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#1369261 - 02/09/10 07:22 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: pianoloverus]
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1712
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Why settle for clunkers when one can have garbage?

Repetition, history, and the ignorant -- gotta love 'em.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#1369267 - 02/09/10 07:38 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: gooddog]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I've been listening to Beethoven's sonatas - most of them for the first time. I'm probably going to take a lot of grief for this, but I think most are nice, but not stunning. I do like Beethoven and I love some of his symphonies, but he's far from my favorite composer and I rarely listen to his music. (Slinking away...)


Nice! NICE!! NICE!!!

That must be the ultimate insult to Beethoven.

(However you regard his music, 'nice' would have been anathema to him IMO. )

PS Whose recordings have you been listening to?


Edited by John_B (02/09/10 07:46 AM)

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#1369280 - 02/09/10 08:07 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: John_B]
Robert Kenessy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 394
Loc: Enebyberg Sweden
I am a big Beethoven fan, but I think the slow movement from the tempest sonata is a clunker. Especially that anoying tremolo (in a triplet) in the deep base sounds like a turd falling out.
_________________________
Robert Kenessy

.. it seems to me that the inherent nature [of the piano tone] becomes really expressive only by means of the present tendency to use the piano as a percussion instrument - Béla Bartók, early 1927.

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#1369286 - 02/09/10 08:25 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: Robert Kenessy]
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
I haven't read the whole thread, but I'm sure someone has mentioned the 1812 overture by that guy whose name I can't spell. However, there is a recording of it made in the early 60s by the Minneapolis Symphony under Antal Dorati. Not only do they use real cannon, they've got a brass section that just won't quit. It is an awesome recording. Thrilling to listen to. I believe that the reason there are so few more recent recordings is that everyone knows they can't compete with it. One of those times when a fantastic performance turns a mediocre composition into a profundity. Sort of like a few etudes I know.

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#1369334 - 02/09/10 09:50 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: John_B]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4841
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: John_B
PS Whose recordings have you been listening to?


Gulda, Barenboim. I'm not thrilled with the Barenboim but it was a complete set at the right price. Just to clarify: there are a few of Beethoven's sonatas that I think are spellbinding, but most just don't do much for me. Excluding those few, I'd rather work on a Mozart sonata.
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Best regards,

Deborah

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#1369346 - 02/09/10 10:00 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: gooddog]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Originally Posted By: John_B
PS Whose recordings have you been listening to?


Gulda, Barenboim. I'm not thrilled with the Barenboim but it was a complete set at the right price. Just to clarify: there are a few of Beethoven's sonatas that I think are spellbinding, but most just don't do much for me. Excluding those few, I'd rather work on a Mozart sonata.


What about the Barenboim don't you like? Just curious.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1369348 - 02/09/10 10:06 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: stores]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2358
Loc: NYC
This was maybe 30 years ago, but I went to hear a famous harpsichordist play a set of Bach English Suites and thought to myself, well, I've finally heard some Bach that isn't very good. Of course, I should give those pieces another listen to confirm!

Not piano music, not really clunkers, but I have a hard time with the orchestral overtures and other showpieces that the classical radio stations seem to love. Fluff and bombast, a lot of them.
_________________________
Joe

www.josephkubera.com

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#1369351 - 02/09/10 10:13 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: RogerW]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 501
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: RogerW
Not perhaps a clunker, too many people seems to like the piece, but personally I cannot stand Chopin's Berceuse. It bores me to death. On the other hand, it might be that it is one of the best lullabies ever written, since I usually want to fall asleep already a few bars into the piece...


BLASPHEMY!!! How dare you sully Chopin!!! J/K you can say what ever you want, just not about Chopin.
_________________________
Currently learning composition:

Some of my compositions

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#1369364 - 02/09/10 10:40 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: Janus K. Sachs]
argerichfan Online   sick
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8934
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Janus K. Sachs
Why settle for clunkers when one can have garbage?

Ah yes, one of the more notorious threads at PW.
_________________________
Jason

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#1369366 - 02/09/10 10:41 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: gooddog]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Gulda, Barenboim. I'm not thrilled with the Barenboim but it was a complete set at the right price.


