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Russians that can play Scarlatti? (Read 1244 times)

Offline outin

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Russians that can play Scarlatti?
« on: December 05, 2015, 06:07:44 AM »
This morning I've just been relaxing on the coutch and enjoying Scarlatti...The great recordings of Ciccolini, Weissenberg, Michelangeli...Very fine ones by Tomsic, Lipatti, Perahia. Not too bad from Tipo, Haskill, Meyer...But then I tried to listen to some Russian pianists: Horowitch, Gilels, Plentnev...even found old recordings by Rachmaninoff and Moiseiwitch. And in comparison they all kinda suck... The best recording by a Russian was Subdin's but it's still a bit off compared to the really great ones.

So I ask you, are there any Russians who actually COULD/CAN play Scarlatti?

And yes, I know it can be considered a matter of taste, but mine is the only one that matters to me really ; )

PS. Please do recommend any other great recordings you know of :)

Offline rubinsteinmad

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #1 on: December 05, 2015, 06:20:19 PM »
Well, it's even harder finding an American who can play Scarlatti.


Offline rubinsteinmad

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #2 on: December 05, 2015, 06:23:54 PM »
Trifonov plays one Scarlatti Sonata very purely.
And I like Pletnev's. (But I prefer a delicate sound in Scarlatti.)

My favorite delicate Scarlatti recordings are by Yuja Wang, Claire Huangci.

Offline rubinsteinmad

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #3 on: December 05, 2015, 07:28:31 PM »
It's funny how Russians are the best at piano in general, but not necessarily at Scarlatti

Offline philolog

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #4 on: December 05, 2015, 08:29:16 PM »
As Horowitz's disc of Scarlatti sonatas is one of my favorites, I'm curious to know why you don't care for his approach.

The Rachmaninoff Scarlatti/Tausig recording (if that's the one you heard) is admittedly unorthodox, but if you can put aside any conceptions of how the music "should be played," I think you might grow to enjoy it. If nothing else, his control of dynamics and overall facility are worth hearing.

Whether any Russians will ever satisfy you in this repertoire, who can say? But just to try one more, I recently came across a Scarlatti recital on YouTube by Nina Milkina. I admit I didn't listen to most of the album, but I was impressed by what I heard.

Offline outin

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #5 on: December 06, 2015, 06:31:34 AM »
As Horowitz's disc of Scarlatti sonatas is one of my favorites, I'm curious to know why you don't care for his approach.

Maybe his personality and technique didn't really suit this music. There's a dragging feeling in it for me. I feel Scarlatti's music is always very forward oriented and his playing feels the opposite.  Like he's enjoying the beautiful tone of his notes a bit too much to let go :)

When it comes to pianists in general my objections are romantic influences, too heavy touch, too many liberties with rhythm, too little attention to the left hand. IMO the wonderful changes of atmosphere in his music should come out without effects that are more suitable to later music.

Of course it is also true that many of the pianists of the early 20th century did not have access to all the research we now have about the original scores and performance practices of the Baroque era. And probably the Russian teaching never focused much on Baroque music? So they play the music as they hear it, filtered through their background.

From his music I get the idea that Scarlatti was a rather pragmatic, live in the moment and move on type of a personality and this is reflected in his music. He wrote music that curiously just looks into what happens next instead of engaging in "deep" emotionality or philosophical/religious ponderings. That is why it appeals to me so much. Life is short and who cares really?

The Rachmaninoff recording was K9 BTW.

I will look into Milkina, thanks.

Offline philolog

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #6 on: December 06, 2015, 07:15:21 AM »
I agree with many of your comments about an overly Romantic, self-indulgent style and a heavy touch being detrimental to the spirit of the music, however I'm wondering if you've heard the disc I was referring to. On that album Horowitz plays many of the sonatas in a scintillating fashion with considerable forward movement and often exciting flair. Some of his concert performances on disc and as seen on YouTube are slow, rhythmically flexible and "inward," for sure, so I can see that they're not to everyone's taste.

As to being informed about Baroque practices, the liner notes for the original LP claim that Horowitz consulted extensively with Ralph Kirkpatrick while preparing to record as he wanted to be stylistically informed and "correct." Whether he achieved that you'll have to decide.

Perhaps you'll fare better with Milkina...




Offline shostglass

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #7 on: December 06, 2015, 07:45:01 AM »
I don't see why you don't like Pletnev's I personally like his recording of the Scarlatti sonata cause of the way he take some liberties and adds notes and trills to certain parts of the sonatas where it is suitable and i find his recording very clear especially the d minor sonata .

Offline outin

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #8 on: December 06, 2015, 09:56:15 AM »
I agree with many of your comments about an overly Romantic, self-indulgent style and a heavy touch being detrimental to the spirit of the music, however I'm wondering if you've heard the disc I was referring to. On that album Horowitz plays many of the sonatas in a scintillating fashion with considerable forward movement and often exciting flair. Some of his concert performances on disc and as seen on YouTube are slow, rhythmically flexible and "inward," for sure, so I can see that they're not to everyone's taste.

As to being informed about Baroque practices, the liner notes for the original LP claim that Horowitz consulted extensively with Ralph Kirkpatrick while preparing to record as he wanted to be stylistically informed and "correct." Whether he achieved that you'll have to decide.

Perhaps you'll fare better with Milkina...

From quick first listening not really...

I think I have all the studio recordings Horowitch made of Scarlatti. It is not easy to explain with words what I mean, I was not referring to tempo or lack of flair when I said they feel dragging. They are not as "wrong" as some other recordings I have heard, but they still don't appeal to me much and I must conclude it's because we must feel the music very differently.

There's certainly room for all these different interpretations. And of course my first post was a bit tongue-in-cheek. Just got tired of all the Chopin talk thas been dominating the forums lately... But seems that pianists coming from eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia) often play Scarlatti in a way I very much like, but not the Russians...Lack of mediterranian influence? ;)

Offline outin

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #9 on: December 06, 2015, 10:00:35 AM »
I don't see why you don't like Pletnev's I personally like his recording of the Scarlatti sonata cause of the way he take some liberties and adds notes and trills to certain parts of the sonatas where it is suitable and i find his recording very clear especially the d minor sonata .

He's playing makes me feel like seasick...clashes too much with my internal image of the music I guess. I wonder if I felt differently if I had never heard or studied this music before...

Offline rubinsteinmad

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #10 on: December 06, 2015, 05:00:35 PM »
Actually, I met a Russian from Moscow, and he was VERY strict on the baroque performance practices.


I guess it varies, just like with Americans. (But I assume Russians are more free than Americans in general?)

Offline rubinsteinmad

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Re: Russians that can play Scarlatti?
«Reply #11 on: December 06, 2015, 05:01:19 PM »
Anyways, I think liberties are good; music wasnt made for "correctness", it was made for beauty.