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#1696770 - 06/17/11 01:20 AM Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality?
Skorpius Offline
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Registered: 10/17/08
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I had an interesting conversation with my teacher today. He told me that when he studied with Dame Myra Hess, she told him that she felt that virtuosos of the time, namely Horowitz, had ruined two generations of potential musicians because many tried too hard to be flashy and virtuostic like him...what is your opinion? Has "showing off" become a goal for many rather than making music?
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#1696780 - 06/17/11 01:44 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Mark_C Offline
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Whatever the answer may be, IMO Horowitz isn't a good example, because he was much more than "virtuosity." He had a wide and infinitely-nuanced palette of touch and color, he played with great charm and wit -- and he did original and creative things, which admittedly many people regarded as unmusical. But in any event, he's a bad example if you want to talk about "virtuosity" at the expense of all else.

Anyway, forgetting about Horowitz, I think the answer to your basic question is "yes," there was such a movement. I think that more recently -- I'd say in the last two to three decades -- it has been significantly reversed.
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#1696785 - 06/17/11 01:54 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
fledgehog Offline
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Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 273
Loc: West Hartford, CT
yep. Not only is there a greater emphasis on technicality than musicality, the emphasis on musicality that still exists has become incredibly rigid, mechanical and conservative. Performances by the old Romantic masters like Horowitz, Rachmaninov, Cortot, etc...would probably get failing grades in modern-day conservatory juries.

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#1696786 - 06/17/11 01:56 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Mark_C Offline
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(Notice that Fledgehog is putting Horowitz in the opposite category from what Skorpius said!) smile
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#1696794 - 06/17/11 02:10 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Mark_C]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5006
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
(Notice that Fledgehog is putting Horowitz in the opposite category from what Skorpius said!) smile
sshhhh... no one had noticed until you said so! :P

I think that our world is slowly (and I do mean slowly) becoming a shallower place... In every account. It appears to me that the values of today or very different of those in the 1960s... Not to mention that there is a very strong current to allienate people. The Internet has something to do and so does technology. You no longer need to have recitals, you can have a web cam and have many watch. You no longer need to go out to a studio, you can record yourself, or make it with a sampler. You no longer need to have a violinist, you can just use a computer. You no longer need to go out to the movies...

Sociality is declining, there's evidence of that in the pop world, as portraied bellow (both lovely):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x29l5eHHoXo

David Ford is great and lovely and he's using a looper to replicate whatever he's playing (like a canon perhaps), thus do music... on his own (and 1 single camera man).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPW6fKiilIc

UJAM. Sing on it and it will harmonize and orchestrate it in any style you want! With its own lovely instruments! No need to know about notes! No need to know about music. Although I would be curious to see how it deals with 12 tone stuff! laugh

_______________

On the opposite end, with technology we can avoid any difficult and technical stuff. We can simply keep recording them until we get the notes right... No hurry in making it faster.

And we don't even have to play them right:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFCjv4_jqAY

Melodyne DNA. Direct Note Access. Get a recording (Rachmaninov anyone?) and change the notes! THE NOTES! Sergey, missed a note? Not to worry... We'll fix it! Your student messed up? Not to worry too, the Spice Girls were fixing their voices, why not your student?

Darnit! I should've studied sociology along with composition! I'm SO interested in these stuff (not the technological stuff, the social stuff), but unable to grasp more than a mere of what's going on...
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#1696795 - 06/17/11 02:12 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Nikolas]
Mark_C Offline
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Off the subject, but......speaking of what the world is becoming, I hope you and your family are OK.....I'm talking about what's going on over there in Greece.
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#1696800 - 06/17/11 02:24 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5006
Loc: Europe
Well...

Health wise me and my immediate family are ok. Everyone else I know seems to be suffering though:
My sisters in law husband has a father. The father has a brain tumour and yesternight has a stroke.
Two of my friends are going to be married and with a child already on the way. both their fathers have cancer.
One of my students lost her mother due to cancer and last week her brother tried to kill himself (a doctor, btw. So he's very conscious of what he's doing, as you can understand).

Finance wise I'm doing VERY ok for a freelancer at this time. With 32 students (private and in a conservatory), and quite a few games and other things, it seems to be floating quite nicely. On the other hand my wife, an architect hasn't had a single job since last March (so more than a year and 1/4).

The country is in the ****... One of the main reasons is that nobody is willing to change their ways (which are part of why we're there in the first place, unlike Ireland, or Spain and Portugal and thus THEY got better terms in their financing), and noone, for good reason, has any trust to the politicians. The politicians, btw, are acting like shadow puppets I'm sorry to admit and they have no body, faith, or strong will in order to help. At least if they had strong will perhapst things would've been different, but right now?

Sorry for the rant. If a mod wants to move this and the above post in a new thread, by all means...

And thanks Mark! I appreciate your concern!
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#1696811 - 06/17/11 03:05 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Michael Glenn Williams Offline
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Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 110
Loc: Southern California
I'm not sure anymore what is "flash" or "virtuosity" When there is clean fast playing it sounds good. However can't someone be a virtuoso of other aspects like layers of dynamics? or that not considered virtuosity? Recently passed Vitaly Margulis was such a master.

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#1696820 - 06/17/11 03:43 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
kevinb Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Conspicuous virtuosity has been a problem (if that's the right term) since at least the start of the romantic era, and to a lesser extent since performances of art music became a public matter. The concert-going public liked, and still likes, displays of technical brilliance. In a way it's a bit like watching somebody doing cartwheels on a tightrope -- there's no particular reason to do it, but we're all amazed to see it done.

Understated virtuosity impresses me a whole lot more than the flashy kind. There are many pieces that I know from my own humble efforts are horribly difficult to play, and yet don't sound flashy. Nevertheless, they still require considerable skill to make a good performance of.

For better or worse, extravagent virtuosity is a phenomenon that I think we have to live with.



Edited by kevinb (06/17/11 03:43 AM)

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#1696841 - 06/17/11 05:25 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
bennevis Online   content
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'To become more than a virtuoso, first you must become a virtuoso' - Horowitz's advice to Murray Perahia, after which Perahia went on to play some repertoire not normally associated with him (Liszt transcriptions, Rachmaninoff etc), and developed a more powerful sound. Some people regretted that, but there's no doubt that he expanded his repertoire and tonal palette, even if it might have been responsible for his subsequent injury problems.

IMO, the separation of (technical) virtuosity from so-called 'musicality' is a red herring: pianists who weren't technically well-endowed (or maybe just didn't practised hard enough) used to hide behind such a cloak - that they were 'musicians' rather than 'virtuosos'. But the new generation of pianists have shown such people up - pianists who can play as brilliantly as Horowitz (with far fewer wrong notes) and also do introspection and slow beautiful stuff and phrase long lines like the best divas. Pianists with individuality. Pianists like Yuja Wang and Benjamin Grosvenor, for example (sticking to the under-25s).

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#1696860 - 06/17/11 06:51 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
pianoloverus Online   content
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IMO most of the great pianists(those included in the Phillips series Great Pianists of the 20th Century, for example) have been both great technicians and great musicians. And quite a few of those pianists are still playing or at least played during the recent years from 1985-2000.

