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#518322 - 02/09/02 12:32 PM Andre Watts in concert  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 5,736
Brendan Offline
Brendan  Offline


Joined: May 2001
Posts: 5,736
McAllen, TX
Last night, I had the pleasure of hearing Andre Watts in concert. His program:

(all Beethoven)
32 Variations in c minor, WoO 80
Sonata in D major, op. 10 #3
Sonata in f minor, op. 57 (Appasionata)

intermission

(all Chopin)
First Balalde
Second Ballade
Sonata #2 in b-flat minor

various encores

It was really some of the best piano playing that I have ever heard in my life. Each of the Beethoven pieces had so much drive and personality - the last movement of op. 57 was simply terrifying, contrasting the thoroughly enjoyable, good-natured fun that he gave us in op. 10 #3.

The Chopin was also exquisitely beautiful, especially the Ballades. He brought such refinement and elegance to two hackneyed student pieces. The Second Sonata...wow. Completely convincing and utterly compelling. The funeral march movement was so intense - in the first half he didn't bang out the fortissimo but instead saved it for the reprise, where it became a deafening roar unlike anything that I've heard in Chopin. The d-flat major section in the middle was an oasis of beauty that nearly brought tears to my eyes. It made me want to go and learn the piece as soon as the recital was over.

Of course, I had to be a pathetic groupie and met him backstage, where I had my picture taken and he signed my CD of him playing Liszt! laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh

Such an amiable person and a stellar artist. If you ever have the chance to hear him live, GO!

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#518323 - 02/09/02 04:02 PM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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the artist Offline
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the artist  Offline
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I envy you!! -- I still remember seeing him when he came to Tulsa many years ago. I was a student at the time & LOVED the concert. He is really an artist!
-Brad

#518324 - 02/10/02 12:52 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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Palindrome Offline
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Chicago, IL USA
Strange you should mention him, but just this afternoon I was in a store where the Schubert D. 784 Sonata in a was playing on the radio (WFMT, Chicago). I just had to stop and listen. It was a magnificent performance, and the only one I've ever heard where the octaves at the end of the third movement were played in tempo. (There have been some tremendous techncians, including both Richter and Solomon, who were not able to master that feat.) It turned out to be a live recording of Watts from 1988 or 1989. Now I'm going to have to try to locate it, if I can. Truly astonishing.


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
#518325 - 02/10/02 01:00 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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Palindrome Offline
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Chicago, IL USA
More on that sonata, and that particular technical problem. About 15 years ago I was in the audience at a master class at Ravinia (north of Chicago) with Menachem Pressler teaching. A young pianist (Anthony Padilla, I believe was his name) played that sonata, and clearly held back the tempo of the entire last movement. Pressler said "You shouldn't let the last few measures determine your pulse for the entire rest of the movement." He then taught the student how to shape the lead in to the octaves so that everything fit together, even though they were slower than the preceding material. He then made the (I think gratuitous) comment: "And those freaks who can play them can't play the rest of the music." Well, I do think Andre Watts proved him wrong on that point.


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
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#518326 - 02/10/02 03:01 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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jgoo Offline
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Seattle, Washington, USA
URGH! I'm so jelious! I wish that I could have heard it. Well, I know CD I'll be getting next: Anything that features Andre Watts as the pianist.


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#518327 - 02/10/02 03:55 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
Joined: Jun 2001
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yok Offline
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New Zealand
Just a bit of information on the recording Palindrome's referring to. It's from Andre Watts's 25th anniversary recital at Carnegie Hall. The recording is on :
EMI CDM 0777 7 64598 2 0

The rest of the programme is:
Haydn Sonata in C, Hob. XVI/48
Mozart Sonata in F, K.332
Schubert Sonata in a, D.784
Brahms Vier Klavierstuecke, Op.119

Beside the Schubert, the Mozart is probably the highlight. The Haydn is very well done, though it doesn't quite match Horowitz's delectable way with the piece (also live at Carnegie Hall, IIRC).

I was very interested to read Palindrome's comment about Menahem Pressler's advice. I have a recording by the Beaux Arts Trio of a Haydn trio in C which I play. Anyway, they take the third movement at breakneck speed (a little too fast for my liking) but the last few bars present a major hurdle for the cellist (ironic really, considering how slight the part is throughout the rest). When listening to the recording we noticed that they slacken the tempo in the final bars, probably to accommodate the cellist. But the effect is not at all anti-climactic and is so skilfully done you would probably not notice unless you were listening for it. Unfortunately, when we try to do it there is an abrupt and obvious change of gear, so we just settle for a more relaxed tempo for the whole movement! In an ideal world we could all play everything at whatever tempo we wanted, but the compromise Pressler describes is the next best thing - it's not easy though, especially when playing with others.

