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#1640105 - 03/13/11 11:59 AM What makes a good pianist stand out?
Gould Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/10
Posts: 429
Loc: Earth
What makes a good pianist stand out? What makes pianists like Vladimir Horowitz, Martha Agerich different than other average pianists?

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#1640108 - 03/13/11 12:01 PM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gould]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4491
Loc: in the past
Can you really not hear it?
_________________________

'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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#1640123 - 03/13/11 12:27 PM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gould]
PaulaPiano34 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1217
Horowitz and Argerich are pianists that can make their audiences cry and have shivers up and down their spine and excite them with their inhuman technical virtuosity. What sets them apart is that a lot of concert pianists can do either or, not both.

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#1640186 - 03/13/11 02:35 PM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gould]
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101
However, don't let fame = quality.

That's not always the case...
_________________________
II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.

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#1640215 - 03/13/11 03:37 PM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gould]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
First of all, they're hitting all the right notes in the right time at tempo, which is no easy task in difficult pieces with a brisk tempo. This seems obvious, but in difficult pieces, lesser players simply cannot do this. For example, in a long, difficult piece can you play every single note with the same proficiency as every other one, the most difficult bar played just as perfectly as the easiest one? A lesser player will mess up in the difficult bars and start to fudge his technique to cover his shortcomings, which will be glaringly obvious to the listener. Big time players like this can hit even the most difficult to reach note just as proficiently as the easiest to reach one, which is why they "sound so good."

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#1640261 - 03/13/11 05:13 PM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Pogorelich.]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Can you really not hear it?


Exactly as I was thinking!
_________________________
Working on:

Prokofiev - Sonata No. 3
Kapustin - Variations Op. 41
Chopin - Ballade No. 4

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#1640272 - 03/13/11 05:29 PM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gyro]
WinsomeAllegretto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 824
Originally Posted By: Gyro
First of all, they're hitting all the right notes in the right time at tempo, which is no easy task in difficult pieces with a brisk tempo. This seems obvious, but in difficult pieces, lesser players simply cannot do this. For example, in a long, difficult piece can you play every single note with the same proficiency as every other one, the most difficult bar played just as perfectly as the easiest one? A lesser player will mess up in the difficult bars and start to fudge his technique to cover his shortcomings, which will be glaringly obvious to the listener. Big time players like this can hit even the most difficult to reach note just as proficiently as the easiest to reach one, which is why they "sound so good."


My teacher began telling me at a young age that music is a lot more than just hitting the right notes in the right rhythms. I mean, what if I can play something really pretty, like Schubert Impromptu op 90 no 3, and I can hit all the notes and rhythms perfectly, but I just bang them all out without paying attention to phrasing, voicing, dynamics, articulation, pedalling, rubato, etc? It's not going to be great by any means. In fact, my teacher and I can actually START to work on a piece in lessons once I have learned the notes and rhythms. It's not an ending place.

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#1640287 - 03/13/11 06:15 PM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gyro]
Batuhan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/09
Posts: 861
Loc: Istanbul
Originally Posted By: Gyro
First of all, they're hitting all the right notes in the right time at tempo, which is no easy task in difficult pieces with a brisk tempo. This seems obvious, but in difficult pieces, lesser players simply cannot do this. For example, in a long, difficult piece can you play every single note with the same proficiency as every other one, the most difficult bar played just as perfectly as the easiest one? A lesser player will mess up in the difficult bars and start to fudge his technique to cover his shortcomings, which will be glaringly obvious to the listener. Big time players like this can hit even the most difficult to reach note just as proficiently as the easiest to reach one, which is why they "sound so good."


Technique is not everything, if you cant feel the piece you play, your performance going to be compeletly garbage. The important thing is while you are hitting all the right notes in the right time at tempo, you have to reach heart of the audience too. All great pianists feel the pieces they play very deeply thats because they are great.
_________________________
Sorry for my English, I know it sucks, but I'm trying to improve.

