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Topic: Overrated techniques among famous pianists  (Read 7670 times)

Offline stevie

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Overrated techniques among famous pianists
on: January 07, 2006, 03:02:23 PM
according to the last poll i saw regarding the greatest techniques, there were a few standout guys whom i consider very overrated technically.

pollini, ashkenazy, and rachmaninov.

not saying they dont have great techniques, but to consider them among the likes of hamelin, cziffra, wunder, etc...is just a bit ludicrous.

its also interesting to discuss the techniques of a few people whom had obvious flaws, but excelled in particular areas, horowitz excelled in raw octaves but in some other techniques he was embarrasingly inadequete, argerich has some phenomenal 'reflexes' but in the chopin etudes she recorded, she shows some evidence of obvious weakness when compared to others, and barere obviously had some of the most awesome fingers in history...but his octaves lagged behind a little in comparison.

Offline zheer

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #1 on: January 07, 2006, 03:12:53 PM
Dont forget, Alfred Cortot, Shnable, and Arthur Rubenstine, am sure Lang Lang has greater Techniques. However i would like you to explain to me in what way was Horowitz embarassingly inadequete, you are talking about my brother you know.
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Offline chromatickler

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #2 on: January 07, 2006, 03:19:10 PM
some people think Cliburn had an awesome technique.

Offline rob47

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #3 on: January 07, 2006, 05:09:31 PM
horowitz excelled in raw octaves but in some other techniques he was embarrasingly inadequete.

you are thinking of old senior citizen Horowitz here. I'm pretty sure there was nothing inadequate in his playing in his younger days.

respect 8)
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Offline brewtality

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #4 on: January 08, 2006, 02:32:02 AM
I concur with Rob, if you listen to his early recordings there is nothing inadequate about his technique. Overrated compared to Hamelin, perhaps but Hamelin wasn't around when critics and colleagues alike praised Horowitz's technical excellence at the beginning of his career.

Offline sevencircles

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #5 on: January 08, 2006, 10:40:22 AM
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barere obviously had some of the most awesome fingers in history...but his octaves lagged behind a little in comparison.

For some people an octave is a painfull stretch and playing octaves fast depends on the size of the hands.

Hoffman did also have problems with fast octaves.

Barere did for sure do a technically impressive of Schumanīs Tocatta despite his small hands.

Wrong notes, yes.

but an alcoholic playing on a piano with very stiff action is not the best combination in the world.

Rachmaninov is propably the most overrated player when it comes to technique based on his recordings.

Itīs possible that he played twice as good when the recorder was off as some say Godowsky did, though.






Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #6 on: January 09, 2006, 12:37:00 AM
I think that Rachmaninoff and Ashkenazy both have ridiculous techniques, yes, equal to that of Hamelin, Cziffra etc they all have strengths and weaknesses.

Just listen to Ashkenazy's Rachmaninoff - Rhapsody on a Theme by Pagannini.  I highly doubt that Cziffra could play those tempos with such precision, AND without missing one damned note.

Rachmaninoff's tempos were insanely fast.  What about his recording of the 3rd concerto?  It's unreal.


Anyway, I agree with Pollini, and I'd like to add Van Cliburn (even though I love his playing), and although he's a monster, Yundi Li (I wouldn't rate his technique with the best of the best)

Offline sevencircles

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #7 on: January 09, 2006, 09:40:58 AM
Quote
Rachmaninoff's tempos were insanely fast.  What about his recording of the 3rd concerto?  It's unreal.

Rachīs tempos were pretty slow in general.

His Rach 3 was fast yes but I still find Volodos recording better technically as well as musically.

Based on existing recordings I would say that Rach is not even in the same legue as Hamelin when it comes to technique.

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #8 on: January 10, 2006, 07:16:08 AM
Rachīs tempos were pretty slow in general.

His Rach 3 was fast yes but I still find Volodos recording better technically as well as musically.

Based on existing recordings I would say that Rach is not even in the same legue as Hamelin when it comes to technique.



The Volodos recording is damned impressive, but I'm not fond of it.

I can see what you're saying, but keep in mind Rachmaninoff could play Hannon at 210 bpm in all keys.