Similarly, if one looks at the recent list a British music magazine published of the 20 greatest pianists since 1900(as voted on by great contemporary pianists)virtually all were great technicians and great musicians. I think virtually all the winners in recent years of the biggest competitions also fall in that category.


Edited by pianoloverus (06/17/11 01:38 PM)

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#1696868 - 06/17/11 07:33 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
debrucey Offline
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Registered: 01/18/06
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Loc: Manchester, UK
No it hasn't.
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#1696869 - 06/17/11 07:36 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Gerard12 Offline
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It's a tough business. If certain pianists need to be more impressive than expressive in order to build a career, fill a venue, pay the bills, etc...... than so be it.

We - as listeners, consumers, whatever - have a choice whether we want to hear it or not.

We - as artists, musicians, teachers or students - are not going to accept
a lot of things that the general public (for lack of a better term) seems to embrace.

Without naming names, there seems to be a handful 'name' pianists in their 20's who have recording contracts whose playing sounds glossy, shallow and full of canned 'expression.' But that doesn't mean that they won't blossom into fully formed artists as time goes on.
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#1696870 - 06/17/11 07:43 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
bennevis Online   content
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Richter and Gilels were known as 'bangers' in their younger years, according to their teacher Neuhaus. What he meant was that they revelled in their virtuosity, and sometimes played fast and loud because they could. But as we all know, that doesn't preclude deep musicianship.

What's musicianship without the necessary technical equipment to bring your concept of the music to life? There're probably many great musicians who decided to become academics/teachers etc because they realized that they didn't possess a virtuoso technique. But they could pass on their wisdom to those that do, and thus enthrall audiences.

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#1696893 - 06/17/11 08:53 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: pianoloverus]
Hank Drake Offline
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Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1652
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
IMO most of the great pianists(those included in the Phillips series Great Pianists of the 20th Century, for example) have been great technicians and musicians.


What pianoloverus said. Ditto for several pianists who were inexuseably left out of that series, including Horszowski and Petri.

It's also worth noting that Dame Myra herself was quite a virtuosa in her prime.
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#1696913 - 06/17/11 09:29 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Entheo Offline
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Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 1111
Loc: chicago, il
Originally Posted By: Skorpius
I had an interesting conversation with my teacher today. He told me that when he studied with Dame Myra Hess, she told him that she felt that virtuosos of the time, namely Horowitz, had ruined two generations of potential musicians because many tried too hard to be flashy and virtuostic like him...what is your opinion? Has "showing off" become a goal for many rather than making music?


the 'ruining generations of pianists' by trying to be flashy and virtuostic started with criticisms of liszt.


Edited by Entheo (06/17/11 09:31 AM)
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#1696921 - 06/17/11 09:36 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1248
Loc:
Yes it has , imho. Absolutely. The trend now is to have megafast fingers and not that much of a personal touch. No need to give names ... a "boring" virtuoso deserves as much respect as a genius interpreter

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#1696978 - 06/17/11 11:09 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: Skorpius
I had an interesting conversation with my teacher today. He told me that when he studied with Dame Myra Hess, she told him that she felt that virtuosos of the time, namely Horowitz, had ruined two generations of potential musicians because many tried too hard to be flashy and virtuostic like him...what is your opinion? Has "showing off" become a goal for many rather than making music?


Showing off has been a goal for many since music was invented.

That being said, I do feel that many pianists today ignore a lot of great repertoire that isn't showy. We see it here on the forums - there's a tremendous amount of interest in Alkan for example. He's a great composer, but much of the interest is because of the virtuosic nature of his work. Compare that with how often Mompou is mentioned here. NEVER! And I suspect it's because although Mompou is a fascinating composer of extremely beautiful works, they're just not virtuosic enough to capture people's attention. Even with a single composer - lots of people seem to be interested in the Carl Vine sonatas, but few realize he's written several works for piano that are equally fascinating. (Red Blues, the Anne Landa Preludes, and the Bagatelles) But the sonata is the most virtuosic, so it gets all the attention.
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#1697022 - 06/17/11 12:36 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Kreisler]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Showing off has been a goal for many since music was invented....

Yes. Kevin said at least since the Romantic era, and maybe it took off then, but.....well at least in Mozart's opinion smile ...what about Clementi?

And I imagine that Bach, writing his serious music, felt many musicians of his time were just slick technical show-offs.

Although I'd bet Bach did his share of showing off with his Toccatas and whatnot himself.... smile
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#1697024 - 06/17/11 12:40 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
PaulaPiano34 Offline
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Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1217
This topic reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

"It's not virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity but virtuosity for the sake of the music," Evgeny Kissin

Oh and BTW, IMHO I think Lang Lang is a perfect example of virtuosity overshadowing musicality. Quite truly, his playing bores me. Yes, he has the fastest octaves and the fastest, clearest runs and the most accurate, fast hand crossings, but he doesn't say anything profound musically speaking...

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#1697034 - 06/17/11 01:01 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Kreisler]
Entheo Offline
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Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 1111
Loc: chicago, il
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Compare that with how often Mompou is mentioned here. NEVER! And I suspect it's because although Mompou is a fascinating composer of extremely beautiful works, they're just not virtuosic enough to capture people's attention.


Kreisler, thanks for that tip -- i too was unaware of Mompou and after sampling a few YouTube offerings ordered a book of (some of?) his solo piano pieces.

i personally love beautifully understated pieces. i so loved some of the keith jarrett tunes on his 'dark intervals' album that i paid to have them transcribed.
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#1697044 - 06/17/11 01:14 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: PaulaPiano34]
fledgehog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 273
Loc: West Hartford, CT
Originally Posted By: chobeethaninov
This topic reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

"It's not virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity but virtuosity for the sake of the music," Evgeny Kissin

Oh and BTW, IMHO I think Lang Lang is a perfect example of virtuosity overshadowing musicality. Quite truly, his playing bores me. Yes, he has the fastest octaves and the fastest, clearest runs and the most accurate, fast hand crossings, but he doesn't say anything profound musically speaking...


the first quote explains a lot about kissin's playing! :P I do truly enjoy many of his musical ideas (most of his Liszt is phenomenal), but there are MANY parts where I feel like he could benefit from slowing down a little.

As for Lang Lang...he's more of a circus act than a pianist. I don't find his musical ideas boring, I find them disgusting.

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#1697078 - 06/17/11 02:18 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
gooddog Online   content
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I think it has. In my experience listening to several recitals by up and coming, professionally competing artists, I was very disappointed to hear thundering volume, blinding speed, fabulous technique and little or no musicality. My ears were ringing and I couldn't wait to leave.

On the other hand, it was interesting to read the NY Times article about the Van Cliburn amateur competition. It said the amateur artists took risks, made changes and played their hearts out. There was plenty of musicality there. I suspect the professional competition circuit makes pianists fearful to take risks because they are playing for the juries not from their hearts.
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#1697115 - 06/17/11 03:31 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: fledgehog]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7459
Originally Posted By: fledgehog
yep. Not only is there a greater emphasis on technicality than musicality, the emphasis on musicality that still exists has become incredibly rigid, mechanical and conservative. Performances by the old Romantic masters like Horowitz, Rachmaninov, Cortot, etc...would probably get failing grades in modern-day conservatory juries.


