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#1759878 - 09/26/11 06:13 PM Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
I was excited to find this on YouTube, but I find the performance ragged and almost desperate in quality. The amazing technique is evident in spots, but this does not sound like an iconic pianist at the top of his game to say the least.

Or is it just me? Would love to hear some opinions...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K8CH1RUWH8&feature=related


Edited by cardguy (09/26/11 06:14 PM)

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#1759893 - 09/26/11 06:51 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
Cheeto717 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 699
Loc: Pennsylvania
Playing styles tend to change. Even within the past 50 years you'll see big changes in what's expected out of a nocturne, or any other piece. Great find though.
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Working On:
Bach: Partita No. 6
Beethoven: Op. 26
Brahms: Op. 120
Chopin: Op. 10

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#1760151 - 09/27/11 01:55 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
It's masterly.

We could argue about the "interpretation," like whether it fits what we imagine Chopin had in mind or what we think the piece should express.
I guess it doesn't fit what you have in mind. smile
And I never would have thought of anything like this. But it's fascinating, extremely well done for what it is (without a doubt), and with an impression of being original and personal.

I didn't really read the comments on there but did notice that at least one person said it wasn't Hofmann at his best ("was in decline") and that apparently some people didn't like it. I don't at all agree with the "decline" thing, but I can see how a lot of people wouldn't like it. Me? I like it.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760160 - 09/27/11 02:28 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2344
Loc: San Jose, CA
I love it. Hofmann knew better than almost anyone how to shape a line.. even with all the hesitations, it's one unbroken lamentation all the way from the beginning until the chordal section, which feels elevated. The last section doesn't totally convince me, I think because he couldn't remember quite how it went. smile

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#1760162 - 09/27/11 02:35 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: jeffreyjones]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
....lamentation....

Great word for how he seemed to be viewing it -- as opposed to something like "Funeral March" which is how I'd say it's usually seen.

Quote:
....The last section....he couldn't remember quite how it went. smile

Even considering that you might not have been totally serious, since you have that smiley grin ....I don't see that at all. (What do you mean?)

BTW, 'did you know'....the person who posted it on YouTube is a PW member that a couple of us know personally but who likes to be as anonymous as possible. smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760163 - 09/27/11 02:36 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: Mark_C]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2344
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
....The last section....he couldn't remember quite how it went. smile

Even considering that you might not have been totally serious, since you have that smiley grin ....I don't see that at all. (What do you mean?)


Lots of missing chords!

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#1760164 - 09/27/11 02:40 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: jeffreyjones]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Lots of missing chords!

Huh.....proves what I know! ha

Are you sure it wasn't purposeful choices on his part? There is a school of thought (more in the past than at present, but I know that Zimerman follows it) that it's fine to 'play with' stuff like that according to the piano, acoustics, and whim.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760179 - 09/27/11 03:46 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: Mark_C]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2344
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Lots of missing chords!

Huh.....proves what I know! ha

Are you sure it wasn't purposeful choices on his part? There is a school of thought (more in the past than at present, but I know that Zimerman follows it) that it's fine to 'play with' stuff like that according to the piano, acoustics, and whim.


How could I possibly know what he was thinking? Either way, he left a lot out of the score in the last part of the score, and he didn't anywhere else in the piece..

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#1760192 - 09/27/11 04:38 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: jeffreyjones]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
How could I possibly know what he was thinking?....

Good question, of course. smile
But when I hear stuff like that, I do usually feel I can get a sense of whether it's purposeful or confused.

I don't know this piece quite well enough to have a confident sense either way (I mean look, I didn't even know stuff was being left out!) grin but from what we might call the overall demeanor of the section, and how it "worked," I'd bet a nickel that it was knowing and purposeful.

(But not a dime, though.) smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760198 - 09/27/11 04:58 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: Mark_C]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Lots of missing chords!

Huh.....proves what I know! ha

Are you sure it wasn't purposeful choices on his part? There is a school of thought (more in the past than at present, but I know that Zimerman follows it) that it's fine to 'play with' stuff like that according to the piano, acoustics, and whim.


Hahaha! Is there really a school of thought that says it's ok to simply leave things out when one feels it's ok? Not ever heard that, but I sure do know some pianists who belong to that "school". Can't wait for your answer, because I'm using this today.
_________________________

"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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#1760219 - 09/27/11 06:50 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7848
It's an out-of-control mess and it feels kind of cruel to even listen to it, poor guy. Even at this remove in time, I feel embarrassed for him. It should be obvious that it isn't representative of the playing that made him famous. On the other hand, I guess it does provide some hints of what he might have done with the piece in better days.

