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This clip is really about Rosina Lhévinne, but it features Van talking about her.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfV7Oltqih8


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In the 80's I nearly bought tickets for his comeback when was touring with the Tch 1st on the 1st half of the concert and the Rach 3 on the 2nd half. Then he started canceling the Rach 3 and substituting various piano solos so I skipped because I really wanted to hear him do the 3rd. Does anybody have any info as to why he cancelled the Rach 3?


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5 years......

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Hi, Mark C -- thanks for exhuming this thread! In scrolling through it, I definitely agree most with those who indicated, or said directly, that Cliburn's legacy was so much MORE than that of a great pianist. It is true that his electrifying rise to fame at an early age was at a "perfect storm" in history, but for me it's far more important that he seized that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide a tangible platform for other aspiring pianists while still in his 20s. He made his own mark in 1958; by 1961, there already was the inaugural Van Cliburn Classical Piano Competition. And over many, many years, as the various testimonials make clear in this thread, he continued to "share the wealth" in so many varied ways, and within a culture that quite frankly wasn't particularly friendly to Classical Piano. In short, a wonderful American ambassador -- sort of like Paderewski was to Poland.

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I never saw Van Cliburn during the years that he performed rarely but friends who attended a Tanglewood concert near the end of his life said it was very disappointing.

This article by Tim Page in the New York Review of Books suggests that while Cliburn had some unique gifts he failed to mature and develop as an artist.

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Originally Posted by Copake
I never saw Van Cliburn during the years that he performed rarely but friends who attended a Tanglewood concert near the end of his life said it was very disappointing.

This article by Tim Page in the New York Review of Books suggests that while Cliburn had some unique gifts he failed to mature and develop as an artist.

(Great to see you!) smile

Thanks for linking to that article/review. I hadn't known of it.
(Hard to know what to call it. Formally it's a review of two books about Cliburn, but I'd say that more so, it uses those books as a springboard for an overview of Cliburn.)

About Rubinstein and others of the older pianists resenting and disdaining Cliburn's sudden prominence and his higher fees than theirs.....how can I put it.... They were wrong. grin
Granting that maybe the brief thing about it in this article doesn't fairly represent it, if we assume that it's basically right, they were wrong.

It seems that such a reaction would be based on the idea -- maybe a couple of ideas -- that someone's prominence and fees should depend just on 'how good' they are, also maybe that you should have to 'pay your dues' and earn the status over a period of time.

They're wrong.
It ignores important aspects of human nature.

Fame and prominence at a given moment depend a lot on well, the moment. What Cliburn had achieved was a one-of-a-kind historic thing. Millions of people heard about it and were captivated. They enjoyed being captivated about it, they enjoyed talking and hearing about it, they were reading about it in all the newspapers and magazines, and they enjoyed connecting with the story. Sure, in order for Cliburn to carry it further to successes on the concert circuit and continuing to sustain the interest for more than 10 minutes, he had to play at least sort of well grin .....and he did. But it didn't mean he was better or greater than Rubinstein or anyone else, and he didn't have to be.

Stuff like this comes up also when we hear grumbling, as we sometimes do, about the occasional fuss over CHILDREN who play extremely well, or a blind guy who plays extremely well. Y'know.....Why should there be any extra interest in that? After all, the music is the music, right? And there are thousands of non-children and sighted people who play that well or better.
Well, it does make a difference. Aspects of the performer that have nothing directly to do with the music are part of the experience of seeing or hearing the person play. The point isn't just the sound that comes out of the piano or whatever instrument; it's the experience of seeing or hearing the performance. Obviously I'm not saying that the music doesn't matter, just that the experience of hearing a performance -- and of anticipating the performance, remembering it, and valuing it -- can involve more than that. If Rubinstein (whom I loved too, and with whose playing I think Cliburn's shared important qualities) ......if Rubinstein and others of his older colleagues didn't understand that, that was just a failure of understanding.

AND, there's another thing: Newness matters.

Someone great who is new might legitimately garner more interest than someone greater who's been around forever. Let's assume that from a pure music standpoint Rubinstein was greater than Cliburn (I know I'm not going far out on a limb by saying he was grin although I don't think it's a rout, because I do consider Cliburn great also, from a pure music standpoint) .....Still, Cliburn, by virtue of being new..... People could understandably be more interested in going to hear Cliburn than Rubinstein, because they've heard Rubinstein a lot of times, they love it, but they know basically what he does; they're hardly uninterested in hearing him again, but it's understandable if they're more interested in hearing this new guy.

At least temporarily.
This wouldn't carry the new guy at such a level for very long. But to be surprised or react angrily at the moment --- that's perhaps understandable, but it reflected a failure of their understanding.

======================

About another thing, the idea that Cliburn "stopped growing":

I don't agree.
I don't mean that I know it wasn't true, just that I don't agree that this is a reasonable conclusion from the information at hand.

