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Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Brendan] #2284998
06/03/14 01:32 AM
06/03/14 01:32 AM
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Helsinki, Finland
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Originally Posted by Brendan
Back on topic: a source who regularly judges international competitions (Cliburn, Tchaik, Rubinstein, etc.) told me that any competition that has a certain judge who was on this panel (and it's not Kaplinsky) can expect a high degree of...ahem...behind-the-scenes activity.

And no, I won't reveal either the identity of the source or the juror in question.

Quite possibly, I figure what jurors you are talking about. But giving any specifics on things I have been told would reveal identities a bit too easily. On a different topic, going through the jurors I take note that out of 14 jurors, there is a total of 12 dudes and 2 chicks. How wonderful.

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Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285002
06/03/14 01:47 AM
06/03/14 01:47 AM
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Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline OP

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Originally Posted by JoelW
I didn't see "no macros" in the forum rules.

In other forums, "off topic" is not a reason to delete a posting. Usually deletion happens when a member is abusive, political, sexist, bigoted, and just plain nasty. Apparently in Pianist Corner, humor is judged by the moderator, and it is a reason to delete a posting. Yes, the thread had derailed. But the derailment comments were amusing.

When that happens, it is not a forum, it is a fiefdom.

If anyone is interested, my now deleted post dealt with musical variations on the theme of derailment.

(What macros? They were visible photos.)


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: fnork] #2285005
06/03/14 01:56 AM
06/03/14 01:56 AM
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Minnesota Marty Offline OP

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Originally Posted by fnork
Has anyone noticed this? A Fazioli UK agent responds to a not-so-positive blog post on Fazioli's, written in 2012 by Frances Wilson:

http://crosseyedpianist.com/2012/06/19/playing-a-fazioli/

Scroll down for the best part:

Quote
Although this is your personal opinion it is far from the norm and as you yourself are not a professional pianist it does seem rather harsh. You may be interested to note that five of the six finalists at this year’s Rubinstein Competition chose Fazioli over Steinway. Four of the six switched to Fazioli after hearing it played by Ms Mazo in the semi-finals, clearly, as professionals, they hold a different view to you and none of them described the piano as the ‘best digital piano’ (again with hindsight you may find this comment a little aggressive). Further, at Wigmore Hall on Thursday evening, Francesco Piemontesi, told the Artistic Director John Gilhooly, and myself, that the Fazioli piano he had just performed on was the most beautiful piano he had ever played.
Jaques Samuels Pianos

This is a very interesting link.

I would like to emphasize that that the section quoted by fnork was the rebuttal from the Fazioli dealer in London. It is worth reading what he was commenting upon to put it all in perspective.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285006
06/03/14 02:14 AM
06/03/14 02:14 AM
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Thanks for mentioning that, Marty! Just updated my original message, as it wasn't clear enough.

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285018
06/03/14 03:34 AM
06/03/14 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by fnork
Has anyone noticed this? A Fazioli UK agent responds to a not-so-positive blog post on Fazioli's, written in 2012 by Frances Wilson:

http://crosseyedpianist.com/2012/06/19/playing-a-fazioli/

Scroll down for the best part:

Quote
Although this is your personal opinion it is far from the norm and as you yourself are not a professional pianist it does seem rather harsh. You may be interested to note that five of the six finalists at this year’s Rubinstein Competition chose Fazioli over Steinway. Four of the six switched to Fazioli after hearing it played by Ms Mazo in the semi-finals, clearly, as professionals, they hold a different view to you and none of them described the piano as the ‘best digital piano’ (again with hindsight you may find this comment a little aggressive). Further, at Wigmore Hall on Thursday evening, Francesco Piemontesi, told the Artistic Director John Gilhooly, and myself, that the Fazioli piano he had just performed on was the most beautiful piano he had ever played.
Jaques Samuels Pianos

This is a very interesting link.

I would like to emphasize that that the section quoted by fnork was the rebuttal from the Fazioli dealer in London. It is worth reading what he was commenting upon to put it all in perspective.


Getting into arguments with people who say negative things about Fazioli until they back off and say "okay okay Fazioli is great!!!" is a common strategy for Fazioli people, i guess. Very, very classy.