Offline sevencircles

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #9 on: January 10, 2006, 10:17:15 AM
Quote
I can see what you're saying, but keep in mind Rachmaninoff could play Hannon at 210 bpm in all keys.

Did he record it?

Offline wzkit

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #10 on: January 10, 2006, 03:33:26 PM
I concur with Rob, if you listen to his early recordings there is nothing inadequate about his technique. Overrated compared to Hamelin, perhaps but Hamelin wasn't around when critics and colleagues alike praised Horowitz's technical excellence at the beginning of his career.

Hamelin does not come close to Horowitz in terms of the dynamic range and colours. I think that counts as technique as well.

Offline demented cow

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #11 on: January 10, 2006, 04:23:32 PM
people whom had obvious flaws, but excelled in particular areas, horowitz excelled in raw octaves but in some other techniques he was embarrasingly inadequete, argerich has some phenomenal 'reflexes' but in the chopin etudes she recorded, she shows some evidence of obvious weakness when compared to others, and barere obviously had some of the most awesome fingers in history...but his octaves lagged behind a little in comparison.
I would be interested to hear more on the technical flaws of Horowitz and Argerich. There must be deficits in my record collection or my hearing.

On the octave vs. finger technique question: it might be useful to ask why a person with amazing fingers should necessarily be expected to have amazing octaves as well, and vice-versa. We could ask what the common denominators between good fingers and good octaves might be. Some possibilities:

a) relaxation (assuming tension leads to speed walls)
b) hard work and/or effective practice techniques
c) accuracy in lateral displacements of the hand (more relevant for people who don't use thumb-under)

It's hard to find others (except trivial ones like 'you need talent for both'), and all of the above can be questioned. If you agree with them, is being amazing at all of them going to give you Barere's fingers and Argerich's octaves (or for that matter Argerich's fingers and octaves)? I don't know. To me it seems like they are just different skills, and one could even ask whether there's any more justification for expecting good fingers to go with good octaves than to go with good singing tone or good dynamic control.

Offline shasta

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #12 on: January 10, 2006, 05:37:57 PM
I would be interested to hear more on the technical flaws of Horowitz and Argerich.

Argerich hates little trills:  This is from Argerich herself - during an interview when asked about the possibility of recording Scarlatti:

https://www.andrys.com/arg-1979.html

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Offline brewtality

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #13 on: January 10, 2006, 10:55:19 PM
Hamelin does not come close to Horowitz in terms of the dynamic range and colours.

No doubt with respect to the latter, but Hamelin has superb volume control so the former is arguable.

Offline demented cow

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #14 on: January 11, 2006, 10:23:05 AM
Argerich hates little trills:  This is from Argerich herself - during an interview when asked about the possibility of recording Scarlatti:
https://www.andrys.com/arg-1979.html
I wonder how serious the comments about little trills (which I copied below) are. If they are serious, I bet that what she understands by 'having problems with short trills' started when she fluffed one or two of them when not concentrating properly. She is not used to stuffing up on things everyone else regards as easy, and seems to be an obsessive person, so she probably put pressure on herself to get it right, which she's not used to having to do, so she fluffed more of them. It's understandable that somebody would start to get nervous. But it's not like she couldn't fix this with a bit of practice. The very fast repeated notes in a Scarlatti sonata (live in Holland, late 70s) demonstrate her solving a much more difficult version of the same problem (i.e. getting fingers out of the way of each other).
Here's the quote from the interview:
"Well, no, I can't [record Scarlatti's sonatas]. I have a horror of all those little trills. You see, little trills are my horrible obsession, and most of Scarlatti is full of them. Long, fast trills go all right, but the little ones - they are for me the horror - you know, sometimes I get stuck. I don't lift my fingers enough. It's like stuttering if I'm not in shape. Let's say I'm sight-reading something, and there are some little trills. Then they go.  But the moment I know in advance that I have to do them, then ugh! It's terrible."

