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The Ballade or Ballad was originally a sung poem, recounting a myth or an historical event. The form, with its connotations of simple folkloric authenticity, became popular in literature with the rise of Romanticism; Chopin is usually credited with originating the genre for the piano. Piano Street has published a new urtext edition of the four Ballades by Frédéric Chopin. Read more >>

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Author Topic: BachScholar - BachScholar: The Man, The Enigma, The...Poser?  (Read 10164 times)
cuberdrift
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« on: July 08, 2015, 03:13:52 AM »

Consider BachScholar, alias of famous YouTube pianist Cory Hall.

Known for his lengthy, brown hair, cat, and extravagant biography, Cory Hall owns one of the most prolific piano channels in the website that is YouTube.

I actually access his channel mainly when I'm looking for performances of Joplin's rags. However, I don't find myself satisfied with them...I don't know why, but they just seem to, errr...lack "life" or something.

What does this forum think of this eccentric personality?

I actually posted this thread while searching for older topics about him, and I came across one by "arungargstl". I wanted to reply to him in that thread, but I noticed it was very old, so I decided to make a new one.

I'm looking for opinions or answers about the enigma that is Cory Hall, the self-styled BachScholar.

I have now seen many of his videos spanning many genres. My conclusions about his playing are as follows:

He has a very limited technique with visible strain and tension in the fingers

Evidence?

Quote
He has almost no tonal palette, and disregards many articulative, dynamic, and musical markings in the scores.

...evidence?
Quote
His ability to memorize many pieces is relatively impressive.

I might agree with this. He does have a lot of videos, after all.

Quote
His ability to voice properly, display large structural ideas, and produce emotive moments are almost non-existent.

Really? In which video/s are these attributes displayed?

Quote
...his performances of Bach's work show a lack of harmonic and structural awareness.

Again, evidence?

Quote
He openly bashes the Chopin Études, labeling them as overplayed and frivolous; he then proceeds to post lessons and performances of the Fantasie-Impromptu, E-flat major Nocturne, D-flat major Prelude.

From what video does he say this?

Quote
He disables and deletes any comments that aren't positive: whether they are constructive or hateful seems to not matter. Any feedback that isn't positive is immediately removed.

From your experience, perhaps you could show some comment/s you remember being deleted?
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outin
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2015, 03:23:24 AM »

I once made the mistake of listening to his Scarlatti recordings and had to wash my ears afterwards. They are completely monotone and he adds his own "flavor" by changing the notes as well...
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pianoman53
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 06:17:21 AM »

His ability as a pianist is clearly almost non-existing. However, he has  45.000 followers, millions of views of his channel. So he's apparently doing something right. The same with Lisitsa. Instead of only criticizing them, I think we should learn something from them.
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perfect_pitch
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 06:48:01 AM »

I got into an argument with him years ago about one of the pieces he was playing. He was emphasising the wrong grouping of notes (I think he was playing semiquavers as if they were 12/16, instead of semiquavers of a 3/4 time sign. and mentioned this to him. After apparently telling me this was the way the composer intended, and I corrected him (as I looked up the sheet music), he verbally abused me, and then started restricting the comments on his videos (after a number of people backed up my statement.

That pissed me off, but I got over it. What pisses me off now, is that he's taken sheet music from other sites (most likely IMSLP) and is CHARGING people for music that can rightfully be gotten for free from IMSLP. He slaps on a couple of extra fingering numbers and expects people to pay full price for someone else's edition??? What a rip-off artist. Proof???

His web-site: http://www.bachscholar.com/chopin-etudes/complete
IMSLP: http://javanese.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/7/70/IMSLP60297-PMLP01970-Chopin_Etudes_Schirmer_Mikuli_Op_25_scan.pdf

No offense... he seems like a rip-off artist charging for stuff that isn't his. I would probably join the bandwagon and say that his playing lacks finesse and substance, and emotion for that matter, which is a small matter compared to trying to rip off people for editions that aren't his.
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pytheamateur
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 11:12:42 AM »

Paul Barton's channel is much better.  He comes across as an unassuming person and I've learnt a lot from his tutorials.  I also prefer his Feurich to Bachscholar's Steinway.
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diomedes
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 12:02:24 PM »

If someone resells music accessible on public domain, and then does a video like that, well....

