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Re: Classical Pianists
bennevis #3023575 09/10/20 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
[quote=3B43]
But stay clear of the likes of Argerich and Pletnev (as well as Lang Lang, of course) whistle.


I'm very surprised that anybody would advise staying clear of Argerich, who is one of the greatest pianists alive.
Lang Lang (a totally different sort of pianist) is a pianist if you like dull showmanship and little else, and Pletnev is average.

Re: Classical Pianists
3B43 #3023611 09/10/20 11:40 AM
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I have been listening to Moravec’s Chopin. Nocturnes and Preludes. Really great performances and great sound considering the recordings are 50yrs old.

Re: Classical Pianists
3B43 #3023634 09/10/20 12:29 PM
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I agree with Sokolov, Zimerman, Lupu, Ashkenazy, Perahia, and Lugansky. I don't see that anyone has mentioned Paul Lewis yet. His Schubert Sonatas are outstanding. Evgeny Kissin hasn't been mentioned yet, either. If you want to hear an extraordinary 12-year-old (or 13; I don't know her exact birthdate), listen to the YouTube recordings of Alexandra Dovgan.

Re: Classical Pianists
Florestan7 #3023643 09/10/20 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Florestan7
Originally Posted by bennevis
[quote=3B43]
But stay clear of the likes of Argerich and Pletnev (as well as Lang Lang, of course) whistle.


I'm very surprised that anybody would advise staying clear of Argerich, who is one of the greatest pianists alive.
Lang Lang (a totally different sort of pianist) is a pianist if you like dull showmanship and little else, and Pletnev is average.
I disagree: Argerich is predictably impulsive and hasn't changed since she was a young tigress. I used to like her Chopin, until I felt seasick with all those surges of tempi and tone which she does time and again with little to no variation.

Whereas Pletnev and Lang Lang are often totally unpredictable and therefore interesting. Both also indulge in extremes, but in a quite different manner to Argerich (with whom, interestingly, both have performed on several occasions. Pletnev also arranged Cinderella for her).


"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: Classical Pianists
piano_advocate #3023700 09/10/20 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by piano_advocate
I have been listening to Moravec’s Chopin. Nocturnes and Preludes. Really great performances and great sound considering the recordings are 50yrs old.

I agree that Moravec's Chopin Nocturnes are beautifully performed and finely recorded examples of this performer's art.

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Re: Classical Pianists
bennevis #3023742 09/10/20 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Florestan7
Originally Posted by bennevis
[quote=3B43]
But stay clear of the likes of Argerich and Pletnev (as well as Lang Lang, of course) whistle.


I'm very surprised that anybody would advise staying clear of Argerich, who is one of the greatest pianists alive.
Lang Lang (a totally different sort of pianist) is a pianist if you like dull showmanship and little else, and Pletnev is average.
I disagree: Argerich is predictably impulsive and hasn't changed since she was a young tigress. I used to like her Chopin, until I felt seasick with all those surges of tempi and tone which she does time and again with little to no variation.

Whereas Pletnev and Lang Lang are often totally unpredictable and therefore interesting. Both also indulge in extremes, but in a quite different manner to Argerich (with whom, interestingly, both have performed on several occasions. Pletnev also arranged Cinderella for her).


The Argerich/Pletnev is very good, I believe it won a Grammy. Some of Pletnev's recordings are very good, and he's a great conductor - but not one of my favourites, I'm afraid. I also don't mean to jump on the anti-Lang Lang bandwagon - but I do find lots of his recordings a bit boring, or superficial (although he obviously has a great technique). I'd recommend listening to them, however - it's always good to hear a variety of pianists, as I'm sure most on this forum will agree.
And if I may make the case for my favourite pianist - the wonderful Argerich - I'd say that she is not as predictable as you make out. There's so much to her playing - there is a real beauty and musicality as well as the fire and passion that is so often mentioned. She has, in my opinion, a special ability in bringing out what needs to be heard in the music, without ever being laboured.
To compare (especially the last two movements):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3_ZI0qvnaw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wPOUbjb8nw

I also like Yuja Wang, Joao Pires, de Larrocha Richter and Freire. Ashkenazy for Rachmaninoff. I also think Olaffson is excellent, as is the under-rated pianist Behzod Abduraimov.

Last edited by Florestan7; 09/10/20 04:38 PM.
Re: Classical Pianists
3B43 #3024562 09/13/20 05:18 AM
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I was invited to the Steinway Christmas Party at their new Paris showroom last year. Many "Steinway Artists" were present, if only for the excellent wines and petits fours as this promotional event was organised together with some of the best Wineries from Burgundy.

There was an unannounced surprise appearance by Alexandre Kantorow, and he gave us a one hour recital with pieces by Lizst and Ravel. I never had the experience of sitting two metres from such amazing raw young talent at work. His pieces were unknown to me, and not my favourite, but the quality of his playing seen from up close was fascinating. He seemed to operate in his own far, far, away bubble, in a sort of trance.