Offline countchocula

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #15 on: January 14, 2006, 07:58:19 AM
I will give an answer that is sure to raise alot of eyebrows here, but I believe that it is Hamelin whose technique is overrated.  To me this is an obvious fact, and I am surprised that this has not been noticed by others.  He is a fine pianist, truly, and a brilliant technician and solid player.  But it is clear that he devotes himself to a certain repertoire for which there is really no one to compare him to.  And not because it is too difficult for anyone else to play.  I'm sure that if Kissin or Argerich or Lang Lang or Volodos decided to lock themselves up and learn Godowsky's Etudes , the results would be astounding.  When Hamelin does play difficult pieces that are in the standard repertoire, they are fine, but not incredible.  Is his Don Juan really that much better technically than say Earl Wild's?  Or Demidenko's?  Or Lang Lang's?  Has he recorded Feux Follets yet?  or the Schumann Toccata?  or the Chopin Etudes? or the Brahms Paganini Variations?  or Gaspard?  or the 6th Haungarian Rhapsody?  These pieces are the yardsticks against which all great techniques are measured.  How can we really ever know how he rates with Cziffra or Horowitz or Kissin or Argerich, or anybody else, unless he plays the repertoire that they have all played also?  I venture to say that he knows better than to do so.  There would be everything to lose and nothing to gain by such a move.

And I am stunned to read that anyone would consider the great Vladimir Horowitz's technique to be overrated.  Unbelievable.

Offline zheer

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #16 on: January 14, 2006, 09:03:52 AM

And I am stunned to read that anyone would consider the great Vladimir Horowitz's technique to be overrated.  Unbelievable.

   Rizpect, Vladimir Horowitz's was and is the gratest pianist to have walked on earth, Hameline who, hameline would not qualify as Horwitz's piano tuner. Those too names must not be put side by side. I have said it befor and i will say it again, there are great pianists and there is Vladimir Horowitz, the greatist ov them all. Sure you can find a 18 year old pianist who can play all the compositions that Horowitz did, but pfffffffff please dont waste my time.
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Offline sevencircles

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #17 on: January 14, 2006, 10:17:17 AM
Quote
And I am stunned to read that anyone would consider the great Vladimir Horowitz's technique to be overrated.  Unbelievable

I agree. He did have a stunning octave technique as young though.

Some tend to think that Horowitz was some kind of god and he clearly wasnīt.

Hamelin can play standar repertoire very convincing. Just listen to his Iberia for instance.

I must say that I have a feeling that he can do better musically most of the time though.

I expect someone with perfect pitch to have a a better ear for tonecolors and musical details then Hamelin but I except that his practiceschedule of 3 hours  a day only gives him the time to perfect the technical respects most of the time.

Offline brewtality

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #18 on: January 14, 2006, 10:57:49 AM

I expect someone with perfect pitch to have a a better ear for tonecolors and musical details then Hamelin but I except that his practiceschedule of 3 hours  a day only gives him the time to perfect the technical respects most of the time.

what does pp have to do with hearing details and tone colours? I think Hamelin hears just fine, his tone would be exactly what he wants it to be.

Offline stevie

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #19 on: January 14, 2006, 03:18:19 PM
what does pp have to do with hearing details and tone colours? I think Hamelin hears just fine, his tone would be exactly what he wants it to be.

this is i agood point, noone is saying hamelin could produce the sounds horowitz did, horowitz was unique.
but the thing is, hamelin doesnt want to, hamelin is a more streamlined player, his tonal range are, as have been said before, primarily shades of grey.
his playing has a special quality though, and he does have a sound of his own.
dont say he lacks tonal range, he just chooses to play in a different style.

he aims for evenness and perfection in a passage, wheras horowitz aimed for colour and spontineity.

both are valid approaches...