I believe I am remembering this correctly - Arrau thought that Horowitz and Rachmaninov were deplorably shallow musicians, back when they first became famous. Although I don't agree, I can understand why he might think so.

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#1697120 - 06/17/11 03:46 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: gooddog]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: gooddog
....it was interesting to read the NY Times article about the Van Cliburn amateur competition. It said the amateur artists took risks, made changes and played their hearts out. There was plenty of musicality there. I suspect the professional competition circuit makes pianists fearful to take risks because they are playing for the juries not from their hearts.

Yes, but IMO with a "but." smile

As one of the competitors, of course I loved seeing that. But at least in some instances, I think the writer was being kind to us amateurs. I think some of the praised instances were actually more the performers' crude insensitivity to what sounds were coming out, a limited ability to modulate dynamics, and contrived rhythms.

While I'm sure that some of us take more good "risks" and feel more freedom to do things differently, I think that with a few wonderful exceptions (and I count our member Ken Iisaka among them), stuff like what was in that article is way overstated, and that some of the perceived admirable risks aren't what they might seem to be.
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#1697144 - 06/17/11 04:44 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: gooddog]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: gooddog

On the other hand, it was interesting to read the NY Times article about the Van Cliburn amateur competition. It said the amateur artists took risks, made changes and played their hearts out. There was plenty of musicality there. I suspect the professional competition circuit makes pianists fearful to take risks because they are playing for the juries not from their hearts.
I didn't read the NY Times article, but if that summary is correct I don't particlarly agree . IMO the biggest risk that many of the amateurs took was playing works that were not quite within (or sometimes very far from)what they could handle technically...hence the numerous breakdowns from many performers. There is nothing particularly admirable in taking a risk like that. Makng some minor changes to the score doesn't require much or count for much. If the reviewer was talking about the pianist who changed the Goldberg Variations on the last page, I don't see anything particularly astonishing about doing that.

I think the "taking risks" phrase is often used to mean "they chose a far from the norm and often unjustified interpretation". I think those playing in a competition for professionals are taking a much bigger risk in a different sense...their careers are quite dependent on the results.

While I think it's probably true that in a professional competition the performers might not have as much "freedom" as in an amateur competition, I don't think that it in any way follows that the performances in an amateur competition are more musical.

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#1697151 - 06/17/11 04:54 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
musica71 Offline
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Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 411
Loc: Bend, Or.
Yes...The answer is yes! So many times in the M.T.N.A Auditions we heard kids that were technicians, playing things well beyond their years... and they were burned out in a couple of years. Some teachers get ahold of a gifted student and run them into the ground, don't give them time to develop musically and with a love of MUSIC, Just crash around and show off!
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#1697152 - 06/17/11 04:56 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Mark_C]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Mark_C


Although I'd bet Bach did his share of showing off with his Toccatas and whatnot himself.... smile


Bach, was indeed a show-off. He was given to boasting that he could play any music at sight, no matter how technically difficult or densely scored.
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#1697155 - 06/17/11 04:57 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
stores Offline
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Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality?

See, Lang Lang.
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#1697176 - 06/17/11 05:29 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Kreisler]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Kreisler
That being said, I do feel that many pianists today ignore a lot of great repertoire that isn't showy. We see it here on the forums - there's a tremendous amount of interest in Alkan for example. He's a great composer, but much of the interest is because of the virtuosic nature of his work. Compare that with how often Mompou is mentioned here. NEVER! And I suspect it's because although Mompou is a fascinating composer of extremely beautiful works, they're just not virtuosic enough to capture people's attention.


For those not that familiar with Mompou, I will use this post as an excuse to post a few of my favorites among his works:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gCquIhX20w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVUIqMvcHlQ&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esLN64KKo7o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNNYEz600ns

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#1697194 - 06/17/11 06:10 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: pianoloverus]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
That being said, I do feel that many pianists today ignore a lot of great repertoire that isn't showy. We see it here on the forums - there's a tremendous amount of interest in Alkan for example. He's a great composer, but much of the interest is because of the virtuosic nature of his work. Compare that with how often Mompou is mentioned here. NEVER! And I suspect it's because although Mompou is a fascinating composer of extremely beautiful works, they're just not virtuosic enough to capture people's attention.


For those not that familiar with Mompou, I will use this post as an excuse to post a few of my favorites among his works:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gCquIhX20w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVUIqMvcHlQ&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esLN64KKo7o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNNYEz600ns



Very nice. I'm familiar with the Hough, but hadn't ever heard Ciccolini, with Mompou. de Larrocha, also played a great deal of Mompou...and quite wonderfully (as with everything she played).
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#1697200 - 06/17/11 06:27 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: pianoloverus]
cubop Offline

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I was one of those not familiar with Mompou. I am now. That was the best part of an already very good piano day. At my very modest level of virtuosity I might even be able to play some of his music. Thanks!

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#1697406 - 06/18/11 09:43 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Mark_C]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
(Notice that Fledgehog is putting Horowitz in the opposite category from what Skorpius said!) smile


I don't think so, Skorpius doesn't say that Horowitz was flashy but uninteresting but that pianists after him became flashy but uninteresting.

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#1697430 - 06/18/11 10:42 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: stores]
Entheo Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores
Bach, was indeed a show-off. He was given to boasting that he could play any music at sight, no matter how technically difficult or densely scored.


as they say in sports, it's not boasting if you can back it up.

ps - from clara schumann's journal, upon liszt's passing: "he was a great piano virtuoso, but a dangerous model for the young to imitate. almost all the rising pianists imitated him, but they lacked his mind, his genius, his delicacy of touch, so that now we have nothing but great masters of technique and a number of caricatures."


Edited by Entheo (06/18/11 10:49 AM)
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#1697486 - 06/18/11 01:11 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: landorrano]
Skorpius Offline
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
(Notice that Fledgehog is putting Horowitz in the opposite category from what Skorpius said!) smile


I don't think so, Skorpius doesn't say that Horowitz was flashy but uninteresting but that pianists after him became flashy but uninteresting.


I never said anything about Horowitz, I stated what Dame Myra said.
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#1697687 - 06/18/11 08:24 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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I find it fascinating that a lot of what people seem to be saying here has a implicit notion that at some point in the past things were somehow "better."

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#1697699 - 06/18/11 09:03 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: bennevis]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
IMO, the separation of (technical) virtuosity from so-called 'musicality' is a red herring: pianists who weren't technically well-endowed (or maybe just didn't practised hard enough) used to hide behind such a cloak - that they were 'musicians' rather than 'virtuosos'. But the new generation of pianists have shown such people up - pianists who can play as brilliantly as Horowitz (with far fewer wrong notes) and also do introspection and slow beautiful stuff and phrase long lines like the best divas. Pianists with individuality. Pianists like Yuja Wang and Benjamin Grosvenor, for example (sticking to the under-25s).


