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#385633 - 08/18/08 12:21 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
Cheeto717 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 693
Loc: Pennsylvania
 Quote:
Originally posted by davaofthekeys:
Liszt improvised a prelude to begin the concert. Pretty incredible. [/b]
Not that incredible I would think. For a long time concert pianists would begin their concert with an improvised prelude.
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#385634 - 08/18/08 12:38 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Numerian:
Amidst all this Lisztian accomplishment, Chopin's brief nocturne stands out as very modernistic and the only thing still remembered from the Hexameron.
Not sure I follow you. Chopin's variation may be the finest musically, but Hexameron is very much the sum of its parts and that is how it is remembered today. IMHO the piano & orchestra version gilds the lily, and I think Lewenthal made the best compromise in his splendidly atmospheric and "sense of occasion" recording.

Interestingly, without Hexameron what is the chance anyone but a specialist would recognise the name Pixis?
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#385635 - 08/18/08 12:49 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
BruceD Online   content
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17671
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
[...]Interestingly, without Hexameron what is the chance anyone but a specialist would recognise the name Pixis? [/b]
Pixis? I don't recognize the name! \:D

Regards,
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#385636 - 08/18/08 01:34 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
[...]Interestingly, without Hexameron what is the chance anyone but a specialist would recognise the name Pixis? [/b]
Pixis? I don't recognize the name! \:D

Regards, [/b]
Sinful statements!! ;\)
Surely we are all aware of Pixis' take on Meyerbeer's opera, which was also the starting point for Liszt's most successful warhorse: Robert le
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#385637 - 08/18/08 01:44 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
sotto voce Offline
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Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
I only know of Robert le Diable because of the Grand Duo Concertante for piano and cello by Chopin and Franchomme. I guess it's not exactly a warhorse. ;\)

The name "Pixis" reminds me of another sin of which I'm culpable: I've never heard of François-Joseph Fétis other than in connection with the Méthode des Méthodes.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#385638 - 08/18/08 09:59 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
 Quote:
Originally posted by Goose68:
Keep these stories coming... I'm loving this thread more than I thought.

Any good book recommendations for similar? [/b]
The very best source about Liszt: Alan Walker's three volume biography.

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#385639 - 08/19/08 05:00 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
 Quote:
Originally posted by davaofthekeys:
Just remembered another one I read a long time ago in some old book I borrowed from my music colleges library, something about a rare concert, probably pretty early in Liszt career, where Liszt, Chopin and a couple of other pianists where performing on the same bill, and that on this occasion, Liszt improvised a prelude to begin the concert. Pretty incredible. [/b]
Almost everybody improvised regularly back then. I have just finished reading a bio of Hummel, and he actually preferred improvising in public to playing written music. There was a fairly amazing story in the book about how at the end of a music party/concert, Hummel was getting ready to leave, but people prevailed on him to do a little improvising first. As it happened, people were waltzing in the next room, and so he started to improvise around the dance, and then he amazed everyone by managing to weave in thematic material from all the music that had been heard earlier in the evening, and then topped it all off with a fugue, keeping the waltz going throughout the whole thing!! He also frequently did duo improvisations in concerts with Moscheles.

Ah, the good old days...

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#385640 - 08/19/08 06:32 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
davaofthekeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 243
Hmm, I guess there was more improv going on back then, nowadays it seems pretty rare on the classical scene (which I think is pretty good actually, I don´t care much for improv).

But I still think that being singled out to improvise a prelude and a finale to a concert featuring pianists such as Pixis, Thalberg, Herz, Czerny and Chopin is pretty incredible and not really an ordinary feat, even for a pianist back in those days.
Just imagine the pressure and expectations one would have had to deal with at such a star-studded event, not only performing and improvising in front of an audience, but also that many other accomplished pianists.

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#385641 - 08/19/08 09:11 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
The young Clara Wieck (Schumann) initially drew a lot of criticism as the result of her innovation of playing pieces from memory. At the time the only time a pianist played without music was when he was improvising. The lack of music was intended to underscore the improvisatory nature of his performance. Clara memorized easily and quickly but not particularly accurately and often sounded more like she was presenting her own impression of a work rather than the work itself. Because of the liberties she was inclined to take, her early audiences sometimes thought she was trying to pass off others' compositions as her own improvisions.
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#385642 - 08/19/08 10:04 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
dianekeeton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Seattle, WA
To my knowledge Liszt Sight-read not Chopins Etudes but his LADIES!