Offline stevie

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #20 on: January 14, 2006, 03:33:39 PM
I will give an answer that is sure to raise alot of eyebrows here, but I believe that it is Hamelin whose technique is overrated.  To me this is an obvious fact, and I am surprised that this has not been noticed by others.  He is a fine pianist, truly, and a brilliant technician and solid player.  But it is clear that he devotes himself to a certain repertoire for which there is really no one to compare him to.  And not because it is too difficult for anyone else to play.  I'm sure that if Kissin or Argerich or Lang Lang or Volodos decided to lock themselves up and learn Godowsky's Etudes , the results would be astounding.  When Hamelin does play difficult pieces that are in the standard repertoire, they are fine, but not incredible.  Is his Don Juan really that much better technically than say Earl Wild's?  Or Demidenko's?  Or Lang Lang's?  Has he recorded Feux Follets yet?  or the Schumann Toccata?  or the Chopin Etudes? or the Brahms Paganini Variations?  or Gaspard?  or the 6th Haungarian Rhapsody?  These pieces are the yardsticks against which all great techniques are measured.  How can we really ever know how he rates with Cziffra or Horowitz or Kissin or Argerich, or anybody else, unless he plays the repertoire that they have all played also?  I venture to say that he knows better than to do so.  There would be everything to lose and nothing to gain by such a move.

And I am stunned to read that anyone would consider the great Vladimir Horowitz's technique to be overrated.  Unbelievable.

many people have horowitz's technique in perspective here, but a while ago anyway, he was considered the no1, and he simply wasnt, this is all i meant.
read shoenberg's book 'the great pianists', he devotes a huge part just to horowitz and his amazing technique.

in his prime his technique was incredible, i do have his early recordings, they show evidence of incredible octaves, and great finger technique, but especially in finger technique i definetly wouldnt consider him one of the best ever..

about hamelin -

the point you make is a very valid one, and one i have thought quite alot about.

some exceptions to what you say - his don juan(early recording at least) is technically just simply the best ever, lang lang is the closest, and he is live, and i believe langlang's technique to be in a similar league to hamelin.

also, his hungarian rhapsody no2, live video, technically the best ive ever seen or heard, and the final octaves are the fastest ive ever heard.

other hungarian rhapsodies, he plays the fastest, cleanest, etc. in certain passages.

also, consider the fact that he has one of the largest performing repertoires in history, the sheer amount of music he plays, at top level, is astounding.

yundi li and michelangeli had amazing techniques, but their performing repertoires are tiny in comparison, and its easy to be perfect when youve only got a few peieces to work on.

also, having witnessed videos of hamelin playing, his sheer dexterity, especially in the finale of the alkan concerto, is second to none.

there are a few pianists i would consider around his level of technique, namely - lang lang, cziffra, ingolf wunder, francesco libetta, and maybe a couple more.
but none i can say are better, all round.

this is why i wouldnt consider him overrated, those who consider him far and away the best ever, are overrating him, but in general, people dont overrate him, he deserves the admiration he gets.

Offline sevencircles

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #21 on: January 14, 2006, 09:34:30 PM
I heard a recording of Hamelin playing Beethovenīs 30:th and was very disapointed with how he played it.

I didnīt even find his technique very impressive.

It seems like he never spent any time studying it.

The same thing with HR 2 except for his own cadenza in the end.

I often get the impression that he can do better when I listen to him.


Speaking about Horowitz again.

I only know about one current pianist that I find his equal when it comes to musicality (and superior when it comes to technique)

The pianist I talk about didnīt really start to play the piano untill he was almost 17 years old.

Any guesses?

Offline zheer

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #22 on: January 14, 2006, 09:39:28 PM
Please tell us.
" Nothing ends nicely, that's why it ends" - Tom Cruise -

Offline stevie

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #23 on: January 14, 2006, 09:55:30 PM
you mean volodos?

Offline zheer

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #24 on: January 14, 2006, 09:58:08 PM
you mean volodos?

  No way, really.
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Offline countchocula

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #25 on: January 14, 2006, 10:42:41 PM

i believe langlang's technique to be in a similar league to hamelin.


Glad you said that - I agree.  To me LangLang plays with even more virtuosity, in the sense of brilliance and "electricity".  He makes it all look so easy, and still plays so sensitively, with great variety of touch and color.  A great communicator, a better musician, simply put.  Let's also remember that on top of it all, he is so much younger...
But your point about Hamelin is well-put, and hard to disaggree with...

Offline sevencircles

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #26 on: January 15, 2006, 09:14:51 AM
Quote
you mean volodos?

