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Topic: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?  (Read 7078 times)

Offline Derek

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Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
on: June 03, 2005, 11:11:12 PM
I have two recordings of Liszt's transcendental etudes now, Jorges Bolet and Claudio Arrau. I find Arrau's playing much more enjoyable. I prefer Arrau's playing of Chopin over Ashkenazys, as well. Claudio Arrau is just awesome I guess. Any fellow fans?

Oh MY! (this is an edit) Arrau's playing of Wild Jagd leaves Bolet in the DUST! wow...

OH MY GOD (this is another edit) I'm listening to his Un Sospiro now. Arrau positively slays me. I want a biography of him.

Offline abe

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #1 on: June 03, 2005, 11:24:40 PM
He's very good--I have his Liszt etudes as well. I don't have any other recordings of these etudes to compare by, but I enjoy his performances very much. Although I have heard a much faster feux follets than his...

Does he specialize in any certain composer/genre?
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Offline Derek

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #2 on: June 03, 2005, 11:27:12 PM
I have no idea if he specialises. I suppose its just personal taste but I vastly prefer things played a bit slower than normal. This has been true my whole life---I remember hearing recordings of beethoven's 5th symphony that I thought were too fast. (before I was really a classical aficianado or musician)

Offline steinwayguy

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #3 on: June 03, 2005, 11:30:57 PM
Arrau specializes in pretty much everything. He had a repertoire comparable, if not greater than, Richter's. Among these, I think his Beethoven, Mozart and Liszt, to name a few, are his best.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #4 on: June 03, 2005, 11:32:34 PM
Arrau has to be one of my favorite pianists. I was told by a concert pianist who knew Arrau personally a story about when he heard a young kid play the Feux follets Etude. He was so depressed that a younger pianist could do couple notes so fast and well that he had to develop his own technique to deal with them. It had to do with circles in the hand.

There are many recordings faster than him in that piece, but I don't believe speed = good in that. It is hard to get the speed, but it doesn;t make things sound any better imo. I really like the speed Arrau plays it at. If you ever hear him play Bach you will also be very impressed.
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Offline abe

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #5 on: June 03, 2005, 11:48:38 PM
I repent for mentioning Arrau's speed on Feux Follet. I didn't really mean it as criticism. Lol, I have to keep reminding myself that concert pianists of this caliber really do have the facility to play whatever tempo they like, and that is not always the fastest they actually can play. I have a bad habit of sometimes judging pianists far better than I on how fast they play things, particularly etudes. Bad me.
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Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #6 on: June 04, 2005, 04:33:56 AM

OH MY GOD (this is another edit) I'm listening to his Un Sospiro now. Arrau positively slays me. I want a biography of him.

There is a book, where his biography is told in his own words in interviews with Joseph Horowitz, called "Arrau on Music and Performance," published by Dover. 

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Offline Kassaa

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #7 on: June 04, 2005, 05:12:33 AM
His Chopin is very good, but I rather dislike his Beethoven.


Btw, Arrau was the teacher of my teachers teacher. :)

Offline upright

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #8 on: June 04, 2005, 11:44:20 AM
I like Arrau's piano sound. His Chopin recordings with Philips have one of the best engineering ever. He does play slow sometimes but he has the genius to play slow. Whereas when Zimerman plays slow for example, it does not always seem natural. For Beethoven I prefer Kempff and Serkin. Arrau should be heard in Chopin and Liszt.

Offline Derek

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #9 on: June 04, 2005, 12:31:50 PM
Are his Beethoven sonatas a bit slower as well? If so I shall have to check it out.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #10 on: June 04, 2005, 07:47:46 PM
Are his Beethoven sonatas a bit slower as well? If so I shall have to check it out.
I have his recording of the "Waldstein" Sonata and have to say it is too slow for my liking.

