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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2752406 07/18/18 03:06 PM
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I have scheduled three trips to Europe in the last year around Sokolov recitals. He definitely would get my vote.

I would definitely want to hear Krystian Zimerman in person, but I doubt that I will get the chance.

Kissin cancelled a performance I had tickets for so hearing him in person will have to wait for another time. I also had Richter cancel a performance in the late 1960s, so I never got to hear him in person.

I heard Pollini play the last three Schubert sonatas in 1980 and that was a very memorable recital. No encores, but you felt that none would be appropriate.

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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2752507 07/18/18 10:28 PM
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What I find interesting are established pianists who are not mentioned, probably due to their repertory. Namely Andras Schiff, Murray Perahia, Angela Hewitt and Emmanuel Ax. Of course they don't play a lot of the showcase Liszt or Rachmaninoff pieces, or even the treacherous Brahms Paganini Variations. Still the Diabelli's, the Hammerklavier, Wanderer Fantasy, Art of Fugue and Goldbergs do require great technique. But yes, none of them play Rach or Prokofiev or Brahms concerti on a regular basis.

I agree on Trifonov, Argerich, Hamelin, Yuja Wang and Jean Yves Thibaudet. I would add Igor Levitt as well since Grosvenor was mentioned, and they are of the same generation as Trifonov.
And one who played a lot in the '70's quite impressively was Jean Phillippe Collard. Not only is his Rach so effortless, so are his readings of all the Saint-Saens repertory.


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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2752616 07/19/18 11:58 AM
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I am surprised I don't see Arcadi Volodos mentioned with more frequency here.

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2753002 07/21/18 04:00 PM
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Pierre-Laurent Aimard. Technically he could do anything he wanted to (not to mention emotionally, spiritually etc, he's a real master)

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Opus_Maximus] #2753028 07/21/18 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
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.


For me personally, the top spot is always a toss up between Kissin and Zimerman, certainly for technique (I think I mentioned Kissin in passing in my second post on this thread). I can't really put a piece of paper between them. They can share my top spot. I tend to go with Zimerman for precision of musical interpretation, but that's not what we're talking about here.

Interesting because Kissin and Zimerman have quite different techniques.

Might I just add that I think Brendel deserves a bit more of a mention here - did I mention him before? He's understated so easy to overlook, but he has sublime technique. I think he's still performing, although obviously now in the twilight of his career.

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Zaphod] #2753032 07/21/18 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaphod

Might I just add that I think Brendel deserves a bit more of a mention here - did I mention him before? He's understated so easy to overlook, but he has sublime technique. I think he's still performing, although obviously now in the twilight of his career.

Brendel retired (from performing as pianist) a few years ago, and these days only 'perform' as a vocalist...... wink


"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] #2764078 09/07/18 09:23 PM
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Yuja Wang - there's something I've been wanting to say for while now, but haven't found the words to articulate. I think I can now, though.

Assuming her fingers weren't as fast as Horowitz, Trifonov, Andre-Hamelin, Michelangeli or even Liszt himself (though in fact her fingers are faster than all of those though maybe Liszt is a little too far back to be certain), I would still say her technique is the best, because of how she moves her fingers.

How does she move her fingers? If you look at all the great method teachers, Matthay, Breithaupt, Whiteside, Taubman, Ortmann, Levinskaya, etc, you can see that she is doing something that is different than they taught, something slightly more efficient and musical, as her fingers were dancing their way across the keyboard. If Breithaupt taught weight, Yuja Wang practices weightlessness. If Levinskaya taught balance, Wang shatters it into infinite gradients of possibility. A person could follow her footsteps and even if she had not reached the end of the road of technical perfection, she has advanced the mechanical skill of finger movement beyond what anyone else has done, shown how to do it, and using that knowledge a person could surpass the entire field, even if she hasn't. She's built herself a new method, which no one else has done.