Correct

Offline brewtality

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #27 on: January 15, 2006, 01:45:48 PM
Correct

I'm pretty sure he was 15 not 17. I consider him to be no where near Horowitz in terms of musicality (I know you were just expressing your opinion). Technically, it's debatable- volodos is a freak but so was Horowitz.

Btw Stevie, I'd be interested to hear who you rate as best fingers ever. For me young Horowitz was the equal of Cziffra and he did it with less pedal. Though obviously he scales and general fingerwork weren't up to Hofmann's standards. But then again, even Hamelin's clarity isn't so good compared to the likes of Hofmann. Horowitz's tech from the 30s-40s sounds pretty perfect (to me at least). In things like the Barbirolli rach 3 he played very fast but it sounded like he could play much faster.

Offline sevencircles

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #28 on: January 15, 2006, 08:04:41 PM
Any votes for Horowitz finest recorded moment  when it comes to musicallity and technique?

I havenīt listened much to his early ones.

Offline superstition2

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #29 on: January 15, 2006, 08:43:27 PM
Any votes for Horowitz finest recorded moment  when it comes to musicallity and technique?

I havenīt listened much to his early ones.
I haven't heard all of his recordings and I don't have time to list everything. Here are a few:

Scriabin Etude in C# minor Op. 2 no. 1. Recorded 1962-63
Scriabin Etude in D# minor Op. 8 no.12. Recorded 1962-63
Scriabin Poem F# major Op. 32 no 1. Recorded 1962-63
Rachmaninov sonata #2 Bflat minor (revision). Recorded live 1968
Rachmaninov concerto no. 3 D minor. Recorded in 1951.
Scriabin sonata 5. Recorded live 1975-1976
Scriabin sonata 10. Recorded live.
Scriabin sonata 9. Recorded at least twice. All versions are great.
Lizst Saint Saens Danse Macabre. Recorded 1947.
Liszt sonata B minor.

Offline countchocula

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #30 on: January 15, 2006, 08:46:20 PM
Any votes for Horowitz finest recorded moment  when it comes to musicallity and technique?

I havenīt listened much to his early ones.

Maybe his early live Rach 2nd Sonata, from the 60's, is up there...the Danse Russe from Petrouchka is pretty exciting also, although it's short...of his own transcriptions I like the Liszt-Horowitz Rakoczy March and the Saint-Saens-Horowitz Danse Macabre...and of course his Islamey...the Prokofiev Toccata is nice too...even his Scarlatti and Mozart...
Come to think of it, there is too much to mention - it's just his collective body of work, so many colorful, classic recordings...

Offline rob47

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #31 on: January 15, 2006, 09:37:59 PM
Chopin's stupid Fantasy op. 49 off Horowitz great pianists II? i think CD is just the definitive recording of that cheesy work.  I really don't like the piece very much; a lot of people attempted it in the Chopin Competition and it was ultra-boring.But that particular Horowitz recording is just incredible
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Offline countchocula

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #32 on: January 15, 2006, 11:29:03 PM
Chopin's stupid Fantasy op. 49 off Horowitz great pianists II? i think CD is just the definitive recording of that cheesy work.  I really don't like the piece very much; a lot of people attempted it in the Chopin Competition and it was ultra-boring.But that particular Horowitz recording is just incredible

Yes, we should thank Horowitz for saving Chopin's cheesy Fantasy from the obscurity it deserves.
Oh boy...

Offline superstition2

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #33 on: January 17, 2006, 04:31:58 AM
Yes, we should thank Horowitz for saving Chopin's cheesy Fantasy from the obscurity it deserves.
Oh boy...
I probably know the piece well from listening to it, but I don't recognize the name.

There is some Chopin that I find cloying, although I think the performer really can turn nearly any well-written piece around.

Offline superstition2

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #34 on: January 17, 2006, 04:40:19 AM
I think Argerich is overrated, because so many of her recordings displease me. Her Liszt sonata in B minor from her debut CD is great (Horowitz is better). But, the concertos I have with her are nearly all subpar. Tchaikovsky no. 1? Very bad. Liszt no. 1? Bad. I have more. The best performances are Prokofiev's 3rd concerto and Rachmaninov's 3rd, although the Rachmaninov's only claim to fame is speed, not interpretive depth. Other pianists are faster.