His Chopin is wonderful.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #11 on: June 05, 2005, 01:42:30 AM
I like Arrau's piano sound. His Chopin recordings with Philips have one of the best engineering ever.
I have the Phillips recordings of Arrau's 12 Transcendentale etudes. The music is amazing, fantastic, brilliant, but.... the stupid clicking of Arrau's rings can be heard throughout. And you can hear him breathing and humming, of course its not loud, you have to turn up the music to hear it, but I always listen to the music full blast so you can hear all these things. Still not as bad as Gould or Helfgott  :o
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Offline Barbosa-piano

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #12 on: June 05, 2005, 02:19:22 AM
 I think he is an incredible pianist, I saw 2 of his performances on video, and his interview talking about how the wrists cannot be stiff while playing. I've heard many of his recordings, which are unique, and his playing of Chopin's music is amazing. Well, he is a genius who has a direct descendence from Liszt... ::)
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Offline dreamplaying

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #13 on: June 05, 2005, 03:05:18 AM
Claudio Arrau is according to my point of view one of the last heirs of the old
romantic piano school, ...oh those days!!!!.... Many things about his Liszt versions have been said above, On that respect I find Arrau  a Master playing Liszt (only compared with Earl Wild) please listen to the 'Les années de peregrinage' to mention something….unique!!!!…his Liszt piano sonata ..... Breathtaking!!!.... and his Schuman piano concerto….. I have no words to describe such musicality (only compared with Rubintein’s Shuman).

Arrau’s musicality is something worthy to reproduce.

A genius indeed.
 

Offline dreamplaying

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #14 on: June 05, 2005, 03:16:37 AM
Derek:

By the way there is another very good version of the Liszt etudes...Lazar Berman's...These are in a very virtuoso fashion, but with high degree of music.



 

Offline Derek

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #15 on: June 05, 2005, 01:23:11 PM
I have the Phillips recordings of Arrau's 12 Transcendentale etudes. The music is amazing, fantastic, brilliant, but.... the stupid clicking of Arrau's rings can be heard throughout. And you can hear him breathing and humming, of course its not loud, you have to turn up the music to hear it, but I always listen to the music full blast so you can hear all these things. Still not as bad as Gould or Helfgott :o

Fascinating. My favorite pianists, Gould, Jarrett, and now Arrau, all make funny noises when they play. Maybe I should too.  ;)

Offline Bulgarian

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #16 on: June 05, 2005, 08:56:57 PM
Interestingly, my first impressions of Arrau were quite negative. I did not like that much the Beethoven and Brahms piano concertos and Beethoven sonatas. I remember even hating his performances of the Mozart sonatas. Yet, later I discovered some astonishing performances- Chopin the 3rd Sonata and his nocturnes. The last, to my opinion is absolutely the best recording of the nocturnes - both profound and sensitive. I think he proves the fact that a pianist does not need to be a "virtuoso" to be great.

In a way he was the inspiration for me to record my own disk of nocturnes. Take a look if you are curious www.cdbaby/d_terziev
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Offline Derek

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #17 on: June 05, 2005, 09:42:17 PM
Interestingly, my first impressions of Arrau were quite negative. I did not like that much the Beethoven and Brahms piano concertos and Beethoven sonatas. I remember even hating his performances of the Mozart sonatas. Yet, later I discovered some astonishing performances- Chopin the 3rd Sonata and his nocturnes. The last, to my opinion is absolutely the best recording of the nocturnes - both profound and sensitive. I think he proves the fact that a pianist does not need to be a "virtuoso" to be great.

In a way he was the inspiration for me to record my own disk of nocturnes. Take a look if you are curious www.cdbaby/d_terziev

I'm sorry---but what about Arrau's playing disqualifies him for virtuoso status? Is virtuosity confined only to speed? I'm not criticizing what you say---I'm rather ignorant, actually, of what a virtuoso really is.

Offline bearzinthehood

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #18 on: June 06, 2005, 05:48:56 AM
Has anyone heard his 1962 Chopin Sonata No. 3 on EMI?  It sounds like there's something weird going on in this from an engineering standpoint.  It sounds like there are bad cuts or something in the 4th movement, sort of like the microphone setup changes mid piece?

I really like his tempo though for that movement, at first it sounded slow but now everthing else just seems too fast.   ;)

Offline musicman

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #19 on: June 06, 2005, 11:10:08 AM
One of my former piano teachers studied under Arrau for 5 years. I think Arrau's performances of the Liszt B minor sonata are the best available. His Schubert is also good but in my view not as good as Alfred Brendel's. His Beethoven is exemplary..I especially like his Hammerklavier Sonata.

