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Originally Posted by phantomFive
ok, here is my list of questionable selections from the article. Are these pianists enough to push Lhevinne, Cortot, Leschetizky, Van Cliburn, et al off the list?

Originally Posted by article

Mitsuko Uchida
Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Maria Joao Pires
John Ogdon
Stephen Hough
Myra Hess
Alfred Brendel
Daniel Barenboim
Leif Ove Andsnes
Vladimir Ashkenazy


These of course are all very talented, but does anyone else (other than the author) think they belong on the list above someone like Liberace?

Yes, they are all a zillion times better than Liberace. You only have to listen to them.


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Originally Posted by bennevis

Yes, they are all a zillion times better than Liberace. You only have to listen to them.

smile


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Liberace made more money than any of them and was an infinitely weaker pianist but a great showman. One could question Paderewski had a weak technique but was still widely admired even by his peers. Victor Borge and Dudley Moore also made a career playing the piano but were by no means 'gifted'.

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Originally Posted by kbrod1
Liberace made more money than any of them and was an infinitely weaker pianist but a great showman. One could question Paderewski had a weak technique but was still widely admired even by his peers.....

.....and I'd say Paderewski belongs on the list. I just forgot him.

Paderewski belongs for a similar reason (broadly similar) to why Cliburn belongs -- and I'd say also why arguably Liberace does too, if we don't disqualify him simply because he wasn't really "classical" (not really). "Greatness" isn't necessarily the same as "better than" or "how good." Greatness can involve other aspects. By the same token, someone could be terrific -- even maybe the finest pianist who ever lived -- but if he/she for whatever reason never made any mark, to me they wouldn't rank high on the greatness scale.

Remember, this thread doesn't say "best." It says Greatest. To me there's no doubt that Paderewski and Cliburn were among the greatest pianists of the 20th century.

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Originally Posted by ghosthand
This ranking is not a very good idea.



I agree. And not only that, it says something not very flattering about the Classic FM station.

But, on the other hand, stupid rankings are big in this forum, and people love to use them as a basis for arguing for or against...well, something or another. To me, they are much like the ranty discussions and arguments about sports or politics involving half-drunk people down at the pub - pretty much useless except for the purpose of venting opinion, and often not terribly well thought out. But they can be an amusing way to pass the time, if you are in the mood (and half-drunk).

I'm beginning to wonder if humans are somehow hardwired to do this, it is so common in many areas of life.

If I'm feeling very generous (especially towards those who don't agree with MY sense of what is "great" laugh ), I can see the ones here as part of the process of a culture determining and reinforcing its values, what matters to it. The trouble with doing that is that the results can make me feel kind of depressed and pessimistic about the state of classical music.



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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by ghosthand
This ranking is not a very good idea.



I agree. And not only that, it says something not very flattering about the Classic FM station.

But, on the other hand, stupid rankings are big in this forum, and people love to use them as a basis for arguing for or against...well, something or another. To me, they are much like the ranty discussions and arguments about sports or politics involving half-drunk people down at the pub - pretty much useless except for the purpose of venting opinion, and often not terribly well thought out. But they can be an amusing way to pass the time, if you are in the mood (and half-drunk).

I just find it something fun to talk about in a non-serious way. I don't need to be serious all the time.


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Ranking has been done in classical music since its beginning. Sometimes there may not be an list, but every age has had its favorite pianists, whether that be for critics or the public. Beethoven was considered one of the greatest pianists of his time which is no different from saying he would be near the top of some ranking list. With few exceptions, pianists performing regularly at Carnegie Hall are excellent pianists. (The fact that some very excellent pianists don't perform at CH is no contradiction...it's just that there are an oversupply of great pianists.)

Although there will never be complete agreement on some ranking list, I think there also tends to be a fair amount of agreement among knowledgeable people. For example, many would put pianists like Rachmaninov, Rubinstein, and Horowitz on the list. Some think that the quality of a musical performance is totally subjective, but I definitely don't agree.

Almost everything on the planet is subject to ranking...athletes, restaurants, visual artists, composers, cars, everything in Consumer Reports, colleges, etc. etc.

I think ranking is so pervasive that it's only natural. In terms of pianist rankings it can make for interesting discussion.

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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by ghosthand
This ranking is not a very good idea.



I agree. And not only that, it says something not very flattering about the Classic FM station.



Am I missing something, or are some people here missing something?

(Answer: I'm not missing something grin).

I don't think much of the CFM list - as I said, the presenters at that station aren't even classical experts - but they didn't rank the 25 pianists. They just listed them in alphabetical order.

Unlike the VC Amateur Competition........


