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Which is most important ... #2335397 10/08/14 04:51 PM
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pianoloverus Online Content OP
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the composer, the music, the pianist, or the audience?

I was reading an interview with the Scottish pianist Stephen Osborne, and he mentioned that one of his interesting teachers would often ask provocative questions like that.

Now I would agree the question is quite vague, but please don't respond with "it depends on what you mean by...". Please choose
whatever interpretation of the question or words you want, tell us what you chose, and then give us your answer.

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Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335399 10/08/14 04:56 PM
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The music.

Re: Which is most important ... [Re: JoelW] #2335402 10/08/14 05:00 PM
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pianoloverus Online Content OP
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Originally Posted by JoelW
The music.
Because?

Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335406 10/08/14 05:07 PM
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The composer...without a composer there is no music.

Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335408 10/08/14 05:09 PM
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It's like asking "is the chef or the food more important?" The FOOD! grin

Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335415 10/08/14 05:41 PM
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Music, composer, pianist, audience. In that order.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335422 10/08/14 06:12 PM
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This is a great question in that it invokes discussion. But I can't take any actual answer, in the form of a list, seriously.

For me, I used to hold the composer's art far above the performer's. Now I'm not sure. The performer brings physicality to the process: the brain's control of the body, the subtlety of carefully controlled motor movements. Pianists face the mind-body problem as dancers and athletes do, and there is a special kind of depth there. You can spend a lifetime coloring a C major scale. Think also in terms of information representation: An XML file can represent a Beethoven sonata score in mere kilobytes; a CD recording takes thousands of times the number of bits. And that's on a CD, which is not lossless; maybe a real-life performance would take orders of magnitudes higher still.

Of course, there are solid arguments for the composer's importance too, which are obvious.

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335423 10/08/14 06:14 PM
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There's only one answer.

When you improvise for yourself, you're all of them. Therefore they're all equally important, because they're all one. You, yourself.


"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: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335444 10/08/14 07:31 PM
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I had a good discussion with a friend about following the score, etc.etc. One of those discussions.

We eventually concluded that musical just doesn't work without the music, the composer, the audience, and the performer, and it's a symbiotic relationship between the four which ultimately matters. Each needs to be considered in the whole process, otherwise it ultimately doesn't work out.


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

Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335451 10/08/14 07:46 PM
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Music is for its listeners, so I'll say audience first then music.

A piece needs its one unique composer to exist, then once written, any number of performers can bring it to life. The performer is necessary but is more replaceable than the composer, so composer is third and performer fourth.

But a performer just playing for himself/herself is also the audience smile


Heather W. Reichgott, piano

Working on:
Beethoven - Diabelli Variations Op. 120
Beethoven/Liszt - Symphony no. 7
Tommy (whole show)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335546 10/09/14 05:49 AM
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Pianist first... or an ipod.
Audience second.. you need one, period.
Composer third because most audiences go to listen the "idea" of a composer... most of my non musical friends are like.. Beethoven was an angry A-hole, Chopin is so soothing, Mozart is so... too many notes.. Bach is the father of music... but what does really mean? Dv...#$%@@# what?
Music, needs to connect with the audience, sometimes to give them what they want, sometimes to shock them.

Because at the end of the day... when I have somebody at home, the discussion never starts... I was really thinking about a bagatelle, I prefer Beethoven ones compared to Chopin and I see.. you have a nice hifi and a piano, I'd rather listen to it live instead of a recording but usually it does go in the opposite way.

Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335682 10/09/14 06:23 PM
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If the pianist isn't at odds with the music: heck.
If the pianist isn't at odds with the composer: heck.
If the composer isn't at odds with the piano: heck.
If the composer knows how to write for a good pianist who has a good instrument: bliss.
If the audience like the music, thus the composer, and the pianist, thus the instrument: bliss.
If the music, the pianist and the instrument are good, but the audience still doesn't like it: acoustics/bad taste, seats?
If a pianist plays a masterpiece by a great composer very well on a great instrument at a great venue and everyone is happy, that's the magic mix: on such, very rare, occasions it doesn't matter who wrote the music, who played it, where it was, who was there: it was just a glimpse of heaven on earth, and that is what all performers/audiences/composers should live for to experience (as much as they possibly can).


