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Can we assess our collective musical ages based upon our actual ages? Do the older/more mature ones among us have a better grasp of pianistic excellence because we have more experience to draw upon? Harold Schonberg's book on "The Great Pianists" was obviously restricted by his inability to know the things that we know about pianists that he never heard because he's dead. But most of us are still alive. ha

So, getting to it, are there pianists within the living memory of the oldest of us that are still considered to be the idols we worshiped among today's "fans"? Let's see. Josef Hoffman, greatest pianist who ever lived: no, probably not top of the pops with the millennials among us. How about Gilels? Lympany? Fischer? Richter? Are these great pianists among the performers that our younger members know, love, worship, and adore?

I'm kind of responding to Mark_C's comment somewhere about the downward trending age among our group's demographics. In my mind, dead pianists or quite elderly ones are the ones that I always think of when questions such as "Who played it best?" come up. I'm old enough (just) to remember Ashkenazy playing Beethoven Op. 31 No. 2 and Op. 101 along with the complete Chopin Scherzos live in 1966. As far as I'm concerned, there will never be performances of those works that imprint on me more than they did. Then there's Gould's extraordinary legacy, particularly the Goldberg Variations. Will Beatrice Rana's brilliant version of the Goldbergs become the new standard, overwriting Gould's? Then there's also the question of whether people now and in the future will continue to genuflect before the frankly second-rate "genius" of that dreadful charlatan Arthur Rubinstein.

Boomers can only remember so far back. Gen X and Millennials less so. But reconstructed recordings and the whole business of being able to listen online might give these younger folks a competitive advantage. Yet those medai provide the same advantages to us older folk if one thinks about it. With all the resources available to us, including this stupendous forum, perhaps it makes no difference how old we are or what so-called generation we belong to. On the other hand, nobody who wasn't in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on October 2, 1966, will ever hear what I heard: Ashkenazy in his element, once only on that particular occasion, never to be repeated. That matters to me.

Who, then, matters more to us? George Li or Georges Cziffra? Vladimir Horwitz or Vladimir Feltsman? John Ogdon or Dr John? Art Tatum or Art Rubinstein (no brainer)? Tell me your age and I'll give you the answers. But does that answer the question?


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With back catalogs of classical music recordings now freely accessible on Youtube music (if you don't mind an ad or two) I think even pianists of yore may gain newfound following. I have never seen Brendel live, but IMO his Wanderer Fantasy on Vox (1959) is unsurpassed, even by his own later 1972 and 1989 recordings on Philips.

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There's no logic to support the notion that it's not possible to have better pianists today than those in the past. Or better anything, for that matter.

IMHO, it's a typically boomer thing to idolize some old pianists that people watched in their youth. In those years there was no Internet, no YouTube, it was not a matter of few clicks to compare multiple pianists in a high audio/video quality recordings. So, it was a good ground for creating emotionally biased opinions about stuff, pianist in particular. It's as simple as that IMO.

Historically speaking, older people always tend to undervalue the youth. There's a famous quote by Aristotle about the spoiled youth.

I think it all boils down to a certain lack of flexibility in coping with a lot of data today. Boomers are not used to observing such a dynamic world through so many means and information sources and so, they fallback to some simple established rules: this is good, I know it's good, I'll stick to it.

I hope it doesn't sound disrespectful and/or insulting towards the older folks here. Also, bear in mind I'm a non-native English speaker and on a numerous occasions on this forum I've used words and phrases that apparently have slightly different meaning and a potential for insult to native speakers than what I actually meant smile Apologies if that's the case again.

Last edited by CyberGene; 08/24/21 04:41 AM.

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Your post seems dead serious, so I'll presume your insult toward Arthur Rubinstein was serious too. I think that's sad, the kindest word I can think of for how it really makes me feel.

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
There's no logic to support the notion that it's not possible to have better pianists today than those in the past. Or better anything, for that matter.

