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#1270315 - 09/18/09 02:20 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8026
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
These days a lot of pompous people like to talk about how 'deep' the playing of Brendel is. Can they explain in what way it is 'deep'? I've always seen it as being an example of the emperor's new clothes.


Which basically means that because you can't hear what others are hearing, they must be wrong. It's the same kind of bogus reasoning that is employed by those people who insist that anyone who says they like modern music is lying, assuming that it is simply not possible that anyone else like anything they themselves can't enjoy or understand.

And too, I've rarely heard any adequate explanations of why any interpretation by anyone of any music is "deep". That inability to explain it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Music is notoriously difficult to talk about, especially when trying to describe the effects it has on people.




No it means that because they cannot even begin to quantify what makes it "deep", I am extraordinarily skeptical as to what it is that supposedly carries such 'intellectual' weight. If someone just likes a performance that's fine. There's no implicit dishonesty there. It's when people hype something up as being intellectual or "true to the composer" etc. without being able to follow through (with anything that goes beyond mere issues of taste) that I ask questions. It stinks to me of people wanting to been seen to like a 'clever' musician, when they are not in a position to judge whethere there's actually anything clever or 'correct' about it. When I hear a pianist who sounds very middle of the road being described as a genius, I expect some kind of attempt to explain what I'm missing- if I'm to be persuaded that anything exists.



First, you would have to find someone foolish enough to care to undertake that endeavor, which I am guessing would probably prove to be futile in the end, anyway.

Quote:


At least pianists like Horowitz or Gould had an unmistakably distinctive sound. Like it or hate it, it is both audible and open to objective descriptions. However, I'm rather skeptical as to whether many Brendel fans could pick his performances out from a host of other competent pianists- either in terms of style or quality.



Certainly in a live performance, I could. But that doesn't matter, since testing that premise isn't a possibility, and I suspect that it's unlikely you would take anyone's word on it.

Quote:


Anyway, this is straying off the point somewhat. The major issue was that the fact that concepts of 'correctness' that are widely accepted by knowledgable people are often easily falsifiable according to historical evidence. Just because there's a wide consensus that something is 'wrong' doesn't mean that it actually is. That's the big problem in performances styles these days. Too many people trust what they have been told is right (and more importantly, what is supposedly unacceptable), without stopping to think for themselves.


People generally ally themselves with whatever trends of thought and fashion that fit their sensibilities. I don't think that thinking for themselves has much to do with it, other than the sort of everyday rationalizations we all use to explain ourselves to ourselves.

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#1270337 - 09/18/09 04:47 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
So, gentlemen, music is a performing art, I conclude???
with all what that implies, i.e. a mix of traditions, currents and countercurrents of approaches to interpretation with the usual sprinkle of ultra-"traditionalists" and "innovators".
Whether we can accurately estimate what Mozart really wanted or not is not as relevant as it might appear. Today's living composers have ample opportunity to record their exact wishes to posterity but they rarely go beyond some instructions on the score. And it is rather obvious to us, and probably to them, that their works will be "interpreted" differently three or four generations into the future. That is the Achille's heel of the performing arts in a sense. Even 'worse", an audience made out of "lay" people gets to have the final word. Their appreciation of a performance is however very much steeped in the moods and sensibilities of the day. Academic interpretation might differ from popular takes but it too carries the stamp of time and place.
Nothing new under the sun.

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#1270581 - 09/18/09 02:47 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464


"First, you would have to find someone foolish enough to care to undertake that endeavor, which I am guessing would probably prove to be futile in the end, anyway."

"Certainly in a live performance, I could. But that doesn't matter, since testing that premise isn't a possibility, and I suspect that it's unlikely you would take anyone's word on it."

So you could "certainly" recognise his style of playing? But you could not even attempt to offer a few words of what distinguishes it from others- so as to permit you to do so? I'm afraid that's rather unlikely to convince me about what it is that I am supposedly missing. Personally, I remain convinced that his reputations has far more to do with his 'holier than thou' gimmick than anything else.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1270586 - 09/18/09 02:54 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Andromaque]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
So, gentlemen, music is a performing art, I conclude???
with all what that implies, i.e. a mix of traditions, currents and countercurrents of approaches to interpretation with the usual sprinkle of ultra-"traditionalists" and "innovators".
Whether we can accurately estimate what Mozart really wanted or not is not as relevant as it might appear. Today's living composers have ample opportunity to record their exact wishes to posterity but they rarely go beyond some instructions on the score. And it is rather obvious to us, and probably to them, that their works will be "interpreted" differently three or four generations into the future. That is the Achille's heel of the performing arts in a sense. Even 'worse", an audience made out of "lay" people gets to have the final word. Their appreciation of a performance is however very much steeped in the moods and sensibilities of the day. Academic interpretation might differ from popular takes but it too carries the stamp of time and place.
Nothing new under the sun.


