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#1649598 - 03/28/11 02:56 PM Re: Philosophy of performance - Cliburn vs. Richter [Re: Kuanpiano]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20552
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Disagree with what Mark says. Given the way he thrashes his own performances in his own private journals, I'm pretty sure that when he says he's only satisfied with a concert when he plays to his own standards, he's being genuine.....

I don't disagree one bit with that.

But while the two things you're talking about (and they are different things) seem to be sort of the same, but they're not. Being satisfied or not satisfied according to the audience isn't the same as whether or not we are influenced by their presence and whether we feel it matters.

I just played a recital yesterday, and I'm not satisfied, for exactly the reason Richter gave: I didn't play to my own standard (although it met most of the audience's standard). I share that with Richter. (Not enough else, unfortunately.) ha
And there have been a couple of times in competitions that I did meet my own standards but not the judges' standards -- and I felt very satisfied.

But I don't at all share the rest of what Richter said (including how you clarified it), and as per what I said before, I don't believe it was even true for him, although he might have tried to convince himself that it was, and it may have helped him.
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#1650637 - 03/29/11 11:39 PM Re: Philosophy of performance - Cliburn vs. Richter [Re: vers la flan]
vers la flan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/11
Posts: 179
Hi all,

In the interest of full disclosure, this is the quote from Cliburn, lifted from the documentary for the 8th Cliburn competition, "Here to Make Music."

Quote:
Half of you must be on the stage relating to the music, and half of you must be in the audience trying to see (?) how the audience is feeling what you're trying to say, because it's for them that you're playing, it is not for yourself.


I admit, in its entirety it's not such a one-sided assertion. Nevertheless, the emphatic way he declares the last part about playing for the audience and not for oneself still doesn't sit right with me.

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#1650651 - 03/30/11 12:07 AM Re: Philosophy of performance - Cliburn vs. Richter [Re: wr]
Ralph Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/01
Posts: 1425
Loc: Delaware (slower/lower)
Originally Posted By: wr
To me, there's something smarmy and false about the Cliburn position.


I couldn't agree more! Give me a break Van. We all know that audiences are the root of all evil. The only thing good about audiences are ticket sales and Van was very aware of that.

I saw Van play the Tchaik 1 in Philladelphia in 1978(?). Talk about building a career with one piece. He got a lot of mileage out of that one.
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#1650660 - 03/30/11 12:17 AM Re: Philosophy of performance - Cliburn vs. Richter [Re: vers la flan]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20552
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: vers la flan
Hi all,
In the interest of full disclosure, this is the quote from Cliburn, lifted from the documentary for the 8th Cliburn competition, "Here to Make Music."
Quote:
Half of you must be on the stage relating to the music, and half of you must be in the audience trying to see (?) how the audience is feeling what you're trying to say, because it's for them that you're playing, it is not for yourself.
I admit, in its entirety it's not such a one-sided assertion. Nevertheless, the emphatic way he declares the last part about playing for the audience and not for oneself still doesn't sit right with me.


Sit right with you? smile
OK.....What both of these guys actually said isn't as simple as how it was presented here.

But anyway it has made for a nice thread. smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1650683 - 03/30/11 01:01 AM Re: Philosophy of performance - Cliburn vs. Richter [Re: vers la flan]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6446
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: vers la flan
Hi all,

In the interest of full disclosure, this is the quote from Cliburn, lifted from the documentary for the 8th Cliburn competition, "Here to Make Music."

Quote:
Half of you must be on the stage relating to the music, and half of you must be in the audience trying to see (?) how the audience is feeling what you're trying to say, because it's for them that you're playing, it is not for yourself.


I admit, in its entirety it's not such a one-sided assertion. Nevertheless, the emphatic way he declares the last part about playing for the audience and not for oneself still doesn't sit right with me.


Why doesn't it sit right? If you have an audience, particularly a paying one, then you should be playing for them. Otherwise, you are just masturbating in public. That should always be done in private.
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#1650684 - 03/30/11 01:02 AM Re: Philosophy of performance - Cliburn vs. Richter [Re: Pogorelich.]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2518
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Hmm, I think Richter just started performing with a score because he said if you were to be absolutely true to the composer you should play with a score; it's impossible to memorize every single detail, and a score gives you the details right there. According to him, it's more honest that way.


When Richter played with a score, though, he sounded like he was reading - he lost his impulsiveness and fiery temperament. I listened to a Prokofiev Second Sonata from his Vienna recital that was drained of any kind of life. He was much more true to the music when he wasn't reading.

Personally, though, I'm much better with a score in front of me.

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#1650692 - 03/30/11 01:21 AM Re: Philosophy of performance - Cliburn vs. Richter [Re: jeffreyjones]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20552
Loc: New York
For what it's worth, y'all check this out: It's from the Cliburn Foundation website, in a "Q & A" by a past-and-possibly-future judge (Carol Leone), giving guidance for the upcoming amateur competition:


What about playing from memory?

At the Cliburn's Amateur competition, memorization isn't required of course, but the most successful pianists typically do play from memory. They're much more free.


Flat-out -- "They're much more free" -- none of "Some people say this and some people say that," or "This is just my opinion."
Just, "They're much more free."

Sure, we could say it's one person's opinion, but it's an opinion widely-enough shared that it's not unreasonable for the Cliburn site to say that. I wouldn't have put it so flat-out but I'm with those who are convinced that other things being equal, it's true, and Jeffrey's post about Richter is right in line with it.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1650733 - 03/30/11 03:02 AM Re: Philosophy of performance - Cliburn vs. Richter [Re: Damon]
vers la flan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/11
Posts: 179
Hi Damon,

Well, speaking for myself (RE: playing in public, NOT "playing with self" in public), I'm just kind of dubious of a performer who plays for the crowd. It brings to mind a circus seal blowing on horns for a fish. Well, to my twisted mind, anyway.

When I think of the mindset of one who plays for the audience, I think of someone who is trying to please as many people as s/he can, and trying to offend as few people as possible. In short, someone who is playing like they're trying to win a competition, or perhaps record something for posterity, which to me is boring. It's like they try to convey the universal by communicating on a universal level--making broad statements and platitudes that everyone can agree on. I'm more interested in someone who communicates something personal which then becomes universal through shared recognition.

And as for the other thing, um, yes. Probably best kept private.

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#1650737 - 03/30/11 03:22 AM Re: Philosophy of performance - Cliburn vs. Richter [Re: jeffreyjones]
vers la flan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/11
Posts: 179
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Hmm, I think Richter just started performing with a score because he said if you were to be absolutely true to the composer you should play with a score; it's impossible to memorize every single detail, and a score gives you the details right there. According to him, it's more honest that way.


When Richter played with a score, though, he sounded like he was reading - he lost his impulsiveness and fiery temperament. I listened to a Prokofiev Second Sonata from his Vienna recital that was drained of any kind of life. He was much more true to the music when he wasn't reading.

Personally, though, I'm much better with a score in front of me.


Actually, Richter himself conceded the point. To quote (from S. R. Notebooks and Conversations):

Quote:
True, it's not as easy to retain the same degree of freedom with a score open in front of you — it doesn't work straight away and requires a lot of practice — but now that I've got used to it, I find that it has lots of advantages.


He then goes on for a while talking about the advantages, which some people have already touched on (fidelity to the score, security, breadth of repertoire, etc.).

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