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Posted By: Brendan International Chopin Competition Megathread - 09/28/21 01:30 PM
Welcome to the quinquennial (until COVID, at least) International Chopin Competition, October 2-23! Please use this thread for all posts related to the competition, including live-blogging performances.

Links
Competition Homepage: https://chopin2020.pl/en/

Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/c/chopininstitute (there's also an App on the Competition Homepage, but the prelims were at least streamed live on YT)


Competitors
https://chopin2020.pl/en/competitors

Viewers of the past few competitions will notice a few familiar names, as previous finalists and those who advanced through multiple rounds are trying again. Several winners of major competitions are also in the running:

Leonora Armellini (3rd stage in 2010)
Alexander Gadjiev (Sydney and Hamamatsu 1st prize)
Avery Gagliano (USA Competition Competition winner, automatically admitted to the 1st round)
Nikolay Khozyainov (3rd stage 2015 or 2010?)
Aimi Koybayashi (finalist in 2015)
Szymon Nehring (finalist in 2015)
Georgijs Osokins (finalist in 2015)

Even beyond this group, there are many other very strong players who are trying for the first time.


Drama
Argerich is out! Apparently Nelson Freire is having health issues, so she withdrew as a juror to be at his side. All of her appearances (solo, chamber, etc.) have been cancelled and she is being replaced by other winners of the competition: https://chopin2020.pl/en/news/artic...-argerich-in-the-jury-of-the-competition


Predictions
It's hard to say. I have doubts that a previous finalist will win the gold, but I could see Kobayashi, Nehring, or Osokins winning a top prize this time. I'm hoping for Armellini, but it's also possible that Gadjiev, with wins in previous competitions, has the stamina and nerve to win. Then again, a new competitor could totally come out of left field and blow everyone out of the water.


For Discussion
I might be in the minority opinion, but the Chopin competition is the most conservative piano competition in the world: it focuses on only one composer, doesn't commission a new work, and historically picks players that fit a strongly pre-defined interpretive mold of how Chopin should "go" (notably excluding/marking down Sultanov, Pogorelich, Bozhanov, and many others who don't fit this mold but nonetheless have a strong artistic voice or refusing to award the gold altogether). This is further compounded by the fact that the jury is typically composed of dynastic Polish teachers who rarely, if ever, perform in public (in the current jury, fewer than five still perform with any regularity, and without Argerich there it's especially galling since she still does all the heavy lifting in this regard), not to mention the scandal in 2015 about Entremont giving Cho the lowest scores of the entire competition because of an alleged squabble with Cho's teacher, Michel Beroff. In any case, it's the competition that we all love or love to hate in some form or another, and this year will likely be no different, even before factoring in COVID.

So, enjoy!
To add to your "discussion", and since I am a huge fan of Bozhanov, for a long time a honourable chairman of the jury (or something like that) was Jan Ekier who is also an editor of Chopin works. Bozhanov, in an interview, shared his disappointment with Ekier and believed it was Ekier who opposed him and tried to influence other jury members to vote against him. Whether it's true or not, we can hardly know, however here is a recording of the ballades by Ekier:



I've rarely heard playing that is as devoid of emotion.
Okay, so most people probably are familiar with the much publicized drama surrounding the 1980 competition, with Argerich quitting the jury over Pogorelich's elimination in the 3rd stage. But did you know that actually another judge (Louis Kentner) had resigned because Pogorelich made it to the 2nd stage? As the article below recaps, the Chopin competition actually has been a lightning rod for controversy from its inception, or in other words: scandal is the norm!

http://chopinreview.com/pages/issue/7

Another interesting point that the article highlights is that since 2010 the organizer has scrapped consensus in lieu of numerical point system. Under such a system, if one judge docks points off another judge's no. 1 contender, it has an indirect yet very real effect of promoting the no. 2 - and if enough of that goes around, that means nobody's favorite wins. The winner may end up being everybody's no. 2, or even no. 3.
Originally Posted by CyberGene
To add to your "discussion", and since I am a huge fan of Bozhanov, for a long time a honourable chairman of the jury (or something like that) was Jan Ekier who is also an editor of Chopin works. Bozhanov, in an interview, shared his disappointment with Ekier and believed it was Ekier who opposed him and tried to influence other jury members to vote against him. Whether it's true or not, we can hardly know, however here is a recording of the ballades by Ekier:



I've rarely heard playing that is as devoid of emotion.
Or maybe your opinion of his playing is influenced by his not liking Bozhanov? I don't hear any lacking of emotion in the recording you posted.
^ Well, emotion is not a measurable thing, so my opinion is as subjective as yours. You may be right that I am biased against Ekier. And by extension, you may be biased against me (or not personally, but just wanting to argue with people on the forum, for instance) which would influence your opinion on whether that performance really lacks (or not) emotion smile
I think that the artistic standard at the Chopin is the highest of the big competitions. Fast banging won't get you anywhere in Warsaw. 🤣
The letter has been picked -

this time it's "M".

Stage 1 schedule: https://chopin2020.pl/en/calendar
Which Steinway, (no. 300 or no. 479) would you choose if you were to perform there?

I would go with the 300, because of the more clear and defined sound.
Watched some of the first session. Lots of etude flubs and mostly careful playing from the majority of the contestants. The only one who broke that mold was Osokins, who is clearly going for a Pogorelich vibe both in mannerisms and playing style, yet it somehow seems artificial. He was objectively the best of the session, but I want to hear some of the others. Nehring was extremely cautious and certainly playing to the jury, IMO.
I’m surprised that Osokins played the same (Ballade #3) piece for prelim and the 1st stage. I did not know it was allowed.
I listened to parts of Nehring and Osokins. I found Nehring rather disappointing. A little too reasonable, his etudes lacked brilliancy and the nocturnes, i had issues with his phrasing. All in all it is good performance but a little too uniform and smooth. Not his best performance.

Osokins has definitely more personality. Sometimes a bit mannered but he is able to bring fine nuances. The nocturne was really nicely played. In 10/12 though i find he lacked fluidity in the left hand but the whole piece was well architected. The issue with Osokins is that in the previous session he used to take some liberties with the text. I did not look at the score this time but that could be an issue with the jury.

Did not listen to the other ones.
Originally Posted by FarmGirl
I’m surprised that Osokins played the same (Ballade #3) piece for prelim and the 1st stage. I did not know it was allowed.

https://en.chopin.nifc.pl/=files/attachment/5/4051/regulamin_konkursu_2020_ang..pdf
The Competition repertoire includes solely works by Fryderyk Chopin. Competitors may play pieces they presented on the video recording enclosed with the application. They can also play pieces they performed in the Preliminary Round ‒ except for the Etudes from groups a) and b). However, the same piece cannot be played in the different stages of the Competition.

The Preliminary Round repertoire includes solely works by Fryderyk Chopin:
- two Etudes, one from each group (a, b) indicated below:
a) in C major, Op. 10 No. 1
in C sharp minor, Op. 10 No. 4
in G flat major, Op. 10 No. 5
in F major, Op. 10 No. 8
in C minor, Op. 10 No. 12
in A minor, Op. 25 No. 11
b) in A minor, Op. 10 No. 2
in C major Op. 10 No. 7
in A flat major, Op. 10 No. 10
in E flat major, Op. 10 No. 11
in A minor, Op. 25 No. 4
in E minor, Op. 25 No. 5
in G sharp minor, Op. 25 No. 6
in B minor, Op. 25 No. 10
- one of the following pieces:
Nocturne in B major, Op. 9 No. 3
Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 1
Nocturne in D flat major, Op. 27 No. 2
Nocturne in G major, Op. 37 No. 2
Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48 No. 1
Nocturne in F sharp minor, Op. 48 No. 2
Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 55 No. 2
Nocturne in B major, Op. 62 No. 1
Nocturne in E major, Op. 62 No. 2
Etude in E major, Op. 10 No. 3
Etude in E flat minor, Op. 10 No. 6
Etude in C sharp minor, Op. 25 No. 7
- one of the following pieces:
Ballade in G minor, Op. 23
Ballade in F major, Op. 38
Ballade in A flat major, Op. 47
Ballade in F minor, Op. 52
Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60
Fantasy in F minor, Op. 49
- two Mazurkas chosen from the following opuses:
17, 24, 30, 33, 41, 50, 56, 59


Stage I
- two Etudes, one from each group (a, b) indicated below:
a) in C major, Op. 10 No. 1
in C sharp minor, Op. 10 No. 4
in G flat major, Op. 10 No. 5
in F major, Op. 10 No. 8
in C minor, Op. 10 No. 12
in A minor, Op. 25 No. 11
b) in A minor, Op. 10 No. 2
in C major Op. 10 No. 7
in A flat major, Op. 10 No. 10
in E flat major, Op. 10 No. 11
in A minor, Op. 25 No. 4
in E minor, Op. 25 No. 5
in G sharp minor, Op. 25 No. 6
in B minor, Op. 25 No. 10
- one of the following pieces:
Nocturne in B major, Op. 9 No. 3
Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 1
Nocturne in D flat major, Op. 27 No. 2
Nocturne in G major, Op. 37 No. 2
Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48 No. 1
Nocturne in F sharp minor, Op. 48 No. 2
Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 55 No. 2
Nocturne in B major, Op. 62 No. 1
Nocturne in E major, Op. 62 No. 2
Etude in E major, Op. 10 No. 3
Etude in E flat minor, Op. 10 No. 6
Etude in C sharp minor, Op. 25 No. 7
- one of the following pieces:
Ballade in G minor, Op. 23
Ballade in F major, Op. 38
Ballade in A flat major, Op. 47
Ballade in F minor, Op. 52
Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60
Fantasy in F minor, Op. 49
Scherzo in B minor, Op. 20
Scherzo in B flat minor, Op. 31
Scherzo in C sharp minor, Op. 39
Scherzo in E major, Op. 54
I wonder if Nehring chose a cautious approach because he did not want to overplay the Etudes (esp. the C Major) in the middle of his program?

I watched most of the evening session live. Sohgo Sawada and Aristo Sham were quite impressive.
(Khozyainov was a finalist in 2010.) He certainly has an uphill battle here, but his Ballade op. 52 in the July prelims was fantastic. One of the best I've ever heard. It starts at 28:46 here:



Sorry, I don't know if there's a way to insert the link without the entire screen.

Osokins was so mannered. More so than in the prelims in July. Not my taste. Although he did throw caution to the wind, it seemed. Several (e.g. Yupeng Mei) are impressing me less in this round than they did in the prelims, maybe they're suddenly becoming cautious?

Nehring's playing nearly put me to sleep. It was so staid.

Sohgo Sawada and Aristo Sham were very good out of today's bunch.

Leonardo Pierdomenico is always interesting to listen to, with the maturity of a veteran.
Mandan, thank you. I understand now.
Tried to listen to as many as I could, or at least catch the highlights. Some ones I liked:

Hao Rao - extremely beautiful nocturne, and a strong Scherzo 2 (he got a big reaction from the audience).
Kyohei Sorita - brains and fingers to burn. He probably resonated with me the most so far.
Aleksandra Swigut - very sensitive.
Sarah Tuan - distinctive ideas, has her own artistic vision, and a bold move starting with the Etudes (which most people avoid). Definitely American style pianism, which the jury may or may not go for (a reflection on them rather than her).
Sohgo Sawada - extremely solid, and convincing musicality too.
Talon Smith - the potential is certainly there.

Based on where they started in the alphabet, it made me realize that the strongest players (Armellini, Khozyainov, Gadjiev, etc.) are yet to come. In the meantime, I'm surprised by lots of the other participants.
Really enjoying what I have seen so far, thinking this competition will be very close! Very interesting hearing the differences between the two Steinway D-274's, the Fazioli F308 and the Yamaha CFX. All (IMO) sound quite different to me and but personally I loved Aleksandra Swigut's performance and sound the most so far. That Steinway 479 is a beauty though...looking forward to more Chopin!
Zi Xu | Yuanfan Yang - I do not see them in 2nd round. Barcarolle of the first one was weird, the second one I am listening now and I just have some hmmmm....

Szymon Nehring in renowned pianist already and he was not satisfied with his performance.

Talon Smith good but very delicate.

Two last yesterday competitors were good, but there was a bit mess in Ballade and Etudes in them.

And - please do not remember that 90% of those pianists are playing there under horrible pressure, especially those young ones. Usually competition was allowed till 25 years, not it's till 30, wonder why. So we have new emerging pianists and already established ones who just want to have additional career boost.

take in mind also that most of the finalists were 18-25 when they won. After that age you either are already established pianist or you're not at the level to perform internationally (in case of Chopin competition this mean best world's orchestras and conductors).
Ok, so Talon Smith got in. I had a chance to skim through the prelims, and I thought some of the Op. 10/1 were not at pro level, which is strange considering they could have chosen other more accessible etudes. Smith played the Op 10/1 out of character as if it were a lyric piece, with inaccuracies to boot. But I guess the judges wanted to see more of him.
I found Swigut very musical. A lot of personality and both nice touch and nuances and phrasing. A real sense of architecture. The 10/8 was really good, one of the best I have listened to.

Sumino was solid technically but I dont find him to have any particular personality. Musicaly I did not connect with his way of playing.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
I found Swigut very musical. A lot of personality and both nice touch and nuances and phrasing. A real sense of architecture. The 10/8 was really good, one of the best I have listened to.

Sumino was solid technically but I dont find him to have any particular personality. Musicaly I did not connect with his way of playing.

Sumino was loud and fast, too much bass in his playing.
Some played op. 10 no.1 using facilitated fingerings and some played the descending thirds scale in bars 47-48 of op. 25 no.6 with two hands.
Ziji Zhao oh she was good I bet finale, but le'ts wait, there is only place for 6, but third stage 100% unless she will fail in 2nd. I was impressed by her Fantasy.
What happened to Anastasia Yasko?
Was she distracted (phone?)?
Originally Posted by Hakki
What happened to Anastasia Yasko?
Was she distracted (phone?)?

No. Stress. It happens to few competitors on each competirion. It was surprising to me a bit, as is like 30 years old with already good concert career in her back.
Originally Posted by maucycy
Originally Posted by Hakki
What happened to Anastasia Yasko?
Was she distracted (phone?)?

No. Stress. It happens to few competitors on each competirion. It was surprising to me a bit, as is like 30 years old with already good concert career in her back.

I wondered about that because there was a switch your phones off reminder by the MC after her performance before the next competitor.
^ an unfortunate slip that kind of derailed the whole piece (Op. 10, No. 2). I did not seem to hear anything from the hall, cellphone or otherwise, that might have distracted her.
She played wrong notes near the end of the previous etude op10 no.8.
She seemed upset after that etude, and I thought she might have wiped off a drop of tear. So if anything that distracted her happened it was probably during the first etude.
Kai-Min Chang, Hyounglok Choi were standouts in the second session today. Xuehong Chen was good too. He played the best Op. 10 no. 8 thus far, I think.
Originally Posted by maucycy
Originally Posted by Hakki
What happened to Anastasia Yasko?
Was she distracted (phone?)?

No. Stress. It happens to few competitors on each competirion. It was surprising to me a bit, as is like 30 years old with already good concert career in her back.

These competitions are a different level of stress altogether. It's not only in the hall, but the stream has something like 11k people on average watching. One time I saw it hit nearly 20k. Like most internet commentators, they don't shy away from criticizing (to put it mildly).

From the ones that I saw today the standouts for me were Armellini (she absolutely slayed her program and made that Fazioli sing like no other), Kai-Min Chang, and Choi.
I've heard nothing out of the ordinary up to now, 5 october, so really rather cautious playing, no adventures in Warsaw.
Kyohei Sorita will probably be a finalist. Really polished. He was excellent in the prelim too.

Hayato Sumino has the most beautiful touch. A standout touch. Is it because he plays with fingers flat?

Sarah Tuan's hands are just insanely long. She plays facilely/fluidly but it left me unmoved.
From the morning session, I'd say that Gadjiev (maturity/control) and Gevorgyan (technical command) stood out. I'm not particularly taken by Gevorgyan's style (dark, Russian Chopin), but she was noticably more confident and assertive than lots of the other competitors. Gagliano has some beautiful things in her program, too - very poised and elegant all around.
Do they have two Faziolis (308 and 278)?
What did you guys think of Eva Gevorgyan? I liked her playing best. Her scherzo was out of this world.
So far I guess these competitors might advance to Stage II:

Xuanyi Mao
Szymon Nehring
Georgijs Osokins
Kamil Pacholec
Jinhyung Park
Leonardo Pierdomenico
Hao Rao
Sohgo Sawada
Aristo Sham
Talon Smith
Kyohei Sorita
Szu-Yu Su
Hayato Sumino
Yutong Sun
Aleksandra Świgut
Shunshun Tie
Sarah Tuan
Tomoharu Ushida
Andrzej Wierciński
Zi Xu
Boao Zhang
Piotr Alexewicz
Leonora Armellini
Michelle Candotti
Kai-Min Chang
Xuehong Chen
Hyounglok Choi
Yasuko Furumi
Alexander Gadjiev
Avery Gagliano
Eva Gevorgyan
Chelsea Guo
Yifan Hou
Yes she was very good.
There are two Steinways - one more soft and darker (number 300) and other more louder open and bright (479).
Besides there is one Fazioli 308, one Yamaha CFX and one Shigeru.

Maybe I had no luck, but so far I have not seen any competitor to play on CFX, but seen already few on Kawai. Most popular in Steinway 300. Fazioli is also used quite often.
Originally Posted by maucycy
Yes she was very good.
There are two Steinways - one more soft and darker (number 300) and other more louder open and bright (479).
Besides there is one Fazioli 308, one Yamaha CFX and one Shigeru.

Maybe I had no luck, but so far I have not seen any competitor to play on CFX, but seen already few on Kawai. Most popular in Steinway 300. Fazioli is also used quite often.

According to their site, 64 competitors chose Steinway, 9 Yamaha, 8 Fazioli and 6 Kawai.
https://chopin2020.pl/en/news/artic...ticipants-of-the-18th-chopin-competition

BTW, in the recent stream they are denoting the Fazioli as model F278 Previously it was denoted as model 308. I am confused. Could anybody identify which Fazioli is actually used.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Do they have two Faziolis (308 and 278)?

Answered above
Originally Posted by maucycy
Yes she was very good.
There are two Steinways - one more soft and darker (number 300) and other more louder open and bright (479).
Besides there is one Fazioli 308, one Yamaha CFX and one Shigeru.

Maybe I had no luck, but so far I have not seen any competitor to play on CFX, but seen already few on Kawai. Most popular in Steinway 300. Fazioli is also used quite often.

Osokins played on Yamaha.
Originally Posted by maucycy
Originally Posted by Hakki
Do they have two Faziolis (308 and 278)?

Answered above

Are you sure it is the 308 model. Why are they denoting it as model F278 in the recent stream?
Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by maucycy
Yes she was very good.
There are two Steinways - one more soft and darker (number 300) and other more louder open and bright (479).
Besides there is one Fazioli 308, one Yamaha CFX and one Shigeru.

Maybe I had no luck, but so far I have not seen any competitor to play on CFX, but seen already few on Kawai. Most popular in Steinway 300. Fazioli is also used quite often.

According to their site, 64 competitors chose Steinway, 9 Yamaha, 8 Fazioli and 6 Kawai.
https://chopin2020.pl/en/news/artic...ticipants-of-the-18th-chopin-competition

BTW, in the recent stream they are denoting the Fazioli as model F278 Previously it was denoted as model 308. I am confused. Could anybody identify which Fazioli is actually used.


I think it's description mistake, however I bet on 308 as the piano looks really big.

I am waiting for Steingraeber and Bosendorfer VC and new Bechstein to be possible (instead for example Kawai and second Steinway).

But most choose Steinway as most probably they are mostly practicing on them in conservatories. Noone will risk unknown piano with different characteristics.
October 5th
[Linked Image]

October 6th
[Linked Image]
I have no idea, definitely strange
Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by maucycy
Originally Posted by Hakki
Do they have two Faziolis (308 and 278)?

Answered above

Are you sure it is the 308 model. Why are they denoting it as model F278 in the recent stream?

The Fazioli 308 has 4 pedals as far as i know. The 2 pianos have only 3, so theoretically it is the 278 in both cases.
You are absolutely right. Indeed 308 has four pedals.

From the Fazioli website:
Quote
It is endowed with a fourth pedal invented by Fazioli. Located to the left of the three traditional pedals, it reduces the hammer-blow distance THUS reducing the volume without modifying the timbre, at the same time facilitating the performance of glissandos, pianissimos, rapid passages and legatos.

Thank you for the clarification that they are actually both model F278 and it was a typo error on their side. They seem to have corrected it now.
Today is the last day of the prelims! Caught a little of the morning session so far and some of the evening session yesterday. It's increasingly clear that some competitors are just on another level than the others, who are still very accomplished. Chelsea Guo played beautifully, as did Riko Imai (very convincing starting with the etudes). Today, Khozyainov was fantastic and super controlled and played the best set of Etudes so far (he recorded the complete Chopin on his YT page). I liked Aimi's playing, but her stage presence seemed too cool for school (barely acknowledging the audience). Today's morning session was overall the strongest.
I liked Kaoruko Igarashi‘s Scherzo. Hope she qualifies too.
Here is my guess for the list of qualifiers:

1. Xuanyi Mao
2. Syzmon Nehring
3. Georgijs Osokins
4. Kamil Pacholec
5. Jinhyung Park
6. Leonardo Pierdomenico
7. Hao Rao
8. Sohgo Sawada
9. Aristo Sham
10. Talon Smith
11. Kyohei Sorita
12. Szu-Yu Su
13. Hayato Sumino
14. Yutong Sun
15. Aleksandra Świgut
16. Shunshun Tie
17. Sarah Tuan
18. Tomoharu Ushida
19. Andrzej Wierciński
20. Zi Xu
21. Boao Zhang
22. Piotr Alexewicz
23. Leonora Armellini
24. Kai-Min Chang
25. Xuehong Chen
26. Hyounglok Choi
27. Yasuko Furumi
28. Alexander Gadjiev
29. Avery Gagliano
30. Martín García García
31. Eva Gevorgyan
32. Chelsea Guo
33. Yifan Hou
34. Kaoruko Igarashi
35. Riko Imai
36. Nikolay Khozyainov
37. Su Yeon Kim
38. Aimi Kobayashi
39. Mateusz Krzyżowski
40. Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/07/21 07:17 PM
Originally Posted by FarmGirl
What did you guys think of Eva Gevorgyan? I liked her playing best. Her scherzo was out of this world.

She is a wonderful pianist with a fabulous technique. I actually thought she should have won the Cliburn junior. However, I'm not sure Chopin is really her schtick, partly for the reason Brendan cited. Her scherzo was too fast for my tastes and she clipped quite a few phrase endings. I liked her nocturne more and her etudes were all there technically. But I hated her some of her mannerisms, which she didn't have in the Cliburn, particularly the standing up every time she got excited. Very distracting. I remember someone doing the same thing during a master class with (Darth) Veda Kapinsky at PianoTexas in 2018. Veda was having none of it and really grilled the poor girl as to what she thought she was accomplishing by standing up while performing. Of course there was no good answer.
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/07/21 07:26 PM
Originally Posted by Brendan
Khozyainov was fantastic and super controlled and played the best set of Etudes so far (he recorded the complete Chopin on his YT page).

Yes, he seems almost in a class by himself in terms of maturity and finesse, not to mention a fabulous technique. I thought the 4th Ballade was absolutely outstanding. I'll be surprised if he doesn't at least make the finals.
Sandwiched between Khozyainov and Aimi Kobayashi was Su Yeon Kim, who got eliminated in '15 after Stage 3. She played well also and returned to the stage during the applause. (Back in July this year at the Preliminary I was actually rooting for another S. Korea contestant Chi-Ho Han, who was also axed after Stage 3 in 2015 and in some ways I felt he played better than Kim at the Prelim. But he didn't make the cut this time.)
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/07/21 07:59 PM
Originally Posted by Hakki
What happened to Anastasia Yasko?
Was she distracted (phone?)?

