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Have your tastes changed? #2752433
07/18/18 05:11 PM
07/18/18 05:11 PM
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bennevis Offline OP
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I've been listening to two celebrated Chopin Competition winners from the 1960s, Maurizio Pollini and Martha Argerich, comparing their recordings of the same works from the beginning of their careers to their recent performances and recordings.....and it's notable how little has changed for both of them.

Pollini's distinctive rubato in the lyrical second subject of the first movement of the E minor concerto, for instance.....the live performance I heard recently is identical in almost every aspect to his first recording in 1960 (following his competition win) 55 years earlier. The tempi he adopted are pretty similar too. You couldn't mistake his playing for anyone else's.

As for Argerich, her impulsivity in her first recording of the same concerto (with Abbado) is mirrored in her most recent live recording, and again, hardly anything has changed - the impetuous surges are still there, in all the same places. The 50 years between the two performances might just as well have been a few hours.

As for their rep, nothing much has changed either. They're both still playing the same favored composers and their same works. Though Martha has been trying out some unusual chamber rep in her Lugano Festival and in her collaborations with friends.

Which brings me to the question: have your tastes changed from when you were in your teens and twenties (assuming that you learnt piano in childhood, like most of us here)? For instance, are you playing mostly different composers these days than what you loved to play all those years ago; and if you still play the same pieces, have your conception of them changed over the years? Have you (shock, horror!! wink ) switched to jazz or pop and gone over to the Dark Side?

As for me, I've always had a curiosity for 'new music' - i.e. music I never heard before. In my teens, that meant almost all classical music, because I never heard any classical music until my first piano lessons at ten (- when my teacher played classical piano pieces regularly for me); and for the first few years afterwards when I was still living in my home country, my only other source was my uncle's record collection when I visited him.

These days, that meant contemporary music and way-out composers like Blagoje Bersa, Arthur Lourié and Theodore Antoniou, to name three composers I discovered recently. My playing style hasn't changed, even in my old age wink , except that I play some fast pieces faster than I used to, because I can. And my favorite composer is still Wolfie thumb though I don't play his music so often these days because I like to keep challenging myself with more complicated stuff that I'm still learning and haven't mastered yet. But I still return regularly to my beloved tried-and-tested pieces when I'm just playing for fun. And I still don't play tuneless music........


"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."
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Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752442
07/18/18 05:40 PM
07/18/18 05:40 PM
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My tastes have not changed. The classical (piano) music and opera I enjoyed as a youngster are still my favorites today. What has changed, or to be more precise, added, are new performers over the years. I like to compare the pianists (or opera singers) playing (singing) my favorites. Interesting though, are my all time favorite artists have not really changed.

Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752446
07/18/18 05:46 PM
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Yeah for sure. A few years ago all I wanted to play was Liszt's virtuosic stuff and I hated most 20th century music. Beethoven. Mozart and Haydn didn't interest me either. Today my favorite composers to play are Beethoven and late Scriabin. As for my play style, I'm not sure since I don't really remember how I played back then, but I'm sure it has changed a lot over the years. But of course now with much more knowledge about structure, harmony etc, I look at the pieces I play in a different way.

In the last year or so I have also gotten very curious about music I have never heard, and listen mostly to orchestral music unlike a few years ago when I only listened to piano music. Of course I like listening to or playing some of my old favorite pieces once in a while, but right now I'm more interested in trying new kinds of music.

Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752582
07/19/18 08:04 AM
07/19/18 08:04 AM
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My tastes have changed considerably.

When I was young, I HATED Bach (with the notable exception of one gigue), and I loved Romantic-period pieces (Chopin, Brahms, etc.). I was also very open to 20th century material.

As an adult, I LOVE Bach, especially the WTK. I find I have less patience for Romanticism, so I am more picky with Romantic pieces. I am even pickier with 20th century stuff - I find that I no longer care for most of it.

What has not changed is a love for Beethoven's Sonatas. I loved them as a kid, and love them even more now.

I still can't get into Mozart. When I was a kid, my mother raised heck whenever my teacher assigned a Mozart piece. She belongs to a cult (my mother, not my former teacher) and considers Mozart's music to be immoral. ("As bad as Elvis" was her precise words.) Now I am free to play what I want, but Mozart's music just feels alien to me. I can appreciate the genius, but it leaves me feeling cold.

Another difference is that I no longer touch modern religious music on the piano with a ten foot pole. The aforementioned crazy mother would not allow me to take piano lessons unless I also learned hymns and "praise songs." The hymns were a mixed bag, but I HATED the "praise songs" with a passion. These days, that kind of music is enough to give me a panic attack. This does not apply to older Baroque organ music - my mother also considered that stuff to be sinful as well. The organ was a highly suspicious instrument - anyone playing the organ was in danger of the sin of "popery." I kid you not. At least now I can play (and enjoy) Pachelbel's Magnificat fugues on the organ without feeling guilty! (Can you believe that I had no idea what the Magnificat even was? At first they were just beautiful, accessible fugues to me. I had to look up what they were written for. So much for Western heritage!)

