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Question: The piano music of Robert Schumann is...?
Unmitigated horsecrap and should be expunged from history
Generally poor
Generally good
One of the highest points of the 19th century

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stoudemirestat
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« Reply #50 on: September 18, 2016, 08:16:22 AM »

Perhaps they do it because there are still thousands of idiots that will buy it.

Thal

Very cynical. Even if this was the case, perhaps they would play other things that they enjoy that thousands of people would buy. The Schumann is hardly the most popular piece in the repertoire, and there's plenty of works to choose from that sell even better.
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ronde_des_sylphes
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« Reply #51 on: September 18, 2016, 08:20:34 AM »

Ronde happens to be a world class pianist in my estimation. 

That's very nice of you to say so, but it's not really true. I've worked hard, but remain a bit untidy at times. However, my background is vaguely relevant to my next point.


Do you guys really think that so many great artists play the Schumann PC because history told them to, rather than because they really, really like it? If they didn't wouldn't they just play the many other pieces that history has deemed worthy that they find more agreeable?

Not talking about the Schumann concerto here, more about canonical repertoire. I believe that people who become pianists through the conventional route are subtly conditioned and directed towards certain, more or less fixed, notions about what the greatest music is. It is very rare, I suspect, that academia encourages scrutiny of its sacred cows and asks pertinent questions like 'WHY are the Liszt etudes greater than the Liapunov etudes?' or even, heaven forfend, 'why is the Schumann concerto greater than the Henselt?'. The result is a rather ossified construction of what is 'great music'. Perhaps because my training has been, to put it mildly, unconventional my judgments are made according to my own artistic credo. It is of course also susceptible to its own inherent biases, but at least I'm aware they exist. I think there is an insidious intellectual laziness in blithely accepting 'received wisdom', not of course that we all have time to sit around re-evaluating the full corpus of piano literature.
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stoudemirestat
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« Reply #52 on: September 18, 2016, 08:34:26 AM »

That's very nice of you to say so, but it's not really true. I've worked hard, but remain a bit untidy at times. However, my background is vaguely relevant to my next point.

Not talking about the Schumann concerto here, more about canonical repertoire. I believe that people who become pianists through the conventional route are subtly conditioned and directed towards certain, more or less fixed, notions about what the greatest music is. It is very rare, I suspect, that academia encourages scrutiny of its sacred cows and asks pertinent questions like 'WHY are the Liszt etudes greater than the Liapunov etudes?' or even, heaven forfend, 'why is the Schumann concerto greater than the Henselt?'. The result is a rather ossified construction of what is 'great music'. Perhaps because my training has been, to put it mildly, unconventional my judgments are made according to my own artistic credo. It is of course also susceptible to its own inherent biases, but at least I'm aware they exist. I think there is an insidious intellectual laziness in blithely accepting 'received wisdom', not of course that we all have time to sit around re-evaluating the full corpus of piano literature.

I agree with you, to an extent. I don't think this reaches as far as hundreds of recordings being made despite not much real admiration for a piece though...especially as when musicians get to a certain level they are generally proficient at analyzing for themselves. Perhaps I'm naive...but I know many people who simply LOVE this piece, and comments like some of those in this thread always confound and vex me. They seem disrespectful toward lovers of this music as well as toward the musicians who play it.

As for my stance on the piece: I like it quite a lot. I'm seeing Nelson Freire play it live in Sydney next week and am greatly looking forward to it!
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ronde_des_sylphes
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« Reply #53 on: September 18, 2016, 08:59:21 AM »

Equally (and I'm definitely a Lisztian at heart) the 1st Liszt concerto has been recorded umpteen times, and really it's quite trashy. Well-written, but too much tinsel and glitter. There's a self-perpetuating process with famous music. People should make up their own minds. It would be interesting to conduct a blind listening experiment where people are asked to rate two different pieces of music, without commentary, then asked to rate them but after being told 'x is famous, y is not' and I bet it would skew results (probably there would be a correlation pertaining to the subjects' attitude to authority) but of course I'm speculating a bit here.
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stoudemirestat
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« Reply #54 on: September 18, 2016, 12:08:08 PM »

Equally (and I'm definitely a Lisztian at heart) the 1st Liszt concerto has been recorded umpteen times, and really it's quite trashy. Well-written, but too much tinsel and glitter. There's a self-perpetuating process with famous music. People should make up their own minds. It would be interesting to conduct a blind listening experiment where people are asked to rate two different pieces of music, without commentary, then asked to rate them but after being told 'x is famous, y is not' and I bet it would skew results (probably there would be a correlation pertaining to the subjects' attitude to authority) but of course I'm speculating a bit here.