Op. 10 No. 2 happened to her. She seemed terrified before starting it. Nobody should program that nightmare of a piece unless they can play it forwards, backwards, upside down, and inside out.
According to people who saw it live, Kobayashi had a chair issue. It was too low. She said she was picked out the right chair but it wasn’t it. They brought in another one but it was exactly the same type. So she wound up playing on the first one that she rejected. To a Japanese interviewer right after the performance, she said that the instance broke concentration. She said that she did not know how she played. When she finally regained herself, it was already over. She said her stomach was twisting and churning. Her face was flushed and looked in pain. I think that is probably why she did not answer audience.
^ I did see all that seat issue before Aimi played! Thank you for sharing. Considering all that, she played well.
Kobayashi chair issue. Starts at about 3:38:30

I saw the whole thing. It’s amazing she was able to play under that sort of circumstances.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/07/21 09:53 PM
So, here's the full list straight from Chopin's Institute Facebook page:

1. Piotr Alexewicz, Polska
2. Leonora Armellini, Włochy
3. J J Jun Li Bui, Kanada
4. Michelle Candotti, Włochy
5. Kai-Min Chang, Chińskie Tajpej
6. Xuehong Chen, Chiny
7. Hyounglok Choi, Korea Południowa
8. Federico Gad Crema, Włochy
9. Alberto Ferro, Włochy
10. Yasuko Furumi, Japonia
11. Alexander Gadjiev, Włochy/Słowenia
12. Avery Gagliano, Stany Zjednoczone
13. Martin Garcia Garcia, Hiszpania
14. Eva Gevorgyan, Rosja/Armenia
15. Wei-Ting Hsieh, Chińskie Tajpej
16. Adam Kałduński, Polska
17. Nikolay Khozyainov, Rosja
18. Su Yeon Kim, Korea Południowa
19. Aimi Kobayashi, Japonia
20. Mateusz Krzyżowski, Polska
21. Jakub Kuszlik, Polska
22. Shushi Kyomasu, Japonia
23. Hyuk Lee, Korea Południowa
24. Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, Kanada
25. Arsenii Mun, Rosja
26. Szymon Nehring, Polska
27. Viet Trung Nguyen, Wietnam/Polska
28. Georgijs Osokins, Łotwa
29. Evren Ozel, Stany Zjednoczone
30. Kamil Pacholec, Polska
31. Hao Rao, Chiny
32. Sohgo Sawada, Japonia
33. Aristo Sham, Chiny/Hong Kong
34. Miyu Shindo, Japonia
35. Talon Smith, Stany Zjednoczone
36. Kyohei Sorita, Japonia
37. Szuyu Su, Chińskie Tajpej
38. Hayato Sumino, Japonia
39. Yutong Sun, Chiny
40. Tomoharu Ushida, Japonia
41. Marcin Wieczorek, Polska
42. Andrzej Wierciński, Polska
43. Yuchong Wu, Chiny
44. Lingfei (Stephan) Xie , Kanada/Chiny
45. Zi Xu, Chiny

As always, there are some surprises, but I'm looking forward to hearing the next stage for all the contestants that passed.

I'm especially excited about Nikolay Khozyainov and Sohgo Sawada, for totally different reasons.
I am okay with the result. It matches with 30 names from my guess list.

Good to see that Kobayashi made it despite the chair issue.
Are they going to play in the same order for the second stage starting from the letter “M”?
Wow, is that all of the Italian participants? That county slays it, per capita.

As predicted, all of the previous competitors made it through.
There are some surprises... I think we are missing few names here and few shouldn't be here. Thankfully jury is big and full of specialists, with different views on how the music should be played, so this somehow makes things equal and minimises chances of random choices.

I miss Swigut, Goranko and Jiji Joji Zhao.

Also bit surprised by seeing Adam Kaldunski, as he has the same issue which I he had like two years ago when I heard him live playing 1st Rach Concerto. He does not have enough power to play big forms (like heavy concertos, 4th Ballade etc) and it was missing in his performance here as well. He I'd quite good though unless needs to play loud and fast.
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/07/21 10:58 PM
Originally Posted by maucycy
I miss Swigut, Goranko and Jiji Joji Zhao.

Swigut is a big surprise for me!
Tuesday was a bit wild with Yasko's slip. Not sure if the person who followed her, Andrey Zenin, was in any way affected by that backstage. I thought Zenin did quite well until the D-Flat section of the F Min Ballade and had a bad slip, which he recovered OK. The last person to play that day, Federico Gad Crema, also had a bad slip too towards the end of the Fantasy. Both looked despondent leaving the stage, but one will go on.
Originally Posted by SiFi
Originally Posted by maucycy
I miss Swigut, Goranko and Jiji Joji Zhao.

Swigut is a big surprise for me!

Yes, also quite surprised.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by SiFi
Originally Posted by maucycy
I miss Swigut, Goranko and Jiji Joji Zhao.

Swigut is a big surprise for me!

Yes, also quite surprised.

Lots of people have been mentioning her. I totally get the refinement/storytelling/musicality, but she honestly seemed cautious to me compared to some of the others. Looking ahead to the rest of the competition, I'm not sure if she could keep up with the strenuous repertoire demands, especially in the concerto round. The potential is there, though.

Watched Yasuko's recital and was blown away by the Fantasy - that's clearly what passed her.
Very happy about the Italians - Leonora Armellini in particular. She was beaming after her performance, and rightly so. I heard Alberto Ferro in recital before and he's a professional, too. I'm not sure about Michelle Candotti.
Originally Posted by Brendan
Lots of people have been mentioning her. I totally get the refinement/storytelling/musicality, but she honestly seemed cautious to me compared to some of the others. Looking ahead to the rest of the competition, I'm not sure if she could keep up with the strenuous repertoire demands, especially in the concerto round. The potential is there, though.

Watched Yasuko's recital and was blown away by the Fantasy - that's clearly what passed her.


I dont think it is per se that she is cautious, but her style is more toward intimacy rather than a more powerful, assertive style. It is a general trend currently to favor a more "muscular" Chopin a la Listz. Not sure she has the same techical level as some others, so the jury always makes certain choices. Nehring performance was very average with little personality, so he certainly benefited from his reputation. Thats competition.

That said, and I did not listen to all the participants, but to me this year is musically speaking "inferior" to previous sessions. The pianists are technically very gifted and solid, but I have not seen yet personalities. We will see how Osokins and Khozyainov do in the next round.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by Brendan
Lots of people have been mentioning her. I totally get the refinement/storytelling/musicality, but she honestly seemed cautious to me compared to some of the others. Looking ahead to the rest of the competition, I'm not sure if she could keep up with the strenuous repertoire demands, especially in the concerto round. The potential is there, though.

Watched Yasuko's recital and was blown away by the Fantasy - that's clearly what passed her.


I dont think it is per se that she is cautious, but her style is more toward intimacy rather than a more powerful, assertive style. It is a general trend currently to favor a more "muscular" Chopin a la Listz. Not sure she has the same techical level as some others, so the jury always makes certain choices. Nehring performance was very average with little personality, so he certainly benefited from his reputation. Thats competition.

That said, and I did not listen to all the participants, but to me this year is musically speaking "inferior" to previous sessions. The pianists are technically very gifted and solid, but I have not seen yet personalities. We will see how Osokins and Khozyainov do in the next round.

I see what you mean and agree that Nehring shouldn't have been passed if it weren't for his previous experience with this competition (and the Rubinstein). Comparing those two, she was more worthy.

And yes, there's not a ton of personality aside from some extremely solid playing from most. I'd actually say that Cateen (Sumino) keeps me coming back to his recital and I find new things to enjoy each time (or maybe it was just a matter of time before we had an influencer participate in international competitions). Osokins was being eccentric for the sake of being eccentric, IMO. In lieu of personality, I still like the style of the Italian participants the most, plus Hao Rao and Sorita.
I am glad that some favorite of mine who seemed not so popular made it through, such as Nguyen, Ozel, Ferro, and Choi. I am sad both Goranko and Pierdomenico did not make it through. After Stage I, I am mostly rooting for Chang. Gadjiev, Osokins, Su Yeon Kim, Sawada, Wu, Choi, and Khozyainov.

The program for stage II has been posted already. Besides the addition of some of the Impromptus by Nehring, Ozel, and Pacholec, and Nehring an Nguyen adding a prelude to the mix, some other interesting program additions include:

- Wiercinsky is playing the Op. 12 - Variations in B flat major on a theme by Ludovic
- Armellini is playing the sostenuto in E flat
- Chang program is very interesting. He is playing the Trois Nouvelles Etudes and also the Op. 1
- Chen is playing the B flat minor sonata, together with the Barcarolle, a Waltz and a polonaise. I do not know how he will fit everything in 40 minutes.
- Choi and Gadjiev are adding the Prelude op. 45
- Khozyainov is adding the Fugue in A minor Op post
- Lee is also adding the B flat minor sonata (so it is possible it seems)
- The Rondo a la Mazur was also chosen by a couple, including Mun, Sumino, and Sorita.

I have the impression Nehring's program is missing one of the required pieces. He only has Op. 61 and a Waltz. Is he not missing a second polonaise?
Originally Posted by FarmGirl
Are they going to play in the same order for the second stage starting from the letter “M”?

^ Yes, Arsenii Mun will be the first.

(The Competition rules mention the letter-drawing - the only one - at Section X-2.)
Turn-Table,
Thank you. It makes sense.
Arseni Mun has a very clean and sterile playing and a solid technique.

I wish he had played on the Steinway instead of the Yamaha. Steinway immediately makes the pianist sound more professional.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/09/21 10:35 AM
I'm curious what you think about today's performance of Szymon Nehring's. I feel he opened much more than in the first stage and it was a really solid performance with lots of nuance and structure, but somehow he can't captivate me emotionally in this competition.
I liked Nehring’s Polonaise-Fantasy and the Impromptu.
He could have played the op.22 gentler.
Originally Posted by Mati
I'm curious what you think about today's performance of Szymon Nehring's. I feel he opened much more than in the first stage and it was a really solid performance with lots of nuance and structure, but somehow he can't captivate me emotionally in this competition.


I didn't likes his Impromptu. It was just missing something. Rest was IMO level above, but like Arseni Mun better. Also the participant after Nehring, he was very individual, his Poloinase was very good and individual, but still in style.
Watching the evening session live now - Sawada is struggling...


Originally Posted by FarmGirl
Turn-Table,
Thank you. It makes sense.

You're welcome.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/09/21 05:06 PM
It seems to me that consistency will be of great importance going further. After what I've heard up till now in today's session, candidates often either performed drastically better than in the previous round or the exact opposite. Those who will keep the composure throughout will become favourites.

I'm sad for Sawada, as I loved his performance interpretation-wise, but he struggled to execute.
I am sad for Sawada too. I was really looking forward to his recital today but he struggled quite a bit smirk
I was very surprised with Pacholec, who I did not connect with in the first stage. He was very strong today. Loved his Waltzes and Polonaise. I enjoyed a lot Osokins performance, although I do not think he was too happy with his heroic Polonaise. He missed more than expected. Loved Ozel as well, I hope it is enough for he to move on.

I personally did not feel much connection with Nehring's playing as it also happened after Stage 1. His Impromptu in particular I did not like much. Looking forward to Sorita and Smith later today.
Sorita is just exquisite. On another level than the others in the evening session. His Rondo was lovely.

They are tinkering with the volume/microphones in the livestream for some reason. During Shindo's performance you could hear someone (not her, I don't think) wheezing loudly throughout. Shindo is another one who stands up every few minutes.
Sorita was just breathtaking!! His op. 22 left me speechless, even though I had listened to it five times already this evening! :P unbelievable
How to reach them and tell them that they should STOP PLAYING WITH THE MICROPHONE LEVELS!!!!

STOP USING AUTO GAIN!!!!

FGS, this is classical music.
Let me say this: I'm getting pretty tired of tepid, beautiful, dreamy Chopin. That was the majority of the interpretations from most of the candidates. With that in mind, Sorita absolutely slayed it! Incredible dynamics, character, and pianism throughout. He was by far the best today.

Had high hopes for Sawada but felt that he would have been better suited to a set of etudes if the programming choice allowed it. Had Rao also played very well and got more comfortable as he went.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/09/21 08:07 PM
I'm with Brendan on the dreamy Chopin thing. I had to stop watching before Sorita, so i'll make sure to catch up with his performance later. He was one of my favorites in the previous stage.

I also noticed strange things with recording today. The levels were all over the place, and Talon Smith was clipping on louder passages. No idea what's happening but I hope they'll get this sorted out.
Very impressed with Sorita's rondo so much style and like he was telling a story whereas Nehring with all due respect was competent but bland. I wish they would leave the levels alone clipping especially in the ballade which was also quite good.
Just listened to Sumino in the opus 38 and the waltz. It is very solid technically, well played. But it is more technical than artistic. It lacks a certain individuality. The waltz was very good, but I would prefer something a little more vivacious and better articulated. It sounds elegant but lacks some fine nuances. A good performer though.
In many of the comments above I think the descriptions given of various pianist's playing are so vague as to mean not much more than "I liked(or didn't like) it". For example, "elegant but lacks some fine nuances", "telling a story", "bland", "beautiful, dreamy", "breathtaking", "did not connect with", "exquisite" "just missing something", etc. To me this shows how difficult it is to describe a musical performance in meaningful terms especially with just a few words, and I'm certainly not saying I could do any better.
Everyone has an opinion and no matter how good a performance is there will always be some that don't like it. Go listen to the finest performances of Richter or Cortot on YouTube and there will always be thumbs down and negative commentary. Imagine if a young Friedman showed up and played I doubt that would go over well even though his Chopin are some of the finest on record and held their own for 90 years. That said, although I find these competitors generally sounding quite similar I would be happy to have the ability of the worst pianist here.
I doubt she will win, but I found Shindo's performance mesmerizing. Maybe I'm just too big a fan of Ballade No.1.
Originally Posted by kbrod1
Everyone has an opinion and no matter how good a performance is there will always be some that don't like it. Go listen to the finest performances of Richter or Cortot on YouTube and there will always be thumbs down and negative commentary. Imagine if a young Friedman showed up and played I doubt that would go over well even though his Chopin are some of the finest on record and held their own for 90 years. That said, although I find these competitors generally sounding quite similar I would be happy to have the ability of the worst pianist here.

Part of me keeps hoping that someone will improvise transitions between pieces like Friedman and Hoffman used to. THAT would certainly make lots of eyes pop of out for most jury members. Again, the conservatism of this particular competition limits the freedoms of most performers and we get very careful approaches from most. The ones who go against the grain and break out of the mold always stand out to me.
Not sure if this should be a separate thread, but I have a pet peeve: personally I have a VERY HARD TIME comparing performances on 3 VERY DISTINCT instruments: Kawai, Yamaha, and Steinway.

I VASTLY prefer the timbre and character of the Hamburg Steinway and (this is entirely personal and subjective) I have a VERY HARD TIME listening to Chopin performed on a Yamaha, no matter how wonderfully tuned and regulated. Th How can a performance on a Yamaha Grand be compared objectively to a performance on a completely different piano (Kawai or Steinway)???
I follow what I can, what I've thus far heard is: neat technical playing, obsessive to-the-letter playing, bit of nerves here and there, and an enormous lack of personality, this is the most unpersonal pianoshow on earth, Chopin should entice a pianist to show his/hers character, no evidence of any character till now, sad.
and to add more bad news: the members of the jury, what a lack of character there, ye gods, where are the artists? just boring anonymous professors, except may be Alexeev, Goerner, and some i really don't know.
Yeah, it's pretty much Kenner, Goerner (a fantastic artist, IMO), and Alexeev who distinguish the jury in Argerich's absence. I think last time that had Ohlsson there with her, too.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/10/21 08:57 PM
I think excluding Moreira Lima and Dang Thai Son from the list is a bit far fetched, even though they have never been as prominent on stage as some of the others.

As for the Polish members of the jury, truth is most no longer play too often in public, but also most have had long concert and recording careers in this part of the world. Not being prominent and popular worldwide does not void their accomplishments.

Also, even if many of the Jury members are not active performers, they are prize winners of this particular competition and as far as I remember, that's how the Jury is assembled.
Just finished watching the Sunday morning session - was quite impressed with Ushida and Wu, followed by Wiercinski and Sumino. Su showed better poise and composure during Stage 1, although she did OK. From Saturday session-2, I'm in agreement on Sorita and Rao as standouts; not so sure about Sham passing this round. Shindo's physical gestures kind of reminded me of Tiffany Poon from XVII-2015 - even more so than Poon.
Candotti played with grace, elegance, emotion and excitement when needed. She reminded that Chopin loved to play in small saloons with such a style.
Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
and to add more bad news: the members of the jury, what a lack of character there, ye gods, where are the artists? just boring anonymous professors, except may be Alexeev, Goerner, and some i really don't know.

I follow what I can, what I've thus far heard is: neat technical playing, obsessive to-the-letter playing, bit of nerves here and there, and an enormous lack of personality, this is the most unpersonal pianoshow on earth, Chopin should entice a pianist to show his/hers character, no evidence of any character till now, sad.

Both of your statements are showing deep and complete ingnorance of both Chopin's music and this competition Jury. It's shocking considering your nickname (which is marking from Chopin's Barcarolle for those who don't know).

First of all:
Since 70 year this competition is bringing us best world's pianist. Agrerich, Zimerman, Pollini, Ohlsson, Seong-Jon, Blechacz or Avdeeva, and many others who took 2nd and 3rd prizes and later on won e.g. Tchaikovsky competition like Trifonov. Only Tchaikovsky comes close with winners of such caliber, and mostly they come from the past, with the exception of Trifonov. Sorry Leeds, Brussels and Forth Worth - you're just not there.

Second:
This is single composer competition and best pianists are coming here. If that doesn't translate to you by itself than I cannot comment. Chopin is hardest piano composer to play and is extremely easy to go wrong here.

Third:
You're jury names ignorance is just awful. Almost all of them at great artists, many of whom were finalists or 3rd stage or special prize winners. The fact that you don't know who is Mrs. Popowa-Zydron, Dina Yoffe or Wojciech Switala dosen't mean anything about their qualifications for being jury member here. And they are the highest you can get. Absence of Martha was confirmed just few days before competition start due to illness of Nelson Freire.
Great professors aren't (in most cases) very well known active pianists. And the opposite. Very few active and high level pianists are good professors. I have not heard of any notable student of Krystian Zimerman for that matter. They are "conservative" for a matter - to find person who is (and will be in future career) capable of playing Chopin with their own style, with passion, but who also know what is Chopin's music about. More on that in next point.

Fourth:
This competition is not to find the best "individual". There is very thin line in Chopin's music between parody, ugliness and being individual artist. Horowitz was on the borderline. Francois as well. But Osokins? Please. He even tells that he doesn't care about style, history and what is piece about but plays by his heart and intuition. His Polonaise op.53 was, I don't know what about. It was like a child taking out new toy from his wardrobe each 10 seconds. It was horrid. Now I am listening to Alberto Ferro - oh what a beautiful playing. There is everything. Artists, power, poetry, style, and I hear Alberto and not random pianist.
It takes an enormous talent, luck, good teacher to make a person like Argerich or Zimerman on stage. I do not see such pianists on the 40-55 year's ols pianists today, and if you will look for competition winner from those years there are no top level pianists. Yes there is Lugansky, Berezowsky, Hough and Andsens, but are they really at the level of afromentioned? We may like them more or not, but no they are not at the same level.

Many of today's competitors can't even play properly waltzes, not even mentioning polonaises. While poloinase is polish dance, waltz is internationally known and yet so many plays is so wrong. You may be individual and play waltz, but at the end it's still and has to be waltz. Not just sheet another sheet music. Pianists should be watching dancers before playing any dance (be it from Bach to Prokofiev).
Some observations:

Armellini was fantastic yesterday, played with lots of sensitivity in the first four pieces and then went for a virtuoso/Lisztian interpretation of the Heroic Polonaise. I loved it, and she got a huge response from the audience. Chopin with gusto!

Ushida was super refined, tasteful, and elegant. I also liked Sumino's performance very much, but he slightly suffered comparison to Sorita's outstanding recital, playing two of the same pieces (Rondo op/ 5 and Ballade #2; no one in any Ballade so far can top Sorita's coda in this). Overall, I'd say that the Japanese competitors are the strongest in this edition, and there's still Furumi today and Kobayashi later in the week.

Saw a bit of Crema this morning and wasn't sure he made the right programming choice with the two op. 26 Polonaises as the centerpiece of his recital. There not Chopin's best forays into the genre and I thought they overall dragged and ate up too much recital time when just one of them plus another contrasting selection would have been better. Similarly, I wanted to like Kai-Min Chang, but the 3 New Etudes just don't hold up to the opp. 10 and 25 sets and this segment of his recital also dragged (I don't think I've ever heard the whole set in public, and that's probably for a reason!). He did very well in his "standard" Etudes in the first round, so why not double down and do a few more of these?

People in the stream were saying that Choi was great and did the best from the earlier part of the session. I'll admit that I haven't listened to him yet but look forward to doing so.

Finally: is anyone else noticing weird things going on with the voicings on the Steinways and the Fazioli? They're not holding up and weird notes are ringing/buzzing/having overtone issues. Get those techs to work!
Originally Posted by Brendan
Finally: is anyone else noticing weird things going on with the voicings on the Steinways and the Fazioli? They're not holding up and weird notes are ringing/buzzing/having overtone issues. Get those techs to work!

Yes, Polish Radio journalists are saying that there something wrong with bass on the Fazioli, but not heard complaints about mid or high registers. Btw all pianos are probably best ones that factories had in hand at the very moment. And there is lie 12-15 (something like that) techs involved to take care of the piano.
Listened a bit of Ferro. I found that he completely missed the waltz. Well average playing but nothing outstanding. Candotti was much better in the same piece. Very good session by Armellini.
Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
I follow what I can, what I've thus far heard is: neat technical playing, obsessive to-the-letter playing, bit of nerves here and there, and an enormous lack of personality, this is the most unpersonal pianoshow on earth, Chopin should entice a pianist to show his/hers character, no evidence of any character till now, sad.
Welcome to today's competition based piano player market grin grin
This is the consequence, not the cause.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/11/21 03:04 PM
Originally Posted by Brendan
Saw a bit of Crema this morning and wasn't sure he made the right programming choice with the two op. 26 Polonaises as the centerpiece of his recital. There not Chopin's best forays into the genre and I thought they overall dragged and ate up too much recital time when just one of them plus another contrasting selection would have been better.

I'm partial to Op. 26 so this didn't bug me, but rather I found this vastly refreshing after hearing only Op. 22/44/53 - but what you say would be impossible to my understanding. The competiton regulations stipulate that if you choose to go with Op. 26, you have to play both back to back. He had no choice but to join them if he wanted to play them.
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/11/21 05:17 PM
Anyone else like Gagliano's performances as much as I did? Sometimes I'd like to hear more tone from her and there's some over-precious phrasing occasionally, but I thought her Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise was terrific! I saw quite a bit of chat about her being expressionless. Just because people don't gesticulate and make faces and noises does NOT mean they aren't being expressive!
I liked it - it was on the understated side, but she made it work more than others who have taken this interpretive route do.

Furumi was excellent and improved over her first round.

