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Topic: best and worst sightreaders?  (Read 3676 times)

Offline sevencircles

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best and worst sightreaders?
on: June 28, 2005, 05:59:07 PM
Who are/were the best and worst sightreaders of the great virtuosopianists?

I think we can place Josef Hoffman among the worst and John Ogdon among the best but what about Argerich,Volodos,Cziffra etc.

Offline pianonut

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #1 on: June 28, 2005, 06:14:30 PM
fiveangles, sevencircles...what next?  it certainly makes life interesting.

i think if one plays in a lot of ensembles, they become a much better sightreader.  of the virtuoso's i would pick people who conduct, play in orchestra, play for a chorale, accompany as well as play solo piano.  perlman.  ricardo muti (spelling?). 

ps  threesquares
do you know why benches fall apart?  it is because they have lids with little tiny hinges so you can store music inside them.  hint:  buy a bench that does not hinge.  buy it for sturdiness.

Offline Kassaa

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #2 on: June 28, 2005, 06:29:17 PM
Madge the best, he never studies a piece, he just plays them through and puts them on cd.

His recordings suck arse though

Offline pianonut

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #3 on: June 28, 2005, 06:31:56 PM
what a surprise.  that's the approach i use.  kind of wildflowerish.  you can't be accused of plagarism that way.  (never recorded on cd, per se.  just tape - send to friends).  guess that you can't be overly worried about recording or you'll never finish the session.
do you know why benches fall apart?  it is because they have lids with little tiny hinges so you can store music inside them.  hint:  buy a bench that does not hinge.  buy it for sturdiness.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #4 on: June 28, 2005, 07:10:08 PM
Liszt of course.

Saint Saens and Bizet as well if we believe what the history books tell us.
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Offline Triton

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #5 on: June 28, 2005, 08:17:00 PM
Me!(the worst) :(

Although i'm not a virtuoso player i do really suck on the sightreading.
I'm not ANYTHING.Makes me mad....

Offline sevencircles

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #6 on: June 29, 2005, 07:18:03 AM
I tend to believe that people with perfect pitch and great memory are  not so good at sightreading.

Is this common? Hoffmann did have both perfect pitch and a great memory, right?

Offline fnork

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #7 on: June 29, 2005, 10:40:06 AM
I'm sure Richter was a great sightreader. He always learned his pieces incredibly fast, but he usually had the sheet music with him at the concert. don't know if it means that he didn't remember the pieces well or if he just wanted the sheet music there to feel more comfertable, knowing that if something goes wrong he can always look in the sheet music.

Offline Daevren

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #8 on: June 29, 2005, 01:01:58 PM
It seems people must either trust on their sight reading skills or on their memory. People with good memory may not feel developing superb sight reading skills as time well spent. People with bad memories often have no choice.

Offline espresso

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #9 on: June 29, 2005, 01:15:21 PM
I have always had the impression that Gieseking was a great sightreader, also, with phenomenal memory and perfect pitch..

Liszt apparently sight-read Islamey...  :o

Offline ame

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #10 on: June 29, 2005, 03:21:00 PM
I am both a very strong sightreader and memorize easily and quickly.  So I have to say perhaps the two can exist together, and are not necessarily on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Offline sevencircles

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #11 on: June 29, 2005, 03:30:29 PM
Quote
He always learned his pieces incredibly fast, but he usually had the sheet music with him at the concert. don't know if it means that he didn't remember the pieces well or if he just wanted the sheet music there to feel more comfertable, knowing that if something goes wrong he can always look in the sheet music.

He forgot the music while playing an important concert ones. This was very emberrassing for him obviously and he always brought the sheet music after that.

I heard that Argerich is bad when it comes to reading odd time signatures and so was Cziffra. I am not sure if it is true though.

Offline 6ft 4

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #12 on: June 29, 2005, 06:17:54 PM
I have always had the impression that Gieseking was a great sightreader, also, with phenomenal memory and perfect pitch..

Liszt apparently sight-read Islamey...  :o

I think the story goes that the only piece Liszt couldn't sight read was the Hammerklavier.
I wish i was what i was when i wanted to be who i am now.

Offline ralessi

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #13 on: June 29, 2005, 11:30:18 PM
I tend to believe that people with perfect pitch and great memory are not so good at sightreading.

Is this common? Hoffmann did have both perfect pitch and a great memory, right?



ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!  I have perfect pitch and a pretty d*** good memory, and am a HORRIBLE sight reader.  I have always relied on my ear...didnt even start REALLY reading music until i was 11-12.  stupid teachers that let me get away with it.....

Cheers!
RIcky

Offline c18cont

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #14 on: June 29, 2005, 11:36:22 PM
Actually,

Did anyone suggest the best, or worst for that  manner, be at marked tempo ONLY, or could the sight-reading be at a slower tempo? :) That makes a big difference, (sometimes just a few beats per min can make a diff)...