I agree that people should make their own minds. I disagree with how most people in this thread have expressed their opinion. 95% is "it's not good," "really it's quite trashy" rather than "I don't find it very interesting" or even the same thing with some qualification "I find that it's quite trashy." I know people will say it's obvious that it's just opinion, but why is it even necessary to phrase these things like this? Is there snobbishness and bigotry behind it? Not always, but I feel that there often is. If there wasn't, why would it even happen? Perhaps it's just my problem: these kind of absolute statements simply don't make sense to me and cause a little discomfort.
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ronde_des_sylphes
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« Reply #55 on: September 18, 2016, 12:34:04 PM »

I disagree with how most people in this thread have expressed their opinion. 95% is "it's not good," "really it's quite trashy" rather than "I don't find it very interesting" or even the same thing with some qualification "I find that it's quite trashy." I know people will say it's obvious that it's just opinion, but why is it even necessary to phrase these things like this? Is there snobbishness and bigotry behind it? Not always, but I feel that there often is.

I'm unsure it's not just laziness; I certainly don't always preface such commentary with "imho", or whatever qualifier. In any case it's clearly unwise to present opinion as fact, so I'll make clear that anything I've said here is purely opinion. But much of musical criticism risks this issue: when there are questions which can be resolved objectively (rather than subjectively) relating to music or performance they are usually, I would have thought, fairly trivial ones. It's amusing how much artistic criticism (once one strips away the flowery, self-justificatory prose) boils down to "I like it" / "it's good" or "I don't like it" / "it's bad".
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thalbergmad
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« Reply #56 on: September 18, 2016, 03:46:54 PM »

I believe that people who become pianists through the conventional route are subtly conditioned and directed towards certain, more or less fixed, notions about what the greatest music is. It is very rare, I suspect, that academia encourages scrutiny of its sacred cows and asks pertinent questions like 'WHY are the Liszt etudes greater than the Liapunov etudes?' or even, heaven forfend, 'why is the Schumann concerto greater than the Henselt?'.

Very sensible and no doubt there is more than a grain of truth in what you say. In addition, what about concert goers and listeners who go through the conventional route. Do they consider certain works to be great because of what some shitforbrains critic says in a review, or because they have made there own judgement through years of experience with varied repertoire.

If someone thinks the Schumann concerto is a masterpiece, then so be it. But I hope that is not because they have read it somewhere, not because their listening is restricted and not because some fossilized narrow minded teacher told them that it was.

The comparison between the Henselt and the Schumann is interesting as they were both finished within a short period of time of each other. It is completely beyond me how anyone could say the Schumann is the greater work.

Thal
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« Reply #57 on: September 18, 2016, 04:37:51 PM »

I adore the Henselt Concerto - to me it is the greatest piano concerto not in the regular repertoire. Of course it is horrendously difficult..


I wish this clip was longer - it's oddly, even hilariously, pertinent.
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ahinton
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« Reply #58 on: September 19, 2016, 07:04:38 AM »

Perhaps they do it because there are still thousands of idiots that will buy it.
I continue to wonder why Argerich still keeps playing it.

Anyway, http://www.hektoeninternational.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1749:schubert-schumann-and-the-spirochete&catid=77&Itemid=716

Best,

Alistair
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Alistair Hinton
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stoudemirestat
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« Reply #59 on: September 19, 2016, 11:04:09 AM »


Well Argerich is on the record saying that Schumann is her favourite composer. To me this, combined with the Piano Concerto generally being considered to be one of his most important (and often being among his most loved) works, is enough to answer this question for me. But again, perhaps I'm naive, or perhaps she does indeed love the work but only because of her conventional experiences and conditioning. I can't bring myself even close to believing this stuff but I will allow my mind to open regarding the possibility.
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stoudemirestat
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« Reply #60 on: September 19, 2016, 11:07:17 AM »


The comparison between the Henselt and the Schumann is interesting as they were both finished within a short period of time of each other. It is completely beyond me how anyone could say the Schumann is the greater work.

Thal

Different strokes for different folks has a lot to do with it IMO. I say we stop with this problematic concept of greatness and just accept that we're all different, and that certain kinds of expression work better for some than for others.
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ahinton
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« Reply #61 on: September 19, 2016, 11:14:25 AM »

Well Argerich is on the record saying that Schumann is her favourite composer. To me this, combined with the Piano Concerto generally being considered to be one of his most important (and often being among his most loved) works, is enough to answer this question for me. But again, perhaps I'm naive, or perhaps she does indeed love the work but only because of her conventional experiences and conditioning. I can't bring myself even close to believing this stuff but I will allow my mind to open regarding the possibility.
The problem with Argerich's public repertoire is that it is so frustratingly small and she plays the same handful of concertos over and over again, including the Schumann. The concerto may be popular but it's one of his weaker works without a doubt; there's a fair amount of music among his immense solo repertoire that's far more engaging than this half-hearted, clunky and somewhat vacuous concerto.