+1

You hear so much about how today's virtuoso's "lack musicality" or are "so mechanical." They are human beings too, and their emotions are no less valid than the virtuosos of bygone days. IMO this problem stems from the fact that people simply do not want them to be as good as the masters of the past and are thus compelled to concoct these spurious arguments that they lack "feeling" or other rubbish of that sort. (God forbid that anyone could ever be as good as Rubenstein or Arrau!) For example, I don't particularly care for Lang Lang's playing, but I would never call him mechanical, why? Because that is not any kind of argument; it is a petitio principii, as it were. He is human too, and I am certain he cares very strongly for the music he creates. As do many other current virtuosos, one of my favourites being Till Fellner who has a Bach that is as good as anything you are likely to encounter in the past ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1njQ3Na4LA ).


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#1697771 - 06/18/11 10:48 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: polyphasicpianist]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
For example, I don't particularly care for Lang Lang's playing... but ... I am certain he cares very strongly for the music he creates.



Lang cares about Lang. The music is merely his transportation.
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#1697775 - 06/18/11 10:53 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
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bad posture and ridiculous body movements or should I say contortions seem to be taking precedence. You can tell i'm musical because of my over stated arm gestures and those neck movements that look like ticks but are just natural responses to my super musicality.

But honestly. It is something that does annoy me with so many , too many pianists. In fact if someone starts out and I can tell they are one of those contortionists, i am totally put off. Like watching a conductor pretend he is playing harry potter. Downbeat ? Just look for the patronus,

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#1697785 - 06/18/11 11:00 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: BadOrange]
WinsomeAllegretto Offline
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Originally Posted By: BadOrange

Like watching a conductor pretend he is playing harry potter. Downbeat ? Just look for the patronus,


Hey, that's the whole reason I want to take conducting, so I can pretend to be a magician! :P (jk)

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#1697791 - 06/18/11 11:05 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
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The problem here is that nobody listened to all of the crappy pianists from back in the day because they've been wiped out of History and only the finest remain. I'm sure that in 40 years or something, we'll be able to distinguish the real musical talents from those who are not...why keep criticizing the young generation either? I mean, even Horowitz's landmark recording of the Liszt sonata was done when he was almost 30 years old anyways, why expect an 18 year old virtuoso straight out of a piano competition to play just as well?
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#1697792 - 06/18/11 11:06 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
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not saying I haven't committed such crimes but there is a time and place for everything. But when it is insincere and well distracting, it just makes me hate the performance. I don't understand why their teachers didn't just say , ya you know that body stuff you do, i mean its cool and all but you might want to tone that down because quite frankly, can I be frank, you just look silly. Practice with a mirror at least.

in terms of virtuosos, I think every instrument has their period where that particular instrument shines in regards to advancements and actual things that are different and novel but really, for piano , that time has come and gone. No matter how good you are , being a virtuoso in 2011 just has little historic value. Please do note i said historic. Every instrument has these periods.

After a point , everyone just sounds the same.


Edited by BadOrange (06/18/11 11:10 PM)

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#1697823 - 06/18/11 11:39 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Does anyone else find this interesting: Hess criticises Horowitz and his contemporaries of mechanical performance; and now, to criticise the current generation of virtuosi of mechanical performance, we use Horowitz as an example of what is not mechanical.

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#1697828 - 06/18/11 11:42 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: polyphasicpianist]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Does anyone else find this interesting: Hess criticises Horowitz and his contemporaries of mechanical performance; and now, to criticise the current generation of virtuosi of mechanical performance, we use Horowitz as an example of what is not mechanical.

That's Horowitz! smile

He could be easily typecast (miscast, IMO) as a pure technician, and/or as a showoff -- by people who not only don't appreciate great piano technique as much as some of us do, but also don't recognize his creative and unique musicianship....or else regard it as unmusical, which some do.
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#1697831 - 06/18/11 11:47 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Mark_C]
polyphasicpianist Offline
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Actually, what I was trying to get at was the idea that each generation of pianists seems to think the next generation to be mechanical or musically inferior. You can think of this as analogous to how the elderly frequently bemoan the current young generation.

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#1697834 - 06/18/11 11:50 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: polyphasicpianist]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Actually, what I was trying to get at was the idea that each generation of pianists seems to think the next generation to be mechanical or musically inferior. You can think of this as analogous to how the elderly frequently bemoan the current young generation.

I know!

And what I was saying was that with Horowitz, it's also that other thing. It's not just a different view of him according to which generation or era is talking; he has always been viewed in such a split way, and he still is.
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#1697838 - 06/18/11 11:59 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
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I believe that there has to be a separation between using virtuosity to generate beautiful and touching music, that really says something to the listener, and music that was purposely written to showcase the finger sportsmanship and showmanship of the performer. I find in this class two prime examples:

Mendelssohn and Liszt.

Both possessed a rare formidable and unique virtuosity, but only one of them used restrained when composing music and naturally performing it. Mendelssohn was famous with his astonishing piano technique and was able to play the most difficult and demanding piano works , his own pieces and other composers' music. But he never let himself get carried away into banality. All of his piano music is restrained, even his most difficult pieces always put the music on top and the primary force behind the piece and not the virtuosity. Liszt on the other hand let his virtuosity overshadow his music, and his showmanship took central stage, and I believe that it has some kind of a flow in composition. And then comes Horowitz, which is a different case all together, a true rarity and a genius beyond words. His ability to play the most difficult pieces with such ease and finesse, brings out to the listener the 'musicality' of the piece, and never the 'showmanship', with his subtle handling and approach to piano playing, he brings music and listener together. I have watched his performance of the Rach third, not a single drop of sweat, what ease, and what finesse, I couldn’t care less about his technique, because I was listening to the music he was making.

Liszt was not like that. His prime 'weapon' was his technique, and regrettably , he let that 'weapon' take the better of him.
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#1697856 - 06/19/11 12:25 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
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You wonder whether Liszt just wrote hard flashy stuff for the heck of it, or whether that was his genuine musical tongue. I mean, the Dante Sonata carries some genuine imagery and non-banal musical material, but it's so damned difficult and full of virtuosic passages.
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#1697859 - 06/19/11 12:29 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Kuanpiano]
Saul Offline
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Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
You wonder whether Liszt just wrote hard flashy stuff for the heck of it, or whether that was his genuine musical tongue. I mean, the Dante Sonata carries some genuine imagery and non-banal musical material, but it's so damned difficult and full of virtuosic passages.


The Dante sonata is the most fine example for what I said. Pointless up and down scales, mean very little to be.
Even Chopin was able to insert real drama and meaning in his first C major Etude.
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#1697861 - 06/19/11 12:31 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
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But there is some real musical ideas in his music, and a lot of innovations and methods of self expression. Did he write like a virtuoso because he could, or was that just the way he "spoke"...?
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#1697870 - 06/19/11 12:41 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Saul Offline
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He tried very hard to become the Paganini of the piano, so you tell me...
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#1697872 - 06/19/11 12:46 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Saul]
Orange Soda King Offline
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Originally Posted By: Saul
He tried very hard to become the Paganini of the piano, so you tell me...