John

Offline ralessi

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #15 on: June 29, 2005, 11:39:02 PM
P.S. i read that Liszt sightread/transcribed the Greig A minor in full score, and after the playing (which was for Greig), he was told by the composer that he played it too fast! AND he sightread Islamey....I would give him my vote...

I hear that Saint Saens is a close/but not so close second...

Offline Etude

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #16 on: June 30, 2005, 12:18:43 AM
Madge the best, he never studies a piece, he just plays them through and puts them on cd.

His recordings suck arse though

I never get tired of complaining about this guy.  I wouldn't call him a gifted sightreader, I would call him the most gifted in the art of BSing clueless audiences, you all saw the coda-stretta thing with the clusters that were supposed to be a complete return to the first subject of the second fugue, in counterpoint with a "twisted" version of the first subject of the third fugue in 4 note chords for each hand, around Eb major.  His OC is the only one of his performances that I have heard, and I'm not sure I want to hear any others.  I know he recorded the Godowsky-Chopin studies, and he apparently played them terribly, like everything else he plays.  Listen to the Fuga I from OC for those who have his recording, he can't even sightread straightfoward rhythmic pattern, accidentally omitting ties, adding notes here and there, missing notes out, and generally missing the entire point of fugue.

I heard Ogdon was one of the best sightreaders, and Liszt of course, he sightread Grieg's piano Concerto at full tempo (Grieg actually said he began too fast.)

Offline i_m_robot

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #17 on: June 30, 2005, 04:31:52 AM
fiveangles, sevencircles...what next?  it certainly makes life interesting.

i think if one plays in a lot of ensembles, they become a much better sightreader.  of the virtuoso's i would pick people who conduct, play in orchestra, play for a chorale, accompany as well as play solo piano.  perlman.  ricardo muti (spelling?). 

ps  threesquares

onehedron
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Offline guru_of_time

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #18 on: June 30, 2005, 06:10:04 AM
Liszt was such a good sightreader because he practiced so friggin much each day. There would only be some days that he didn't practice more than 10 (!) hours.

Offline sevencircles

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #19 on: June 30, 2005, 07:30:11 AM
Quote
I heard Ogdon was one of the best sightreaders, and Liszt of course

I think Ogdon was a significantly better sighreader then Liszt. The works during Liszt´s time was a lot easier to sightread then some of the modern works that Ogdon played.

Ogdon would have no problem sightreading Hammerklavier.

Offline pseudopianist

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #20 on: June 30, 2005, 07:49:19 PM
P.S. i read that Liszt sightread/transcribed the Greig A minor in full score, and after the playing (which was for Greig), he was told by the composer that he played it too fast! AND he sightread Islamey....I would give him my vote...

I hear that Saint Saens is a close/but not so close second...


...or not


"Edvard and Nina Grieg spent the winter of 1869-70 in Rome. Here he met Franz Liszt who was quite enthusiastic about Grieg's new piano concerto. Grieg was taken aback when Liszt insisted on playing all the piano parts directly from the score. In a letter to his parents, he described this event:

"Winding and I really wondered if he would play my concerto unrehearsed from the score. I myself believed this was impossible. Liszt, however, obviously did not share my view. And so he began to play. After his accomplishment, I must add that further perfection is inconceivable; he played the Cadenza, which technically is exceedingly difficult, perfectly! Afterwards, he handed me the score and said: "Just stay your course. I tell you truly, you have the ability needed - let nothing frighten you!" I cannot express the importance of his words. It was as though he initiated me. Many times when disappointments or bitterness are about to overwhelm me, my thoughts return to what he told me then, and my remembrance of that moment enables me to keep up my courage." (Rome, 9 April 1870)

 

It is easy to understand his encounter with the famous Liszt was so important for Grieg's self-confidence as a composer."
Whisky and Messiaen

Offline JP

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #21 on: July 01, 2005, 02:16:13 AM
To add my 0.02$

Argerich is very good sight reader.  But nowhere near the best.
Cziffra haveing trouble with reading complex timing, I highly doubt that.  He was often in situations where he had to sight read scores. Even jazzy stuff.  So for the reading part, he was pretty damn strong.  For the rhythm part that comes from within, I'll let you be the judge of that. :)
   
Ogdon is a solid contender for 1st place.  We know him well and what he's capable of.  Information about Liszt comes from books/letters/etc. So is the info reliable, I would think so, even though I didnt get to witness it.     

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #22 on: July 01, 2005, 03:15:32 PM
here is a story for you.