He should find other ways of "shining gods light through himself to the world". Never came across this clown until just now, sort of wish i didn't.
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schubert960
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 03:00:39 PM »

For anyone wanting clarification that this guy is a massive douchebag, have a look at the comments between him, Peter Johnson and Nelson Rex on this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBe-ePHCepU

The guy is a petulant child, a scam artist, a fraud, but above all a crap pianist. His wife seems to share these traits also, judging by her replies.


From your experience, perhaps you could show some comment/s you remember being deleted?


Just today I screenshotted a conversation I had with him and his wife that either he or she has since deleted because it wasn't wholly positive. A good musician is always learning - he's decided he doesn't need to learn anything because he's too good, when in actual fact I've seen twelve year olds who could outplay him.
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dcstudio
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2015, 04:28:56 PM »

So he's apparently doing something right. The same with Lisitsa.

 Smiley  now come on---you can say what you want about Valentina--but she's light years beyond that guy for sure...   you may disagree with her chosen manner of interpretation...but she's got chops for days...  and she's fun to watch... and she's pretty humble, for a concert pianist.

Bachscholar on the other hand... has all the immaturity and psychosis associated with great talented  people--except he's not great or talented... just delusional... and narcissistic to the point that it's kinda scary.
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cuberdrift
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2015, 04:43:14 PM »

Lol...I don't know if anyone here has ever thought of this but...maybe we should brainstorm an imaginary documentary or film about the mystery that is BachScholar.  Cool
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chopinlover01
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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2015, 09:04:37 PM »

Then send it to him! lol
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pianoman53
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2015, 09:23:11 PM »

Smiley  now come on---you can say what you want about Valentina--but she's light years beyond that guy for sure...   you may disagree with her chosen manner of interpretation...but she's got chops for days...  and she's fun to watch... and she's pretty humble, for a concert pianist.

Bachscholar on the other hand... has all the immaturity and psychosis associated with great talented  people--except he's not great or talented... just delusional... and narcissistic to the point that it's kinda scary.
Yes, I tend to enjoy music With an interpretation. Lisitsa seems to like without.

But my point was not that.  Clearly, if the world would be filled with concert pianists, neither valentina or Herr Scholar would be famous.
Not the world isn't, and they are famous.  Maybe it's an idea to advertise ourselves more?
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ronde_des_sylphes
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2015, 09:56:59 PM »

There's a world of difference between Lisitsa and BS. She has a fully-formed technique, but doesn't do much with it. BS, on the other hand, has a very mediocre (by professional standards) technique, and does nothing with it. The only people taking him seriously are gullible people, probably with some aspirations, who see someone they perhaps perceive as accessible. The day a professional critic takes him seriously I'll believe in miracles.
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dcstudio
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2015, 12:16:20 AM »



But my point was not that.  Clearly, if the world would be filled with concert pianists, neither valentina or Herr Scholar would be famous.
 

yeah yeah... and if if and buts were candies and nuts, brother we'd all have a merry christmas

lol

Valentina doesn't ask for money and tell you that God will Bless you if you give it to her....  she doesn't claim to be the best at anything... or try to sell you a method book... she speaks out more politically than in the music world.     She earns an honest buck by performing and recording...  she doesn't try to convince anyone that she can correct Liszt's errors on his transcriptions...  see what I am getting at...

she's not a #$%&-head.
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pytheamateur
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2015, 12:20:05 AM »

She is not mad.
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2015, 12:28:28 AM »

She is not mad.


to be quite honest I think she's nutty as a fruitcake... Grin  but in a nice way... LOL   

Bachscholar...  well there are just too many red flags there...  that's a serious personality disorder I fear...  seems like there is a whole lot of anger just below the surface--and he is in crisis right now... yikes.
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chopinlover01
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« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2015, 03:15:53 AM »

Part of me almost wants him to see these.. Just not while he's going through a financial crisis, lol.
Maybe somebody should post the other thread we made and say something like "thought you should know what people are saying" or something, lol.
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dcstudio
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« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2015, 04:16:00 AM »

Part of me almost wants him to see these.


it  would most likely only serve to further his delusion...  he would no doubt claim we were all just jealous of his amazing prowess at the piano...and we are all "out to get him" because of it.  The guy needs attention...his "daily supply" -- if he knew we were talking about him he would be happy about it...