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#385643 - 08/19/08 11:34 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by -Frycek:
Clara memorized easily and quickly but not particularly accurately and often sounded more like she was presenting her own impression of a work rather than the work itself. Because of the liberties she was inclined to take, her early audiences sometimes thought she was trying to pass off others' compositions as her own improvisions. [/b]
Based on this description, I'm surprised that her choice to play from memory was precedent-setting. And yet she is credited with changing the accepted standards of performance practice from that point onward.

Or is that an anecdote, too? \:D

Or is that another Music 101 topic of which I'm ignorant? \:\(

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#385644 - 08/19/08 01:45 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
 Quote:
Originally posted by -Frycek:
Clara memorized easily and quickly but not particularly accurately and often sounded more like she was presenting her own impression of a work rather than the work itself. Because of the liberties she was inclined to take, her early audiences sometimes thought she was trying to pass off others' compositions as her own improvisions. [/b]
Based on this description, I'm surprised that her choice to play from memory was precedent-setting. And yet she is credited with changing the accepted standards of performance practice from that point onward.

Or is that an anecdote, too? \:D

Or is that another Music 101 topic of which I'm ignorant? \:\(

Steven [/b]
I imagine she got better at it as she got older. She was just a kid then. There was a particular piece by Beethoven that several people commented on. It seemed a bit odd to them.
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#385645 - 08/19/08 10:54 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
sorry, deleted post

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#385646 - 08/19/08 11:01 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by sophial:
sorry, deleted post [/b]
Well, I had been meaning to say that I didn't know which composer was the antecedent of "his."

Did Liszt sight-read Chopin's ladies, or his own ladies?

Well, I had also been meaning to say that I don't even know that that means!

And sophial, you were right in any case. ;\)

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#385647 - 08/19/08 11:39 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..?
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
ah, Steven, you caught it! ;\) . Thanks.

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#1927696 - 07/16/12 07:30 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: davaofthekeys]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Two stories presented here are told about many people.

1) I read it was Czerny who was asked by Beethoven, when he presented himself as a candidate for instruction, 10 years old, to play one of the P&F from the WTC. He then asked the boy to transpose the thing to a different key, which he did. This prompted Beethoven to announce that he would take him as a pupil.

2) When Brahms was touring with the violinist (I forget the name), he was supposed to play the Waldstein sonata, which is in C major. The piano in the hall was found to be a semitone flat, so Brahms shrugged and played the thing in C# major instead, from memory.

Finally, I think it was Vierne who used to improvise extremely difficult stuff for the crowds at Notre Dame every Sunday.

The upshot of all this is that transposition, even of very difficult works, was not only commonplace, but expected of professional musicians, just as improvisation was also expected. In our fetishizing of the score in the modern age, we've let those skills atrophy as we search instead for the perfect performance. I'd much rather hear one of our great pianists improvise on something than hear yet another rendition of, say, the Appassionata.

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#1927717 - 07/16/12 08:21 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: davaofthekeys]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
pianists can do great things.

ta da!

For the life of me, i couldn't transpose a thing without great forthought, notes, and writing out the chords... but suddenly was able to transpose a choral piece, not simple one, into A flat.. it just fell together, the fingers found the notes. I am a lot more comfortable transposing now. i can't do it automatically, but i can do it.
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love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1927742 - 07/16/12 09:22 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
MathGuy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 232
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
2) When Brahms was touring with the violinist (I forget the name), he was supposed to play the Waldstein sonata, which is in C major. The piano in the hall was found to be a semitone flat, so Brahms shrugged and played the thing in C# major instead, from memory.
I bet those octave glissandi were murder in C#! wink

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#1927767 - 07/16/12 10:13 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: davaofthekeys]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17671
Loc: Victoria, BC
Another thread rises from a four-year old grave!
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Estonia 190 in satin ebony
Writing from Paris until 15 May, 2014

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#1927806 - 07/17/12 12:08 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: BruceD]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Another thread rises from a four-year old grave!


Who cares?

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#1927811 - 07/17/12 12:21 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: davaofthekeys]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2055
Loc: Canada
Well, it's hard to continue a discussion when the OP and many other posters don't use this website anymore, at least one of the people in this conversation has been banned (and in several other accounts as well)....
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Working on:
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#1927815 - 07/17/12 12:30 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: apple*]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: apple*
pianists can do great things.

ta da!