Published:
Waltz Op. 36 No. 1 in G-flat major,
2 Preludes, Op. 12 in D-flat major.

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#1640311 - 03/13/11 07:10 PM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gould]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: Vesivian
What makes a good pianist stand out? What makes pianists like Vladimir Horowitz, Martha Agerich different than other average pianists?


I think perhaps you mean, "what makes a good pianist famous?" And the reason I think this is because I don't necessarily believe that people like Horowitz and Argerich are necessarily part of a exclusive club of extraordinary musicians. I think they are part of a elite club of musicians who have happened to have struck fame. Exceptional musicality is not nearly as rare as people want to believe. There are a least a couple pianists I know of in my own home city who I would count as equally talented as a Horowitz or a Argerich, but who do not possess their fame. I think it is easy to fall into the common fallacy that people are famous because they are the best at what they do. But you need only look at the Miley Cyrus's and Helene Grimaud's of the world to know that this is simply not the case. People become famous for all sorts of reasons and under all sorts of circumstances. Argerich and Horowitz are remarkable pianists, but I think if you make the effort you will see that remarkable pianists can exist without the remarkable fame.

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#1640334 - 03/13/11 07:45 PM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: polyphasicpianist]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist

There are a least a couple pianists I know of in my own home city who I would count as equally talented as a Horowitz or a Argerich,


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH Funniest thing I've heard all day (and no, I don't need to hear your hometown neighbors). Hop aboard my list, matey!
_________________________

"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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#1640478 - 03/14/11 01:00 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: stores]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
I find it inconceivable that a pianist pursuing a career would go unrecognized if he was as good as Horowitz or Argerich. Audiences and critics aren't deaf, and skill of that magnitude is going to be obvious.

When you say that the pianists are as talented as Horowitz and Argerich, do you mean that they simply appear to have the same level of natural ability that they did, but are not at the same skill level? After all, talent only indicates potential skill, rather than actual realized skill. It's conceivable that a person could be supremely talented, but fail to utilize that talent to its full degree.

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#1640484 - 03/14/11 01:27 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte
I find it inconceivable that a pianist pursuing a career would go unrecognized if he was as good as Horowitz or Argerich. Audiences and critics aren't deaf, and skill of that magnitude is going to be obvious.

When you say that the pianists are as talented as Horowitz and Argerich, do you mean that they simply appear to have the same level of natural ability that they did, but are not at the same skill level? After all, talent only indicates potential skill, rather than actual realized skill. It's conceivable that a person could be supremely talented, but fail to utilize that talent to its full degree.


I find it very conceivable, if everyone who has the ability to master a Rachminoff concerto were as famous as a Horowitz and Argerich, then the Royal Albert and Carnigie hall would be packed day and night with piano recitals.

Just to provide an example, check out the girl playing the Tchaikovsky concerto. The concerto starts at 3:42. Clearly she is a great talent (by "talent" I don't mean to imply anything other than she can play the piano damn good), and I think if she was given the opportunity she could show her metal just as much as an Agerich or a Horowitz.


It's like I have said before, people put pianists like Horowitz, Argerich, Richter, etc. on a such a lofty pedestal that only a very few people can manage to break into. If it were the case that audiences and critics new best 100% of the time then pianists like Helene Grimaud would not be selling tickets to the largest venues.

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#1640488 - 03/14/11 01:57 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gould]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 786
Loc: New York, NY
in general, i think the truly brilliant will find their way. i'm talking about generational talents--the horowitzs, the argeriches, etc. it's the ones that are just a hair below them who need some luck to stand out. like, i think, someone on the level of kissin--if he didn't have the great publicity he got as a teenager, it's entirely possible he wouldn't be so well-known. maybe he's good enough as is, maybe not. we'll never know.

and i think that's probably why pianists place so much emphasis on competitions. for many, winning them is the break you need. even if you don't win, you need the free publicity.
_________________________
Working on:
911, 110, 53. Listed in order of time of composition.


