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Leif Ove Andsnes - Beethoven takes you by the hand
There are apparently some pianists who, despite the anniversary, are not devoting them exclusively to Beethoven this year. Anyway, with his Beethoven Journey project, Leif Ove Andsnes has already done his bit, making one of the most beautiful recordings of the piano concertos. For Andsnes, Mozart is currently uppermost on the agenda, even if there is also plenty of Beethoven being played at his festival too. Time for another conversation with the Norwegian master pianist. Read more >>

Topic: What were entrance examinations for the Moscow Conservatory like around 1900?  (Read 864 times)

Offline obbligato

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Anybody knows if certain sets of pieces were used, and if they have still survived?

Offline lelle

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I don't know what pieces were used for the entrance examinations, but the following interview with Rachmaninoff, no less, gives some insight into the level of technical proficiency instilled in the students in Russia around 1910 https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56b6571aab48de30047cb8f7/t/57c23cb4f5e231b32aa66c95/1472347317238/Rachmaninoff+interview%2C+Etude.pdf

Offline rmchenry

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Hi lelle, thank you for posting this incredible interview with Rachmaninov.
Over the last few days I've been catching up on the 18th Chopin competition somewhat belatedly due to the general stresses of dealing with Covid.
A recording on Deutsche Grammophon has been released of Bruce Liu, the winner.
I have to say I was completely underwhelmed. It is said of pornography that it is difficult to define but perfectly obvious when you see it.
Likewise, great Chopin playing is difficult to define but very obvious when you hear it and I heard it very little in the competitors I've so far listen to including the winner.
Okay, I'm in my 70s and grew up with the 20th century pianists. The first piano recital I ever heard, in my late teens was none other than Artur Rubinstein. His playing of the G minor Ballade remains etched in my mind to this day. Over the years I managed to go to concerts with many of the greats. Pollini, Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Gilels Arrau and Berman to name a few. I also have a vast collection of recordings from the great pianists.
So I constantly ask myself am I just being old and crotchety and set in my ways to the extent that I can only appreciate playing as it was in the 20th century or whether there really is a deficiency in current playing.
Two pieces in Piano Street recently make me think that my generally poor views of current pianists are correct. The first is from the recent pod cast on the life of Franz Liszt by Alan Walker. Alan notes that at age 35 Liszt went away from the concert hall and spent time developing his musical abilities. Alan, somewhat wryly, observed that he wished many of the current pianists would do the same thing!
The second thing is this extraordinary interview by Rachmaninov which, in my opinion, the current school of virtuoso pianists could do well to study.
Sorry about the rant.


Offline lelle

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Glad you enjoyed the interview!

Okay, I'm in my 70s and grew up with the 20th century pianists. The first piano recital I ever heard, in my late teens was none other than Artur Rubinstein. His playing of the G minor Ballade remains etched in my mind to this day. Over the years I managed to go to concerts with many of the greats. Pollini, Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Gilels Arrau and Berman to name a few. I also have a vast collection of recordings from the great pianists.
So I constantly ask myself am I just being old and crotchety and set in my ways to the extent that I can only appreciate playing as it was in the 20th century or whether there really is a deficiency in current playing.

Well, I'm 28 and I wholeheartedly agree with you. There is so much modern playing that either doesn't grab me or that I simply can't stand. I sometimes click up popular performances or winners of the Chopin competition but it's simply not my taste. Compare that to pianists from the "Golden Age", or with a direct relationship to that age, of which there are many that have recorded performances I absolutely love. Cortot, Rubinstein, Annie Fischer, Richter, Barenboim...

Offline gipsypiano

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Thank you S. Rachmaninoff.
Music is no museum piece but the base for more creativity.
If I was a composer I would be annoyed if everybody just repeated exactely what I wrote, it would be such a sad thing and I would love creative musiciens to take my music as an idea to make some maybe better and more interesting stuff from it but wait a moment-
I do create music, so maybe I am composer as well who knows.
So please improve what I created, I love that idea.

Offline lelle

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Thank you S. Rachmaninoff.
Music is no museum piece but the base for more creativity.
If I was a composer I would be annoyed if everybody just repeated exactely what I wrote, it would be such a sad thing and I would love creative musiciens to take my music as an idea to make some maybe better and more interesting stuff from it but wait a moment-
I do create music, so maybe I am composer as well who knows.
So please improve what I created, I love that idea.

I agree. I am happy to have composed a little in my past. It teaches you what a limited medium sheet music is for communicating the full extent of your ideas. It's helped me feel open the reading between the lines in the score and doing things I enjoy, while still trying to stay true to the emotions the music evokes for me.
 

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