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285023
06/03/14 04:27 AM
06/03/14 04:27 AM
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I believe this article hasn't been shared in this thread, though another thread was dedicated to it. Interview with previous winner Kirill Gerstein - a few excerpts here, and a link to the full interview:

http://slippedisc.com/2014/06/a-rubinstein-winner-on-the-perils-of-finals/

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: fnork] #2285030
06/03/14 04:52 AM
06/03/14 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by fnork
(quote)".....at Wigmore Hall on Thursday evening, Francesco Piemontesi, told the Artistic Director John Gilhooly, and myself, that the Fazioli piano he had just performed on was the most beautiful piano he had ever played."

I heard the live broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and, yes, Piemontesi did rave (through the BBC announcer) about the Fazioli that he asked for, and played at the recital.

I don't know why some people feel the need to put down Fazioli whenever so-and-so chooses to play on one, in preference to Steinway. Personally, I think it's a good thing when concert halls around the world have a good range of the top-tier brands for pianists to play on, as they did in the first half of the 20th century, before Steinway asserted its dominance through various ways.

On CD, I've got the complete Beethoven Sonatas (recorded in the 1960s) played by Wilhelm Backhaus on Bösendorfer, the complete Haydn Sonatas (recorded in the 1970s) played by John McCabe, also on Bösendorfer, several Liszt CDs played by Jorge Bolet on C.Bechstein, several Richter CDs played on Yamaha CF-IIIS, several Earl Wild CDs played on Baldwin and S.Kawai, several Chopin and Beethoven CDs played by Garrick Ohlsson on Mason & Hamlin and Bösendorfer, and so on. It's great to hear a range of different pianos, but sadly only on recordings......until Fazioli came along, and more and more pianists started to gravitate towards it.

Let's hope the trend continues, and that other brands also start making inroads into our concert platforms.


"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: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285297
06/03/14 04:58 PM
06/03/14 04:58 PM
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London UK
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Hello - I am the author of the CrossEyedPianist blog and wrote the piece (in 2012) about playing a Fazioli piano. It was the first one I'd ever played and I was really curious to try one because I'd read so much about them (in particular, a lovely chapter about visiting the Fazioli factory in the book The Piano Shop on the Left Bank). In the two years since I wrote that article, I have played a couple of other Fazioli's and remained largely unconvinced; but I have also heard them in concert and been impressed, most recently when Steven Osborne played Prokofiev, Ravel (Gaspard) and Rachmaninov on one at a London concert.

Of course the UK agent for Fazioli has a right to comment on my blog post - as indeed does anyone - but the tone of his email to me was unnecessarily aggressive and indeed the final paragraph contained a very clear threat. But what hurt the most was his comment that because I am "not a professional pianist" my opinions are worthless.

Because I felt the tone of his email was aggressive, I decided to print his comments to me exactly as they appeared in his message, within the blog post.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion - I have never claimed in my blog that I am "right" or that I know all the answers, because I don't! I blog about pianism and classical music because I love it, and I want to share that love and pleasure with others, and I am more than happy to enter into conversation with my readers.

I am afraid I think the behaviour of this person is symptomatic of the wider problems with the mainstream classical music world in the UK at the moment - driven by money, image, marketing, PR.

But I also agree with the previous commentator that it's refreshing to have another quality piano brand in the picture, thus offering pianists greater choice.

If anyone would like to read my blog post, please use the password piano2014 http://crosseyedpianist.com/2012/06/19/playing-a-fazioli/

(1913 Bechstein Model A)

Last edited by Cross-Eyed Pianist; 06/03/14 04:59 PM.
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Cross-Eyed Pianist] #2285318
06/03/14 06:01 PM
06/03/14 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Cross-Eyed Pianist

But I also agree with the previous commentator that it's refreshing to have another quality piano brand in the picture, thus offering pianists greater choice.


Thanks for that - I'd also played the same Fazioli F156 piano in JS's rehearsal room downstairs (as well as the F278 and F212 that are in the showroom upstairs), and made recordings on it. I also played on the K.Kawai grands in the other practice rooms, and made recordings on them also - to send to friends and relatives.

The F156 is rather mellower and fuller-sounding throughout its range than the K.Kawai's (I've just listened again to the recordings I made), and I don't get the impression that the upper register is too bright at all. But it's all relative to what you're used to, I expect. (In case you're wondering what I played and recorded on those pianos, they included Rachmaninov's G minor and C# minor Preludes, Schumann/Liszt's Widmung, parts of Bach's Goldberg, a couple of Chopin waltzes, Mozart's K330, Ravel's Ondine and my arrangement of the Yellow River Concerto).