Yeah, but he got better about the showmanship thing as he got older.

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#1697873 - 06/19/11 12:46 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Kuanpiano Online   content
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You're correct there, but he became something much more, especially as he aged. He was a real virtuoso, but also a real genius, something that can't really be said about Paganini..IMO completely though.
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#1697875 - 06/19/11 12:48 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Orange Soda King Offline
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Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
You're correct there, but he became something much more, especially as he aged. He was a real virtuoso, but also a real genius, something that can't really be said about Paganini..IMO completely though.


YOU HAVE 666 POSTS!!! AND IT INCLUDED PAGANINI WHO SUPPOSEDLY SOLD HIS SOUL TO THE DEVIL!

ha

EDIT: Well, that was post 666 for you.

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#1697887 - 06/19/11 01:17 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Orange Soda King]
Saul Offline
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Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
You're correct there, but he became something much more, especially as he aged. He was a real virtuoso, but also a real genius, something that can't really be said about Paganini..IMO completely though.


YOU HAVE 666 POSTS!!! AND IT INCLUDED PAGANINI WHO SUPPOSEDLY SOLD HIS SOUL TO THE DEVIL!

ha

EDIT: Well, that was post 666 for you.


LOL
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#1697918 - 06/19/11 04:25 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: polyphasicpianist]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
I find it fascinating that a lot of what people seem to be saying here has a implicit notion that at some point in the past things were somehow "better."


Things are definitely different - change does happen. And, depending on one's values, pianistic and musical things at some point in the past might well be "better".

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#1697985 - 06/19/11 09:11 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
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I don't have so much of a problem with virtuosity - though I know what you mean and can think of an example or two (not crazy about Goode's Beethoven Sonatas - the pace of the Waldstein strikes me a unnecessary and unmusical). But I think there's a tendency to excessively orthodox interpretation. THere was a thread here some time a go concerning a recording of Gould, with his commentary, playing the K331 Sonata in which he by his own deliberately altered the proscribed tempi. He basically started slow and got steadily faster with successive variations. The idea was a little simplistic - sort of building excitement with pace - but some people saw the entire exercise as a sort of war crime. Seems to me like it should be okay to do this kind of thing.....
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#1697989 - 06/19/11 09:29 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: jnod]
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Originally Posted By: jnod
THere was a thread here some time a go concerning a recording of Gould, with his commentary, playing the K331 Sonata in which he by his own deliberately altered the proscribed tempi. He basically started slow and got steadily faster with successive variations. The idea was a little simplistic - sort of building excitement with pace - but some people saw the entire exercise as a sort of war crime. Seems to me like it should be okay to do this kind of thing.....
One of the biggest general criticsms of Gould's playing even in Bach is his choice of tempi which tend to be extreme in either direction.

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#1697992 - 06/19/11 09:34 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: pianoloverus]
jnod Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
[quote=jnod]One of the biggest general criticsms of Gould's playing even in Bach is his choice of tempi which tend to be extreme in either direction.



That's true - but is it such a big deal? He was the first to admit that a lot of what he recorded and played was based on his own ideas, his own taste.... I don't want to go too far out on a limb here - I'm must less of a Gould groupie than I used to be - but it just seems to me that some people take these things *personally*, as it's an affront to mess with tempo or whatever. For that matter, I would say the same thing about the original instruments orthodoxy...I get it that we learn a lot by playing and hearing performances that attempt to capture the original sound. But it's not the only way to do things.
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#1697998 - 06/19/11 09:49 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
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Hmm. I don't think it's as much about "virtuosic" music vs. "slow and lyrical" music, or even fast playing vs. slow playing. Because, I don't believe faster = less musical and slower = more musical.

I think it's more about the performer playing only for themselves instead of caring about the composer and the (overwhelming?) desire to be true to music and the proper style/taste for whatever music is being played. And I feel this care should be more (MUCH more) than the desire to win competitions, get lots of performance opportunities, gain a big reputation, make money, etc... It's MUSIC people, not some way to promote yourself! A very fine art that you enjoy because of how amazing it is (and because I personally believe it is a gift from God, one of the very best things he blessed mankind with).

But whatever you believe, you should NOT believe music is just a way to glorify yourself.

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#1698032 - 06/19/11 10:57 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Saul]
Mark_C Offline
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Saul: It would be better if you did things like this without going negative on something, but maybe you can't help it. Do you really need to diss Liszt like that? Couldn't you make your points without it? Especially since Liszt isn't the subject here, not even close.

I don't love Liszt as much as many people here either, but what you're saying is even giving me the willies. ha
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#1698050 - 06/19/11 11:31 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Orange Soda King]
Skorpius Offline
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Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Hmm. I don't think it's as much about "virtuosic" music vs. "slow and lyrical" music, or even fast playing vs. slow playing. Because, I don't believe faster = less musical and slower = more musical.

I think it's more about the performer playing only for themselves instead of caring about the composer and the (overwhelming?) desire to be true to music and the proper style/taste for whatever music is being played. And I feel this care should be more (MUCH more) than the desire to win competitions, get lots of performance opportunities, gain a big reputation, make money, etc... It's MUSIC people, not some way to promote yourself! A very fine art that you enjoy because of how amazing it is (and because I personally believe it is a gift from God, one of the very best things he blessed mankind with).

But whatever you believe, you should NOT believe music is just a way to glorify yourself.


Exactly! People need to start getting their priorities of music straight. I play first, for God and for myself. I play second for an audience and judges.
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#1698083 - 06/19/11 12:33 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Opus_Maximus Offline
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Originally Posted By: Skorpius
I had an interesting conversation with my teacher today. He told me that when he studied with Dame Myra Hess, she told him that she felt that virtuosos of the time, namely Horowitz, had ruined two generations of potential musicians because many tried too hard to be flashy and virtuostic like him...what is your opinion? Has "showing off" become a goal for many rather than making music?


I don't particularly agree. First of all, the trend of being "flashy and virtuostic" is one that existed far before Horowitz (dating back to to Liszt and Pagannini). Then there were those who proudly and starkly had a self-awareness of themselves NOT being like Horowitz (Arrau, Serkin, Schiff, Gould, Rubinstein, Fleisher are a few examples).

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#1698090 - 06/19/11 12:52 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
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One thing I'll add is that I've never understood why so many people automatically equate fast and loud playing with shallowness and superficiality, and slow and meditative playing with depth and musicianship..

..."musicality"- as I define it - is playing that best communicates the emotions and meanings inherent in the music being played. Let us say two pianists are playing the Chopin 4th Ballade - one plays the coda not too fast, with careful attention to balance and voicing, not letting anything get out of control. The other pianist gets worked up into a wild frenzy of passion, takes an extraordinary tempo, and there is a bit of banging and rushing, and a sense of being "on edge". For me, it is paradoxically the second pianist who is the more "musical" one, as his playing is closer to the essence of what that coda is about.

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#1698107 - 06/19/11 01:39 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: polyphasicpianist]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: polyphasicpianist
Does anyone else find this interesting: Hess criticises Horowitz and his contemporaries of mechanical performance; and now, to criticise the current generation of virtuosi of mechanical performance, we use Horowitz as an example of what is not mechanical.