IMHO, it's a typically boomer thing to idolize some old pianists that people watched in their youth. In those years there was no Internet, no YouTube, it was not a matter of few clicks to compare multiple pianists in a high audio/video quality recordings. So, it was a good ground for creating emotionally biased opinions about stuff, pianist in particular. It's as simple as that IMO.

Historically speaking, older people always tend to undervalue the youth. There's a famous quote by Aristotle about the spoiled youth.

I think it all boils down to a certain lack of flexibility in coping with a lot of data today. Boomers are not used to observing such a dynamic world through so many means and information sources and so, they fallback to some simple established rules: this is good, I know it's good, I'll stick to it.

I hope it doesn't sound disrespectful and/or insulting towards the older folks here. Also, bear in mind I'm a non-native English speaker and on a numerous occasions on this forum I've used words and phrases that apparently have slightly different meaning and a potential for insult to native speakers than what I actually meant smile Apologies if that's the case again.


Yes. Your generalizations about boomers are just insulting, disrepective generalizations that can’t hide behind statements such as ‘English is not my first language’. ‘Lack if flexibility in coping with data’, is a clear statement of the disrespect you are demonstrating. Maybe you are the one that hasn’t really known enough boomers

I will not participate further.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Yes. Your generalizations about boomers are just insulting, disrepective generalizations that can’t hide behind statements such as ‘English is not my first language’. ‘Lack if flexibility in coping with data’, is a clear statement of the disrespect you are demonstrating. Maybe you are the one that hasn’t really known enough boomers

Well, I didn't mean to be disrespectful and insulting. However if that's how it appears (and I won't deny that on a second read it might seem like that) I sincerely apologize to whoever got offended.

What I said, I believe it. I don't know how to say it in a way that's not disrespectful. I guess the fact I think that way is insulting in itself. And I will accept that it's possible that my generalizations are wrong and are based on not meeting enough boomers. Quite possible. However based on my current observations and experience, what I said is still what I think about MOST boomers (there are exceptions) and I won't change my mind simply because it is insulting. I guess I will try not to express what I think anymore in this or other similar threads, but I don't believe in the idea that when you think something about someone, you should try to eradicate it from your mind if it might be insulting to that person/people, only because it is insulting and not because you truly realize you are wrong. It should rather be argued, with example/counterexamples given, etc.

Anyway, I apologize again for the insult I may have caused to members of the forum.

Last edited by CyberGene; 08/24/21 07:17 AM.

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There's nothing wrong with being disrespectful. After all, respect has to be earned; it's not acquired by default.

(By the way, I used to think of the "baby boomers" as the worst generation of all time, but as time has passed I have come to realize that each generation is filled to the brim with automated self-destructive behaviour.)

Anyway, back on topic, I believe some people (regardless of their generation) will be set in their ways and prefer whatever pianists were famous in their youth, whilst others will be able to find new favourites - either young, or through the medium of old recordings pianists from earlier times.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
IMHO, it's a typically boomer thing to idolize some old pianists that people watched in their youth. In those years there was no Internet, no YouTube, it was not a matter of few clicks to compare multiple pianists in a high audio/video quality recordings. So, it was a good ground for creating emotionally biased opinions about stuff, pianist in particular. It's as simple as that IMO.

Historically speaking, older people always tend to undervalue the youth. There's a famous quote by Aristotle about the spoiled youth.

I think it all boils down to a certain lack of flexibility in coping with a lot of data today. Boomers are not used to observing such a dynamic world through so many means and information sources and so, they fallback to some simple established rules: this is good, I know it's good, I'll stick to it.

I hope it doesn't sound disrespectful and/or insulting towards the older folks here. Also, bear in mind I'm a non-native English speaker and on a numerous occasions on this forum I've used words and phrases that apparently have slightly different meaning and a potential for insult to native speakers than what I actually meant smile Apologies if that's the case again.

