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I listened for about 60 seconds and had to shut it off. Mediocre Chopin is much worse than mediocre Brahms or Liszt.


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I would definitely add Rachmaninoff to the list, he was all over the place on his recordings! smile

Pylophonist, I couldn't agree more. Some performances on the prelims were really good, but mostly it is a Chopinmassacre difficult to bear. I was really hoping for more.

Last edited by Mati; 04/20/15 02:47 PM.

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Don't forget that is just (really) prelim prelims.

It's a stage that is prior to what is the prelim stage of most competitions.

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I listened to about 10 of them and then I found the whole thing a bit too unbearable.
To be fair I haven't ever listened to absolutely everyone in a first round of such a large competition. I know a few of the people, personally, who are competing.

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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I listened for about 60 seconds and had to shut it off. Mediocre Chopin is much worse than mediocre Brahms or Liszt.


I agree. To be quite honest I usually don't even listen to preliminary rounds, but it has been raining non-stop so I thought I would give it a go just to relax a bit. Not a very good idea I guess.



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I thought the performances I heard were excellent and certainly eons beyond 99+% of PW members.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/20/15 05:02 PM.
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I thought the performances I heard were excellent and certainly eons beyond 99+% of PW members.


Which ones?

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While I was also among those personally surprised that Fei-Fei Dong made the finals of the Cliburn, goodness gracious, it's not her fault the judges made that decision. I enjoyed Deljavan, but the judges heard something else, and I have to say congratulations to Fei-Fei. Best of luck to her in her career.

Also, I've decided to put down my preferences when listening and just enjoy what I can and take what I can. If something is memorable, it will stick. If not, well, it'll go in one ear and out the other. smile

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Originally Posted by Incongruous
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I thought the performances I heard were excellent and certainly eons beyond 99+% of PW members.


Which ones?
The only specific one I can remember is George Li who been discussed quite a lot at PW in the past. He did have 4 or 5 really glaring missed notes but I thought otherwise he was terrific. I will be interested to know if he gets past this round.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Incongruous
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I thought the performances I heard were excellent and certainly eons beyond 99+% of PW members.


Which ones?
The only specific one I can remember is George Li who been discussed quite a lot at PW in the past. He did have 4 or 5 really glaring missed notes but I thought otherwise he was terrific. I will be interested to know if he gets past this round.
I actually thought his performance was a bit of a miss. But again that is only my opinion

Last edited by Incongruous; 04/20/15 05:59 PM.
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From the ones I have heard some were really good, but it is true that when they have to select 80 from this lot, many will be quite mediocre. But what else would be expected? These are young people and hardly can be compared to some mature pianists.

I do feel sorry for the jury though, they have to listen to every one of them...and it's the same etudes over and over again...

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Originally Posted by outo
....I do feel sorry for the jury though, they have to listen to every one of them...and it's the same etudes over and over again...

I'd guess they that approach the whole thing differently than we might think. I base it on my experiences in amateur competitions, including the Chopin competition in Warsaw.

First of all, they love Chopin, need I say -- which you might think would make them more prone to be bored and worse by less-than-scintillating performances. grin

But, not only do they love Chopin, they love helping to perpetuate the playing of Chopin, they love excellent and stylistically excellent playing of Chopin (I sometimes call it "the real Polish way" but of course that's a simplification) -- and they love helping more and more people to "get it" and then to be able to contribute to its perpetuation. I don't think most of them become judges in this competition just to judge a competition and pick great winners. I think they feel like every 4 years they're starting sort of a chain letter to foster and perpetuate excellent playing of Chopin.

However we might judge these contestants, look: They're all excellent young pianists. Many or most of them will spend much of their life performing and playing and teaching piano, including Chopin, a composer they love enough to have entered this competition, and some of them will probably be important pianists. This event gives the judges an opportunity to hear these dozens of future ambassadors for the sustenance of the memory and tradition of Chopin, and for them to help these future ambassadors be more excellent. I think that the listening to all these contestants is, in addition to the obvious things, a sort of "taking stock" of them, and thinking about how to advise them toward their further development -- and that they love it dearly.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by outo
....I do feel sorry for the jury though, they have to listen to every one of them...and it's the same etudes over and over again...