Skorpius' paraphrase of his teacher paraphrasing Myra Hess doesn't, by my reading, accuse Horowitz of mechanical performance.

I understand it to mean that many pianists, "two generations" of them, were impressed by Horowitz's virtuostity and served of it as a model but did not understand the profound musicality that accompanied the virtuosity and perhaps even preceeded it and engendered it.

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#1698126 - 06/19/11 02:18 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
....Let us say two pianists are playing the Chopin 4th Ballade - one plays the coda not too fast, with careful attention to balance and voicing, not letting anything get out of control. The other pianist gets worked up into a wild frenzy of passion, takes an extraordinary tempo, and there is a bit of banging and rushing, and a sense of being "on edge". For me, it is paradoxically the second pianist who is the more "musical" one, as his playing is closer to the essence of what that coda is about.

You bet "paradoxically." ha
That was a surprise ending to what you were saying.

Of course it's a matter of degree. I'm sure there's a level of "banging and rushing" beyond which you'd think the first pianist was being more musical....

Originally Posted By: landorrano
Skorpius' paraphrase of his teacher paraphrasing Myra Hess doesn't, by my reading, accuse Horowitz of mechanical performance...

You're right!
I sort of misread it, and others may have also.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1698454 - 06/20/11 03:03 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Orange Soda King]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
I think it's more about the performer playing only for themselves instead of caring about the composer and the (overwhelming?) desire to be true to music and the proper style/taste for whatever music is being played. And I feel this care should be more (MUCH more) than the desire to win competitions, get lots of performance opportunities, gain a big reputation, make money, etc... It's MUSIC people, not some way to promote yourself! A very fine art that you enjoy because of how amazing it is (and because I personally believe it is a gift from God, one of the very best things he blessed mankind with).

But whatever you believe, you should NOT believe music is just a way to glorify yourself.

I don't see why you can't have both: a desire to glorify yourself and a profound ambition to serve the music. After all, if you use your technique at the service of your musical ideas, your playing will be much more captivating and you should be able to achieve an even greater level of fame and recognition. If Horowitz had played in a mindless, mechanical fashion- as many of his imitators do- then he would never have become as famous and idolized as he is.

I think that if musicians are totally honest with ourselves, the desire to be perceived as a great, elite person is what spurs us to work toward musical mastery. People saw how much excitement Horowitz could generate and how so many people idolized him. Thus, they wanted to imitate him in hopes of achieving the same level of prestige.

As others have mentioned, I think it's clear that it is Horowitz's imitators who have leaned toward shallow virtuosity, not Horowitz himself. Even in his earliest years, Horowitz always had a keen musical mind, and his playing never ignored the expressive qualities of the music. It isn't Horowitz's fault that the pianists imitating him only tried to reproduce the most bombastic aspects of his style. As we all realize, Horowitz's musical personality was much more complex than that.


Edited by LaReginadellaNotte (06/20/11 03:04 AM)

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#1698465 - 06/20/11 04:01 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2445
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte

I think that if musicians are totally honest with ourselves, the desire to be perceived as a great, elite person is what spurs us to work toward musical mastery.


Excuse me, that is not how one becomes a great musician, that is how one becomes a patheic human being.

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#1698470 - 06/20/11 04:30 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: landorrano]
wuxia Offline
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Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 95
Loc: Sofia, Bulgaria
Precisely. They key factor of becoming a great musician without setting it as a goal is to be humble in the whole spectrum of the human endeavour. Even Bach said it : 'The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.'. Being a great, elite person sounds immature and rather ridiculous compared to just the sheer brilliance of the succession of notes themselves in this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeY5T5WdUBE#t=4m55s . What I'm trying to say is not 'Be humble and you'll be a great musician', what I'm trying to say is that nobody knows why music appeals so much to human beings and just being a small part of it already enobles you.

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#1698471 - 06/20/11 04:34 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11194
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte

juxtaposing:
If Horowitz had played in a mindless, mechanical fashion- as many of his imitators do- then he would never have become as famous and idolized as he is.

with

I think that if musicians are totally honest with ourselves, the desire to be perceived as a great, elite person is what spurs us to work toward musical mastery..


The person who is the musician par excellence is Horowitz. He did not desire to be pereceived as a great elite person. He put his attention to understanding music and playing it well. That coincidentally turned him into a great musician. If you aim toward how others perceive you, then you will miss the boat.

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#1698472 - 06/20/11 04:35 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

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



I think that if musicians are totally honest with ourselves, the desire to be perceived as a great, elite person is what spurs us to work toward musical mastery.



Yeah, if you're Lang Lang. Of course, musical mastery is not terminology that can be used to describe his work. Technical mastery? Ok. But musical mastery? Absolutely not.
_________________________

"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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#1698474 - 06/20/11 04:36 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: wuxia]
landorrano Offline
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Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2445
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: wuxia
nobody knows why music appeals so much to human beings and just being a small part of it already enobles you.



Now that is nicely said.

And welcome Wuxia to the forum.


Edited by landorrano (06/20/11 04:38 AM)

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#1698481 - 06/20/11 05:11 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: landorrano]
wuxia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 95
Loc: Sofia, Bulgaria
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: wuxia
nobody knows why music appeals so much to human beings and just being a small part of it already enobles you.



Now that is nicely said.

And welcome Wuxia to the forum.


Thank you kind sir =]

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#1698494 - 06/20/11 06:22 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
izaldu Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1248
Loc:
I m down with landorrano and Wuxia

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#1698703 - 06/20/11 02:59 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: keystring]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
Originally Posted By: keystring
The person who is the musician par excellence is Horowitz. He did not desire to be pereceived as a great elite person. He put his attention to understanding music and playing it well. That coincidentally turned him into a great musician. If you aim toward how others perceive you, then you will miss the boat.

What makes you think that Horowitz didn't want to be perceived as a great, elite person? His biographies say that he was always very status-conscious (which may explain why he wanted to be the son-in-law of Toscanini) and was concerned with being perceived as the greatest, most famous pianist who always played to sold-out halls. Since Horowitz might despair over even the slightest criticism, it seems like he was extremely concerned with how people perceived him.

It's my understanding that the two desires go hand in hand. If you are obsessed with obtaining prestige through music, then you will be motivated to put forth the utmost effort to develop the highest level of musical artistry- as Horowitz did.

Wuxia, I think it's important to remember that Bach was a devout Christian. If a person feels very strongly about Christianity, it isn't surprising that he or she would connect music to the glory of God.

Stores, Lang Lang's problem is that he is either unwilling or unable to develop the discipline needed for true musical mastery. He could obtain an even greater level of fame if he learned to play at Horowitz's level of artistry.

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#1698706 - 06/20/11 03:03 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

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


Stores, Lang Lang's problem is that he is either unwilling or unable to develop the discipline needed for true musical mastery. He could obtain an even greater level of fame if he learned to play at Horowitz's level of artistry.