Listening to Eva now and it again reinforces my feeling that it's not my cup of tea. Just overall too aggressive and the standing off the bench is distracting. Same with Garcia Garcia - overall too harsh and not a lot there to balance the sound on the other end of the spectrum.
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/11/21 06:40 PM
Originally Posted by Brendan
Listening to Eva now and it again reinforces my feeling that it's not my cup of tea. Just overall too aggressive and the standing off the bench is distracting.

I hate the standing. I loved her in Cliburn Junior, but she seems to have lost ground rather than gained it.
Originally Posted by Brendan
Furumi was excellent and improved over her first round.

I felt just the opposite. She made some mistakes and slips in the Polonaise-Fantasy and in other places. I thought she was lacking physically for these thick textured pieces.
Posted By: Ubu Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/11/21 07:02 PM
Rubinstein himself used to stand sometimes
For anyone interested, there are a few review blogs running: Jed Distler for Gramophone and Alessandro Tommasi for (he's doing the Chopin Talk interviews with Naomi Kudo; use google translate to read).

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/blogs

https://www.quinteparallele.net/202...-ACzdy9lTSbOZ6xmqPTlLLvyVJxoaf4nA11-yfLo
Just listened to Kobayashi, which I found rather disappointing given her reputation. It is difficult to say that, given the very high level of playing of all these competitors. All in all I found Eva Gevorgyan to have a real distinct personality and individual musical world. I did not like her that much in the first round, but in the second one, she definitely stands out from the mass uniformity of many other candidates.
I liked her and thought she was more relaxed than the first round. I'm not sure if she'll win the gold medal, but she has a better chance at a top prize this time than she did last, IMO.

Khozyainov definitely gets the programming award - lots of interesting choices there, and probably the only time we'll ever hear Chopin's Fugue in public (and certainly at this competition). He seems to be going for an "authentic" Chopin interpretation, free of excess, emphasizing ideas over gestures, trying to find the core of the music. It was a lot more inward than I expected, and I'm not 100% sure if it was his real interpretation of the music or if he's playing it like this to distinguish himself from the others, but it worked. Also, it was nice to hear the Heroic Polonaise played as an overture rather than a finale for a change.

Grazie!! I didn't know that Quinte Parallele was covering the event. It's a wonderful online magazine, by the way. So much to read and learn.
I doubt I'll be able to catch up on all the performances, but it will be interesting to see if the jury stick with the 20 contestants for Stage-3, or if they will exercise flexibility ("in principle"), as they did for Stage-2 by selecting 45.

From section XII-2 of the competition rules:
In principle, 40 participants will be passed into the second stage, 20 into the third stage and no more than 10 into the Final.
I'm hoping for 25. Looking back, there have been so many strong performances and personalities, especially in the last few days.
Will the slip at the end of op.38 Ballade cost Khozyainov?
Originally Posted by Hakki
Will the slip at the end of op.38 Ballade cost Khozyainov?

I have not heard him aying this ballade, but I was listening to the comments after his recital and there was no complaints about false notes. Everyone makes them.

In times of young Rubinstein, Corton and so on no-one was thinking about false notes the same way as we think today. I think (unless this is complete stop or completely failed series of bad notes) much more important is how pianist will handle it than whether they were wrong or correct.
1. Mr Piotr Alexewicz, Poland
2. Ms Leonora Armellini, Italy
3. Mr J J Jun Li Bui, Canada
4. Ms Michelle Candotti, Italy
5. Ms Yasuko Furumi, Japan
6. Mr Alexander Gadjiev, Italy/Slovenia
7. Ms Avery Gagliano, U.S.A.
8. Mr Martin Garcia Garcia, Spain
9. Ms Eva Gevorgyan, Russia/Armenia
10. Mr Nikolay Khozyainov, Russia
11. Ms Su Yeon Kim, South Korea
12. Ms Aimi Kobayashi, Japan
13. Mr Mateusz Krzyżowski, Poland
14. Mr Jakub Kuszlik, Poland
15. Mr Hyuk Lee, South Korea
16. Mr Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, Canada
17. Mr Szymon Nehring, Poland
18. Mr Kamil Pacholec, Poland
19. Mr Hao Rao, China
20. Ms Miyu Shindo, Japan
21. Mr Kyohei Sorita, Japan
22. Mr Hayato Sumino, Japan
23. Mr Andrzej Wierciński, Poland
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/12/21 07:57 PM
Quick quoting straight from the Institute FB page:

1. Pan Piotr Alexewicz, Polska
2. Pani Leonora Armellini, Włochy
3. Pan J J Jun Li Bui, Kanada
4. Pani Michelle Candotti, Włochy
5. Pan Yasuko Furumi, Japonia
6. Pan Alexander Gadjiev, Włochy/Słowenia
7. Pani Avery Gagliano, Stany Zjednoczone
8. Pan Martin Garcia Garcia, Hiszpania
9. Pani Eva Gevorgyan, Rosja/Armenia
10. Pan Nikolay Khozyainov, Rosja
11. Pani Su Yeon Kim, Korea Południowa
12. Pani Aimi Kobayashi, Japonia
13. Pan Mateusz Krzyżowski, Polska
14. Pan Jakub Kuszlik, Polska
15. Pan Hyuk Lee, Korea Południowa
16. Pan Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, Kanada
17. Pan Szymon Nehring, Polska
18. Pan Kamil Pacholec, Polska
19. Pan Hao Rao, Chiny
20. Pani Miyu Shindo, Japonia
21. Pan Kyohei Sorita, Japonia
22. Pan Hayato Sumino, Japonia
23. Pan Andrzej Wierciński, Polska


All of my favorites are here, which I'm really excited about. And Osokins didn't go through after all.

I'm very happy for Avery Gagliano, Leonora Armellini and Hao Rao here.

Edit: shoot, Brendan was faster. Sorry for double post then.
A few observations: Nehring and Garcia yes but Ushida no? Osokins out, most of the Italians still in, as well as 5 Japanese and 6 Poles. Part of me says that they're looking at previous resumes/competition successes going forward.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/12/21 08:23 PM
I miss Ushida and Gad Crema, but I'm not really surprised about Garcia Garcia too much. Funny enough, the competition page is now flooded by comments of a scandalous decision on Osokins. People get extremely emotional about these things. I remember the 2005's competition, there was no coverage as good as this one. We also had a much longer thread here then! And now, with social media, it's very busy and fierce.
I did not get what was wrong with Ushida and Sun and how was it possible to qualify Garcia, (audience?)
There is just one Fazioli, an F278, which was also used in Rubinstein and other competitions. It's an older one, perhaps abut 10 years old. Most likely the oldest piano on the stage.

Fazioli F308 is delivered with two pedal lyres: one with 3 pedals and another with 4. 4 pedals is optional on F278 and smaller models.

The Yamaha CFX looks to be a prototype or an one-off, with a new plate design.
Thank you Ken Iisaka.

BTW, did Yamaha make Stage III?
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/12/21 09:57 PM
Seema not. If i counted correctly it's

Steinway 17
Shigeru 3
Fazioli 3
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/12/21 10:08 PM
To be more precise,

Steinway (479) 14
Steinway (300) 3
Shigeru 3
Fazioli 3
Yay....Miyu Shindo made it through. I can't wait to see some more of her gyrations.
Did you notoced that all of romatic players like Talon Smith didn't made it till 3rd round? I am however surprised by huge Polosh representation (I would delete st least two of them). Decision regarding Osokinks couldn't be different of course.

I would exchange like 4-5 names and list would be fine.
I think the selection list could be shorter. At this point, there are a number of pianists on the lists that cant make the final. There is no point keeping 23 people. The decision for Osokins was expected given the nature of the competition.
Only heard a few, and honestly don’t know any of them by name. I was impressed by Sham and Kobayashi. Also, Bruce Liu was impressive technically, I thought. Any reason Sham didn’t get through?
I would have passed Sham rather than Nehring. I'm not sure why Nehring keeps advancing, is it because his teacher is the Jury Chair?
I felt Mr. Ushida was actually a little unnerving to listen to, given the very high quality of his playing. The constant rubato demarcations of the single episode (even if done with extremely good taste) in the Ballade and the even more on the Barcarolle where too much for my taste - the general "elan" was hampered by it, I feel.
The beauty and force of these Chopin romantic pieces lie, in my view, and among many other things, in the internal sense of architecture revealing itself in the free flowing discourse of the music itself - unlike for example the Sonata form of the Classical era - too tight for him and for the romantic period composers in general it seems. To me, this utter revolutionary beauty is lost when too much importance is attached to the single personal feelings and the single episodes with the use of constant rubato - Chopin's view and expression was so much wider and deeper than that!
These are just metaphors of course as music is its own language, very difficult to put in words especially with my limited English - still they describe pretty closely the experience I had.
Having said that, Mr. Ushida is undoubtedly a great artist and a very giving human being - I look forward to listening to him as he grows and matures - I believe he has a lot to say and to give.
IMO, Garcia Garcia should have been eliminated in Stage I.

The number of competitors that qualify is increased just to qualify more Polish competitors both to Stage II and Stage III. That is it.

It is sad to see such kind of political decisions being made in a top quality, reputable and traditional competition.
^^
It is not hard to see that the plan is not to award first prize and award the second prize to a Polish competitor.

Also there is clear message to Chinese players.
The way the score is calculated actually tends to smooth out the number of points and the average. For people who get a number of outstanding or poor scores outside the range around their average (in stage 2 plus or minus 2 points out of 25) these scores are reset to the minimum or maximum of the range. So essentially if a player got a lower score than another one but has some notes outside the range will have its points recalculated and can get above just due to the calculation method. So what this means is that a juror who either did not like at all someone or on the other hand appreciated someone much more than the collegues, will have his rating corrected to get back into the average. This way of calculating does not fulfill the Paretto principle, ie a player can actually receive less points eventually than another even though every juror actually preferred him/her.

There is also a YES/NO flag to move on to the next stage based on a minimum amount of points (19 in stage 2). So again someone can actually get to the next stage because he/she got more yes even if his number of points is lower than someone else. In other words, there isnt necessarily a consistency between the yes/no and the point system.

Because jurors do not see the names of the competitors against the point average, their decision is biased. Experiences indeed prove that when knowing the names, the decision can be different.

To some extent the voting system used by the competition is rather complex but also fairly untransparent. But I guess no system is ever perfect.

Also, I have strong doubts about the number of actual discussions that occur in the early stages.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Because jurors do not see the names of the competitors against the point average, their decision is biased. Experiences indeed prove that when knowing the names, the decision can be different.

Assuming of course that the assessment is fair and that there isnt any kind of political or otherwise biaised decision mechanism.
Taking a quick look at the bios, the following semifinalists are currently students of jury members or graduated from their class:

Bui (Son)
Candotti (Alexeev)
Kuszlik (P-Z)
Liu (Son)
Nehring (P-Z)
Pacholec (Switala, Poblocka, and P-Z)
Wiercinski (Switala)

The most "represented" jury member would be the chair, it seems. If it's a fix for Nehring at the expense of so many other and more interesting players, that's probably the worst outcome.
Originally Posted by Hakki
^^
It is not hard to see that the plan is not to award first prize and award the second prize to a Polish competitor.

Also there is clear message to Chinese players.

Ouf of 17 jury members 10 are non-Polish. Also, as in each competition, a lot of jury members comes from the country where the competition takes place, and chairman of course. I would not go so far into political choices. Indeed, the yes and no AND points may be confusing, and as long this competition is there always have been talks about such or different choices. More often than not, years which came, shown us that decision of experienced professional are good and when the public may be upset, jury is right. And please remember, that besides how one play I think in the finals they are taking into considerations who will be able to handle the weight of the gold medal properly in their future career. When everyone was shocked about Avdeeva winning (and Trifonov was 3rd), we now see her doing immense career and I think Trifonov was not there yet with his already good skills (was 19 than). Wunder is fine, but he swayed somehow from doing big career.

And it is always like this than a lot of Polish pianists gets into 3rd stage, nothing strange if look on past competitions. If there are no Chinese pianists that just means that do not play Chopin well enough. If you want to be racist, than all asian pianists should not be there, and we have big representation from South Korea and Japan.
Programs for the Third stage are up! Looks like lots of B minor sonatas and a few sets of preludes (notably by Aimi Kobayashi, who just recorded them for Warner Classics):

https://chopin2020.pl/en/calendar

I can't wait to hear Sorita's program:

- Mazurka in B major Op. 56 no 1
- Mazurka in C major Op. 56 no 2
- Mazurka in C minor Op. 56 no 3
- Sonata in B flat minor Op. 35
- Boże, coś Polskę (harmonization of the old version of the song for piano), op. posth.

Other interesting rep: Tarantella, op. 43; Variations, op. 2; and the Rondo, op. 16.
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/13/21 02:17 PM
I haven't seen much discussion about Piotr Alexewicz here, or maybe I just missed it, but I discovered him just this morning with the help of a FB friend and I love his Chopin etudes. Discreet pedaling, beautiful articulation, impeccable phrasing: everything one could ever want in a Chopin performance. I haven't listened to all of his stuff yet, but I'm going to try to catch up later today.

Anyone else like him? I think he could well win a medal.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
I think the selection list could be shorter. At this point, there are a number of pianists on the lists that cant make the final. There is no point keeping 23 people. The decision for Osokins was expected given the nature of the competition.


^ These words hit the nail right on the head. A case could be made that had the jury chosen otherwise to include the likes of, say, Ushida, the selection of the Final round would be that much more difficult. This doesn't excuse the jury's selection, of course.

I did not hear all of the Polish participants, but I did hear Piotr Alexewicz in Stage 1 - he played 2nd to last, right before Armellini on the 3rd day when Yasko had a bad slip in that A Minor Etude. Andrey Zenin did not fare well after Yasko. Alexewicz played beautifully and ended his program with the 2nd Scherzo without "incidents" in that wildly inconsistent session, so I think that made a good impression on the jury. His Stage 2 performance was also quite strong. I'm less sure about Pacholec. I heard parts of his Stage 2 program in the same session where Evren Ozel also played. They both chose the 2nd Impromptu and took the opposite approaches on page 1 - I had worked on this piece before and I personally preferred Ozel, but my 2 cents only.

I think the Chinese part of the equation this time got more complicated. We do have Sa Chen on the jury - she placed 4th in the 2000 competition. She is a first-timer on the Chopin jury, but did serve on the 2018 Leeds jury. (She had private coaching early in her career from Fou Ts'ong, who had served on the jury previously but sadly passed away late last year due to COVID.) It did not go unnoticed in the Chopin Institute FB page comments that the lone participant from Hong Kong (Sham) and three from Taiwan (Kai-Ming Chang, Szu-Yu Su, and Wei-Ting Hsieh) all got axed.
BTW I did not know that there is also now an International Chopin competition on Period Instruments organized also by the Chopin Institute.

The first session was held in 2018 and subsequent ones to follow every 5 years. The first one was won by Ritter, Aleksandra Swigut and Naruhiko Kawaguchi. Those interested can find all the sessions on YT. Pianos include originals from Pleyel, Erard and various copies.
It’s a bit long but let me share with you Mr. Ushida’s Twitter comments after the result. As you can imagine Japanese Twitter comments went crazy after people found out that his name was not there. I added the original just so you can try it on Google translator to confirm it’s accuracy. (The whole thing now)

Translated from Ushida’s Twitter:

I would like to thank everyone who supported us in various places for the Chopin Competition and everyone who helped us. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to in a wonderful competition with a great history and to share it with many of you.

The teachers who judge at this competition are very respected as musicians, and I am very honored to hear the performance. I sincerely support her decision.
On the other hand, I am really sorry that I could not reward everyone who had high expectations in the form of results.

This time, I couldn't grasp the sound (impact) of the hall, and ended the round without being able to determine the maximum volume (to be used to get the intended result), and the dynamics composition and tone adjustment went wrong. There was a moment when I had the illusion that my volume was not enough due to the sound of the hall, and I wound up bringing out a saturated sound that was not artistic.
Also, in order to force the volume out in a non-sounding hall, you can make the piano sound like it is playing with the effect of overtones by delaying the bass and the most important sounds a little. It seems that I unknowingly used it too much while exploring (the right sound?).
(Left and right deviation is a typical technique of the 20th century, but it is not very suitable in modern times. Of course, in the polyphonic part and the part where the melody is recitative, it is inevitable due to the difference in intonation for each voice. I think that it should be tolerated if the deviation occurs within the natural range.)

I would like to grow further in the future and devote myself to listening to it again. I look forward to sharing the music of the great composer with you again. I look forward to working with you in the future.

ショパンコンクールに向けてさまざまな場所で応援してくださった皆さま、お力添えをくださった皆さま、本当にありがとうございました。偉大な歴史を持った素晴らしいコンクールで演奏するという機会を得られたこと、そしてそれを多くの皆さまと共有できたことを心から光栄に思っております。

このコンクールで審査をしてくださっている先生方は、音楽家として心から尊敬する存在で、演奏を聴いていただけたことをとても光栄に思っております。今回の判断を心から支持しています。
一方で、ご期待を寄せてくださっていた皆さまには、結果という形で報いることができなかったことを本当に心苦しく、申し訳なく思っています。

今回はなかなかホールの音響がつかめず、最大音量を見極められないままラウンドを終えてしまい、ダイナミクスの構成や音色の調整が狂ってしまいました。ホールの音響上自分の音量が足りていないのではと錯覚してしまい、不自然な力で芸術的でない飽和した響きを引き出してしまった瞬間がありました。
また、響かないホールで無理やり音量を出すために、バスや最も重要な音を少し遅らせることで倍音の効果でピアノが鳴っているように聞こえさせることができるのですが、これをホールの音響を探るうちに無意識に多用してしまっていたようです。
(左右のズレは20世紀の典型的なテクニックではありますが現代ではあまりふさわしいとはいえません。もちろんポリフォニックな部分や旋律がレチタティーヴォ的になっている部分では声部ごとのイントネーションの違いから必然的なズレが生じるのは自然な範囲内であれば許容されるべきだとは思いますが)
今後より成長して、また皆さまに聴いていただけるよう精進したいと思います。また再び皆さまと偉大な作曲家の音楽を共有できる日を楽しみにしています。今後ともどうぞよろしくお願い申し上げます。
I should have corrected “to hear the performance” to “ have my performance heard by the judges”. I hope you understand it. I cannot edit it any more since it exceeded the time. I’m trying my best to present it as it is making sure there is no opportunity for misunderstandings. Please read it with understanding.
^ Farm Girl: Thank you for sharing.

Back in 2015 I wasn't able to watch live-stream, but did read the thread from time to time and the issue of jury members' students did come up. Rules of the Qualifying Committee, Preliminary Round Jury, and Competition Jury are separate documents on the Competition website, but basically define "student" the same way this time:

From Section XI of the Rules of the Competition Jury:
The term ‘student’ is understood to mean a participant who
– currently is a Juror’s student, or
– was a Juror’s regular student in a school or had regular private lessons with a Juror for more than a year since the end of the 17th Competition, or
– had private lessons with a Juror after 1 December 2018, or
– stays in close private relations with a Juror.
The term ‘student’ does not apply to the case of sporadic contact between a participant and a Juror during and in connection with master classes, also online.

From Section XIII of the same:
Assessment of the participants in the Competition first, second and third stage is based on two systems: a point awarding system and a YES-NO system. In neither system can a Juror assess his/her ‘student’ and will in such case only write the letter ‘S’ on the assessment sheet.

Hopefully they will again release the jury's scorings after the final round results are announced. The Stage-3 scores from 2015 are still available: http://test12.nifc.pl/u299/iii_etap_oceny.pdf. (Thai Son Dang, for example, couldn't vote for Kate Liu, Eric Lu, or Tony Yang, by declaring a juror-student connection.)
Originally Posted by Hakki
IMO, Garcia Garcia should have been eliminated in Stage I.

The number of competitors that qualify is increased just to qualify more Polish competitors both to Stage II and Stage III. That is it.

It is sad to see such kind of political decisions being made in a top quality, reputable and traditional competition.
Except you don't know they were political decisions.
Saw a bit of the morning session. Hao Rao improved a lot from his round 2 performance and sounds his most confident yet. The Polonaise sort of fell apart in places, but the Sonata and mazurkas were outstanding.

I absolutely cannot watch or listen to Miyu Shindo. Too many ridiculous facial expressions, unnecessary hand gestures, and jumping around on the bench. It's impossible to focus on the music. I had the same reaction with Kate Liu in 2015.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/14/21 01:56 PM
I felt that Nehring and Pacholec improved too. For once, I really enjoyed Nehring's performance today. As for Shindo, I only listen without video during work, but I had the impression that she was lacking in power & sound. The piano often sounded brittle and forced to me.
I listened to parts of Nehring and Rao. I really cant get into Nehring musical world. I found that his nocturne was played way too slow as to actually loosing the main theme melodic line and the whole beauty of it. Playing slowly can work out well as long as there is enough articulation ti make it meaningfull. The middle part was well played.

In the mazurka, I think he completely lost the sense of the these pieces. Again opus 56/1 was too slow and lacking character and the Poco Piu Messo part was linear with basically no articulation.

Rao played well. Though unless I missed something he did not play the opus 33/3 which was on his program. And the title on the video is wrong. When it is marked 33/3, he is playing 33/4. 33/2 is not in C major but in D major, it is 33/3 which is in C major and which was not played. But maybe I just fall asleep ......
So 33/1 and 33/2 were very good. In 33/4 i think he played well but cant get to a superior level of refinement and touch. It is good playing but does not reach top level.

Shindo does a lot of theatrical demonstrations on her bench, so I just hide the video and listen to the music only. I found she played the mazurkas extremely well, a lot of articulation and sensibility. Did not listen to the rest.
I notice the youtube channel now has the performances in separate videos for each performer - much easier to find something now. I can't listen to everything, so this helps.

I find I am overly influenced (or distracted) by the performer's appearance. I wish the view was from a distance, as if I was sitting back in the audience somewhere, and unable to see those odd expressions and mannerisms. That is the view that the judges get.

Sam
Posted By: Ubu Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/14/21 06:01 PM
This was very funny. During the intermission they did a little interview with the head technicians from Yamaha Kawai and Fazioli. The host elaborated a long question about how long and exhausting the competition is so she wanted to know how the technicians manage to survive such a long competition. Kawai technician says "Oh, is for me? Eat". Then they asked the yamaha technician "Yes eat. And also drink a lot of alcohol". Hosts didn't know how to get out of that. Then the fazioli technician did a more politically correct approach, and kind of solve the situation.
Sorita: actually got teared up during the transition from the last movement of the Sonata to the hymn arrangement to the Polonaise - despair, comfort, and then resilience! An amazing musical journey. He took a little longer to get warmed up than he did during his second round, but by the end he was unstoppable.

Sumino: I think everyone keeps expecting him to fail, slip, not be able to hold up to the stress of the competition, or to be uncomfortable with the larger forms, but here he is still rocking it out and holding up better than most. The Sonata was the best - lots of interesting ideas and incredible intensity in the last two movements. His tone got a little harsh at times (particularly in the Scherzo), but it seemed like he was saving the real "ppp" moments for when he wanted them and that made it balance out in the big picture. I really hope he passes.

Wiercinski: my first time hearing him and I wasn't as impressed as I was with some of the other candidates. The Mazurkas were lovely, but the Scherzo and Sonata were noticeably weaker than others (particularly the Sonata). Maybe his earlier rounds were stronger? The audience liked him, though.
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/14/21 06:47 PM
Originally Posted by Ubu
This was very funny. During the intermission they did a little interview with the head technicians from Yamaha Kawai and Fazioli. The host elaborated a long question about how long and exhausting the competition is so she wanted to know how the technicians manage to survive such a long competition. Kawai technician says "Oh, is for me? Eat". Then they asked the yamaha technician "Yes eat. And also drink a lot of alcohol". Hosts didn't know how to get out of that. Then the fazioli technician did a more politically correct approach, and kind of solve the situation.

whome ha
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/14/21 07:05 PM
Originally Posted by Brendan
I absolutely cannot watch or listen to Miyu Shindo. Too many ridiculous facial expressions, unnecessary hand gestures, and jumping around on the bench. It's impossible to focus on the music.

