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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2749819
07/06/18 03:48 PM
07/06/18 03:48 PM
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With regards to the Tchaikovsky there has been quite a few outstanding winners. Ashkenazi, Ogdon, Sokolov, Pletnev, Berezovsky, Matsuev, Gavrilov, and Trifonov. Of course there are many very fine pianists that have not gone that route like Freire and Hough just to name two off the top of my head.

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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: ghosthand] #2749841
07/06/18 05:52 PM
07/06/18 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ghosthand
Evgeny Kissin (https://youtu.be/FNyQz7SiPQY) to me ...


It is hard to get away from the idea that Kissin is at the top of, or very near the top of the pile, yes.

I always put my stake in with Kissin or Zimerman if I want to see what I consider to be the apex of technique. Can never really decide between the both of them, although I might argue that Zimerman has a more mature "interpretaion" a lot of the time.

Also, I think it depends on what they're playing. The best technically at Chopin might not be the same person who is the best technically at Bach.

Also, yes I would have to include Ashkenazy as mentioned above.

One slightly more understated one - Brendel. Not a show off by any means but the technique is definitely top notch.

But - do Brendel and Ashkenazy still perform? If not, then they can't be counted, unfortunately according to the stipulations of the OP in the subject of the thread.

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2749853
07/06/18 07:33 PM
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Certainly agree Sokolov is in the forefront of technique and interpretation. His "Le Tic-Toc-Choc, ou les Maillotins" is indeed a marvel of control and precision. I've been looking at it recently, both due to Sokolov's Couperin shown on Pianoworld previously, and also due to a Couperin album by Alexandre Tharaud. Tharaud's Tic-Toc is not as soft and delicate as Sokolov's, but certainly as precise and it has more melodic drive (his other Couperin is even better, and his Ravel is exquisite). The arrangements of Tic-Toc which distribute the hands to separate octaves lose the point entirely: the repeated notes, either on two manuals or more problematically on one, were presumably why the piece was named "the mallets" (possibly mallets striking bells mechanically by clockwork; translation uncertain). Anyway, without the repeated notes imposed by overlapping hands in the same octave, the interest and challenge is gone.

I've been impressed by Olli Mustonen's Bach and Shostakovich preludes and fugues: few pianists I've heard can play such continuous staccato evoking a harpsichord (of which Mustonen is a devotee). Argerich's staccato in Bach is distinctive also. Certainly plenty of finger-power is required to play Baroque music well and we are perhaps less likely to award the virtuoso label to Baroque specialists, such as Schiff or Hewitt. But I've found Bach and baroque to be harder than late Romantic show-pieces. Le Tic-Toc is uncrackable so far!

Other pianists whose technique shines brightly with tough stuff are two who have recorded Balakirev's complete works, Alexander Paley and Nicholas Walker. Walker plays faster, but I prefer Paley's lyricism. Other honorable mentions for (loads of) technique: Leslie Howard's complete Liszt works. Not sure Ilana Vered is still performing, but her Moszkowski Etudes (complete) were all as fleet and neat as the two that Horowitz recorded. Agree that Volodos is near the front for finger fireworks. Also impressed by Santiago Rodriguez's Rachmaninoff.

No doubt there are others, but the two I know of who have mastered Godowsky's titanic Chopin Etude arrangements convincingly, are Hamelin and Berezovsky. Are there higher technical peaks to be climbed?

No one has mentioned Benjamin Grosvenor. I knew he was the real deal just from his Chopin Scherzo no 3, recorded when he was 17. Unique interpretation, unlimited technically; he has only gotten better since.

Stephen Hough won the Naumberg competition, which I know because Pittsburgh pianist David Allen Wehr proudly admits he came in second to Hough. Wehr has recorded the complete Beethoven sonatas and oodles of finger-busting Liszt. His technique is, in my opinion, as good as Hough's.