No, Lang's problem is that he only cares about Lang, which is easy to believe, since he has his head stuck up his ass.
_________________________

"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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#1698861 - 06/20/11 07:17 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2445
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte
His biographies say that he was always very status-conscious (which may explain why he wanted to be the son-in-law of Toscanini) and was concerned with being perceived as the greatest, most famous pianist who always played to sold-out halls.


But you are mixing things up. I don't really know anything about Horowitz, but I am sure that if you have the idea that it is this "obsession with obtaining prestige" that led him or anyone else to become a great musician, you are really off base.

You interpret his artistic accomplishment as a weapon against the world. But we are talking about a musician, not Robocop.

Be a little tender. Great artists are only human and they are full of contradictions, no less than the rest of us. They can have their weaknesses, their silly traits of character, they might be filled with fears of all sorts, even hysterical before their own greatest qualities.



Edited by landorrano (06/20/11 07:18 PM)

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#1699011 - 06/20/11 11:22 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: landorrano]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
Originally Posted By: landorrano

But you are mixing things up. I don't really know anything about Horowitz, but I am sure that if you have the idea that it is this "obsession with obtaining prestige" that led him or anyone else to become a great musician, you are really off base.

What makes you think that I am offbase? It appears that Horowitz was obsessed with prestige, as the anecdotes that I cited suggest. If that was the case, then why it is it so far-fetched to say that the desire for prestige is what motivated Horowitz to become the greatest pianist?

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#1699126 - 06/21/11 03:05 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: stores]
BadOrange Offline
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Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 368
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte



I think that if musicians are totally honest with ourselves, the desire to be perceived as a great, elite person is what spurs us to work toward musical mastery.



Yeah, if you're Lang Lang. Of course, musical mastery is not terminology that can be used to describe his work. Technical mastery? Ok. But musical mastery? Absolutely not.


he is what 29 ? I think he is doing ok and what ever musicality you think he lacks, that will come with maturity.

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#1699141 - 06/21/11 03:45 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: BadOrange]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

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



I think that if musicians are totally honest with ourselves, the desire to be perceived as a great, elite person is what spurs us to work toward musical mastery.



Yeah, if you're Lang Lang. Of course, musical mastery is not terminology that can be used to describe his work. Technical mastery? Ok. But musical mastery? Absolutely not.


he is what 29 ? I think he is doing ok and what ever musicality you think he lacks, that will come with maturity.


He sucks. Period.

By the way, you never did answer my question elsewhere which was...who did you study with at Curtis?
_________________________

"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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#1699152 - 06/21/11 04:20 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2445
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte

What makes you think that I am offbase?


In guise of an answer, let me ask you: what drives you ? Why do you play music ?

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#1699156 - 06/21/11 04:31 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
BadOrange Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 368
Loc: Banned
I think the reason I didn't answer quite clear but if I must spell it out, I guess I will spell it out.

The fact that I admitted to forging a document and the rather idiotic notion of providing someone that has already displayed a rather opulent dislike and a somewhat misplaced interest in the personal life of someone which they have no relation either personal or business, as far as we know. which to be honest is somewhat disturbing. well i think that is perhaps a good reason.

There is a thread in the teacher's corner where I criticize the approach most teachers including the ones I had the pleasure of having.

Now you seemed to play, play being the operant word , detective rather well in that first attempt to pry answer so perhaps Sherlock can deduce some reasons why I wouldn't divulge that information to you. What sort of idiot would purposefully give information that can only serve a negative purpose.

Now let me reciprocate as this sluthing seems quite fun. Now from my angle, I see a bitter old pianist who never quite attained any level of significance, the kawaii was as give away , who has a chip on his/her shoulder where he / she feels the need to insult any pianist they feel is not perfect or to their liking. A professional would not judge another musician in such childish and meaningless ways such as you did. "He just sucks" . However those types of asseseements are quite typical of the annoying teenager or in your case, the jaded 50 year old that can't get passed the notion that they never made it. I can honestly see why thinking everyone is awful would actually make you feel better.

Now i do apologize if I am way off as I probably don't spend as much time as you trying to assure myself that everyone else is worse which I imagine requires a fair amount of deduction imagination and Guinness book worthy pessimism. What I can say is that your negativity and somewhat weird interest in others for reasons I'm sure we can agree are not in good faith really do come across as the actions of a failed unhappy person that projects this awful attitude unto others any chance they get. Again I could be wrong. Its just hard to see things any other way when you have been around successful musicians, conductors, composers. They don't seem to share your distasteful pessimism. So I can only assume that since you seem to act in a way that is completely foreign to what most successful people exude, well what else am I to conclude. So there you go.

But regardless of your success or lack there of, do you not find it somewhat sad that someone your age, almost 50, has this yearning to invent drama for reasons , i just don't get. What could you possibly gain even if all your ill conceived delusions where true, What if I was actually a drummer who for some reason decided to join a piano forum then when prompted regarding what school they went to , researched a good school to impress people and say Curtis. Now if I was lying, how hard would it be for me to just google the school and get a name of a teacher ? So your entire endeavour just seems entirely pointless silly and worst of all sad. You sad little person.

And to end this ,

Lang Lang in your words might just suck but he isn't playing a shitty upright Kawai, he sure as heck isn't approaching his 50's attacking behind a screen other musicians. And while you are just being an out right jerk , he is getting paid to do what he loves with some of the greatest musicians on earth.

I think his answer to your criticism would be , I may suck but you can suck it.


Edited by BadOrange (06/21/11 04:42 AM)

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#1699162 - 06/21/11 05:14 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: BadOrange]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19296
Loc: New York
Orange: Regardless of what anybody thinks of anybody, they need to find other ways to say it than you just did, or else they won't be here long. Nor on any other decent internet forum, or probably anywhere else either.


(Sheesh, that's twice on one page that I've given "advice".....)
We do what we can.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1699164 - 06/21/11 05:17 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
wuxia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/11
Posts: 95
Loc: Sofia, Bulgaria
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte
Originally Posted By: keystring
The person who is the musician par excellence is Horowitz. He did not desire to be pereceived as a great elite person. He put his attention to understanding music and playing it well. That coincidentally turned him into a great musician. If you aim toward how others perceive you, then you will miss the boat.

What makes you think that Horowitz didn't want to be perceived as a great, elite person? His biographies say that he was always very status-conscious (which may explain why he wanted to be the son-in-law of Toscanini) and was concerned with being perceived as the greatest, most famous pianist who always played to sold-out halls. Since Horowitz might despair over even the slightest criticism, it seems like he was extremely concerned with how people perceived him.

It's my understanding that the two desires go hand in hand. If you are obsessed with obtaining prestige through music, then you will be motivated to put forth the utmost effort to develop the highest level of musical artistry- as Horowitz did.

Wuxia, I think it's important to remember that Bach was a devout Christian. If a person feels very strongly about Christianity, it isn't surprising that he or she would connect music to the glory of God.

Stores, Lang Lang's problem is that he is either unwilling or unable to develop the discipline needed for true musical mastery. He could obtain an even greater level of fame if he learned to play at Horowitz's level of artistry.


