Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.5 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!


SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Virtual Sheet Music
Download Sheet Music Instantly
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Sheet Music...
(125ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Modern Piano Moving
Modern Piano Moving
(ad)
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Spring 2017
(ad)
Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restorations and sales
Who's Online Now
60 registered members (agraffe, AprilE, Bachus, Beakybird, al reds, 17curleyj, 13 invisible), 1,622 guests, and 5 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#2213747 - 01/13/14 12:49 AM Rachmaninoff's playing  
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 851
Bech Offline
500 Post Club Member
Bech  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 851
Indiana
I am presently reading a biography of Rachmaninoff and have come to the part where they mention his large hands and that he played with great definition and clarity.

I have heard very little of his playing but now, after reading this article about him, I plan to spend more time listening to his recordings.

How would some of you characterize his playing? Was he much better than most people think?

Too: Could some of you suggest to me some of his better quality recordings?

Bech

Last edited by Bech; 01/13/14 12:51 AM.

Music. One of man's greatest inventions. And...for me, the piano expresses it best.
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2213763 - 01/13/14 01:33 AM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: Bech]  
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 920
MarkH Offline
500 Post Club Member
MarkH  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 920
Seattle, WA
Some of the best:






#2213786 - 01/13/14 03:49 AM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: Bech]  
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,342
phantomFive Online content
3000 Post Club Member
phantomFive  Online Content
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,342
California
IMO he was a top pianist in the same class (and style!) as Horowitz.


Poetry is rhythm
#2213788 - 01/13/14 03:52 AM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: Bech]  
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,342
phantomFive Online content
3000 Post Club Member
phantomFive  Online Content
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,342
California
Incidentally, what was considered the ideal hand for piano has changed over time. Josef Lhévinne lamented that he didn't have nice, fat fingers (like Rubenstein). When Prokofiev was young, his teacher said his fingers were too long to play well.

The hand matters less than the mind that wields it.


Poetry is rhythm
(ad ) MusicNotes.com
sheet music search
#2213792 - 01/13/14 04:01 AM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: Bech]  
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 62
square-39 Offline
Full Member
square-39  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 62
Rachmaninoff made a recording of Chopin's op. 9, no. 2 nocturne, that is the best I have ever heard. With all of his skill, he was able to play this (some would say) simple piece with masterful taste and restraint.

#2213871 - 01/13/14 09:50 AM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: Bech]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,269
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
pianoloverus  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,269
New York City
Several years ago a British music magazine asked 100 of the world's leading pianists to list their three greatest pianists of all time. When the results were tallied Rachmaninov was number one.

#2213928 - 01/13/14 11:42 AM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: pianoloverus]  
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 643
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member
Chopinlover49  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 643
I remember about eight or ten years ago that Classical Music magazine (think that's the correct name, not sure) did a story rating the greatest pianists of the recorded era and they chose Richter first, Rubinstein second, Horowitz third, I think. Rachmaninoff was further down the list. I have heard every recording he made that is on cd and I feel he is a very good pianist, but like many of the "golden" era, he was not always as true to the composer as some of the more modern pianists. In terms of virtuosity, he did not show off and seemed to have the chops, but at one point he quit playing his own third concerto because he said Horowitz's performances were so much better. (Age may also have been a factor.) With a lot of other performers of his era, recording techniques were not great and his live performances may have been much better than the recorded ones. Who knows? How did Liszt sound? No one today will ever know. As to his large hands, I think he has made our work hard for us in his compositions because of those huge hands. I think they are an advantage, but not the only advantage. He was a world-class artist, even if maybe not the very top one of his era. (Just my opinion based on recordings I have heard.) Great, great composer, however. Too bad he had to turn away from composition more and more to make a living as a pianist.

#2213970 - 01/13/14 01:35 PM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: Chopinlover49]  
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 920
MarkH Offline
500 Post Club Member
MarkH  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 920
Seattle, WA
Originally Posted by Chopinlover49
...but like many of the "golden" era, he was not always as true to the composer as some of the more modern pianists.


Part of the joy of listening to great performers from a different era is to recognize how performance practices change. To imply that not being "true to the composer" makes Rachmaninoff less great is to miss the point, IMO. Along with a less rigid adherence to the score, players from his era inserted much more creativity and individuality into their playing. And, based on written accounts we have of great composers playing (eg. Beethoven), their playing was described similarly. Perhaps our current fascination with playing exactly what the score decrees and nothing more isn't necessarily the ideal approach?

#2213977 - 01/13/14 01:52 PM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: Bech]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,269
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
pianoloverus  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,269
New York City
My impression is that, for his time, Rachmaninov was far more modern(in the sense of following the score) than many pianists of his day. Also, less extreme in his interpretive choices than some other pianists like Paderewski, Hoffman, de Pachman(who was admittedly 20 years older).