Your first paragraph is unintentionally funny! Do keep in mind that it was already 1967 when the oldest Booomers reached adulthood, which meant 'Summer of Love' for the incipient Hippie movement and counterculture. The youngest among us were just 30 when the World Wide Web emerged. We know a lot more, and our life experiences are broader than you indicate that you think believe. As regards the particular cultural topic you raise, we all grew up with classical radio stations and also brick-and-mortar stores that sold recordings on vinyl that you played at home. You could even check them out at libraries.

Something that anybody who identifies as 'young' right now might keep in mind is that every old person has been young before but not a single one of you lot has been old. If you don't understand the implications of that (and I admit that I never gave it serious thought myself either until a certain point in life), I believe it will be clearer when you're old. And hang on, because many of us find that it happens really, really fast.

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I think there were many great pianists in the past and there are many great pianists in the present. Many of the pianists from the past who have stood the test of time and still considered great probably deserve the reputation.

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Originally Posted by parapiano
Your first paragraph is unintentionally funny! Do keep in mind that it was already 1967 when the oldest Booomers reached adulthood, which meant 'Summer of Love' for the incipient Hippie movement and counterculture. The youngest among us were just 30 when the World Wide Web emerged. We know a lot more, and our life experiences are broader than you indicate that you think believe. As regards the particular cultural topic you raise, we all grew up with classical radio stations and also brick-and-mortar stores that sold recordings on vinyl that you played at home. You could even check them out at libraries.

Well, I'm not too young either, since I'm 41 now and I was first year in the university when Internet really started being a thing although there were some bulletin boards years before that. So, I still remember how my mom collected classical music on vinyl and we used to listen to that, then later on as a student I recorded classical music and jazz from the radio on cassettes. As a matter of fact I remember as a student I went to a library to listen to multiple performances of the Planets by Holst and choose one that I liked because they wouldn't allow me to do that in a music store 😀 So, I know what you are talking about, yet it's still not comparable to sitting at home and having the entire world under your fingers and before your eyes. (and the entire recorded music streamed at your ears instantly, for that matter).

And of course there are exceptions, I apologize for generalizing too much, when in fact I myself know boomers who are open-minded and appreciative of new things, much unlike what I have described. But still, most of the boomers are more or less what I have described. Also, take in mind I live in Bulgaria, we don't even have the notion of generations and even if there are ones, they may not fit into the same descriptions as the US-ones since there were so many different cultural, political and geographical differences to account. I realize I'm not doing myself a favor criticizing boomers on a predominantly US-based forums, being a (dirty) Eastern European myself 🤣

Last edited by CyberGene; 08/24/21 10:18 AM.

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Since writing my last post, CyberGene, it occurred to me (in my own naivete) that we Boomers, the oldest turning 75 this year, aren't even the oldest age group on this forum or any like it.

Please take my word that we do not all think that Eastern Europeans (or any other human beings!) are 'dirty' or lesser or other or anything else that suggests inferiority. Americans have learned some unsettling truths about ourselves in the fairly recent past, because of which I can't claim to speak for a majority (even a silent majority!), but there are many, many people of good will and good nature everywhere.

Oh, my last real point that's relevant here: as Boomers were between ages 30 and 48 in 1994, we were able to take advantage of the internet from the start. Lots and lots of us already used computers at our jobs and might have learned touch typing in school, and we were ready for that World Wide Web! It became indispensable for, again, lots and lots of us, along with the predictable upgrades in hardware and software and connection speeds.

The point of my point, so to speak, is just that we didn't just awaken like Rip Van Winkle after 20 years of stupor or torpor. We've pretty much been here all along. We've old enough to have bought old 78-rpm disks of shellac resin that might break on the way home from junk stores, to ... well, to here, I guess. I, for one, would probably be spending my time better at that other keyboard (the musical one). But I like to write and I type fast, two things that I'm really glad I'm old enough to have learned in school.

Anyway, Cheers to you. Also, I never thought there was any malice in your statements, only that they seemed naive.