Edit: I just noticed that the forum software automatically changes H-E-double-hockey-stick to heck! That's pretty funny.

Last edited by Dr. Rogers; 07/19/18 08:06 AM.

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Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2752603
07/19/18 10:33 AM
07/19/18 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
my mother raised heck whenever my teacher assigned a Mozart piece. [My mother] belongs to a cult and considers Mozart's music to be immoral. ("As bad as Elvis" was her precise words.)
.......my mother also considered Baroque organ music to be sinful as well. The organ was a highly suspicious instrument - anyone playing the organ was in danger of the sin of "popery."


Fascinating! You can understand the problem with Mozart from a radical religious viewpoint, he being not only a Catholic but also a Mason. But demonizing the baroque organ is a bit harder to understand. Baroque is well post reformation, and much of the organ's development I suppose was in protestant northern Europe.

And what about Bach? He is pretty well universally admired even among radical cults, I'd have thought. Even radical atheists such as Richard Dawkins love Bach's great Passions while acknowledging their Christan spiritual foundation. Your mother sounds amazing.

I come from a church, some of whose members would have held similarly extreme opinions, but I don't remember anyone seriously complaining about the organ - even when we changed from pipe to electronic.


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Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752632
07/19/18 02:02 PM
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I sang a lot of religious music when I was a chorister in my high school - especially Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Fauré - and loved it all. Despite the fact that the words (whether in Latin, German or English) meant absolutely nothing to me, as a staunch atheist grin.

My parents would have been astonished if they'd known (I never told them, though they wouldn't have known any of those composers anyway - classical music was just noise to them): they weren't particularly religious, but I absolutely refused to participate even in the everyday normal "rituals" pertaining to the afterlife that was prevalent in my home country, on the basis that I didn't believe in the afterlife......

In fact, just about the only Bach I actually liked (apart from one or two of his Brandenburg Concertos) was the religious vocal music - the Matthäus-Passion, the motets (especially Jesu, meine Freude - probably my favorite of all) and the Magnificat, all of which our choir performed. And the least favorite of the set works we had to study for our Music 'O' Level exam was by.........Bach - his French Suite No.6 (in the category of Baroque, solo keyboard and dance), which I learnt to play only because it was easier to study its intricacies that way.

Incidentally, the other set works we studied were Mozart's Clarinet Quintet (Classical, chamber), Schubert's Unfinished (early Romantic, symphony), Grieg's concerto (Romantic, concerto), Walton's Belshazzar's Feast (20th century, vocal), all of which I loved.

At that time, I didn't know his other keyboard music like the Goldberg and the Partitas. (A Prelude & Fugue from the WTC was of course compulsory for the ABRSM Grade 8 exam). These days, I play the Goldberg and Partita No.1. I like his solo violin partitas & sonatas better than the keyboard ones in general, and the solo cello suites in preference to the keyboard suites.


"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: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752641
07/19/18 03:15 PM
07/19/18 03:15 PM
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Prestissimo con fuoco is for the young and ambitious. Maturity tempers this (along with a desire to conserve energy whillst playing), and you find that many composers (thinking of Brahms here) start to favour shorter, simpler fare where complexity (and enigma) of sound trump difficulty.

Ending my seventh decade torturing the piano and entering my eighth, I'm revelling in the simplistic writings of Satie, Mompou et al. as well as a return to the 'old testament' (JSB's 48) where exposure to simplicities is everything.

I expect to find a new understanding and interpretation to Chopin too - something open and understated (see Louis Lortie's views). Will Wolfie, Pete (Tchaihovski) & Franz Liszt remain closed books to me ? - probably yes, but if I don't care, why should they ? Did I mention that wonderful composer François Poulenc with his wicked sense of humour ?


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Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2752648
07/19/18 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
have your tastes changed from when you were in your teens and twenties (assuming that you learnt piano in childhood, like most of us here)? For instance, are you playing mostly different composers these days than what you loved to play all those years ago; and if you still play the same pieces, have your conception of them changed over the years? Have you (shock, horror!! wink ) switched to jazz or pop and gone over to the Dark Side?


When young (pre-teen)I only messed a bit with piano, no lessons and no serious work. In my teens it was more pop music, not classic. In twenties I played viola, Violin repertoire is different, there is no Rachmaninoff for viola. You can't make that sound on a viola. Just like you can't make viola sounds on a piano (glissandii for instance).

But I think my taste did not change at all. I still like the music I liked then. Both the pop and the classic.