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#1640489 - 03/14/11 02:08 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gould]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 786
Loc: New York, NY
but we've gotten off-topic: just what makes a pianist stand out?

honestly, i don't know. sure, i can hear it--but it's not an answer. well, it's a very unsatisfying, hand-wavy answer. i'd love to quantify it, but i can't really do it. as somewhat of an academic (in the quantitative sciences), i've accumulated a few rules to decide whether makes a performance great. but at this stage, the rules are so rudimentary, and, i think, detail-oriented that often times it loses the big picture.

like: phrasing, dynamics and timing are all things you can analyze to death. but "passion"? i haven't really managed to translate that to something tangible. when does "passionate" pass into "sentimentality" or even "trashy"? the "phase-space" is almost infinite dimensional, and we humans, with our experiences and training, interpret what we hear in a certain way as to render a translation from mere sounds very, very difficult.

and we're not even including the non-musical aspects: charisma, quirkiness, or, sheer luck, etc. as has been pointed out, those could matter much more than the ability of creating music itself.
_________________________
Working on:
911, 110, 53. Listed in order of time of composition.


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#1640493 - 03/14/11 02:38 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Lingyis]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: Lingyis
but we've gotten off-topic: just what makes a pianist stand out?

honestly, i don't know. sure, i can hear it--but it's not an answer. well, it's a very unsatisfying, hand-wavy answer. i'd love to quantify it, but i can't really do it. as somewhat of an academic (in the quantitative sciences), i've accumulated a few rules to decide whether makes a performance great. but at this stage, the rules are so rudimentary, and, i think, detail-oriented that often times it loses the big picture.

like: phrasing, dynamics and timing are all things you can analyze to death. but "passion"? i haven't really managed to translate that to something tangible. when does "passionate" pass into "sentimentality" or even "trashy"? the "phase-space" is almost infinite dimensional, and we humans, with our experiences and training, interpret what we hear in a certain way as to render a translation from mere sounds very, very difficult.

and we're not even including the non-musical aspects: charisma, quirkiness, or, sheer luck, etc. as has been pointed out, those could matter much more than the ability of creating music itself.


Do you mean stand out to the public and critics, or stand out in musicality in general? If you mean the latter case (which I suspect you do), you are unlikely to get an answer everyone will be satisfied with. Scientists can't even agree on what constitutes intelligence, how one earth can you expect to quantify something as vague as exceptional musicality? And vagueness is just one of the problems, in both the former and the latter instance, standing out is probably the result of a multi-factored sequence of causes and not the result of one specific cause. To try to discover, weed out, and establish each cause's degree of relevance is so monumental a feat that I am going to go out on a limb and say it can't be done.

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#1640519 - 03/14/11 05:01 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: polyphasicpianist]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist

I find it very conceivable, if everyone who has the ability to master a Rachminoff concerto were as famous as a Horowitz and Argerich, then the Royal Albert and Carnigie hall would be packed day and night with piano recitals.


Well, of course, but here is where your depth of understanding goes no further than the wading pool. There are a ton of pianists that can play the notes...to anything. No one cares about the notes...it's what is behind, between, around and within those notes that make the difference. Sadly, these days there are those, who, like your example of Grimaud, sell tickets and recordings and are the result of the marketing machine, but there is not, nor will there ever be, anyone to take the place of the one and only Vladimir Horowitz, or Queen Martha Argerich. Pianist like these two, or your other example of Richter, don't just happen onto the scene...there's a reason they sit atop those lofty pedestals.
_________________________

"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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#1640530 - 03/14/11 05:32 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: stores]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: stores

Well, of course, but here is where your depth of understanding goes no further than the wading pool. There are a ton of pianists that can play the notes...to anything. No one cares about the notes...it's what is behind, between, around and within those notes that make the difference. Sadly, these days there are those, who, like your example of Grimaud, sell tickets and recordings and are the result of the marketing machine, but there is not, nor will there ever be, anyone to take the place of the one and only Vladimir Horowitz, or Queen Martha Argerich. Pianist like these two, or your other example of Richter, don't just happen onto the scene...there's a reason they sit atop those lofty pedestals.