#518328 - 02/13/02 10:10 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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AndrewG Offline
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AndrewG  Offline
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Denver, Colorado
Just to share a somewhat different experience. Back in the '80s I attended three of Watts' recitals. I was sort of surprised and to some degree disappointed that our maestro had memory slips in all of them. Two of them were pretty bad that he had to fumble on the keyboard to get himself out. It bothered me quite a bit that I have not gone to any of his concerts since. Just not his day, I guess. I listned to his CDs expecting to get a different, hopefully more positive feeling. Unfortunately for me it did not happen. I then listened to his GPTTC selections. IMHO, Watts is a fine pianist. To be included in the GPTTC? I could not figure this out. FWIW.

AndrewG

#518329 - 02/15/02 07:48 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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Rich Galassini Offline
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
Andre Watts is a fine artist and in person he is a very "down to earth" guy.

I did a fundraiser with him some years back that featured him signing and auctioning off a Steinway grand for a charity that gives free music lessons to innercity kids.

This is a man who hasn't forgotten to "give back".


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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#518330 - 02/15/02 08:31 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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AndrewG Offline
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AndrewG  Offline
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Denver, Colorado
Quote
Originally posted by Rich Galassini:


This is a man who hasn't forgotten to "give back".


Indeed, he is! Years back when Denver Symphony was in dire financial trouble maestro Watts came to play nothing less than the colossal Brahms 2nd. He generously donated his normal asking FEE to the symphony. What a guy!

#518331 - 02/15/02 04:33 PM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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Brendan Offline
Brendan  Offline


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Posts: 5,736
McAllen, TX
Andrew,

I had heard similar things from friends about some of his recent performances. A friend at Indiana said that he recently played both Brahms concerti there and had memory problems all over #1. Honestly, I was a little worried about whether he would have any at the concert.

In a funny way, he sort of did. The first encore that he played was the first "New Etude" by Chopin (f minor). He got about 10 measures into it, had a little slip, stopped all of a sudden and turned to the audience, saying "I don't want to play that."

The house almost came down with laughter and everyone was cheering and clapping for him. It was great to see that he could take it so well and make a joke about it. His encores thereafter were as exquisite as the program before.

And yes, he certainly does know how to give back to the community. These concerts that he plays at universities across the US are done for a minimal fee (so I heard from a reliable source).

He also played the "Revolutionairy" on Mr. Rogers back in the 80's. My first experience with the piece and his playing!

#518332 - 02/16/02 06:48 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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BruceD Offline
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Victoria, BC
Quote
Originally posted by Brendan:
Andrew,

He also played the "Revolutionairy" on Mr. Rogers back in the 80's. My first experience with the piece and his playing!


Could you explain that, please?

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
#518333 - 02/16/02 09:35 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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Brendan Offline
Brendan  Offline


Joined: May 2001
Posts: 5,736
McAllen, TX
He appeared as a guest on the "Mr. Rogers" show (you know..."won't you be my neighbor?") and played Chopin op. 10 #12. That was the first time that I heard his playing (although I hadn't started piano yet).

#518334 - 02/16/02 10:05 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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Penny Offline
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Penny  Offline
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San Juan Capistrano, CA
Yea for Mr. Rogers! He's still the best (shows officially in repeats now, but no matter). I grew up with him, and so did my kids.

penny

#518335 - 02/16/02 11:37 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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BruceD Offline
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Victoria, BC
Quote
Originally posted by BruceD:


Could you explain that, please?

Regards,


Duh! Am I stupid, or just dense?

What you said was perfectly clear, but I read it as: "He played the Revolutionary on Mr. Rogers back, in the 80s..." I wondered how he did that! Was that before or after he gave him the shirt (off his back)?

Oh well, I'll go back to sticking my foot in my mouth, which I often do so well.

Regards,

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: BruceD ]


BruceD
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Estonia 190
#518336 - 02/19/02 08:43 AM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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AndrewG Offline
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Denver, Colorado
Brendan,

Thanks for sharing yours and others listening experiences with Watts. I wish our maestro the best. At the present moment I do not have the 'ache' to listen to him live. I'm gald that you had a wonderful time at that concert.

AndrewG

#518337 - 02/19/02 05:16 PM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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Rick Offline
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Rick  Offline
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Chicago
I saw him in Chicago last year and he was wonderful. He played a fine Haydn sonata, the Appassionata by Beethoven, AND Chopin's "funeral march" sonata. Fantastic, and no memory slips (that I noticed anyway).

#518338 - 02/19/02 05:21 PM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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jgoo Offline
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jgoo  Offline
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Seattle, Washington, USA
Quote
Originally posted by BruceD:
What you said was perfectly clear, but I read it as: "He played the Revolutionary on Mr. Rogers back, in the 80s"


Wow! That would have to be some trick to do that.

[ February 19, 2002: Message edited by: jgoo ]


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#518339 - 02/19/02 07:47 PM Re: Andre Watts in concert  
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Bernard Offline
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North Groton, NH
Well he could have been using Mr. Rogers as a stool.


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

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