But the world of music is now dominated by those who do NOT have open minds- and who impose rules that are frequently unjustified historically, as if they stem from incontrovertible fact. That's the entire problem with today's culture- the fact that so many people not only think that they CAN conjure up what Mozart wanted, but that they seek to dismiss other ways as 'unstylistic' or 'romanticised' etc.

The only answer to today's limited thinking is to look to history. Not in order to impose rules, but so the most dubious 'rules' that restrict modern musicians can be brought into question and hopefully shown the door. Then musicians can start doing interesting things again, without being told that they are guilty of pissing in the composers face.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/18/09 02:57 PM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1270591 - 09/18/09 03:02 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8026
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


"First, you would have to find someone foolish enough to care to undertake that endeavor, which I am guessing would probably prove to be futile in the end, anyway."

"Certainly in a live performance, I could. But that doesn't matter, since testing that premise isn't a possibility, and I suspect that it's unlikely you would take anyone's word on it."

So you could "certainly" recognise his style of playing? But you could not even attempt to offer a few words of what distinguishes it from others- so as to permit you to do so? I'm afraid that's rather unlikely to convince me about what it is that I am supposedly missing. Personally, I remain convinced that his reputations has far more to do with his 'holier than thou' gimmick than anything else.


For some reason, I just can't seem to find the motivation to say anything.

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#1270700 - 09/18/09 05:51 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


"First, you would have to find someone foolish enough to care to undertake that endeavor, which I am guessing would probably prove to be futile in the end, anyway."

"Certainly in a live performance, I could. But that doesn't matter, since testing that premise isn't a possibility, and I suspect that it's unlikely you would take anyone's word on it."

So you could "certainly" recognise his style of playing? But you could not even attempt to offer a few words of what distinguishes it from others- so as to permit you to do so? I'm afraid that's rather unlikely to convince me about what it is that I am supposedly missing. Personally, I remain convinced that his reputations has far more to do with his 'holier than thou' gimmick than anything else.


For some reason, I just can't seem to find the motivation to say anything.



Call me old fashioned, but I've never been terribly swayed by the 'no comment' line of argument.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1270774 - 09/18/09 08:42 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8026
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Call me old fashioned, but I've never been terribly swayed by the 'no comment' line of argument.


Perhaps because no one is trying to sway you?

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#1270907 - 09/19/09 07:17 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Call me old fashioned, but I've never been terribly swayed by the 'no comment' line of argument.


Perhaps because no one is trying to sway you?


Whether you're trying or not, if I believe in something strongly, I usually prefer to support it with something. I find it rather remarkable that you're bold enough to publically claim that you could "certainly" pick out what distinguishes Brendel from other pianists, yet you're not bold enough to offer so much as a shred of detail as to how. At least most of his supporters are able to come up with something about his superior grasp of 'structure' (albeit using overwhelmingly subjective vagueness that rarely suggests anything remotely intellectual or accountable).


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/19/09 07:31 AM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1271417 - 09/20/09 04:24 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8026
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Call me old fashioned, but I've never been terribly swayed by the 'no comment' line of argument.


Perhaps because no one is trying to sway you?


Whether you're trying or not, if I believe in something strongly, I usually prefer to support it with something. I find it rather remarkable that you're bold enough to publically claim that you could "certainly" pick out what distinguishes Brendel from other pianists, yet you're not bold enough to offer so much as a shred of detail as to how. At least most of his supporters are able to come up with something about his superior grasp of 'structure' (albeit using overwhelmingly subjective vagueness that rarely suggests anything remotely intellectual or accountable).


Funny, I didn't feel particularly bold saying that. I was just reporting what I think is the case. It seems rather pointless to offer any detail or try to back it up, since it's just based on my personal listening experience, which is not necessarily reducible to verbal description even if I had the inclination to try to do it.

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#1271467 - 09/20/09 09:22 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Call me old fashioned, but I've never been terribly swayed by the 'no comment' line of argument.


Perhaps because no one is trying to sway you?