+1

Also wrong/split/missing notes, which I'm sure has something to do with all the gesticulation and wasted body movement.
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/14/21 07:35 PM
Enjoying PIOTR ALEXEWICZ's Op. 28 a lot. Nice to hear something other than the 2nd or 3rd sonata. I still think his articulation is the most transparent of them all, though he has made a couple of mistakes, the most significant of which was the small break in the RH chromatic descending 3rds passage at the apotheosis of no. 24. But I still like him to place or even possibly win.
I felt Rao's Stage 2 performance was better, but he ended his program strong today with the Polonaise - I'm not as sure about the Sonata. Without the visuals I was able to get through Shindo's program - the way she stretched and pulled musical phrases actually made some sense in isolated moments in the Mazurkas. I really like Sorita's reading of the last Mazurka of Op. 56 (C Minor), in some ways better than Nehring's. (I believe Kate Liu won the Mazurka Prize in '15 with this same set.)

I'm still trying to finish watching the evening session, but I noticed that Krzysztof Jabłoński was absent today in both - he wasn't mentioned during the round of intros of the jurors at the beginning. I believe they could request for leave during the competition and would be marked "A" in the score sheets. I haven't been tracking them and don't mean to single him out - I like his playing very much actually.
How different opinions can be?

I find Alexewicz boring and uninteresting till the first round. If he was not from the home country I would doubt he would pass even the first round.

I agree with most of what Brendan wrote about Sorita, Sumino and Wiercinski. I would like to see Sorita and Sumino in the final.
Originally Posted by Hakki
How different opinions can be?

I find Alexewicz boring and uninteresting till the first round. If he was not from the home country I would doubt he would pass even the first round.

I agree with most of what Brendan wrote about Sorita, Sumino and Wiercinski. I would like to see Sorita and Sumino in the final.

I agree, it was very mannered and typical of the "beautiful, dreamy" Chopin that we heard from so many in earlier rounds. Even if some of the others today were rougher around the edges, I loved their individual takes on the music.
Of yesterday's performers I got the most pure enjoyment out of Rao and Sumino. Rao was just fresh and alive. Sorita's Finale in the Op. 35 sonata was epic. At this point it feels like he's lapping the race. But I still have big hopes for Khozyainov, a genuinely exciting performer.

Nehring put me to sleep, almost literally. It seemed like about 80% of his program was pianissimo. Pacholec is my favorite of the Poles, I've heard them all now except Krzyzowski. I wish I could sub in Hyounglok Choi for one of these dreamy overly smooth Polish players.
Armellini was excellent in the Opus 35, IMO one step above some of the other versions so far.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
I listened to parts of Nehring and Rao. I really cant get into Nehring musical world. I found that his nocturne was played way too slow as to actually loosing the main theme melodic line and the whole beauty of it. Playing slowly can work out well as long as there is enough articulation ti make it meaningfull. The middle part was well played.

In the mazurka, I think he completely lost the sense of the these pieces. Again opus 56/1 was too slow and lacking character and the Poco Piu Messo part was linear with basically no articulation.

Rao played well. Though unless I missed something he did not play the opus 33/3 which was on his program. And the title on the video is wrong. When it is marked 33/3, he is playing 33/4. 33/2 is not in C major but in D major, it is 33/3 which is in C major and which was not played. But maybe I just fall asleep ......
So 33/1 and 33/2 were very good. In 33/4 i think he played well but cant get to a superior level of refinement and touch. It is good playing but does not reach top level.

Shindo does a lot of theatrical demonstrations on her bench, so I just hide the video and listen to the music only. I found she played the mazurkas extremely well, a lot of articulation and sensibility. Did not listen to the rest.

In the Polish national edition of the Mazuraks (which I think most of the competitors seem to use) 33/2 is the C major, and 33/3 is the D major. This reflects the ordering in the French (and English) first editions, which are thought to be closer to Chopin's wishes than the ordering in the German first edition (which puts the D major before the C major).

Jeff Kallberg
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Armellini was excellent in the Opus 35, IMO one step above some of the other versions so far.


Yeah, she's unstoppable and I hope she ends up on the podium. The Mazurkas were fantastic, too. There was a quote from a review that said that the piano is basically an extension of her body, and that was especially true today.

Furumi is so underrated. She has been the most consistent of the Japanese cohort this round and gave what I thought was a beautiful, convincing performance. Much more alive than lots of the sleepy playing we had yesterday.
If they pass 10 for the final, there are only 4 places left since the other 6 places are already reserved.

In this regard Armellini, Gevorgyan, Khozyainov, Kobayashi might advance. Though still not heard Gevorgyan, Khozyainov and Kobayashi. Just predicting from previous rounds.

If they again increase the number to say e.g. 12 or only reserve 4 places, then maybe Sorita and Gadjiev might have a chance. Again not heard Gadjiev, but I am expecting him to play good in this round.
Originally Posted by Jeff Kallberg

In the Polish national edition of the Mazuraks (which I think most of the competitors seem to use) 33/2 is the C major, and 33/3 is the D major. This reflects the ordering in the French (and English) first editions, which are thought to be closer to Chopin's wishes than the ordering in the German first edition (which puts the D major before the C major).

Jeff Kallberg[/quote]

Hi Jeff, yes that makes sense. Indeed the first french and english editions have it in different order. Henle did keep the D major first like in the german edition though.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Rao played well. Though unless I missed something he did not play the opus 33/3 which was on his program.

Correction. Rao did play all 4 pieces. I was confused as he followed the order of the Polish Edition which is different from my score.
I had grown up listening to op.35 Sonata from a Gilles recording.

Gadjiev’s performance refreshed my memories.
I was impressed by Piotr Alexiwicz and Wiercinski. Sorita was stronger in the earlier rounds. Cateen was mixed in my opinion. Because of his huge YT following they keep advancing him. The internet numbers quadruple whenever he is on stage.
Also impressedy by Bruce Liu from Canada and Gadjiev from Italy. Disappointed that Pierdomenico failed to advance.
Originally Posted by Hakki
If they pass 10 for the final, there are only 4 places left since the other 6 places are already reserved.

What? If 6 places are already reserved, who are they reserved for? Why bother with recital rounds for these 6 then? And who are they?
I have a feeling they'll pass 12 (or at least 11), not only to make up for COVID, but also since there are so many strong players. It's the right thing to do.

Gadjiev nailed it today, I loved the pedal effects in the funeral march. Gagliano was also nice but seemed nervous like some of the others were. Garcia now is somewhat boring, IMO. He'll probably pass, though.
Garcia sings along with some of the music, a little disconcerting. And ending with a Waltz may not resonate with the judges.
Gadjiev was very strong today. I would like to hear his concerto.
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
Cateen was mixed in my opinion. Because of his huge YT following they keep advancing him. The internet numbers quadruple whenever he is on stage.
What do you base that comment on? I think most of the judges have never even seen one of his postings as Cateen and, more importantly, could not care less about the number of people following a particular contestant.
The jury of judges and teachers are not unaware of today's social media. Their professional livelehoods are staked on a diminishing interest in classical music, so anything that grows the market is in their interest as well. Cateen (Hayato Sumino) has a rabid YouTube fan base. In Japan he is probably as popular as Yuzura Hanyu, the decorated Olympic figure skater. On the livestream the numbers of viewers shot up markedly during this summers preliminary round as well as this October. Especially in the rounds which took place in the Japan time zone. I'm sure they are aware of that. Many of the online comments support Cateen (and they know him as Sumino too).
More viewers and subscribers means more advertising revenue for the competition as well.

That said, he is a decent enough player, but Sorito has more of a presence, at least in the early recitals. They both may make the last phase.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/15/21 08:21 PM
I very highly doubt that particular jury, en masse, has any interest in these "technological gimmicks". Most of them have never performed through live streaming through a concert hall programming, not to mention more personal interest in social media or YouTube. Even if individual jury members would care, I think it's very far fetched to assume this might impact their assessment.

This has nothing to do with Sumino's playing. I've enjoyed his performances, haven't heard the 3rd stage yet and I learned about his YT channel only today.
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
The jury of judges and teachers are not unaware of today's social media. Their professional livelehoods are staked on a diminishing interest in classical music, so anything that grows the market is in their interest as well. Cateen (Hayato Sumino) has a rabid YouTube fan base. In Japan he is probably as popular as Yuzura Hanyu, the decorated Olympic figure skater. On the livestream the numbers of viewers shot up markedly during this summers preliminary round as well as this October. Especially in the rounds which took place in the Japan time zone. I'm sure they are aware of that. Many of the online comments support Cateen (and they know him as Sumino too).
More viewers and subscribers means more advertising revenue for the competition as well.
Your thinking about the judges' motivation is pure speculation.

Most of the judges are of an age where I don't think social media is important to them. They are not the same age as most of Cateen's YT fans. But even if they are aware of and have seen Cateen's videos, you don't give them much credit for looking for much more important things when judging such an important competition. Anyone can watch the competition for free and to say the judges would pass someone to the next round for some probably small monetary gain for the competition or because online viewers supported him is very negative thinking.
Excellent performance by Eva Gevorgyan, a lot of intensity in the opus 35 sonata, the mazurkas were very good also. A strong contender for the final.
I don't consider YouTube a gimmick. It's here and it's been a boon to many artists. Consider Valentina Litsitsa as an example. And Igor Levit during lockdown reached a huge worldwide audience with his nightly recitals from his apartment in Berlin. This forum we are using is a social media platform as well. And jury members probably go back on YouTube to view each contestant to check their assesments.
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
I don't consider YouTube a gimmick. It's here and it's been a boon to many artists. Consider Valentina Litsitsa as an example. And Igor Levit during lockdown reached a huge worldwide audience with his nightly recitals from his apartment in Berlin. This forum we are using is a social media platform as well. And jury members probably go back on YouTube to view each contestant to check their assesments.
Lisitsa and Levit are from a completely different generation than most of the judges. When the poster used "gimmick" he was referring to what he thought the judges think.
Originally Posted by Brendan
I have a feeling they'll pass 12 (or at least 11), not only to make up for COVID, but also since there are so many strong players. It's the right thing to do.

Gadjiev nailed it today, I loved the pedal effects in the funeral march. Gagliano was also nice but seemed nervous like some of the others were. Garcia now is somewhat boring, IMO. He'll probably pass, though.

This is not possible. As stated during Chopin Talk with the organizers, while they were allowed to pass more people in the previous rounds, the final round will be strictly limited to 10 participants.
I just finished watching session 1 of 10/15. Of the 4, I thought Armellini was the best, followed by JJ Bui. I felt Candotti struggled to get through the first half of her program (2nd Ballade and 2nd Scherzo), and was finally in her zone in the Sonata. Furumi started strong but seemed to have issues in the coda of the 3rd Sonata.

I checked the Wikipedia pages of the 2010 and the 2015 editions and there were only 10 finalists in each. Perhaps the phrase "in principle" in the competition rules (Sec. XII) applies to only Stages 1 and 2, and not the Final, i.e. no flexibility.
IMO, the media, concert organizers and music industry would love to see Hayato Sumino (Cateen) win the first prize.

But whether that can actually happen is another story.
Originally Posted by Hakki
IMO, the media, concert organizers and music industry would love to see Hayato Sumino (Cateen) win the first prize.
That may be true, but that doesn't mean the judges will vote for him for that reason.
I believe the nature of the competitions like this does not support Sumino as a real contender for first prize. He's neither extraordinary individualist with memorable performances nor performer with this extremely settled and conservative way of playing Chopin that resonates with most of Polish people, and that includes jurors (I really hate the fact, that polish jurors are the biggest group in jury)

Still, I like the way he plays very much, and as a promotor of classical music I would really enjoy his presence in the final.
Originally Posted by wojtanowsky
playing Chopin that resonates with most of Polish people, and that includes jurors (I really hate the fact, that polish jurors are the biggest group in jury) .

Are you really serious?
Then why not just choose with public vote that ONLY Polish people can vote, instead of forming a so-called “international“ jury?
I think Sumino is an excellent pianist and certainly a talented young man. However I think he has reached his interpretative and expressive limits in this competition. He is not at the level where one can say he is outstanding. His mazurka had some rythmic issues here and there and generally lack refinement and vivacity. They sound like nice salon romantic pieces (which they are also) and i miss the folk dance character which best pianists can bring forward and which require more precise articulation. That said he can still move to final stage.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by wojtanowsky
playing Chopin that resonates with most of Polish people, and that includes jurors (I really hate the fact, that polish jurors are the biggest group in jury) .

Are you really serious?
Then why not just choose with public vote that ONLY Polish people can vote, instead of forming a so-called “international“ jury?

You clearly missed my point - I do not claim that this is ok and fair, but support from public is definitely a factor, and you cannot ignore it, and jury also don't ignore it, even though they're are as close to be objective as possible.
Why not make mazurkas, waltzes and polonaises mandatory too for the preliminary round so that ONLY ones that can play them the Polish way can get to the main competition?

Of course the preliminary jury should be formed by Polish jurors only.

Or better why not make the competition jury all Polish too?
You look a little bit surprised that this competition, that takes place in Poland, is organized by Polish people, with pieces of one composer, composer that is like a mythical monument for Polish people is somehow bias toward "polish" way of looking at music. This is not a controversial statement and I'm definitely not happy that it looks this way. Believe me, after living here my whole life and being surrounded by people directly involved in this competition I can assure you, that jury is trying to be objective, but they're not, and promoting Polish people, Polish school of teaching Chopin is unfortunately part of this competition. I'd be really glad to see one day, that we're free from this martyrization, but we're not.
Originally Posted by wojtanowsky
You look a little bit surprised that this competition, that takes place in Poland, is organized by Polish people, with pieces of one composer, composer that is like a mythical monument for Polish people is somehow bias toward "polish" way of looking at music. This is not a controversial statement and I'm definitely not happy that it looks this way. Believe me, after living here my whole life and being surrounded by people directly involved in this competition I can assure you, that jury is trying to be objective, but they're not, and promoting Polish people, Polish school of teaching Chopin is unfortunately part of this competition. I'd be really glad to see one day, that we're free from this martyrization, but we're not.

I think this is an accurate assessment of the competition. It tends to reward more limited interpretations of Chopin as opposed to originality. Even if most of the winners have bold ideas about music, it's usually toned down in this competition because of the conservatism (watch Cho's Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein performances compared to Chopin). I also agree that Sumino probably won't win gold, but has a good shot at the finals, and good for him if he makes it. He and Sorita are the discoveries of this competition for me.

That being said, I can see a finals scenario of 3 Japanese pianists, 3 Polish pianists, Armellini, Gadjiev, Khozyainov, and Hao Rao. Even though it's against the rules, I still hope that they'll amend the bylaws to allow for 2 more.
I think many of the great pianists in history didn't have extremely original interpretations of whatever composer they played but they just played more beautifully, more persuasively, and with more charisma that other pianists. Couldn't Rubinstein, for example, be considered a very middle of the road interpreter of Chopin who avoided extreme interpretations?
When looking back in the history of the competition, in the first 5 sessions there was a predominance of soviet union and Poland. Almost every first, second and third prize was won by one of them (soviet union 6 of which 4 first prize and Poland 8 of which 2 first prizes). Only other winner was Fou Tsong from China and one from Hungary. Of course the political situation played a large role in this situation.

Since then after 1960 it is rather open. Of the 12 first prizes, 2 non attributed, 2 Poland, 2 for soviet union / Russia and then 1 for Italy, Argentina, South Korea, US, China and Vietnam. So there is still a predominance of Russia and Poland but it is more open. It is indisputable though that Zimerman and Blechacz were by far the best in the years where they won.

Curiously many countries never won or only rarely, France, Spain, UK, Netherlands, Germany, .......this year i dont think any pianist from Germany even made stage 1.
Who taught Miyu Shindo to play the piano like it's an all-body gymnastic exercise? Yes, there is a respected school of piano playing that emphasizes weight, allowing the fingers to fall to the keyboard, rather than punching the keys with your fingers to produce a tone. Ms. Shindo can certainly produce wonderful tones, and she knows how to shape a phrase to create musical loveliness. But weight technique is supposed to be the art of letting the arm, wrist and fingers drop effortlessly to the keyboard to create controlled, pleasing sounds. When did it become necessary to employ the upper arm and shoulder into piano playing? Ms. Shindo has both arms floating high in the air, dropping down slowly to the keyboard, and then - after the key is struck - the entire hand balls up into a fist and curls under and away from the keyboard. What possible benefit does this provide the pianist, technically or musically?

Ms. Shindo reminds me of those Olympic figure skaters who add all sorts of superfluous balletic motions to their routine before launching into their next Axel jump. I suspect she envies these athletes, because like them, Ms. Shindo feels her whole body must be in constant motion. Not just her fingers, hands and arms are involved. She is a devotee of the Lang Lang school of emotive facial distortions as a necessary aspect of her piano playing. Her default facial emotion is the grimcace, reminding us either that it is very hard to play what she is playing, or that she is suffering emotional torments from the sheer beauty of her playing.

At least Lang Lang stays put at the piano. Ms. Shindo can't sit still - literally. She is constantly rising from the bench. If she had her way, she'd go full Jerry Lee Lewis and dispense with the bench altogether, but the judges - who put up with a lot of bodily distortions from competitors these days - probably would frown on that as a step too far. Since Ms. Shindo has to stay rooted to some degree to her piano bench, she compensates by bringing her feet into motion. Her left foot isn't there just to operate the una corda pedal; it's designed to hover in the air and move in harmony with the excessive motions of her left hand. Similarly, her right leg spends half of the time managing the dampers, and the other half beating the tempo on the floor. Ms. Shindo has the benefit of hiding a lot of this useless motion under a long skirt, but if you want to see another competitor who has a bad case of pianistic Restless Leg Syndrome, watch Canadian competitor Bruce Liu in action.

I suppose all of these distractions could be overlooked if Ms. Shindo had a meaningful musical message to deliver. A lot of people, after all, close their eyes during a Lang Lang concert to avoid watching his distorted physical movements, and concentrate instead on his musicality. You can't make that argument with Ms. Shindo. With her delicate touch, she is a mistress of the delicious musical phrase. But that's all there is to her piano playing. She presents an incessant stream of lush musical phrases, which all end with an extended ritard, disconnecting each phrase from the next. If you want to hear this in action, listen to her Third Sonata Op. 58 performance - particularly the Largo, where she loses all control of the tempo and drowns poor Chopin in a pool of honeyed sentimentality that lacks any sense of structural coherence.
From Shindo's page on the competition website:

Quote
Born on 26 April 2002 in Japan. She is studying at the Central Music School in Moscow with Valery Piassetsky.
Originally Posted by Numerian
Who taught Miyu Shindo to play the piano like it's an all-body gymnastic exercise? Yes, there is a respected school of piano playing that emphasizes weight, allowing the fingers to fall to the keyboard, rather than punching the keys with your fingers to produce a tone. Ms. Shindo can certainly produce wonderful tones, and she knows how to shape a phrase to create musical loveliness. But weight technique is supposed to be the art of letting the arm, wrist and fingers drop effortlessly to the keyboard to create controlled, pleasing sounds. When did it become necessary to employ the upper arm and shoulder into piano playing? Ms. Shindo has both arms floating high in the air, dropping down slowly to the keyboard, and then - after the key is struck - the entire hand balls up into a fist and curls under and away from the keyboard. What possible benefit does this provide the pianist, technically or musically?

Ms. Shindo reminds me of those Olympic figure skaters who add all sorts of superfluous balletic motions to their routine before launching into their next Axel jump. I suspect she envies these athletes, because like them, Ms. Shindo feels her whole body must be in constant motion. Not just her fingers, hands and arms are involved. She is a devotee of the Lang Lang school of emotive facial distortions as a necessary aspect of her piano playing. Her default facial emotion is the grimcace, reminding us either that it is very hard to play what she is playing, or that she is suffering emotional torments from the sheer beauty of her playing.

At least Lang Lang stays put at the piano. Ms. Shindo can't sit still - literally. She is constantly rising from the bench. If she had her way, she'd go full Jerry Lee Lewis and dispense with the bench altogether, but the judges - who put up with a lot of bodily distortions from competitors these days - probably would frown on that as a step too far. Since Ms. Shindo has to stay rooted to some degree to her piano bench, she compensates by bringing her feet into motion. Her left foot isn't there just to operate the una corda pedal; it's designed to hover in the air and move in harmony with the excessive motions of her left hand. Similarly, her right leg spends half of the time managing the dampers, and the other half beating the tempo on the floor. Ms. Shindo has the benefit of hiding a lot of this useless motion under a long skirt, but if you want to see another competitor who has a bad case of pianistic Restless Leg Syndrome, watch Canadian competitor Bruce Liu in action.

I suppose all of these distractions could be overlooked if Ms. Shindo had a meaningful musical message to deliver. A lot of people, after all, close their eyes during a Lang Lang concert to avoid watching his distorted physical movements, and concentrate instead on his musicality. You can't make that argument with Ms. Shindo. With her delicate touch, she is a mistress of the delicious musical phrase. But that's all there is to her piano playing. She presents an incessant stream of lush musical phrases, which all end with an extended ritard, disconnecting each phrase from the next. If you want to hear this in action, listen to her Third Sonata Op. 58 performance - particularly the Largo, where she loses all control of the tempo and drowns poor Chopin in a pool of honeyed sentimentality that lacks any sense of structural coherence.
So...did you like her playing?
Originally Posted by Numerian
Who taught Miyu Shindo to play the piano like it's an all-body gymnastic exercise? Yes, there is a respected school of piano playing that emphasizes weight, allowing the fingers to fall to the keyboard, rather than punching the keys with your fingers to produce a tone. Ms. Shindo can certainly produce wonderful tones, and she knows how to shape a phrase to create musical loveliness. But weight technique is supposed to be the art of letting the arm, wrist and fingers drop effortlessly to the keyboard to create controlled, pleasing sounds. When did it become necessary to employ the upper arm and shoulder into piano playing? Ms. Shindo has both arms floating high in the air, dropping down slowly to the keyboard, and then - after the key is struck - the entire hand balls up into a fist and curls under and away from the keyboard. What possible benefit does this provide the pianist, technically or musically?

Ms. Shindo reminds me of those Olympic figure skaters who add all sorts of superfluous balletic motions to their routine before launching into their next Axel jump. I suspect she envies these athletes, because like them, Ms. Shindo feels her whole body must be in constant motion. Not just her fingers, hands and arms are involved. She is a devotee of the Lang Lang school of emotive facial distortions as a necessary aspect of her piano playing. Her default facial emotion is the grimcace, reminding us either that it is very hard to play what she is playing, or that she is suffering emotional torments from the sheer beauty of her playing.

At least Lang Lang stays put at the piano. Ms. Shindo can't sit still - literally. She is constantly rising from the bench. If she had her way, she'd go full Jerry Lee Lewis and dispense with the bench altogether, but the judges - who put up with a lot of bodily distortions from competitors these days - probably would frown on that as a step too far. Since Ms. Shindo has to stay rooted to some degree to her piano bench, she compensates by bringing her feet into motion. Her left foot isn't there just to operate the una corda pedal; it's designed to hover in the air and move in harmony with the excessive motions of her left hand. Similarly, her right leg spends half of the time managing the dampers, and the other half beating the tempo on the floor. Ms. Shindo has the benefit of hiding a lot of this useless motion under a long skirt, but if you want to see another competitor who has a bad case of pianistic Restless Leg Syndrome, watch Canadian competitor Bruce Liu in action.

