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Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance

Posted By: brassplyer

Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/24/18 03:55 AM

What do you think of this rendition?

TinyUrl link to an mp3 file on Google drive, 6 megs and change.

https://tinyurl.com/ybuz9pbj
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/24/18 05:52 AM

Enjoyed it who was the pianist?
Posted By: Nordomus

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/24/18 06:14 AM

Amazing, is it yours? I didn't spot any mistakes and I really like interpretation. Were improvised parts yours as well?
What piano is this and how was it recorded? Really like the sound.
Posted By: Rowy van Hest

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/24/18 10:29 AM

I think it's a midi render, although a smart one.
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/24/18 10:58 AM

Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
I think it's a midi render, although a smart one.

Not a midi render. Human playing an acoustic piano.

If you know of a midi piano that sounds that good point me toward it - lol.
Posted By: Nordomus

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/24/18 11:59 AM

Exactly, sound is great, but which "human" is playing?
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/24/18 01:51 PM

If it's not a technical trick, I would say that the pianist mockes at Chopin's piece in order to show off his virtuosity. I really hate this kind of performances.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/24/18 04:48 PM

The variants in the middle section were interesting but not particularly Chopinesque IMO. (I hope someone doesn't now say that are some newly discovered variants by Chopin haha.) OTOH some criticize the middle section as being a little repetitious so the idea of slight variants may be good.
Posted By: slipperykeys

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/24/18 06:20 PM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
What do you think of this rendition?




Why does it matter what everybody else thinks, and why haven't you answered their questions?

I must admit, it sounds like a mechanical/electronic production to me although, to be extremely pedantic and nit-picking, sometimes the volumes between bass and treble seemed a little incorrect enough to be human.

Anybody who can play that well should be confident of their ability, while anybody who pretends to should not.

As for the piano tone, personally I wasn't that impressed, but that may be the "production". ;-)

Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/24/18 08:02 PM

Originally Posted by slipperykeys
Originally Posted by brassplyer
What do you think of this rendition?
Why does it matter what everybody else thinks....
You never asked anyone their opinion about something? There must be tens of thousands of posts on PW asking for opinions about a performance.
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/25/18 01:54 AM

Originally Posted by slipperykeys
Why does it matter what everybody else thinks, and why haven't you answered their questions?

So many presuppositions in one short post.

Besides that I have other things to do than babysit a post during the day, I have my reasons for not immediately saying anything.

Quote
I must admit, it sounds like a mechanical/electronic production to me although, to be extremely pedantic and nit-picking, sometimes the volumes between bass and treble seemed a little incorrect enough to be human.

Electronic and mechanical devices and human involvement aren't mutually exclusive. A piano is mechanical, recording in the current era is electronic.

It's a human playing an acoustic piano as already stated.

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Anybody who can play that well should be confident of their ability

I have every reason to think the performer is confident in their ability. The performer isn't me. I wish I could play like that.

Quote
As for the piano tone, personally I wasn't that impressed, but that may be the "production". ;-)

Ah - at least you do finally get around to giving a nod to the original query.
Posted By: slipperykeys

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/25/18 10:49 AM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
Originally Posted by slipperykeys
Why does it matter what everybody else thinks, and why haven't you answered their questions?

So many presuppositions in one short post.


I could have made it longer by wasting time, but see no point.

Originally Posted by brassplyer

Besides that I have other things to do than babysit a post during the day, I have my reasons for not immediately saying anything.



Thank you for explaining, I look forward to your saying who, where what etc. BTW, I was not aware that I was asking you, even obliquely, to "baby-sit" anything.

Originally Posted by brassplyer

Ah - at least you do finally get around to giving a nod to the original query.


I apologise unreservedly for inconveniencing you.
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/25/18 12:03 PM

Originally Posted by slipperykeys
I apologise unreservedly for inconveniencing you.

Gimme $50 and it'll be forgiven/forgotten. smile
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/25/18 05:44 PM

This is not an ideal performance, for me. The descending passage that first appears in measure eight is never cleanly executed each time it recurs, and there seem to be missed notes elsewhere in this section. A little less "Presto" with the "agitato" might help; there is some unnecessary rushing for my taste, the "Presto" notwithstanding. Perhaps a little less pedal might help, too.

The pianist cuts measures 71-83, perhaps to avoid the repetition that many complain about. The first fioritura at measure 60 is quite similar to what is found in the Klindworth edition for measure 72; I don't particularly care for the embellishments at measure 65; let's keep this melody simple.

I think the balance between right and left hands in the "Moderato cantibile" section is beautifully done.

I don't like the doubling of the bass C-sharp at measure 119; it comes with a bit of a whallop, nor do I like the extended arpeggio in the penultimate measure that goes an octave above what is written!

On the other hand(s), if I had this facility with some control, I would be a happy man with this piece.

Regards,
Posted By: MarkEm

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/25/18 06:30 PM

I'm intrigued as to who this is, and why you're holding back from telling us...