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blackonwhite
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« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2015, 08:06:02 AM »

His playing is terrible I remember him arguing with a youtuber about how tendonitis forms he said you can go hours without stop and you won't develop tendonitis like he was some doctor. And Paul barton is amazing he know how to play the piano Bach Scholar is just a hypocrite and a charlatan
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chopinlover01
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« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2015, 08:49:16 AM »

it  would most likely only serve to further his delusion...  he would no doubt claim we were all just jealous of his amazing prowess at the piano...and we are all "out to get him" because of it.  The guy needs attention...his "daily supply" -- if he knew we were talking about him he would be happy about it...


It would be funny though, if he made an account to respond.
Anyone wanna send him this link? Any of the lurkers of piano street?
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schubert960
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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2015, 10:18:16 AM »

Unfortunately he perceives any negative comment about his playing as a personal attack on him. So either he would say "these people are merely jealous of my playing/fame/business, etc" or he'd suggest that the people on here are just attacking him out of malice because they've nothing better to do.

The simple fact of the matter is (and Cory, if you do end up reading this thread, take note especially of this) when we criticise his playing, nobody is trying to attack him personally. The comments about his conceit and his ego are definitely personal remarks, and maybe are unnecessary, but at least from me, when I comment on his playing I'm not attacking him personally. As I said, saying he's a scam artist, etc, is my opinion, and I will admit that is a personal remark. Anything I've said about his playing is not.

What's sad, is that if he were a little more humble, and he responded positively to critical comments, i.e. "Thanks for your remarks" or "I'll be sure to take this on board" he'd have a lot more respect within the piano community. The fact he believes the nonsense he perpetuates in his biography and has a huge ego is the reason many don't like him.
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schubert960
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« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2015, 10:20:50 AM »

Another gem from him - apologies for the second post but this had to be publicised:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vfr4fego3Q

Notice after the right hand starts, the rhythm of the left hand changes. Supposedly these polyrhythms are his "specialty," and he has released a substantial tutorial of about half an hour solely on how to play them.

Why is he releasing tutorials and teaching materials for things he can't do himself?  Shocked
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blackonwhite
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« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2015, 11:51:37 AM »

Listen to him play the last movement fugue from Barber's piano sonata and he just ruins it especially the coda its so overpedaled and blurred you cant make anything out, ruined a masterpiece. And just to top it off he disabled the comments I think we all know why.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AeoGMdXcfg
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rmbarbosa
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« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2015, 07:08:38 PM »

I cant listen anything played by Cory Hall. The same by Lisitska. She is technically very good but she has no soul, CH is zero.
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schubert960
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« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2015, 08:01:47 PM »

It would be funny though, if he made an account to respond.
Anyone wanna send him this link? Any of the lurkers of piano street?


Mr Scholar has been informed of this thread.

His response - "I am already very familiar with all those wannabe pianists on pianostreet bad mouthing me. One can say basically anything wants about anyone on the internet. Big deal."
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blackonwhite
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« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2015, 08:03:17 PM »

I somehow feel that he brought this on himself, I think the law suit is for fraud for all those crap scores he sold where he changed fingerings claiming there his additions and how he can sell whatever he wants if this is the case we shouldn't feel sorry for him.
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schubert960
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« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2015, 08:09:34 PM »

I somehow feel that he brought this on himself, I think the law suit is for fraud for all those crap scores he sold where he changed fingerings claiming there his additions and how he can sell whatever he wants if this is the case we shouldn't feel sorry for him.

This is where it gets interesting. BS has allegedly been sued by his wife's ex husband. The lawsuit is a family matter and not business-related. However, here are several things I don't understand.