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#1760223 - 09/27/11 07:13 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
Originally Posted By: cardguy
I was excited to find this on YouTube, but I find the performance ragged and almost desperate in quality. The amazing technique is evident in spots, but this does not sound like an iconic pianist at the top of his game to say the least.

Or is it just me? Would love to hear some opinions...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K8CH1RUWH8&feature=related


Not the interpretation that I would enjoy imitating CG.
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#1760229 - 09/27/11 07:30 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
Ian_G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/10
Posts: 168
Loc: Germany
I love the way he attacks the big trill at 3:54, felling all of his considerable roundness into the keys - despite the noted decline, the alcoholism, etc., like it's been said he remains a master. I'm reminded of what T.S. Eliot said about Coleridge -- "he was already a ruined man. Sometimes, however, to be a "ruined man" is itself a vocation."

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#1760263 - 09/27/11 08:38 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: Mark_C]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Lots of missing chords!

Huh.....proves what I know! ha

Are you sure it wasn't purposeful choices on his part? There is a school of thought (more in the past than at present, but I know that Zimerman follows it) that it's fine to 'play with' stuff like that according to the piano, acoustics, and whim.


Mark, I was saddened by all the missing chords. I just don't believe they were on purpose. Even if they were, the effect was hardly "masterly." I think either you're pulling for a ruined musician (which is admirable) or you're trying to defend your assessment which is less admirable... if totally understandable. Then again, if you missed that they were missing, I'm not sure you're qualified (re this particular piece) to make a judgment.

Be great to have Chopin in the room and ask him what he thinks.



Edited by cardguy (09/27/11 08:44 AM)

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#1760293 - 09/27/11 09:37 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
RedKat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 173
Loc: Belgium
Really bad, bad performance. Just couldn't listen to it after Vladimir Ashkenazy's interpretation (which I find one of the best!) that I have on a CD.
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#1760324 - 09/27/11 10:31 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1058
Well, I'll defend Hofmann after listening to this -- IMO, he made the best case for a piece which for my taste is too melodramatic when it IS played "literally". The "lamentoso" melody is by far the best element of the Nocturne, and he takes great pains to first shape the melody in very creative fashion with liberal use of rubato, and then project it in very high relief in the concluding section. The consistency in shaping between the introductory and concluding sections suggests to me that this was his aesthetic intention; i.e., I'm not persuaded that he just simplified the final section due to technical inadequacy. In brief, a consistent, compelling interpretation -- I don't hear the ravages of alcoholic decline, at least in this performance.

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#1760333 - 09/27/11 10:50 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: Tim Adrianson]
RedKat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 173
Loc: Belgium
Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
The "lamentoso" melody is by far the best element of the Nocturne, and he takes great pains to first shape the melody in very creative fashion with liberal use of rubato, and then project it in very high relief in the concluding section.

His use of rubato is way too liberal. It just breaks down the flow of the melody from time to time and the concluding section sounds sort of hysterical. I didn't like his octaves in the middle section, especially, chromatic octaves down in the bass
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#1760338 - 09/27/11 10:52 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: RedKat]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: RedKat
Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
The "lamentoso" melody is by far the best element of the Nocturne, and he takes great pains to first shape the melody in very creative fashion with liberal use of rubato, and then project it in very high relief in the concluding section.

His use of rubato is way too liberal. It just breaks down the flow of the melody from time to time and the concluding section sounds sort of hysterical. I didn't like his octaves in the middle section, especially, chromatic octaves down in the bass


Redkat, that's a good word "hysterical." Maybe better than my "desperate."

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#1760368 - 09/27/11 11:39 AM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
Drunk3nFist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 640
Loc: London
The technology back then just simply did not do performance justice. However, the technical mastery is of course evident. I just always imagine what it would have been like if we could record the 'greats' with today's advanced sound technology.
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#1760383 - 09/27/11 12:09 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: Drunk3nFist]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
The technology back then just simply did not do performance justice. However, the technical mastery is of course evident. I just always imagine what it would have been like if we could record the 'greats' with today's advanced sound technology.