I suppose all of these distractions could be overlooked if Ms. Shindo had a meaningful musical message to deliver. A lot of people, after all, close their eyes during a Lang Lang concert to avoid watching his distorted physical movements, and concentrate instead on his musicality. You can't make that argument with Ms. Shindo. With her delicate touch, she is a mistress of the delicious musical phrase. But that's all there is to her piano playing. She presents an incessant stream of lush musical phrases, which all end with an extended ritard, disconnecting each phrase from the next. If you want to hear this in action, listen to her Third Sonata Op. 58 performance - particularly the Largo, where she loses all control of the tempo and drowns poor Chopin in a pool of honeyed sentimentality that lacks any sense of structural coherence.
Although I find her movements distracting, I think this post is extremely nasty and mean spirited. Just to get into this competition she needs to play better than most conservatory grads. She has made it to the third stage so the jury clearly disagrees with you.

Facial expressions should generally be ignored because very few in the audience would have the close up face to face view the camera shows. Trifonov certainly makes faces.
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/16/21 03:06 PM
I love Khozhyainov, but I thought he seemed strangely off his game this morning. Or is this just me? I started to notice it in the final section of Op. 48 No. 1: thumpy and lacking the yearning, almost tragic lyricism that I really thing needs to be there. Most surprising of all, mistakes! I thought his technique was impregnable. I still love him though. The tempo and execution of the 2nd movement of the sonata was perfection.
Originally Posted by SiFi
I love Khozhyainov, but I thought he seemed strangely off his game this morning. Or is this just me? I started to notice it in the final section of Op. 48 No. 1: thumpy and lacking the yearning, almost tragic lyricism that I really thing needs to be there. Most surprising of all, mistakes! I thought his technique was impregnable. I still love him though. The tempo and execution of the 2nd movement of the sonata was perfection.

Yes he made several mistakes in the nocturne. I thought his interpretation was quite personal though I personally did not like the rushed ending.
I disagree. The facial contortions and bodily swaying got out of hand with Lang Lang, and have become more than a nuisance on the concert stage ever since. Even if you are sitting out in the hall and not able to see the facial expressions well, you can't ignore all the other extraneous motions going on. This was not an issue twenty or thirty years ago. It's something either promoted by teachers or tolerated by them. These competitions are about the only place to put a stop to this, by not promoting competitors who have been taught to play the instrument with their whole body. I do agree with you on Trifonov, though in his case he is a very gifted communicator through his music. You just have to close your eyes sometimes when he is playing. BTW, isn't the fact that we live in an age of extremely close facial views by the camera a reason to get rid of all the unnecessary emoting?
I love Shindo’s music. I don’t know where she learned the body movement. One of her teachers from her childhood is the same one as Kobayashi had when she was a child. Their teacher lived in US for a long time and known to discourage students from unnecessary body movements. Shindo went to Russia at the tender age of 15. Speaking of determination, I admire her. For that matter everyone else in the competition too. Thinking of sacrifice they made on top of hours of practice, I wish I could give prizes to all the contestants.
The standalone Prelude Op. 45 was the best part of Khozhyainov's program for me. The Nocturne was a bit pedestrian.

Notwithstanding the competition rules, I too would like to see the number of finalists bumped up by a few above 10. I do wonder whether ALL past competitors at Stage 3 would advance to the Final. It seems that we have many of them this time (at Stage 3), correct? I did a very quick search on the 2015 Finalists and it seems that Aljoša Jurinić was also in the 2010 edition, though he was cut after Stage 1. He was in the 2015 Final, but did not place. They did cut Osokins after Stage 2 this time.
Originally Posted by Numerian
I disagree. The facial contortions and bodily swaying got out of hand with Lang Lang, and have become more than a nuisance on the concert stage ever since. Even if you are sitting out in the hall and not able to see the facial expressions well, you can't ignore all the other extraneous motions going on...You just have to close your eyes sometimes when he is playing. BTW, isn't the fact that we live in an age of extremely close facial views by the camera a reason to get rid of all the unnecessary emoting?
If you read my post I was careful to say that the facial expressions(but not body movements which are visible to most of the audience) should basically be ignored for the reasons I gave. A significant percentage of pianists, both past and present, when viewed straight on from a few feet away, make faces. Most pianists who make faces would have great difficulty learning to play without making them. If they were that serious a problem, more teachers would be actively discouraging them.
I think teachers should discourage them, and they can do so at these competitions, since most of the jurors are eminent teachers. The phenomenon is, without doubt, relatively new, and it's not that close-up camera shots are new. There is plenty of television video coverage of recitals to show what performance standards were like in the previous century. You can find any number of television broadcasts of Artur Rubenstein to compare. I had first row seats on stage for a Horowitz recital, and sat about 20 feet away from him. His expressions were perfectly normal - no pursing of lips, furrowing of the brows, bulging eyes, sideway glances off to the distance, or staring at the ceiling. No four to five minute delays before performing pieces while he fiddled with his handkerchief, calmed his nerves, focused his attention, and communed with St. Cecilia for inspiration. All of these behaviors are learned affectations that are indulged in by the teachers or even taught by them.

Here's Georgy Cziffra warming up for a televised recital, and then the full recital, in 1962. He didn't need any artificial body or facial movements to establish his virtuosity or the high quality of his musical standards.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTAfCTcsZq8&ab_channel=ClassicalPianoRarities%F0%9F%8E%B9
Stage III results are in!

Ms Leonora Armellini, Italy
Mr J J Jun Li Bui, Canada
Mr Alexander Gadjiev , Italy/Slovenia
Mr Martin Garcia Garcia, Spain
Ms Eva Gevorgyan, Russia/Armenia
Ms Aimi Kobayashi, Japan
Mr Jakub Kuszlik, Poland
Mr Hyuk Lee, South Korea
Mr Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu, Canada
Mr Kamil Pacholec, Poland
Mr Hao Rao, China
Mr Kyohei Sorita, Japan

Very reasonable to expand the number of qualified candidates to 12, to be honest. A record-breaking pool of brilliant young pianists this edition. I agree with the decisions except for Garcia Garcia -- would replace him with Sumino. All in all an incredible result and the finals are now set to be among the most intense in the history of the competition.
Fair enough.

Two additional places added so that there would be Polish competitors at the final, otherwise there would not be any.

Garcia Garcia played the final movement of the 3rd Sonata well and he earned the final with that performance, IMO.
12 as predicted! At this point, I'm seeing it as either Gadjiev or Armellini for the gold. Hoping for Sorita to win a top prize.

Edit:

Other observations - Nehring out, Khozyahnov out (didn't have a good day), a little sad for Cateen but he got immense exposure with this and will sell out a ton of concerts in Japan and elsewhere. Furumi was great and I was hoping to see her in the finals. Also, the two youngest competitors are still in. This should be an interesting final.
It's worth pointing out that there is a record-breaking number of 3 (!) seventeen-year-old pianists in the Final this edition. They are, in order from "oldest" to youngest by birth month: Hao Rao, Eva Gevorgyan, and J J Jun Li Bui.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/16/21 09:28 PM
Originally Posted by Hakki
Fair enough.

Two additional places added so that there would be Polish competitors at the final, otherwise there would not be any.

Let's wait for the published score cards for who were the two added on top of the highest scoring ten, shall we?

Otherwise, I have 9 names on the list from my own shortlist. Needless to say I'm happy with the results and I'm looking forward to the concerti.
Originally Posted by Numerian
I think teachers should discourage them, and they can do so at these competitions, since most of the jurors are eminent teachers. The phenomenon is, without doubt, relatively new, and it's not that close-up camera shots are new. There is plenty of television video coverage of recitals to show what performance standards were like in the previous century. You can find any number of television broadcasts of Artur Rubenstein to compare. I had first row seats on stage for a Horowitz recital, and sat about 20 feet away from him. His expressions were perfectly normal - no pursing of lips, furrowing of the brows, bulging eyes, sideway glances off to the distance, or staring at the ceiling. No four to five minute delays before performing pieces while he fiddled with his handkerchief, calmed his nerves, focused his attention, and communed with St. Cecilia for inspiration. All of these behaviors are learned affectations that are indulged in by the teachers or even taught by them.

Here's Georgy Cziffra warming up for a televised recital, and then the full recital, in 1962. He didn't need any artificial body or facial movements to establish his virtuosity or the high quality of his musical standards.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTAfCTcsZq8&ab_channel=ClassicalPianoRarities%F0%9F%8E%B9
The very eminent pianists on the jury don't seem to think Shindo's facial expressions or body movements are a big negative since she was advanced to Stage 3.

As far as facial expressions are concerned, if one views performances of Uchida, Watts, or Trifonov to name just a few, one can see making faces is not new or something that indicates a poor performance.

I don't personally like Shindo's movements, but I think your scathing commentary was mean spirited and uncalled for.
I wonder if all of the Finalists would be sticking with their chosen pianos? I recall from the 2015 edition that most (if not all) Finalists who chose the CFX left it for the Model D--presumably to be able to leverage Steinway's signature powerful sound for the concertos. If they were to stick with their selections, this would be the first final in history where we'd get to see Steinway, Fazioli and Shigeru Kawai all being included.
Why not if they can find room for 4 pianos on the stage along with the orchestra.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Why not if they can find room for 4 pianos on the stage along with the orchestra.
I don't think more than one piano has to be on stage at a time.
Steinway 300 is out, so they only need to fit 3 pianos on the stage.
Originally Posted by Spaetensonaten
I wonder if all of the Finalists would be sticking with their chosen pianos? I recall from the 2015 edition that most (if not all) Finalists who chose the CFX left it for the Model D--presumably to be able to leverage Steinway's signature powerful sound for the concertos. If they were to stick with their selections, this would be the first final in history where we'd get to see Steinway, Fazioli and Shigeru Kawai all being included.

In 2010 they used Steinway, Fazioli and Yamaha.
Originally Posted by Spaetensonaten
It's worth pointing out that there is a record-breaking number of 3 (!) seventeen-year-old pianists in the Final this edition. They are, in order from "oldest" to youngest by birth month: Hao Rao, Eva Gevorgyan, and J J Jun Li Bui.

Gevorgyan could possibly get in the top 3 or 4.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Two additional places added so that there would be Polish competitors at the final, otherwise there would not be any.
Were the individual marks for all the competitors in the final revealed? If not, this is pure speculation on your part.
Originally Posted by FarmGirl
I love Shindo’s music. I don’t know where she learned the body movement. One of her teachers from her childhood is the same one as Kobayashi had when she was a child. Their teacher lived in US for a long time and known to discourage students from unnecessary body movements. Shindo went to Russia at the tender age of 15. Speaking of determination, I admire her. For that matter everyone else in the competition too. Thinking of sacrifice they made on top of hours of practice, I wish I could give prizes to all the contestants.

I find that Shindo has real musical and expressive skills, nice touch and the capability to shape and articulate phrases. Better than several other candidates that qualified for the finals. It works well in small pieces. In larger ones, she still need to find a better balance with the fluidity and architecture of the mouvement. She tends to isolate sections to the expense of the continuity. She definitely has a lot of potential, and can be a wonderful pianist if she can combine both demands.
From Sumino's FB Page:

"Finally I didn't make it to the finals of the Chopin Competition, but it was a really valuable experience to have made it this far.
Chopin is my idol, not just I love his works and want to study. I love him as an artist with good sense of beauty to music, and a strong soul.
As a "popular" pianist on social media, I had a responsibility.
I always tried to be Chopin and be natural with music because my performance could be someone's “first” Chopin. It would be a great honor if I could bring the charm of Chopin's music to people all over the world.
I just go my own way. I will continue to make music the way I want it to be, the way it should be.
Someday I want to be the kind of person that when I could meet Chopin, he'll be interested in me 🙂
Thank you as always for your kind support!
いつも僕の音楽を好きでいてくれてありがとうございます!
#Chopin"

Very humble guy, wish the jury would have passed him.
The thing I wonder about Sumino(Cateen) is how much he loves classical music vs. the kind of music he plays on his YouTube site which is quite heavily non classical. Do you think someone can love classical and non classical equally? My guess is for the style of music he plays on his site he is among the best in the world, but I wonder if he plays that style mostly because he can(I think?) make a significant amount of money from the site since it is popular with so many viewers. Or maybe he actually prefers the music he plays on his site to Chopin?
3 finalists will play the F minor: Gadjiev, Garcia Garcia, and Lee.

I thought I read somewhere that Liu would change from Fazioli to Kawai? I think that would be good if true. Maybe it sounded different in the hall, but I was hearing some harsh sounds from his Fazioli in round 3. As compared with, e.g. Armellini, who was getting very mellow tones.

I can't love (or respect) classical and non-classical equally but I have to think some people can. Khatia Buniatishvili is always being quoted saying things like there are no bad genres of music, there's just good music and bad music in general. And you hear lots of people say this. I'm always surprised to find out that at her level of playing there are classical musicians who listen devotedly to pop, rock, rap, etc. I'm going to guess I'm in a minority on this viewpoint though.
Does anyone have any insights as to why Nikolay K. didn't advance? He was one of my favorites, and I was always very impressed with his performances.
I for one, am satisfied that Cateen did NOT make the Final. I've listened to his YouTube channel way before he was even a participant in this year's Chopin competition, and although very talented and deserving, his playing always left me cold. His live performances tended to confirm that for me. But then Lang Lang also does that for me as well.
Sumino has a huge following in the YouTube universe already, and a rabid fan base in Japan, much akin to figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu. He did bring his followers to this competition via the Chopin Youtube channel, and many of them got a chance to hear other pianists, so that's a silver lining.


That said, am looking forward to hearing Gadjiev and Bruce Liu's concertos.
Originally Posted by Eduard Hanslick
3 finalists will play the F minor: Gadjiev, Garcia Garcia, and Lee.

I thought I read somewhere that Liu would change from Fazioli to Kawai? I think that would be good if true. Maybe it sounded different in the hall, but I was hearing some harsh sounds from his Fazioli in round 3. As compared with, e.g. Armellini, who was getting very mellow tones.

I can't love (or respect) classical and non-classical equally but I have to think some people can. Khatia Buniatishvili is always being quoted saying things like there are no bad genres of music, there's just good music and bad music in general. And you hear lots of people say this. I'm always surprised to find out that at her level of playing there are classical musicians who listen devotedly to pop, rock, rap, etc. I'm going to guess I'm in a minority on this viewpoint though.

Part of me says that Gadjiev can win it with the F minor concerto based on his personality alone (I'm expecting that he totally reimagined the piece like he did the Second Sonata in the semis, and it's to his benefit that he's the first person playing F minor). Expecting a very harsh, driven E minor from Gevorgyan and a thoughtful performance from Sorita (who I hope wins a top prize). Armellini has a great sound and confidence in spades, and she has the best spot on the first program (last), so she's in a position to distinguish herself.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The thing I wonder about Sumino(Cateen) is how much he loves classical music vs. the kind of music he plays on his YouTube site which is quite heavily non classical. Do you think someone can love classical and non classical equally? My guess is for the style of music he plays on his site he is among the best in the world, but I wonder if he plays that style mostly because he can(I think?) make a significant amount of money from the site since it is popular with so many viewers. Or maybe he actually prefers the music he plays on his site to Chopin?

Yes I think it is possible. Personally I do. The only issue for someone that young is that I am not sure he can perfectly assimilate what it takes to play Chopin at the ultimate level of refinement, because he is also spending quite some time on completely different styles. Personally I have not seen yet someone who can be a top notch classical pianist and be also equally good and active in pop or jazz.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The thing I wonder about Sumino(Cateen) is how much he loves classical music vs. the kind of music he plays on his YouTube site which is quite heavily non classical. Do you think someone can love classical and non classical equally? My guess is for the style of music he plays on his site he is among the best in the world, but I wonder if he plays that style mostly because he can(I think?) make a significant amount of money from the site since it is popular with so many viewers. Or maybe he actually prefers the music he plays on his site to Chopin?

Yes I think it is possible. Personally I do. The only issue for someone that young is that I am not sure he can perfectly assimilate what it takes to play Chopin at the ultimate level of refinement, because he is also spending quite some time on completely different styles. Personally I have not seen yet someone who can be a top notch classical pianist and be also equally good and active in pop or jazz.

Jean Yves Thibaudet comes closest to mind. On the reverse side Keith Jarrett has released classical albums to decent reviews.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Do you think someone can love classical and non classical equally?
Yes. I am proof.
Originally Posted by chopinetto
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Do you think someone can love classical and non classical equally?
Yes. I am proof.
To expand on this a little...

I am regularly moved to tears by music in the jazz and showtunes fields. I couldn't live without it.

And I don't agree with the way you frame this question. "Classical music" is a useless umbrella term that I'd really like to see erased from our vocabulary. It should only ever be used to describe the actual classical period 1750-1820. What Bach was doing in the 1720s is nothing like what Chopin was doing in the 1830s -> is nothing like what Debussy was doing in the 1910s, and I consider many other "non Classical" artists into the 20th century to be part of that same lineage of musical invention and genius.
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The thing I wonder about Sumino(Cateen) is how much he loves classical music vs. the kind of music he plays on his YouTube site which is quite heavily non classical. Do you think someone can love classical and non classical equally? My guess is for the style of music he plays on his site he is among the best in the world, but I wonder if he plays that style mostly because he can(I think?) make a significant amount of money from the site since it is popular with so many viewers. Or maybe he actually prefers the music he plays on his site to Chopin?

Yes I think it is possible. Personally I do. The only issue for someone that young is that I am not sure he can perfectly assimilate what it takes to play Chopin at the ultimate level of refinement, because he is also spending quite some time on completely different styles. Personally I have not seen yet someone who can be a top notch classical pianist and be also equally good and active in pop or jazz.

Jean Yves Thibaudet comes closest to mind. On the reverse side Keith Jarrett has released classical albums to decent reviews.
I think Thibaudet just plays transcriptions of Bill Evans or some other jazz great. Jarrett is not anywhere near outstanding as a classical pianist as he is as a jazz pianist.
Originally Posted by chopinetto
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Do you think someone can love classical and non classical equally?
Yes. I am proof.
Although I may have not made it clear, I was really asking about someone who is a high level professional in each field loving them equally.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The thing I wonder about Sumino(Cateen) is how much he loves classical music vs. the kind of music he plays on his YouTube site which is quite heavily non classical. Do you think someone can love classical and non classical equally? My guess is for the style of music he plays on his site he is among the best in the world, but I wonder if he plays that style mostly because he can(I think?) make a significant amount of money from the site since it is popular with so many viewers. Or maybe he actually prefers the music he plays on his site to Chopin?

Yes I think it is possible. Personally I do. The only issue for someone that young is that I am not sure he can perfectly assimilate what it takes to play Chopin at the ultimate level of refinement, because he is also spending quite some time on completely different styles. Personally I have not seen yet someone who can be a top notch classical pianist and be also equally good and active in pop or jazz.

Jean Yves Thibaudet comes closest to mind. On the reverse side Keith Jarrett has released classical albums to decent reviews.
I think Thibaudet just plays transcriptions of Bill Evans or some other jazz great. Jarrett is not anywhere near outstanding as a classical pianist as he is as a jazz pianist.


Your original question of LOVES them equally has now morphed into the impossible PLAYS them equally 😉
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by chopinetto
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Do you think someone can love classical and non classical equally?
Yes. I am proof.
Although I may have not made it clear, I was really asking about someone who is a high level professional in each field loving them equally.

Yui Morishita has made a career in Japan as both a classical and anime/Jpop transcription pianist.

I’m not close to the same category as the pianists you’re asking about, but I genuinely love and perform many other styles of music as much as I do classical.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The thing I wonder about Sumino(Cateen) is how much he loves classical music vs. the kind of music he plays on his YouTube site which is quite heavily non classical. Do you think someone can love classical and non classical equally? My guess is for the style of music he plays on his site he is among the best in the world, but I wonder if he plays that style mostly because he can(I think?) make a significant amount of money from the site since it is popular with so many viewers. Or maybe he actually prefers the music he plays on his site to Chopin?

From what I read he loves classical music. It’s in his vein. His mother is a piano teacher educated in Japanese conservatory of music. He has been studying classical music with a prominent piano teacher for 21 years. His mother taught him 3 to 5years old. According to his piano teacher, his mother once told her not to encourage him too much because he is good with hard facts (math and science). She ignored it. Anyway, in Japan, boys are encouraged to take piano as a hobby but not as profession because it is very difficult to make living with music in Japan. He had a hard time to decide going to conservatory or Tokyo University(basically Japan’s Harvard) but decided not to go to conservatory. Parents influence here. But he wound up playing the piano much more than before in college. There are serious classical performance video’s remaining from those days. He did many other things musically but I believe classical was his main thing. He invited his teacher to a street piano concert when his graduation is approaching. He played mostly classical music there and looked so happy. By looking at how happy he was, his teacher said she teared up. She said she could not sleep thinking about him. Once he went into workforce, this is the end of his piano - at least the path to become a concert pianist would be closed. He seemed to have a promising career but she had a plan. The biggest National piano competition (It’s all classical) was approaching. He had been a constant entrants for it since childhood but this time she asked if he wanted to try for the special class (for young professional pianists). He was one of the very few non conservatory graduates. She knew it was up to him but she wanted to give him the last chance. To her surprise he eagerly embraced the challenge. Of course his parents were fiercely against it at first. Anyway he got the first prize and performed Rachmaninoff piano concerto. The rest is history. Look at this. I’m sure you can feel his love for classical music.
The Polish Radio has been interviewing competitors throughout and could be found on their YouTube page.

Found a few interviews they did with jurors:
10/9 Janusz Olejniczak (in Polish): link
10/13 Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń (jury-chair, in Polish, but someone left a recap in English in the Comments section): link
10/15 Dina Yoffe (in English): link
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Yes I think it is possible. Personally I do. The only issue for someone that young is that I am not sure he can perfectly assimilate what it takes to play Chopin at the ultimate level of refinement, because he is also spending quite some time on completely different styles. Personally I have not seen yet someone who can be a top notch classical pianist and be also equally good and active in pop or jazz.

Jean Yves Thibaudet comes closest to mind. On the reverse side Keith Jarrett has released classical albums to decent reviews.
I think Thibaudet just plays transcriptions of Bill Evans or some other jazz great. Jarrett is not anywhere near outstanding as a classical pianist as he is as a jazz pianist.
Your original question of LOVES them equally has now morphed into the impossible PLAYS them equally 😉
Not really. My original post and question was about Cateen, maybe one of the few pianists on the planet who plays classical and non classical at an incredibly high professional level.
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/18/21 02:57 PM
Are the finals being live streamed? I'm having a lot of trouble navigating their website.
Originally Posted by SiFi
Are the finals being live streamed? I'm having a lot of trouble navigating their website.

Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/18/21 03:09 PM
OK, cheers! I thought they started today for some reason.
Originally Posted by SiFi
OK, cheers! I thought they started today for some reason.

You are correct.

Indeed it starts today at 18:00 CET. About 40 minutes from now.
Posted By: Ubu Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/18/21 03:22 PM
Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by SiFi
OK, cheers! I thought they started today for some reason.

You are correct.

Indeed it starts today at 18:00 CET. About 40 minutes from now.

And it is all live streamed via youtube
Whoops, wrong link:

Is Pacholec playing with little dynamic range or is it from the stream?

I hope some genius recording technician is not intervening with the sound level of the piano again.
Pacholec’s E minor was the most uninspired version of this beautiful concerto I have ever heard. Almost like a Hanon exercise.

The jury probably regretted advancing him.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/18/21 05:00 PM
It sounds like a recording setup and not Pacholec. The piano is like it's hidden behind a curtain...
Let’s hear how Rao will sound.

Yes he opened that curtain.