Too often, she has a nonchalant "toss off" style. Her phrasing is mediocre. She does gymnastics but doesn't convey emotion. The simpler the concerto, the worse the performance. She sounds as if she's impatient and "too good" for the composition.

Maybe she's just better as a soloist without orchestra? I'll never buy another of her concertos.

Offline stevie

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #35 on: January 17, 2006, 04:44:53 AM
Too often, she has a nonchalant "toss off" style.
hahahaha, true

Offline brewtality

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #36 on: January 17, 2006, 04:52:11 AM
so that's why she can play octaves so fast!  :o

Offline m

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #37 on: January 17, 2006, 10:48:31 AM
and rachmaninov.

Steve, Steve...

How could you...

Poor thing...

Sometimes... very rarely... just out of curiosity... I come back to these boards... just to stumble to those threads...

You know, the question is... who are you to judge???... Do you even have any idea whom you are talking about???...

In essence...

When you put down somebody named S. V. Rachmaninov you come across as a person who understands in techinque a lot!!!... Esp. in a raw speed!!!!! Nobody is equal to you in this respect...

Good for you!!! Poor boy...

I wish anybody possibly could produce at least one sound Rachmaninov did...

Your amateurish approach astounds me...

Offline stevie

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #38 on: January 17, 2006, 03:20:52 PM
he had wikid tech, fo sho, but in the last poll he was randomly rated as the best technique of a pianist ever recorded.

i just think that is overrating him, dont you think?

Offline m

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #39 on: January 18, 2006, 04:02:11 AM
he had wikid tech, fo sho, but in the last poll he was randomly rated as the best technique of a pianist ever recorded.

i just think that is overrating him, dont you think?

No, I don't think so.

Many greatest musicians thought exactly the same...
So, the recent poll results are not that random and are all right. You have to accept it and live with that.

Offline brewtality

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #40 on: January 18, 2006, 06:13:22 AM
To be honest, I can't hear any weakness in Rach's technique and his recordings were made later in life. These technique polls are obviously skewed by personal bias and more obviously by the fact that people haven't listened to the pianists equally.

Offline henrah

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #41 on: January 18, 2006, 10:28:28 AM
I think the Rach-meister has one of the best techniques, though I wouldn't really know as there aren't any videos of him, but from the sound of it he has great technical wizardry. Yes, I shall call him a wizard at the piano. His tone and pitch is so perfect; even when doing runs he's able to keep them at consistent volume if need be. His version of his 3rd concerto was the first I ever heard, and when I listened to other recordings there were so many parts which sounded wrong because the melody wasn't singing out and was being overthrown by the runs in the left hand. I can't bring to memorie the exact point, but it's where the left hand is trilling and then runs down and up, and trills some more. All other versions of it I have heard overthrow the melody and create a mush of sound, albeit it still sounds alright. With Rachmaninov, either the piano he played on was very quite, the hall was big, the orchestra was too loud and he had to sing the melody extremely loud to get it heard, or he has amazing touch. I think it's the latter.

Although, another Pianist springs to mind: Sviatoslav Richter. What an enigma. I cannot find anything wrong with his technique as I have never witnessed a mistake made by him, and the pieces he plays are simply wonderful. My favourite of all time, of all pianists and composers, is Mendelssohn's Serious Variations (or Variations Serieuxes): he has such commanding power of the piano in the video of this piece I have seen, and his sense of rubato, where to speed up and where to slow down, in my opinion is perfect for this song.

Another Pianist is Idil Beret. Her Chopin visions are, in my opinion, the best. I read that when she got asked of the task to record all of Chopin's work she went and studied with a pupil of Chopin and it was he who taught her about Chopin and how his pieces were, supposedly, meant to be played. My favourite is Ballade No.3, I listen to it as often as I can.