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There is indeed a difference between "greatest" and "best". The best are not necessarily the most well known and only the most famous ones tend to end up on these lists. Geographical differences also play a part, in the older days pianists were famous where they toured rather than everywhere in the world. Those who made it in the largest markets are usually the ones on these lists.

I personally am not very interested in whether someone is famous or not, but rather how good they are in playing certain music. I would guess that most people like pianists that play their favorite music well. And no pianist has played everything. I think the only benefit of lists like this is that there might be someone still unknown there that is worth exploring. Unfortunately for the mentally lazy they tend to limit the interest to explore further, resulting in a erroneous idea that these really are the best and the only one's worth to listen to.

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Originally Posted by phantomFive

Originally Posted by article

Mitsuko Uchida
Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Maria Joao Pires
John Ogdon
Stephen Hough
Myra Hess
Alfred Brendel
Daniel Barenboim
Leif Ove Andsnes
Vladimir Ashkenazy



I'm still wondering if anyone thinks these people (who are very skilled) should be in the top 25.


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Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by phantomFive

Originally Posted by article

Mitsuko Uchida
Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Maria Joao Pires
John Ogdon
Stephen Hough
Myra Hess
Alfred Brendel
Daniel Barenboim
Leif Ove Andsnes
Vladimir Ashkenazy



I'm still wondering if anyone thinks these people (who are very skilled) should be in the top 25.


A couple probably would make my top 25 list (if I bothered to make one), especially since I include also more recent music (mid 20th century and later) into the equation. The later pianists have a broader in style repertoire than the more "ancient" ones.

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Originally Posted by outo
There is indeed a difference between "greatest" and "best".
For you perhaps, but I doubt this for the huge majority of others. For most people, I think "greatest" and "best" are considered synonyms if used as an adjective before "pianists".

Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/06/16 08:34 AM.
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by outo
There is indeed a difference between "greatest" and "best".
For you perhaps, but I doubt this for the huge majority of others. For most people, I think "greatest" and "best" are considered synonyms if used as an adjective before "pianists".


You are right. Most people don't think much about definitions of such concepts, so can use them freely as they please. Unfortunately the ability to such simplified usage was whipped from my mind by scientific training frown

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Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by outo
There is indeed a difference between "greatest" and "best".
For you perhaps, but I doubt this for the huge majority of others. For most people, I think "greatest" and "best" are considered synonyms if used as an adjective before "pianists".


You are right. Most people don't think much about definitions of such concepts, so can use them freely as they please. Unfortunately the ability to such simplified usage was whipped from my mind by scientific training frown
Or perhaps you're overthinking the meaning of words. It sounds to me like your comment assumes as a given that most people are lacking or not thoughtful enough in their usage of words.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by outo
There is indeed a difference between "greatest" and "best".
For you perhaps, but I doubt this for the huge majority of others. For most people, I think "greatest" and "best" are considered synonyms if used as an adjective before "pianists".


You are right. Most people don't think much about definitions of such concepts, so can use them freely as they please. Unfortunately the ability to such simplified usage was whipped from my mind by scientific training frown
Or perhaps you're overthinking the meaning of words. It sounds to me like your comment assumes as a given that most people are lacking or not thoughtful enough in their usage of words.


You are not totally wrong. I would only remove the word enough. It's just an observation without value judgement...I often do have an unnecessarily complicated view on things. I do understand that it is fun for many people to have arguments without even agreeing on what exactly they are talking about and with no goal to ever agree on anything. I just don't think it's very useful. I guess when one gets older one thinks time should always be used in a somewhat useful way. So don't mind me smile

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Originally Posted by ghosthand
This ranking is not a very good idea.

The world is full of competition and the more competitions, the more opponents we create, the more destructivity and hostility we create - even in places where it is HIGHLY UNNECESSARY.


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Originally Posted by SiFi
Classic FM's 25 Greatest Pianists Of All Time. I'm sure we all agree about Lang Lang, yes? The very same Lang Lang who hawks his own unique fragrance?


I am not a Lang Lang fan, but I fail to see why the fact he has interests and activities outside piano playing (don't we all?) should have any bearing on how good he is perceived to be as a musician.

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Originally Posted by slipperykeys
I am not a Lang Lang fan, but I fail to see why the fact he has interests and activities outside piano playing (don't we all?) should have any bearing on how good he is perceived to be as a musician.

It isn't really. I'm sure that was just a tongue-in-cheek extra thing about him, to be funny.
As I indicated, while I wouldn't have him on my "25," I would have him on the list if it were a bit longer, but I think the criticisms are well justified -- and I do think the fragrance thing was funny. smile

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1) Chopin
2) Everyone else in categories

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Originally Posted by JoelW
1) Chopin
2) Everyone else in categories

Not Beethoven or Mozart?


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