It was just that very nervous Pacholec.
A definitely Maestoso opening from Rao.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Pacholec’s E minor was the most uninspired version of this beautiful concerto I have ever heard. Almost like a Hanon exercise.
The jury probably regretted advancing him.
More like you didn't like the fact he made the finals and you're still complaining about it.
Generally confident playing so far from Rao, but a few too many slips and smudges here and there already in the first movement. I doubt he'd medal at this point. Let's see how the rest of the concerto goes.
Posted By: Ubu Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/18/21 06:06 PM
Wow Rao! Very very good.
I don't know about Pacholec, i just watched his last 30 seconds. I'll try to catch up later.
Originally Posted by Spaetensonaten
Generally confident playing so far from Rao, but a few too many slips and smudges here and there already in the first movement. I doubt he'd medal at this point. Let's see how the rest of the concerto goes.

Yes he had a few slips but he played with passion and emotion and made me all ears from the first note. I enjoyed very much listening to him.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/18/21 06:13 PM
Very impressed with Rao. Thankfully he was not distracted by the awful phone ring and a chair slam in the hall. It was a great refreshment to hear the wit he played with. Now, Sorita.
We're just a few minutes in, but Sorita seems to be by far the most in total control and confident Finalist tonight. He has a commanding mastery of the instrument both technically and expressively, even at this most stressful stage. I'd be hugely surprised if he didn't win one of the top three prizes.
What a concerto performance from Sorita so far. At the very least he should take home the best concerto prize -- I could hardly a more confident performance.
I'm seriously impressed by what Sorita just accomplished tonight. I think he just bagged himself the gold medal -- it's highly, highly likely now.
Posted By: Ubu Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/18/21 06:58 PM
Originally Posted by Spaetensonaten
What a concerto performance from Sorita so far. At the very least he should take home the best concerto prize -- I could hardly a more confident performance.
Yeah. First movement has been spectacular. Technically perfect and full of artistry.
Sorita was very good. Wish he had not made those left hand accents at the final moments. Hope he does not lose points. Certainly a candidate for top three.
Sorita slayed it, yes. Clearly the best of the night so far. His experience playing with orchestra shows.
I've not seen someone so at ease at the final round since Blechacz. Sorita just seemed so natural at playing with the orchestra. And he clearly knew the piano part inside out.
He has his own orchestra in Japan. He created it. His conducting experience shows how comfortable he is with them.
For today, I'd say: Sorita, Armellini, Hao Rao, and Pacholec, with a big distance between Sorita and the others. There were a lot of things that I liked about Armellini's performance, but Sorita was just simply in command the whole time (and he was the only one who got cheers before the orchestra finished).
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/18/21 08:06 PM
I'm on the fence here, Armellini had entirely different take on the concerto. Yet, the shimmering sound, clarity and depth left me speechless. Not as flashy as Sorita's, in a good way. He had exceptional command of the keyboard throughout though, no denying that.

I agree that from today's session these two were the clear front runners.
In the post-performance interview, Sorita mentioned that he had conducted the E minor concerto and knows the orchestral parts intimately. In fact, he had played the piece over 30 times, two of which were with the same conductor and the Warsaw Philharmonic. Those experiences must've been a significant advantage for him.
I never quite liked Pacholec even in stage 3 which I found rather flat. I was surprised he was qualified as I found other polish pianists better.

Rao played well, though he lacks some power and in he is not quite as good in lyrical passages. But he certainly played with a lot of passion.

Sorita played very well and he was in command, but I found that there was a certain lack of brilliancy which was also noticeable in stage 3 playing. All in all I found Armellini to be more in line with the virtuosic and brilliant side of the piece, in particular in the last mouvement, Sorita being more lyrical. Two very good performances in any case.
Originally Posted by Brendan
For today, I'd say: Sorita, Armellini, Hao Rao, and Pacholec, with a big distance between Sorita and the others. There were a lot of things that I liked about Armellini's performance, but Sorita was just simply in command the whole time (and he was the only one who got cheers before the orchestra finished).

No, the audience broke in before the end with Rao too...although not quite as early. Says more about the problematic/rude audience than the performers.
Kyohei Sorita was impressive. Beautifully played. Mature and experienced with orchestra playing.

Also looking forward to seeing Aimi Kobayashi. Wanna see how she has improved the same concerto since 2015.
One of the issue in that competition is that there is a large range of participants in terms of age and maturity. This is particularly obvious in the concerto. Some participants are 26 or 27 years old thus have already 10 years more experience than others. One can not expect someone like Rao to be as mature and experienced as Sorita, no matter how good he is.

Even though it is difficult to put it aside, I think the behavior and experience with orchestra as a criteria should be tempered and be more focused on the actual musical outcome.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/19/21 09:10 AM
I've been thinking the same listening to yesterday's performances. Is it at all possible to strip the difference in experience from judging the outcome?

With orchestral playing, it's always a two-way feedback. Not only the pianist plays differently if he/she is already experienced in concerto setting, but the orchestra also performs differently with such artist, affecting the whole effect.

Some experienced pianists can then sound lesser than one would expect granted their experience, some exceed expectations granted lack of it.

For now, I put my trust in the judges and sit back to enjoy the sheer amount of exciting performances instead.
Originally Posted by Mati
I've been thinking the same listening to yesterday's performances. Is it at all possible to strip the difference in experience from judging the outcome?

With orchestral playing, it's always a two-way feedback. Not only the pianist plays differently if he/she is already experienced in concerto setting, but the orchestra also performs differently with such artist, affecting the whole effect.

Some experienced pianists can then sound lesser than one would expect granted their experience, some exceed expectations granted lack of it.

Yes, i agree with you. The musical outcome is also the result in part of the quality of interaction between the pianist and the orchestra, thus experience may give a bonus. It is impossible to entangle musical skills and experience, and i dont think it should be. But on the other hand, i think that purely behavioral criteria should be tempered. Gadjiev, Sorita are 27, Kobayashi 26, Armellini 29 and Rao is 17. He cant compete at the experience level. If the musical outcome is less successful, then the rating should be so accordingly, but he shouldnt be penalized purely on his behavior at the piano.
After brief listening from yeterdays finals I am somehow split between Armellini and Sorita. Rao was good too, but he was missing here and there some small but important things, rubatos etc. Still plenty of time for him to be learned though.

Least liked was Pacholec performance - he is 23 and his rendition was down to earth, mature but bit bland and was lacking that flow of young happy Chopin, no happiness in finale. In total points I would put his performance on par with Rao - he was too mature and too calm, Rao very good young playing but missing details which Chopin's needs to have. For me these were equally good but on the opposite sides.

Armellini / Sorita though call.

Waiting for others, as Armellini (who is star going fast forward for Top3 here) is not my cup of tea and I am not impressed by her playing as most of the people.
Let me add a few words about playing with an orchestra (in any circumstance, no less in a competition): it's a very frustrating experience and is rarely what it's made out to be. We see playing a concerto as the pinnacle of our artform and a vehicle of maximum exposure for our personalities. The reality is that it's often extremely stressful from every angle. The conductor might not be able to follow your tempo (or worse, rush), the winds might be out of tune and throw you off, some sections of the orchestra might miss entrances, etc. In my experience, it's basically a test of being able to play very securely playing in tempo and hoping that the ensemble can stay with you. The times I felt most comfortable playing with orchestra were Classical concerti where it's hopefully "set it and forget it" as far as the tempo and ensemble goes. In Chopin and most other Romantic concerti, you're dealing with so many more layers of potential problems (one time while playing the Barber concerto, the orchestra I was working with spontaneously decided that the 5/8 movement should be in 6/8...).

So yes, the extra experience in playing with an orchestra helps, but that's part of a competition. One can always wait until they're 25 or 26 and more experienced, but then that leaves you only a few years left to try big ones. I don't think Hao Rao or Pacholec suffered from ensemble issues or a lack of playing as a soloist; Pacholec was just too cautious and maybe Hao Rao got too excited in places. The orchestra was with them most of the time.

Watching Armellini again last night, the conductor clearly went out of his way to make a magical, memorable performance for her (which, on second viewing, I now see happened), whereas Sorita was in charge of his own performance and made the orchestra follow him, having played the piece 30 times (and again, he absolutely slayed it on a technical and artistic level). As others have said, tough call between the two.
So is the main value of experience playing with an orchestra the ability to coordinate with the orchestra, e.g. being able to either lead the orchestra with one's playing or adjust one's tempo if the orchestra starts rushing or is not following you, etc.?

I've also wondered if the conductor is performing a concerto with so many different pianists if he uses a different score each time that he's marked with the soloists preferences?
Originally Posted by Brendan
Watching Armellini again last night, the conductor clearly went out of his way to make a magical, memorable performance for her (which, on second viewing, I now see happened), whereas Sorita was in charge of his own performance and made the orchestra follow him, having played the piece 30 times (and again, he absolutely slayed it on a technical and artistic level). As others have said, tough call between the two.
Can you expand a little on what you mean when you say the conductor went out of his way to make a memorable performance? Also, how does a pianist like Sorita take charge?
Decent but at times insecure playing from Bui. Fantastic performance given his age, but technically and artistically not nearly as mature as Sorita/Armellini which is understandable given the age gap. Given his excellent previous rounds, perhaps a lower prize winner (5/6th)?
I agree, it didn't compare to the performances yesterday. Gadjiev was very interesting and probing, as expected. Even though we've heard only E minor, I wasn't blown away by F minor as a piece of music as I hoped I would (it's clearly inferior, aside from the slow movement). Sorita is still the front runner as of now, IMO.
Posted By: JHL Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/19/21 06:41 PM
Wow, Martin Garcia Garcia. The most satisfying performance so far. Bravo!
Yeah really impressed with Garcia Garcia. Wasn't a big fan going into this round but he KILLED IT! Really showed the kind of showpiece the f minor can really be. The third movement was magical as was the slow movement. His touch was amazing.
Is this the “B” orchestra?
Originally Posted by APianistHasNoName
Yeah really impressed with Garcia Garcia. Wasn't a big fan going into this round but he KILLED IT! Really showed the kind of showpiece the f minor can really be. The third movement was magical as was the slow movement. His touch was amazing.

Agreed! He was kind of the sleeper from today's roster and stood out with the F minor concerto as both a piece and a foil to so many E minor (convinced me more than Gadjiev's did).

Listening to Eva now and finding it very conservative/safe and not as compelling as the others.
Posted By: JHL Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/19/21 07:32 PM
I know this year's finalists are very fine performers, but compared to the finalists 6 years ago, I am not as impressed. Is it just me?
Chiming in for the first time in this thread.

Tonight's star was undoubtedly Martin Garcia Garcia, who was simply amazing. He quite stunned me as in the previous rounds I was not super impressed by him - very musical approach but somewhat sloppy and maybe too exaggerated. But in the f minor concerto he absolutely shined, this has to take him high on the podium.

Gevorgyan gave a solid performance of the e minor concerto, though I overall I still have some reservations about her. As expected she's technically superb, but somehow I find it hard to feel moved by her playing. In the previous round I actually really disliked her playing (esp. of the mazurkas and her sonata), which I felt were way too heavy and harsh. But today she did a better job. Could end up close to the podium.

I was quite disappointed by Gadjiev, whom I liked a lot in the previous round, but I felt like he let it down quite a bit with this concerto. It could also be partly due to the Kawai, which I generally like but perhaps not so much for the f minor concerto. Also there were quite a large number of mistakes, so I'd say Gadjiev is unfortunately out for a high prize.

I didn't listen to all of Bui's playing, but felt it was overall a good performance though with some issues. Probably not a high prize but might just reach the podium.
Another vote for Garcia Garcia - so much charm and grace in his reading of the F Minor Concerto.

There were memorable moments from all 3 of the younger set.
Didn't listen to Garcia Garcia, but Gevorgian was OMG.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/19/21 08:14 PM
Eva left me mostly unimpressed today, with sound suiting Tchaikovsky more than Chopin. At least that was my first picture I got in my had.

Very sad for Gadjiev, his reading of the concerto had beautiful moments, but overall was riddled with mistakes and continuity issues of the whole idea. He felt stressed and not on his good day. I was hugely impressed by his earlier rounds.

Garcia Garcia though - he was something else. Exquisite.
Yeah, I think they might make history with either the first Japanese or first Spanish winner.
Not a good day for Gadjiev. Excellent technique but not at his best.

Excellent and solid performance by Garcia Garcia, though I think technically he is not quite at the level of Gadjiev, but today was his day. He played much better than in the 3rd round, but I am not too much in tune with his style, the larghetto is finely played but could be more expressive . I am not sure it will be enough to bring him within the top 3.

Also excellent performance by Gevorgyan, which I found gave a very personal version of the concerto, less brilliant but more intimate. Very solid technically, I found her at her best in the cantabile passages with a very nice romance.

The top 3 looks very open this year.
The first prize might not be awarded at all.

Maybe a tie for second prize between Sorita and Armellini.
Why wouldn't the first prize be awarded? One would think that with such a record-breaking field of outstanding candidates this year, that the need to acknowledge their incredible achievements is stronger than ever...?
Ouch! That fumble in the Rondo might have just cost Kobayashi a prize, with such a crowded Finalist field this year.
The Brahmsian dark first and second mvts should be enough for her not to win a prize.
She has no clue about this concerto.
I wouldn't go as far as you did there, but I thought Kobayashi was clearly a few notches below the likes of Sorita/Garcia Garcia/Armellini. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see those three winning the medals. But let's see later today, Lee and Liu have both been exceptional as well.
I liked her color in the first two movements, but yes, the Rondo suffered. She's a great musician no matter what.

Clear front runners are still Sorita, Armellini, and GG (if you notice from his video, the jury applauded enthusiastically after his performance while remaining still for most of the other contestants).

Watching Kuszlik now and my overall impression is that he trained to do this competition and this competition only.
If you are Samson Francois or Cortot or Paderewski etc. you can impose your own style and do whatever you want at that moment, otherwise stick to the score and respect the composer.
Kuszlik secured a prize , IMO. Whether it will be 4th, 5th or 6th depends.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/20/21 06:02 PM
He bored me to death though. A very uniform, secure, proper and school exam-winning performance with nothing particularly wrong with it. Also nothing particularly captivating. Middle of the road solid playing. Seeing from Facebook comments, the Polish audience loved it very much.
Sorta will be one of very few world class pianists who was a late starter - He did not start piano until 11 years old. I wonder if there was anyone like him before.

All other Japanese contestants from the 1st rounds started piano at 2-6 years old. As you know, kobayashi has been well known as a child prodigy. It is remarkable how he developed himself. Some of his music high school friends were like, “wow I did not remember he was that good”. Incidentally Kobayashi and Sorita were in the same high school class.
I remember a video from the Cliburn competition where the conductor was rehearsing with a pianist without the orchestra through the score.

He indicated on the score where he wanted to hear the left hand low bass notes.

Lee would have benefited from such a session.
RE: FarmGirl's point about Sorita: Ingolf Wunder, second prize winner from the 2010 edition, didn't start piano until he was 14.
Originally Posted by Mati
He bored me to death though. A very uniform, secure, proper and school exam-winning performance with nothing particularly wrong with it. Also nothing particularly captivating. Middle of the road solid playing. Seeing from Facebook comments, the Polish audience loved it very much.

Same - nothing to write home about, but impressive that he could play securely under this kind of stress. He seemed awkward onstage afterwards, too.

Listening to Liu now and am having the same reaction.

So, I'd say it's still Sorita, Garcia, Armellini for the top 3 (any order), followed by Eva, Kuszlik/Hao Rao, and Liu. Aimi probably goes home again empty-handed.
Orchestra got tired. The winds are suffering.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/20/21 07:23 PM
Liu decided on quite a juicier tempo here. I'm curious if he'll keep up in the 3rd movement to put attention to everything there. I'm quite enjoying the liveliness, to be honest.
Originally Posted by Spaetensonaten
RE: FarmGirl's point about Sorita: Ingolf Wunder, second prize winner from the 2010 edition, didn't start piano until he was 14.

He was playing On violin since 4, so 99% he was playing piano too, it was his secondary instrument. In most of the music schools in the world piano is obligatory as second instrument. I know people who could easily play Chopins Polonaises while their main focus was violin or different instrument, and were doing it for fun.

Going back to top 6 - Eva, Sorita, Armellini, Liu, Garcia Garcia, Aimi, rest I do not care.

3 years Kuszlik was not even sure whether he want to be a pianist, or something of that matter.
Posted By: JHL Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/20/21 07:28 PM
How did Lee do? I caught him at the end of the 3rd mvmt. The audience seemed to like him a lot.

Listening to Liu - seems a bit rushed to my taste.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/20/21 07:29 PM
I'm betting on Armellini, Sorita and Garcia Garcia for top 3, and Liu, Eva and Hao Rao for the rest of the six. My heart would like to see Aimi there, but I have doubts she can make it now.

I'm quite sure there will be surprises though.
Liu is going well in the 3rd. Pushing the tempo to climb up. At least maybe a 4th prize.
Sorita or Bruce 1st price, one of them, there's no other way. Armellini level below both of them so probably 3rd price. Pacholec clearly worst of all (I have no idea what is he doing in final, second stage was ceiling for him). Kuszlik probably somewhere around 4th/5th place. Rest is mystery for me. Gevorgyan because of her lack of delicacy in 2nd movement will go home empty handed probably, 6th price at best.

I can't judge Gadijev and Garcia, they're way above my tolerance of interpretation freedom so I'm not objective even though I believe Garcia played this concert better than Gadijev. Maybe I would be more happy with Garcia performance if he'd stop singing, but this is purely my problem, not his.
That's a wrap on the playing phase of the competition! Thanks to everyone for their comments in the past few weeks, especially those in Poland who were able to watch it live and offer feedback. These megathreads are always fun.

While we wait for the results, check out this TV Polish station that has been interviewing candidates after their performances. You can get a good sense of their personalities and how they felt about their performances:

Bruce really lit it up in the final movement, very dancelike, very virtuoso. He should figure in the top tier. Sorita and Garcia are also top contenders. Since judges don't evaluate just the concerto stage, these three are in the mix.

Eva should win prize for youngest finalist.
I agree on Liu and Sorita. But the edge (just my totally subjective opinion) goes to Liu. His technique is .... well... I can't say I've heard technique THAT PRECISE in years and years of listening. And obviously I found the musical side of his performances completely satisfying. Sort of a MAH, but with much more feeling.

The vibrato finger thing his does bugs me a lot, though. You CAN'T DO vibrato like that at least on a piano.
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
I agree on Liu and Sorita. But the edge (just my totally subjective opinion) goes to Liu. His technique is .... well... I can't say I've heard technique THAT PRECISE in years and years of listening. And obviously I found the musical side of his performances completely satisfying. Sort of a MAH, but with much more feeling.

The vibrato finger thing his does bugs me a lot, though. You CAN'T DO vibrato like that at least on a piano.
Yeah, I agree. You can't do the vibrato after hitting a key. But mentally it helps the player.
Bruce's technique is fab, no doubt. His solo work was mesmerizing. Hope he places high. That would be a win for FAZIOLI!
I don't think the "vibrato" in Liu's playing is only helpful mentally. It's also to physically release tension and weight from the arm into the key, so as to better prepare for the next hand position.
Faz have to be VERY happy. He (Bruce Liu) dominated the instrument, in a good way. I'm not a BIG Faz fan, but heck he made it sound spectacular. Fantastic PPPs in the middle movement and fffs in the first and last.
Originally Posted by Spaetensonaten
I don't think the "vibrato" in Liu's playing is only helpful mentally. It's also to physically release tension and weight from the arm into the key, so as to better prepare for the next hand position.

I hope you're right. But in the end it hardly matters. Re-listening now to Liu: he strikes me as altogether in a different category from the others, at the very least technically.

In fact, I don't believe I OWN a recording of the E Minor that was as technically pristine and as musically satisfying as the interpretation I just witnessed.

I'm betting he's the "winner" (hate that word) because no matter what folks think of him, he's obviously going places and the Chopin Competition out of Warsaw will want some of that cred.
Possibly, but I'd still say that Seong-Jin Cho was overall better and a more qualified winner. Liu will get a prize but I find the others to be more interesting artists.
Too bad for Kobayashi, though I was not that impressed with her previous round. The jury takes into account all the previous performances so the concerto is not the only deciding piece.

I found Liu excellent in the virtuosic parts, the rondo in particular where he really nailed down the brilliancy, but he missed the spirit of the romance, it was well played but basically lacked the necessary cantabile.

The end result is very open as there are a number of candidates relatively close to each other. Difference with previous sessions is that there isnt any one that is clearly ahead of others, though I have my preferences. It will be down to the jury collective biais toward one particular style.
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Too bad for Kobayashi, though I was not that impressed with her previous round. The jury takes into account all the previous performances so the concerto is not the only deciding piece.

I found Liu excellent in the virtuosic parts, the rondo in particular where he really nailed down the brilliancy, but he missed the spirit of the romance, it was well played but basically lacked the necessary cantabile.

The end result is very open as there are a number of candidates relatively close to each other. Difference with previous sessions is that there isnt any one that is clearly ahead of others, though I have my preferences. It will be down to the jury collective biais toward one particular style.

Her Chopin is extraordinarily detailed and ALWAYS satisfying.

Liu took the Romance at pace, as they say in England. Might have sacrificed contemplative aspects. Yet it worked for me. Not difficult in the narrow technical sense, but it can so easily drag if you get too “wrapped up” in the emotion.
Ahh I’m so sorry for Kobayashi. I understand what everyone is saying. I agree with you but cannot help so bad for her.
The operative word in the jury rules is "should" - they should consider competitors' early stages in making the final decisions. I do wonder about the Special Awards, including the one for the Best Concerto, although the rules for voting and awarding them are very specific.
Here's my prediction for the special prizes:

Concerto: Sorita
Mazurka: Liu
Sonata: Garcia Garcia
Polonaise: Sorita
Does anyone here know if the three prize-winners' concerts will be live-streamed? I don't recall from 2015 if they were. Thank you...
Cute! Iron Chef Sorita and Aimi Kobayashi are childhood friends and close neighbors.
Iron chef? Sorita intended to look like Samurai, he said (lol)
This ongoing freewheeling chat between the Finalists and MCs is beyond cringe...so embarrassing. Could you believe that some of the finest young musical talent anywhere in the world just spent a few minutes collectively blabbering about the art of ceiling-staring on a livestream with 50K+ viewers?
Posted By: Ubu Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/20/21 10:35 PM
Originally Posted by Spaetensonaten
This ongoing freewheeling chat between the Finalists and MCs is beyond cringe...so embarrassing. Could you believe that some of the finest young musical talent anywhere in the world just spent a few minutes collectively blabbering about the art of ceiling-staring on a livestream with 50K+ viewers?
I've seen some talks and finally i think the cringe factor is the italian guy, that should be the one that brings structure and cohesiveness to the talks because supposedly he is the professional journalist, but fails totally at it.