(I believe that both Ashkenazy and Brendel are retired. Brendel, by the way, performed Islamey when he was younger, before specializing in Beethoven.)


Last edited by doctor S; 07/06/18 07:41 PM.

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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2749860
07/06/18 07:59 PM
07/06/18 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JayWalkingBlues
Probably an unpopular opinion, but I love watching Valentina Lisitsa.... her hands just breath the music. She's probably not the most traditionally technically sound, but her skills are unquestionable.


I am with you too. I enjoy watching Valentina as well. Her skills are unquestionable!


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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2750264
07/08/18 04:49 PM
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In their day, Argerich and Zimerman would definitely be high on the list of contenders. I'd agree with Sokolov and Hamelin as well, who both have formidable techniques. Glad that someone mentioned Ashkenazy as well; perhaps not a fashionable choice but his technique is amongst the cleanest and most honest in the sense that he absolutely avoids any short cuts or cheats and doesn't attempt hide at any point.

Surprised that no one has mentioned Pollini as well; perhaps it's because he's quite unshowy in his approach and doesn't go for the pyrotechnics all that often, but his technique is absolutely top notch; compare his Chopin Etudes to pretty much any other set and you'll hear the difference that only that technique bring.


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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2750300
07/08/18 09:30 PM
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I'll throw another vote in for Hamelin and then Yuja Wang. I also agree that Lang Lang is top notch as well despite the theatrics. Sokolov has some impeccable technique as well, they all do, at what point do we say someone has "bad technique"?

Someone who does not seem very well known seems to have absurd technique based on their transcriptions and Alkan recordings, Yui Morishita.

Last edited by XenondiFluoride; 07/08/18 09:33 PM.

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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: karvala] #2750482
07/09/18 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by karvala
In their day, Argerich and Zimerman would definitely be high on the list of contenders. I'd agree with Sokolov and Hamelin as well, who both have formidable techniques. Glad that someone mentioned Ashkenazy as well; perhaps not a fashionable choice but his technique is amongst the cleanest and most honest in the sense that he absolutely avoids any short cuts or cheats and doesn't attempt hide at any point.

Zimerman is still in his day, as far as I know.

Ashkenazy has admitted that he's sometimes had to leave out a few notes (in Rach 3, I think) because of his small hands. BTW, he doesn't perform in public as a pianist anymore because of arthritis, but he still records. And of course he's still active as conductor.

Quote
Surprised that no one has mentioned Pollini as well; perhaps it's because he's quite unshowy in his approach and doesn't go for the pyrotechnics all that often, but his technique is absolutely top notch; compare his Chopin Etudes to pretty much any other set and you'll hear the difference that only that technique bring.

Until a few years ago, Pollini was still at the very top of his game, but he's not as consistent as he used to be.


"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: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2750552
07/10/18 08:09 AM
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Yuja Wang is the best, with finger speed and precision is like no one else.



That's old, she's better now. If you watch how she plays, there is no wasted motion, dancing across the keyboard.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Mark_C] #2751140
07/13/18 01:38 AM
07/13/18 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
To me, this one piece in itself, without anything else, puts Sokolov on the list.

It's probably not possible to realize quite how miraculous it is what he's doing without trying it oneself. When I first saw and heard it, I was extremely taken, but nowhere how it was when I got the score and realized exactly what's going on.

One of the most perfect performances of any work by any composer by any pianist that I am aware of. The combination of the visual dance of his fingers with the transcendent, airy dancing of the music is exquisite.

Yes, Sokolov can play Prok 7 superbly, but it's this kind of stuff that sets him apart. I am so glad this was caught on video because it gives me joy whenever I watch/hear it.


SRF
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2751344
07/13/18 10:28 PM
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I'm surprised how few people have mentioned Hamelin. I think his is quite clearly the best technique in the world, which is also spread over one of the largest repertoires.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Polyphonist] #2751357
07/13/18 11:59 PM
07/13/18 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I'm surprised how few people have mentioned Hamelin. I think his is quite clearly the best technique in the world, which is also spread over one of the largest repertoires.