Whether you're trying or not, if I believe in something strongly, I usually prefer to support it with something. I find it rather remarkable that you're bold enough to publically claim that you could "certainly" pick out what distinguishes Brendel from other pianists, yet you're not bold enough to offer so much as a shred of detail as to how. At least most of his supporters are able to come up with something about his superior grasp of 'structure' (albeit using overwhelmingly subjective vagueness that rarely suggests anything remotely intellectual or accountable).


Funny, I didn't feel particularly bold saying that. I was just reporting what I think is the case. It seems rather pointless to offer any detail or try to back it up, since it's just based on my personal listening experience, which is not necessarily reducible to verbal description even if I had the inclination to try to do it.




So there's nothing remotely bold about claiming that you could distinguish Brendel's sound from other performers without offering any explanation as to how? That sounds like outright bravado to me.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1271515 - 09/20/09 11:47 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
That sounds like picking another argument to me. smile
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1271549 - 09/20/09 12:33 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
That sounds like picking another argument to me. smile


No, I'm not looking to pick an argument. I'm simply defending the honest belief that I stated before against a poster who was quite willing to suggest that I'm mistaken, yet totally unwilling to put his money where his mouth is.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/20/09 12:35 PM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1271551 - 09/20/09 12:37 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
WHAT AN AWESOME THREAD!!!! 2hearts
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
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#1271901 - 09/21/09 02:16 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8026
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


So there's nothing remotely bold about claiming that you could distinguish Brendel's sound from other performers without offering any explanation as to how? That sounds like outright bravado to me.


Oh, it's easy to explain how - I listen.

It's not as if he's the only one - there are other pianists who I have heard who seem to me to have such a distinct effect on me in certain music that I could tell them apart. I'm pretty sure, for example, that I would recognize Lang Lang in a lot of Rachmaninoff or Liszt. On the other hand, there are plenty that I wouldn't say that about, and some I like very much. Steven Osborn comes to mind as one who has a personality and I like his playing, but he is not one that I would say I could identify listening blind (not yet, anyway).

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#1272184 - 09/21/09 03:53 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


So there's nothing remotely bold about claiming that you could distinguish Brendel's sound from other performers without offering any explanation as to how? That sounds like outright bravado to me.


Oh, it's easy to explain how - I listen.

It's not as if he's the only one - there are other pianists who I have heard who seem to me to have such a distinct effect on me in certain music that I could tell them apart. I'm pretty sure, for example, that I would recognize Lang Lang in a lot of Rachmaninoff or Liszt. On the other hand, there are plenty that I wouldn't say that about, and some I like very much. Steven Osborn comes to mind as one who has a personality and I like his playing, but he is not one that I would say I could identify listening blind (not yet, anyway).





That's like an expert on insects saying that he can tell which insects are which by looking at them. How can you claim to be able to do so, without being able to explain how? I could write a whole essay on the specific stylistic traits of Horowitz. There are a handful of pianists who could fool me into believing them to be Horowitz (including Joseph Villa and Byron Janis). That's because they use the same wide dynamic range and the same pianistic tricks- ie.e the ones that I could spend hours describing.

I'm not saying you could't identify Brendel's style, were he to be be put among a range of other performers for blind listening tests. However, if you're going to claim that you certainly could, but refuse to explain how, I'm afraid it doesn't look terribly convincing. The thing I find most notable about Brendel's style is how middle of the road it is. That's why, if you think I'm missing something, I'm rather surprised that you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is by explaining a few of the characteristics that are apparently so distinctive as to permit you to identify his playing.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/21/09 04:00 PM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1272269 - 09/21/09 06:32 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8026
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


I'm not saying you could't identify Brendel's style, were he to be be put among a range of other performers for blind listening tests. However, if you're going to claim that you certainly could, but refuse to explain how, I'm afraid it doesn't look terribly convincing. The thing I find most notable about Brendel's style is how middle of the road it is. That's why, if you think I'm missing something, I'm rather surprised that you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is by explaining a few of the characteristics that are apparently so distinctive as to permit you to identify his playing.


I don't think I said anywhere that I was capable of describing what I have experienced with his playing, merely that I could recognize it. I don't care in the least about being convincing to you. In light of the prejudices you've shown regarding Brendel and other listeners' reactions to his playing, I'm not interested in simply adding to the stockpile of what you see as vague nonsense. In other words, I already know that any description I would provide would be met with derision, since you don't share the perceptions and apparently believe that people simply make them up. The issue is totally speculative, at any rate, and not worth expending any more energy over. Say what you like in response - I'm outta here.

