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Topic: Do composers always play their own music the best?  (Read 2374 times)

Shagdac

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I ask this because the statement made to me recently was that many thought other pianists actually played Rach's pieces better than Rach himself? I found this ridiculous at first, but the general concensous of the group agreed with the person making this statement.
What do you think? And if this statement does apply, to whom?

S :)

Offline bernhard

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Re: Do composers always play their own music the b
Reply #1 on: May 10, 2004, 01:12:18 PM
Nowadays the composers probably cannot even play the piano (they just do it all on the computer) ;)

However in previous eras, when being a musician was more about performing then about composing, or let us say that musicianship involved both virtuoso playing and composing, probably the composer played his works better.

For instance, Liszt possibly played his works better than anyone else.

Chopin, probably played his works better than anyone else (although he is on record that he though Liszt played better).

Beethoven before deafness set in played his own works better than anyone else.

I believe the same is true of Mozart, Bach, and Scarlatti.

Some exceptions that come to mind are Haydn (his playing apparently was nothing to write home about), Ravel and Debussy (some loved hisplaying some thought it was dreadful), and Grieg.

I think Rachmaninoff played his own works superbly well (he himself liked Horowitz better). the same with Prokofiev who was a superb pianist (but he might have neglected piano palying bit by bit as he got more involved into composition).

And who is going to decide who plays better?

A more interesting question seems to be: How much does the composer know about his own compositions? Is he the ultimate authority? How much liberty can an interpreter take when playing someone else's works (specially if the composer is still alive)?

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 anda

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Re: Do composers always play their own music the b
Reply #2 on: May 10, 2004, 04:16:04 PM
"play best"? i guess it's a matter of taste. however, i have heard recordings of debussy, ravel and enescu playing their own works and what i felt was that they didn't like playing - or didn't like what they were playing :) anyway, i didn't like it at all.

rachmaninov was indeed an excellent pianist, and his recordings with his works (i've heard 1st, 2nd and 3rd concertos and some preludes and other solo works) aren't bad at all. however, i prefer richter for 2nd and volodos or argerich for 3rd.

Offline thracozaag

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Re: Do composers always play their own music the b
Reply #3 on: May 10, 2004, 04:40:40 PM
Quote
Nowadays the composers probably cannot even play the piano (they just do it all on the computer) ;)

However in previous eras, when being a musician was more about performing then about composing, or let us say that musicianship involved both virtuoso playing and composing, probably the composer played his works better.

For instance, Liszt possibly played his works better than anyone else.

Chopin, probably played his works better than anyone else (although he is on record that he though Liszt played better).

Beethoven before deafness set in played his own works better than anyone else.

I believe the same is true of Mozart, Bach, and Scarlatti.

Some exceptions that come to mind are Haydn (his playing apparently was nothing to write home about), Ravel and Debussy (some loved hisplaying some thought it was dreadful), and Grieg.

I think Rachmaninoff played his own works superbly well (he himself liked Horowitz better). the same with Prokofiev who was a superb pianist (but he might have neglected piano palying bit by bit as he got more involved into composition).

And who is going to decide who plays better?

A more interesting question seems to be: How much does the composer know about his own compositions? Is he the ultimate authority? How much liberty can an interpreter take when playing someone else's works (specially if the composer is still alive)?

Best wishes,
Bernhard


 Rachmaninoff actually said he preferred Horowitz when playing the 3rd concerto.  His favorite pianist for his other works was Benno Moiseiwitsch.

koji
"We have to reach a certain level before we realize how small we are."--Georges Cziffra

Offline belvoce

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Re: Do composers always play their own music the b
Reply #4 on: May 10, 2004, 08:15:23 PM
I would at least say that the composer probably knew how exactly he wanted the piece to be played, and as a result, possibly could play their own music the best.

Offline ahmedito

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Re: Do composers always play their own music the b
Reply #5 on: May 11, 2004, 12:00:43 AM
well yes, but they usually find something new and incredible and magical that they hadnt seen when hearing a piece of theirs played by someone else.
In the case of Horowitz, one of the Rach sonatas was made for him, and Im pretty sure Rachmaninoff himself wished he had Horowitzes sound when playing it....

Hmmm, I wonder, when a composer (like liszt or cHopin) say that someone else plays their works better than they do, how much of that is true, and how much is false modesty???
For a good laugh, check out my posts in the audition room, and tell me exactly how terrible they are :)
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