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: Which is most important ... [Re: dolce sfogato] #2335684 10/09/14 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
If a pianist plays a masterpiece by a great composer very well on a great instrument at a great venue and everyone is happy, that's the magic mix: on such, very rare, occasions it doesn't matter who wrote the music, who played it, where it was, who was there: it was just a glimpse of heaven on earth, and that is what all performers/audiences/composers should live for to experience (as much as they possibly can).


I wish I could bottle this!


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Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335716 10/09/14 08:28 PM
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It's a chain. The most important link is the weakest one.


-- J.S.

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Re: Which is most important ... [Re: Polyphonist] #2335833 10/10/14 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Music, composer, pianist, audience. In that order.


This is why interest in classical music is declining. We put the audience in last place and wonder why they don't want to show up.

I would suggest:

Audience, Music, Pianist, Composer. In that order.


"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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Re: Which is most important ... [Re: Kreisler] #2335841 10/10/14 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Kreisler

Audience, Music, Pianist, Composer. In that order.

The enjoyment of music (and if it isn't enjoyable why bother?) is in the mind of the beholder. What was the first music, was it some primitive man grunting or howling or banging a stick on a log rhythmically? Would you consider a wolf's howling music? We listen to music because it entertains us in some way. We play music to provide that entertainment to ourselves and others. Thus the pianist is as much a part of the audience as anyone. Ned Rorem once remarked that he composed music because "No one else is writing music I want to listen to." This comment indicates that the composer is also part of the audience and as a composer I agree with that sentiment.

Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335848 10/10/14 08:53 AM
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Here's my take on it.

If you liken music to a product as well as an experience then the answers could possibly be different as you could argue that supply and demand could have a bearing.

If, like now for example, there is such a plethora of music on top then it outweighs the numerical numbers of the audience by quite a bit (so music is ahead in importance if only by numbers). Yet if the supply of music as a product was restricted or limited then it would gain more and more attention from the starved audience and then the audience would be more important and so would the originating composer and subsequent performer.

As an experience though, they all have a symbiotic relationship even if they are all one entity and therefore of equal importance as to lose any of them, the end result would fail somehow.


'The piano ain't go no wrong notes - Thelonious Monk' - though I seem to find them all the time!
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Re: Which is most important ... [Re: Steve Chandler] #2335865 10/10/14 09:56 AM
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Great points! Maybe we should just say that what's most important is the listening.

Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
Originally Posted by Kreisler

Audience, Music, Pianist, Composer. In that order.

The enjoyment of music (and if it isn't enjoyable why bother?) is in the mind of the beholder. What was the first music, was it some primitive man grunting or howling or banging a stick on a log rhythmically? Would you consider a wolf's howling music? We listen to music because it entertains us in some way. We play music to provide that entertainment to ourselves and others. Thus the pianist is as much a part of the audience as anyone. Ned Rorem once remarked that he composed music because "No one else is writing music I want to listen to." This comment indicates that the composer is also part of the audience and as a composer I agree with that sentiment.


"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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Re: Which is most important ... [Re: Kreisler] #2335885 10/10/14 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Audience, Music, Pianist, Composer. In that order.

If the audience is more important than the music and the pianist is more important than the composer, than why don't we just do a juggling act for the audience instead? Or perhaps some tightrope walking?

Also, the audience is not in "last place" necessarily, because there are more than just four factors at work.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Which is most important ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2335945 10/10/14 01:49 PM
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Not that difficult a question: it's always the audience. The other 3 only exist to serve the audience. And I'm using the word "audience" in its broadest sense, to mean the listener. So even if a composer creates music but never notates it, or disseminates it, he is still writing for his audience: namely, himself. The composer, the performer, or the so-called "audience", all comprise "the audience".

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