You don't give people enough credit. A lot of people care deeply about the music they learn and perform. It is unfortunate that you can't see that. I guess people like you are compelled to mimic the view of the overwhelming majority because you have an inability to form your own opinions, which is why you can't accept the fact that pianists of comparable ability may exist and yet may not be famous. You're so afraid of being wrong that you predictably stick with the safe bet so that nobody can accuse you of liking a inferior pianist: This causes you to erroneously think that the best pianists are the ones who achieve great fame. If they don't have great fame then they must not be great pianists.

It is true that great talent can help you reach fame as in the case of Horowitz and Argerich, but having great talent does not necessarily mean you will achieve fame.
Furthermore, it is also true that fame does not necessarily equal great talent.

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#1640533 - 03/14/11 05:47 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: stores]
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist

I find it very conceivable, if everyone who has the ability to master a Rachminoff concerto were as famous as a Horowitz and Argerich, then the Royal Albert and Carnigie hall would be packed day and night with piano recitals.


Well, of course, but here is where your depth of understanding goes no further than the wading pool. There are a ton of pianists that can play the notes...to anything. No one cares about the notes...it's what is behind, between, around and within those notes that make the difference. Sadly, these days there are those, who, like your example of Grimaud, sell tickets and recordings and are the result of the marketing machine, but there is not, nor will there ever be, anyone to take the place of the one and only Vladimir Horowitz, or Queen Martha Argerich. Pianist like these two, or your other example of Richter, don't just happen onto the scene...there's a reason they sit atop those lofty pedestals.


I'm sorry, but are seriously trying to say they're actually famous because they just excel where others do not?

What about Lang Lang? Would you say the same thing?

Like I said, fame DOES NOT equal quality. Nor is it an indication. There are a lot of talented - equally talented - people who are not famous. There are also famous people with no talent. This goes beyond piano, but applies just as well.
_________________________
II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.

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#1640542 - 03/14/11 06:04 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: polyphasicpianist]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Originally Posted By: stores

Well, of course, but here is where your depth of understanding goes no further than the wading pool. There are a ton of pianists that can play the notes...to anything. No one cares about the notes...it's what is behind, between, around and within those notes that make the difference. Sadly, these days there are those, who, like your example of Grimaud, sell tickets and recordings and are the result of the marketing machine, but there is not, nor will there ever be, anyone to take the place of the one and only Vladimir Horowitz, or Queen Martha Argerich. Pianist like these two, or your other example of Richter, don't just happen onto the scene...there's a reason they sit atop those lofty pedestals.


You don't give people enough credit. A lot of people care deeply about the music they learn and perform. It is unfortunate that you can't see that. I guess people like you are compelled to mimic the view of the overwhelming majority because you have an inability to form your own opinions, which is why you can't accept the fact that pianists of comparable ability may exist and yet may not be famous. You're so afraid of being wrong that you predictably stick with the safe bet so that nobody can accuse you of liking a inferior pianist: This causes you to erroneously think that the best pianists are the ones who achieve great fame. If they don't have great fame then they must not be great pianists.

It is true that great talent can help you reach fame as in the case of Horowitz and Argerich, but having great talent does not necessarily mean you will achieve fame.
Furthermore, it is also true that fame does not necessarily equal great talent.