The only Beethoven that I have heard played by Gulda is the Waldstein on YouTube and I thought it pretty superficial, though pianistically impressive.

I have enormous respect for Barenboim but I often feel slightly unsatisfied by his Beethoven sonatas. This is probably more to do with me rather than Barenboim.

I first got to know the sonatas through Brendel's recordings (actually my first encounters were when they were broadcast on the radio, decades ago and, at that time, I found them electrifying ). I still get a lot out of Brendel's recordings.

Do try listening to Brendel, Gilels or Kempff, etc if you want to explore further.

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#1369371 - 02/09/10 10:51 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: RealPlayer]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3489
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
This was maybe 30 years ago, but I went to hear a famous harpsichordist play a set of Bach English Suites and thought to myself, well, I've finally heard some Bach that isn't very good. Of course, I should give those pieces another listen to confirm!

Not piano music, not really clunkers, but I have a hard time with the orchestral overtures and other showpieces that the classical radio stations seem to love. Fluff and bombast, a lot of them.


Joe,
GIve a listen to Perahia's recording of the English Suites-- brilliant and will likely change your mind about these pieces.

I have to agree with you about the orchestral bombast and treacle flooding the airwaves on much of classical radio.

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#1369383 - 02/09/10 10:58 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: gooddog]
MarkH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/08
Posts: 868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: gooddog

I've been listening to Beethoven's sonatas - most of them for the first time. I'm probably going to take a lot of grief for this, but I think most are nice, but not stunning. I do like Beethoven and I love some of his symphonies, but he's far from my favorite composer and I rarely listen to his music. (Slinking away...)


When I first started music school, the thing I was most worried about was that I'd be forced to learn Beethoven Sonatas and Bach Preludes and Fugues. I just wanted to play Liszt, Chopin and Rachmaninoff all day. I found the WTC incredibly sleep-inducing, and the Beethoven Sonatas just ho hum as you describe, with the exception of the fast movements of some of the named ones. And, to make matters worse, I had a little psychological reservation against them, just because I was soon going to have to start studying them. I told myself, "No way am I going to turn into some fuddy-duddy and start liking these boring, academic pieces - I'm only going to play stuff that everyone can appreciate." But I started listening to my recordings of both sets a lot, since I knew I needed to prepare myself for having them forced upon me. I think I began getting interested in the Beethoven Sonatas after about 2 years of very frequent listening, and the WTC took 3 or maybe a little more. Even then, I only had a select set of them that I was interested in. I'm finally now interested in personally playing about 3/4 of the Beethoven Sonatas and about 1/2 of the WTC, and perhaps my appreciation will continue to develop for the ones that I still don't find interesting. YMMV, but given your commitment to classical piano, I bet you'll gradually find this happening to yourself as well.
_________________________
Currently Studying: Debussy - Pagodes; Alkan - Cello Sonata 4th movement (duet transcription by Alkan); assorted Dvorak Slavonic Dances

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#1369386 - 02/09/10 11:02 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: sophial]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4535
Loc: in the past
I forgot to mention the 3rd ballade.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1369389 - 02/09/10 11:03 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: RealPlayer]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
This was maybe 30 years ago, but I went to hear a famous harpsichordist play a set of Bach English Suites and thought to myself, well, I've finally heard some Bach that isn't very good. Of course, I should give those pieces another listen to confirm!

Not piano music, not really clunkers, but I have a hard time with the orchestral overtures and other showpieces that the classical radio stations seem to love. Fluff and bombast, a lot of them.


Wow. The English Suites, are among Bach's most extraordinary works. There's much more substance to them than the Partitas or the French Suites. They're also considerably more difficult technically. There are superb sets from Hewitt, Schiff, and Perahia.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1369395 - 02/09/10 11:07 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: Pogorelich.]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
I forgot to mention the 3rd ballade.


Agreed. I wouldn't miss it too badly if I never heard it again.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


Top
#1369396 - 02/09/10 11:07 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: stores]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4535
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
This was maybe 30 years ago, but I went to hear a famous harpsichordist play a set of Bach English Suites and thought to myself, well, I've finally heard some Bach that isn't very good. Of course, I should give those pieces another listen to confirm!