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#1272279 - 09/21/09 06:56 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: wr]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


I'm not saying you could't identify Brendel's style, were he to be be put among a range of other performers for blind listening tests. However, if you're going to claim that you certainly could, but refuse to explain how, I'm afraid it doesn't look terribly convincing. The thing I find most notable about Brendel's style is how middle of the road it is. That's why, if you think I'm missing something, I'm rather surprised that you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is by explaining a few of the characteristics that are apparently so distinctive as to permit you to identify his playing.


I don't think I said anywhere that I was capable of describing what I have experienced with his playing, merely that I could recognize it. I don't care in the least about being convincing to you. In light of the prejudices you've shown regarding Brendel and other listeners' reactions to his playing, I'm not interested in simply adding to the stockpile of what you see as vague nonsense. In other words, I already know that any description I would provide would be met with derision, since you don't share the perceptions and apparently believe that people simply make them up. The issue is totally speculative, at any rate, and not worth expending any more energy over. Say what you like in response - I'm outta here.





Well, the only thing that seems speculative to me is that you claim you could recognise his style, when you cannot categorise any of the features that might permit you to do so. I said before merely that vagueries bother me. Such things would not be distinctive- and would hence be a ludicrous premise for supposedly being able to distinguish one pianist's sound from others. People do not distinguish one performer out a thousand, for their "grasp of structure", say. That's precisely why I was inviting your to go into some specifics, that might illustrate in what way Brendel offers something that you claim is distinctive to your ears. If you could offer some, I might be interested to consider them. Seeing as you cannot point towards anything, I shall continue to believe I'm not missing anything terribly remarkable- beyond the generally rather middle of the road style that I have witnessed from him.

Incidentally, I do not believe that people make their impressions up. I simply believe that their impressions are prompted more by the image than anything truly remarkable within the playing. That's why I would like to know what fans feel it is that is distinctively carried in his sound, which they might not find elsewhere. If I'm missing something, I should love to know what that actually is.

You're welcome to your own opinions, but if you can only state that you feel that you're right and I'm wrong, it's really quite pointless. There's real very little purpose in arguing against a honest belief such as that which I stated, if you're not prepared to following through by backing up your opinions with anything beyond the statement that you think I'm wrong.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (09/21/09 07:14 PM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1272360 - 09/21/09 10:12 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: eweiss]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: eweiss
WHAT AN AWESOME THREAD!!!! 2hearts


+1,000,000

Hey, that's my line. grin wink

Well, it was Brendan's first... laugh
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1272364 - 09/21/09 10:18 PM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
That sounds like picking another argument to me. smile


No, I'm not looking to pick an argument. I'm simply defending the honest belief that I stated before against a poster who was quite willing to suggest that I'm mistaken, yet totally unwilling to put his money where his mouth is.


For someone who isn't looking for an argument, you do a damn fine job of stirring them up in many threads you enter into. And you probably wonder why people don't like you very much. whistle
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1272505 - 09/22/09 06:42 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Horowitzian]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
That sounds like picking another argument to me. smile


No, I'm not looking to pick an argument. I'm simply defending the honest belief that I stated before against a poster who was quite willing to suggest that I'm mistaken, yet totally unwilling to put his money where his mouth is.


For someone who isn't looking for an argument, you do a damn fine job of stirring them up in many threads you enter into. And you probably wonder why people don't like you very much. whistle


I just say what I believe (and explain why, unlike some posters) If people can't hand an alternate opinion, maybe forums aren't the ideal place for them?
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1272526 - 09/22/09 08:10 AM Re: Interpretation [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Isn't the production of music always a collaborative venture between the composer(s) and the performer(s)? If it were not so, I could produce a definitive performance of any composer's work by the simple expedient of digitizing the score and playing it through some computer-controlled musical instrument or other. But, on the whole, we don't tend to rate that as a performance -- we expect the performer to bring something of himself or herself to the music.

Now, when it comes to the collaborative venture between, say, Chopin and me, it's pretty obvious who the major contributor is. But with the best performers that isn't necessarily the case. We don't know what Bach would have made, for example, of Gould's interpretation of his Goldberg Variations, but it's at least possible that he would prefer it to the way he would have played them himself -- who knows?

As for the notion that the enjoyment of the audience isn't an adequate test of a competent performance -- poppycock. I suspect that anybody in the audience who is able to mount a convincing argument that the performance was `wrong' in some sense other than being `not enjoyable' would be quite capable of going home an playing it himself the way he thinks it should be played.

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