Best,

Alistair
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« Reply #62 on: September 19, 2016, 12:13:20 PM »

The problem with Argerich's public repertoire is that it is so frustratingly small and she plays the same handful of concertos over and over again, including the Schumann. The concerto may be popular but it's one of his weaker works without a doubt; there's a fair amount of music among his immense solo repertoire that's far more engaging than this half-hearted, clunky and somewhat vacuous concerto.

Best,

Alistair
+1
I also don't understand given fascination with his work why not also put op 92 and op 134 into rotation. I'm pretty much in the 'never Schumann" crowd personally, again mainly in the solo piano music, but if i have to sit through an collaborative work, at least he had the decency to keep this one short.
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thalbergmad
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« Reply #63 on: September 19, 2016, 12:34:17 PM »

Well Argerich is on the record saying that Schumann is her favourite composer. To me this, combined with the Piano Concerto generally being considered to be one of his most important (and often being among his most loved) works, is enough to answer this question for me.

Am I reading this correctly?. Are you saying that because Schumann is Agerich's favourite composer and the piano concerto is generally considered to be one of his most loved works that this is sufficient for you to think the same??

Thal
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ahinton
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« Reply #64 on: September 19, 2016, 01:27:59 PM »

Am I reading this correctly?. Are you saying that because Schumann is Agerich's favourite composer and the piano concerto is generally considered to be one of his most loved works that this is sufficient for you to think the same??
I cannot speak for another member, but Argerich's "favourite composer" - whatever she might say on that vexed and impossible subject at any time -  is surely the one whose music she's playing at any given time. It does seem as though that concerto is indeed one of Schumann's best loved works but this is something that I have never understood, not least because so much of it appears to be padding of something not worth padding in the first place, rather as some of Schubert seems to consist of repeating things that weren't worth saying in the first place.

Best,

Alistair
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Alistair Hinton
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« Reply #65 on: September 19, 2016, 01:50:22 PM »

... not least because so much of it appears to be padding of something not worth padding in the first place, rather as some of Schubert seems to consist of repeating things that weren't worth saying in the first place.

Best,

Alistair
all the more understandable then the error they made in putting Schumann's face n a stamp with Schubert's music in the background
 Grin
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stoudemirestat
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« Reply #66 on: September 20, 2016, 02:53:20 AM »

Am I reading this correctly?. Are you saying that because Schumann is Agerich's favourite composer and the piano concerto is generally considered to be one of his most loved works that this is sufficient for you to think the same??

Thal

Sorry for being unclear. I was just giving my answer as to why Argerich keeps playing the piece: most likely because she loves it. I wasn't saying anything about why I like the piece: I'm with you as far as finding it ridiculous to like/claim you like something just because of It being suggested, in any way, that you should.
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mjames
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« Reply #67 on: September 20, 2016, 02:56:23 AM »

I actually prefer the Schumann over Henselt. Whilst Schumann may be boring to listen to, the Henselt is just pure trash. Speaking of Henselt, his output is so uneven - even more so than Schumann's. In one hand you have gems like the op. 2 etudes on the other hand you have boring, trashy, unimaginative salon garbage or meaningless acrobatics like the concerto. I mean since we're trashing composers, I felt the need to express that history wasn't wrong about letting Henselt's scores gather dust.

Oops.
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stoudemirestat
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« Reply #68 on: September 20, 2016, 03:00:01 AM »

The problem with Argerich's public repertoire is that it is so frustratingly small and she plays the same handful of concertos over and over again, including the Schumann. The concerto may be popular but it's one of his weaker works without a doubt; there's a fair amount of music among his immense solo repertoire that's far more engaging than this half-hearted, clunky and somewhat vacuous concerto.

Best,

Alistair

To you.

I find it to be one of his many highly engaging works.
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mjames
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« Reply #69 on: September 20, 2016, 03:30:34 AM »

I refuse to even push the play button. Time has taught me that you cannot polish a turd and not even the greatest of pianists can extract what is not there in the first place.