I don't know whether you heard the BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Piemontesi's recital (16/12/13 - or 12/16/13 for Yanks wink ) in the Wigmore Hall (Schubert's D960 and Debussy Préludes) - the sound captured by the BBC was spot-on, which isn't always the case for their Monday lunchtime concerts from there, including when the Steinway is played. Of course it also depends on how the pianist plays too, as to whether the sound is overpowering for the intimate surroundings. I've been to a few concerts there, and occasionally felt that it would have been better if a fortepiano (or a period grand like a Pleyel) was being used rather than the house Steinway D...(I've never heard a Fazioli played there before, but have heard Angela Hewitt's Goldberg in the Royal Festival Hall (29/4/09), played on Fazioli F278, and the sound was marvellous from where I was sitting - the BBC also broadcast that concert).


"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: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285325
06/03/14 06:25 PM
06/03/14 06:25 PM
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Thank you, Ms Wilson, for an informative article. The response thereto is not exactly a triumph in public relations. Whether one is a professional pianist, piano teacher, student, listener, piano manufacturer or piano dealer, everyone has a right to express a personal view about an instrument. Any of these folks could be tomorrow's prospect (the last two excepted). Therefore should retailers exercise great caution in how they come across to the public. Best wishes.

Last edited by bkw58; 06/03/14 06:41 PM. Reason: clarity

Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285338
06/03/14 07:00 PM
06/03/14 07:00 PM
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Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline OP

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Wouldn't it be great if all of the piano dealers and company reps came across with the same graciousness as Rich Galassini, Don Mannino, and Bob Snyder!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285342
06/03/14 07:05 PM
06/03/14 07:05 PM
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Conway, AR USA
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Yes, indeed. I once knew a wise piano dealer who wholeheartedly believed that everyone's view about pianos had great value. He proved it time and again with every closed deal.


Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285477
06/04/14 02:14 AM
06/04/14 02:14 AM
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London UK
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I played the Fazioli downstairs in the big rehearsal room at Jacques Samuels, and I have also played a Fazioli 212 at Peregrine's Pianos. I liked the feel of it, but I - and several colleagues who also played it - felt it was hard to control the sound and that its voice was too big for the space. I accept that it's difficult to judge based on perhaps an hour's playing - and pianos at rehearsal rooms are not always set up as nicely as they could be. I am sure I could grow to love a Fazioli if it was set up to my liking. I also played the baby Kawai grand at JSP's and liked it a lot - despite its small size, it had a great sound and touch.

A friend of mine who owns a Fazioli (bought from Jacques Samuels) admitted that his piano is so beautifully engineered and so easy to play that he finds other pianos, including my Bechstein (which is in exceptionally good playing condition, given its age), "very difficult to play". At the end of the day, it's all about personal taste - and we grow to love the piano which we play the most, whether we are professional or amateur (and please see my post here http://crosseyedpianist.com/2014/05/19/masterchef-redefining-amateur/ about the ongoing pro/am debate)

In response to the UK agent's email to me, I amended my blog post, removing the content which he deemed "offensive" and adding his corrections, as he requested. (In fact, the statement "only around 100 pianos are produced each year" was taken from Fazioli's own website, but the agent wanted to clarify that "130 are made annually". Then I wrote a very polite reply, apologising for any offence caused, and explaining that it was not intentional nor intended as a personal slight against Mr Fazioli. To date, I have not had the courtesy of a reply.

Hear my 1913 Bechstein piano in action here https://soundcloud.com/cross-eyedpianist/fur-alina-arvo-part


Last edited by Cross-Eyed Pianist; 06/04/14 02:27 AM.
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Cross-Eyed Pianist] #2285486
06/04/14 02:53 AM
06/04/14 02:53 AM
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New York
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Originally Posted by Cross-Eyed Pianist
....A friend of mine who owns a Fazioli (bought from Jacques Samuels) admitted that his piano is so beautifully engineered and so easy to play that he finds other pianos, including my Bechstein (which is in exceptionally good playing condition, given its age), "very difficult to play"....