Fact: Practicing an instrument for hours and hours, for weeks and months and years on end, can get old.

When you think about it, it's kind of a weird activity to immerse oneself in -- sitting at this mechanical piece of equipment for hours and hours, wiggling your fingers this way and that way, playing stuff that someone else wrote, long ago, and playing it over and over. We are used to it; we think of it as a normal thing, and I suppose it sort of is. grin
But it's not what we human beings evolved for, and in a big way it involves a denial of many things that we did evolve for -- including not just the obvious tangible needs and instincts but also -- and coincidentally this dove-tails with one of the things I said up there -- ....but also with being drawn to new things.

There have been many, many prominent musicians who, for one reason or another, often put under the basket of "burnout," lost their passion for working on music and performing. Some of them continued doing it but just got worse at it because they didn't any longer have the passion for the music nor the interest to spend so much time working on the technical aspects; some of them continued with high-level music careers but in other areas, like conducting or teaching; some of them left music completely; and some of them decided it wasn't worth living at all any more. I don't think Cliburn "stopped growing." From anything I could tell, he largely had a very satisfactory and satisfying life, limited mainly by society's view of being gay, especially in certain sub-communities, like his, but not by "stopping to grow." I think he mainly just didn't much have it in him to keep wiggling his fingers several hours a day on this mechanical piece of equipment -- and I think that's very understandable, and he's had lots of company at that over the centuries.

As I said, it's not like I feel I have any special knowledge of Cliburn, or even any un-special knowledge. It's mainly just that I see what seems to be a gap of logic in the thing I'm talking about. BUT ALSO: I'm also going somewhat on my impressions of him from having had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing him speak during the several times I was at the amateur competition in Fort Worth. For what it's worth (no pun, that was an incidental alliteration) grin .....the fellow there did not seem anything like someone who had stopped growing, musically or otherwise.

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Well said, Mark C. Rubinstein may have grumbled about Cliburn's fees, but as the article states, in the end he was able to benefit from Cliburn's success by raising his own fees. There were a number of pianists at RCA who found themselves shunted aside by that label's eagerness to capitalize on Cliburn's fame, including Gary Graffman, Byron Janis, and Malcolm Frager. Graffman went to Columbia, Janis went to Mercury, and Frager became a freelancer.

Last edited by Hank Drake; 03/04/18 05:09 PM.

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Thanks for that well-considered perspective, Mark.

I can acknowledge that someone might, over time, decide that a career in which they had once achieved great success may no longer hold their interest.

No doubt about it, Cliburn was a cultural hero after his triumph in Moscow. We need some more moments like that to expose the wider public to classical music.

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Hello
I have been tasked with making a budget for a movie which includes Van Cliburn's win at the 1st Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. I would like to know which piano was used for such competition and if all the competitors used the same one, or played on their own?
Thank you so much for reading up to here. I've researched as much as I can, and read through countless articles, but none (not even Steinway's article about Van) mention which was the piano used for such competition. I would like it to be as accurate as possible since I can only imagine this 'detail' would not sit well with the classical music World.
May you all be well.


Hi All, I'm helping to budget a movie about Van Cliburn and am in desperate need of some information.
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Originally Posted by Wishing_Well
Hello
I have been tasked with making a budget for a movie which includes Van Cliburn's win at the 1st Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. I would like to know which piano was used for such competition and if all the competitors used the same one, or played on their own?
Thank you so much for reading up to here. I've researched as much as I can, and read through countless articles, but none (not even Steinway's article about Van) mention which was the piano used for such competition. I would like it to be as accurate as possible since I can only imagine this 'detail' would not sit well with the classical music World.

Which piano?

There are plenty of videos and books about VC's win. Have you seen them?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPRNx9GaplY

https://www.amazon.com/Moscow-Night...9866&sr=1-1&keywords=van+cliburn

BTW, in competitions, the pianists are provided with the pianos.


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Also: Have you been in touch with the Cliburn Foundation, the organization that does the Van Cliburn competition?
I would think they have this information, and would be glad to communicate with you.

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Yes, I saw them, but I don´t know enough about pianos to be able to recognise the model of the piano in the video. I can see its a Steinway & Sons but other than that, I´m clueless. Thank you for the references and the time.


Hi All, I'm helping to budget a movie about Van Cliburn and am in desperate need of some information.
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Originally Posted by Wishing_Well
Yes, I saw them, but I don´t know enough about pianos to be able to recognise the model of the piano in the video. I can see its a Steinway & Sons but other than that, I´m clueless. Thank you for the references and the time.

As far as I know there's only one model (or two, depending on your definition) Steinway concert grand - model D, whether Hamburg or American.

I'm sure others here will be able to tell you whether it's an American or German in the video.


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Since this was Moscow in 1958, the piano was most likely a Hamburg Steinway D. Also the piano has the rounded corners of a Hamburg D.


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