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Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357494 10/28/06 07:40 AM
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The NY Times gave a truly scathing review of this concert that was held last night. I didn't attend but am curious if anyone here did go. Perhaps someone with an online subscription can post the review.

I heard Pogorelich a few times many years ago. A strange stage presence to say the least.

His program last night:
Beethoven: Sonatas Op. 111 and OP. 78
Scriabin: Sonata No.4
Rachmaninoff: Sonata No.2

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357495 10/28/06 07:59 AM
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Here you go.


Music Review | 'Ivo Pogorelich'
After a Decade Away, an Elusive Figure Returns
Nan Melville for The New York Times
Ivo Pogorelich at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


By ANTHONY TOMMASINI
Published: October 28, 2006
The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was packed on Thursday night, including extra rows of stage seats, for a recital by the Croatian pianist Ivo Pogorelich, his first appearance in New York in 10 years. When he emerged in the 1980’s, Mr. Pogorelich galvanized the concert world with his technically astounding, deeply personal and unabashedly eccentric playing. But in the last decade he has been an elusive and unpredictable figure.

How is he faring? His incoherent and interpretively perverse playing defies description. The first minutes of the opening work, Beethoven’s Sonata in No. 32 in C minor, were weirdly fascinating. Before long the performance was just plain weird. And so the evening continued.

These days Mr. Pogorelich, 48, presents himself with the trappings of a cult figure. The hall was nearly dark, except for a single spotlight on the pianist. Those who remember him as a lanky, broodingly handsome young man might have been startled by his current appearance — stocky build, shaved head, glowering glances to an audience he barely acknowledged.

He played using the printed scores with the assistance of a page-turner, an option I support in principle. Yet here his reliance on the scores seemed a compensation for insufficient preparation. How else to explain the many rough passages and overall aimlessness?

In Beethoven’s visionary final sonata, which begins in stormy complexity and ends in mystical bliss, Mr. Pogorelich’s timings were stretched to the point where the music lost forward motion and structural coherence. That a musical passage should have some semblance of a pulse is something that Mr. Pogorelich seems to think only lesser pianists who lack his brave originality concern themselves with. Consider this: the recordings of this work by Artur Schnabel, Richard Goode and Rudolf Serkin each clock in at about 26 minutes. Mr. Pogorelich’s performance lasted 41 minutes.

After this performance, which elicited some lusty boos along with bravos, Mr. Pogorelich’s playing of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 24 was, if anything, stranger. Who could tell slow from fast in this passive-aggressive performance where each phrase, sometimes each measure, inhabited its own world?

As the intermission dragged on for more than 40 minutes, some audience members started clapping in unison to prod him to reappear. Others just gave up and left. I was hoping that Scriabin’s Sonata No. 4 and Rachmaninoff’s Sonata No. 2, rhapsodic works that invite Romantic-styled freedom, would better suit Mr. Pogorelich’s temperament.

Alas, his distortions were only part of the problem. His tone palette had, essentially, two extremes: either he played with almost inaudible lightness, or he slam-banged chords and thumped out voices so brutally you pitied his poor Hamburg Steinway, on loan to the museum from Steinway & Sons for this “Piano Forte” series.

Here is an immense talent gone tragically astray. What went wrong?


Phil Bjorlo
Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357496 10/28/06 09:01 AM
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I was never able to warm to some of the eccentricities in some of Pogorelich's early recordings, but he was, nevertheless, a great musical talent.

Perhaps we should be mourning the loss of a (potentially) great pianist.

How sad!

Regards,


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Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357497 10/29/06 09:01 AM
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I was there. The thing was bizarre from the very beginning. First, they added all these seats on the stage close to the piano. When he came in, somebody from the public on stage took a picture of him (with flash, the hall was very dark), and he got very upset, he stared at the person for a while shaking his head and saying something (I couldn't quite hear).

I thought his Op.111 was actually interesting enough (though certainly far from the "accepted" interpretations if you know what I mean), some people booed at the end of it and left! In Op.78 it was hard to actually recognize the piece at all (his slow tempo reminded me of Gould's interpretation of Mozart K.331 first movement), I'm trying to find the words to explain what he was doing but I cannot, I couldn't fingure out what he was trying to say.

