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Topic: Old school pianists.  (Read 1437 times)

Offline mikey6

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Old school pianists.
on: August 26, 2005, 01:46:33 AM
I first heard Schnabel's Beethoven Sonata's about a year ago and I couldn't get over how elastic his rhythm is to the point where plainly rushes.  I listened to Kempf's 'Les adieux' as well and he seriously does not wait where Beethoven has indicated rests.
One of the teachers told me this is to do with shape and an overall design but I can't quite catch on to it.
Anyone have any thoughts?
Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them.
Richard Strauss

Offline rapmasterb

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Re: Old school pianists.
Reply #1 on: August 26, 2005, 11:16:01 AM
I amn't an expert on Schnabel but I just have to say that I think he is a legend. He was technically so good that he gets through the intro. + fugue of the hammerklavier sonata in 9 mins!

In the rondo of the brahms 1st he does very weird things with semi-quavers in some parts. He really messes around with its basic timing with some serious rubato. I dont know if anyone would get away with that these days!

Offline arensky

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Re: Old school pianists.
Reply #2 on: August 26, 2005, 07:00:38 PM
We live in the "Urtext Age". It is expected now that performers will dutifully obey the printed indications in the score, even at the expense of their own ideas/imagination. This came about in the 1940's as a corrective trend against some of the liberties taken by musicians of the late Romantic early Modern periods. And it was nessacary, listen to recordings by Paderewski, de Pachmann, the Liszt students; sometimes it's kind of hard to recognize the piece! But at least they were doing something! I think we should all use scores that indicate what the composer wrote, not some "performing edition" by a long dead virtuoso. Schirmer and Ricordi editions are particulary bad in this regard. Urtext means original, or source text, I think; they are prepared from the composer's original manuscripts(when they exist) first published editions, etc., to give a clear picture of the composers intention.

BUT NO ONE can play exactly the same way twice. The urtext philosophy ultimately leads to the MIDI file! There is a middle ground; if 3 different pianists all follow the composer's instructions, they will all produce different interpretations. That's good, and we should play that up. Jim's forte has a different sonic imprint than Jill's; and if they feel really stongly about doing something in a piece that the composer doesn't indicate; if it doesn't ruin the flow of the piece or go againsts the composers style and overall intent, then they should not be penalized for having a brain and imagination. Otherwise, the MIDI file is the supreme artistic ideal...Are we artists, or IBM junior executives....   ::)

So what your teacher probably meant about Kempff is that he has a different idea about the piece than what is written in the score; discuss this with your techer, get her/him to elucidate what they meant, this is important, the difference between being an artist and an organ grinder's monkey doing tricks. ;)

Schnabel, same thing, he was also a composer and had strong opinions about the music he played, particularly the Vienese Classicists, his specialty; he was great, but yeah, sometimes the music seems to run away from him; sometimes he was careless. :P
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Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Old school pianists.
Reply #3 on: August 26, 2005, 09:24:45 PM
Pianists certainly did things differently in the old days.

The score was a suggestion or simply an idea.

Arensky is certainly right about the Liszt pupils. You should hear Rosenthal play Chopin.
I wonder what a judge in a modern competition would think of him???
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Offline mikey6

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Re: Old school pianists.
Reply #4 on: August 28, 2005, 10:42:14 PM
I had a thought.  Becuase they were still living in the time of composer/pianists (or perhaps just after) from the romantic era, perhaps the style of composition made it's way into their playing.  I think I mean rubato more than anything- Extensive rubato which we don't generally use in the classical repertoire.  I don't know if this is true, but it makes sense (I hope).
Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them.
Richard Strauss

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Old school pianists.
Reply #5 on: August 29, 2005, 12:34:01 AM
Pianists certainly did things differently in the old days.

The score was a suggestion or simply an idea.

Arensky is certainly right about the Liszt pupils. You should hear Rosenthal play Chopin.
I wonder what a judge in a modern competition would think of him???

I'd like to contribute an interesting and hopefully sufficiently related quote from Neuhaus on this subject:
"The musical material gives birth to form - truth, which can explain so much in art.  Rachmaninoff, playing Chopin as a genius but not a la Chopin, arouses admiration, in spite of his obvious departure from the composer's spirit, because his powerful personality together with unprecedented mastery will always carry away the listener and also because this is an elemental phenomenon which is not the result of a process of thought, of striving or of reasoned preparation. "For him it is permitted" is what we feel.  This is the reign of force, of power, of might."

Walter Ramsey

Offline brewtality

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Re: Old school pianists.
Reply #6 on: August 29, 2005, 04:07:41 AM
Pianists certainly did things differently in the old days.

The score was a suggestion or simply an idea.

Arensky is certainly right about the Liszt pupils. You should hear Rosenthal play Chopin.
I wonder what a judge in a modern competition would think of him???

They'd hate him and I think that reflects negatively on the judging criteria rather than Rosenthal. His Chopin mazurkas are amongst the very best I've heard. His playing is certainly preferable to the banal performances one can hear at any international piano competition.

Offline arensky

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Re: Old school pianists.
Reply #7 on: August 29, 2005, 08:06:15 AM
I had a thought. Becuase they were still living in the time of composer/pianists (or perhaps just after) from the romantic era, perhaps the style of composition made it's way into their playing. I think I mean rubato more than anything- Extensive rubato which we don't generally use in the classical repertoire. I don't know if this is true, but it makes sense (I hope).

                                 I think that's very accurate Mikey.
They'd hate him and I think that reflects negatively on the judging criteria rather than Rosenthal. His Chopin mazurkas are amongst the very best I've heard. His playing is certainly preferable to the banal performances one can hear at any international piano competition.

                                   You're right Brew, on all three counts     
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"One never knows about another one, do one?" Fats Waller

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Old school pianists.
Reply #8 on: August 29, 2005, 11:39:34 AM
They'd hate him and I think that reflects negatively on the judging criteria rather than Rosenthal. His Chopin mazurkas are amongst the very best I've heard. His playing is certainly preferable to the banal performances one can hear at any international piano competition.

My feelings exactly.
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society
 

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