First of all, I want to say (and have been looking for an opportunity to say)....While it has been alleged a little bit that on this thread some piano brands have been a bit trashed in the process of praising others, I haven't noticed anything like that, or at least haven't seen it that way. There were various negative things said about both of the available pianos at this competition, but it didn't seem to me like any put-down of the brands.

That said, the above seems implicitly to suggest that other brands perhaps aren't as "beautifully engineered" as Faziolis. While I do think, from my limited experience with Faziolis, that they are beautifully engineered, I have to say that the experience being described here has a very different possible explanation than other brands being less-finely engineered, and I'd guess strongly that the other possible explanation is more likely to be the actual one: Faziolis simply are 'more different' than most other brands.

I've talked about this before in relation to Bosendorfers, especially one particular Bosendorfer that used to be available for concerts in New York. It suited me so well and felt so relatively easy to play that I loved to use it for performances, but felt it would be bad for me to have such a piano as my own because if I got used to it, I'd be "spoiled" and I'd have somewhat of a hard time playing on other pianos. I never felt it meant Bosendorfers were "better" than other top-level brands, but that they were 'more different' than most, in terms of touch and sound production, and that the different-ness happened to suit me. After I played on a couple of Faziolis at an amateur competition a few years ago, I said similar things on here about them (as I mentioned earlier, with links). They didn't suit me as well as the Bosendorfers but I was able to appreciate their special qualities, and also how they, like Bosendorfers, felt far more different than most other makes, and I wondered whether it would be a disadvantage switching to a 'more standard' type of piano if one were used to a Fazioli.

I think that's what Cross-Eyed's friend more likely is experiencing -- not that other brands are particularly less "beautifully engineered," but that his piano is a bit of an outlier among pianos, and so when he tries other pianos, it's little like he's trying a completely different instrument.

But what the heck..... smile as Cross-Eyed does go on to say:

Quote
At the end of the day, it's all about personal taste.

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285578
06/04/14 07:33 AM
06/04/14 07:33 AM
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Conway, AR USA
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Argument over superlatives is subjective. I really like Fazioli. I also really like Hamburg Steinway. Preference for the former over the latter is wholly a matter of personal choice.

Last edited by bkw58; 06/04/14 07:34 AM.

Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285604
06/04/14 08:43 AM
06/04/14 08:43 AM
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How can you like both? They are opposite of each other.

Unlike Yamaha which tries to mimic the Steinway design (not successfully though) Fazioli gets its motivation from its creator's search for the socalled perfect piano sound.

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Hakki] #2285611
06/04/14 09:07 AM
06/04/14 09:07 AM
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Ann Arbor, MI
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Originally Posted by Hakki
How can you like both? They are opposite of each other.

Can one not like both fish and fowl? Meat and broccoli?


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285614
06/04/14 09:14 AM
06/04/14 09:14 AM
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Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline OP

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I really like Fazioli for Mozart concertos.

I really like S&S for the big Romantic concertos.

I really like Kingston for Bach.

It works.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: jazzyprof] #2285618
06/04/14 09:24 AM
06/04/14 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
Originally Posted by Hakki
How can you like both? They are opposite of each other.

Can one not like both fish and fowl? Meat and broccoli?

No.

Chalk and cheese don't mix. (Well, they do, but it's indigestible). 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."
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285642
06/04/14 10:31 AM
06/04/14 10:31 AM
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Conway, AR USA
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I enjoy variety for a variety of reasons.


Bob W.
Piano Technician (Retired since 2006)
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285675
06/04/14 11:30 AM
06/04/14 11:30 AM
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What piano you might want to prefer depends completely on the repertoire.

I prefer Bösendorfer for Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms.

Scarlatti, Haydn, Chopin > Steinway or Fazioli.

Rachmaninoff > Bösendorfer or Steinway.

Mozart, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel > Steinway.

Of course a recital usually contains several composers, then you must make a choice. Generally, while Fazioli would never be my first choice for anything, i prefer a good Bösendorfer over everything else. Some of the best pianos i've played were Bösendorfer Imperials. (But if i had to choose between a bad Steinway, a bad Bösendorfer and a bad Fazioli, i'd choose the bad Steinway because a bad Steinway loses less than a bad Bösendorfer, and a bad Fazioli is just a nightmare)

If i had a recital in the hall where the Rubinstein Competition was held, i would choose the Steinway without a second thought. But i would go with Fazioli for a concerto.

