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Which pianist irritates you the most with her/his weird stage mannerisms?

Glenn Gould
Lang Lang
Keith Jarrett
Andre Watts
Martha Argerich
Murray Perhaia
Leonard Bernstein (as pianist)


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Topic: Most annoying physical mannerisms  (Read 4434 times)

Offline arensky

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Most annoying physical mannerisms
on: September 24, 2005, 03:07:48 AM
Who can you not bear to look at, they are so annoying to you...feel free to mention others, and not just pianists...

When is physical response to music in a performer too much? Is it a bad thing, do we have sit there stone-faced? Is stage choreography bad, i.e. insincere, cheesy? Or like canned laughter on a TV comedy, does it help the audience know what to think? Or should they get it from the music alone?

Your thoughts are wanted, inquiring mind wants to know... :D
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Offline xvimbi

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #1 on: September 24, 2005, 03:20:43 AM
We have had this discussion a few times already on this forum.

I really don't see a problem with mannerisms. If I don't like it, I simply close my eyes or look elsewhere. To me, it's the sound that matters, not the face or the dress (unless the playing is really bad ;)). I don't care who is sitting up there and what they are doing as long as the musical experience is satisfying. IMO, a musical experience should be judged without considering any visual aspects.

Offline arensky

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #2 on: September 24, 2005, 03:36:28 AM
I mostly agree, but sometimes the mannerisms interfere with a performer; all that wasted energy and emotion that could be going into and out of the piano. When I feel that is happening, it bothers me.
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Offline xvimbi

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #3 on: September 24, 2005, 03:50:09 AM
Yes, but that is really the performer's problem, not mine. Perhaps, all those mannerisms help some performers to call upon their full potential. If you took away the mannersims from those who genuinely have them (as opposed to those who carefully choreograph them), their playing would probably suffer.

When talking about mannerisms in pianists, I always ask why we are not willing to put up with them, but are perfectly fine will the mannerisms that string players exhibit. Watch a chamber music performance. If you took away the huffing and puffing, and the swaying and shaking, and the tapping, something would be missing, wouldn't it?

Offline mig

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #4 on: September 24, 2005, 04:48:56 AM
Perhaps, all those mannerisms help some performers to call upon their full potential. If you took away the mannersims from those who genuinely have them (as opposed to those who carefully choreograph them), their playing would probably suffer.
I agree completely.

I get annoyed by highly artificial mannerisms. But, others (such as Gould's) seem very natural to me, and I enjoy them.

Offline arensky

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #5 on: September 24, 2005, 05:20:52 AM
Yes, but that is really the performer's problem, not mine. Perhaps, all those mannerisms help some performers to call upon their full potential. If you took away the mannersims from those who genuinely have them (as opposed to those who carefully choreograph them), their playing would probably suffer.

When talking about mannerisms in pianists, I always ask why we are not willing to put up with them, but are perfectly fine will the mannerisms that string players exhibit. Watch a chamber music performance. If you took away the huffing and puffing, and the swaying and shaking, and the tapping, something would be missing, wouldn't it?

The genuine mannerism is not a problem. But I dislike choreogrophy as much as laugh tracks in TV comedy. After awhile though, the choreography can become genuine. This is merely sad.

At your huffy puffy chamber music concert, we would now be able to focus more on the music, the reason we are there. Your concert would be missing a lot of extraneous noise and distracting and pointless activity.

Oh and the worst offenders...conductors....
 :P
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Offline chopiabin

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #6 on: September 24, 2005, 06:41:45 PM
Iv'e seen some performers who look like they're possessed while they were performing - I think it detracts greatly. I mean, I actually had to suppress laughter at a performance of Beethoven's second concerto (I think?) because this woman would like aise her hand three feet above the piano to play one single pianissimo note. It was ridiculous. On the other hand, I don't think that some emotion is bad. Sometimes when I'm playing I'm sure I respond physically to the music. Watch Horowitz or many of the greats - they make expressions, but they are not acting so that the audience will think,"Oh, look how hard he's trying!!!". I think that's the difference, very unclearly put.

Offline zheer

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #7 on: September 24, 2005, 07:26:46 PM
I think Lang Lang has very strange stage mannerisms,if he had the same stage mannerisms as Horowitz he would be great to look at and great to listen to,i remember someone saying their are great pianists and then their is Horowitz.
Richter though it was not a good idea to look at the performes facial expression,hence the reason why he performed in the dark in later years.
" Nothing ends nicely, that's why it ends" - Tom Cruise -

Offline rc

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #8 on: September 25, 2005, 01:54:57 AM
Yeah, false mannerisms irritate the hell out of me too >:(. I hate when someone gazes at the ceiling... God doesn't care if you look straight ahead while he's talking to you.

Genuine mannerisms can add to the show. I like the goofy piano-face some people get ;D. Besides, it would probably take more effort to supress a genuine mannerism than to just let it happen.

I'm not sure if I make any piano-faces. I start swaying when I get into a slow piece, I probably raise my hands a little more than necessary in places.

Offline vladhorwz

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #9 on: September 25, 2005, 02:02:14 AM
Jose Carlos Cocarelli

Offline cherub_rocker1979

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #10 on: September 25, 2005, 04:55:00 PM
Mannerisms are the result of a pianist's concentration.

Offline gruffalo

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #11 on: September 25, 2005, 07:33:51 PM
yes but we have to distinguish which ones are natural and which ones are fake.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #12 on: September 25, 2005, 07:50:27 PM
Jose Carlos Cocarelli

That is a name I hadn't heard for a very long time! :o (I met him when he was 14). What become of him?