Last edited by wouter79; 07/19/18 03:48 PM.

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Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2752681
07/19/18 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
When I was a kid, my mother raised heck whenever my teacher assigned a Mozart piece. She belongs to a cult (my mother, not my former teacher) and considers Mozart's music to be immoral. ("As bad as Elvis" was her precise words.)

Hmmmm, your mother probably didn't know this:

"When the angels praise God in Heaven I am sure they play Bach. However, en famille they play Mozart, and then God the Lord is especially delighted to listen to them." (Karl Barth)


"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: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752682
07/19/18 08:17 PM
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No-one has yet mentioned switching their allegiance from classical to other genres as they 'matured'. wink

In the Adult Beginners Forum, people mention how they developed a love for classical music (which they didn't have before) when they started learning piano and playing the classical rep, and getting to know and hear more of it, and in depth.

Personally, I've found that to be the case too, with my audiences, the vast majority of whom know nothing about classical music and for whom I'm the only person they've ever heard who perform it live in front of them. I suspect that if I never had piano lessons as a kid, and therefore never had exposure to classical music other than second-hand in commercials and movies etc, I would think it's not my cup of tea (too esoteric, too high-brow, difficult to understand, blah, blah).


"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: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752686
07/19/18 08:48 PM
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Growing up there was a lot of Beethoven playing off the 33 LP records with a bit of Haydn & Mozart in between. Another member of the family got into listening to Elton John Captain Fantastic albums. Has a lot of catchy tunes but never got into it seriously. In my younger days if you ask for a favorite piece of music I'd say Beethoven Symphony #9. Back in those days my father had a set of LPs of Beethoven Symphonies conducted by Otto Klemperer. This was as much as I knew about Classical music. The "Ode to Joy" from Symph. #9 would ring in my head for many years until 1985 the tri-centenary year of Bach & Handel (both born in 1685). Since I started playing with a music group, I've added a lot of early music into the mix including Corelli, Bach, Handel, Telemann and others.

Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752700
07/19/18 10:59 PM
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My tastes have broadened along with my experiences in music.


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Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752704
07/19/18 11:30 PM
07/19/18 11:30 PM
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My taste at seventy has some aspects in common with my taste at twenty and younger but the overall perception has changed considerably. Ragtime, in particular, has proved a lasting infatuation; I seem never to tire of either playing it or listening to it. I am rarely moved by either classical or jazz now, but both interested me deeply in my youth. The big change is that, since retiring, I have gone berserk with the creative side, especially recorded improvisation. It would be nice to attribute this to some mystical, internal stimulus, but the truth is likely much more prosaic. Advances in digital home recording in recent years permit the creation of permanent, spontaneously created end products of very high quality.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752705
07/19/18 11:32 PM
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I have never liked Argerich's performance(s) of the Chopin E minor concerto. I think "impulsivity" is exactly right. One piece that Martha has played over and over, both as a programmed item and as encores, is the Caprice from the Bach C minor Partita. I do think her playing of that movement has changed, or should I say matured, over the years. So I would say that her tastes in that one case have changed. Mine have not, but at least we're now pretty much in sync.


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Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: SiFi] #2752723
07/20/18 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by SiFi
I have never liked Argerich's performance(s) of the Chopin E minor concerto. I think "impulsivity" is exactly right.

Most of her Chopin is not to my taste either, but especially that concerto.

One thing I've noticed is that I get more irritated with her impulsive surges (though probably not that impulsive, and more 'rehearsed' as they're pretty consistent from one performance to the next) in almost everything she plays than I used to when I was younger. Probably because when a lot of the standard rep was still quite new to me, I enjoyed spontaneous-sounding performances that sounded exhilarating. I still do - but only if they are truly spontaneous, and the tempo doesn't billow like the wind from one bar to the next.......

I remember reading reviews of her early recordings, talking of her as a 'young tigress'. She still plays like a young tigress, at a young 77 wink (thereby giving those of us of a certain age no excuse to play our pieces at half the speed we played them at 16)......whereas pianists like Arrau started to become ponderous and 'weighty' long before reaching retirement age. His Chopin could not be more Teutonic than if a bearded Johannes decided to try his hand at mazurkas in his old age........