No argument. His technique is still dazzling, even to my uneducated ear. OTOH, I've no trouble hearing what an amazing performance of 9/2 this is by Hofmann, despite the lack of technology. Certainly one of the very best I've ever heard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YQJWHCenJU&NR=1


Edited by cardguy (09/27/11 12:09 PM)

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#1760399 - 09/27/11 12:35 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: wr]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: wr
It's an out-of-control mess and it feels kind of cruel to even listen to it.....

What do you say about sensitive, knowledgeable, picky people saying it's superb and that they can't imagine what you're talking about?

No answer needed; it's rhetorical. smile

Originally Posted By: cardguy
....I think either you're pulling for a ruined musician (which is admirable) or you're trying to defend your assessment....

My goodness. shocked

Tell me, cardguy. Even if you think I would do something like the latter (which I promise you I wouldn't).....even if, what about the view I expressed in the first place? You think that wasn't real, or that it wasn't definite, and that I then would change my mind about it? I guess you think that seeing what other people think, maybe especially that thing about the chords, would make me change what I thought of the performance? (And then I'd maybe want to defend what I said in the first place.)

That wouldn't happen. My impression was my impression, and isn't susceptible to people pointing out "but there was this and this and this" -- not with such music.

You know me pretty well, cardguy -- including that I know a lot about baseball grin -- but you surprised me with this.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760406 - 09/27/11 12:53 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: Mark_C]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
You seem a bit defensive Mark. I meant no disrespect. Let's parse this out a little. No, of course I don't think you're going to change your mind. That's not my intention at all. Nor do I see anything wrong in pulling for one of the great pianists of all time. In fact, my initial reaction to his performance was predicated on just that impulse...

I'm not missing the technical brilliance in his playing. I find it amazing in spots. That said, I can only hear what I can hear. Of course I'm not as discerning as you heavyweights, but on the other hand I'm not going to simply decide that I must be too tin-eared to appreciate a great performance, or to have a valid opinion. Of course I very well might be. But as I said, I can only hear what I can hear.

I don't really like your "appeal to authority." That is, you and JJ and one or two others are the authorities hence you must be right and everyone else wrong. All else aside, I found those missing chords really disturbing. It sounded to me as if he really just couldn't remember. I just don't see how that performance can be called masterful.


Edited by cardguy (09/27/11 12:59 PM)

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#1760408 - 09/27/11 12:58 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: cardguy
You seem a bit defensive Mark.....

I can't say how I "seem," but I can tell you that I'm not.

Quote:
....I don't really like your "appeal to authority." That is, you and JJ and one or two others are the authorities hence you must be right and everyone else wrong....

WHERE DO YOU GET THAT?
I didn't say anyone else was wrong. I'm just asserting that my view is valid.

Cardguy, you are either misreading or just grossly misinterpreting what I have said.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1760414 - 09/27/11 01:04 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
You know, that's funny. You have my apology on that. I skimmed the central part of your reply and thought that's where you were going. You answered before I could go back and make appropriate changes...I do sometimes jump the gun.


At the same time, I have no idea where you get the idea that I'm somehow trying to alter your opinion on the piece. I'm simply defending mine.

edit: You know what? Mystery solved. It was your first statement I was reacting to.

Tell me this is not an appeal to authority.

Mark wrote: "What do you say about sensitive, knowledgeable, picky people saying it's superb and that they can't imagine what you're talking about?"



Edited by cardguy (09/27/11 01:09 PM)

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#1760419 - 09/27/11 01:08 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: cardguy
....I have no idea where you get the idea that I'm somehow trying to alter your opinion on the piece. I'm simply defending mine.

Once again, you have misread something. I never said that. What I said was that you thought maybe stuff on here in general did alter my view (which it didn't and wouldn't), and that I was then just defending what I had expressed (which I wouldn't either).

You're batting about 1.000 -- just about everything you're saying about what I'm doing on here is wrong.
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#1760421 - 09/27/11 01:09 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: Mark_C]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
You know what? Mystery solved. It was your first statement I was reacting to.

Tell me this is not an appeal to authority.

Mark wrote: "What do you say about sensitive, knowledgeable, picky people saying it's superb and that they can't imagine what you're talking about?"

Sorry Mark. it's you who need to come back to planet earth here.

And with respect to the other issue concerning mind changing, you said this: "I guess you think that seeing what other people think, maybe especially that thing about the chords, would make me change what I thought of the performance?"