Efficiency, flexibility and precision are the three pillars of her technique. In a way, it's more democratic: whereas Rubinstein, Horowitz, Cziffra, Liszt and others are able to power through difficult passages with their long fingers that the rest of us don't have, Yuja Wang has shown a method that almost anyone can use, with plenty of practice of course, to reach a top level technique. Since she is from China, maybe instead of democratic I should say that's very proletariat of her.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: phantomFive] #2764087 09/07/18 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
Since she is from China, maybe instead of democratic I should say that's very proletariat of her.

Ummm.... no. Proletariat or wuchan jieji is a term that has mostly been out of favor since the 80's, unless used pejoratively or dismissively.


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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2764103 09/08/18 02:51 AM
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Speaking strictly about advanced technique, Hamelin without any doubt. He’s not my favorite pianist and there are so many of them that can play very complex pieces yet Hamelin is above them all in terms of making the unimaginably difficult pieces seem like a piece of cake.


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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2764257 09/08/18 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by phantomFive
Since she is from China, maybe instead of democratic I should say that's very proletariat of her.

Ummm.... no. Proletariat or wuchan jieji is a term that has mostly been out of favor since the 80's, unless used pejoratively or dismissively.

She's not a prole.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: phantomFive] #2764262 09/08/18 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
She's not a prole.

Proles and animals are free.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2764438 09/10/18 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by phantomFive
She's not a prole.

Proles and animals are free.

As far as I'm concerned, proletariat is a compliment. It means you don't look down on people because of wealth, and you're willing to lend them a helping hand.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: phantomFive] #2764467 09/10/18 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by phantomFive
She's not a prole.

Proles and animals are free.

As far as I'm concerned, proletariat is a compliment. It means you don't look down on people because of wealth, and you're willing to lend them a helping hand.


That is an "unusual" definition....


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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: phantomFive] #2764480 09/10/18 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by phantomFive
She's not a prole.

Proles and animals are free.

As far as I'm concerned, proletariat is a compliment. It means you don't look down on people because of wealth, and you're willing to lend them a helping hand.

Well you originally raised this analogy because she is Chinese, but that is not the Marxist-Leninist view on which the original Chinese communism was built on (Chinese communism has "moved on since that time though, which is why "proletariat" is a word no longer used much). The Wikipedia page states it very succinctly: "In Marxist theory, a dictatorship of the proletariat is for the proletariat, of the proletariat, and by the proletariat. On the Marxist view, this will endow the proletarian with the power to abolish the conditions that make a person a proletarian and, thus, build communism." You can see this is quite at odds with your definition, since in a Marx's/Lenin's dictatorship of proletariat, the bourgeoisie (the wealthy) are required to be overthrown. So the "helping hand" one lends is to throw them out. laugh

BTW, line above about animals was taken from George Orwell's 1984. smile


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: phantomFive] #2764512 09/10/18 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
Yuja Wang - there's something I've been wanting to say for while now, but haven't found the words to articulate. I think I can now, though.

Assuming her fingers weren't as fast as Horowitz, Trifonov, Andre-Hamelin, Michelangeli or even Liszt himself (though in fact her fingers are faster than all of those though maybe Liszt is a little too far back to be certain), I would still say her technique is the best, because of how she moves her fingers.

How does she move her fingers?


They are like spiders dancing on the keys. They are also long, alien long.


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Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2764614 09/10/18 08:16 PM
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I thought "the answer is obviously Hamelin" but seeing all the discussion, I got some more ideas.

Hamelin has particularly outstanding mastery of jumps/fast big chords and fast single note passages. Kissin is very good at fast jumps, but Hamelin makes it sound like he's not even trying. When I listen to Kissin I think "wow that is pretty fast", then I try playing as fast and realize just how fast it is. When I listen to Hamelin, I think "okay that just sounds impossible". Okay, his hands are gigantic which definitely helps, but the speed is really on another level.

I find Berezovsky's Godowsky etudes don't live up to Hamelin (actually, he just doesn't compare to Hamelin overall, IMO), and didn't he not complete the set? That said, Berezovsky has the most technically impressive Feux Follets ever recorded, IMO. There's people who play it a tiny bit faster, but Berezovsky I think is the only person playing it at a true pianissimo at that speed.

