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Topic: Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff  (Read 2438 times)

Offline frederic

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Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff
on: March 12, 2003, 08:36:02 AM
These three masters.
Which one do you like best?
What do you think each of them are good at and what do you think are their weaknesses?
"The concert is me" - Franz Liszt

Offline rachfan

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Re: Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff
Reply #1 on: March 13, 2003, 04:39:00 AM
Chopin was unequaled in writing cantalena melodies.  He was rather weak in orchestration though, as readily seen in the two piano concertos.  Liszt  thought he'd be remembered for his innovative harmonies, and how right he was.  His weakness is that his output varies greatly in quality spanning a wide range between masterworks and trash.  Rachmaninoff could capture the lyrical essence of passion in his composing like no other.  His weakness was that when he would perform the piano works of other composers in public, he made them all sound like... Rachmaninoff.
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline Colette

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Re: Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff
Reply #2 on: March 13, 2003, 07:41:12 AM
I agree with much you have to say, but I do not see that Rachmaninoff allows his personality to overwhelm or negatively affect the way he plays other composers. From what I've heard, he (mostly) accuratey translates the essence of other masterworks through his playing. What is so intriguing about Rachmaninoff the pianist is that he thinks as a composer when he plays, always, but not necessarily as Rachmaninoff the composer; His interpretation of the great masterworks shows an impeccable sence of timing and structure, which can be found in his compositions, he is not a pianist of great spontaneity or risk (unlike Horowitz), a quality which is certainly reflected in his constant return to Russian romanticism in his own compositions, he skillfully creates glorious melodies, which, when intelligently listened to are not, of course, the saccharine lilts they are often made out to be, and similarily plays the melodic lines of Chopin with startling restraint and taste---- This is not an argument that Rachmaninoff the pianist overshadows other composer's intents with his own, rather that he combines the best of both worlds, and in the process, engages in a unique dialogue of one composer creating through another.

Offline willcowskitz

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Re: Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff
Reply #3 on: March 13, 2003, 07:58:31 AM
I should correct: Liszt did KNOW that he WOULD BE remembered for his innovative harmonies (and simplistic melodies) and how RIGHT HE WAS.

That's what people experience.

Offline 10Fingers

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Re: Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff
Reply #4 on: March 13, 2003, 03:43:52 PM
My god, Willkowitz...

Offline willcowskitz

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Re: Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff
Reply #5 on: March 13, 2003, 06:21:58 PM
Sure, go ahead if you have something in mind.

Offline ned

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Re: Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff
Reply #6 on: March 13, 2003, 09:21:51 PM
Chopin. In addition to phenomenal beauty, incredible structural logic. For a great analysis, read Charles Rosen, "The Romantic Generation" (several chapters on Chopin.) Chopin had huge variety: compare Berceuse with Fourth Ballade, A major prelude and first Scherzo. He was very original: consider the last movement of the Second Sonata, "drum roll" section of F sharp minor Polonaise, prelude in A minor. Way out for his time!
Rachmaninoff's music is also perfectly laid out. Perhaps a lack of variety in the emotional content. Great march rhythms, but no real dances. Chopin had a genius for dance (mazurkas, waltzes, polonaises).
Liszt was the great innovator, but some pieces are structurally diffuse to the point of incoherence.  Essentially an improviser. Somewhat the same emotional content/range throughout his oeuvre. Unique transcriptions! No real flair for dance. (The Mephisto is not very waltzelike.)
Personally I'll gladly work on almost everything Chopin wrote. Less so for Rachmaninoff; much less for Liszt.
Ned

Offline frederic

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Re: Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff
Reply #7 on: April 01, 2003, 11:07:10 AM
Yes, Chopin was not good at writing for orchestra. The piano parts in the 2 concertos are a hundred times better than the orchestra part. Does this mean his 2 piano concertos are not so effective as, say, the tcahikovsky?
Wouldn't it be like playing a piano solo piece with strings mumuring in the background? (bit exaggerated of course)
I dunno... but still they are two gorgeous concertos and i am not critising them in anyway.

Have any one heard the two concertos with re-orchestration by Balakirev and Klindworth?
I really want to listen to it.

"The concert is me" - Franz Liszt

Offline trunks

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Re: Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff
Reply #8 on: April 07, 2004, 09:55:21 AM
Chopin - the master of melodies. His music is seldom complex yet so effective in conveying his musical thoughts to his listeners. His technique is subordinate to his music. And his harmonies? Equally beautiful. Listen to the ending chords of many of his works - each and every movement of Sonatas 2, 3 (oh, the first movement!); Ballades 3, 4; Scherzos 1 . . .

Orchestration is his obvious weakness, but then what is the need for orchestration at all for music of Chopin's order?

Liszt - the master of harmonies (and melodies too!). He sure had the knack of adding a whole range of colour to his melodies with his resourceful harmonies. His music requires his technique to do full justice. He was also the man to have utilised - at least anticipated - impressionistic elements in his music, especially his later works. Before Debussy, before Ravel!

Rachmaninoff - um, I don't play much his music although I do tremendously enjoy listening to most. His lengthy melodies are celebrated. They could be a mile long but they make you keep wanting more. You just can't have enough of them. This is where he excels. Otherwise most of his music is on the dark, gloomy side. These qualities have sort of become Rachmaninoff's signature, as represented by Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18.

One thing I really don't like about Rachmaninoff is his playing. The rendering of even his own works aren't convincing to me at all. Strange enough. And his Chopin is . . . OMG . . . infuriating!! >:(
Peter (Hong Kong)
part-time piano tutor
amateur classical concert pianist
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