My teacher told me that she went to school with this guy (his name is eluding me right now). He was known as the best sight-reader around. When he was an undergraduate student at Julliard, he made a living by doing sight-reading jobs. There was a time when he was called on short notice to play the piano part in the Brahms Trio. The man didn't have the score and asked if the other players might have the score. They did but didn't have a way of getting it to him. He said that is ok. Just have it at the Hall that night. He got to Carnegie, got in his tux, grabbed the score, walked out on stage, and gave a friggin awesome performance. My teacher got stuck one time. She was suppose to play Brahms' second PC for class, but her accompanist canceled on her about 3 hours before performance. She frantically looked for this guy and asked if she could help him out. He said sure. About half way through the concerto she began to realize that the guy was playing the second piano part better than she was playing her part. She had worked on this thing for months and here he was playing the crap out of her at sight. Insane.

boliver

Offline fnork

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #23 on: July 02, 2005, 01:13:49 AM
here is a story for you.

My teacher told me that she went to school with this guy (his name is eluding me right now). He was known as the best sight-reader around. When he was an undergraduate student at Julliard, he made a living by doing sight-reading jobs. There was a time when he was called on short notice to play the piano part in the Brahms Trio. The man didn't have the score and asked if the other players might have the score. They did but didn't have a way of getting it to him. He said that is ok. Just have it at the Hall that night. He got to Carnegie, got in his tux, grabbed the score, walked out on stage, and gave a friggin awesome performance. My teacher got stuck one time. She was suppose to play Brahms' second PC for class, but her accompanist canceled on her about 3 hours before performance. She frantically looked for this guy and asked if she could help him out. He said sure. About half way through the concerto she began to realize that the guy was playing the second piano part better than she was playing her part. She had worked on this thing for months and here he was playing the crap out of her at sight. Insane.

boliver
Reminds me of when I auditioned for royal academy of music in London (WHY did I do that? should've known it's too difficult to get in there) last year, and the student who accompanies me plays his part a vista far better than I play my part... hehe. His playing was great, but he wasn't a nice guy really. When I met him, he asked me which concerto I was going to play. I answered Rach 2, first movement, and he replied: "oh, okay. I THINK I'll handle that.." He was sarcastic, I should've understood that, but I was nervous and thought of other things, so I just said "ok". He got quite angry and said "I'm just kidding. OF COURSE I can handle it!". Not the nicest guy I've met, but he was a great pianist.

Offline presto agitato

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #24 on: July 02, 2005, 05:01:55 AM
Michael Ponti and Ashkenazy
The masterpiece tell the performer what to do, and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the cocomposer what he ought to have composed.

--Alfred Brendel--

Offline dimiter

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #25 on: July 04, 2005, 08:00:18 PM
A friend of mine has studied with the late Lazar Berman and told me that he was, believe it or not, a terrible sight-reader.

Offline maxy

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #26 on: July 05, 2005, 09:24:47 PM
I think the story goes that the only piece Liszt couldn't sight read was the Hammerklavier.

Hamelin is considered a phenomenal sightreader.    I don't think Liszt sightread Islamey as a demonstration.  I know he did teach it to some students.  The first piece that Liszt could not read was supposedly some Fauré.

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #27 on: July 06, 2005, 04:26:02 PM
I was thinking about Hamelin today. He has to be a great sight-reader. his repertoire is massive. i would think that leslie Howard would be a good sight-reader also.

boliver

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #28 on: July 06, 2005, 05:44:38 PM
Ogdon, Hamelin, and dammit, I can't believe i forgot the pianist, but this one guy in a note to his girlfriend wrote that he learned the notes to the Rach 3, Brahms 2, and some other concerto in a week!

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #29 on: July 06, 2005, 06:00:25 PM
My teacher went to school with Wibi Soerjadi, she was witness to him learning Rach 2nd in a week!! He played it for class from memory and astounded everyone.

Offline presto agitato

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #30 on: July 07, 2005, 04:32:19 AM
People: There is a huge difference between being a good sight reader and having good memory.
The masterpiece tell the performer what to do, and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the cocomposer what he ought to have composed.

--Alfred Brendel--

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #31 on: July 07, 2005, 12:36:53 PM
People: There is a huge difference between being a good sight reader and having good memory.

really, wow I didn't know that.

Offline pianonut

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #32 on: July 07, 2005, 01:11:16 PM
heard on public radio that gershwin was quite a sightreader.  he was poor in his early years and worked at a music store (sightreading) playing music for people that were trying to decide what to buy. 
do you know why benches fall apart?  it is because they have lids with little tiny hinges so you can store music inside them.  hint:  buy a bench that does not hinge.  buy it for sturdiness.

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: best and worst sightreaders?
Reply #33 on: July 07, 2005, 03:01:51 PM
heard on public radio that gershwin was quite a sightreader.  he was poor in his early years and worked at a music store (sightreading) playing music for people that were trying to decide what to buy. 

he worked in tin pin alley. He was required to play things at sight for people. Then if someone says no that is too high, please transpose it. He had to do it right there. That was his job.
 

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