He was playing not for a public, but for an audience of his peers, and he knew it. He was flaunting his Tchaikovski first prize with youthful self-confidence, and I could not help feeling very proud of him as if he was family. After the dutiful applause, I could feel the politics of the room as the champagne passed around and we enjoyed the delicious catering. It was not all pretty-pretty. He had few groupies of his age. You could spot the spiteful envious glances of have-been piano luminaries.

As I exchanged with Alexandre a few polite banalities, I could not but think of his young glorious namesake, Alexander the Great. Would this youthful conqueror succomb to hubris and nemesis? Time will tell. But for now he makes the list of my favourite young talents, with Seong-Jin Cho.



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Re: Classical Pianists
3B43 #3024599 09/13/20 08:50 AM
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I would like to add that we are living right now through an extremely fastuous period of piano playing, fully comparable to the times of Schnabel, Brendel, or Gilels, not to mention Rubinstein or Horowitz. We have the Czar Sokolov. We have the two Goddesses Yuja and Kathia. We have a whole court of Knights: Zimerman, Matsuev, Kissin, Sunwook Kim, Trifonov and many more. And some Jesters like Lang, Fazil Say, or Debargue. An abundance of riches.

I am more concerned with the Violin scene. Nobody there able, IMHO, to take on the mantle from the Imperial but ageing Itzhak Perlman.



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Re: Classical Pianists
Vikendios #3024635 09/13/20 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikendios
I am more concerned with the Violin scene. Nobody there able, IMHO, to take on the mantle from the Imperial but ageing Itzhak Perlman.
You are somewhat behind the times.

Of course, the days of lush, vibrato-laden violin playing (Perlman, Zukerman etc) are largely in the past, but surely someone interested in harpsichords and lutes like you would understand that. Augustin Dumay and Jean-Jacques Kantorow (father of Alexandre) are the last French proponents of that kind of playing. Even Viktoria Mullova (who cut her teeth on Sibelius and Tchaikovsky concertos) has moved with the times.

Today, there are several fine proponents of the Romantic rep like Frank Peter Zimmermann, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin and Christian Tetzlaff. And we also have many younger violinists who might use gut strings for the Baroque and classical rep, and deploy vibrato judiciously (or no vibrato in Bach) even if they're playing the same Strads & Guarneris - Julia Fischer, Vilde Frang, Alina Ibragimova, Lisa Batiashvili, Renaud Capuçon.....


"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: Classical Pianists
3B43 #3024677 09/13/20 12:28 PM
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Well, I guess I am a sucker for that old vibrato gipsy sound that would be syruped into fat duchesses' ears in boites russes as in the "Third Man". cry

Focusing only on violonists that I have heard myself in concerts, I saw Tetzlaff last year in a very conventional rendering of Beethoven's Concerto, no way on par with Perlman's three performances of the Beethoven + Brahms combo that I have witnessed over the years. I heard Julia Fischer in Shubert's quintet, but the cellos rather than the violin are for me the stars of that work. Capuçon I have often seen, he is very reliable but not a superstar : all a matter of opinion of course.

Of the names that came up in the NYT's Perlman-bashing article of last week, Hillary Hann and Janine Jansen, I can say I liked their sweet style, but I can't see them in the shoes of Stern, Menuhin or Oistrakh, which is the level I am looking for. IMHO.



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Re: Classical Pianists
3B43 #3024838 09/14/20 01:00 AM
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My favorite violinist from the young generation is Isabelle Faust.


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Re: Classical Pianists
Vikendios #3024857 09/14/20 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikendios
I am more concerned with the Violin scene. Nobody there able, IMHO, to take on the mantle from the Imperial but ageing Itzhak Perlman.

I dont see much difference between piano and violin. Today violinists have a technique that is at least equal if not better than those of the past. It is just a different period with different interpretative style and as such people appear differently than those of the past. In fact i could say the same thing about the old piano figures like Richter, Rubinstein, .... maybe also that the violin takes a lesser role than it used to have.

Nostalgia makes us see things in a different perspective. You can also add to your list the numerous baroque violinists that did not exists at the time of Rubinstein, like Rachel Podger. There is today a variety of players with an incredible technique that makes the musical scene much more interesting and diverse than it used to be.

Re: Classical Pianists
Sidokar #3024859 09/14/20 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Nostalgia makes us see things in a different perspective. You can also add to your list the numerous baroque violinists that did not exists at the time of Rubinstein, like Rachel Podger. There is today a variety of players with an incredible technique that makes the musical scene much more interesting and diverse than it used to be.
+1

I participate in some closed forums about classical music and I often see how (especially with age) people tend to idolize and romanticize old (and long gone) performers, correspondingly dismissing younger generations. It's all subjective and a matter of opinion of course, but IMO there are young musicians that are technically superb, yet offer a very wide spectrum of interpretative skills and deep understanding of the music they perform.


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Re: Classical Pianists
Vikendios #3024860 09/14/20 03:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikendios
We have the two Goddesses Yuja and Kathia.