1. Why would his wife's ex be suing Cory? Why wouldn't he sue her over personal family matters?
2. Cory suggests that there are battles of child custody over his wife's children (who are fathered by the ex Cory is being sued by.) He posted a video within which Cory's wife's children are crying, and this was supposedly proof that this man is an abusive father. My question - why would Cory and his wife move out of state, knowing that this allegedly abusive man had custody of her children, and because they moved out of state custody of the children was awarded to the ex-husband. Why move at all if it meant the children would be with this monster?
3. Why are Cory or his wife being sued at all? If these claims they're making against this ex husband are true, surely they should be suing him, not the other way around?

This all stinks a bit. I think Cory's been telling lies.
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blackonwhite
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« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2015, 06:27:05 AM »

This is where it gets interesting. BS has allegedly been sued by his wife's ex husband. The lawsuit is a family matter and not business-related.

Did not know that interesting I wonder how this will turn out.
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« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2015, 08:50:32 PM »

New fraud example he played kocsis stole it and claimed it was his arrangement
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UggEdzGglg Bachscholar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_OrA80NGBM Kocsis
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perfect_pitch
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« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2015, 01:04:28 AM »

Technically, he has omitted notes from the Kocsis version and simplified it (a little), so I don't know exactly how legal that is, but there are small differences. Not that I wish to side with him, but just so you know.

The differences again though, are almost infinitesimal.
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« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2015, 09:25:41 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC_kuhSdvdM

A recording of his appassionata from 1985. He plays with actual phrasing, it's worlds apart from his modern recordings. Either he got a whole lot worse or this recording is plagarised.
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dcstudio
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« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2015, 12:01:37 AM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC_kuhSdvdM

A recording of his appassionata from 1985. He plays with actual phrasing, it's worlds apart from his modern recordings. Either he got a whole lot worse or this recording is plagarised.

that doesn't sound like him..

I mean not even close...    that's  rather exciting and really, really, well done.   whoever it is.  wow...

if he could play like this I don't think anyone here would have any problem with him. 
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« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2015, 01:41:05 AM »

that doesn't sound like him..

I mean not even close...   


Yup, that's a completely different pianist, far greater dynamic range.

A cynic would say it's a semitone sharp because it's been shifted up to make it a bit harder to identify in Gracenote or similar software.
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outin
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« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2015, 03:19:49 AM »

Lets not be cynical and just conclude that it is possible to lose one's musicality in 20 years... His first YT videos are from 2008... Maybe his "research" in Bach made him into what he is now Wink
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« Reply #33 on: July 14, 2015, 02:31:06 PM »

Lets not be cynical and just conclude that it is possible to lose one's musicality in 20 years... His first YT videos are from 2008... Maybe his "research" in Bach made him into what he is now Wink


I must respectfully disagree...  being a lifer, myself who took a break here and there.


the thing about music is--if you leave for a while---when you come back you will naturally strive to get to the level you were at before---you know what if felt like--and you know what it sounded like... technical development stays with you.   it's possible for BS to have digressed THAT much... I suppose.. but if he did---why would he post that earlier recording?  How could he stand to listen to himself now?    it doesn't make sense.  Unless he is losing his hearing---and that is very possible...

 once you know what it feels like and sounds like to really play---it's kinda hard to forget.

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ronde_des_sylphes
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« Reply #34 on: July 14, 2015, 03:02:15 PM »

.. marked difference in technical prowess.

Indeed. The pianist on that recording is a "proper" pianist, with a much bigger technique and levels of dynamic gradation. Shifting it up a semitone would increase the tempo and vice versa, if done clumsily (nowadays it's quite easy to manipulate tempo or pitch without affecting the other). Incidentally, I don't think it's always up a full semitone, sometimes it sounds like it's moved by a little less and is just a bit sharp - in fairness that might well be consistent with it being an old tape. Just I don't think it's a tape of him, unless he's got about three or four levels worse in the intervening years! There's a telltale wrong bass note at about 1.08 and a sixth in the final chord, if anyone finds a likely matching recording. Sorry, but I don't have the time to resample it to correct the pitch then try to search online recordings via Gracenote Wink
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pytheamateur
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« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2015, 03:18:47 PM »

If he is really so sure of his playing now, why would he cheat and upload someone else's recording and pretending it to be his.
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« Reply #36 on: July 14, 2015, 03:52:36 PM »

Well, I could be charitable and say the Appassionata recording is his.