If anything, I don't side with the majority, I'm NOT afraid to be wrong, I don't stick with the safe bet, nor do I have an inability to form my own opinions. ...ask anyone here who knows me about that (that last is actually pretty damned funny). I DON'T think that the best pianists are necessarily those who've achieved great fame. Lang Lang, is probably the most famous pianist in the world right now and he sucks, so throw that theory out the window. Clearly, you've not been around long enough to know anything about me. I speak my own mind, I speak it well and you'd better make sure you know what you're talking about or I'll pull the rug out from under you.
Now then, you go find me two pianists the likes of Horowitz and Argerich (or two you think comparable) and I'll be happy to tell you (as will others, I'm sure) why they're not in the same league.
_________________________

"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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#1640551 - 03/14/11 06:41 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: polyphasicpianist]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 786
Loc: New York, NY
Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Do you mean stand out to the public and critics, or stand out in musicality in general? If you mean the latter case (which I suspect you do), you are unlikely to get an answer everyone will be satisfied with. Scientists can't even agree on what constitutes intelligence, how one earth can you expect to quantify something as vague as exceptional musicality? And vagueness is just one of the problems, in both the former and the latter instance, standing out is probably the result of a multi-factored sequence of causes and not the result of one specific cause. To try to discover, weed out, and establish each cause's degree of relevance is so monumental a feat that I am going to go out on a limb and say it can't be done.


Well, the less ambitious version is just to get musicality right. Obviously, we hope to reproduce musicality the same way we hope to reproduce intelligence--that's the holy grail. (Not an AI expert, but I think scientists do know the kind of intelligence being sought after. Not sure what you're referring to--perhaps the various kind of tests used to determine if a program is close enough?)

I feel that in some ways "becoming famous" is easier because it feels like one of those things that's highly chaotic in nature so... if you can establish that then you're probably done, done in the sense it's so complicated you don't bother. But like picking stocks, just because something is "highly chaotic" doesn't mean you can't improve your chances of guessing right, so in that sense, it could be just as difficult as you mentioned. Obviously impossible to get it 100% right--we're talking human society not math or physics--but some level of predictability.

Anyway, I wrote the reply because, as a pianist (not a professional one) wanting to improve, and relatively lacking in musicianship, I want to improve by trying to figure out what makes people fall in love with certain performers and see if I can copy them. Obviously there's some disparity in piano techniques that I can never hope to overcome but at least I hope to become a better musician in the process. It feels this is something that perhaps resonates with the OP.
_________________________
Working on:
911, 110, 53. Listed in order of time of composition.


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#1640553 - 03/14/11 06:53 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Lingyis]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Lingyis



I want to improve by trying to figure out what makes people fall in love with certain performers and see if I can copy them.


This is not how one improves. Speak with your own voice.
_________________________

"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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#1640561 - 03/14/11 07:18 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: ll]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7424
Originally Posted By: ll
However, don't let fame = quality.

That's not always the case...


And it shouldn't be assumed that pianists who have what it takes to be as famous as Horowitz or Argerich would necessarily want that kind of fame. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it may very well be that the more artistic sensitivity a pianist has, the more likely it is that they will not be attracted to fame, per se.

But - and it is a very big qualification - I think that the fame that surrounds some musicians ends up being a sort of feedback loop that enhances their charisma when they perform, and can produce really remarkable events, in terms of how the audience perceives what is taking place. I remember going to hear Argerich do the Prokofiev 3rd concerto, and the audience was so primed with her fame that the instant she arrived on stage, there was something like an electrical charge in the air surrounding her, before she played a note, and as a seasoned creature of the stage, she totally knew how to manage it.

As much as I am fascinated with how she plays, I have to say that kind of thing is not about great musicianship, but about charisma, which all sorts of public figures have.

Or private figures, for that matter. I have been at parties where there is a palpable change in the atmosphere when some particularly charismatic person walks into a room, for example. Although other people have walked through the very same door with no particular effect, it is fascinating how a charismatic person can open the door, and like magic, suddenly everyone there registers that entrance in a special way.

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#1640563 - 03/14/11 07:23 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: wr]
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: ll
However, don't let fame = quality.

