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Topic: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?  (Read 3069 times)

f0bul0us

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Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
on: June 28, 2004, 01:42:01 AM
To Rach 3 directly, or to pieces by Rachmaninoff and any other composers. Do you think Martha Argerich plays what she feels the composer had in mind (generally, or just in Rach 3), or just what she feels? I ask Rach 3 specifically here for two reasons. One, the complete bypass of all Ossia's (when she knows she has the technique to play them) and two, she treats several parts of it as if she was playing the Schumann Concerto in A minor (something she's been playing 20 years prior to even looking at the Rach 3 score). After listening to a few of the Legendary 1965 Recordings I think she understands Chopin's intentions, but sacrifices the true emotional meaning of his work by dismissing the fact that most of the pieces on this CD are meant to be played delicately. So back to the original question, what do you think? Does Martha Argerich do justice to composers with her firey performances?

JK

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #1 on: June 28, 2004, 01:49:12 AM
I have heard both her recording of rach3 and thaik1 and personally I don't like them. I get the feeling from listening that she doesn't completely feel happy performing and as I a result I feel she plays too fast, and dare I say it sometimes it seems she plays fast just for the sake of getting it over with. As a result of this she doesn't really convince me of the composers intentios, however some of her playing in the slower sections is actually very beautiful.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #2 on: June 28, 2004, 02:59:49 AM
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I have heard both her recording of rach3 and thaik1 and personally I don't like them. I get the feeling from listening that she doesn't completely feel happy performing and as I a result I feel she plays too fast, and dare I say it sometimes it seems she plays fast just for the sake of getting it over with.

You are darn right! Talk about over-rated, over-hyped pianists...  ;D ;D ;D

Offline Antnee

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #3 on: June 28, 2004, 03:46:30 AM
I think picking at famous pianists playing is futile. Don't get me wrong there is no harm done... but it is all a matter of personal opinion. A perfect performance is usually in the ear of the beholder, especially when we are talking about the greats. The only way to hear that perfect performance the way you want to, is to do it yourself. There is always something in someone's recording that doesn't sit well with you, and the only way to get it the way you see it should be done is to do it yourself. ....Then again Agerich is relly awesome!!  ;)


-Tony-
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #4 on: June 28, 2004, 04:17:06 AM
But people's perspectives are subjective but they are usually subjective uniformly when refering to specific qualities of her music (like tempo, dynamics, expressions.)  Generally speaking, it can be said that her Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky are rather rushed as with the other pieces mentioned.  Is she all fingers?  Is she playing rather generically?  Is she expressionally impotent?

Answer those questions and most of the answers will be in agreement.  This uniform subjectivity.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #5 on: June 28, 2004, 04:19:35 AM
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I think picking at famous pianists playing is futile. Don't get me wrong there is no harm done... but it is all a matter of personal opinion. A perfect performance is usually in the ear of the beholder, especially when we are talking about the greats. The only way to hear that perfect performance the way you want to, is to do it yourself. There is always something in someone's recording that doesn't sit well with you, and the only way to get it the way you see it should be done is to do it yourself. ....Then again Agerich is relly awesome!!  ;)

You can't put up posts like that. Your opinion is too balanced, too well thought out, too reasonable, too good to be true  :D
In other words: not polarizing enough, not provocative enough, not harsh, not silly, except, perhaps, your last statement  ;D ;D

Spatula

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #6 on: June 28, 2004, 05:23:12 AM
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 Is she playing rather generically?  Is she expressionally impotent?

Answer those questions and most of the answers will be in agreement.  This uniform subjectivity.


David Helfgott's 1995 recording was the most emotionally lacking, although you can sort of feel the personal experiences he's gone through.  

Offline thracozaag

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #7 on: June 28, 2004, 04:32:03 PM
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To Rach 3 directly, or to pieces by Rachmaninoff and any other composers. Do you think Martha Argerich plays what she feels the composer had in mind (generally, or just in Rach 3), or just what she feels? I ask Rach 3 specifically here for two reasons. One, the complete bypass of all Ossia's (when she knows she has the technique to play them) and two, she treats several parts of it as if she was playing the Schumann Concerto in A minor (something she's been playing 20 years prior to even looking at the Rach 3 score). After listening to a few of the Legendary 1965 Recordings I think she understands Chopin's intentions, but sacrifices the true emotional meaning of his work by dismissing the fact that most of the pieces on this CD are meant to be played delicately. So back to the original question, what do you think? Does Martha Argerich do justice to composers with her firey performances?

 
 I honestly only like her Bach.  But there's no doubt she's a formidible pianist, admired far and wide by intelligent musicians.

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

Offline Motrax

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #8 on: June 28, 2004, 05:28:46 PM
An unpopular opinion on these forums... but I think Argerich is a rather lousy pianist if the few recordings I heard of her performing can be trusted as her usual fare. Granted, I only listened to a few Chopin Nocturnes, Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto, and some Bach Partita (don't remember which) perhaps she was just having a bad day on both CDs.