About the finalists, there's just a group of young people releasing the tension of the long competition, and having fun, nothing wrong about it. Gadjiev seems an interesting guy actually.
Basically a time filler till the announce the winners. But some interesting stories, Armillina falling down on stage at the beginning of one of her concerts, Bruce playing Liszt with a broken leg, etc. But Gadjiev is the most interesting personality.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/20/21 11:00 PM
Each time they get us waiting late into the night I wonder if the jury members don't fancy sleeping... 🤔😉
If it's this late, I have a feeling that it's gonna be a weird result/no first prize awarded/no special prizes.
They're waiting for Brussels to confirm that the winner is politically acceptable...
There is a possibility that they dont attribute all the prizes, in particular for best concerto. In any case i would guess there is a close tie between a number of people.
Per jury rules, a juror could abstain from voting in any rounds in any of the Special Awards and interestingly, the restriction on juror-student connection does not apply to Special Awards.
53k people watching and the chat is going 1,000 MPH, haha.
So there it is. Bruce won.
And Canadian Bruce Liu is the winner (and Fazioli). Sorita 2nd, Gadjiev third (my bad, he tied for 2nd!) Garcia is third.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/21/21 12:12 AM
I – Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu
II ex aequo – Alexander Gadjiev
II ex aequo – Kyohei Sorita
III – Martin Garcia Garcia
IV ex aequo – Aimi Kobayashi
IV ex aequo – Jakub Kuszlik
V – Leonora Armellini
VI – J J Jun Li Bui

Sonata prize: Alexander Gadjiev
Concerto prize: Martin Garcia Garcia
Mazurka prize: Jakub Kuszlik


Not sure if I missed one for a Polonaise or it wasn't awarded.
Wow, all of the younger players got shut out. Not sure how I feel about a student of a jury member winning the first prize.
Fair enough.

Except IMO, Garcia should not have advanced even to Stage III. But here we are.
It will be interesting when they do release the jury's score-sheets. We should see an "S" from Dang Thai Son for JJ and Bruce, the same way he did for Kate, Eric, and Tony in 2015 (link). It'd be interesting to see the spread of the scores for Bruce from all jury members. (In '15 Cho received mostly 9s, two 10s, one 8, one 6, and a "1".)
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
And Canadian Bruce Liu is the winner (and Fazioli).
I only listened to this competition in bits and pieces, but I managed to catch Bruce Liu's concerto performance and immediately it felt exceptionally good. Cannot say if Liu is "the best" for I missed most of this competition, but Liu is definitely very, very good. Yes, I noticed the Fazioli, and I'm quite okay with it as I have enjoyed playing every Fazioli I have come across. smile
I wouldnt have put Garcia and Kuszlik, and Armellini deserved a better place. For Liu, though technically excellent, I feel musically/artistically there were better candidates. His concerto was his best performance. This year the level is more homogeneous but there isnt any star emerging yet.

Curious to see what are the scores in points.
Early days, but I’m sticking my neck out and saying that Bruce Liu is a once-in-a-generation talent. The technique (from my point of view) alone is worth the price of admission. What I heard was beyond belief. Gobsmacked, in fact. The finger-vibrato, however: that I’ve always found completely over-the-top. Still, for my tastes, totally in a class of his own. I don’t think anyone touched him. And I’ll go further and say that I don’t think I’ve heard a “big name” pianist on the current concert circuit with his technical prowess. A modern-day Agerich, but actually a bit cleaner, more precise.
What is finger vibrato? Hadn't heard that expression before, just curious smile Like playing fast before the let off or something?
Posted By: Ubu Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/21/21 11:19 AM
Originally Posted by op299
What is finger vibrato? Hadn't heard that expression before, just curious smile Like playing fast before the let off or something?

When the finger is at the bottom of the key after hitting it, you kind of move it as if you were pushing a violin string playing vibrato. Go watch some of Bruce performances and you will see it.

By the way, Glenn Gould also did it some times. Maybe is Canadian school?
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
Early days, but I’m sticking my neck out and saying that Bruce Liu is a once-in-a-generation talent. The technique (from my point of view) alone is worth the price of admission. What I heard was beyond belief. Gobsmacked, in fact. And I’ll go further and say that I don’t think I’ve heard a “big name” pianist on the current concert circuit with his technical prowess. A modern-day Agerich, but actually a bit cleaner, more precise.

Only time will say, but certainly IMO largely exaggerated. In fact the Chopin Competition prize winners (up to the 6th) is filled with people that were promising and never achieved any top concert carreer (by their own choice or not), or arent even remembered for having recorded a reference version of one Chopin piece, some being in the jury. They may have had a good carreer as teachers but wont leave any legacy. Of course there are also a few that did get to the top. I wish the very best to Liu, he certainy worked very hard like all the others and deserves success.
Posted By: Ubu Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/21/21 12:55 PM
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
Early days, but I’m sticking my neck out and saying that Bruce Liu is a once-in-a-generation talent. The technique (from my point of view) alone is worth the price of admission. What I heard was beyond belief. Gobsmacked, in fact. And I’ll go further and say that I don’t think I’ve heard a “big name” pianist on the current concert circuit with his technical prowess. A modern-day Agerich, but actually a bit cleaner, more precise.

Only time will say, but certainly IMO largely exaggerated. In fact the Chopin Competition prize winners (up to the 6th) is filled with people that were promising and never achieved any top concert carreer (by their own choice or not), or arent even remembered for having recorded a reference version of one Chopin piece, some being in the jury. They may have had a good carreer as teachers but wont leave any legacy. Of course there are also a few that did get to the top. I wish the very best to Liu, he certainy worked very hard like all the others and deserves success.

Yes, in some way, competitions are even anti musical, and anti artistic. I can not imagine how a creative musician with true artistic talent could benefit as an artist by engaging in such stressful and unhealthy activity. Probably they are forced to kill their own creativit in order to fit the competition. And devote a lot of time that, at such young age as they have, could be devoted to other areas of study that would bring them more benefits as artists. The competition tries to honour the memory of Chopin, but if today a new Chopin was born, and went into piano competitions, he would never be able to develop as a composer.

Even if you enjoy watching them playing, there's always that dark side about the whole thing.
For those interested to read. Interesting how perceptions can be different.

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/blogs/article/the-chopin-piano-competition-the-final-round-part-one

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/blogs/article/the-chopin-piano-competition-the-final-continues

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/blogs/article/the-chopin-piano-competition-final-reflections
Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
Early days, but I’m sticking my neck out and saying that Bruce Liu is a once-in-a-generation talent. The technique (from my point of view) alone is worth the price of admission. What I heard was beyond belief. Gobsmacked, in fact. And I’ll go further and say that I don’t think I’ve heard a “big name” pianist on the current concert circuit with his technical prowess. A modern-day Agerich, but actually a bit cleaner, more precise.

Only time will say, but certainly IMO largely exaggerated. In fact the Chopin Competition prize winners (up to the 6th) is filled with people that were promising and never achieved any top concert carreer (by their own choice or not), or arent even remembered for having recorded a reference version of one Chopin piece, some being in the jury. They may have had a good carreer as teachers but wont leave any legacy. Of course there are also a few that did get to the top. I wish the very best to Liu, he certainy worked very hard like all the others and deserves success.

Never read more stupid thing.
However, nowe of the winners of the Cliburn competition made the career so big as average Chopin winner and it looks like its competition for 2nd tier pianists. Who was 5th in warsaw was 1st in Fort Worth.

Moscow made more prominent winners than Cliburn, and Leeds and Brussels besides one or two winners are level below Warsaw. Can you face Ashkenazy, Ohlsson, Zimerman, Argerich, Pollini, Avdeeva, Seong Jin Cho, Yundi Li and Blechacz? All of them are superstars.

Years 1980-1995 were generally bad for piano and est players are like Thibaudet, Berezovsky, Lugansky Andsnes, but they are sorry not on pair with the afromentioned.

Still prize winners in 80 were Bunin, Luisada and Laforet, among other.
Posted By: spk Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/21/21 02:39 PM
Easy to overlook but other Chopin prizewinners were Uchida, Ax, Trifonov, Hewitt, Pogorelic.
Originally Posted by maucycy
Never read more stupid thing.
However, nowe of the winners of the Cliburn competition made the career so big as average Chopin winner and it looks like its competition for 2nd tier pianists. Who was 5th in warsaw was 1st in Fort Worth.

Moscow made more prominent winners than Cliburn, and Leeds and Brussels besides one or two winners are level below Warsaw. Can you face Ashkenazy, Ohlsson, Zimerman, Argerich, Pollini, Avdeeva, Seong Jin Cho, Yundi Li and Blechacz? All of them are superstars.

Years 1980-1995 were generally bad for piano and est players are like Thibaudet, Berezovsky, Lugansky Andsnes, but they are sorry not on pair with the afromentioned.

Still prize winners in 80 were Bunin, Luisada and Laforet, among other.

Sorry to hurt your feelings. I am not comparing between competitions. But the fact is that out of the 100+ that received a prize, only a handful got to truly international career. Though Ohlsson is a recognized musician, I dont remember that he recorded anything that is considered a reference version of a Chopin piece. Unlike Perahia who "only" won Leeds.

Who remembers of Irina Zaritskaya, Alexandre Uninski, Imre Ungár, Bolesław Kon, Abram Lufer, Louis Kentner, Leonid Sagalov, Yakov Zak, Roza Tamarkina, Witold Małcużyński, Lance Dossor, Agi Jambor, Tatiana Chebanova, Arutyun Papazyan and so many others.

That said, I do recognize that the Chopin Competition also rewarded several top pianists. My point is there is a large number of winners of various prizes that did not make a top concert carreer. That is just a fact. It does not necessarily mean that the competition is useless, but maybe that they would have made a top carreer anyway and maybe not. But that is another discussion.

Also I suggest you remain polite. If you consider people like Andsnes not at par with Cho, that is your opinion but not mine.
I'll go out on a limb and say that Cho is probably the best winner they've had in ages for the Chopin competition, likely since Zimerman. He only gets better and better and was already amazing to start with. The other winners are all great artists and top-level musicians, but they don't hold a candle to him.
Cho always sounds to me like an AI doing the average of what people consider "correct playing". The archetype competition winner kind of player. Even then he is not that polished. Recent Beethoven 3rd in Warsaw is rather stilted, for example.
Originally Posted by maucycy
Years 1980-1995 were generally bad for piano and est players are like Thibaudet, Berezovsky, Lugansky Andsnes, but they are sorry not on pair with the afromentioned.
Yet they have all had successful careers.
Quote
Still prize winners in 80 were Bunin, Luisada and Laforet, among other.
Of these, I've only heard of Bunin.
Bruce Liu and JJ Bui have lots of charm and charisma. This competition sorely needs that.
Originally Posted by dllerr
Cho always sounds to me like an AI doing the average of what people consider "correct playing". The archetype competition winner kind of player. Even then he is not that polished. Recent Beethoven 3rd in Warsaw is rather stilted, for example.

God damn it, from my point of view you couldn't be farther from the truth. I absolutely love Cho's records and videos from youtube. In terms of technique, he's absolutely flawless, there's literally no part of any piece that you can ever consider hard for him judging from the way he plays it. But ofc that is not enough to call these records amazing. What absolutely bought me is the amount of resource he possessed in aspect of expression. He has a lot ideas, he can give them life without any problem, he uses wide range of dynamic and articulation and all of this is very reasonable, with very precise plan that is based on his knowledge of a piece. That's exactly what I think about Liu. Look at this: how many ideas he incorporated in concerto, these ideas were on point, didn't violate phrase structure, they were refreshing to mind, some of them were extremely hard to execute but he did almost everything flawless.

Also I have to say that outloud - Dang Thai Son is probably the best teacher of the last 50 years of piano world, and I can easily call him acomplished in every term of pianistic career. Winner of one of the most prestigous competition in the world, teacher with an absurdely huge amount of pianists that won or was awarded with other prizes in best piano competitions.
Originally Posted by wojtanowsky
God damn it, from my point of view you couldn't be farther from the truth. I absolutely love Cho's records and videos from youtube. In terms of technique, he's absolutely flawless, there's literally no part of any piece that you can ever consider hard for him judging from the way he plays it. But ofc that is not enough to call these records amazing. What absolutely bought me is the amount of resource he possessed in aspect of expression. He has a lot ideas, he can give them life without any problem, he uses wide range of dynamic and articulation and all of this is very reasonable, with very precise plan that is based on his knowledge of a piece. That's exactly what I think about Liu. Look at this: how many ideas he incorporated in concerto, these ideas were on point, didn't violate phrase structure, they were refreshing to mind, some of them were extremely hard to execute but he did almost everything flawless.

Also I have to say that outloud - Dang Thai Son is probably the best teacher of the last 50 years of piano world, and I can easily call him acomplished in every term of pianistic career. Winner of one of the most prestigous competition in the world, teacher with an absurdely huge amount of pianists that won or was awarded with other prizes in best piano competitions.

Not so. Cho clearly struggles with Rachmaninoff 3rd and Prokofiev 2nd, and I can't ever imagine him playing Bartok 2nd. His Chopin's 3rd sonata also doesn't reflect the best of technique. Besides the technical point if you find his performances interesting that's perfectly fine. I just find others, including the new winner Bruce Liu, much more musical than him, whose playing never seems to live in the moment, but a copy of what he practiced a thousand times at home, which tends to be an average and perfectly middle of the road interpretation.

As for Dang Thai Son's teaching record—I agree with you. But Cho was not his student. For the last Chopin competition I liked Dang's students Eric Lu and Kate Liu better than Cho, although I found both of their performances also flawed.
Originally Posted by dllerr
Originally Posted by wojtanowsky
God damn it, from my point of view you couldn't be farther from the truth. I absolutely love Cho's records and videos from youtube. In terms of technique, he's absolutely flawless, there's literally no part of any piece that you can ever consider hard for him judging from the way he plays it. But ofc that is not enough to call these records amazing. What absolutely bought me is the amount of resource he possessed in aspect of expression. He has a lot ideas, he can give them life without any problem, he uses wide range of dynamic and articulation and all of this is very reasonable, with very precise plan that is based on his knowledge of a piece. That's exactly what I think about Liu. Look at this: how many ideas he incorporated in concerto, these ideas were on point, didn't violate phrase structure, they were refreshing to mind, some of them were extremely hard to execute but he did almost everything flawless.

Also I have to say that outloud - Dang Thai Son is probably the best teacher of the last 50 years of piano world, and I can easily call him acomplished in every term of pianistic career. Winner of one of the most prestigous competition in the world, teacher with an absurdely huge amount of pianists that won or was awarded with other prizes in best piano competitions.

As for Dang Thai Son's teaching record—I agree with you. But Cho was not his student. For the last Chopin competition I liked Dang's students Eric Lu and Kate Liu better than Cho, although I found both of their performances also flawed.

Yeah I know Cho wasn't his student, but I mean in last competition it was like 3 of his students in final 6, now again 2 of his student in top 6 including gold medalist. Also his masterclass are always great experience, his preparation is constatly amazing, the way he talks about music in interviews, that is just amazing. Also how happy and humble he is, this is like really great to see, something extraordinary surrounds this guy.
Was Kobayashi upset during the winners concert?
She walked out quickly after she played.
Time will tell if Bruce Liu, or even Sorita or Gadjiev fulfill a promising career as solo concert pianists. Not every winner of a major competition gets a sustained concert career with a major following. Case in point are winners of the Cliburn: does anyone here collect recordings by Simone Pedroni, Andre Michel Schub or Jose Feghali? Beatrice Rana is a noted pianist on the circuit, and she finished 2nd to Vadym Kholodenko. The only noted superstar to emerge from Cliburn has been the reclusive Radu Lupu.

The Chopin Competition has a better track record on recording artists, with a bevy of names (Pollini, Argerich, Zimmerman, and yes Yundi, Blechacz and Cho. Marketing plays a big part of course, the end result is who will fill the concert halls with a paying public?
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/21/21 09:00 PM
Originally Posted by Hakki
Was Kobayashi upset during the winners concert?
She walked out quickly after she played.

I can't imagine why she'd be upset. She plays Op. 18 No. 24 as well as anyone in the world, and today was no exception. Plus she was smiling when she got her flowers.

PS - I loved those overhead shots of her playing the last prelude, with her left hand fully extended and see-sawing above and below the pivot notes in the middle of the figure. She has impeccable form.
When it comes to judging musicians who are already at a very top level, it is difficult to be objective. Art and music in particular is so personal that it is difficult to put aside one's personal biais. For example there is a consensus that Argerich is one of the best pianists and yet I cant stand most of what she is playing, except a few pieces. I recognize her talent and I understand that others may like her intensity, but I simply cant appreciate how she plays.

For the 20015 competition it is interesting to look at the ratings. Hamelin actually got better average than Cho in both the second and third round, Kate Liu also had a better score than Cho in the 3rd stage, though not by much, but still ....

In the final out of 10 points, Cho got once a 1 and a 6 (Harasiewicz who won first prize in front of Ashkenazy) when most others jury members gave him 10 (twice), 9, 8, .... Kate Liu got 3x10 and 4x9 and some 8s too ie at least 7 jury members considered she did a top performance and yet a well known pianist gave her a 4 ie under average with a 6 to Kobayashi who did not win anything.

So professional expert jury members cant even have a consistent appreciation. There can be differences, but to give Cho a 1 or a 6 or to give Liu a 4 when others give 9 or 10 shows how diverse an individual judgement can be, even among professionals with many years of experience. Thats why it is the average consensus of the group that decides and not the individual appreciation (unless one jury member can influence enough of his collegues).

BTW Cho got only 5 points before correction (out of 170) above Hamelin in the final which is really very little, so in effect Cho won by a (at least in the score) small margin and essentially based on the final stage. And that year the prize for concerto was not even attributed, which I assume means the jury did not consider the quality was high enough to give a prize.

I am not saying that Cho did not deserve to win, by some criteria, he did, but it wasnt an overwhelming decision and Hamelin was really close. This is unlike in 2005 where obviously there was no competition to Blechacz. Again my point is not about the rightness of the decision but simply about the fact that it is difficult to give objective ratings.

Also, I think that technique is certainly a point of interest for pros and for us in PW since we all play the piano. But honestly when I go to a concert, I dont listen to technique, just to the musical result. The technique is the business of the musician. And when I go to listen to a singer, I dont have a clue as what is a good or bad technique. I just enjoy the music (hopefully). What is important is that musicians can indeed fill the concert hall and communicate emotions. So if musicians have a great technique, good for them, what is important is what they make out of it.

Many pianists have a prefered repertoire where they excel but will be average in others, thats why comparing pianists can be very tricky. Zimerman is outstanding in the romantic music for example but not in the baroque, when other pianists can play well Bach, Mozart and Chopin. I did find Cho truly oustanding in Debussy, more than in Chopin actually, but I have not listen to him in other areas. I do prefer some of the other winners like Blechacz, Avdeeva, Triffonov or Bhozanov. But as I said this is my biais. Only collective opinion will tell in the future who will emerge in the legacy.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Was Kobayashi upset during the winners concert?
She walked out quickly after she played.

I don’t think so. She is just very private. Japanese people were surprised to see her smiling with Sorita. I thought she was too serious too. No one knew she was actually warm and funny until we saw her with her childhood friend (Sorita).
Originally Posted by Brendan
I'll go out on a limb and say that Cho is probably the best winner they've had in ages for the Chopin competition, likely since Zimerman.

I don't think he's as good as Yundi Li, and is certainly nowhere near Bunin.
Originally Posted by newport
Bruce Liu and JJ Bui have lots of charm and charisma. This competition sorely needs that.

I was rooting for Bruce. He's got great charisma.
Originally Posted by dllerr
Cho always sounds to me like an AI doing the average of what people consider "correct playing". The archetype competition winner kind of player. Even then he is not that polished. Recent Beethoven 3rd in Warsaw is rather stilted, for example.

Yeah, I agree. I get a little tired of the Cho worship.



Just look at the passage at 5:25, or 7:45 and try to tell me he gets it. I'm not buying it. He's a fine pianist but Chopin is largely over his head.
What exactly am I listening for at 7:45 that makes him a poor Chopin interpreter?
Originally Posted by Numerian
What exactly am I listening for at 7:45 that makes him a poor Chopin interpreter?

The musical phrasing makes no sense. Listen to Rubinstein for a more accurate interpretation.
Originally Posted by Hakki
Was Kobayashi upset during the winners concert?
She walked out quickly after she played.

I imagine she is just exhausted. It is a long and grueling competition, and, were I in here shoes, I would be ready to have some closure and rest.
Originally Posted by chopinetto
Originally Posted by Numerian
What exactly am I listening for at 7:45 that makes him a poor Chopin interpreter?

The musical phrasing makes no sense. Listen to Rubinstein for a more accurate interpretation.

I believe this is kinda brave statement to call some interpretation "accurate". Especially after competition, in which Gadijev and Garcia Garcia received second and third prize. Accurate is purely subjective feeling, and mostly it is based on your life experience and the way you were educated, what you were listening in you life etc.

In the above video of the winner's concert am I correct in thinking Bruce Li plays the Chopin Waltz with what a would call at Viennese lilt at around 4 hours 30 seconds in the video and at later parts of his performance? I don't personally mind this but I have never heard any great pianist play a Chopin Waltz that way, and I thought it was considered inappropriate.
Originally Posted by wojtanowsky
Originally Posted by chopinetto
Originally Posted by Numerian
What exactly am I listening for at 7:45 that makes him a poor Chopin interpreter?

The musical phrasing makes no sense. Listen to Rubinstein for a more accurate interpretation.

I believe this is kinda brave statement to call some interpretation "accurate". Especially after competition, in which Gadijev and Garcia Garcia received second and third prize. Accurate is purely subjective feeling, and mostly it is based on your life experience and the way you were educated, what you were listening in you life etc.

Many things in music are subjective, yes, but some are not. In the phrases I mentioned earlier, Cho pushes and pulls in a very bizarre and unmusical way, contradictory to the emotional logic of the phrases. This isn't a matter of opinion, I'm afraid.
Originally Posted by chopinetto
Originally Posted by wojtanowsky
Originally Posted by chopinetto
Originally Posted by Numerian
What exactly am I listening for at 7:45 that makes him a poor Chopin interpreter?

The musical phrasing makes no sense. Listen to Rubinstein for a more accurate interpretation.

I believe this is kinda brave statement to call some interpretation "accurate". Especially after competition, in which Gadijev and Garcia Garcia received second and third prize. Accurate is purely subjective feeling, and mostly it is based on your life experience and the way you were educated, what you were listening in you life etc.

Many things in music are subjective, yes, but some are not. In the phrases I mentioned earlier, Cho pushes and pulls in a very bizarre and unmusical way, contrary to the emotional logic of the phrases. This isn't a matter of opinion, I'm afraid.
When a non professional is highly critical of one of the best pianists in the world, my usual thought is that the pianist they are criticizing probably played better both technically and musically at age 12 than the person doing the criticizing has ever played. The whole idea of criticizing a performance based on a few phrases is inappropriate and IMO shows hypercritical thinking.
You are free to think that.
I think what Bruce Liu said about (his basic approach?) 'finding the freshness in the music' really helps.

Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/22/21 05:25 PM
Originally Posted by Numerian
What exactly am I listening for at 7:45 that makes him a poor Chopin interpreter?

I had exactly the same thought. It seemed fine to me. Likewise at 5:25, I thought the phrasing and articulation were rather good.
Originally Posted by SiFi
Originally Posted by Numerian
What exactly am I listening for at 7:45 that makes him a poor Chopin interpreter?
I had exactly the same thought. It seemed fine to me. Likewise at 5:25, I thought the phrasing and articulation were rather good.
That poster assumes he is the be all and end all of Chopin playing, understanding, etc.
It is true that he does phrase it in 5.25 slightly differently from most other pianists. The accentuation is not exactly as the same place. But i guess it is part of his personal choice.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by SiFi
Originally Posted by Numerian
What exactly am I listening for at 7:45 that makes him a poor Chopin interpreter?
I had exactly the same thought. It seemed fine to me. Likewise at 5:25, I thought the phrasing and articulation were rather good.
That poster assumes he is the be all and end all of Chopin playing, understanding, etc.