And Cziffra!...boy, all I can say is wow. His Gnomenreigen...lightning fast...I can't say anymore of him than just wow...
Henrah
Currently learning:<br />Liszt- Consolation No.3<br />J.W.Hässler- Sonata No.6 in C, 2nd mvt<br />Gličre- No.10 from 12 Esquisses, Op.47<br />Saint-Saens- VII Aquarium<br />Mozart- Fantasie KV397<br /

Offline stevie

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #42 on: January 18, 2006, 10:35:24 AM
rach is one of my favourite pianists, and composers, but i have to be fair and say what i think based upon the evidence i have heard.

compare-

his etude in e flat major with hamelin's recording, hamelin is way faster and sounds so much better technically.

his op16no2 again with hamelin's, hamelin is faster, smoother, better finger technique.

liszt HR2 - again with hamelin, hamelin is faster and just obviously technically better in all demanding speed sections.

and also, compare his liszt gnomerape with someone like cziffra, youre going to tell me rach had better octaves and fingers than cziffra?!!?

Offline sevencircles

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #43 on: January 18, 2006, 11:44:46 AM
Quite funny that Rach made his most technically impressive recording at the age of 62 (Mendelson scherzo)

Most people seem to peak technically when they are young.

Compare Polliniīs technique today to 30 years ago. A huge difference!

Offline henrah

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #44 on: January 19, 2006, 09:37:13 AM
Ah yes, Rach's Gnomenreigen. I was very dissapointed when I heard that, very clunky and just plain not nice to listen to. But as for octaves and fingers better than Cziffra, I'd say it's a tough call. Until I hear Cziffra playing the Rach 3, or see a video of Rachmaninov (which is highly unlikely as I've been told that there are none due to his shyness) I will stick to the Rach-meister. From my listening to Rach play his own 3rd concerto, I don't think Cziffra can match up to his musicality. However, one piece that really did impress me was Cziffra's Grande Gallope, man that was insanely fast! It's from seeing that video that gets me stuck inbetween the two, as I have no idea how fast Rach can move his hands.

If anyone has or knows of a video of Rachmaninov please, oh PLEASE post it here!
Henrah
Currently learning:<br />Liszt- Consolation No.3<br />J.W.Hässler- Sonata No.6 in C, 2nd mvt<br />Gličre- No.10 from 12 Esquisses, Op.47<br />Saint-Saens- VII Aquarium<br />Mozart- Fantasie KV397<br /

Offline m

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #45 on: January 19, 2006, 10:04:23 AM
Steve,

As it was already pointed out, most of Rachmaninov recordings were made when he was pretty old. Nevertherless, Rachamninov's best recordings show absolutely unlimited technical abilities. I am still to see anybody who  could "match" him in Chopin's Sonata No.2, or Schumann's Carnaval, or Paganini Rhapsody.

It would be highly unfair to compare Rachmaninov to some young "technicians", who have chosen finger's precision as selfgoal, and have no any idea about sound or melodic line whatsoever, and most of all, just lack basic musicality. In  this respect I won't even bother comparing Rachmaninov to Hamelin (whom BTW, I highly respect).

and also, compare his liszt gnomerape with someone like cziffra, youre going to tell me rach had better octaves and fingers than cziffra?!!?

I am not sure where did you find octaves in Gnomenreigen, but to me, apart from demonic performance and atmosphere (which I believe are part of technique), Rachmaninov's fingers have much more ease, "fluidity", and sound control than Cziffra's.

It would be also worthwhile to compare their performance of Scherzo from Midsummernight Dream (some believe, this is the hardest piece ever written for piano), where Cziffra
not even close to Rachmaninov.

As for octaves, just listen to Rachmaninov playing Reconnaissance from Carnaval, or some excerpts from Strauss-Tausig, Paganini Rhapsody, or Chopin Sonata 2nd movement, so there will be no any questions left.

All the best.

Offline sevencircles

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #46 on: January 19, 2006, 12:29:16 PM
I donīt think you can say that Rach was a shy man.

Someone asked him "Who are the best pianists in the world?" when he came to America.

Rach answered "There is Josef Hofmann then there is (short pause) me!"  ::)

You have something to live up to if you say something like that if you ask me.