Not piano music, not really clunkers, but I have a hard time with the orchestral overtures and other showpieces that the classical radio stations seem to love. Fluff and bombast, a lot of them.


Wow. The English Suites, are among Bach's most extraordinary works. There's much more substance to them than the Partitas or the French Suites. They're also considerably more difficult technically. There are superb sets from Hewitt, Schiff, and Perahia.


You will probably kill me when I tell you that I find some of the Goldberg variations rather strange for me. whome But then again, I'm definitely not a Bach player.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1369397 - 02/09/10 11:08 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: Pogorelich.]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
This was maybe 30 years ago, but I went to hear a famous harpsichordist play a set of Bach English Suites and thought to myself, well, I've finally heard some Bach that isn't very good. Of course, I should give those pieces another listen to confirm!

Not piano music, not really clunkers, but I have a hard time with the orchestral overtures and other showpieces that the classical radio stations seem to love. Fluff and bombast, a lot of them.


Wow. The English Suites, are among Bach's most extraordinary works. There's much more substance to them than the Partitas or the French Suites. They're also considerably more difficult technically. There are superb sets from Hewitt, Schiff, and Perahia.


You will probably kill me when I tell you that I find some of the Goldberg variations rather strange for me. whome But then again, I'm definitely not a Bach player.


Yes, I WILL kill you. Expect a rant within the next 30 seconds hahaha =p
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1369401 - 02/09/10 11:10 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: MarkH]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Interesting to read the comments about the Beethoven sonatas. To me, in the hands of a great Beethoven pianist, they are an emotional and intellectual journey (at times on a 'heroic' scale) - and sometimes even a spiritual journey. But then I approach them as a listener rather than as a performer.

(Apologies for going off topic.)

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#1369402 - 02/09/10 11:11 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: MarkH]
MarkH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/08
Posts: 868
Loc: Seattle, WA
A couple other thoughts on disappointing sections of famous pieces, pianoloverus' definition of clunker notwithstanding:

I LOVE the A section of the first Chopin Scherzo, but the slow, repetitive B section is just so monotonous. Yes, I know, it's a nice Polish Christmas carol quotation or something, but did he have to repeat it so many times with so little variation? I almost want to recompose the B section adding some inner voices or variation on the melody or texture so that I can justify learning the rest of it.

Along the same vein, the 1st movement of the 27th Beethoven Sonata has a very interesting personality - it's a very striking combination of resignation, determination and fire, sort of like an aging person angrily resisting entering old age while also recognizing its inevitability. But the second movement, just like the B section of the Chopin Scherzo, is just so repetitive and boring. I hope that's not what old age is like!
_________________________
Currently Studying: Debussy - Pagodes; Alkan - Cello Sonata 4th movement (duet transcription by Alkan); assorted Dvorak Slavonic Dances

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#1369405 - 02/09/10 11:15 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: stores]
argerichfan Online   sick
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8934
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: AngelinaPogorelich
I forgot to mention the 3rd ballade.


Agreed. I wouldn't miss it too badly if I never heard it again.

To avoid being crucified here, let me just say that I think I'll give the 1st Ballade a rest. Just plain tired of it, thank-you. (And I've never much cared for the closing section. Yeah, yeah- I expect the rotten tomatoes to come flying...)
_________________________
Jason

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#1369418 - 02/09/10 11:24 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: MarkH]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: MarkH
....I LOVE the A section of the first Chopin Scherzo, but the slow, repetitive B section is just so monotonous. Yes, I know, it's a nice Polish Christmas carol quotation or something, but did he have to repeat it so many times with so little variation?.....

That's another example (IMO) of something that depends heavily on how the performance is. I have sometimes found it deadly, but often the opposite, including wishing that it was repeated a few more times. smile

Originally Posted By: MarkH
.....Along the same vein, the 1st movement of the 27th Beethoven Sonata has a very interesting personality - it's a very striking combination of resignation, determination and fire, sort of like an aging person angrily resisting entering old age while also recognizing its inevitability. But the second movement, just like the B section of the Chopin Scherzo, is just so repetitive and boring.....