I'd guess they that approach the whole thing differently than we might think. I base it on my experiences in amateur competitions, including the Chopin competition in Warsaw.

First of all, they love Chopin, need I say -- which you might think would make them more prone to be bored and worse by less-than-scintillating performances. grin

But, not only do they love Chopin, they love helping to perpetuate the playing of Chopin, they love excellent and stylistically excellent playing of Chopin (I sometimes call it "the real Polish way" but of course that's a simplification) -- and they love helping more and more people to "get it" and then to be able to contribute to its perpetuation. I don't think most of them become judges in this competition just to judge a competition and pick great winners. I think they feel like every 4 years they're starting sort of a chain letter to foster and perpetuate excellent playing of Chopin.

However we might judge these contestants, look: They're all excellent young pianists. Many or most of them will spend much of their life performing and playing and teaching piano, including Chopin, a composer they love enough to have entered this competition, and some of them will probably be important pianists. This event gives the judges an opportunity to hear these dozens of future ambassadors for the sustenance of the memory and tradition of Chopin, and for them to help these future ambassadors be more excellent. I think that the listening to all these contestants is, in addition to the obvious things, a sort of "taking stock" of them, and thinking about how to advise them toward their further development -- and that they love it dearly.


You must be right. Besides they have the opportunity to hear this at the spot, not just through internet.

But I must say that the live streaming is excellent quality. I have a computer hooked to a tv and hifi equipment and it's amazing how different all the contestants sound on just those two pianos. It's also very interesting to see all the different ways people play, maybe even learn something...

I always like to watch the first rounds more because of the variety, I have never been much interested in who wins and who doesn't...one reason why I don't care for sports.

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From the competition website:

"The basis for the ratings of the Qualification Commission were video recordings sent in by candidates.
The Commission heard 445 presentations containing the program for the first round of the main Competition."



The preliminary round mainly serves the purpose of seeing how well the candidate can handle the stressful environment of a competition, as well as how well can he/she project the sound and his/her feelings to the jury, taking into account the acoustics of the hall and the sound of the piano.

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Have you guys thought why there is an International Chopin Competition but not an International Czerny Competition? Carl Czerny wrote up to op. 1000, besides of etudes he wrote also sonatas and piano concertos and many other things. Some of his compositions are really beautiful! Poor Czerny!

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Speaking of Chopin etudes in Chopin Competition: if you make any alternations like move some notes from right hand to left or vice versa, you will be automatically out. Is this true or legend?

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I don't think so in general, but obviously it depends ... A lot of candidates are using the left hand in 2 bars of the thirds etude (the A major descending scale, a popular rearrangement but not from Chopin). No big deal.
But if you cheat in the opus 10 n°1, this is another story in my opinion.

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Originally Posted by outo
From the ones I have heard some were really good, but it is true that when they have to select 80 from this lot, many will be quite mediocre. But what else would be expected? These are young people and hardly can be compared to some mature pianists.
The judges are selecting 80 of the best of the best 1000s of young conservatory pianists in the world...hardly mediocre unless one starts comparing the contestants to the greatest pianists in history. If you imagine selecting the top 20 conservatories in the world and choosing 4 pianists from each, I think they'd all be quite sensational.

As far as not being comparable to mature pianists, that may be true for some of the contestants, but the finalists in every Chopin competition have been among the great pianists in the world at that time.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/21/15 07:37 AM.
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
But, not only do they love Chopin, they love helping to perpetuate the playing of Chopin, they love excellent and stylistically excellent playing of Chopin (I sometimes call it "the real Polish way" but of course that's a simplification) -- and they love helping more and more people to "get it" and then to be able to contribute to its perpetuation. I don't think most of them become judges in this competition just to judge a competition and pick great winners. I think they feel like every 4 years they're starting sort of a chain letter to foster and perpetuate excellent playing of Chopin.
Each contestant gets a significant amount of feedback from the judges?

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Each contestant gets a significant amount of feedback from the judges?

You're right to raise the question. I don't know but I'm figuring a lot of them do. While I haven't known specifically that it does happen at this event, I've read and heard that it does happen at other major competitions, and it certainly did happen at the amateur editions of this event -- with an apparent emphasis and aim along the lines of what I said.

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