The popularity of this garbage is one of the great mysteries in classical music. Perhaps those that love it have never heard the immeasurably superior Henselt F minor, the Thalberg, The Norbert Burgmuller, the Kalkbrenner 4th, Sterndale Bennett 4th, the Dohler, the Dreyschock Concertstuck, the Kullak and lord knows how many others written in the same timeframe.


With the exception of the Dreyshock and Kalkbrenner, all the other works are just as crap. I mean the Thalberg? I mean the Schumann is boring, but at least it's not the Thalberg concerto; which is not only boring, but incompetent and uninspiring. I mean if I were to base a composer's skills off of one work, I would have written Thalberg as a talentless schmuck. Thank god he stuck to paraphrases.
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« Reply #70 on: September 20, 2016, 04:49:51 AM »

To you.
To me indeed, although I'm far from alone in this; I was not aiming to provide the opinions of any others!

I find it to be one of his many highly engaging works.
You may - but how engaging do you find it compared to the best of Schumann?

Best,

Alistair
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thalbergmad
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« Reply #71 on: September 20, 2016, 05:14:26 AM »

With the exception of the Dreyshock and Kalkbrenner, all the other works are just as crap. I mean the Thalberg? I mean the Schumann is boring, but at least it's not the Thalberg concerto; which is not only boring, but incompetent and uninspiring. I mean if I were to base a composer's skills off of one work, I would have written Thalberg as a talentless schmuck. Thank god he stuck to paraphrases.

At least you have listened to them and that is all one can ask.

Thal
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« Reply #72 on: September 20, 2016, 03:47:48 PM »

With the exception of the Dreyshock and Kalkbrenner, all the other works are just as crap. I mean the Thalberg? I mean the Schumann is boring, but at least it's not the Thalberg concerto; which is not only boring, but incompetent and uninspiring. I mean if I were to base a composer's skills off of one work, I would have written Thalberg as a talentless schmuck. Thank god he stuck to paraphrases.

I love the Henselt. The Dreyschock is OK and better than I first expected. I have a soft spot for the rondo of the Kalkbrenner. I'm not terribly enamoured of the Thalberg. I found the Burgmuller rather dull. On the other hand if I was constructing my list of best ten operatic paraphrases not by Liszt the Thalberg La Sonnambula would be in there. It might still get in even if it was my top ten of all operatic paraphrases.
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thalbergmad
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« Reply #73 on: September 20, 2016, 05:49:53 PM »

I would like to make it clear that i was referring to the Dreyschock Concertstuck, not the concerto.

Thal
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« Reply #74 on: September 20, 2016, 06:12:47 PM »

on the topic of Kalkbrenner, his star pupil Camille Stamaty (would go on to be teacher to Gottschalk and Saint Saens) , wrote a piano concerto in A minor, I would venture to say would make a great 'comparo' vs the Schumann. Anyone know if it's been recorded? Have known about it (composed roughly about same period in 1835 vs Schumann was 1845).

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thalbergmad
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« Reply #75 on: September 21, 2016, 05:10:30 AM »

I don't think the score or even a reduction has been found old chap.

Thal
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« Reply #76 on: September 21, 2016, 05:41:45 AM »

I want more early romantic "style brillante" concertos...
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« Reply #77 on: September 21, 2016, 08:12:37 AM »

I don't think the score or even a reduction has been found old chap.
Well, if it had, I'm sure that you'd be the first to know about it - or even the finder himself!

Best,

Alistair
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« Reply #78 on: September 21, 2016, 12:39:06 PM »

I did ask the chap who found the Moszkowski to have a hunt through the archives of the BNF, but nothing came of it.

Thal
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« Reply #79 on: September 21, 2016, 01:02:02 PM »

I don't think the score or even a reduction has been found old chap.

Thal

I did ask the chap who found the Moszkowski to have a hunt through the archives of the BNF, but nothing came of it.

Thal
shame. i imagine it would be good. really good. orders of magnitude better than Bobby's.

perhaps it will turn up someday, hopefully wasn't lost in some library bombing during the war or something, then again lost concertos have a way or reappearing, ie Medins, Kletzki, etc.


I did somewhat enjoy a few spots during  a listen to Clara's though. Also in A minor, but her Bobby had a I believe a lot of input on this so it suffers some of the hallmarks of the weaker A minor he did, but still I almost rather like this, ALMOST. there's a lot of things that remind me too much of why I dislike Bobby's
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« Reply #80 on: September 21, 2016, 02:03:46 PM »

If I were to go back in time I would have made Clara get together with Chopin instead of Schumann. And since he was impotent, she'd have enough time to develop her skills as a composer instead of wasting her time raising kids. Grin

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