But apparently he almost never played Rachmaninov as he thought the composer had nothing to say or was too shallow.

Offline Daevren

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #20 on: June 06, 2005, 01:06:51 PM
His Transcendental Etudes is the best I have heard by far.

I really want to hear his Liszt B minor sonata. I also want to hear Katsaris.

I can't say I am a Arrau fan. I haven't hear too many of his recordings.

Offline ahmedito

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #21 on: June 06, 2005, 02:36:05 PM
There is no better version of the last Beethoven sonata.
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Offline shasta

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #22 on: June 06, 2005, 04:12:43 PM
Arrau was my grand-teacher.  Although many of his later recordings are a little too slow and deliberate for my tastes, his Transcendentals are exquisite, as are his Beethoven, Albeniz, Grenados, and his Chopin (norturnes, in particular).

My professor had many fun stories regarding Arrau - - - one of Arrau's most infamous performances was outdoors in Chile when chickens flew out of the piano...    :D 
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Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #23 on: June 07, 2005, 08:01:15 PM
Arrau rocks.  Get his Brahms concertos.

Offline hodi

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #24 on: June 07, 2005, 09:34:14 PM
his performance of liszt's "wilde jagd" etude is AWESOME.
i also have his 2 cd's with the liszt's etudes
but i don't like his la campanella

Offline bearzinthehood

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #25 on: June 08, 2005, 02:02:02 AM
his performance of liszt's "wilde jagd" etude is AWESOME.
i also have his 2 cd's with the liszt's etudes
but i don't like his la campanella

If you have the 2 cd set from Phillips then La Campella is done by Nikita Magaloff, not Arrau.

Offline maxy

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #26 on: June 09, 2005, 09:36:49 PM
some weird replies around here...

Arrau was a GREAT virtuoso...  he did play all the hard stuff while young: Islamey, Petroushka, Liszt's spanish rhapsody (in 9 minutes!!!! :o)

here is a program he did play in the 60s:  Brahms-Haendel variations, Ravel Gaspard de la nuit, Liszt Mephisto waltz and some more... the tempos were not slow...

He was a monster!

One of the greatest pianists ever.  Not extremely exciting but a phenomenal musician.

I tend to see him as a sort of pianist-priest.  There is something very mystical about his playing.

Offline dreamplaying

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #27 on: June 10, 2005, 03:11:38 AM
some weird replies around here...

Arrau was a GREAT virtuoso...  he did play all the hard stuff while young: Islamey, Petroushka, Liszt's spanish rhapsody (in 9 minutes!!!! :o)

here is a program he did play in the 60s:  Brahms-Haendel variations, Ravel Gaspard de la nuit, Liszt Mephisto waltz and some more... the tempos were not slow...

He was a monster!

One of the greatest pianists ever.  Not extremely exciting but a phenomenal musician.

I tend to see him as a sort of pianist-priest.  There is something very mystical about his playing.


I would not describe Arrau as a Moster, I either would mention (if I want to make reference of Arrau) his recording of the most difficult pieces in the piano repertoire played in 9 minutes (or perhaps less than that…) . Claudio ARRAU played the piano like a real musician….from the most simple piano work … to the most exigent piece, he didn’t play trying to show his fingers speed or that he wanted to obtain the new time record in playing the Spanish Rhapsody….He played as an authentic artiste consecrated to his music…not like a full-of-technique machine. 

Offline Bulgarian

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Some explanation, plus personal opinion
Reply #28 on: June 11, 2005, 11:13:48 PM
I'm sorry---but what about Arrau's playing disqualifies him for virtuoso status? Is virtuosity confined only to speed? I'm not criticizing what you say---I'm rather ignorant, actually, of what a virtuoso really is.

