm trying to recall his name .... oh yes, some Russian guy named Vladimir Horowitz. For some strange reason, I quickly forgot about the cramped seat. smile

That would have been something to see. One of the few pianists that I wish I had seen, but I will never get a chance to see live..


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2078730 - 05/07/13 08:16 AM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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Hank Drake Offline
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
I have heard here and there that Severance Hall has decorative features that are inspired by patterns from somebody's (donor) wedding dress. True?


Yes, that is correct. John and Elizabeth Severance were supporters of the Cleveland Orchestra and primary drivers toward building a permanent home for the orchestra. The initial plans were fairly modest. Early in the construction phase, Elizabeth suddenly passed away. At that point, John donated over one million dollars (a huge sum at the time) and a much grander hall was built in his wife's memory. The auditorium ceiling is decorated with patterns that are based on Elizabeth's wedding dress. A recurring motif throughout the facility is the Lotus Blossom, which was Elizabeth's favorite flower. Here are some pictures from Wikimedia commons.


Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell
#2078773 - 05/07/13 10:06 AM Re: Kissin at carnegie hall [Re: Andromaque]  
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Thanks for the info Hank. I have been to Severance Hall some years ago and thought it was exquisite. Cleveland is very lucky to have their great orchestra and hall. I hope they manage to preserve both (unlike say, Minnesota or Detroit!).

Last edited by Andromaque; 05/07/13 10:07 AM.

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