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by parapiano
Your first paragraph is unintentionally funny! Do keep in mind that it was already 1967 when the oldest Booomers reached adulthood, which meant 'Summer of Love' for the incipient Hippie movement and counterculture. The youngest among us were just 30 when the World Wide Web emerged. We know a lot more, and our life experiences are broader than you indicate that you think believe. As regards the particular cultural topic you raise, we all grew up with classical radio stations and also brick-and-mortar stores that sold recordings on vinyl that you played at home. You could even check them out at libraries.

Well, I'm not too young either, since I'm 41 now and I was first year in the university when Internet really started being a thing although there were some bulletin boards years before that. So, I still remember how my mom collected classical music on vinyl and we used to listen to that, then later on as a student I recorded classical music and jazz from the radio on cassettes. As a matter of fact I remember as a student I went to a library to listen to multiple performances of the Planets by Holst and choose one that I liked because they wouldn't allow me to do that in a music store 😀 So, I know what you are talking about, yet it's still not comparable to sitting at home and having the entire world under your fingers and before your eyes. (and the entire recorded music streamed at your ears instantly, for that matter).

And of course there are exceptions, I apologize for generalizing too much, when in fact I myself know boomers who are open-minded and appreciative of new things, much unlike what I have described. But still, most of the boomers are more or less what I have described. Also, take in mind I live in Bulgaria, we don't even have the notion of generations and even if there are ones, they may not fit into the same descriptions as the US-ones since there were so many different cultural, political and geographical differences to account. I realize I'm not doing myself a favor criticizing boomers on a predominantly US-based forums, being a (dirty) Eastern European myself 🤣
Thanks for sharing your personal experiences and clarifying your original comments. I always appreciate reading your perspectives on various issues. My son and daughter are your age so I completely understand how generational perspectives might differ at times - particularly when it comes to keeping up with technology and popular culture. (They were amazed when, out of necessity, I finally gave in and learned how to use a smart phone.) And of course, for the record, there is nothing "dirty" about Eastern Europe. thumb


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Originally Posted by parapiano
Please take my word that we do not all think that Eastern Europeans (or any other human beings!) are 'dirty' or lesser or other or anything else that suggests inferiority. Americans have learned some unsettling truths about ourselves in the fairly recent past, because of which I can't claim to speak for a majority (even a silent majority!), but there are many, many people of good will and good nature everywhere.
Sorry, didn't mean this as an accusation. It was rather self-irony smile All is good! I'm a regular participant in the digital piano forum and it's been a well-observed phenomenon that people would mostly post about defects that they found in their digital pianos rather than praise their pianos when happy and so some models would get a lot of bashings and you would think that the entire brand is bad, whereas the truth might be that their pianos are actually pretty good in general but when they have defects those defects are nasty smile I think there's a good analogy here.

When speaking about pianists, I've had this repeating pattern of discussing pianists with a boomer who is very fond of some golden age pianists. We would exchange some videos and I may from time to time admit that he's right and indeed this or that golden age pianist is a real gem and I like it a lot and listened to his records and he became part of my library. He would say: I told you so. But he would never do that with a young pianist that I send him smile Yeah, it could be that there's some universal power dictating that golden age pianists are unmatched wink Or it could be that SOME boomers would never change their opinion. I'm not saying there isn't the opposite story about young people behaving the same way... Maybe I'm just being naive indeed. Time will tell.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
When speaking about pianists, I've had this repeating pattern of discussing pianists with a boomer who is very fond of some golden age pianists. We would exchange some videos and I may from time to time admit that he's right and indeed this or that golden age pianist is a real gem and I like it a lot and listened to his records and he became part of my library. He would say: I told you so. But he would never do that with a young pianist that I send him smile Yeah, it could be that there's some universal power dictating that golden age pianists are unmatched wink Or it could be that SOME boomers would never change their opinion. I'm not saying there isn't the opposite story about young people behaving the same way... Maybe I'm just being naive indeed. Time will tell.
Some people - no matter what generation they belong to - never are willing to change their opinion about anything - which is very sad. If you were sharing videos of Golden Age and Contemporary classical pianists with THIS BOOMER I can assure that I would be very open to appreciating and embracing the young pianists - and I doubt I am the exception.