In the third concerto, she misses ungodly amounts of notes due to the manic tempos she uses. Most striking is one part in the second movement where I believe the notes are labelled marcato. The measure starts in the high register and descends with a flurry of notes and octaves (I don't have the music with my, sorry I can't be more specific) to come to an accented note in the first or second octave of the keyboard. Argerich plays the first few notes fine, but then proceeds to play about two or three times faster than it should be played, holds down the pedal, and seems to miss every single note in that passage. She takes "tempestuous" performance quite literally, blasting through what should be beautiful and leaving nasty debris in her wake. In the third movement, she also rushes beyond reason, playing without any clarity whatsoever. Furthermore, her "emotions" seem to only be expressed in the strength she applies from her arms - the louder it is, the more "emotional" it becomes. Throughout the entire piece, one gets the feeling she's simply attacking the piano with reckless abandon, crashing through the notes until she finally reaches the end.

The Chopin Nocturnes were somewhat similar. For these, I had the music in front of me while I was listening. She takes a very loose interperetation as far as dinamics and tempo are concerned, but that's fine. However, when she comes to a forte section, it always sounds the same - rushed and sloppy and loud. I certainly didn't dislike these as much as the concerto, but I believe her playing indeed does not do justice to Chopin's music.

She played the Bach alright. Though there were some sections where she lost clarity, and ONE section which should've been piano which she played forte, it was a decent recording overall. I still like Glenn Gould more (though that's certainly debatable, his singing did annoy me a great deal at first), and Friedrich Gulda does a good job with it too. However, I've heard many play worse Bach than Argerich, she isn't nearly as abysmal here as she was with Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

Ahem. Had to get that out of my system.  :)
"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.

Offline thierry13

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #9 on: June 28, 2004, 09:16:29 PM
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I have heard both her recording of rach3 and thaik1 and personally I don't like them. I get the feeling from listening that she doesn't completely feel happy performing and as I a result I feel she plays too fast, and dare I say it sometimes it seems she plays fast just for the sake of getting it over with. As a result of this she doesn't really convince me of the composers intentios, however some of her playing in the slower sections is actually very beautiful.


The pianist does not decide of the speed the piece is played in concertos, it's the conductor... But if you're talking of the cadenzas, or solo, then you could be right ... (i don't heard the recordings)

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #10 on: June 28, 2004, 09:34:45 PM
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The pianist does not decide of the speed the piece is played in concertos, it's the conductor...
It depends. Usually, the conductor works together with the soloist to come up with something they both can agree on. Yet, it is often the soloist who wins over the conductor. Finally, when the piece is performed, the soloist is the one who decides over the tempo. The conductors are often reduced to working to keep the orchestra in tempo with the soloist, not so much the other way around. Observe at the end of concertos how much the orchestra members applaud a soloist, and you'll get a good idea about how pissed they are about the soloist pushing them around. I've seen Lang Lang not receiving ANY applause from the orchestra, and rightfully so! I have never seen Argerich, though.

Spatula

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #11 on: June 28, 2004, 09:52:02 PM
Usually most of the soloists are guests of the performance and may only do the performace once or a few times, but the conductor usually stays with the orchaestra, unless their "superstar" conductors and conduct different orchaestras.

I think I read somewhere that the "rank" of the orchaestra is:

Conductor
Soloist
Concert Chair or Concert 1st Violin Master

Is this right??  ::)

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #12 on: June 28, 2004, 10:08:25 PM
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Usually most of the soloists are guests of the performance and may only do the performace once or a few times, but the conductor usually stays with the orchaestra, unless their "superstar" conductors and conduct different orchaestras.

I think I read somewhere that the "rank" of the orchaestra is:

Conductor
Soloist
Concert Chair or Concert 1st Violin Master

Is this right??  ::)

Again: it depends. Sometimes, a soloist has a strong view about how s/he would like to interpret (and perform) a certain piece, sometimes, it's the conductor. Experienced and reasonable conductors, soloists and orchestras do work together. The problems arise when at least one of them is unreasonable. E.g., some orchestras flat out refuse to perform Mahler's 9th symphony with the original arrangements of the first violins (split into two sections, left and right of the conductor). There is nothing the conductor, or a soloist can do. Some dictators, oops, conductors will not allow any deviating opinions. And some soloists, usually the young, upcoming brats, oops again, stars of tomorrow, do whatever they want, sometimes out of lack of experience, sometimes because they are brats.

Spatula

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Re: Does Martha Argerich do Justice to Composers?
Reply #13 on: June 29, 2004, 01:39:35 AM
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Usually most of the soloists are guests of the performance and may only do the performace once or a few times, but the conductor usually stays with the orchaestra, unless their "superstar" conductors and conduct different orchaestras.

I think I read somewhere that the "rank" of the orchaestra is:

Conductor
Soloist
Concert Chair or Concert 1st Violin Master

Is this right??  ::)


Again please note this is a generalization on how normal concert repretoire are played...there are exceptions like what you said xvimbi
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