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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: wr] #2647520 05/27/17 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by P3T3R


I agree with both your method and most of your list. I don't know Friere - time to do some research.


To search, you'll need the correct spelling - it's Freire. It's a weirdly hard spelling to remember, I think - I always have to check. His first name is Nelson.

His Brahms 2nd concerto recording is one of the best, IMO.

Thanks for the spelling correction. I would edit my post if I knew how!

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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2647585 05/27/17 10:59 AM
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I don't want to start any arguments, and ranking is hard anyway, but I do want to give an unconventional answer.

In terms of depth of understanding of the music, knowing how to fit together all the various themes and supporting structures, understanding crescendos and decrescendos and when to accelerate and rubato, finding good balance between parts, and finding good balance between the piano and orchestra, and understanding the meaning of the music, maybe no pianist is better than Michael Tilson Thomas.

He doesn't perform very often as a pianist these days, but if you get the chance, I strongly recommend going to hear him. His concerts are superb. His Rhapsody in Blue and other Gershwin recordings were sparkling, and and his knowledge and skill has only deepened in 30 years of conducting since then.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: phantomFive] #2647689 05/27/17 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
...maybe no pianist is better than Michael Tilson Thomas.

is Rhapsody in Blue and other Gershwin recordings were sparkling, and and his knowledge and skill has only deepened in 30 years of conducting since then.

You make a thoughtful point. I have MTT's Gershwin CD -which I have put on the player- and I can certainly understand where you are coming from.

And yet... I would be reluctant to part with Oscar Levant's Preludes or Earl Wild's Concerto. They set the bar very high, and IMO not equaled.

MTT's Mahler recordings at San Francisco have been critically well received, but they have never reached the consensus level of, say, Bernstein or Tennstedt.


Jason
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: Hank M] #2647876 05/28/17 02:31 PM
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I like your list. This is so difficult because one can think of at least double that of current outstanding pianists, but this list is a good start.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: argerichfan] #2648056 05/29/17 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by phantomFive
...maybe no pianist is better than Michael Tilson Thomas.

is Rhapsody in Blue and other Gershwin recordings were sparkling, and and his knowledge and skill has only deepened in 30 years of conducting since then.

You make a thoughtful point. I have MTT's Gershwin CD -which I have put on the player- and I can certainly understand where you are coming from.

And yet... I would be reluctant to part with Oscar Levant's Preludes or Earl Wild's Concerto. They set the bar very high, and IMO not equaled.

MTT's Mahler recordings at San Francisco have been critically well received, but they have never reached the consensus level of, say, Bernstein or Tennstedt.


I won't argue with your ears, but let me give some thoughts based on what I've heard living in San Francisco.

MTT's Mahler is very sharp. The orchestra will change tempos on a dime, almost instantaneously, for example. I would describe the style as very clear and transparent, so Mahler's ideas can be seen, almost as though the orchestra were a mirror you could look through to see Mahler's world. Sitting in the audience during Mahler's 9th was one of the most engrossing moments I've had listening to music, especially during the third movement. It isn't pleasant: Mahler was not happy in those days, but it is existential as all great music can be.

MTT's Beethoven in the last few years has really shone. Again, in the same way, becoming almost transparent so Beethoven himself shines through. I don't think anyone else has gotten as close to Beethoven, as if MTT had stepped aside and Beethoven was there. I can go into more detail on this topic if there is interest.

I should add that I greatly respect Bernstein, and I listen to him often for inspiration and knowledge, but tbh I prefer Ormandy. smile What a great conductor. Both of those are dead though, so it's kind of irrelevant here, I guess.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648125 05/29/17 10:26 AM
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I saw MTT a lot when he was a young conductor frequently appearing with the Chicago Symphony at their Ravinia summer festival. (Speaking of Mahler, I was there when James Levine made his "breakout," subbing in on short notice for an ill Kertesz, who himself replaced the recently deceased Szell, for the Mahler 2nd -- amazing!).

I liked MTT when he was young, but having seen him conduct Mahler with San Francisco in recent years, I agree that he's grown a lot, and that fine orchestra has grown with him.

If there's a better match of orchestra and conductor today, I couldn't name it.


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648175 05/29/17 12:01 PM
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No particular order, just as they are occurring to me.

1. Maurizio Pollini
2. Martha Argerich
3. Menahem Pressler
4. Stephen Hough
5. Murray Perahia
6. Francesco Piemontesi
7. Marc-Andre Hamelin
8. Konstantin Scherbakov
9. Vladimir Ashkenazy
10. Krystian Zimerman

I was going to list Zoltan Kocsis, but he died in 2016.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648216 05/29/17 12:45 PM
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Does Pletnev still perform on piano?


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: ClsscLib] #2648232 05/29/17 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Does Pletnev still perform on piano?

He seems to have returned to the piano in the past few years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydJgpl2OsGs


"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: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: jeffreyjones] #2648345 05/29/17 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
No particular order, just as they are occurring to me.
3. Menahem Pressler

Jeffrey, what an odd choice to put in the top ten. Why would that be? I would have thought possibly in the top 100...if even that.

If you compare his recording of the Schumann Op 44 Quintet with Argerich's, well time and time again Argerich freshly illuminates aspects of the piano writing (listen to how she handles the left-hand grace note in measure 103), whereas Pressler is competent consensus business as usual.