That's not always the case...


And it shouldn't be assumed that pianists who have what it takes to be as famous as Horowitz or Argerich would necessarily want that kind of fame. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it may very well be that the more artistic sensitivity a pianist has, the more likely it is that they will not be attracted to fame, per se.

But - and it is a very big qualification - I think that the fame that surrounds some musicians ends up being a sort of feedback loop that enhances their charisma when they perform, and can produce really remarkable events, in terms of how the audience perceives what is taking place. I remember going to hear Argerich do the Prokofiev 3rd concerto, and the audience was so primed with her fame that the instant she arrived on stage, there was something like an electrical charge in the air surrounding her, before she played a note, and as a seasoned creature of the stage, she totally knew how to manage it.

As much as I am fascinated with how she plays, I have to say that kind of thing is not about great musicianship, but about charisma, which all sorts of public figures have.

Or private figures, for that matter. I have been at parties where there is a palpable change in the atmosphere when some particularly charismatic person walks into a room, for example. Although other people have walked through the very same door with no particular effect, it is fascinating how a charismatic person can open the door, and like magic, suddenly everyone there registers that entrance in a special way.




Incredible points. I agree with you 100%. We can only make so many at once, though!
_________________________
II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.

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#1640570 - 03/14/11 08:02 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: wr]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: wr
the instant she arrived on stage, there was something like an electrical charge in the air surrounding her, before she played a note,
I have to say that kind of thing is not about great musicianship, but about charisma,



You're right that presence has nothing to do with musicianship and your recollection here is, of course, YOUR perception. Certainly with some musicians/public figures at large there is going to be a certain aura surrounding them and it doesn't always have to do with their abilities. Argerich, however, has only to "speak" (and in her case that which she has already said) and it becomes all too obvious why she is considered uniquely a singular voice.
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"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

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#1640573 - 03/14/11 08:08 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: stores]
JustAnotherPianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/08
Posts: 798
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: stores

Now then, you go find me two pianists the likes of Horowitz and Argerich (or two you think comparable) and I'll be happy to tell you (as will others, I'm sure) why they're not in the same league.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F6S2WBDINM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUQoFOIn8dA

They don't exactly live in my city lol but I think these two have had/will have the same level of impact on the course of pianistic history as Horowitz and Argerich did.

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#1640577 - 03/14/11 08:20 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: JustAnotherPianist]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: JustAnotherPianist
Originally Posted By: stores

Now then, you go find me two pianists the likes of Horowitz and Argerich (or two you think comparable) and I'll be happy to tell you (as will others, I'm sure) why they're not in the same league.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F6S2WBDINM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUQoFOIn8dA

They don't exactly live in my city lol but I think these two have had/will have the same level of impact on the course of pianistic history as Horowitz and Argerich did.






Ivo, in his younger days was phenomenal. Bozie...eh, I'm not so crazy about, but, he's certainly a fine pianist, no doubt. I was really after pianists still without a "name" as polyphasic (I hope that's close...my apologies if not)suggested there are many (and some in his own hometown). Will either of your two impact the course of pianistic history (I like that haha)? I think that remains to be seen, but, of course Ivo already did make quite an impact with a little help from...Martha.
_________________________

"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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#1640592 - 03/14/11 09:05 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: stores]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 786
Loc: New York, NY
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: Lingyis



I want to improve by trying to figure out what makes people fall in love with certain performers and see if I can copy them.


This is not how one improves. Speak with your own voice.