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Just to be clear about what I said on the other thread:
I didn't really mean (not particularly) that I thought our current membership is younger than it used to be (although I won't be surprised if it looks like I meant that!).

I'd guess the average age is about the same it was when I first came here (12 years ago).
What I meant was that most of the very active members from then are either gone from here or pretty inactive, and my impression is that the newer active members tend to be younger than us older timers are now.

As for the rest of it, I'm staying out of it for now. grin

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I can't say whether I'm a Boomer (one doesn't ask a gentleman his age wink , especially if said gentleman is over the hill, decrepit, arthritic (which is why said gentleman has to keep running and climbing), anaemic (OK, maybe not anaemic) and with the bucket nearing his foot to be kicked in due course) but I listen predominantly to young pianists. Not just living pianists (and violinists, cellists, clarinettists.....), but young, as in young. As in: teenage-early 20s, still-students, very recent competition winners, BYTs*.

How so (I didn't hear you ask)?

Because 99% of my listening is via BBC Radio 3. All the latest classical CDs (yes, they still make 'em for very aged gentlemen of indeterminate age like me, who doesn't know why phones are supposedly smart and wonders why streaming doesn't involve H2O) by BYTs are played, and said BYTs are regularly summoned to the 'In Tune' studio to chat to the presenter about their aspirations and to perform everything from Bach to Bacharach (OK, maybe not Bacharach, but his near-contemporary Birtwistle - very similar wink ) on the studio Steinway B. And the BYTs' live concerts (from Wigmore Hall etc) are regularly broadcast. So, I've heard musicians in their first flush of youth, often years before they became famous. Not just British ones like Benjamin Grosvenor, Paul Lewis and Steven Osborne, but also Igor Levit, Khatia Buniatishvili, Alexander Melnikov, Pavel Kolesnikov, Simon Trpčeski, Jonathan Biss, Cédric Tiberghien, Ingrid Fliter......

In fact, I don't remember the last time I heard Artur Rubinstein play Chopin (or any other composer) or Emil Gilels or almost any other dead pianist on Radio 3. Hofmann, Lhévinne, Lympany, Fischer (Annie or Edwin)? Never played nor heard.

So, I might be living in the wrong era, but my listening is most certainly right now, up-to-date, in the present - and the future.

Which generation of pianists do I prefer? You may very well believe which, but I couldn't possibly comment.

(*BYTs = Bright Young Things)


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Originally Posted by Carey
If you were sharing videos of Golden Age and Contemporary classical pianists with THIS BOOMER I can assure that I would be very open to appreciating and embracing the young pianists - and I doubt I am the exception.

Cheers to that! 🍻


Bennevis, I'd say cheers to you too, but I know you don't touch alcohol. Well, to your health! wink


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What about this: if the recordings of the Golden Age pianists were equal in quality to the ones made today, would that effect whom you listen to?


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Originally Posted by gooddog
What about this: if the recordings of the Golden Age pianists were equal in quality to the ones made today, would that effect whom you listen to?
The main problem is that for me personally there are so many wonderful pianists - past and present - and so little time to really enjoy their work - regardless of the recording quality. smile

Last edited by Carey; 08/24/21 04:26 PM.

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by Carey
If you were sharing videos of Golden Age and Contemporary classical pianists with THIS BOOMER I can assure that I would be very open to appreciating and embracing the young pianists - and I doubt I am the exception.

Cheers to that! 🍻
Evgeni - Let me further add that for someone who never studied music and is "self-educated" at the piano, you play EXTREMELY well. I'm beyond impressed. thumb thumb thumb


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