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Interesting rubato (Read 1206 times)

Offline distantfieldrelative

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Interesting rubato
« on: March 17, 2016, 07:26:24 PM »
Welcome to another one of my rants. I'm glad you came to read nonsensical opinions of an old bat. I was listening to great pianists of the past and comparing them with famous pianists of the now and the difference in the choice and use of rubato is stunning. The older pianists are more spontaneous and more lively? (For lack of a better word). The new ones however seem to have everything planned out. I imagine them painstakingly reading the scores plotting out every single feature and movement of their performance down to the last hair of the person in the last row.

I was also listening to Neil DeGrasa Tyson and I realized that pianists like Cortot play like Neil speaks.
Neil is able to make Astrophysics interesting for even geologists. He stops and starts and slows and gets louder and whispers in the most spontaneous way possible and people are captivated by him. I remember hearing and reading from pianist like Chopin to Barenboim that we should play the instrument like we are speaking or telling a story.

We should do this in an interesting way, no? Then perhaps the pianists of long ago had it right. If we play like Neil speaks: taking Liberty as we see fit. juxtapose to how Siri speaks: according to a very specific set of rules then we would make our art more interesting.

I'm not saying we should abandon the rules. Just ignore them.

Best.
Sometimes I can only groan and suffer and pour out my despair at the piano.

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Interesting rubato
«Reply #1 on: March 18, 2016, 02:01:44 AM »
Quite so.  And your comparison is rather apt -- Dr. Tyson has something to say.  He's not reading off the teleprompter; he knows his stuff (I don't always agree with the man, but that's another story) and he is sincere.

Some of the older pianists you mention were... older.  When they were playing.  And they, too, had something to say through their music.  Many of the younger pianists I hear today are indeed well planned, and rehearsed to the max.  And play like machines... like, in fact, Siri speaks!  Perhaps given time they will gain something to say, and be able to say it through their music.  One can hope.

Remember Rubinstein's quote: one should never attempt to play a Chopin Nocturne until one has been deeply in love with someone!
Ian

Offline distantfieldrelative

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Re: Interesting rubato
«Reply #2 on: March 18, 2016, 02:53:23 AM »
This is entirely off topic but I would like to apologize to Jeeves. I feel hypocritical for being so opposed to your attempt of envisioning Beethoven in a different way.

Anyway. That Rubenstein quote was spot on. The overall point I think young pianists can glean from it being: Don't spend all day in the practice room; you will have nothing to say about life when you do not experience it.

Best.
Sometimes I can only groan and suffer and pour out my despair at the piano.

Offline andrewcorrea

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Re: Interesting rubato
«Reply #3 on: March 18, 2016, 06:33:28 PM »
Hi!
 I think it's very much what you guys said! Maria Joao Pires talk about it, there is a documentary in youtube "Technique doesn't exist Maria Joao Pires piano". I think this affirmative is quite problematic to a lot of ears, but in somewhere deep down, we all believe in it. In matter of fact, this all discussion is about personal touch. Some fellas may say Rubinstein were not a really rubato guy after all, even being old school. And  Lang Lang, being young, is an interesting example of rubato guy nowadays.. Well, I think i'm not adding anything  to the discussion you don't know yet, so I will stop by now and wait others to comment here!

Brgds,
Andrew

Offline distantfieldrelative

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Re: Interesting rubato
«Reply #4 on: March 18, 2016, 06:49:19 PM »
I remember that documentary. Unfortunately I have not seen all of it but I did enjoy what I did see.
It is from my point of view fair to say that Rubenstein was very careful with his rubato and that Lang Lang may be too gracious with it. Certainly there are times I wish that Artur would let it have a longer leash and there are times I think Lang should pull it back a little but of course everyone has a different preference and a reason for having that preference.

I think Lang is going in the right direction; but I have deep respect for Artur.
Does anyone else have an opinion? Even if it's a stupid one we won't bite.

Best.
Sometimes I can only groan and suffer and pour out my despair at the piano.

Offline rmbarbosa

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Re: Interesting rubato
«Reply #5 on: March 18, 2016, 07:31:48 PM »
In my humble opinion, I think there`s sometimes an overuse of rubato. Also I think that nowadays performers are sometimes very mechanical. They dont "talk", they "run"... a good example is Valentina Lisitska. Sometimes she plays like she is a cowboy and the piano a horse. An incredible technique, but some lack of heart and soul.
The older pianists were more spontaneous. Yes, there are rules. But like in life, the rules are made to be forgotten sometimes...
Once I saw Rubinstein playing 2 times. The first day he was euphoric, he let his hands flyind down to the keyboard. He was brilliant! next day, the same concert... and he was so in peace! But so brilliant too...
As my mother was a distinct pianist and knew him I could ask him why those two wso different kinds of play the same music. And he anserwered me with a smile: "even Chopin never played the same thing the same way"...

Offline distantfieldrelative

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Re: Interesting rubato
«Reply #6 on: March 18, 2016, 08:31:23 PM »
I really think that two of the large reasons that there is more"academic correctness" instead of spontanaity and actual feeling or emotion are composition and improvisation.

Composing brings the pianist into the world in the same way the composer they are playing. We can start to understand deeper and more than we did before we were composers as well.
A marvelous thing composition is.

And improvisation of course is made of creativity. The best pianists were also fantastic improvisors: Liszt,Chopin,Bach,Beethoven,Mozart,Tatum. How can this be disregarded? It is not! At least not by those who know what they are doing.

Thus I believe that a pianist must be able to improvise and compose in order to be an outstanding pianist.

Best.
Sometimes I can only groan and suffer and pour out my despair at the piano.

Offline mjames

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Re: Interesting rubato
«Reply #7 on: March 18, 2016, 09:03:33 PM »
I sort of agree with you however I'm sort of glad the current tradition is more accepted because people misunderstand spontaneity and individualism with erratic and nonsensical playing.

Exhibit A:



I think the current tradition forces classical pianists to be more subtle in regards to their individualism...

At the same time I do enjoy the more crazy aspects of late romanticism performance but only from a historical perspective. Fanny Bloomfield for example, overuses her rubato waaay too much but unlike Lang Lang, her musical lines actually connect and don't just function as some random "spur of the moment" gimmick the way it does in Lang Lang's performances.

What I would appreciate is more improvisation during performances. A good example of this would be Jorge Bolet's and Cortot's recordings of Chopin's Op. 55 no.1 They add in so much ornamentation! Would be blasphemy in modern day perfomance.
Composing/improvising

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4

Offline distantfieldrelative

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Re: Interesting rubato
«Reply #8 on: March 18, 2016, 09:19:46 PM »
Well put. Using rubato musically like Fanny is very different from misunderstanding and using it randomly like Lang. I think in time he will realize how to speak through the piano and then his rubato will be truly musical.

We need more pianists who defy tradition. Like the Korean lass who plays Bach "Like Debussy" as my friends put it.

Yes, I understand your point. Perhaps it is better that tradition is the dominate force at the moment in order to preserve the art until a generation who understands can do it justice with their new ideas.

Still a shame when great pianist are shunned or talked down to for playing as if they were born in 1840.
Sometimes I can only groan and suffer and pour out my despair at the piano.