At any rate, it's a great performance and I enjoyed listening. Since you asked for thoughts, I found it a bit over-pedalled, which made some of the agitato section a bit muddy. I also thought the middle section was too fast. I liked some of the additions, but would have preferred it without the cut i.e. playing it as written, and then introducing variants on the repeats. But this is nitpicking!
Posted By: Rowy van Hest

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/25/18 09:07 PM

Nope. It's a midi render.
Posted By: Rowy van Hest

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/25/18 09:15 PM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
I think it's a midi render, although a smart one.

Not a midi render. Human playing an acoustic piano.

If you know of a midi piano that sounds that good point me toward it - lol.


Not a midi piano, but a virtual piano, like Pianoteq or Arturia, rendered with the help of a DAW. But there are dozens of them, some are very good.
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/25/18 09:17 PM

Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
Nope. It's a midi render.

Lol...
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/25/18 09:37 PM

Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
Not a midi piano, but a virtual piano, like Pianoteq or Arturia, rendered with the help of a DAW. But there are dozens of them, some are very good.

The problem with any artificial piano (or artificial anything) is that none of them produce sound the way a real piano does and you don't hear it the way you hear a live piano. Same fundamental difference between listening to a recorded piano vs live - you're listening to what the mics hear the way mics hear it and rebroadcast via some kind of amp/speaker. No matter how sophisticated the recording or synthesizer and playback it's not the same.

Have you ever heard a recording of any instrument or ensemble where you thought it was indistinguishable from a live performance?

Has there ever been a blindfold test in a live setting with experienced ears where they couldn't distinguish between the real thing and an artificial piano? I'd be very surprised to hear that this had ever happened.
Posted By: chopin_r_us

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/26/18 08:39 AM

Horribly mechanical. It's obviously been rendered in a number of ways. What ever floats yer boat smile
Posted By: Michael P Walsh

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/26/18 09:37 AM

I've just compared it (very briefly) to a few U-tube versions. Doesn't sound any more mechanical than the ones I listened to. BTW I've never really likes this piece (sorry!) - apart from the slow section. I think the recording does sound slightly veiled and a bit muddy?
My thoughts for what little they are worth.
Posted By: slipperykeys

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/26/18 11:32 AM

Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Horribly mechanical. It's obviously been rendered in a number of ways. What ever floats yer boat smile


I've got to agree, there are a few reasons, which I won't give away as that seems in error on this thread! If there were good reasons I would have been happy but I got a load of stalling, all for unknown reasons, so deeply suspicious.

As for the " find me a piano that sounds that good", well, any proprietary manufacturer fits the bill, so that's a no-go.

I don't think we will ever get the truth here. Perhaps one to filter? I'll think about it, my ignore list gets ever longer!

All IMO.
Posted By: slipperykeys

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/26/18 12:52 PM

""You never asked anyone their opinion about something?""

No, because I believe that would be a naive thing to do. If I ask questions I want qualification of the opinion given, in which case they might, quite rightly, ask why and I would answer properly, if I was taking the subject seriously.

But have you?

So this is an accurate question fitting this scenario, "Have you ever asked an anonymous group of individuals their opinion of, for example, and as is the obvious case here, a specific work of art without reference to their education, knowledge, experience, intelligence, age and reasons" ?

And again, no.

However, if the questioner had an ulterior motive my qualifications may not fit their needs.

Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/26/18 01:09 PM

Originally Posted by slipperykeys
""You never asked anyone their opinion about something?""

No, because I believe that would be a naive thing to do. If I ask questions I want qualification of the opinion given, in which case they might, quite rightly, ask why and I would answer properly, if I was taking the subject seriously.

But have you?

So this is an accurate question fitting this scenario, "Have you ever asked an anonymous group of individuals their opinion of, for example, and as is the obvious case here, a specific work of art without reference to their education, knowledge, experience, intelligence, age and reasons" ?

And again, no.
You may not have asked people their opinion but thousands(probably many tens of thousands) of posts at PW do just that. And what about looking at reviews of products at Amazon or virtually every other site selling something? A huge majority of people look for other peoples' opinions on a variety of things even if those people are anonymous and not vetted.
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/26/18 05:53 PM

Originally Posted by slipperykeys
As for the " find me a piano that sounds that good", well, any proprietary manufacturer fits the bill, so that's a no-go.

The comment was find me a MIDI piano that sounds that good. I have yet to hear an artificial piano that does.

Quote
I don't think we will ever get the truth here.

Clearly patience isn't in your repertoire.

I was hoping to get more responses as to opinions on the performance.
Posted By: prout

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/26/18 07:29 PM

You ask for opinions on ‘this performance’ or ‘rendition’. It could be construed as opinions on any aspect of the mp3. file, including recording technique, noise, quality of piano, as well as how accurately and musically the notes were played.

I am going to leave aside everything but the playing of the notes. This is an OK work by Chopin, not his best, but, at its best, that is, when played well, sounds laid back, easy, flexible, comfortable.

This rendition sounds tense, rushed, too metronomic, and with artificial tempo changes. It left me feeling nervous, not comfortable. With the help of a very fine coach, the person who created this rendering could improve the quality of the music making. I don’t mean that it is necessarily an artificially constructed MIDI render, but that it is not naturally musical, the kind of musicality that comes from someone born ‘with it’, not aquired through 10,000 hours of practice.