The other bizarre aspect of the concert was the page turner, she seem to have a hard time following the music (is this possible?), she missed at least 3 or 4 times during the concert. I've never seen anything like this before. She received some serious looks from him a couple of times, and in one case he did it himself and the break was quite noticeable. I thought she was not going to be back after the intermission... For the most part, however, he was *not* using the score, I could see his face from where I was sitting (in 8th row) and he was not reading (as suggested by NYTimes reviewer). I don't think his interpretation was due to insufficient preparation at all.

The intermission was not normal either, It took forever, I think he was using slow tempos for the intermission as well! laugh People started clapping, and one guy said "we should have taken more pictures of him", everyone laughed, and some people left.

Finally the second part started, and I thought it was even more strange. Very slow tempo with accents in strange places, pppp to ffff and viceversa. After the Scriabin he gave a small speech saying he wanted to play the first half in the Hamburg Steinway (which he did), and the second half in the NY Steinway, but this one had "a very dull second octave" so he apologized he was using the Hamburg for the second half as well. After the Rach sonata, he left and looked like he was not going to come back, after a little while he came back with a microphone. The first thing he did was to close the lid of the piano! Like saying "there is no way I'm playing an encore" (he did not). Then he started talking, he apologized he cancelled the recital a few years ago here and explained that it was his birthday (?), then at the end he talked about his plans for the future including that he may be moving back to NYC.

It was quite an unusual experience... frown

I should also say that his interpretations here were very far from his recordings (e.g. his Op.111 is slower than most, but about 29:30, not over 40 minutes as it was this performance).

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357498 10/29/06 02:37 PM
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Dubious, it sounds liek an interesting experience.

Do you think it was recorded?

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357499 10/29/06 10:04 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by CrashTest:
Do you think it was recorded?
No, I don't think so.

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357500 10/30/06 11:25 AM
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Maybe a personal/emotional phase he's going through?


"Music expresses that which cannot be said and upon which it is impossible to remain silent"-Victor Hugo
Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357501 10/30/06 11:51 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Dubious:
When he came in, somebody from the public on stage took a picture of him (with flash, the hall was very dark), and he got very upset, he stared at the person for a while shaking his head and saying something (I couldn't quite hear).
I'm with Ivo there...

Almost every concert hall states in the program: NO recording allowed, and NO photos allowed - especially flash.

In spite of this, one wonders how some people have the nerve to do it anyway. mad

I have been blinded by flash before - it is very unnerving and can certainly cause one to lose concentration.

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357502 10/30/06 12:06 PM
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Oh relax, its just a D$%%ed camera. But, in Pogorelich's defense, You can't win em' all! smile

Anyways, Unfortunately, I haven't heard enough of Pogorelich... my piano teacher loves him! Any recommended recordings?


"Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time."

-Albert Camus,

Jim
Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357503 10/30/06 12:10 PM
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Jim, I guess you've not had any of those cursing things go off in the middle of your performance?

Granted, it sounds as if this camera went off when he was walking onstage. But he has good reason to be upset - I'm sure he was wondering if that (@*#& thing would be going off all throughout the concert.

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357504 10/30/06 01:57 PM
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He took a microphone? How is his voice? I never heard him talking.. I think he used to live in NY before. And in London and in Switzerland..

What an interesting experience. I would love to see Ivo Pogorelich playing on a recital.

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357505 10/30/06 02:03 PM
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Well, I’m sure everyone on this forum has had one of those moments. I once sat through 20 minutes of cameras, children, and a bus full of mentally retarded people making several interesting noises. I am not the sort of person who cares though. I still made music, that is what is important. You have to ask yourself a lot of questions... Am I going to be very 'proper' and uptight? Am I going to let the small things be and play my heart out regardless?---as a professional would. Another important thing is that the person was taking a photo, nothing rude. He was only taking a photo because 1, he enjoyed it or 2. he has a job working at a newspaper or something like that. Fact is, I wouldn't mind being in the newspaper. laugh