No, I just understand how to phrase.
Originally Posted by chopinetto
Many things in music are subjective, yes, but some are not. In the phrases I mentioned earlier, Cho pushes and pulls in a very bizarre and unmusical way, contradictory to the emotional logic of the phrases. This isn't a matter of opinion, I'm afraid.
I'm afraid I don't hear it at 5:25 - but something definitely is a tad "off" at 7:45. smile
Tonight was the 2nd Laureate Concert, basically a repeat of yesterday, but at a different venue. Most players played better after a nights rest, especially Gadjiev (who corrected his mistakes in Op. 44 Polanaise and Bruce Liu in the Concerto, who gave a very secure and even better reading tonight. And 2 encores!
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/22/21 09:37 PM
Bear in mind all players got well accustomed to this hall during the past weeks and probably feel almost at home on this stage now. I mean both in terms of less stress but also knowing the acoustics. The yesterday's venue was an entirely different place for them. Also, not a great place for solo piano to be honest.
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
Tonight was the 2nd Laureate Concert, basically a repeat of yesterday, but at a different venue. Most players played better after a nights rest, especially Gadjiev (who corrected his mistakes in Op. 44 Polanaise and Bruce Liu in the Concerto, who gave a very secure and even better reading tonight. And 2 encores!
Good Lord, talk about dragging things out. Is there a 3rd Laureate Concert?
Posted By: Ubu Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 10/22/21 11:59 PM
Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
Tonight was the 2nd Laureate Concert, basically a repeat of yesterday, but at a different venue. Most players played better after a nights rest, especially Gadjiev (who corrected his mistakes in Op. 44 Polanaise and Bruce Liu in the Concerto, who gave a very secure and even better reading tonight. And 2 encores!
Good Lord, talk about dragging things out. Is there a 3rd Laureate Concert?
Haha, actually yes, tomorrow afternoon.

It's a little bit, i don't know, this is clearly about polish national pride, the prime minister himself spoke at winners ceremony, and it's just once every 5 years, so big thing in Poland. But hearing the same concert again and again... The man only wrote 2, sadly, so i think they should allow certain repertoire from other composers
Originally Posted by Ubu
Originally Posted by Carey
Good Lord, talk about dragging things out. Is there a 3rd Laureate Concert?
Haha, actually yes, tomorrow afternoon. It's a little bit, i don't know, this is clearly about polish national pride, the prime minister himself spoke at winners ceremony, and it's just once every 5 years, so big thing in Poland. But hearing the same concert again and again... The man only wrote 2, sadly, so i think they should allow certain repertoire from other composers
Schumann or Liszt perhaps? ha

Well, there's always Paderewski. smile
After listening to Liu's concerto in the first winners gala really took me by surprise. It was more sensitive and expressive and I so wished we saw more of this throughout the comp, but it lessened my qualms with him as the winner. More thoughts to come later...
Quote
The musical phrasing makes no sense. Listen to Rubinstein for a more accurate interpretation.

Okay, I've listened to Rubinstein at the equivalent of the 7:45 mark for Cho's performance. Rubinstein takes a noticeable ritard at this section in preparation for the ascending chords to follow (marked ff). Where Rubinstein takes his pronounced ritard, Cho slows down at first and then takes the final two chords faster prior to beginning the ascending chord sequence. Cho keeps a fairly strict tempo before approaching the slowdown, and then speeds up afterward to maintain that same tempo, in what is a "borrowing and repaying approach." I had a teacher in the 70's who taught performance this way: if you slowed down in a group of measures, you had to speed up to equalize the time. It was a legitimate performance technique then and common in the 19th century too. Sustaining the tempo overall, "on balance," creates excitement and tension, and a sense of propulsion.

Rubinstein's approach creates temporary excitement, but he violates the score, while Cho does not. As you may know, Chopin's performance style rarely used unmarked ritards except in changes from one major section to another. Otherwise he kept fairly strict time. In this Ballade, an example would be the change in key signature from E major back to Ab, which would allow for a slight, unmarked slowdown. The proof of this is in the score. There is not a single ritard called for in the entire Ballade until the very end, and this poco rit. is part of a sequence: allargando (slower and majestic) for two bars, stretto (gradually faster) for three bars, poco rit. for the next two bars, and finally piu mosso (faster - original tempo) for the conclusion of the Ballade. Chopin tells us quite explicity that the only time he wants a pronounced slow-down in this Ballade is at the very end. As you also know, Chopin was meticulous about his scores, reworking them until he felt they were perfect. If he does not call for a ritard in the score, it should not be performed. Rubinstein is therefore grossly inaccurate in his performance of this Ballade.

On the other hand....listening to these competitors, most everyone these days does what Rubinstein did, throwing in ritards, poco ritards, ritardandos, calandos, and smorzandos all over the place, and ignoring Chopin completely. It's our attempt to ooze out every bit of emotion possible out of Chopin's music. We have to take it as it is, forgiving Rubinstein for being modern, and forgiving Cho for being accurate.
Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by Ubu
Originally Posted by Carey
Good Lord, talk about dragging things out. Is there a 3rd Laureate Concert?
Haha, actually yes, tomorrow afternoon. It's a little bit, i don't know, this is clearly about polish national pride, the prime minister himself spoke at winners ceremony, and it's just once every 5 years, so big thing in Poland. But hearing the same concert again and again... The man only wrote 2, sadly, so i think they should allow certain repertoire from other composers
Schumann or Liszt perhaps? ha

Well, there's always Paderewski. smile

Paderewski wrote a most excellent piano concerto in a minor. The middle movement is lovely. It used to be quite popular and deserves to be brought back.
“We have to take it as it is, forgiving Rubinstein for being modern, and forgiving Cho for being accurate.“ Composer’s instructions are frequently ignored. Personally, I am not miffed, but others prefer strict adherence! A matter of taste, merely? Or an egregious violation of the score?
Originally Posted by Numerian
Paderewski wrote a most excellent piano concerto in a minor. The middle movement is lovely. It used to be quite popular and deserves to be brought back.
Paderewski's concerto is regularly performed in Poland. As is some of his solo piano music.

Here, across the pond, we regularly get radio broadcasts of concerts from the 'Chopin and His Europe Festival' in Warsaw and the International Chopin Festival in the lovely spa town of Duszniki-Zdrój. (Chopin's connection with Duszniki-Zdrój is that he was once cured there wink and subsequently gave concerts there too.) Rarely a year passes when I don't hear a broadcast of Paderewski's concerto, often played by well-known non-Polish concert pianists.

There are other Polish piano concertos too, of course. Poland's second greatest composer wrote a Symphonie Concertante for piano & orchestra, but it's not suitable for a piano competition because (like Bernstein's The Age of Anxiety) it's more symphony than concerto. And let's not forget Maria Szymanowska and Grażyna Bacewicz, both of whom wrote lots of fine piano music (but no piano concertos).

As for the Chopin Competition being a one-composer affair, let's not forget that there are other one-composer piano competitions - including of composers who never composed for piano smirk (......like JSB). You wouldn't expect pianists in the Beethoven Competition (Vienna) to play anything but Ludwig van B. (BTW, Uchida once won that competition, as well as 2nd in Chopin the following year.)

The Tchaikovsky Competition is almost uniquely eclectic in this regard.
We all performs music based on unwritten performance practice standards, those are based on what we believe is the proper way of playing the music is, which can vary from one generation to another. Chopin was making a lot of changes to his scores, which many in fact originates from improvisation sessions. That is why for some pieces we have so many different editions and variants. The general idea that the printed score is the one final and unique possible version is somehow naive. And we all know composers actually even play their own pieces differently than written. That is not an excuse for starting to change the score but on other hand, there must be also a certain flexibility in the interpretation as long as it is justified by a consistent artistic vision and not making changes for the sake of it.

If we believe that the pupil's pupil do play Chopin with a more or less direct connection with the composer intentions, then they use just as much rubato, ritard, added dynamics than most modern pianists, and sometimes more. For example Rosenthal (Mikuli) or Cortot (Decombes/Mathias).

All in all Rubinstein is actually fairly conservative in this area, no mannerism and he uses in fact no more rubato and sometimes less than Cho (listen his nocturne opus 9/2). But he does have a lot of abilities for micro articulation and phrasing. I dont think there is a unique way of phrasing a given passage but some works better than others. Cho has his way of phrasing which is different from Rubinstein. That is good that we have different musical options to choose from.
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
“We have to take it as it is, forgiving Rubinstein for being modern, and forgiving Cho for being accurate.“ Composer’s instructions are frequently ignored. Personally, I am not miffed, but others prefer strict adherence! A matter of taste, merely? Or an egregious violation of the score?

Chopin was one of the first composers to insist on fidelity to the score - to his scores, at least. Which was quite an innovation, because pianists of his day were expected to improvise when performing. The cadenza, for example, was intended to showcase the performers technical and improvisational skills. Chopin won the argument. Improvisation died out and fidelity to the score won out. Cadenzas began to be written out, and few artists today have the ability to improvise a candenza.

But as you say, the score is "frequently ignored" by performers today. That's because any alterations they want to make must by definition be in good taste, and therefore an improvement on what the composer was intending.
The type of changes that modern performers are making today are marginal compared to what was the usual practice early 19th century. There is a difference between changing dynamics or articulation and changing the score by improvising a different music than what is written. The fidelity to the score is something that develops more in the second half of the century. In fact Chopin is known to make frequent changes to his score when playing or when teaching. There are numerous changes notated by him on printed editions, not speaking of all the variants that exists which proves that he did not consider the printed version to be necessarily the final or unique possibility.

It is true that he made less structural changes during his concerts, but more oriented toward interpretative nuances or improvisatory ornamentation, which is what modern pianists also do.

A few testimonies:

Mikuli about Chopin playing Field: "Chopin took particular pleasure in playing Field’s Nocturnes, to which he would improvise the most beautiful fiorituras"

or Hallé about Chopin playing in 1848 the Barcarolle op. 60 at his Paris concert, where instead of increasing the dynamics to reach the climax in the last pages, he played the final return of the opening theme pianissimo, thus ignoring the markings in the text.

Liszt himself about Chopin’s reaction when he played the Polonaise op. 40 no. 1: "After the D major trio section, I play the return of the first theme [bars 65ff] softly, and then loud again in the following section [bars 73ff]. Chopin did not particularly observe this nuance himself, but he liked it when I did so: in fact he was thoroughly satisfied."

With his pupils, Chopin is known to regularly introduce ornamental and other variants in the pieces. There is about 15 different version of Opus 9/2 annotated by Chopin. There are also evidence that Chopin modified tempo and dynamic markings, either adding or even changing what was in the original version.

There are also numerous testimonies of pianists playing Chopin pieces with a different style and articulation and which Chopin quite liked and accepted. All of this is very far from the rigid conservatisms and sometimes dogmatic point of view of some teachers, especially for changes that are in fact sometimes totally marginal.

All to say that Chopin was not rigid at all about the stylistic interpretation of his works. He said to his pupil Filtsch : ‘We each understand this
differently, but go your own way, do as you feel, it can also be played like that.".

That said it does not mean that one should make changes just based on his own fancy. It must have musical justification with people that have a solid musical background and musical taste.
Originally Posted by Numerian
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
“We have to take it as it is, forgiving Rubinstein for being modern, and forgiving Cho for being accurate.“ Composer’s instructions are frequently ignored. Personally, I am not miffed, but others prefer strict adherence! A matter of taste, merely? Or an egregious violation of the score?

Chopin was one of the first composers to insist on fidelity to the score - to his scores, at least. Which was quite an innovation, because pianists of his day were expected to improvise when performing. The cadenza, for example, was intended to showcase the performers technical and improvisational skills. Chopin won the argument. Improvisation died out and fidelity to the score won out. Cadenzas began to be written out, and few artists today have the ability to improvise a candenza.

But as you say, the score is "frequently ignored" by performers today. That's because any alterations they want to make must by definition be in good taste, and therefore an improvement on what the composer was intending.

I have my own biases, in fact, prejudices I'd call them where music is concerned. I'm embarrassed by how "old-fashioned" I am. But I have NO justification for my prejudices analytically or philosophically. Judgement, evaluation, interpretation in music (and in ALL art, as far as I can tell) is ultimately subjective.

This is ironic: artistic (as distinguished from "aesthetic") beliefs tend to be VERY STRONGLY HELD, while being completely lacking in any kind of "objectivity" in the empirical sense of that word! Beliefs such as "Bach's SMP is a masterpiece" SEEM (to those like me who hold beliefs like these) to be as "objectively true" as the belief that H20 (water) boils at 100c under standard atmospheric pressure!!

But ARE such beliefs (often strong held) "objectively true"? I don't think so. At least, I can't find any good reasons to believe they are.

At the same time, that doesn't mean we can give REASONS for our strongly held artistic beliefs.
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
Originally Posted by Numerian
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
“We have to take it as it is, forgiving Rubinstein for being modern, and forgiving Cho for being accurate.“ Composer’s instructions are frequently ignored. Personally, I am not miffed, but others prefer strict adherence! A matter of taste, merely? Or an egregious violation of the score?

Chopin was one of the first composers to insist on fidelity to the score - to his scores, at least. Which was quite an innovation, because pianists of his day were expected to improvise when performing. The cadenza, for example, was intended to showcase the performers technical and improvisational skills. Chopin won the argument. Improvisation died out and fidelity to the score won out. Cadenzas began to be written out, and few artists today have the ability to improvise a candenza.

But as you say, the score is "frequently ignored" by performers today. That's because any alterations they want to make must by definition be in good taste, and therefore an improvement on what the composer was intending.

I have my own biases, in fact, prejudices I'd call them where music is concerned. I'm embarrassed by how "old-fashioned" I am. But I have NO justification for my prejudices analytically or philosophically. Judgement, evaluation, interpretation in music (and in ALL art, as far as I can tell) is ultimately subjective.

This is ironic: artistic (as distinguished from "aesthetic") beliefs tend to be VERY STRONGLY HELD, while being completely lacking in any kind of "objectivity" in the empirical sense of that word! Beliefs such as "Bach's SMP is a masterpiece" SEEM (to those like me who hold beliefs like these) to be as "objectively true" as the belief that H20 (water) boils at 100c under standard atmospheric pressure!!

But ARE such beliefs (often strong held) "objectively true"? I don't think so. At least, I can't find any good reasons to believe they are.

At the same time, that doesn't mean we can give REASONS for our strongly held artistic beliefs.

Correction:

At the same time, that doesn't mean we CAN"T give REASONS for our strongly held artistic beliefs!!!
Originally Posted by Numerian
Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by Ubu
But hearing the same concert again and again... The man only wrote 2, sadly, so i think they should allow certain repertoire from other composers
Schumann or Liszt perhaps? ha Well, there's always Paderewski. smile
Paderewski wrote a most excellent piano concerto in a minor. The middle movement is lovely. It used to be quite popular and deserves to be brought back.
That's specifically why I mentioned Paderewski. smile
Trip down memory lane. The E Minor recording I grew up with. (That's how OLD I am!)

Wow have you ever heard a better rendition of Op. 42?

For comparison's sake, here's Liu's op. 42 but on a Steinway, 2016 Competition:



More rubato and "pizzazz" in the Fazioli account, above, that's for sure: the Fazioli 2021 starts at about 3:09:10, I think?
What the heck, here's another powerhouse of "technique," as it were: Kocsis playing op. 42 (2011)



I prefer Liu.... More nuanced, for sure.
I don’t see any US city for the winner’s world tour schedule.
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
For comparison's sake, here's Liu's op. 42 but on a Steinway, 2016 Competition:



More rubato and "pizzazz" in the Fazioli account, above, that's for sure: the Fazioli 2021 starts at about 3:09:10, I think?

Unless I am mistaken this is Eric Lu playing not Bruce Liu. Are you just comparing the different piano sound ?
Originally Posted by newport
Wow have you ever heard a better rendition of Op. 42?


There is no best rendition. There are hundreds of versions out there. I personally prefer the more brilliant version of Bozhanov with more character. Or the excellent version of Tharaud, less virtuoso but with more elegance and articulation and well constructed.



Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by johnlewisgrant
For comparison's sake, here's Liu's op. 42 but on a Steinway, 2016 Competition:



More rubato and "pizzazz" in the Fazioli account, above, that's for sure: the Fazioli 2021 starts at about 3:09:10, I think?

Unless I am mistaken this is Eric Lu playing not Bruce Liu. Are you just comparing the different piano sound ?

Indeed! Thanks for the correction!
Maybe I (and others) weren’t entirely alone in thinking Liu quite extraordinarily talented.

Is he destined to become a superstar?

“Bruce Liu - an exceptional artist"
Referring to the first place taken by Bruce Liu, prof. Dyżewski made it clear that there was no doubt about this verdict:
"The scale of this phenomenon, which is Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu , is simply unique. I believe that he is an artist rising above the first prize winners of the last few editions of this competition. It is always the case that an artist raised to a pedestal by the Chopin Competition is the brand of this competition. Just as his fame and reputation in the world are evidenced by such names as Maurizio Pollini , Martha Argerich , Krystian Zimerman , now undoubtedly - and I wish this to this artist - also Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu will join these great." said prof. Marek Dyżewski (I hope google translate is correct; please let me know if the translation here is not correct - thanks)

I tend to agree.
I was on concerto of Eva Gevorgian and Bruce Liu in best concert hall in Europe - NOSPR in Katowice.

Eva played first solo - Fantasy, Mazurkas and b-minor Sonata. Break. Bruce with e-minor concerto.

Fantasy and Sonata were absolutely thrilling and I can remember almost every note of her performance. It was absolutely impressive to listen it. Mazurkas were not so good. Nothing to add more. Purely hypnotizing performance. She played on a Steinway.

Bruce Liu. First and second part of concerto - nothing to write about. As ordinary as 50 other pianists would have played it. in Youtube recording piano is moved far forward vs what was actually heard in the concert hall. Piano was often blended with orchestra and too much covered (or he was playing too low). The only thing that I remember was 2nd half of Rondo and this was really interesting to listen. A lot of idea, but really I would be really mad for not hearing Eva and I lost nothing if I would not attend Liu's performance.
He rehabilitated himself in Mazurka 33/4 which he played as an encore and this was heavenly good and clearly showing why he won, but concerto could have been played by 50 other pianists and I would have the same memoirs.

I do not know whether he was already too tired with playing this concerto day after day and the whole competition, or comparison of brillante concerto vs so full Sonata did it, but again nothing special.

Eva's performace was (almost) equally good - absolutely stunning. Bruce - very mixed and failed vs expectations.
Interestingly, audience started to clap bravos still when the orchestra was playing their final notes and it was immediate standing ovation, which I believe was more due to gold medal than actual performance.
Eva had to wait a lot of time for audience to stand, but she deserved it really from her final chords, while Liu shouldn't get standing ovation.
Hello. Did the jury ever release the raw results as in the 2015 competition?
Originally Posted by Chop Chop
Hello. Did the jury ever release the raw results as in the 2015 competition?

Yes, they will, but dunno when
For those interested, 2 years ago was posted the full concerto 1 version of Argerich at the Chopin competition in 1965. An outstanding version with a wonderful phrasing. The romance is a demonstration of refinement. And the vivace is .... passionate, virtuoso yet well articulated.


The jury scores have been released: https://chopin2020.pl/en/news/article/505/18th-chopin-competition---jurors'-scoring
Posted By: SiFi Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 11/04/21 04:42 PM
Originally Posted by rach3master

Fascinating! Thanks for posting.
Re: Bruce Liu

Just found out about this

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3wM2i2gEBe/

He was born in Paris. His parents were divorced and his father took him to Montreal when he was four.

BTW, Tony Yike Yang's instagram have many reunion pictures if you are interested.
Thank you, rach3master. I see scores for Stages I, II, and III. Maybe they'll release the Final round also later?

Yes, many participants have an Instagram account and some have posted more than others on their Warsaw experience. Miyu Shindo did a 45-min Q&A session with Kai-Min Chang and it's still available on her IG account.
Originally Posted by Turn-Table
Thank you, rach3master. I see scores for Stages I, II, and III. Maybe they'll release the Final round also later?
Reading the explanation, my interpretation is that the scorecards from the final round were so close they just discarded them in favor of another form of voting, so perhaps the original scores will not be published.
^ Thanks - I went back to the article and read it again and I think you might be right.

All the same, it was interesting to see in the score sheets how Bruce Liu was the clear leader throughout all 3 early stages (even though I believe the voting of the first two stages were anonymous).
Yes, in addition he was the only player who all of the judges voted to pass across all 3 stages, so it seems only fair to give him the gold based purely on these scores.
Another view of this competition

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/XVIII_International_Chopin_Piano_Competition

Also this from Janina Fialkowska

https://slippedisc.com/2021/10/ive-been-listening-to-bruce-liu-since-2013/
Wow, interesting reading the scorecards. As expected, most of the pedagogical jurors voted down the interesting players. Regarding changing the rules in the Concerto round, that allegedly happened in 2010 with Bozhanov.
Posted By: Mati Re: International Chopin Competition Megathread - 11/06/21 03:34 PM
I aggregated the points and Yes-index values for all finalists and sorted by the sum of points, just out of curioisity how the scoreboard looked arithmetically after Stage 3, with no final to account.

[Linked Image]


It does seem Bruce was a clear winner from the start.
Yes, the disparity is crazy, none of the other participants seem to have gotten a 23. Is the maximum possible 25?
As the substitute juror Arthur Moreira Lima gave Bruce Liu the top score 25 in every round. The only Juror to do so. He placed 2nd in the 7th competition (after Martha Argerich).

Also Bruce has 4 stops in South America in the up coming world tour.
Originally Posted by newport
As the substitute juror Arthur Moreira Lima gave Bruce Liu the top score 25 in every round. The only Juror to do so. He placed 2nd in the 7th competition (after Martha Argerich).

Yes but he is nowhere near Martha Argerich ......
For those interested.

Bruce Liu interviewed by Taiwan radio station (in Mandarin)

https://www.family977.com.tw/index....il_song&choice_program_song_id=25788

In the first 20 minutes
- His father is a painter, but feels like his brother and never forces him to do anything
- Piano is his hobby, that's the way he was able to keep it fresh. He never feel the pressure to win or achieve anything.
- He doesn't like to record and listen to his own recording, but was forced to do it because of COVID (in order to show it to his teacher)
- He only played Fazioli once before and chose it by instinct (and actually found it a little hard to control)
- He likes athletics and swims every day
This art agency company in Taiwan hit pay dirt (I think they are under contract for all his concerts in China and Taiwan :-)

https://www.asiamusicarts.com.tw/tours-projects/2020-2021/

In love with CHOPIN - Xiaoyu Liu Piano Recital (Postponed)
26 June 2021 Taoyuan Culture Center
27 June 2021 National Recital Hall, Taipei
Where can I get the Chopin cookies people were talking about?
Chopin Scherzo Cookies
Shipping might be costly, though, depending on where you live.
There is more footage in this Chinese website

Bruce Liu

Final -

https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1CQ4y1i7cz/?spm_id_from=333.788.recommend_more_video.-1
I've been reflecting more on the different performers. I've come to understand how Liu ended up with the top spot.

Maybe I'm different than most, but I personally look for purity in playing first, making it the foundation for the interpretation. So minimal errors and superior fingerwork. For that reason, I personally favored Kuszlik over the rest and Sorita just behind him. I guess Kuszlik's noticeably smooth, polished playing was recognized, and got him 4th place and special prizes. But it is the "Chopin" competition, not a competition to see who would make the best piano professor. I guess I see now the balance that Liu has in his playing both interpretively and technically.
Only for Bruce Liu's fans :-)

More footage (captured from the live stream I presume) than the official Chopin Institute videos on YT

Bruce Liu

1st round
https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1th411J7Lp/

2nd round
https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1rQ4y1X7CG/

3rd round
https://www.bilibili.com/s/video/BV1TR4y1J79o
BTW. if you still care, the above Chinese website has all the competition videos many of them with interesting viewers comments (including embedded real-times ones). I think they have more professional level comments there compared to YT and you can get a different perspective.

(You can translate the web page into a different language.)
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