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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If he recorded it late in life the evaluation of his technique is probably true. But for much of his life he had major virtuoso technique according to almost every review and the opinion of other pianists. In fact, early in his career, he modelled his playing after Tausig.

For the first 2/3 of his career, most reviews by critics and very important pianists of the day were highly complementary. The book I mentioned in my OP has hundreds of highly positive reviews. They often said something to the effect that "one can overlook his antics because his playing is so terrific"....

A teacher in the music department at my college (years ago) -- not a professional pianist but an excellent one, who played very much in this old old style (well-known guy -- OK, let's give him a name: Donald Grout) -- had heard Pachmann in his somewhat earlier years, and said much the same. I asked him particularly about Pachmann's technique because of what I had heard in the recordings and what I'd seen written about them.

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I think it's important to keep in mind that DP's eccentric style was really not so eccentric, within the framework of his time. If you hear other early pianists, they all exhibit that extra degree of expressive playing and don't follow the rigorous, politically correct approach which began to be applied after WWII

Liszt himself said

"There is in art a pernicious offense, of which most of us are guilty through carelessness and fickleness; I would like to call it the Pilate offense, the Classical Way of doing and playing things, which have become the fashion in recent years, and which ON THE WHOLE may be regarded as an improvement of our musical state of things, hide many a one this fault, without eradicating it, more could be said on this point but it would be going too far"

He also hated Conservatories with a vengeance and would become visibly furious when he heard 'conservatory playing', probably because of the above reason.

So what to many people appears to be technical lacking or crazyness was probably just a combination of the much looser standards in terms of being 'politically correct', as I mentioned, and also the de facto effect that recording music has on the interpretation.. many fine details of the moods and meaning of the music are lost on all but the best music reproducers (recording equipment and stereos)

Last edited by acortot; 10/22/16 12:48 PM.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C

A teacher in the music department at my college [...] well-known guy -- OK, let's give him a name: Donald Grout -- had heard Pachmann in his somewhat earlier years, and said much the same. I asked him particularly about Pachmann's technique because of what I had heard in the recordings and what I'd seen written about them.

WOW Mark, you knew Donald Grout! His 'History of Western Music' was -of course- a standard text book in the US, though even in my studies in the UK, we often consulted it for reference.


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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by Mark_C

A teacher in the music department at my college [...] well-known guy -- OK, let's give him a name: Donald Grout -- had heard Pachmann in his somewhat earlier years, and said much the same. I asked him particularly about Pachmann's technique because of what I had heard in the recordings and what I'd seen written about them.

WOW Mark, you knew Donald Grout! His 'History of Western Music' was -of course- a standard text book in the US, though even in my studies in the UK, we often consulted it for reference.
I read the entire book as an undergrad music history major and still refer to my highlighted copy from time to time. Certainly must have been interesting to have known Dr. Grout (but perhaps not quite as interesting as knowing Vladimir de Pachmann !!). grin


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I remember hearing the Brahms on the radio in Boston, a couple times, years ago. I just went looking for the recording online and couldn't find it, though I did find a reference to his performing it in 1900.





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Thanks a lot for this thread! I just ordered a copy from Amazon.

I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard on YT of his playing of Chopin, e.g., Op. 27 No.2 , Op. 36.

Last edited by newport; 12/26/20 08:31 PM.
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