I think that if you concentrate on these small 'interferences', you’re just going to continue the tradition in classical music which I think is wrong. An judgmental, inapproachable tradition that makes music inhuman. What is music? It is celebration of life, ceremony, it is human expression. I think it is only appropriate to be hypercritical at home to become intimate with the music, but live music is so much more intimate. The only question is,,, where did this division start? I have heard stories of intimate, personal, non-judgmental concerts given by Liszt... ones where the ladies were not scoffed at for sighing relief! Stories of people dancing to Bach’s music which were intended to be danced to! Are these stories only myths? When did people become uptight? Music is for enjoyment, not for intimidation and distress. Personally, I think that rudely addressing applause between movements or scoffing at someone who takes a little picture is ridiculous, elitist, and thoughtlessly traditional. It makes the music more intimidating and un-approachable.
The fact is, just because it is a tradition, and because it is expected doesn’t mean it is right. We rub off as elitist, perfectionist, heartless, sticklers who shoot the outsider (even if he/she is enthusiastic) with an intimidating arrow... ask any other musician outside the classical world who is concerned with music philosophy or the music at all. That is what has gone wrong in the classical music tradition if you ask me, and what is so wonderful in most other music. In most cultures, music is a celebration, not a test. We are encouraged to get up and dance, crack open a beer, and enjoy ourselves. I think that judgment, and criticism is for your living room, not a concert hall. Live music is celebration! laugh

Terribly sorry, I didn’t mean to highjack the thread. I just think these sort of ideas are important. Please continue on Pogorelich and forget my rambling! smile

-jim


"Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time."

-Albert Camus,

Jim
Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357506 10/30/06 02:37 PM
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Sorry Jim, I'm not being "uptight" - I'm a really 'laid-back' person. smile

But I do think it is extremely rude and inconsiderate to take a flash photo during a concert.

Performing music onstage can be a very intense experience. It may just break the performer's concentration to the point that they are distracted.

A flash going off at just the wrong moment focuses the attention towards the photographer, and away from the mood the performer has created. The photographer puts more importance on getting a photo for themself, and could care less if it ruins the experience for anyone else.

Finally, some people suffer from photophobia. I have this myself (as well as migraines) - it is not that uncommon. Whenever a flash goes off unexpectedly (especially in a dark room) I am momentarily blinded. If I am playing, there is a scary moment when I can no longer see the keys (or the music).

It has nothing to do with being an elitist snob!

You mentioned that the guy taking the photo might have been a professional journalist. I doubt that, because professional journalists know better! That is what press packets are for.

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357507 10/30/06 03:29 PM
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I completely disagree with the concept of "live and let live" when it comes to the public photographing (or recording) in concert venues. It is rude, it is against house rules and it is unconsciously selfish. And that's not even counting the potential distraction for the artist. So, some may be able to play through the distractions, that's really not the point.

No matter what you have paid for your ticket the house rules politely forbid any such activities, and doing so just says "I don't care about your rules, I'm here because I've paid to be here, and I want to photograph this dude! Too bad if you don't like it!"

It's just one more step on the road to bad manners and selfishness.

Regards,


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Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357508 10/30/06 04:24 PM
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Perhaps drug use would explain what happened to Ivo.

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357509 10/30/06 05:59 PM
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Drugs? This guy?
[Linked Image]

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357510 10/30/06 06:17 PM
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If members of the press are going to take photographs, it will be under mutually agreed upon arrangements, and usually during the encores or when the pianist is not playing. Anything else is a distraction and rude to both the performers and the audience.


Hank Drake

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The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
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Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357511 10/31/06 02:49 AM
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I attended his New York recital and promised a review about it earlier last month. I haven't said anything yet simply because it's taken a while for me to form a solid opinion about it, which I will now share.

Coincedentally, I saw Pogorelich two years ago in Los Angeles and it was the same day as the New York recital - Oct. 26. Both evening had a similar mystical quality even before the recital. In L.A the weather was crazy (Sun while rain, and there was even an eclipse and red mooon that night!) In new York, the moon was out, it was extremely cold and windy and sort of eerie night.