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bernhard

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #13 on: September 25, 2005, 07:55:15 PM
I dislike most mannerisms that are obviously artificial. Exaggerated grimacing, flapping arms, doing things at the piano that cannot possibly have any import on the sound produced (e.g. vibrato on the keys), rolling eyes and throwing the neck back to look at the ceiling, this sort of rubbish that is meant to impress on to us mere mortals, how deeply emotional the performer is. ::) But most of this can be easily avoided by not looking at the pianist too much (and closing eyes if necessary).

What really gets me going is humming. For crying out loud, if I want to hear singing I would go the the Opera!  >:(

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #14 on: September 25, 2005, 08:14:08 PM
I dislike most mannerisms that are obviously artificial. Exaggerated grimacing, flapping arms, doing things at the piano that cannot possibly have any import on the sound produced (e.g. vibrato on the keys), ...

I am sure you have read Brendel where he alludes to the vibrato. And of course, Liszt was a great fan of it as well. They are/were of course aware of the fact that the sound will not change, but attests that this can have great suggestive powers, in that simply watching someone wiggle his finger will create the illusion of a vibrato. I'm someone myself who prefers to listen to pieces without any visual aspects, but I have to say that the suggestive component of a performance indeed has its powers. If I discount the suggestive component, I have a hard time explaining why one performer can easily achieve a "connection" with the audience, and another cannot, although technically, they both are excellent. A similar thing is a crescendo on a single note.

So, there might be something like "purposeful mannerism"...

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #15 on: September 25, 2005, 08:31:04 PM
I hate it when a pianist looks towards the heavens with that thank you God for making me so talented look.

I remember a German pianist whose surname was Vogt (I think). He used to move around so much, i often thought someone must have put itching powder in his pants.

It wasn't until i saw a video of myself playing that i realised that i can't keep still myself.
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Offline bernhard

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #16 on: September 25, 2005, 09:41:49 PM
I am sure you have read Brendel where he alludes to the vibrato. And of course, Liszt was a great fan of it as well. They are/were of course aware of the fact that the sound will not change, but attests that this can have great suggestive powers, in that simply watching someone wiggle his finger will create the illusion of a vibrato. I'm someone myself who prefers to listen to pieces without any visual aspects, but I have to say that the suggestive component of a performance indeed has its powers. If I discount the suggestive component, I have a hard time explaining why one performer can easily achieve a "connection" with the audience, and another cannot, although technically, they both are excellent. A similar thing is a crescendo on a single note.

So, there might be something like "purposeful mannerism"...

Careful, now, next you will be justifying Maksim :o ;D
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline drmorleyg

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #17 on: September 26, 2005, 04:46:17 AM
It would appear to me that you have missed the most obvious and current offender:  Lang Lang!  Is this an oversight or are you that impressed with his facility?  (that aspect IS impressive). ::)

Offline arensky

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #18 on: September 26, 2005, 06:13:02 AM
It would appear to me that you have missed the most obvious and current offender:  Lang Lang!  Is this an oversight or are you that impressed with his facility?  (that aspect IS impressive). ::)

Who? Me....?  ???
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Offline vladhorwz

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #19 on: September 26, 2005, 07:33:40 AM
That is a name I hadn't heard for a very long time! :o (I met him when he was 14). What become of him?

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

You did????  Please tell more.....

There was a "where are they now" link on the Van CLiburn site, not sure if it's still there.  Would be very interesting to hear about your meeting!

Offline Bouter Boogie

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #20 on: September 27, 2005, 04:47:08 AM
I'd go for Lang Lang.. Just as most of you guys apparently did :P

- BB
"The only love affair I have ever had was with music." - Maurice Ravel

Offline arensky

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #21 on: September 27, 2005, 07:58:42 AM
I'd go for Lang Lang.. Just as most of you guys apparently did :P

- BB

Well it was tough. It was between Lang Lang and Keith Jarret; I finaly decided that Lang Lang's facialisms were insidious, because they are contrived and insincere imo. Gee, is he contrived and insincere too?....Makes ya wonder...maybe he's just getting bad advice from his "trainers", as gorbee pointed out, "more weirdness, it makes the dollars roll in"...

You could say the same about Keith Jarret, and maybe 30 years ago he did this to stand out from the other Jazz pianists, which he did; but if it was a charade, it's not now; it would appear to be intregal to what he does. At least he doesn't mug directly at the camera in the middle of a piece; the gesticulating and humping and humming and dancing appear to be a subconciuos manifestation of his inner workings, like Glenn Gould, who is in a distant second place in this poll. But neither Gould or Jarret or any of the other pianists on the poll except for Lang Lang and Leonard Bernstein strike me as deliberately choreographing their fellings so we can see them externally. But I still cannot look at  Keith Jarett at a concert or on a video. Bernstein merely looks and acts pompous, which he was. But it's nothing so distracting to make me shut my eyes, as in the case of Lang Lang (insincere) or Jarett ( "sincere"?  ::) ) What's Keith smoking, anyway? It would be polite if he brought enough for all of us.... ;D
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Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Most annoying physical mannerisms
Reply #22 on: September 28, 2005, 03:11:12 AM
Well, I'll let you know that MY mannerisms are quite real!  The drooling, the "oh sh*t" look, the quaky fingers, etc.
So much music, so little time........
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