For the life of me, i couldn't transpose a thing without great forthought, notes, and writing out the chords... but suddenly was able to transpose a choral piece, not simple one, into A flat.. it just fell together, the fingers found the notes. I am a lot more comfortable transposing now. i can't do it automatically, but i can do it.


Sometimes its like riding a bike...if you think about it, it doesn't work, but just do it, and it works fine.
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Music teacher and piano player.

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#1927872 - 07/17/12 04:08 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: BruceD]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Another thread rises from a four-year old grave!


and here I didn't even notice shocked

at any rate, it was a fun read

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#1928297 - 07/17/12 11:18 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: timbo77]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 612
Loc: NY and NC
I have the famous DG cd of Emil Gilels playing the two Brahms piano concerti. The liner notes said Gilels knew #1 well, but apparently he sight-read the second in the recording session, one take. It is considered world-class I think. Apparently there are many professional pianists who can do things like this.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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#1928300 - 07/17/12 11:31 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: Chopinlover49]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3621
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: Chopinlover49
I have the famous DG cd of Emil Gilels playing the two Brahms piano concerti. The liner notes said Gilels knew #1 well, but apparently he sight-read the second in the recording session, one take. It is considered world-class I think. Apparently there are many professional pianists who can do things like this.

Sorry-- I don't believe it for a second. smile

My disbelief inspired me to do some research. Do you mean this DG recording? It's apparently a remastering of a 1972 recording. But Gilels had already recorded the piece in 1958 with Reiner.

Maybe he knew #1 well, and it had just been a while since he'd played #2, so he didn't have it in his fingertips as well. He did not sightread it for the recording session-- no way.

-J
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Schubert D.899/4, Chopin op.25/2

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#1928379 - 07/18/12 04:11 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: beet31425]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Originally Posted By: Chopinlover49
I have the famous DG cd of Emil Gilels playing the two Brahms piano concerti. The liner notes said Gilels knew #1 well, but apparently he sight-read the second in the recording session, one take. It is considered world-class I think. Apparently there are many professional pianists who can do things like this.

Sorry-- I don't believe it for a second. smile

My disbelief inspired me to do some research. Do you mean this DG recording? It's apparently a remastering of a 1972 recording. But Gilels had already recorded the piece in 1958 with Reiner.

Maybe he knew #1 well, and it had just been a while since he'd played #2, so he didn't have it in his fingertips as well. He did not sightread it for the recording session-- no way.

-J


I've not ever heard that story, but I would have a very difficult time buying it as well.
_________________________

"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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#1928394 - 07/18/12 05:12 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: davaofthekeys]
drumour Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 829
Loc: Scotland
Some people mean "reading" when they say/write "sight-reading".


John
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Vasa inania multum strepunt.

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#1928401 - 07/18/12 06:26 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: davaofthekeys]
babama Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/08
Posts: 800
Loc: Netherlands
I'm very slow at reading music and with everything I do on the piano I rely very much on my memory, so when I read stories like this it seems like pure wizardry to me.
Even if you can read music that fast, how do your hands "know" all the moves? How can you make quick, precise jumps etc. if you haven't gone through these moves before? I just don't get it... not that I don't believe any of it, but it's just mind boggling to me.


Edited by babama (07/18/12 06:28 AM)

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#1928810 - 07/18/12 11:35 PM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: davaofthekeys]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 612
Loc: NY and NC
I have often heard that Liszt was the most technically-accomplished pianist of all time. What I have always wondered is, how can we know? Since recordings weren't around, we only have personal accounts from his contemporaries. In times to come, pianists from say about 1950 on can be compared at least on a fairly simple level by their recordings, but Mozart? Tausig? Beethoven? Chopin? I think the stories about the famous pianists and composers of the past are fascinating, but I guess we will never know. What kind of performer was Bach? Above I read that Bizet was quite accomplished. I didn't know that although I know he was a musical genius. There are so many famous pianists who either didn't record, or recorded when the process was in its infancy.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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#1928833 - 07/19/12 01:03 AM Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5229
Loc: McAllen, TX
Originally Posted By: Chopinlover49
I have the famous DG cd of Emil Gilels playing the two Brahms piano concerti. The liner notes said Gilels knew #1 well, but apparently he sight-read the second in the recording session, one take.


No.
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