Same comment. smile
Exactly.
But yes indeed -- this can be pretty deadly too.

BTW.....I don't think very many people recognize most Beethoven sonatas from their "number" -- I had to look this up to see that #27 is Op. 90. Don't you usually think of them by their opus number? I think most people do.....
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1369422 - 02/09/10 11:28 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: argerichfan]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
.....let me just say that I think I'll give the 1st Ballade a rest. Just plain tired of it, thank-you. (And I've never much cared for the closing section. Yeah, yeah- I expect the rotten tomatoes to come flying...)

That's probably because you've mainly heard the Argerich version. ha
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1369423 - 02/09/10 11:29 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: Mark_C]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: MarkH


Originally Posted By: MarkH



Don't you usually think of them by their opus number? I think most people do.....


Yes, that's how I think of them.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1369433 - 02/09/10 11:50 AM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: Mark_C]
TempoPrimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 88
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Solo piano version of Liszt's Totentanz. Yuck.


I love this piece (and prefer the solo piano version to the one where that orchestra gets in the way grin) Currently learning it - taking forever but a lot of fun. One of those pieces where even the easy bits are hard.
Valentina Lisitsa Totentanz piano solo This is only two thirds of it, but what's not to like? 'Clunker' seems unduly harsh. Suitably deathly atmosphere to this vid too.
Like the Spanish Rhapsody too.

De gustibus

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#1369452 - 02/09/10 12:18 PM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: Mark_C]
MarkH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/08
Posts: 868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

BTW.....I don't think very many people recognize most Beethoven sonatas from their "number" -- I had to look this up to see that #27 is Op. 90. Don't you usually think of them by their opus number? I think most people do.....


I know them by their number, not their opus number simply because I wanted to keep the track names in my mp3 player as short as possible. If the name is 30-40 characters long, it takes quite a while for the whole title to slowly scroll across the screen. I opted for brevity and loss of a little information (I didn't include tempo indications in the names either). However, I've recently been wondering if I should go back and add opus numbers as well, because I'm not familiar with all of them.
_________________________
Currently Studying: Debussy - Pagodes; Alkan - Cello Sonata 4th movement (duet transcription by Alkan); assorted Dvorak Slavonic Dances

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#1369461 - 02/09/10 12:34 PM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: RogerW]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6247
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: RogerW
Not perhaps a clunker, too many people seems to like the piece, but personally I cannot stand Chopin's Berceuse. It bores me to death. On the other hand, it might be that it is one of the best lullabies ever written, since I usually want to fall asleep already a few bars into the piece...

Speaking of Chopin and falling asleep..how about Mazurka Op 17 No 4. I can not tolerate two bars of this nonsense.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#1369529 - 02/09/10 02:10 PM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: Damon]
Googlism Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 1072
Loc: Toronto
Anything by Prokofiev

Don't lynch me =p

Ok, perhaps Peter and the Wolf is half-decent...
_________________________
Old videos from prior piano competitions:
http://www.youtube.com/user/kilace

____________________

"... It is a skill you go on learning all your life: the more you write, the more you learn."

Harry Freedman on the craft of composing

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#1369545 - 02/09/10 02:40 PM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: Googlism]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: Googlism
Anything by Prokofiev


Have you heard the symphonies, in particular 5, 6 & 7?

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#1369550 - 02/09/10 02:49 PM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: John_B]
xtraheat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 625
Loc: WV
Originally Posted By: John_B
Originally Posted By: Googlism
Anything by Prokofiev


Have you heard the symphonies, in particular 5, 6 & 7?


Or anything else by him?
_________________________
Currently working on
Prokofiev Piano Concerto 3
Beethoven Sonata Op.109
Chopin Op.10 No.1
Bach WTC II no. 15

--Sam--

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#1369557 - 02/09/10 02:54 PM Re: Clunkers by the great composers [Re: Googlism]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Googlism
Anything by Prokofiev

Don't lynch me =p

Ok, perhaps Peter and the Wolf is half-decent...


If nothing else, please say you at least like the 2nd piano concerto and the 7th sonata. Otherwise, we're comin' to string you up. LOL.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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