Copy was the wrong word to use here. But like Issac Newton said, you need to stand on the shoulder of giants to see far. (or something like that)

Yeah, I didn't exactly mean "copy". "Learn" is closer to what I had in mind.
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#1640593 - 03/14/11 09:06 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gould]
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1248
Loc:
So much for respect of artists, to throw Miley Cyrus and Helene Grimaud on the same level is totally uncalled for.
Seems one s experience or musical education, and cv is a factor on these forums (to many,a t least) as to how relevant one s opinion is. I wonder how many of the Grimaud detractors could point out what makes them actually so much better than her. Myself, i don tlike her that much, but she s an accomplished concert pianist, that has played with Boulez, Gergiev, etc etc ...I wonder if they re easy to impress too

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#1640603 - 03/14/11 09:24 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: stores]
JustAnotherPianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/08
Posts: 798
Loc: United Kingdom
Pogo changed the way I (and many other pianists) think about Scarlatti forever.

Bozhanov changed the way I think Chopin... the level of artistic freedom in his sound, and his constant and unyielding commitment towards using that artistic freedom to sculpt the sound-and everything always in IMAX-level HD-I mean, Krystian Zimerman is on the same level for instance, pianistically...in terms of cleanliness and constant attention to the ballance and quality of sound... but there is something inflexible about his artistry compared to Bozhanov's, to my ears at least.

It's like Avatar and Inception magically combined into the same awesome movie watched on the biggest IMAX theatre in the world. He has dark powers.

What don't you like about him? Have you seen his classical stuff? His chamber music? It's all just so disgustingly superb. The intensity of flavour is too much sometimes-he puts my senses into overdrive. And the biggest mistakes he ever makes are microscopic compared to those that most pianists make...

He makes colours every day that most pianists don't even have in their deepest and darkest dreams.

For me, Pogo's Gaspard is the gold standard. After Pogo's, even Argerich, Gieseking, and Perlemuter's don't sound so good to me.
I saw Pogo live recently and he shattered my world. I mean, he was so broken in many ways, but the logic the binds the broken pieces together reveals unimaginable dark powers. And the sheer VOLUME which he gave to accents and sfz in the Tchaik concerto was frightening.

That sound that piano tuners get when the bang the living heck out of a note in order to set the pins.... that's the sound he was able to produce with tiny movements while keeping other voices quiet.

Granted, it's an ugly sound, but he was playing above a 110 piece orchestra in a 3000 seat hall, and that's the sound he decided to use.

No.... every so often pianists come around these days in the grand tradition of Martha and da HO. But I agree that it often seems that the higher the general conservatory standard gets, the fewer the true giants there are that emerge.

It may simply be because it becomes harder and harder to notice the true giants as the standard of mediocrity grows ever higher.

But I mean... some of the stuff Andrew Tyson dared to do at the Chopin competition-his Barcarolle, his E minor Etude, heck, almost everything he played.... to have the balls to play with in such a totally new way in front of that jury.... that's the stuff of legend.

He's still young-he will mature over time.... but his technique, his clarity, his precision, and his cantabile are already so good it's absolutely scary.

I hear certain things in some of these youngsters' playing that I do not hear in Martha's at that age. Granted, the fire and conviction that she showed as a teenager remains awe inspiring to every pianist...but certain aspects of her artistry were not as refined IMO at that age as that of some people today.

As for the level of Zhang's Chopin etudes at age 11... even Pollini didn't play them that well until he was a bit older than that.



Edited by JustAnotherPianist (03/14/11 09:39 AM)

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#1640636 - 03/14/11 10:56 AM Re: What makes a good pianist stand out? [Re: Gould]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3885
Loc: New York
I also would love to hear a sound critique of what people think is lacking in Bozhanov's playing. To my ears, it is magnificent, colorful, inspiring and all the above.
I believe there is some bias against him, may be because of his mannerisms. In my limited experience, some of the best pianists and educators cannot always disengage from their biases even when they have been judges and teachers for a long time, especially the latter.
I have finally managed to get my teacher to listen to Argerich and it took over a year, but he finally admitted that she is a superb pianist, well above the fray. But I simply could not get him to acknowledge Bozhanov. "should not be allowed" is all he would say , mostly targeting the body language and excessive facial movements. Anecdotal of course, but it makes you wonder.

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