My opinion only, of course.
Posted By: IosPlayer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/26/18 08:34 PM

The player is no good. The piano is no good. The dynamics are no good. The tempo is no good. The recording is no good ( for ten reasons that are not good) The improvisations are no good. The piece is no good. The thread is no good. Other than that I like it. Just my opinion.
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/26/18 08:36 PM

Originally Posted by prout
You ask for opinions on ‘this performance’ or ‘rendition’. It could be construed as opinions on any aspect of the mp3. file, including recording technique, noise, quality of piano, as well as how accurately and musically the notes were played.

What I was referring to is the performance - this rendition as opposed to other renditions. I'd reword it for clarity but unfortunately they have the forum set up to disable further editing after a couple of minutes.

Quote
With the help of a very fine coach, the person who created this rendering could improve the quality of the music making.


FWIW my understanding is the player has had top-level coaching.
Posted By: Think Schifferent

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/26/18 09:50 PM

With the Fantasie-Impromptu, the general conversation should be "How close to Perahia does this person get?"

With that in mind, overall this moves along at a similar tempo to Perahia, with comparable clarity and shape. The key differences are:

1) Anonymous takes more time (micro and macro), especially in the reprise and coda, which I think hampers the overall sense of direction.

2) The shape of the singing in the cantabile section is more heavy-handed than Perahia.

3) Anonymous adds two embellishments with fairly good style, leading me to wonder whether it's an older pianist (as the competition-heavy culture these days doesn't seem to allow as much latitude). The first embellishment at 2:10 might have originated with Lympany or Cziffra:

Lympany:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciIbIKb5_ag&t=2m36s
Cziffra:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow1c8esX3bQ&t=2m48s

The other seems to be from Horowitz:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x93pwAvUkAA&t=2m33s

tl;dr:
Good, ok embellishments, not Perahia.

Pianists it isn't:
- Perahia (for aforementioned reasons)
- Lipatti, Rubenstein, Cziffra, Horowitz (they all take way more time than Anonymous)
- Lympany (recording quality is too good, also she is faster).
Posted By: Rowy van Hest

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/27/18 12:18 PM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
Not a midi piano, but a virtual piano, like Pianoteq or Arturia, rendered with the help of a DAW. But there are dozens of them, some are very good.

The problem with any artificial piano (or artificial anything) is that none of them produce sound the way a real piano does and you don't hear it the way you hear a live piano. Same fundamental difference between listening to a recorded piano vs live - you're listening to what the mics hear the way mics hear it and rebroadcast via some kind of amp/speaker. No matter how sophisticated the recording or synthesizer and playback it's not the same.

Have you ever heard a recording of any instrument or ensemble where you thought it was indistinguishable from a live performance?

Has there ever been a blindfold test in a live setting with experienced ears where they couldn't distinguish between the real thing and an artificial piano? I'd be very surprised to hear that this had ever happened.


I'm not saying a render sounds just as good as a live performance, because it doesn't. That's why I heard that the mp3 is a render and not the recording of a real piano player. So we agree on that.
Posted By: Rowy van Hest

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/27/18 12:24 PM

Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Horribly mechanical. It's obviously been rendered in a number of ways. What ever floats yer boat smile


Yeah. I think it's a nice hoax though. Now let's wait and see which artificial made piano composition is going to fool the lot of us wink
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/27/18 12:36 PM

Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Horribly mechanical. It's obviously been rendered in a number of ways. What ever floats yer boat smile

Yeah. I think it's a nice hoax though. Now let's wait and see which artificial made piano composition is going to fool the lot of us wink

I've been impressed by the collective ability of the PW community to root out piano-playing hoaxes and fakes ever since this thread a few months ago. thumb
Posted By: slipperykeys

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/27/18 05:45 PM

Originally Posted by brassplyer


Clearly patience isn't in your repertoire.



I don't need patience as I am content with all my observations and I am confident that I am destined to remain so.
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/27/18 11:38 PM

It's Lola Astanova - I believe it's the only full-length version of it she has on Youtube. After seeing prejudiced reactions to her based on factors other than her playing that I found on here in previous threads I was curious to see what the feedback would be in an anonymous setting. Some clearly have a real issue with her showing up looking like a Robert Palmer girl.

The only thing I did to it was add a touch of modeled reverb in SoundForge to give it more of a concert hall sound. The original audio has a distinctive, close-mic'd ambience that I thought might give it away if anyone was familiar with the video.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 12:01 AM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
It's Lola Astanova - I believe it's the only full-length version of it she has on Youtube. After seeing prejudiced reactions to her based on factors other than her playing that I found on here in previous threads I was curious to see what the feedback would be in an anonymous setting. Some clearly have a real issue with her showing up looking like a Robert Palmer girl.

The only thing I did to it was add a touch of modeled reverb in SoundForge to give it more of a concert hall sound. The original audio has a distinctive, close-mic'd ambience that I thought might give it away if anyone was familiar with the video.

