Piano Forum



“The Real Chopin” – the 2nd International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments
The success and wide reception of the first edition in 2018 convinced the organisers that a regular organisation of the event – every five years – will take place. The competition will be streamed and make sure not to miss Martha Argerich performing Beethoven’s first Piano Concerto! Read more >>

Topic: Specializing in certain repertoire?  (Read 1897 times)

Offline MikeThePianist

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 43
Specializing in certain repertoire?
on: August 10, 2002, 10:43:14 AM
A lot of people talk about famous pianists who have "specialties."  Examples: Gould & Bach, Sandor & Bartok, Brendel & Schubert, Schnabel & Beethoven, Rubinstein & Chopin.  Do you agree with these labels?  Are there others famous stereotypes of which you are aware?  Also, should we label certain pianists who specialize in a particular composer or period?  Yes, I believe that I would love to hear any of the pianists mentioned above playing their "specialty."  But honestly I think I would be even more interested in hearing Brendel's Beethoven or his Chopin, or Sandor's Mozart or his Bach.  Although I think that pianists can find their niche, I don't think that the public should label them, and demand that they play their that repertoire consistently at their concerts.  I would rather have a pianist that is confident in his abilities regarding all periods.  Personally, that's the pianist I would rather be.  What are everyone else's feelings?

Mike
Michael Fauver is pursuing his bachelors degree in piano performance at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Offline dinosaurtales

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1138
Re: Specializing in certain repertoire?
Reply #1 on: August 11, 2002, 08:10:36 PM
Hm.  I don't know about this for sure, but.......  it seems to me that all of these pianists are competent musicians, and can perform a variety of composers and periods.  It's more of a hunch of mine that they become famous for certain music because they play it so beautifully, not because they purposefully specialize.  Take a look at Ian Hobson, for instance, who became famous because of his diversity of repertoire.  I don't follow these guys around, so I don't know their agendas, but I'll bet the "specialty" thing bugs some of them at least.   For all I know some of them get sick of being asked to play the same pieces over and over. I would.
So much music, so little time........

Offline dinosaurtales

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1138
Re: Specializing in certain repertoire?
Reply #2 on: August 11, 2002, 08:14:16 PM
By the way,  I have an Alfred Brendel cd of Beethoven sonatas, and his Apassionata Sonata is fabulous!  
So much music, so little time........

Offline Diabolos

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 141
Re: Specializing in certain repertoire?
Reply #3 on: August 13, 2002, 09:56:41 PM
Hi!

I got that Appassionata recording, too, and Brendel is certainly doing a good job; I also got some recordings of him playing Mozart concertos, which he's good at, too, but sometimes you feel he's taking it a little more the romantic way..
I don't think that labelling pianists should be a standard procedure as it has become today, but there are certain pianists specialized on different styles, I think; you hear Idil Biret play Chopin (her recordings were labelled a few years ago as the best existing Chopin edition by the Chopin congress in Warsaw), and you instantly feel that she's born to play that - you hear her play Rachmaninoff, thinking it's played awesome, too, but don't sense the intensity her Chopin has.
Or look at Fleischer, who made his name by recording a lot of Beethoven; there's also a very good female pianist at the conservatory in Barcelona who specialized on piano music by Granados, and regarded to play it best...
Labeling nowadays occurs as a matter of (and based on) popularity, which isn't a good thing, but I suppose that specializing on a particular epoche or composer is the artist's decision; if he(she) does a good job, why shouldn't we connect his name to that of his favourite?

Regards 8)

Offline dinosaurtales

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1138
Re: Specializing in certain repertoire?
Reply #4 on: August 14, 2002, 04:32:35 AM
Sometimes you wonder if they do it to themselves, maybe not even on purpose. For years Van Cliburn always played Chopin for his encores - almost became expected.  He was so wonderful, and the audience really wanted to hear it.  Probably lots of pianists have similar requests - they are thinking inside "gosh.  how come they never want to hear Prokofiev?  well, ok, I'll do the Chopin AGAIN"   I would personally get sick of playing the same few pieces over and over.  Maybe if I was raking in the bucks it wouldn't seem so bad.
So much music, so little time........

Offline trunks

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 440
Re: Specializing in certain repertoire?
Reply #5 on: April 08, 2004, 12:30:41 AM
Quote
A lot of people talk about famous pianists who have "specialties."  Examples: Gould & Bach, Sandor & Bartok, Brendel & Schubert, Schnabel & Beethoven, Rubinstein & Chopin.  Do you agree with these labels? . . . <snipped>



In short, no. I don't agree with most of the stereotyopes you had mentioned.

1. Brendel and Schubert. Yes, but a lot more. I love Brendel best on Liszt, then Beethoven, then Schubert, then Mozart, Schumann, even (rarely) Chopin on his Polonaises.

2. Schnabel and Beethoven. Whoops not my type at all, and ouch - my ears hurt on hearing the machine-sounding Schnabel/Beethoven! Wilhelm Kempff and perhaps Wilhelm Backhaus did way better than Schnabel on this composer. Then of course there is Brendel's superb recordings.

3. Rubinstein and Chopin. Of course. But that is a gross understatement on Rubinstein's musicianship. Call me an ardent advocate on Rubinstein and everything he has ever recorded, especially during his ripe age! He has to be my final reference on anything he has recorded.
Peter (Hong Kong)
part-time piano tutor
amateur classical concert pianist

Offline anda

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 943
Re: Specializing in certain repertoire?
Reply #6 on: April 08, 2004, 01:51:53 PM
yes, why not? a true pianist should go through everything - you can't call yourself a pianist or a musician if you've never played bach, or mozart, or haydn, or beethoven, or... (etc.)

but, once you've tried, did your best playing all kind of works belonging to all kinds of periods, and everything, and you find that temperamentally and psychologically you could never play (say) chopin as well as you play bach, i think you should stick at doing what makes you feel right.

actually, there are very few pianists who can play "anything", and they are the greatest (richter, horowitz, michelangeli, radu lupu, lipatti).

Offline trunks

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 440
Re: Specializing in certain repertoire?
Reply #7 on: April 08, 2004, 09:31:51 PM
Quote
<snipped> . . . actually, there are very few pianists who can play "anything", and they are the greatest (richter, horowitz, michelangeli, radu lupu, lipatti).


Hi anda,

Yes, maybe Richter, maybe Michelangeli and others, but I simply can't help disagreeing on Horowitz. I think any music, however heavenly, became bad in Horowitz's hands, maybe except Russian. His Chopin in particular downright hurts my ears.
Peter (Hong Kong)
part-time piano tutor
amateur classical concert pianist
For more information about this topic, click search below!
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert