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#1619609 - 02/14/11 08:39 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: alexb]
Orange Soda King Online   happy
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Registered: 11/25/09
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Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: alexb
or Beethoven (piano)


YES, someone who finally agrees with me on liking Beethoven's piano music more than his orchestral music... His chamber music is spectacular, too!

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#1619683 - 02/14/11 11:05 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: alexb]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: alexb
The greatest composition would have to either be Bach (non-piano) or Beethoven (piano). Simple as that. All else is subjective greatness.


Really? And there's nothing subjective about this?
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#1619691 - 02/14/11 11:10 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Orange Soda King]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King


YES, someone who finally agrees with me on liking Beethoven's piano music more than his orchestral music... His chamber music is spectacular, too!


Some of Beethoven's "great" piano music is more orchestral in concept than pianistic, as though the piano were limiting his expression or were insufficient to what he wants to convey. That's why, in some instances, his orchestral music can be a more satisfying listening experience than his piano music.

Sort of reminds me of a line from a Joyce Grenfell monologue, called "Artists Room" :

"I just like to sit back and let the music pour over me. I guess that's what I don't like about Beethoven. I mean, he just doesn't "pour," does he?"

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190 in satin ebony
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#1619703 - 02/14/11 11:18 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Orange Soda King]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
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Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Originally Posted By: alexb
or Beethoven (piano)


YES, someone who finally agrees with me on liking Beethoven's piano music more than his orchestral music... His chamber music is spectacular, too!


I'm not sure that alexb really made as strong a statement as you want him to have. smile

Anyway, fwiw, there was a long time when I loved Beethoven's piano and chamber music, and only liked the symphonies. They were good, but, I felt, they often seemed bloated and anemic, missing some essential vitality.

Then I heard Roger Norrington's 1989 recordings on period instruments, and everything changed. I heard the intensity of the inner voices. I finally understood how this was the same man who wrote all the piano music I loved.

The Norrington recordings have some faults, and I think some of the tempi in the 9th are terrible, but overall, they might open your eyes. They did mine!

-Jason
_________________________
Schoenberg op.19, Beethoven op.109.
Schubert D.899/4, Chopin op.25/2.
Chopin op.66, Beethoven WoO 80.
Liszt Petrarch 104.

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#1619709 - 02/14/11 11:30 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: beet31425]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: beet31425

The Norrington recordings have some faults, and I think some of the tempi in the 9th are terrible...

and I thought his tempo for the finale of the 5th far too hectic for my taste. It sort of trivialized it. Oh well, at least he took the repeat.
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#1619718 - 02/14/11 11:37 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: argerichfan]
beet31425 Online   content
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Registered: 06/12/09
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Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: beet31425

The Norrington recordings have some faults, and I think some of the tempi in the 9th are terrible...

and I thought his tempo for the finale of the 5th far too hectic for my taste. It sort of trivialized it. Oh well, at least he took the repeat.

Fair enough; I thought the same for the finale of the 7th.

But the ones he gets right-- and I still claim there are a whole bunch of them-- are devastatingly good in their ferocious precision and sheer brio. No? smile

-J
_________________________
Schoenberg op.19, Beethoven op.109.
Schubert D.899/4, Chopin op.25/2.
Chopin op.66, Beethoven WoO 80.
Liszt Petrarch 104.

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#1619747 - 02/14/11 12:13 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: beet31425]
argerichfan Offline
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Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: beet31425

But the ones he gets right-- and I still claim there are a whole bunch of them-- are devastatingly good in their ferocious precision and sheer brio. No? smile

Oh definitely. Though sometimes I like my Beethoven with Furtwänglerian/Klempererian gravity.

BTW, Klemperer's Missa Solemnis is quite an experience, one that I can't confront too frequently. (And also I'm sure you know his Mahler 2, one of the great recordings of that symphony.)
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#1619763 - 02/14/11 12:31 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Skorpius]
Orange Soda King Online   happy
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Registered: 11/25/09
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Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll have to give these a listen.

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#1620009 - 02/14/11 06:33 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Skorpius]
dolce sfogato Offline
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As most of the greatest music ever written is, alas, not for piano, what is the point mentioning Bach's Mass, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Wagner's Tristan and Ring, Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe, Debussy's La Mer, Berlioz's Les Troyens, Verdi's Othello, and so many other unforgettable masterpieces, i could go on for quite a while, and therefore shall not..
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Chopin op.28/20/31/39/54

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#1620019 - 02/14/11 06:45 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: dolce sfogato]
beet31425 Online   content
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Registered: 06/12/09
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Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
As most of the greatest music ever written is, alas, not for piano...

I agree with that statement. Not because the piano is particularly incapable of supporting great music, but rather, just because only a fraction of classical music is written for it, and so you'd expect a corresponding fraction of the "greatest pieces of all time" to be written for it.

-J
_________________________
Schoenberg op.19, Beethoven op.109.
Schubert D.899/4, Chopin op.25/2.
Chopin op.66, Beethoven WoO 80.
Liszt Petrarch 104.

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#1620025 - 02/14/11 06:49 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Skorpius]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
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smile
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Chopin op.28/20/31/39/54

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#1628299 - 02/26/11 01:57 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Skorpius]
Karl Pilkington Offline
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Posts: 292
Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi...

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#1628311 - 02/26/11 02:21 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Skorpius]
jeffreyjones Offline
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Solo piano - Beethoven: 33 Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli, Op. 120
Concerto w/piano - Mozart: Concerto No. 9 "Jeunehomme" K. 271
Chamber w/piano - Shostakovich: Quintet, Op. 57

All pieces of towering quality and inspiration..

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#1628326 - 02/26/11 04:14 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Skorpius]
pjang23 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 106
My favorite piece of all time: Link Link 2

If only it were performed more. frown
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Brahms-Singer Symphony No.3 & No.4
Brahms-Kirchner Ein deutsches Requiem
Schubert D946/2
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#1628392 - 02/26/11 08:51 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Skorpius]
GradedPiano Offline
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Registered: 01/15/11
Posts: 123
Beethovens moonlight sonata 3rd movement

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#1628411 - 02/26/11 09:54 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Karl Pilkington]
Orange Soda King Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
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Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: Karl Pilkington
Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi...


I may have to agree. laugh

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#1628628 - 02/26/11 03:38 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Skorpius]
itsfreakingmeout Offline
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Registered: 03/09/10
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the hammerklavier





warning, if you watch in HD, your mind will be blown
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#1628715 - 02/26/11 05:21 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Skorpius]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: Skorpius
If you had to choose, what would it be?


Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 29 Op. 106 "The Hammerklavier"

Why: Simply because I have never heard any pianist who can tame that piece without killing it. Most pianists who play it keep a safe distance. Schnabel is the only pianist I have ever heard who was brave enough to tackle the piece head on, and even he did not fair so well. Gieseking comes in a close second.



P.S. Valentina Lisitsa does an admirable job but when you listen to Schnabel's tempo you will see what I mean by playing it safe.


Edited by polyphasicpianist (02/26/11 05:25 PM)

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#1628909 - 02/27/11 12:15 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: polyphasicpianist]
jeffreyjones Offline
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Registered: 01/31/10
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Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Originally Posted By: Skorpius
If you had to choose, what would it be?


Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 29 Op. 106 "The Hammerklavier"

Why: Simply because I have never heard any pianist who can tame that piece without killing it. Most pianists who play it keep a safe distance. Schnabel is the only pianist I have ever heard who was brave enough to tackle the piece head on, and even he did not fair so well. Gieseking comes in a close second.


I played it for PW's Beethoven recital. I think that what really kills it is trying to play it too fast. There's a lot of wonderful music blowing by if you don't take the time to bring it out. However, I think the Adagio is usually played too slowly and deprived of its melodic flow.

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#1628928 - 02/27/11 01:08 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: jeffreyjones]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Registered: 02/21/11
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Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones


I played it for PW's Beethoven recital. I think that what really kills it is trying to play it too fast. There's a lot of wonderful music blowing by if you don't take the time to bring it out. However, I think the Adagio is usually played too slowly and deprived of its melodic flow.


Beethoven's tempo indications are quite clear: half notes = 138. Personally I have never found the notion that 'playing this piece too fast ruins it musically' is altogether valid. Take for instance Anton Kuerti's recording of it. In the liner notes he makes the same argument that the fast tempo Beethoven marked "makes it impossible to hear the magnificent details." But in the liner notes to one of Beethoven's other Sonata's (I can't remember which one) Anton Kuerti clearly states that the performer should always obey the composers intentions (or maybe it was Steven Kovacevich who said that - I can't remember). Brendel is the same way, one moment he's all about obeying the composer completley and then he records this sonata and plays it at a slower tempo than Beethoven wanted. My point is, pianist's tend to pick and choose which rules they consider valid. That's why anytime I hear a pianist say that they didn't play this piece at the required tempo, for such and such reason, I am suspicious. Do they really believe that? Or are they just not up for the challenge and want to play it safe? @ Jeffreyjones, I mean no disrespect by this post, I admire anyone who is even willing to learn this monster of piece and you are entitled to your opinion. But for guys like Kuerti, Kovacevich, Brendel, etc. who play the biggest venues and get the most respect, there is no excuse to cut corners. Either you can handle the piece as written or you can't. I would prefer a pianist to say, the piece is impossible as written rather then give a substandard interpretation that contradicts their own philosophy regarding music. Because when they do this the music comes across as insincere.

I wouldn't disagree with the fact that when people try and play this piece at the required tempo it typically has disastrous effects musically, but that is why I so admire Schnabel and Gieseking's recordings. They tried to tame this beast of a sonata. Whether or not they succeeded is another matter altogether.

P.S. I didn't mean to be so hard on Kuerti, he is actually one of my favorite Beethoven interpreters. But when it comes to No. 29 Op. 106 I think he is playing it safe. As Schnabel says: "Safety last."


Edited by polyphasicpianist (02/27/11 01:11 AM)

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#1628932 - 02/27/11 01:17 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: Skorpius]
jeffreyjones Offline
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And you'll see conductors trying to take the "Eroica" at the MM markings that Beethoven worked out a decade after writing it, crashing it out on his piano to get an idea. Respecting Beethoven's intent is not the same thing as obeying his numbers. There are a lot of fine details in the first movement of Op. 106 that will never come out at high speed.

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#1628963 - 02/27/11 02:33 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: jeffreyjones]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Registered: 02/21/11
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Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
And you'll see conductors trying to take the "Eroica" at the MM markings that Beethoven worked out a decade after writing it, crashing it out on his piano to get an idea. Respecting Beethoven's intent is not the same thing as obeying his numbers. There are a lot of fine details in the first movement of Op. 106 that will never come out at high speed.


I would say, respecting Beethoven's intent is obeying his numbers. You can't obey someone by disobeying them. That doesn't make any sense.

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#1629043 - 02/27/11 07:15 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: jeffreyjones]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
And you'll see conductors trying to take the "Eroica" at the MM markings that Beethoven worked out a decade after writing it, crashing it out on his piano to get an idea. Respecting Beethoven's intent is not the same thing as obeying his numbers. There are a lot of fine details in the first movement of Op. 106 that will never come out at high speed.


Jeffrey, is absolutely correct here. Much of what Beethoven originally marked with the metronome is "out of range" and he knew it. His frustration WITH the metronome, in fact, lead him to not bother with marking metronomic indications after a certain point. He never really understood exactly how to use it and I'm sure this was related to his terrible mathematical skills. I may be the most staunch member here in regard to respecting composer intent and Beethoven is truly one of my heroes, but the metronomic numbers he left us are to be taken with much caution.
_________________________

"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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#1629244 - 02/27/11 01:22 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: stores]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores

Jeffrey, is absolutely correct here. Much of what Beethoven originally marked with the metronome is "out of range" and he knew it. His frustration WITH the metronome, in fact, lead him to not bother with marking metronomic indications after a certain point. He never really understood exactly how to use it and I'm sure this was related to his terrible mathematical skills. I may be the most staunch member here in regard to respecting composer intent and Beethoven is truly one of my heroes, but the metronomic numbers he left us are to be taken with much caution.


Pure conjecture. Sorry if I sound rude (it's not my intent), but this really seems like pianists are making excuses not to play it at the proper tempo. Schnabel clearly felt it was important, and he lived and breathed nothing but Beethoven. It was his one consuming musical obsession (or so I am told). Also, I really don't think people who make the argument that Stores is putting forth are giving Beethoven enough credit. To say the man who composed some of the most important musical works of all time simply did not understand the workings of tempo is just absurd. Even if it was the case that he did not understand how to work the metronome, he still would have had a basic understanding of tempo. For instance, are you telling me that the same man who wrote the 9th symphony could not grasp the concept that a clock ticks 60 times a minute, and if you double that you get 120. He knew perfectly well how fast half notes at 132bpm were.

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#1629252 - 02/27/11 01:35 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: polyphasicpianist]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
[...] .... the concept that a clock ticks 60 times a minute, and if you double that you get 120. He knew perfectly well how fast half notes at 132bpm were.


Do you mean to say that " ... if a clock ticks 60 times a minute"?

I have three antique clocks, all of which keep near-perfect time and none of them beats at 60 bpm. They range from 48 bpm to 72 bpm. I certainly wouldn't assume that any mechanical clock necessarily beats at 60 bpm.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190 in satin ebony
Writing from Paris until 15 May, 2014

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#1629260 - 02/27/11 01:45 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: polyphasicpianist]
beet31425 Online   content
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Registered: 06/12/09
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Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Pure conjecture. Sorry if I sound rude (it's not my intent), but this really seems like pianists are making excuses not to play it at the proper tempo....

It's not that you sound rude so much as unnecessarily rigid. It's important to honor a composer's intentions, but it's also important to have some freedom of interpretation. That's why most pianists don't honor metronome markings with the same rigidity that they do, say, the notated pitches of the piece. After all, if the only way to honor the composer's intentions was to play at the exact metronome marking specified, then everyone would be playing at the exact same tempo! That's pretty absurd to me.

If this seems inconsistent to you, I think you're grasping at consistency too feverishly, at the cost of musicality!

-Jason
_________________________
Schoenberg op.19, Beethoven op.109.
Schubert D.899/4, Chopin op.25/2.
Chopin op.66, Beethoven WoO 80.
Liszt Petrarch 104.

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#1629268 - 02/27/11 01:54 PM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: polyphasicpianist]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Originally Posted By: stores

Jeffrey, is absolutely correct here. Much of what Beethoven originally marked with the metronome is "out of range" and he knew it. His frustration WITH the metronome, in fact, lead him to not bother with marking metronomic indications after a certain point. He never really understood exactly how to use it and I'm sure this was related to his terrible mathematical skills. I may be the most staunch member here in regard to respecting composer intent and Beethoven is truly one of my heroes, but the metronomic numbers he left us are to be taken with much caution.


Pure conjecture. Sorry if I sound rude (it's not my intent), but this really seems like pianists are making excuses not to play it at the proper tempo. Schnabel clearly felt it was important, and he lived and breathed nothing but Beethoven. It was his one consuming musical obsession (or so I am told). Also, I really don't think people who make the argument that Stores is putting forth are giving Beethoven enough credit. To say the man who composed some of the most important musical works of all time simply did not understand the workings of tempo is just absurd. Even if it was the case that he did not understand how to work the metronome, he still would have had a basic understanding of tempo. For instance, are you telling me that the same man who wrote the 9th symphony could not grasp the concept that a clock ticks 60 times a minute, and if you double that you get 120. He knew perfectly well how fast half notes at 132bpm were.


Which part is pure conjecture? Did I say that Beethoven didn't understand tempo? No. I said he didn't understand correctly the usage of the metronome. His frustrations with it are well documented as are his mathematical shortcomings. You might want to do a little homework.
_________________________

"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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#1629674 - 02/28/11 01:00 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: stores]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: stores
Much of what Beethoven originally marked with the metronome is "out of range" and he knew it. His frustration WITH the metronome, in fact, lead him to not bother with marking metronomic indications after a certain point. He never really understood exactly how to use it and I'm sure this was related to his terrible mathematical skills.


Originally Posted By: stores

Which part is pure conjecture? Did I say that Beethoven didn't understand tempo? No. I said he didn't understand correctly the usage of the metronome. His frustrations with it are well documented as are his mathematical shortcomings. You might want to do a little homework.


Let my try and get this clear:
You are trying to convince me that his tempo marking of half notes=132 is wrong. Why? You claim it is because he could not work a metronome on account of his bad math skills.
-I find it hard to beleive that Beethoven was so bad at math that he could not work this Maelzel metronome.


This is same type of metronome Beethoven would have used.

Nevertheless, if you still want to persist in this myth that his math was so bad that he could not grasp the basic working of a metronome, and that "he knew" his tempo indications were out of range, then I would be more than willing to "do my homework" as you say. Tell me what biography or scholarly article makes this assertion and I would be more than willing to seek it out, and report back here what I find. I have no problem admitting I am wrong, but you have not given me sufficient reason to think so. The burden of proof belongs to you.

I don't necessarily doubt that Beethoven was bad at math, perhaps he was. But so bad that he could not work a simple metronome. Surely you can understand why this is such a hard pill for me to swallow.


Edited by polyphasicpianist (02/28/11 01:21 AM)

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#1629685 - 02/28/11 01:49 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: polyphasicpianist]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3635
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Tell me what biography or scholarly article makes this assertion and I would be more than willing to seek it out, and report back here what I find. I have no problem admitting I am wrong, but you have not given me sufficient reason to think so.

Read the chapter called "Tempo", especially the subsection "'Tempi Ordinarii' and the Metronome", from pianist and scholar Charles Rosen's book Beethoven's Piano Sonatas for a better perspective. He also talks specifically about op.106's metronome markings later on, when he discusses that sonata.

But anyway, as I indicated above, I think the specifics of Beethoven's relationship with his metronome are beside the point. Many composers since Beethoven have given metronome markings. It's not the case that we have to follow them exactly; otherwise, everyone would play a given piece at exactly the same speed.

-J
_________________________
Schoenberg op.19, Beethoven op.109.
Schubert D.899/4, Chopin op.25/2.
Chopin op.66, Beethoven WoO 80.
Liszt Petrarch 104.

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#1630406 - 03/01/11 02:52 AM Re: The Greatest Piece of All Time [Re: beet31425]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Read the chapter called "Tempo", especially the subsection "'Tempi Ordinarii' and the Metronome", from pianist and scholar Charles Rosen's book Beethoven's Piano Sonatas for a better perspective. He also talks specifically about op.106's metronome markings later on, when he discusses that sonata.


I am on it, thanks. Give me about a week, and I will report back my findings here.

Originally Posted By: 31425

But anyway, as I indicated above, I think the specifics of Beethoven's relationship with his metronome are beside the point. Many composers since Beethoven have given metronome markings. It's not the case that we have to follow them exactly; otherwise, everyone would play a given piece at exactly the same speed.


To be quite I honest I perfectly agree with this statement. My problem is only with those pianists who argue for the most literally accurate interpretation and then contradict themselves by ignoring what (to me at any rate) seems to be the composer's obvious intention.

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The Art of the Sound Clip
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by Brother Methias
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Amazing Grace piano duet
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