Lol. I posted a video of her playing La Campanella blindfolded only a few days ago. The Robert Palmer girl thing she has done to herself. A few years ago, she looked pretty wholesome if one looks for older videos of her like:

I don't think her talent has gotten any less as she's remade herself. She's just remade herself in the last 3 years or so, including with some obviously augmented parts. Her piano playing is just now viewed through a different lens than before.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 12:25 AM

Even now she is able to tone it down when she wants. Here she was at her performance of Rhapsody in Blue that won her the Emmy award just two years ago. Severely toned down and if not completely wholesome, at least just "girl next door":
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 12:56 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Lol. I posted a video of her playing La Campanella blindfolded only a few days ago. The Robert Palmer girl thing she has done to herself. A few years ago, she looked pretty wholesome if one looks for older videos of her like:

I saw that Don't Stop The Music video a few days ago - pretty cool.

I don't have any problem with her dolling up - she's a superb player. Of course some will turn their noses up anyway and find a reason to find fault with her. For those whose sensibilities just can't deal with it there are plenty of starched shirt and bow tie players.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 01:09 AM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Lol. I posted a video of her playing La Campanella blindfolded only a few days ago. The Robert Palmer girl thing she has done to herself. A few years ago, she looked pretty wholesome if one looks for older videos of her like:

I saw that Don't Stop The Music video a few days ago - pretty cool.

I like her Gershwin Emmy performance too. It showed her playing a virtuosic piece in a serious manner, well coordinated with a professional orchestra. And of course, the pianist is the anchor for the entire piece there.

There is no question in my mind. She is a serious musician although I don't think she takes herself entirely seriously. I just think she is perhaps a shade less talented then a Yuja Wang or Khatia Buniatishvili, which probably enough that she had to change some things up to try to compete.
Posted By: Mark_C

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 01:57 AM

I wasn't able easily to make this be played (do we need to do a download?), and so I didn't, and I'm figuring just as well, because from the discussion, it looks like I might be in danger of getting into a whoop-de-doo like on this old thread, which was quite a thing.
For any old timers here who click on that, it will probably bring back memories. ha

But just wanted to mention.....

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The variants in the middle section were interesting but not particularly Chopinesque IMO. (I hope someone doesn't now say that are some newly discovered variants by Chopin haha.)

I learned at one of the amateur Chopin competitions in Warsaw that there is at least one variant version. As I remember, it involved some differences in both the outer sections and the middle section. If I heard the thing that was posted here, I might or might not be able to tell if it's the same as the variant that I heard; I'd probably be able to say if it probably is or isn't.
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 02:19 AM

Originally Posted by Mark_C
I wasn't able easily to make this be played (do we need to do a download?), and so I didn't

In the upper right you should see a downward pointing arrow with a line under it to download - click and it should bring up an applet to play or save.

Or you can just view the video on Youtube - Lola Astanova Fantaisie Impromptu.
Posted By: Mark_C

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 02:51 AM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
....Or you can just view the video on Youtube - Lola Astanova Fantaisie Impromptu.

Thanks -- I did it that way.

First of all I don't understand the big deal about the playing -- either way.

It's good. It's not bad. But very easily arguably it's not great either.

There's nothing extraordinary about it, either badly or goodly. (Provided we're judging it on a high professional level; for an amateur it would be terrific, but, at the same time, it can rightly be criticized for lacking some aspects of Chopin playing that many consider essential.)

About this thing, which was my main interest in hearing it:

Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The variants in the middle section were interesting but not particularly Chopinesque IMO. (I hope someone doesn't now say that are some newly discovered variants by Chopin haha.)

I learned at one of the amateur Chopin competitions in Warsaw that there is at least one variant version. As I remember, it involved some differences in both the outer sections and the middle section. If I heard the thing that was posted here, I might or might not be able to tell if it's the same as the variant that I heard; I'd probably be able to say if it probably is or isn't.

It's not the same as the variant I heard, which seemed to be some fairly-recently-discovered thing and which diverted more from the usual version. This one is far closer to it.

The only differences I heard are two things, in the middle section (as Plover indicated) -- and they're things that may well be present in some long-known edition or at least in some variant that was somewhat commonly played in "the golden age."

How I've known that: I've heard at least the first of those two thingees in some old-old recordings -- and I may at some point have seen an edition that had it; not sure about that -- and after I heard it and maybe also saw it in an edition, I played it. I've never done it that way when anyone was listening grin ....not because I think it's bad taste or anything like that but because I've never worked on it that way and, just noodling it as I've done, I haven't been able to do it particularly well. It's been just for fun.

About the second of those thingees, I can tell you this: I don't specifically remember if I ever heard anything like it in old recordings or seen it in an edition, but, in fact, in the times that I've noodled that other thingee, I've also noodled this thingee, which makes me think I probably did hear it.

I'm guessing that her way of playing those things is an old known thing although it's probably rarely done nowadays. I'd guess that if we went through old-old recordings of the piece on youtube -- y'know, like, by people like Pachmann, Godowsky. Hofmann, Lhevinne, whomever -- we'd come across a recording or two where those thingees are played that way.
Posted By: Mark_C

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 02:58 AM

Originally Posted by Mark_C
....I'd guess that if we went through old-old recordings of the piece on youtube -- y'know, like, by people like Pachmann, Godowsky. Hofmann, Lhevinne, whomever -- we'd come across a recording or two where those thingees are played that way.

On my first try, I found a recording of Josef Hofmann where he does the first thingee that way (more or less; not all the notes are necessarily the same), but not the second.

Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 07:58 AM

Originally Posted by Mark_C
it can rightly be criticized for lacking some aspects of Chopin playing that many consider essential.)

Clearly she's not trying to please opinionated judges at a contest who want certain hoops jumped through.

It's not a matter of her chops, she's not fluffing notes left and right like David Helfgott. She's so accurate that some in this thread were convinced it was midi. (My condolences to the hoax-sniffers cool)

I don't think there's anything she *can't* execute - sure she could do it exactly the way some particular person wants it done. They find fault because she's doing it the way she wants to do it. And apparently having a blast and looking dang fine too. smile
Posted By: Rowy van Hest

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 09:32 AM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
It's Lola Astanova - I believe it's the only full-length version of it she has on Youtube. After seeing prejudiced reactions to her based on factors other than her playing that I found on here in previous threads I was curious to see what the feedback would be in an anonymous setting. Some clearly have a real issue with her showing up looking like a Robert Palmer girl.

The only thing I did to it was add a touch of modeled reverb in SoundForge to give it more of a concert hall sound. The original audio has a distinctive, close-mic'd ambience that I thought might give it away if anyone was familiar with the video.


That is a rare achievement, sounding like a midi render. Too much technique, too little musicality, like I heard Lang Lang once say.

And I still think it's a midi render, at least a part of it, or a severe edited midi recording. And if it's not, I know now not to buy something from Lola. I was wrong about one thing though. I thought that if it wasn't a midi render, the pianist must be Chinese. I saw a documentary once about young Chinese pianists who took a master class from Lang Lang and some of them sounded like machines. There was even a pianist who didn't really want to become a pianist, but his parents hoped he would become famous, and then rich. Well, it's an incentive. And I do understand, because I'm not really a pianist, more a composer. My teacher could get very frustrated, because I never played a composition in one go. I stopped to explain to him how I would have written that piece. I still don't understand what's the fun in playing something another musician wrote grin

Wait, I saw a picture of her and now I understand all the fuss. She is beautiful and looks like a popstar. Right. Note to myself: Ignore her.
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 11:40 AM

Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
And I still think it's a midi render

Lol....

Given the skill she's displayed over and over in her performances, I'm marveling at the mental gymnastics you're engaging in to convince yourself she'd need to fake it. grin

Quote
I still don't understand what's the fun in playing something another musician wrote grin

So you've just dismissed the entire classical music world. And apparently have no aspiration for anyone to ever perform anything you've written.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 11:43 AM

This just sounds utterly unremarkable to me. I can't criticise it, but I don't hear anything special either. Maybe I'll listen to it again and hear something amazing in it at some stage in the future. Sometimes it can take me a while to "get" a pianist.
Posted By: Rowy van Hest

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 12:22 PM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
And I still think it's a midi render

Lol....

Given the skill she's displayed over and over in her performances, I'm marveling at the mental gymnastics you're engaging in to convince yourself she'd need to fake it. grin

Quote
I still don't understand what's the fun in playing something another musician wrote grin

So you've just dismissed the entire classical music world. And apparently have no aspiration for anyone to ever perform anything you've written.


I thought I was merely writing down how I felt about it. I had no idea my opinion was so important for the entire classical music world. Dear me, I hope I didn't break it.
Posted By: Rowy van Hest

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 12:25 PM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
This just sounds utterly unremarkable to me. I can't criticise it, but I don't hear anything special either. Maybe I'll listen to it again and hear something amazing in it at some stage in the future. Sometimes it can take me a while to "get" a pianist.


She wears pumps with high heels, so she must be very special.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 12:42 PM

Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
Originally Posted by johnstaf
This just sounds utterly unremarkable to me. I can't criticise it, but I don't hear anything special either. Maybe I'll listen to it again and hear something amazing in it at some stage in the future. Sometimes it can take me a while to "get" a pianist.


She wears pumps with high heels, so she must be very special.


Maybe that's what I should have been doing all along! grin
Posted By: pelanglo

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 01:25 PM

Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
I was wrong about one thing though. I thought that if it wasn't a midi render, the pianist must be Chinese.

This is racism.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 01:36 PM

Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
I thought that if it wasn't a midi render, the pianist must be Chinese.


Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
I still don't understand what's the fun in playing something another musician wrote grin


Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
Wait, I saw a picture of her and now I understand all the fuss. She is beautiful and looks like a popstar. Right. Note to myself: Ignore her.


Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
She wears pumps with high heels, so she must be very special.


Now be nice.
Posted By: Rowy van Hest

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 01:49 PM

Originally Posted by pelanglo
Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
I was wrong about one thing though. I thought that if it wasn't a midi render, the pianist must be Chinese.

This is racism.


She did play fast, as in a race.
Posted By: Rowy van Hest

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 01:57 PM

Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
She wears pumps with high heels, so she must be very special.


Now be nice.
[/quote]

It's not my fault. They're all after me crazy
Posted By: chopin_r_us

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 03:10 PM

Originally Posted by pelanglo
Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
I was wrong about one thing though. I thought that if it wasn't a midi render, the pianist must be Chinese.

This is racism.

No, it's culturalism!
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 03:16 PM

Originally Posted by pelanglo
Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
I was wrong about one thing though. I thought that if it wasn't a midi render, the pianist must be Chinese.