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285905
06/04/14 11:17 PM
06/04/14 11:17 PM
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The Fazioli rep was interviewed during one of the backstage interview sessions (along with the Steinway rep) at the competition and her attitude was a little annoying - "we're the best" kind of thing (unspoken) and Paolo Fazioli had to create a new piano because nothing out there gave him satisfaction. She had the same braggadocio type attitude that upstarts and the nouveau riche have - they feel like the underdog and they have to prove they belong, so they overstate their case. The Steinway rep was much more chill.

But more annoying was (in a different interview session) everyone's agreement that Rubinstein himself could never have won the Rubinstein Competition. And you hear over and over the same sentiment about the great pianists of the 20th century. They never could have won. So....competitions are not quite pointless, but getting there...

Last edited by Eduard Hanslick; 06/04/14 11:20 PM. Reason: beer-drinking
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: fnork] #2285909
06/04/14 11:30 PM
06/04/14 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by fnork
I believe this article hasn't been shared in this thread, though another thread was dedicated to it. Interview with previous winner Kirill Gerstein - a few excerpts here, and a link to the full interview:

http://slippedisc.com/2014/06/a-rubinstein-winner-on-the-perils-of-finals/


Thanks - some interesting things in there. I particularly like hearing that "Marc-André Hamelin told us just a few months ago that he cannot feel much for Copland’s music..." I feel the same way. I like hearing about what music great musicians can't connect to. I also feel this way about Gershwin.

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285910
06/04/14 11:31 PM
06/04/14 11:31 PM
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Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline OP

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Minnesota Marty  Offline OP

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
To add even more overthinking, Kholodenko played the Hamburg C&A throughout the competition until the Prokofiev concerto. Then he switched to the NY C&A. I'm not sure how that fits in but Eduard keeps giving me beer and it seems relevant.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285912
06/04/14 11:36 PM
06/04/14 11:36 PM
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Posts: 752
E
Eduard Hanslick Offline
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Eduard Hanslick  Offline
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Did I accidentally give you beer?? Give it back!!

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2285913
06/04/14 11:38 PM
06/04/14 11:38 PM
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Posts: 752
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Eduard Hanslick Offline
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Eduard Hanslick  Offline
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Joined: May 2013
Posts: 752
I have to admit that the ugly font on the side of the Fazioli always makes me think "cheap." I wish someone had worked harder on that font.

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2292916
06/21/14 09:15 AM
06/21/14 09:15 AM
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Posts: 2
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Pianissimo12 Offline
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Pianissimo12  Offline
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Hi i'm new here. I am not pianist, just an amateur flutist, otherwise a big music lover. I listened to the competition via internet and I also don't agree with the final results, very strange in my opinion. I hope the future will show that the jury was right after all. All these people are very young and will develop on one way or another.
I was also disapointed with some of performances in the first round. It is strange to hear these huge differences between candidates when they're all supposed to have high class competitors for this event. What are your opinions about this? What i wanted to say is that there were (very few but still...) people who literally couldn't play correctly the instrument. It is interesting to know how did jury make the selection....

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Pianissimo12] #2292920
06/21/14 09:23 AM
06/21/14 09:23 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,097
Helsinki, Finland
F
fnork Offline
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fnork  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,097
Helsinki, Finland
Originally Posted by Pianissimo12
It is strange to hear these huge differences between candidates when they're all supposed to have high class competitors for this event. What are your opinions about this? What i wanted to say is that there were (very few but still...) people who literally couldn't play correctly the instrument.

Can you give examples of people who, in your opinion, didn't use the instrument correctly? Not that I'm questioning what you are saying, but I didn't follow it so closely. I do find the level in quite a number of competitions below rather than above my expectations in general - some pianists always stick out, but there is a whole lot of playing that I just couldn't care less about during these events.

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: fnork] #2292927
06/21/14 09:43 AM
06/21/14 09:43 AM
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Posts: 2
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Pianissimo12 Offline
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Pianissimo12  Offline
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i just thought everyone is exploring all kinds of subjects here, so that's how came my question. i forgot the names of these persons, this is why i said there are very few, but it was still strange to me to see a drastic difference. i can look up...

Re: Rubinstein Competition [Re: Minnesota Marty] #2292938
06/21/14 10:39 AM
06/21/14 10:39 AM
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Posts: 3,586
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Hakki Offline
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Fazioli?

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