That is interesting that you mention these two pianists. For me i think thay are both excellent pianists but for now, their reputation exceeds their artistic value. Richter, Horowitz, Rubinstein were the stars of their time but they were also exceptional pianists and artists. Ms Wang and Buniastishvili are technically extremely talented but we have put at the pinnacle of the star system (like Mr. Lang Lang) pianists that are better at marketing their look and technicality than at artistic interpretation. Of course they play at an extremely high level and sometimes (though rarely) reach top interpretation (Gershwin for example in the case of Ms Wang) but their Chopin and other mainstream composers is rather disappointing in comparison with their reputation. Of course it is a purely personal point of view.

Re: Classical Pianists
CyberGene #3025305 09/15/20 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I participate in some closed forums about classical music and I often see how (especially with age) people tend to idolize and romanticize old (and long gone) performers, correspondingly dismissing younger generations.

You are right, of course, and I plead guilty. But is not this the essence of classical ? Change the world "performers" to "composers", and you have it...



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Re: Classical Pianists
Vikendios #3025318 09/15/20 10:42 AM
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I'm surprised that there's been so much mention of classical violinists, but no mention of Maxim Vengerov!

Re: Classical Pianists
Vikendios #3025331 09/15/20 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikendios
Originally Posted by CyberGene
I participate in some closed forums about classical music and I often see how (especially with age) people tend to idolize and romanticize old (and long gone) performers, correspondingly dismissing younger generations.

You are right, of course, and I plead guilty. But is not this the essence of classical ? Change the world "performers" to "composers", and you have it...
Only if you close your mind to anything unfamiliar or "contemporary".

When I was a kid in a tiny land far, far away, never having heard anything classical (except for possibly one or two tidbits in movies), my only notion of 'classical piano music' was the theme from Love Story (by Francis Lai), because, well, there was a piano in it, and smooching strings later on, so I thought that anything written for piano and/or orchestra and in a Western idiom was classical. So, when I started piano lessons and my teacher played me Bartók, that was classical, as was Bach. When you know nothing, you take everything into your stride, as I did then. cool

But I did know that I felt nothing much for most (but not all) atonal music. No nice sounds, no feelings, no excitement. And of course, tuneless pop and rock which depended on lots of (head-)banging and theatrics (like smashing an expensive electric guitar) for effect. (If you don't know how to sing or compose, just make a lot of noise......) Same for a lot of noisy jazz.

Composers with strange names (most Western names were strange to me then. Chopin was probably the strangest - is that short for choppin' - as in chopping veg? wink ): well, if their music 'spoke' to me, that was OK. Which was why I treated living or recently deceased composers the same way as I treated names that kept popping up in the music I was playing, like Mozart - if their music meant something to me, that was all that mattered, nothing else. So, if Kimmo Hakola's Piano Concerto appealed to me, and Kaija Saariaho's L'Amour de loin stirred my emotions, I'd buy the recordings and keep listening to them, even though (at the time) I'd never heard of them, nor their music.

Therefore, my affinity for musicians also went the same way. Perlman and Ashkenazy (and a few others like Zukerman and Barenboim) were the big names in the standard rep when I was a kid, whereas Richter and Horowitz held sway on stuff - like Liszt, Rachmaninov and Scriabin - that were way out of my league at the time. Almost all the recordings with violin featured Perlman, almost all recordings with piano had Ashkenazy. When I finally had the money, I bought cassette tapes of lots of rep - concertos, sonatas etc - with them at the helm, just because there was nothing else. (Who else recorded all the Beethoven violin sonatas then?)

But I was definitely not wedded to their recordings, nor to their way of playing music, just as I was not wedded to familiar-sounding composers. I'd happily jump ship if a more appealing manner of playing (to my ears) came along - which is why my preferred Bach solo violin recordings are not Perlman's (which was my first purchase) but Fischer's. As for Menuhin, sorry to say, but his technique cannot match younger upstarts'. When I heard Kyung-Wha Chung in the Mendelssohn violin concerto, I discarded Menuhin's immediately smirk .


"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: Classical Pianists
bennevis #3025354 09/15/20 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
When I was a kid in a tiny land far, far away...

I love to learn from others' experiences, and you may open my mind to new ideas in music like Appollo descending from that Scottish Parnassus...

I would like to offer a definition of "classical". My mother was an archeologist. She taught me greek by the time I was ten and dragged me to all these digs in the Levant. So I may have an undue reverence for the past. What I retained from Plato, however, was that beauty was immanent, intangible, and far removed from man's control. A gift of the gods if you will, even if there are no gods, but certainly not in the eyes (or ears) of the beholder.

And for us feeble humans, the only clue to beauty was, in the end, that it stood the test of time. Fashions come and go, obviously, so it has to be a long process. My lifelong art education was to try and emulate this process, and I may of course never succeed, but I try to separate the "classical" from the "brave attempts". We humans are biological machines, subjects to the laws of Chance and Necessity. Geniuses are those who, by luck as well as mechanics of the mind, stumble on these beauties and on these truths, like Mozart or Einstein.

Sorry to sound abstruse. It's only whimsical, take it with a smile. Back to Clementi...

Last edited by Vikendios; 09/15/20 12:29 PM.


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