This is racism.
It may or may not be racism but it is a outdated and untrue stereotyping of Chinese pianists. There are countless Chinese pianists today who play with great musicianship as well as perfect technique.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 09:00 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by pelanglo
Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
I was wrong about one thing though. I thought that if it wasn't a midi render, the pianist must be Chinese.

This is racism.
It may or may not be racism but it is a outdated and untrue stereotyping of Chinese pianists. There are countless Chinese pianists today who play with great musicianship as well as perfect technique.

+1 thumb
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 10:13 PM

Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by pelanglo
Originally Posted by Rowy van Hest
I was wrong about one thing though. I thought that if it wasn't a midi render, the pianist must be Chinese.

This is racism.
It may or may not be racism but it is a outdated and untrue stereotyping of Chinese pianists. There are countless Chinese pianists today who play with great musicianship as well as perfect technique.

+1 thumb


Even 60 years ago there were great Chinese pianists such as Fou Ts'ong, although classical musicians from Asia were of course much rarer than today.
Posted By: Mark_C

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 10:26 PM

Among many others we could mention, there's also Da-Ming Zhu, who made the finals in the great field of the 1981 Cliburn competition despite having only been playing for a few years.
BTW at the time his name was given as Zhu Da Ming. We over here have never been real good at necessarily knowing what's the "first" or "last" name of Asian people, or maybe more to the point, what's the family name and what's the given name. I'm often still unsure unless it's someone I know. And even though I now know how to write his name, I couldn't swear which name is which.
(I think Zhu is the family name.)

Here he is playing a Mozart concerto, which is pretty far from any mechanical stereotype.
BTW I didn't think the post was necessarily racist. I thought it was just dumb. grin
Which doesn't mean the person who said it was dumb. At least I hope it doesn't. I've posted plenty of dumb things. ha

Posted By: bennevis

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 10:46 PM

Originally Posted by Mark_C
We over here have never been real good at necessarily knowing what's the "first" or "last" name of Asian people, or maybe more to the point, what's the family name and what's the given name. I'm often still unsure unless it's someone I know. And even though I now know how to write his name, I couldn't swear which name is which.
(I think Zhu is the family name.)

Chinese names are often written with hyphenated names which link the "first" and "second" name, therefore the remaining name is the family name. In Chinese, the family name comes before the given names, but to make it less confusing for Westerners, they often write the family name last when writing in English grin.

Incidentally, the way it's spelled is a direct transliteration of the way it's pronounced in their native language - which means that the same name (when written in Mandarin) can be spelled differently depending on whether their native language is Cantonese (or another Chinese dialect) or Mandarin, because it's pronounced differently in different dialects.

Like Yin Cheng-Zong (or Yin Chengzong), who won joint second prize in the 2nd Tchaikovsky Competition in 1962 (in which Ashkenazy shared first prize with Ogdon) - who incidentally wrote the piano part of the Yellow River Concerto. That's why the piano part is so pianistic and grateful for smaller hands - no stretches bigger than an octave thumb.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 11:37 PM

Talking of Chinese names, I look forward to the day when Chinese pianos proudly display Chinese names instead of fake or defunct European ones. It didn't do Xiaomi or Huawei phones and computers any harm. I know that Hailun sell under their own name in some countries though. I've never seen a Yellow River piano. It might be an English language name, but it's still clearly Chinese.
Posted By: newport

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/28/18 11:39 PM

Gu Shengying played Schumann-Franz Liszt's Dedication in 1960

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB7ZJwHurYI&list=RDKB7ZJwHurYI
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/29/18 12:02 AM

Here's another notable Chinese pianist who has made her name in Bach:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWernPGyfwk
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/29/18 02:03 AM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
There are countless Chinese pianists today who play with great musicianship as well as perfect technique.

Not a singe one of whom looks as good in a sequined minidress as Lola.
Posted By: slipperykeys

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/29/18 08:33 AM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
There are countless Chinese pianists today who play with great musicianship as well as perfect technique.

Not a singe one of whom looks as good in a sequined minidress as Lola.


You didn't ask us to look, you asked us to listen, so your "reason" here is invalid.

At least you have told who it is, I think it is remarkable that anyone can play Opus 66, I have struggled for decades!

However, I see little point in disguising the sound of a piano when asking people what they think of it, they aren't truly hearing waht you want judged. The disguise overpowers the performance and many here could recognise the manipulation even if, as me, they could not be precise about it.
Posted By: Think Schifferent

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/29/18 06:07 PM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
It's Lola Astanova...


Cool. A bit better than I would have expected, so an interesting "blind listening" exercise. Also, congrats on getting me to listen to both the Fantasie-Impromptu and Lola Astanova.

From my note earlier in the thread:
"Good, ok embellishments, not Perahia."

I'll go back to Bach now.
Posted By: newport

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/29/18 07:02 PM

... But can she play like this?

Schubert Liszt Liebesbotschaft Horowitz Rec 1929

https://youtu.be/XKwRiSEiebA


Bonus:: Tony Yike Yang just accidentally got adopted (?)