Jeffrey, I have always respected your opinions here, but this is a mystery to me.

Reportedly Pressler has been nasty in masterclasses, the typical symptom of a primadonna, but that is another issue.


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648383 05/29/17 08:01 PM
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probably pretty unheard of, but Kemal Gekic is pretty great, he also champions some of the more unknown works.


I now have a signature.
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: argerichfan] #2648424 05/29/17 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
No particular order, just as they are occurring to me.
3. Menahem Pressler

Jeffrey, what an odd choice to put in the top ten. Why would that be? I would have thought possibly in the top 100...if even that.

If you compare his recording of the Schumann Op 44 Quintet with Argerich's, well time and time again Argerich freshly illuminates aspects of the piano writing (listen to how she handles the left-hand grace note in measure 103), whereas Pressler is competent consensus business as usual.

Jeffrey, I have always respected your opinions here, but this is a mystery to me.

Reportedly Pressler has been nasty in masterclasses, the typical symptom of a primadonna, but that is another issue.


I had a teacher who had studied from Pressler during a sabbatical that she took. She was something of a name dropper, but never said anything to me about him. I think she might have been really trying to pick his brain about competitions, as he served on juries at that time.


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648452 05/30/17 12:23 AM
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What about Maria Joa Pires? I don't see her in any list.

Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648473 05/30/17 05:35 AM
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Three prominent pianists whose names have not yet appeared, in alphabetical order:

Fleisher
Graffman
Watts

They're not all equally active, but all are living.

I'm not sure I can come up with a list of 10 that would be fair and satisfactory, in part because I'm a bit uneasy about comparing pianists I've never heard live with those that I have. For example, of the three aforementioned, I've heard only Watts live. Of their recordings, I've heard the most by Watts, the fewest by Fleisher.

Also, a list of the greatest and a list of favorites might differ a bit.

LAP


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: LouisP] #2648516 05/30/17 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by LouisP
Three prominent pianists whose names have not yet appeared, in alphabetical order:

Fleisher
Graffman
Watts

They're not all equally active, but all are living.

LAP


Ah yes, André Watts! Unfortunately health issues have limited his appearances the last few years, but as I recall he was a huge name back in the 80s and 90s.


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648580 05/30/17 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by CLM Piano Learner
Originally Posted by LouisP
Three prominent pianists whose names have not yet appeared, in alphabetical order:

Fleisher
Graffman
Watts

They're not all equally active, but all are living.

LAP


Ah yes, André Watts! Unfortunately health issues have limited his appearances the last few years, but as I recall he was a huge name back in the 80s and 90s.


And in the 60s and 70s. I was there. smile


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: johan d] #2648692 05/30/17 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by johan d
What about Maria Joa Pires? I don't see her in any list.


Yes, definitely. I thought of her after I'd posted my last list of ten. It's odd how some names don't always come to mind right away, even if my esteem for the performer is as great (or even greater) as it is for some names that come to mind immediately. Ah, the insidious workings of fame....

And I thought of yet more that could be on my list - Tomsic, Queffelec, Simon, Shelley, Hodges, Pace (Enrico, not Ian - but Ian might be on some people's list as well), Virsaladze, Raekallio, Vogt, Muraro, Austbo, Goerner, Cohen, Campanella, Lortie, Thibaudet, Kuerti.

In a way, even though I've never heard what I think of as a "great" performance from him, Martin Roscoe may deserve a place, simply because of his tirelessness and competence. I'm surprised people aren't listing Angela Hewitt - she's not one of mine, but I had the idea that some others thought very highly of her. Maybe they aren't the type who participate in these list threads.

Last edited by wr; 05/30/17 07:56 PM. Reason: Added Kuerti.
Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2648945 05/31/17 04:52 PM
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In no particular order:
Jeremy Denk
Yuja Wang
Stephen Hough
Jean-Yves Thiboudet
Yefim Bronfman
Andras Schiff
Emanuel Ax
Nikolai Lugansky
Ray Ushikubo
Maria Yudina (her soul lives on)


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2649218 06/01/17 11:51 AM
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Here's my list. Note this is biased towards pianists I've had the great pleasure of hearing in person over the years. My list concludes with two young rising super stars (Grosvenor and Lisiecki) who I find to be phenomenally talented.

Also I'm surprised Valentina Lisitsa hasn't made anyone's list so far (unless I missed it).

Maria Joa Pires
Emanuel Ax
Yefim Bronfman
Stephen Hough
André Watts
Mitsuko Uchida
Mauricio Pollini
Valentina Lisitsa
Benjamin Grosvenor
Jan Lisiecki


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Re: Top 10 living classical concert pianists? [Re: CLM Piano Learner] #2649234 06/01/17 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by CLM Piano Learner
Here's my list. Note this is biased towards pianists I've had the great pleasure of hearing in person over the years. My list concludes with two young rising super stars (Grosvenor and Lisiecki) who I find to be phenomenally talented.

Also I'm surprised Valentina Lisitsa hasn't made anyone's list so far (unless I missed it).

Maria Joa Pires
Emanuel Ax
Yefim Bronfman
Stephen Hough
André Watts
Mitsuko Uchida
Mauricio Pollini
Valentina Lisitsa
Benjamin Grosvenor
Jan Lisiecki


Valentina who?

oh, that piano banger... right

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