I didn't think much of Yuja Wang for a long time, but then I started working on Brahms Paganini Variations, and came to appreciate how efficient her arm/wrist movements are. She plays the 2nd variation at quarter note = 126 and makes it sound and look easy, when Kissin sounds like he's struggling at 120. https://www.bilibili.com/video/av5299963/

Last edited by trigalg693; 09/10/18 08:21 PM.
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2764626 09/10/18 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by phantomFive
She's not a prole.

Proles and animals are free.

As far as I'm concerned, proletariat is a compliment. It means you don't look down on people because of wealth, and you're willing to lend them a helping hand.

Well you originally raised this analogy because she is Chinese, but that is not the Marxist-Leninist view on which the original Chinese communism was built on (Chinese communism has "moved on since that time though, which is why "proletariat" is a word no longer used much). The Wikipedia page states it very succinctly: "In Marxist theory, a dictatorship of the proletariat is for the proletariat, of the proletariat, and by the proletariat. On the Marxist view, this will endow the proletarian with the power to abolish the conditions that make a person a proletarian and, thus, build communism." You can see this is quite at odds with your definition, since in a Marx's/Lenin's dictatorship of proletariat, the bourgeoisie (the wealthy) are required to be overthrown. So the "helping hand" one lends is to throw them out. laugh

This is off topic, but in Communist folklore and history, there are bourgeoisie and rich people who have gone out of their way to benefit the proletariat. One example is the Decembrists, or the noble and landed Maria Volkonskaya who also had musical ability. Sent to Siberia. In China, Zhang Xueliang was labeled a hero.

As an adjective, you can use proletariat to say something that benefits the common people. For example, when Russia simplified their spelling system so everyone could use it (not just scholars), you could say "that was a very proletariat thing to do." (Now if only they'd fix the gender problems in their language system)

So that is the sense I was using the word, for discoveries that spread knowledge so anyone can benefit, even the small-fingered. (In the western world we'd be more likely to say "that is very democratic" or "that is very egalitarian" and we can only see the negatives of communism).

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
BTW, line above about animals was taken from George Orwell's 1984. smile

Lol nice.



Poetry is rhythm
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: phantomFive] #2764631 09/10/18 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomFive

This is off topic, but in Communist folklore and history, there are bourgeoisie and rich people who have gone out of their way to benefit the proletariat. One example is the Decembrists, or the noble and landed Maria Volkonskaya who also had musical ability. Sent to Siberia. In China, Zhang Xueliang was labeled a hero.

As an adjective, you can use proletariat to say something that benefits the common people. For example, when Russia simplified their spelling system so everyone could use it (not just scholars), you could say "that was a very proletariat thing to do." (Now if only they'd fix the gender problems in their language system)

So that is the sense I was using the word, for discoveries that spread knowledge so anyone can benefit, even the small-fingered. (In the western world we'd be more likely to say "that is very democratic" or "that is very egalitarian" and we can only see the negatives of communism).


Sorry, I know this is off topic and I don't mean to sound pedantic but there was no proletariat in Russia at the time of the Decembrist uprising (1825); the Decembrists were primarily concerned with serfdom in Russia (=peasants) + autocracy, of course. Maria Volkonskaya wasn't sent to Siberia but voluntarily followed her convicted husband. But yes, the Decembrists (Russian noblemen) sacrificed themselves to the cause of low classes, I've always found it admirable.

Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: dumka1] #2764632 09/10/18 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by dumka1
Sorry, I know this is off topic and I don't mean to sound pedantic but there was no proletariat in Russia at the time of the Decembrist uprising (1825);...

Yes. Marx only wrote about his ideas about the proletariat in 1843, which was almost two decades later.

Originally Posted by dumka1
But yes, the Decembrists (Russian noblemen) sacrificed themselves to the cause of low classes, I've always found it admirable.

There is a rather romantic Russian film about the wives of the Decembrists. Here it is with English subtitles: The Captivating Star of Happiness


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Which pianists performing today have the greatest ... [Re: pianoloverus] #2764635 09/11/18 12:18 AM
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Re: Marx crazy

I think the only thing that really matters here is whether Marx had good piano technique or not. whistle


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