That leads to questions of style and expression regarding it, like:

In the slow movement, that recording does interesting things like microrubati and little rits to draw attention to phrase endings and points of structural importance. Phrases are consistently shaped in an expressive manner and attention is devoted to there being nuance in the performance.

Dotted rhythms are consistently articulated in a clean and crisp manner; likewise here the pedal usage is careful, discreet, and with a purpose.

Passagework is clean and almost entirely free from slovenly blurs.

As I said before, there is very clear and significant gradation of dynamics.

All the above are noticeable even despite the sonic distortion.

In the videos where he is clearly playing I observe none of the above plusses and regularly spot their polar opposites.

Hence I am forced to conclude that either they are not the same pianist, or that if they are, he has deteriorated markedly.
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« Reply #37 on: July 14, 2015, 03:55:00 PM »

If he is really so sure of his playing now, why would he cheat and upload someone else's recording and pretending it to be his.

I cannot begin to speculate as to his motives...

all I can say with any degree of surety is that-- after watching his videos and witnessing his rather stiff technique --the hands playing on the recording do not sound like his... additionally the advanced interpretation on the first recording is nonexistent in his more recent performances. 

I guess you can deteriorate that much--I have never seen it... but I guess it's possible...

however, it is equally possible that is not him.

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« Reply #38 on: July 14, 2015, 06:22:05 PM »

Put it this way - if he wants people to think he can play like that, and doesn't want people to think he's a fraud, why wouldn't he re-record it?

There's a recording of Gaspard which is plainly not him, either. I don't buy that someone could deteriorate that much in twenty years, even more so for someone who has supposedly been playing and teaching pretty much constantly in this time. I'll stick my neck out here and say there is absolutely no way someone could play the Scarbo like "he" does in the recording on his channel, and then twenty years later struggle hugely to play the Moonlight third movement.

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pytheamateur
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« Reply #39 on: July 14, 2015, 07:06:42 PM »

Put it this way - if he wants people to think he can play like that, and doesn't want people to think he's a fraud, why wouldn't he re-record it?

There's a recording of Gaspard which is plainly not him, either. I don't buy that someone could deteriorate that much in twenty years, even more so for someone who has supposedly been playing and teaching pretty much constantly in this time. I'll stick my neck out here and say there is absolutely no way someone could play the Scarbo like "he" does in the recording on his channel, and then twenty years later struggle hugely to play the Moonlight third movement.


Is the Scarbo just an audio recording, like the Appasionata.?  Yes, it's possible this guy is getting so desperate that he might resort to posting other's recordings.  If so, there must be something really wrong with him to think that we would not suspect anything.
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Beethoven - Sonata in C sharp minor, Op 27 No 12
Chopin - Fantasie Impromptu, Nocturn in C sharp minor, Op post
Brahms - Op 118, Nos 2 & 3
dcstudio
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« Reply #40 on: July 14, 2015, 07:20:15 PM »

there must be something really wrong with him

no doubt...

some people really equate their entire self-image to their ability to play their instrument...   it doesn't matter what they think of their own playing...it's about other's viewing them as some sort of  "super musician."   Most people evolve past that stage at some point...

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outin
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« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2015, 02:08:21 AM »

no doubt...

some people really equate their entire self-image to their ability to play their instrument...   it doesn't matter what they think of their own playing...it's about other's viewing them as some sort of  "super musician."   Most people evolve past that stage at some point...