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/13/14 01:58 PM.
#2213987 - 01/13/14 02:18 PM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: Bech]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 3,576
Hakki Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Hakki  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 3,576

#2214072 - 01/13/14 05:46 PM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: MarkH]  
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 335
ScriabinAddict Offline
Full Member
ScriabinAddict  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 335
Originally Posted by MarkH
Perhaps our current fascination with playing exactly what the score decrees and nothing more isn't necessarily the ideal approach?
+1000000

#2214087 - 01/13/14 06:13 PM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: ScriabinAddict]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,269
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
pianoloverus  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,269
New York City
Originally Posted by ScriabinAddict
Originally Posted by MarkH
Perhaps our current fascination with playing exactly what the score decrees and nothing more isn't necessarily the ideal approach?
+1000000
Or maybe playing what's in the score still allows for a huge variety of different interpretations. After all, I think most of the great pianists in the last 50+ years played mostly(enough so all but the super literalists wouldn't complain) what's in the score.

An example from just the opening measures of Beethoven's PC 4:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZGiGMCiB3k

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/13/14 06:16 PM.
#2214553 - 01/14/14 01:10 PM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: Bech]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 359
doctor S Offline
Full Member
doctor S  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 359
Western PA
Random thoughts: Rachmaninoff extolled Anton Rubinstein (who sometimes played inaccurately): yet Rachmaninoff's (unedited) recordings seem as perfect as the most modern (mostly edited). Rubinstein's inaccuracy was attributed to his large hands and broad fingers (my father had the same problem...his fingers literally stuck between the keys!) Rach asked Rubinstein the secret of his great tone; the reply was "Press until your fingers bleed". Some rankings place Rach as #1 (as do I). One source said he could span up to a 14th! Amazing that he could achieve such speed, delicacy, and accuracy, with such large hands. But his musicality, the line, the "vox humana", was so superior that I prefer his playing even on the sonically-awful 20's acoustic recordings. The 2 "Window in Time" re-engineered piano roll recordings are also quite good (with the advantage of perfect piano sound). The newest "re-engineered" reproducing piano recordings with the original acoustic recordings as source, are not quite as convincing (but still better than the original unimproved Ampico reproducing piano recordings). Rachmaninoff's touch was unequalled, in my opinion, and only "hearable" on direct audio recordings. But his rhythm, tonal emphasis, and overall sweep, are still evident in the best reproducing piano recordings (even a part of the best is still very good!)


"I will hear in Heaven." Beethoven
#2228964 - 02/10/14 01:01 PM Re: Rachmaninoff's playing [Re: Bech]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 359
doctor S Offline
Full Member
doctor S  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 359
Western PA
More reminscenses: I believe it was Abram Chasins, who was visiting Rachmaninoff's home (perhaps the apartment in the Garden of Allah in Hollywood, CA?), and as he approached, still outside, he could not recognize the music being practiced. I turned out to be something he knew well, but it was so agonizingly slow, that the clever Chasins was baffled. Rachmaninoff could have ripped off any new tune at lightning speed, by sight or by ear, well enough and fast enough to dazzle anyone but God. Something he already knew, likely for 50 years, he rewelded into his brain and fingers because that is the level of perfection he wanted: the technique of Lhevinne and Hoffman, with the hands of Michael Jordan. A movie-star neighbor complained about the noise once, and I don't think because the star was selfish or a musical ignoramus. REAL practicing is no fun to listen to, no matter who is doing it.


"I will hear in Heaven." Beethoven

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Piano Acc. & Gift Items in
Piano World's Online Store
In PianoSupplies.com ,(a division of Piano World) our online store for piano and music gifts and accessories, party goods, tuning equipment, piano moving equipment, benches, lamps Caster Cups and more.


Free Shipping on Jansen Artist Piano Benches
ad
Pierce Piano Atlas


(ad)
Pianoteq
Grotrian Concert
Royal
for Pianoteq out now
What's Hot!!
Why Do You Play The Piano?
-------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
-------------------
Piano Classified Ads
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Kawai KS-5F
by maki6664. 05/29/17 08:37 PM
Acousticsamples C7 $49
by bsntn99. 05/29/17 06:03 PM
Help with big chords in Liszt Mephisto Waltz no.1
by LawlAoux. 05/29/17 04:49 PM
Steinway competitor
by BruceD. 05/29/17 04:32 PM
Worst last notes of a piece to miss
by pianoloverus. 05/29/17 04:22 PM
(ad)
Sheet Music Plus
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Report Problems With New Forums
Report Problems with New Forums Here!
Forum Statistics
Forums44
Topics179,964
Posts2,631,101
Members87,925
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2017 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0