Speaking about Cziffra I heard that he was a P.O.W. when he was in his late twenties and that his hands and fingers were broken as soon as the guards heard that he was a pianist.

According to some sources he never fully recovered and his technique was never the same again.

I wonder how good he was before...

Offline henrah

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #47 on: January 19, 2006, 01:03:47 PM
I read that guards had broken his fingers, but he re-taught himself afterwards. The leather band he wore in quite a few recitals (that I have seen in his Gnomenreigen video) was a mark of rememberance of that era of his life. At least that's what I read...

Do any of you know when he recorded the Gnomenreigen for someone in Japan? I have uploaded the video here for you all to enjoy as much as I have, and also to answer my above question. If this was recorded after the war, then my statement is true. If it was before, it is false and sevencircles is likely to be true.
Henrah
Currently learning:<br />Liszt- Consolation No.3<br />J.W.Hässler- Sonata No.6 in C, 2nd mvt<br />Gličre- No.10 from 12 Esquisses, Op.47<br />Saint-Saens- VII Aquarium<br />Mozart- Fantasie KV397<br /

Offline brewtality2

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #48 on: January 19, 2006, 02:49:21 PM
I donīt think you can say that Rach was a shy man.

Someone asked him "Who are the best pianists in the world?" when he came to America.

Rach answered "There is Josef Hofmann then there is (short pause) me!"  ::)

What rach says is true, but there were other great pianists: cortot, lhevinne, friedman, rubinstein, rosenthal etc.

Quote
You have something to live up to if you say something like that if you ask me.

and he does, there is much more to pianism than technique. Which, btw, was NOT an area in which rachmaninoff was lacking.


Quote
Speaking about Cziffra I heard that he was a P.O.W. when he was in his late twenties and that his hands and fingers were broken as soon as the guards heard that he was a pianist.

According to some sources he never fully recovered and his technique was never the same again.

I wonder how good he was before...

well i haven't read "cannons and flowers" but I don't think his fingers were actually broken (unlike lewenthals) but he was sentenced to forced labour. His technique may have been better before, but I doubt it was much better; it is hard to be better than what he was after he emigrated to France.

Offline minor9th

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Re: Overrated techniques among famous pianists
Reply #49 on: January 20, 2006, 03:26:18 AM
I think the Rach-meister has one of the best techniques, though I wouldn't really know as there aren't any videos of him, but from the sound of it he has great technical wizardry. Yes, I shall call him a wizard at the piano. His tone and pitch is so perfect; even when doing runs he's able to keep them at consistent volume if need be. His version of his 3rd concerto was the first I ever heard, and when I listened to other recordings there were so many parts which sounded wrong because the melody wasn't singing out and was being overthrown by the runs in the left hand. I can't bring to memorie the exact point, but it's where the left hand is trilling and then runs down and up, and trills some more. All other versions of it I have heard overthrow the melody and create a mush of sound, albeit it still sounds alright. With Rachmaninov, either the piano he played on was very quite, the hall was big, the orchestra was too loud and he had to sing the melody extremely loud to get it heard, or he has amazing touch. I think it's the latter.

Although, another Pianist springs to mind: Sviatoslav Richter. What an enigma. I cannot find anything wrong with his technique as I have never witnessed a mistake made by him, and the pieces he plays are simply wonderful. My favourite of all time, of all pianists and composers, is Mendelssohn's Serious Variations (or Variations Serieuxes): he has such commanding power of the piano in the video of this piece I have seen, and his sense of rubato, where to speed up and where to slow down, in my opinion is perfect for this song.

Another Pianist is Idil Beret. Her Chopin visions are, in my opinion, the best. I read that when she got asked of the task to record all of Chopin's work she went and studied with a pupil of Chopin and it was he who taught her about Chopin and how his pieces were, supposedly, meant to be played. My favourite is Ballade No.3, I listen to it as often as I can.

And Cziffra!...boy, all I can say is wow. His Gnomenreigen...lightning fast...I can't say anymore of him than just wow...
Henrah

Richter's live Hammerklavier Sonata on BBC is riddled with wrong notes, especially the fugue. It's intense but barely listenable on repeated hearings.
 

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