O.K. It seems like some people were surprised , and some other annoyed when I wrote that t Arrau was not a virtuoso. Let me explain my point:

Unlike in science, musical terms tend to lack complete and universal definitions, and we, musicians tend to change their meaning, often according to our cultural backgrounds. What I meant was that the FIRST and MAIN impression of Arrau is not about his technique, but about his musical and spiritual dimensions. As I said, I love many of Arrau's performances, but I do not find his technique spotless and the impression he gives is the one of an honest and deep person rather a flashy and narcissistic "virtuoso". I would call pure "virtuosi" people like Horowitz, Rachmaninoff, Czifra or Marc-Andre Hamelin (I am NOT saying that SOME of the "virtuosi" can not be also excellent musicians). Anyway this is just my personal opinion.
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Offline Derek

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #29 on: June 16, 2005, 03:25:46 AM
Sorry to rave about Arrau again, but I am sampling his Beethoven sonatas on Amazon. AMAZING!! he plays these slower as well and with incredible expression. In terms of playing classical pieces...Arrau is my hero.

Offline rebel1ns

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #30 on: June 27, 2005, 12:47:41 AM
ive heard many versions of the f minor Transcendental Etude (no10)..and arrau plays it very fast, compared to Andre Watts who i think plays it better than him..but iono arrau's liszt etudes are real fast..

Offline maxy

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #31 on: June 27, 2005, 02:09:34 AM
ive heard many versions of the f minor Transcendental Etude (no10)..and arrau plays it very fast, compared to Andre Watts who i think plays it better than him..but iono arrau's liszt etudes are real fast..

You may want to try Berezovsky or young Richter... 3:40 for TE 10 and 3:45 for TE 8.  :o 

Offline rebel1ns

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #32 on: June 27, 2005, 07:01:02 PM
3:40? geez...almost as crazy as richter's op10 no4 chopin.. :o

Offline pianote

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #33 on: July 02, 2005, 11:39:19 PM
his wild jagd is awesome... but i think the allegro molto agitato #10 transcendental etude is played waay too fast- loses some musicality

Offline Waldszenen

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #34 on: July 03, 2005, 06:45:35 AM
Arrau is one of my favourite pianists, but sometimes his "messy" tone (eg Beethoven's Emperor concerto) and seemingly deficient technique are annoying to listen to.


And not to mention he's one of the slowest pianists ever recorded.

But nonetheless he's one of my favourites (just hear his Transcendental Etudes and Brahms concerti to hear why).
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Offline burstroman

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #35 on: July 24, 2005, 01:31:02 AM
Re: Arrau
               He's great playing Beethoven, and incomparable playing Brahms' "Variations on a theme by Handel".  The opening trills are along magnificent.

Offline rc

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #36 on: July 31, 2005, 03:59:16 AM
I've just finished reading Arrau on Music and Performance by Joseph Horowitz. He was also a very interesting person, you can see the attitude and beliefs that fuel his playing. It's a very well written book, interviews with Arrau and a few people who knew him.

Offline nicolaievich

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #37 on: July 31, 2005, 06:15:32 PM
I read an arrau interview some time ago, and one of the questions he answered was about the tempo. some of you says he play too slow. well, in this interview he answered that to really master a piano piece one has to be able to play it as fast as twice the tempo marking in the score. so i think he really concerns about tempo, and he plays every work at the speed he think is musically the best (according to the composer indication of course). no doubt he is a virtuoso, one of the best in the world. i have heard his beethoven sonatas, and chopin nocturnes and impromptus and i think they are amazing.

Offline maxy

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #38 on: August 06, 2005, 04:37:22 PM
Arrau is one of my favourite pianists, but sometimes his "messy" tone (eg Beethoven's Emperor concerto) and seemingly deficient technique are annoying to listen to.



Careful there... "messy tone"???  sometimes when Arrau plays you could swear there were no hammers in the piano.... that is not about being messy, it is about incredible control.  Not all should sound razor sharp a la Pollini! And if you are talking about his recs in the 80s, cut the old man some slack.  At age 80 he still could play better than 95% of pianists out there.

Offline thierry13

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #39 on: August 06, 2005, 05:28:13 PM
I'm sorry---but what about Arrau's playing disqualifies him for virtuoso status? Is virtuosity confined only to speed? I'm not criticizing what you say---I'm rather ignorant, actually, of what a virtuoso really is.

Yes. The term "virtuoso" is purely technical.

Offline chromatickler

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #40 on: August 06, 2005, 06:13:43 PM
in this interview he answered that to really master a piano piece one has to be able to play it as fast as twice the tempo marking in the score.
it takes some balls to say this.