I referred to Bach being a devout Christian as an illustration of what a hoax is to be a great and elite person. The more meaningful words in the quote are in the end 'refreshment of the soul'. I think the semantic translation would be that Bach accepts himself as a part of something greater than himself.
Therefore he isn't occupating an environment which he can conquer as opposed to Horowitz.

It's fair to say though that we can't really connect to those two individuals directly and therefore our speculation on what are the reasons behind their music stays just a speculation. The only impression I've had from Horowitz is from the documentary filmed at his home. From the little he said I got the notion that he's a bit egocentric and felt as a bit of an exile.

Just to clarify, I'm not a Christian of any sort and I'm not the one that brought up Horowitz in the first place, I just continued the line of thought connected to him. My main point is that in the world of the supposedly egocentric musician who pursues music just for the sake of being a great, elite person the highest bar is easily attainable compared to the world of the other individual who has already accepted that he's smaller than the whole and therefore there is no highest bar, there's only contribution and his nobleness isn't judged by the music itself but by his being.

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#1699387 - 06/21/11 02:19 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: landorrano]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte

What makes you think that I am offbase?


In guise of an answer, let me ask you: what drives you ? Why do you play music ?

My interest in music has always been predicated on the prospect of being the greatest in the world. I heard how much excitement Horowitz could generate and saw how admired he was, and as a result, I was interested in trying to do something similar.

Wuxia, are you saying that Horowitz had a very different goal than Bach? From my point of view, Horowitz's alleged motivation (to have people perceive him as a great, elite person) makes much more sense than playing for the sake of some nebulous higher power.

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#1699408 - 06/21/11 03:28 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2445
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte

My interest in music has always been predicated on the prospect of being the greatest in the world.



Excellent. So, how's it going .. or has Sarastro foiled your quest ?

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#1699415 - 06/21/11 03:42 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: landorrano]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
The experiences I've had suggest that I may be on the right track. Are you saying that one shouldn't want to be the greatest? Is there anything wrong with such an ambition, especially if Horowitz himself thought along those lines?

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#1699492 - 06/21/11 06:16 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2445
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte
The experiences I've had suggest that I may be on the right track.


Excellent, keep it up then.

And to think that I knew you when you wre just a schlep on an internet forum.

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#1699497 - 06/21/11 06:22 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: BadOrange]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: BadOrange
I think the reason I didn't answer quite clear but if I must spell it out, I guess I will spell it out.

The fact that I admitted to forging a document and the rather idiotic notion of providing someone that has already displayed a rather opulent dislike and a somewhat misplaced interest in the personal life of someone which they have no relation either personal or business, as far as we know. which to be honest is somewhat disturbing. well i think that is perhaps a good reason.

There is a thread in the teacher's corner where I criticize the approach most teachers including the ones I had the pleasure of having.

Now you seemed to play, play being the operant word , detective rather well in that first attempt to pry answer so perhaps Sherlock can deduce some reasons why I wouldn't divulge that information to you. What sort of idiot would purposefully give information that can only serve a negative purpose.

Now let me reciprocate as this sluthing seems quite fun. Now from my angle, I see a bitter old pianist who never quite attained any level of significance, the kawaii was as give away , who has a chip on his/her shoulder where he / she feels the need to insult any pianist they feel is not perfect or to their liking. A professional would not judge another musician in such childish and meaningless ways such as you did. "He just sucks" . However those types of asseseements are quite typical of the annoying teenager or in your case, the jaded 50 year old that can't get passed the notion that they never made it. I can honestly see why thinking everyone is awful would actually make you feel better.

Now i do apologize if I am way off as I probably don't spend as much time as you trying to assure myself that everyone else is worse which I imagine requires a fair amount of deduction imagination and Guinness book worthy pessimism. What I can say is that your negativity and somewhat weird interest in others for reasons I'm sure we can agree are not in good faith really do come across as the actions of a failed unhappy person that projects this awful attitude unto others any chance they get. Again I could be wrong. Its just hard to see things any other way when you have been around successful musicians, conductors, composers. They don't seem to share your distasteful pessimism. So I can only assume that since you seem to act in a way that is completely foreign to what most successful people exude, well what else am I to conclude. So there you go.

But regardless of your success or lack there of, do you not find it somewhat sad that someone your age, almost 50, has this yearning to invent drama for reasons , i just don't get. What could you possibly gain even if all your ill conceived delusions where true, What if I was actually a drummer who for some reason decided to join a piano forum then when prompted regarding what school they went to , researched a good school to impress people and say Curtis. Now if I was lying, how hard would it be for me to just google the school and get a name of a teacher ? So your entire endeavour just seems entirely pointless silly and worst of all sad. You sad little person.

And to end this ,

Lang Lang in your words might just suck but he isn't playing a shitty upright Kawai, he sure as heck isn't approaching his 50's attacking behind a screen other musicians. And while you are just being an out right jerk , he is getting paid to do what he loves with some of the greatest musicians on earth.

I think his answer to your criticism would be , I may suck but you can suck it.


Quite honestly, I could care less what you think of me, fruitboy. I simply asked with whom you studied while at Curtis, but I'm going to now assume (which I already more or less had) that I was correct regarding the fact that your time at Curtis was a complete fabrication (as was your nice little story about forged letters, etc., which I could care less about). If I'm wrong then do come forward and prove it. Just give me the dates you attended Curtis and your teacher's name. Your secret will be safe with me (at least here). Of course you won't do this, because you cannot.
_________________________

"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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#1699529 - 06/21/11 07:19 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: BadOrange]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3630
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: BadOrange
...But regardless of your success or lack there of, do you not find it somewhat sad that someone your age, almost 50, has this yearning to invent drama for reasons...

Bad,

stores certainly doesn't need me to defend him, so I'll just say that this kind of personal attack has no place on these forums. Calling someone clueless, or even an idiot, is one thing. Insulting his piano is something else.

In 67 posts you've sure made an impression. I'm not sure this is the right place for you.

-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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#1699545 - 06/21/11 08:03 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19296
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: beet31425
....I'm not sure this is the right place for you.

It astonishes me that anybody thinks anywhere is a place for stuff like that.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1699549 - 06/21/11 08:13 PM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Skorpius Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/08
Posts: 751
Come on guys, let's be civil. We're still human beings and we still get really emotional despite the fact that we're on the internet, so get over it and move on.
_________________________
Working On-

Deux Arabesques, Debussy


On Queue-

Danse Russe from Petroushka, Stravinsky
Toccata, Ravel





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#1699772 - 06/22/11 08:24 AM Re: Has virtuosity overshadowed musicality? [Re: Skorpius]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Here, I'll help the civility along...

(Topic locked.)

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Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Piano Cover of Luke Bryan "Drink a Beer"
by Zach Evans
Today at 05:36 PM
Boris Slutsky to perform at PianoCraft on May 3
by Keith D Kerman
Today at 05:06 PM
Boris Slutsky to perform at PianoCraft May 3
by Keith D Kerman
Today at 05:05 PM
Hi Mr S-H and all
by Seaside_Lee
Today at 04:13 PM
A Steinway for under 1,500...
by Juln
Today at 04:09 PM
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