Prompted by that, I was moved to do a small tabulation. Hamelin has gotten just about as many mentions as anyone, sort of tied with 4 others: he, Argerich, Wang, and Zimerman all have 5 mentions, Sokolov has 6. Those are essentially equal because some of the mentions are sort of elaborations on other people's posts, and anyway it's not like we're all saying all the names we'd like to, just adding what we think should be added.

I guess what you mean is that by rights, Hamelin should be dominating the discussion, in a way that Horowitz might have if we'd been doing this 65 years ago. Does he deserve that?? I don't know.

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Polyphonist] #2751406
07/14/18 06:55 AM
07/14/18 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I'm surprised how few people have mentioned Hamelin. I think his is quite clearly the best technique in the world, which is also spread over one of the largest repertoires.
I would definitely agree with this. I don't know why I forgot him when I started the thread.

I'm reading The Composer Pianists:Hamelin and the Eight, and the book lists Hamelin's recordings in the appendix. The level of difficulty and size of his repertoire is staggering! Here is a listing of his discography:
https://www.discogs.com/artist/1269266-Marc-Andr%C3%A9-Hamelin?limit=100&page=1

Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/14/18 06:55 AM.
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2751408
07/14/18 07:04 AM
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Hamelin is an outstanding pianist and musician. He also has an extraordinarily large repertoire that commands the respect of many of his peers. I dare say that his Chopin/Godowsky etudes will never be equaled. Clearly on just a technical level he is second to none but there is much more to his playing. He is among the handful of pianists that I always look forward to their new cd/dvds.

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2751643
07/15/18 08:42 AM
07/15/18 08:42 AM
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+1 Sokolov




Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2751804
07/15/18 11:50 PM
07/15/18 11:50 PM
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Kissin. If we are referring to technique as it is commonly described - ie, having the greatest "mechanism", that consistently shines with consistency throught years of performing, I'm think Kissin deserves a slot. He is the most note-perfect pianist I have heard on a regular basis, and he does not seem to need to limit his tempi or his musical "Wants" to do this.

Hamelin has long seemed to take the cake with regards to a perfect "Technique", however - while he is a very sensitive and capable musician - I have always felt that he is a bit cold, and, even though he plays very technical pieces, the emphasis always seems to be on the musicianship of the piece. The one night I heard him live, he fell apart and was missing notes left and right. I don't hold this against him and realize it was a VERY off night for him - but for somebody who is considered by many to be a god of technique, this should't have happened. (I don't think Kissin ever had a night like that). Katsaris has demonstrated some extraodinary feats, but also has the potential to be sloppy.

I'd go with Wang, Kissin, Sokolov, and Pletnev.

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2751805
07/15/18 11:52 PM
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PS - I'll add Denis Matsuev. He's not the most known pianist in the United States, but the man performs witn an explostion of passion, sound, and speed that I don't think anybody matches.

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Opus_Maximus] #2751817
07/16/18 02:07 AM
07/16/18 02:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Kissin....

(A couple of people did.)

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Opus_Maximus] #2751819
07/16/18 02:12 AM
07/16/18 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
PS - I'll add Denis Matsuev. He's not the most known pianist in the United States, but the man performs witn an explostion of passion, sound, and speed that I don't think anybody matches.


+1.

If we're talking about the extent of technical abilities, the speed/musicality ratio, I don't think anyone can match Denis Matsuev now.

E.g.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew_KkG3zYHo

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Opus_Maximus] #2751820
07/16/18 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Kissin....

(A couple of people did.)


Ooops. Was looking at your tallies, thought if he was mentioend he would have made the ranks. My mistake smile

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2752400
07/18/18 02:05 PM
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Well having seen all the above mentioned pianist at one time or another I would say Sokolov who also currently has the title -Worlds Greatest Pianist since Maestro Richter died in 1998.


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