Offline cherub_rocker1979

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #41 on: February 05, 2006, 02:33:23 AM
I love Arrau's Transcendental Etudes.

Offline Waldszenen

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #42 on: February 05, 2006, 12:18:22 PM
it takes some balls to say this.

Exactly, especially when Arrau usually played half the required tempo, not double so.
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Offline brewtality

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #43 on: February 06, 2006, 10:13:49 AM
Exactly, especially when Arrau usually played half the required tempo, not double so.

haha that's true! Well, maybe that comment was made when his tech was in top form, prior to his "tired old man" stage.

Offline demented cow

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #44 on: February 06, 2006, 12:03:01 PM
There was another book full of  Arrau talking to Joseph Horowitz: Conversations with Arrau. He admits to being John Travolta fan in it, so it's worth getting.
His penchant for ponderous tempos may be because he thought that faster tempos trivalise the music. The slow tempos often work like hell, esp. in Liszt (Benediction de Dieu, Jeux d'eau) and his playing often sounds somehow very deep, e.g. in the Liszt Sonata or Harmonies du Soir.
On the downside, I don't know if I go for his touch/tone much. He's somehow pretty heavy-handed, maybe too much so in some Chopin pieces. Maybe his Chopin also often gets slammed because it's a bit under-nuanced sometimes. That said, I think his Concert Allegro is wonderful. He does some nice rubatos in it.
He did have a big technique (e.g. his Islamey, his Wilde Jagd and his really powerful Chasse Niege), and he made things difficult for himself by not cheating and by using awkward fingerings to get particular effects (e.g. he fingered the argeggio at the end of the development in the Appassionata 3rd movt with 1-2-1-2 etc).
There are thus plenty of reasons for forgiving him for playing Feux Follets at half tempo.

Offline bearzinthehood

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #45 on: February 06, 2006, 03:19:03 PM
Yes. The term "virtuoso" is purely technical.

IMO Arrau was both an artist and a virtuoso, but if you choose to deny him one of those then I'm glad it's the meaningless virtuoso status.

Offline brewtality

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #46 on: February 06, 2006, 11:42:00 PM
There was another book full of  Arrau talking to Joseph Horowitz: Conversations with Arrau. He admits to being John Travolta fan in it, so it's worth getting.

haha not quite as genius as Horowitz's fondness for the Terminator, but close. Sounds like a good book.

Quote
His penchant for ponderous tempos may be because he thought that faster tempos trivalise the music. The slow tempos often work like hell, esp. in Liszt (Benediction de Dieu, Jeux d'eau)

I don't think it works in Benediction, I get no sense of structure when I listen to his recording, compared to Ernst Levy's superb recording and Arrau is left in the shade.

Quote
On the downside, I don't know if I go for his touch/tone much.


I think his tone is actually quite good, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard his Jeux d'eau a la villa d'Este.

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he made things difficult for himself by not cheating and by using awkward fingerings to get particular effects (e.g. he fingered the argeggio at the end of the development in the Appassionata 3rd movt with 1-2-1-2 etc).

What was he trying to achieve by using fingering such as that? did he play Feux Follet and 25/6 1-2 1-2 as well? :-\

Offline la_leggierezza

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #47 on: February 13, 2006, 10:06:07 AM
Claudio Arrau is one of my favourite pianists!! is technique and musicatlity are wonderful!

i think he is specialized in romantics, like Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms... but i like him very much in Debussy, Schubert, Beethoven and Bach too... He has a magnificent reportoire! it´s enormous!  ;)

Offline montiverdirocks

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #48 on: February 18, 2006, 01:23:27 AM
yeah, so arrau's beethoven 5th pc is definitive. arrau is also one of my favorite pianists, right there with hoffman, richter, gilells, cortot, and rachmaninov. Berman is good too, as someone else said (randomly) earlier, but only if you enjoy trashy sounds and lots of headaches (which i do sometimes).

Offline montiverdirocks

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Re: Any fellow Claudio Arrau fans?
Reply #49 on: February 18, 2006, 01:25:04 AM
oh, yeah. Arrau's head is gigantic and he was very short, which is entertaining even if you don't like his playing
 

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