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Not impressed! (Read 1284 times)

Offline mikeowski

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Not impressed!
« on: August 28, 2012, 02:09:15 AM »
I've recently been to a piano concert where the price winners from 3 age categories each played their best piece. Most were, as I expected, of the epic type of piece. To list a few:
Chopin --> op 10/8, 10/1
Rachmaninoff --> 39/6, sonata op 36 no 2, mov 2/3
Liszt --> Transcendental etude no. 10, Mazeppa, Hungarian Rhapsody no. 11

From a purely technical point of view, the performances were very good, no slips etc., but by the end (Rach sonata 36/2 played by the 1st price winner from the oldest category) I almost fell asleep.
I went there because my piano teacher told me I should get an idea of how good piano players my age are at competition level. (I'm 21, playing for a bit over 1 1/2 years).

The problem is I just wasn't impressed at all, rather bored to death, thinking, if this is supposed to be the pinnacle of piano playing, I don't want to waste my time trying to get there.
And it was not because I was in a grumpy mood that day or because I don't like classical music as a whole, not at all. The first piece, Mozart sonata KV 570 (only piece by mozart played that evening), performed by a girl who was at around 8 years old, sounded unbelievably beautiul, and made me really look forward to all the other pieces! Too bad it was the highlight of the whole concert.

I just can't get into the music of chopin and liszt (and some of rachmaninoff) at all, and I can't understand why so many people like them. Almost no piece, except for 2 or 3, I've heard from these two has ever moved me in any way or made me want to play it.

Does anyone else feel that way?

Offline liszt85

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Re: Not impressed!
«Reply #1 on: August 28, 2012, 02:12:52 AM »
So it seems to me that your problem really was that you don't enjoy listening to Chopin and Liszt regardless of who plays it. If that's your problem, why blame the kids who played at the competition?

That said, I'm surprised you like Mozart and not Chopin/Liszt. That's a very good start! Most people immediately fall in love with the highly romantic music of Chopin and Liszt and usually take more time to warm up to Mozart and Beethoven. So hopefully you'll have started with Mozart slowly warming up to Chopin and Liszt later on. ;)

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: Not impressed!
«Reply #2 on: August 28, 2012, 02:39:10 AM »
Quote
Does anyone else feel that way?

Bach
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline mikeowski

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Re: Not impressed!
«Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 02:59:45 AM »
So it seems to me that your problem really was that you don't enjoy listening to Chopin and Liszt regardless of who plays it. If that's your problem, why blame the kids who played at the competition?

That said, I'm surprised you like Mozart and not Chopin/Liszt. That's a very good start! Most people immediately fall in love with the highly romantic music of Chopin and Liszt and usually take more time to warm up to Mozart and Beethoven. So hopefully you'll have started with Mozart slowly warming up to Chopin and Liszt later on. ;)

Yeah that's pretty much what I meant, just wrapped in an anecdote.
So my question a bit more elaborated: I really love Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Scarlatti and also more atonal music from Bartók and Prokofiev and so on. But I can't for the life of me get into Chopin's and Listz's music at all for some reason and I'm 100 times more impressed if someone plays Beethoven, Mozart, Bach,... really well, than by someone who can play La campanella in octaves, backwards, with his feet, while blindfolded, on an iphone piano-app while holding his breath and balancing a spoon on his nose.
I just find their music to be too pretentious and, honestly speaking, a waste of time.
Also I never meant to say the kids (and adults) played badly, just that I was surprised at how one-sided the repertoire seemed and along with that the implication that so many pianists seem to strive to play such pieces, which I could never see myself doing.
Does anyone feel like THAT? ;D

Offline outin

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Re: Not impressed!
«Reply #4 on: August 28, 2012, 10:51:10 AM »
I don't think there is anything wrong with not liking a composer's music, even if (almost) EVERYONE else thinks they are the greatest.

I do love Chopin, but don't care much for Liszt. I cannot stand Mozart, don't care for Beethoven and don't understand all the fuzz about Bach. I like many romantic composers, but hate Tschaikovsky and don't like Rachmaninoff as much as some people here. I like Shostakovich but don't care for Stravinsky or Prokofjev. I think it is great that we have individual tastes, why should we try to "correct" them?

And If I don't like certain music, I would NEVER torture myself by going to a concert full of that music. I also don't listen to the radio because something terrible might come out of it. I just like myself too much to make myself suffer  ;D

Offline asuhayda

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Re: Not impressed!
«Reply #5 on: August 28, 2012, 02:40:24 PM »
I personally love listening to other people play Rachmaninoff, but find that I struggle with interpreting his music properly.  I recently just played his Prelude in c minor Op. 23 No. 7 and wasn't happy with the outcome.  But that's my fault, not Rachmaninoff's (obviously).  Anyway, it's a process for me.  I'm going to continue practicing Rachmaninoff pieces and hopefully I'll improve.  Like I said, it's more of an interpretive thing than a technical thing in my case.  Although, I will concede that those two things do go hand in hand sometimes.

Anyway,  play the music that speaks to you.  Don't bother learning music you don't like to play.  It's a waste of time.  Accept, maaaaybe Bach. 

Have you considered learning some Jazz or some Blues?  Or Ragtime or Gershwin? That might spark your interest a little.

Mozart is great, but you'll get sick of him if that's all you're going to play.

*EDIT: 

I also MUST add.. that Glenn Gould HATED Chopin and Liszt.. he almost never played them accept when he had what he called "a moment of weakness".  He also did not really care for Mozart... he stated somewhat controversially that "Mozart died a few years too late" - implying that his later music was becoming more and more "pretentious" as you put it.

All of this being said, he's probably one of the greatest Bach interpreters of all time.  He basically recorded Bach's entire keyboard catalogue.
~ if you want to know what I'm working on.. just ask me!