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#1550862 - 11/04/10 02:32 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13780
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Watched it last night - it's great! (And enjoyed Mark C's commentary as well!)
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#1562100 - 11/22/10 12:56 AM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
Frozenicicles Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/09
Posts: 1324
Loc: Canada
You can download it for $14.99 on the itunes store now! Should be studying...but I don't know if I can resist watching when it finishes downloading.

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#1562101 - 11/22/10 12:58 AM Re: They Came to Play [Re: Frozenicicles]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19742
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Frozenicicles
You can download it for $14.99 on the itunes store now! Should be studying...but I don't know if I can resist watching when it finishes downloading.

Cool!
Anyway I think you should get school credit for watching it. ha
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1562389 - 11/22/10 02:36 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
Frozenicicles Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/09
Posts: 1324
Loc: Canada
I enjoyed it! It's more of a documentary about the people than the music, and it really shines in that regard. I'm rather disappointed that a lot of the performances got cut, so maybe I should've gotten the physical copy with the dual layer DVD.

I was surprised at the wide variation of difficulty and musical styles in the repertoire performed. It must be insanely hard to judge these things. How do you compare a great rendition of one of the easier Chopin preludes with the Waldstein? One of the competitors remarked something to the effect that you needed to be able to trot out some of the big warhorses to make it. Too bad they didn't make this a series show, survivor style. How cool would that be?

Most of all, I was impressed with how well these people are able to juggle their professional, music and personal lives. Do they just have 24 hours to a day like everyone else? Amazing.

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#1565372 - 11/27/10 06:17 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3765
Loc: Bay Area, CA
FYI: The movie is coming to Netflix Streaming (in the US) in 3 weeks, so I (so lazy I don't even mail DVD's anymore) will finally watch it. Looking forward to it. smile

-J
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#1565386 - 11/27/10 06:38 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
I saw this last year when they were first screening it, and I loved it so much I bought the DVD that night from the producer. I've watched it several times since then.

My copy does not have anything other than the movie on it. I believe you can see/hear complete performances on YouTube or on the Cliburn site.
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#1565428 - 11/27/10 07:50 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1485
I have a copy of They Came to Play.
Anybody who is interested please PM me, I watched once, and want to sell.

Ron

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#1675753 - 05/11/11 05:49 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
I just rec'd it from Netflix and enjoyed it. The over 35 amateur competition.

The finalists played so well that you would think them pros! The winner did a great job all the way through and deserved the win (won't say who to spoil it)

Even got to see Mark C speak. Sorry I missed you at the piano somehow.

I want to watch it one more time before I ship it back.

How they control their nerves is beyond me. There were a couple of finalists who did not place who were fantastic too.

What an achievement to participate.

What was nice to see were the interviews of the participant's every day lives. We can relate although most were far from the everyday workman.

I recommend it.



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"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1675852 - 05/11/11 09:31 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: lilylady]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19742
Loc: New York
Lily: Nice post! And BTW it wasn't hard to miss me at the piano; they only show me briefly, twice -- and without the audio. ha
(They have other stuff playing meanwhile in the background, as was the case with many of us 'also-rans.') smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1675875 - 05/11/11 09:55 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4794
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Oh wow. I'm glad Netflix finally has it. It's still listed as arrival date "unknown" on my Netflix.
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#1675882 - 05/11/11 10:07 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3914
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
I saw it, then went to the Chicago Amateur Piano Competition last June. Some of the people in TCTP were competing here! Real screen stars walking (and playing piano) amongst us mortals. It was great.
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There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#1675950 - 05/12/11 12:25 AM Re: They Came to Play [Re: Palindrome]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2326
Loc: NYC
I just saw the film thanks to Netflix. Well, all but the last 20 min. or so, which I'll get back to. The director's POV is really the human-interest part with the pianists speaking about their musical lives and their work lives away from the piano. That's nice, and it helps give the film more mass-market appeal, but personally I would have liked to hear more than the 20- or 30-second snippets of playing, and without voice-overs obscuring the music.
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#1675956 - 05/12/11 12:38 AM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 360
Loc: Western NC (US)
Very cool, I must watch... I am letting my netflix account expire before May 15, the next billing date. It shows "They" as available for streaming. ("Them"?) I just never watch movies or TV or anything! (although youtube can waste a lot of time in cumulative tiny snippets)

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#1677663 - 05/14/11 05:01 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
lisztvsthalberg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/10
Posts: 121
Just watched this from iTunes - so much better than the Eurovision Song Contest!

I was surprised that Slava Levin didn't place among the top three, he played the Schumann Toccata and La Campanella pretty convincingly.

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#1677674 - 05/14/11 05:11 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
tranquillo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/09
Posts: 143
It's a great story of an amateur competition caught on video, delves into the personal lives of the competitors, follows them to the stage and finals. I found it riveting.
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#1677694 - 05/14/11 06:16 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: lisztvsthalberg]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19742
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: lisztvsthalberg
.....I was surprised that Slava Levin didn't place among the top three, he played the Schumann Toccata and La Campanella pretty convincingly.

I was too. But, you have to realize that you only saw bits of the competition. For all of the film's excellence, the excerpts don't always give a full idea of how well the people really did in each round. If you had heard the entire finals, you might not be that surprised. It's not that he didn't play well, but by the very high standards of the finals, it seemed he had somewhat of an 'off-day,' not that there was anything really wrong but it often seemed a bit routine and uninspired -- maybe he was a bit tired? That's not hard to imagine after a long week of competing. It was still good enough to have won, but he left some room above himself, and people took it. Also his choice of repertoire for the finals may have worked against him: his big piece was Schumann's Faschingsschwank aus Wien, which is wonderful and his playing had stretches of great beauty (and his last movement was used basically as the "theme song" for the movie), but that piece has a hard time competing with the other people's "big pieces." And there was also another possible factor: there may have been a bit of a different standard applied to him since he had been a professional performer in the past.

But screw all that smile ....in the film, I said I thought the judges would have a hard time avoiding giving 3 first prizes (which the rules do allow) -- actually I thought FOUR were fully and equally worthy -- and Slava was one of the people that I meant. And it's possible that his performance of that last movement of Faschingsschwank aus Wien, since it is featured so prominently in the film, may help elevate the piece's profile. I'd bet that THOUSANDS of people who see the movie have wondered, "What IS that piece?" -- and have gone and found out.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1677746 - 05/14/11 08:07 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
gale Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/09
Posts: 37
It's available for instant viewing on Netflix right now. I just watched the first 15 minutes. Wonderful!!

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#1677801 - 05/14/11 09:59 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: gooddog]
jdhampton924 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 1009
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I'm still waiting for it to come from Netflix. Have you seen it? Is it wonderful?
It is on netflix instant play, that is how I watched it a few months ago.

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#1678004 - 05/15/11 07:28 AM Re: They Came to Play [Re: Mark_C]
lisztvsthalberg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/10
Posts: 121
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
...there may have been a bit of a different standard applied to him since he had been a professional performer in the past.

I wondered if that was indeed the case after listening to both the winner's and his Toccata on YouTube. His non-legato playing was really incredible. Slava Levin's Campanella was also used for the end credits of the film.

Having said that, I really liked the heterogeneity of the competitors and the repertoire. Many of them displayed a strong personality through their playing and the judges seemed to reward this - and musical expression in general - much more than in professional competitions, which often have a very different (and less encouraging) atmosphere.

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#1678078 - 05/15/11 11:20 AM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1485
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
...there may have been a bit of a different standard applied to him since he had been a professional performer in the past.


How did you find out that different standards were applied to him?

After watching the movie, I went to Slava Levin's wife web-site. It said that Slava had doctorate from Moscow Conservatory majoring in piano performance. Just wonder, why somebody who had doctorate degree in piano performance competed in many amateur competitions. What is the fun?


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#1678085 - 05/15/11 11:33 AM Re: They Came to Play [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19742
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
How did you find out that different standards were applied to him?

I didn't "find out," and I didn't say I knew. I was speculating.

Quote:
After watching the movie, I went to Slava Levin's wife web-site. It said that Slava had doctorate from Moscow Conservatory majoring in piano performance. Just wonder, why somebody who had doctorate degree in piano performance competed in many amateur competitions. What is the fun?

Reasonable question, and at least for Slava, I'm quite sure the answers are ones that we all would admire. He jokes in the film that he entered this competition to show his wife (a professional pianist) that he can still play smile but whatever....from having been around him at two events, he truly seems to be there mostly for the performing opportunity and the camaraderie.
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#1678090 - 05/15/11 11:47 AM Re: They Came to Play [Re: Mark_C]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1485
In no way will he lose his musical knowledge, he may be rusty. My teacher went to military service for 2 years while he attended Moscow Conservatory, and he could not practice. He was afraid that he will never gain back his ability. After he is done with military service, he was able to go back to the previous condition within 2 weeks of constant practice. Therefore, Slave can return to say 60 percent of his young age ability, and this will still be 10x better than most normal people since he graduated with Doctorate degree from one of the best conservatories in the world. But it is ok to have him in a competition, kind of fun and make normal people be more inspired....otherwise, competing against normal people , AARP members, is not challenging.

.

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#1678113 - 05/15/11 12:11 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19742
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
.....AARP members....

ha ha ha

I agree somewhat with what you say about professionally-trained pianists, but again I think you put it stronger than it deserves.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1678115 - 05/15/11 12:17 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
Lisa C Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/11
Posts: 41
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Saw this thread yesterday and my husband and I watched this on Netflix last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was especially happy that one of my personal favorites -- Schubert's Wanderer - was played. (One of the many pieces that break my heart because my hands are too small.)

I was curious though - the show did not say anything (or if it did, I missed it) about whether the competitors take lessons. If so, I would have enjoyed seeing something about that.
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#1678851 - 05/16/11 04:35 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Some of the players seem to be basically concert pianists who chose not to go pro. And the repertoire requirements are very stiff: 10-12 min. program in prelim. rd., 16-20 min. in semi-finals, and 25-30 min. in finals. Which raises a question in my mind: do all 75 contestants in the prelims actually have the complete repertoire ready to go, or do most of them expect to be eliminated in the prelims and therefore don't actually have even the semi-final repertoire prepared? That is, most of the 75 are just in it for the experience and couldn't participate in the semi-finals if them somehow made the cut.

Also, the VC Youtube competition winner gets into the prelims, but do the Youtube contestants actually have the complete repertoire ready to go if they were to win?

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#1678929 - 05/16/11 06:56 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: Frozenicicles]
boo1234 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 508
Originally Posted By: Frozenicicles


Most of all, I was impressed with how well these people are able to juggle their professional, music and personal lives. Do they just have 24 hours to a day like everyone else? Amazing.


I think the thing to take away from this is that most of these competitors are very successful people in their professions that would have been good in almost anything they tried.

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#1679105 - 05/17/11 01:26 AM Re: They Came to Play [Re: Gyro]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1485
Originally Posted By: Gyro
Some of the players seem to be basically concert pianists who chose not to go pro. And the repertoire requirements are very stiff: 10-12 min. program in prelim. rd., 16-20 min. in semi-finals, and 25-30 min. in finals. Which raises a question in my mind: do all 75 contestants in the prelims actually have the complete repertoire ready to go, or do most of them expect to be eliminated in the prelims and therefore don't actually have even the semi-final repertoire prepared? That is, most of the 75 are just in it for the experience and couldn't participate in the semi-finals if them somehow made the cut.

Also, the VC Youtube competition winner gets into the prelims, but do the Youtube contestants actually have the complete repertoire ready to go if they were to win?


Most people prepare all of the pieces, but they know their ability. If they think that they are going to be a first rounder only, they just practice hard for the first round, and practice enough to not embarrass themselves in case they get into semifinal. People who foresee that they have a big chance to be a contender in the final, they practice all of the pieces very hard.

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#2032635 - 02/13/13 06:58 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
quodlibet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 67
Loc: Seattle, WA
Sorry to revive such an old thread, but...I just finished watching this film for, oh, the third or fourth time, and am seeking a small bit of information from someone who might know (Mark C?).

After Mark Fuller's full performance of a Prokofiev sonata (in the bonus features), while he is talking backstage you can hear someone playing Schubert's B flat sonata, D960. I am just really curious to know which competitor that was. It is one of my favorite pieces, and I wondered too whether any video of that competitor playing it is online anywhere (if so, I can't locate it).

Thanks in advance if anyone can help!

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#2032644 - 02/13/13 07:08 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: P I A N O piano]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA

Wait a minute, Mark C was in this?? Now I want to watch it!




EDIT: "no, we're real doctors..." laugh

I saw the preview like two years ago (way before I joined PianoWorld) and I distinctly remember that line. Only now that I go back and watch it again do I realize it's Mark. Small world I guess!

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#2032692 - 02/13/13 08:10 PM Re: They Came to Play [Re: quodlibet]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19742
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: quodlibet
....you can hear someone playing Schubert's B flat sonata, D960. I am just really curious to know which competitor that was. It is one of my favorite pieces, and I wondered too whether any video of that competitor playing it is online anywhere (if so, I can't locate it)....

One of my faves too!
I suspect that the only person who would know is the person him/herself, because I'm pretty sure it was a non-programmed piece that someone was just using to try out the piano. (I think nobody played any movements of the piece in the competition nor had it scheduled for any round that they didn't reach. If I have a chance I'll go back and look through the program book of the event to make sure.)

To Joel: Yes, with the help of my wife being "straight man," I had the first laugh line of the film. ha

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