But that still leaves the question: Why would he put up recordings with such superior playing on his YT account? Because they will only make his later recordings seem worse in comparison  Roll Eyes

Hypothetically it is possible to lose one's sense of things, including musical feeling, with mental health issues. I have seen a couple of artistic and interesting people become rigid and boring and losing their "gift" after they started medication for depression or bipolar disorder. Of course I am not saying anything about BS, so no use suing me Wink
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Pieces under work now: Franck op 18, Bach Sinfonia nr 9 and P&F a minor book 2.
Wait...no Scarlatti? Must add something soon...
dcstudio
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« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2015, 02:23:24 AM »

But that still leaves the question: Why would he put up recordings with such superior playing on his YT account? Because they will only make his later recordings seem worse in comparison  Roll Eyes

Hypothetically it is possible to lose one's sense of things, including musical feeling, with mental health issues. I have seen a couple of artistic and interesting people become rigid and boring and losing their "gift" after they started medication for depression or bipolar disorder. Of course I am not saying anything about BS, so no use suing me Wink

that's possible--medication...didn't consider that.
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schubert960
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« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2015, 11:05:52 PM »

I think we ought to be very careful about what we say about Mr Scholar, based upon the claims he makes in the comment section of his sixth anniversary video.

"At least I have no double chin and my biceps and thighs are two times more muscular than most men my height. My upper back (lats) is like a bodybuilders because I used to lift heavy weights for many years. I used to deadlift 300 pounds."

"I also was heavily into Shotokan Karate (the hard style) in my 30s, was great at sparring, and could beat people up and kick them in the face if I had to. But nowadays I don't do a whole lot of sports. I just like music and theology."

I'm so scared. Scared of a man who's so crippled by his own inferiority complex he has to flaunt his fighting prowess in the YouTube comments section.

What a loser.

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chopinlover01
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« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2015, 01:07:03 AM »

I think the fact that he's flaunting about how tough he is shows an insecurity about the size of a different muscle, myself.
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schubert960
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« Reply #45 on: July 16, 2015, 01:15:28 AM »

Yes, that did cross my mind, although I suppose the only one at liberty to comment on that would be his wife.

In other news, the fact that $6,500 has been raised to fund his legal problems is almost sickening. It's a fair way short of the $50,000 he wants but it's still quite a considerable amount of money. Probably more than he's made ripping off other people's scores and selling them as his own.
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dcstudio
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« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2015, 02:29:30 AM »

Hey guys...


it's probably time to stop the BS bashing, huh?  I am guilty as well...but I'm starting to feel kinda sorry for the guy.

he's just a bit misguided...and a little grandiose

I have been trying for years to understand why we as musicians can be so mean to each other sometimes...  why we get personally insulted by someone who thinks they are above their ability.  Why some of us will tear someone up we don't even know because they post a crappy version of a Beethoven sonata.... 

I understand that his particular case has a way of cheapening what we hold dear...but be that as it may...we really have no need to be so ...mean. 
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blackonwhite
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« Reply #47 on: July 18, 2015, 06:44:25 AM »

Hey guys...


it's probably time to stop the BS bashing, huh?  I am guilty as well...but I'm starting to feel kinda sorry for the guy.

he's just a bit misguided...and a little grandiose

I have been trying for years to understand why we as musicians can be so mean to each other sometimes...  why we get personally insulted by someone who thinks they are above their ability.  Why some of us will tear someone up we don't even know because they post a crappy version of a Beethoven sonata.... 

I understand that his particular case has a way of cheapening what we hold dear...but be that as it may...we really have no need to be so ...mean. 
He is right people, B.S is still a musician (albeit a arrogant and overrated one) we can't just say all this stuff about him we have to give him some shred of respect.
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The piano a string instrument controlled by means of percussion.
chopinlover01
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« Reply #48 on: July 18, 2015, 06:46:25 AM »

For me, the reason I rip on him is because he talks down to so many other people when he's awful himself.
It's one thing to be an arrogant musician, it's another to discourage other musicians. That, to me, is appalling.
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blackonwhite
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« Reply #49 on: July 18, 2015, 07:30:17 AM »

I think the fact that he's flaunting about how tough he is shows an insecurity about the size of a different muscle, myself.
What did you mean bye that.  Grin
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The piano a string instrument controlled by means of percussion.
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