The concert was at the Met. Museum of art, and it was PACKED.
Unlike, say, Ax at Carnegie hall, or Lang Lang, everyone in attendance was an expert on Pogorelich and on the piano. It was one of those specialized audiences where everyone new more or less what to expect, and was eager to see the performance.

I was a bit dissapointed at first, because he completely changed the progam. Originally, he was to play the Chopin 3rd sonata, 2 noctures, and the Schumann Symphonic Etudes, and he changed it to Beethoven op. 78 and 111, Scriabin Sonata no. 4 and Rach sonata no. 2. As previously mentioned by someone, there were seats on the stage, and when Pogorelich walked out he scolded someone for taking a flash photograph. This I can understand - even though it did not affect him while walking out, I once played a concert in Mexico where ppl took pictures every 5 seconds and it was EXTREMELY annoying..so perhaps he was just afraid they were going to do it during the performance. Then there was the page turner. 99.9 % of performances I have seen, the page turner is usually a student. This page turner was an ancient, tough looking German Woman who seemed to know Ivo very well.

From beginning to end, I was fascinated by this performance. He began with 111, and the opening bars were played with more force and violence than I have ever heard. Why was I fascinated?
The same reason I'm fascinated when I see a car accident, or when 9/11 happened, or when a national monument is on fire - it's a type of horrific fascination, where what is going on in front of you is so, completely, utterly insane and unbeliavable that you have nothing to do but stare and watch with a dropped jaw in utter shock. I don't need to go into details about his interpretation, there has been enough written here already, but in summation, he rewrote everything on the program. There were no melodies, no sounds, or no rhythmic coherence that were the composers - everything was Pogorelich. Beethoven was played like an etheral, 12 tone improvisation on a C major chord, and Rachmaninoff was a 30 minute progression of banging chords. Yet still..I'm fascinated...in a positive way.

The following day I had a long talk with my teacher about the concert, and he was simply disgusted. He, by the way, studied with Pressler for 7 years, and comes from a very German, strict musical upbringing where composer is god, etc. What would Beethoven have though? - My teacher kept telling me.

What people don't understand (not to disagree with my teacher), is that Pogorelich is a distinguished artist, he is not some crazy bum off the streets. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory with honors, won 1st place in both the Montreal and Casagrande competitions, and made dozens of recordings in his younger years that are not bizarre, but brilliant. He has ALREADY proven to the world that he knows the laws of music, and is the only one alive today with the guts to break them. Yes, he's breaking them, but I honestly don't think he's doing it for the sheer purpose of breaking them, but because he has true, personal convictions about what he plays and he has the desire in his heart to share them with the world. While I don't like modern art, I can understand a red dot on a white canvas DOES have a certain artistic meaning, but ONLY if it is done by a distinguished artist who has already been successful in more traditional practices - as is the case with Pogorelich. Then one can argue "but he's destorying Beethoven!"... perhaps....but no, he's not destroying Beethoven. There were moments in the performance of op. 111, where, by means of his sound, voicing, and color - brough me to a state of such intense sensual wonder that I felt like I was on LSD. Maybe it was not what Beethoven wanted, but musically it worked, and at least some of the audience members felt it. However, the biggest thing to take into consideration is that this does NOT represent the current state of playing, it's not like these types of interpretations are raining down on the rooftop, and, as we know for sure, it's not like the critics are accepting it warmly. If ONE pianist out of a sea of thousands wishes to do something bold and I find it fascinating, I'm not going to condemn him, and I'm not going to worry about the state of musical interpretation.

My personal feelings of the concert said, I found the sense of ocassion that Pogorelich created quite amusing. As someone already said, it was a night full of personal antics. Glares at the audience, furious speeches about the quality of the piano, and
a heartfelt outpouring of his future plans all made it very interesting. Yet, once again, I thought that despite the antics, everything was genuine and well presented.

From the standpoint of a musician, it was a terrible concert and atrocities were commited against the masterpieces of the great composers.

From the standpoint of a human being, it was a fascinating and introspective expierence, and was a deep, deep, DEEP, few hours of almost unbelivable expressed personal intesnity.

Re: Pogorelich concert in NYC
#357512 10/31/06 03:06 AM
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I really want to see him play, my curiosity is piqued!


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