"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: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752788
07/20/18 10:29 AM
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Hi, Bennevis - I was brought up in a home where both Classical and Jazz were respected -- my uncle was in fact a good jazz guitarist and headed a band in the late 40s-early 50s. I myself, from a pretty early age (say, 13 - 15 or so), tended to prefer 20th Century Classical over the "standard" literature, and that really hasn't changed much over the years. I will say, though, that I now rate Bach, Beethoven and Schubert far more highly than I did then; by contrast, I didn't and still don't warm up to Mozart. On the Pop front, I did listen to a lot in the late 60s- early 70s, and I did serve as "pit" pianist for a lot of Broadway Musicals from the mid 70s to the early 90s for community theatre productions and cabaret shows -- but I never really have played that type of repertoire for "fun"; it was always in service to the project at hand. Same goes for all the hymns and Church liturgy music I provided for the local church about 25 years or so, from 1985-2010. So in brief, I had quite eclectic tastes from the early going, and I suppose those various "worlds" are so large that I never felt the need to "select" -- there are levels of validation within every world.

Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752799
07/20/18 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
[...].whereas pianists like Arrau started to become ponderous and 'weighty' long before reaching retirement age. His Chopin could not be more Teutonic than if a bearded Johannes decided to try his hand at mazurkas in his old age........


When I was recently preparing Debussy's Suite bergamasque for performance, I listened to Arrau's version and it was, for me, one of the most disappointing performances from a pianist whose work I have often admired. While his overall tempo is relatively slow in this Suite, in the individual works his tempi are varied in the extreme to be considered erratic.

Regards,


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Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752801
07/20/18 11:17 AM
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I guess some of my tastes have changed. I used to not like Balakirev's Islamey; now I dislike it. smile

By the way; this comment in no way diminishes my admiration for SiFi's playing of this work in the masterclass in the Texas tread; that was an outstanding accomplishment.

Cheers!


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Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752875
07/20/18 06:50 PM
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I'll never forget my first exposure to Wanda Landowska playing the WTK. It was a turning point in my appreciation of baroque music. My main change in recent years is the discovery that I really, really, like Vivaldi (maybe more than Bach). I've always loved everything from Palestrina to Stravinski to Barber but Vivaldi is fast becoming my favorite composer.


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Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: BruceD] #2752941
07/21/18 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
I guess some of my tastes have changed. I used to not like Balakirev's Islamey; now I dislike it. smile



I have a flash of anger come over me every time the piece is brought up. That has never changed. I used to like early Liszt but now I like the years just prior to the loss of tonality years.

Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752960
07/21/18 11:36 AM
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Not changed, just expanded.

Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: Damon] #2752967
07/21/18 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by BruceD
I guess some of my tastes have changed. I used to not like Balakirev's Islamey; now I dislike it. smile



I have a flash of anger come over me every time the piece is brought up. That has never changed.

Angry at empty virtuosity (actually, it does have merit and a few tunes)? grin

There are some Hungarian Rhapsodies that are even emptier, consisting of same banal tunes repeated in ever more flashy ways.....

One of the first LPs I bought after I inherited a record player was Andrei Gavrilov playing virtuosic pieces including Gaspard and Islamey (plus Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev). Almost every other performance seemed tame after him (and unlike Gaspard, what's the point of Islamey if it isn't wild?), until I heard Pletnev play it as one of his five encores in London which blew me away, not so much with crash-bang-wallop (though he gave a pretty good impression of going berserk at the end) but with his range of color and his audacious & imaginative re-creation of the piece, including taking a few liberties with the score. (BTW, his Carnegie Hall performance - almost as brilliant as in London - is preserved on CD).

I don't think there's any classical piece I dislike, or grew to dislike - as long as it's in the original form. How could those Finns desecrate this lovely piece?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSQzUx3QW2Y

.....and turn it into an irritating ringtone? mad No wonder Nokia stopped making cell phones......

But they succeeded in putting me off cell phones for life. I've never wanted one thumb.


"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: Have your tastes changed? [Re: bennevis] #2752989
07/21/18 02:28 PM
07/21/18 02:28 PM
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First thing I thought of was the two Glenn Gould recordings of the Goldberg Variations. The 1955 and the 1982 are so far apart in almost every way, especially in spirit.

One of the big difference in me relative to my earlier musical years is a tolerance for contemporary Christian music. Ive even been listening to some Hillsong Worship and Hillsong United with joy lately. Never would have happened previously.

Last edited by MysticalBeast369; 07/21/18 02:30 PM.
Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: BruceD] #2753261
07/23/18 12:55 AM
07/23/18 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
I guess some of my tastes have changed. I used to not like Balakirev's Islamey; now I dislike it. smile

I started loving it, then liking it, then not liking it and was verging on disliking it until the Olga Kern experience. She really loves that piece. When she was critiquing how I followed Balakirev's dynamic markings at the end, she said, "You don't just let it die away [or something similar]: This is Islamey!" I am very fond of her, I must say.


SRF
Re: Have your tastes changed? [Re: SiFi] #2753268
07/23/18 01:29 AM
07/23/18 01:29 AM
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I have heard some of the melodies in Islamey played by an Armenian folk ensemble on the kanon, which is a dulcimer from that region. It gave me a different understanding of the piece.


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