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpf2sy1HD7_/?hl=en&taken-by=tonyyikeyang

Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/30/18 01:02 AM

Originally Posted by slipperykeys
Originally Posted by brassplyer
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
There are countless Chinese pianists today who play with great musicianship as well as perfect technique.

Not a singe one of whom looks as good in a sequined minidress as Lola.


You didn't ask us to look, you asked us to listen, so your "reason" here is invalid.

Tongue. Cheek.
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/30/18 01:06 AM

Originally Posted by newport
... But can she play like this?

Schubert Liszt Liebesbotschaft Horowitz Rec 1929

https://youtu.be/XKwRiSEiebA

She can play like that with one stiletto tied behind her back. smile
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/30/18 01:17 AM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
Originally Posted by newport
... But can she play like this?

Schubert Liszt Liebesbotschaft Horowitz Rec 1929

https://youtu.be/XKwRiSEiebA

She can play like that with one stiletto tied behind her back. smile

Which raises an interesting point. I find it interesting watching her pressing both the una corda and sustain pedals with each foot simultaneously in her stilettos. I know from my wife, this is highly difficult because your calves have to be fully contracted to push your toes down when your foot is already being stretched forward by the shoes. Much easier to turn the foot lightly sideways when pushing with the toe, but when she is pushing both pedals, one with each foot, that's not possible.

I find it fascinating that she is willing to tolerate personal discomfort in order to maintain that image. I wonder if the stress in her calves is affecting her playing. LOL
Posted By: brassplyer

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/30/18 02:16 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I find it interesting watching her pressing both the una corda and sustain pedals with each foot simultaneously in her stilettos. I know from my wife, this is highly difficult because your calves have to be fully contracted to push your toes down when your foot is already being stretched forward by the shoes. Much easier to turn the foot lightly sideways when pushing with the toe, but when she is pushing both pedals, one with each foot, that's not possible.

I find it fascinating that she is willing to tolerate personal discomfort in order to maintain that image. I wonder if the stress in her calves is affecting her playing. LOL

I don't get why women deal with heels period.

I too wondered about her pedaling in heels - seems like it would be uncomfortable to constantly have your foot at or near full extension like that so frequently but she actually addresses it in the FAQ on her site - she says it isn't at all uncomfortable. She's obviously in excellent physical condition and she's young, maybe her joints and tendons don't have a problem with it.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 10/30/18 02:50 AM

Originally Posted by brassplyer
I too wondered about her pedaling in heels - seems like it would be uncomfortable to constantly have your foot at or near full extension like that so frequently but she actually addresses it in the FAQ on her site - she says it isn't at all uncomfortable. She's obviously in excellent physical condition and she's young, maybe her joints and tendons don't have a problem with it.

My wife who is from her part of the world as Astanova used to argue to me that wearing very high heels was actually more comfortable for her than wearing flat shoes. What nonsense. Now, 20 years later, she can barely tolerate heels any more since years of wearing such high heels has screwed up her feet.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 11/03/18 02:04 PM

Partially cross-posted from this other thread on ABF, but this part is relevant to brassplyer's thread here:

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
My wife became a fan of Astanova after I performed brassplyer's Fantaisie Impromptu test on her - I sent her brassplyer's Pianist Corner audio link, and had her comment on the audio performance (she said it was very good) and then sent Astanova's Youtube video. As a result of this test, she visited Astanova's other Youtube videos and also forwarded the Fantaisie Impromptu video to an opera singer friend of hers. ...


I think brassplyer's test had a very valid apparent premise: too often, people listen with our eyes and not our ears. This, even in the case of people who know better. For example, a thought exercise might be whether or not she would have been awarded the Emmy if for this same performance:

she had instead presented herself in this manner:
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 11/03/18 05:17 PM

I will admit to showing my age (prejudice?), but I simply cannot watch that last video "We are the Champions." I'm so far removed from what passes as pop culture, that the costume and the stiletto boots, the unnecessary display of flesh, the exaggerated gestures are (to be polite about it) less than appealing. I guess that's the nature of much of the marketing of pop music videos and performances these days.

I guess she makes a lot more money than I do, "laughing all the way to the bank" as the expression goes.

Regards,
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 11/03/18 08:11 PM

Originally Posted by BruceD
I'm so far removed from what passes as pop culture, that the costume and the stiletto boots, the unnecessary display of flesh, the exaggerated gestures are (to be polite about it) less than appealing.

Do you feel biased only against today's pop culture or against all performers who dresse(d) and behave(d) garishly?

[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by BruceD
I guess that's the nature of much of the marketing of pop music videos and performances these days.

Her problem is that it's hard to become a pop star playing a grand piano... unless you were born blind wink
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 11/04/18 08:42 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

[Linked Image]

lol smile

You must also look at this Russian guy, you will be amazed, I promise: https://youtu.be/wZbJc_fs-i0?t=70


Concerning Lola Astanova, while her fingers run really fast, imho she plays very badly, she doesn't understand music that she plays luxuriating in her virtuosity. And her look at the piano disgusts me.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 11/04/18 01:04 PM

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
lol smile

You must also look at this Russian guy, you will be amazed, I promise: https://youtu.be/wZbJc_fs-i0?t=70

Oh, since my wife is a Russian from Moscow, of course I know all about Filipp and his theatrics, including marrying Alla Pugacheva. I actually attended the Zvezdnoye Leto Starry Summer concert over 20 years ago in New York City, with him and his ex-wife Pugacheva and ex-stepdaughter Orbakaite. smile

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Concerning Lola Astanova, while her fingers run really fast, imho she plays very badly, she doesn't understand music that she plays luxuriating in her virtuosity.