Holy crap Mark. Project much?


Edited by cardguy (09/27/11 01:35 PM)

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#1760435 - 09/27/11 01:47 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: cardguy
Tell me this is not an appeal to authority.

Mark wrote: "What do you say about sensitive, knowledgeable, picky people saying it's superb and that they can't imagine what you're talking about?"....

It absolutely isn't.
It's exactly what I said up there: Merely asserting that my view is valid (which it is). That's all.

I feel like saying "I've never seen you like this." You're getting hot under the collar, misreading me right-and-left, and somehow unable to get on any different wavelength about my posts here. I think the best thing would be for us to punt on this, sort of pretend it never happened smile and then on other discussions, go back to doing as well as we always had.

But feel free to read what I'm about to say to Stores.... grin
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#1760443 - 09/27/11 01:53 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: stores]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: stores
Hahaha! Is there really a school of thought that says it's ok to simply leave things out when one feels it's ok? Not ever heard that....

You can ridicule it all you want, but if you think what I said isn't so -- among some, including knowledgeable and prominent people -- you've missed some stuff.

I'll go further: I feel sure that CHOPIN HIMSELF made such changes when he played (I don't mean specifically what Hofmann does on this piece; I mean in general), according to the particular piano, the room, and (especially) his interpretation at that moment. I'm talking most particularly about things like how much a chord is "filled in" (and I think this accounts for differing "fill-ins" in different editions of some of his pieces) -- which is the thing that Zimerman has talked about. I'm not saying your view is wrong -- I'm sure it's the view that most serious musicians would have -- but if you're ridiculing the opposite view, IMO you're being too closed-minded.

BTW, do I do stuff like that??
No. But only because I can't (except for minor things at times about the "filling in"). If I could, I would.
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#1760449 - 09/27/11 02:06 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: Mark_C]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: cardguy
Tell me this is not an appeal to authority.

Mark wrote: "What do you say about sensitive, knowledgeable, picky people saying it's superb and that they can't imagine what you're talking about?"....

It absolutely isn't.
It's exactly what I said up there: Merely asserting that my view is valid (which it is). That's all.

I feel like saying "I've never seen you like this." You're getting hot under the collar, misreading me right-and-left, and somehow unable to get on any different wavelength about my posts here. I think the best thing would be for us to punt on this, sort of pretend it never happened smile and then on other discussions, go back to doing as well as we always had.

But feel free to read what I'm about to say to Stores.... grin


I never thought you were unfair Mark. But I've changed my mind. There's no sense in debating with you if you're not going to be honest.And I never once got hot under the collar. Not even now.

Let's look at your statement again: "What do you say about sensitive, knowledgeable, picky people saying it's superb and that they can't imagine what you're talking about?"...."

You and those who agree with you are "sensitive, knowledgeable, and and picky" (while of course those who disagree are insensitive, ignorant, and indiscriminate). You in effect are the authorities, and we are the philistine rabble.

You can argue that your statement is not an appeal to authority in a formal, logical sense if you wish. But it's certainly close enough that your comment to the effect that I'm wildly off the mark is simply dishonest.

I'm not even going to bother trying to untangle the other issue. You're never going to admit being wrong, no matter what evidently. So there's simply no point.


Edited by cardguy (09/27/11 02:09 PM)

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#1760453 - 09/27/11 02:11 PM Re: Hofmann plays Chopin's 48/1 [Re: cardguy]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: cardguy
Let's look at your statement again: "What do you say about sensitive, knowledgeable, picky people saying it's superb and that they can't imagine what you're talking about?"...."

You and those who agree with you are "sensitive, knowledgeable, and and picky" (while of course those who disagree are insensitive, ignorant, and indiscriminate). You in effect are the authorities, and we are the philistine rabble.

You did it again.

Indeed, I do mean I'm those things. smile
But no, I didn't mean everyone who thinks the same thing is necessarily likewise, and I absolutely didn't mean that someone who disagrees isn't.

You took a bunch of wrong leaps of logic, and made assumptions, and went on from there.

Quote:
....it's certainly close enough that your comment to the effect that I'm wildly off the mark is simply dishonest.

You are wildly off the mark. You are simply mistaken.

(To avoid yet more misreading, I better be clear that I'm not talking about your view of the Hofmann -- just what we're talking about here.)


Edited by Mark_C (09/27/11 02:14 PM)
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