It must irritate you that both Valeriy Gergiev and Lev Naumov have found her worthy wink

Astanova is a specialist in Chopin. I do find her Chopin quite acceptable. It is perhaps not exceptional. However, it is not played "badly". I'm glad you have qualified your opinion with an "imho", because this is obviously a biased opinion and if you insist on it, I must then ask you what other professional concert pianists you consider play "very badly" so that I can understand what your "baseline" is against which you are judging her.

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
And her look at the piano disgusts me.

And her appearance at the piano is a "costume", which she dons for effect and targeted to an audience of her selected demographic. Here she is also with Gergiev, where she has put on a different costume for your demographic. Does she disgust you less this way?
[Linked Image]
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 11/04/18 09:30 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Oh, since my wife is a Russian from Moscow, of course I know all about Filipp and his theatrics, including marrying Alla Pugacheva. I actually attended the Zvezdnoye Leto Starry Summer concert over 20 years ago in New York City, with him and his ex-wife Pugacheva and ex-stepdaughter Orbakaite.

Oh, what a surprise! I didn't know. Did you enjoy his show? wink

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

No, actually it doesn't irritate me. They have their opinions, I have mine.

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I must then ask you what other professional concert pianists you consider play "very badly" so that I can understand what your "baseline" is against which you are judging her.

I probably generally like not more than 10-20% of interpretations. And another 20-30% I consider 'very bad'. But I'm not going to make a flame here, if you ask specifically what I think about someone, I will answer.

Concerning Astanova, I find harshness in how she plays Chopin, that seems to me very wrong.

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Does she disgust you less this way?
[Linked Image]

Yes, this is much better.

You know, I believe piano is not an appropriate place for erotic photosessions. When I think of female pianists I imagine my teachers playing, my friends, I imagine Martha Argerich, Vera Gornostaeva. And then I see that and I want to close the browser immediately and never open it again.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 11/05/18 12:14 AM

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

You must also look at this Russian guy, you will be amazed, I promise: https://youtu.be/wZbJc_fs-i0?t=70



Haha! Both he and his then wife represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin (in different years). I remember seeing them both at rehearsals. It seemed strange that one of the best-selling singers in the world was standing in front of me and I had never heard of her.
Posted By: slipperykeys

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 11/05/18 03:09 PM

I just came back here more by chance than anything and as Rhapsody in Blue is my absolute favourite have watched Lola Astanova's performance.

I thought it was superb, I couldn't care less what she wears or what she "makes the most of", her piano plaing was wonderful.

I thought she committed great sins, a thing I love in musicians, chose her own accents, varied rythm as she saw fit and bobbed up and down too much. But the end result was marvelous.

As an aside, I thought that Steinway had such little resonance on it that it could have been a digital! (That is not a fault, IMO)

Full marks to the conductor and orchestra too. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm not a Queen fan although I play a lot of pop myself, so I didn't bother with the other video.
Posted By: Iaroslav Vasiliev

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 11/06/18 10:57 AM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

You must also look at this Russian guy, you will be amazed, I promise: https://youtu.be/wZbJc_fs-i0?t=70



Haha! Both he and his then wife represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin (in different years). I remember seeing them both at rehearsals. It seemed strange that one of the best-selling singers in the world was standing in front of me and I had never heard of her.

Yes. If I remember correctly, both he and his ex-wife failed epically at Eurovision.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 11/06/18 01:41 PM

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

You must also look at this Russian guy, you will be amazed, I promise: https://youtu.be/wZbJc_fs-i0?t=70



Haha! Both he and his then wife represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin (in different years). I remember seeing them both at rehearsals. It seemed strange that one of the best-selling singers in the world was standing in front of me and I had never heard of her.

Yes. If I remember correctly, both he and his ex-wife failed epically at Eurovision.

Filipp has been spectacularly successful at the Eurovision, but not for singing. He was the songwriter for Koldun who placed 6th in 2007, Ani Lorak who was 2nd in 2008, and Sergey Lazrev in 2016 who was 3rd but had won the televote. The way he is going, one of his songs will win a Eurovision eventually, although he will never win himself.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 12/11/18 11:17 AM

Sorry for being two months late to this party, but ...

I only had a moment free, so I listened to just the first few measures, listening for something that bothers me about many performances of this piece.
Even though the score is marked for pedal throughout I usually find the performances played very dry.
But not this performance. This one has "air". I like it.

(I'll listen to the rest later, when I have time.)
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Thoughts on this Fantaisie Impromptu performance - 12/11/18 01:20 PM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Even though the score is marked for pedal throughout I usually find the performances played very dry.
But not this performance. This one has "air". I like it.

Something you'll notice that she does in many of her pieces is she liberally uses the una corda pedal at the same time as she is using the damper. And on some chords she goes a step beyond using arm weight, she uses body weight. LOL
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