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#1930406 - 07/21/12 07:41 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2626
Loc: Netherlands
I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique, it's blasphemy, or is it just the ignoble who think they own the world, to even doubt Chopin's ability to play his own etudes, the arrogance to compare that to Brahms not being able to executie his violinconcerto, of course he couldn't, it's like doubting Shakespeare ever existed, I can think of even worse denials, but, there are (written) examples, Schumann wrote about it, Chopin wrote about it, and the geniuses that made us happy with those masterpieces must have played them themselves, one cannot just invent only on paper that what changes the world, am I being overzealous? YES, sorry...
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!

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#1930425 - 07/21/12 08:40 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: dolce sfogato]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7767
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique, it's blasphemy, or is it just the ignoble who think they own the world, to even doubt Chopin's ability to play his own etudes, the arrogance to compare that to Brahms not being able to executie his violinconcerto, of course he couldn't, it's like doubting Shakespeare ever existed, I can think of even worse denials, but, there are (written) examples, Schumann wrote about it, Chopin wrote about it, and the geniuses that made us happy with those masterpieces must have played them themselves, one cannot just invent only on paper that what changes the world, am I being overzealous? YES, sorry...


I can't even imagine why it's so important...what difference does it make?

At any rate, the point that some of us are trying to make is NOT whether Chopin could or couldn't play his etudes, but the simple rational fact that the existence of a piece of music doesn't automatically mean the composer can perform it. It just doesn't. And therefore, the existence of Chopin's etudes doesn't automatically mean that he could play them. I think the chances are probably close to 100% that he could, at least when he wrote them, but so what? They have been, and continue to be, incredibly valuable to legions of pianists and listeners and composers, regardless of what one knows about Chopin's playing, or thinks they know.



Edited by wr (07/21/12 08:40 PM)

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#1930460 - 07/21/12 10:06 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: dolce sfogato]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
... one cannot just invent only on paper that what changes the world, am I being overzealous?

I don't think you are. For me -at least- it is well established that Chopin could play any of his piano works.

If he left no recordings, I don't think that is important. Elsner (his one time teacher), and Mendelssohn and Schumann (no fools there) all praised his playing.

Moscheles was reportedly mystified by Chopin's compositions until he heard Chopin play.

Then of course you get Hallé -who knew Chopin personally- and his remark 'but with such wonderful nuances'.

Case closed.
_________________________
Jason

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#1930461 - 07/21/12 10:10 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: dolce sfogato]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19657
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique, it's blasphemy, or is it just the ignoble who think they own the world, to even doubt Chopin's ability to play his own etudes, the arrogance to compare that to Brahms not being able to executie his violinconcerto, of course he couldn't, it's like doubting Shakespeare ever existed....

I was with you till that last thing. ha

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#1930536 - 07/22/12 04:12 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: argerichfan]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
... one cannot just invent only on paper that what changes the world, am I being overzealous?

I don't think you are.

Me too.

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#1930561 - 07/22/12 07:22 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: dolce sfogato]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique, it's blasphemy, or is it just the ignoble who think they own the world, to even doubt Chopin's ability to play his own etudes, the arrogance to compare that to Brahms not being able to executie his violinconcerto, of course he couldn't, it's like doubting Shakespeare ever existed, I can think of even worse denials, but, there are (written) examples, Schumann wrote about it, Chopin wrote about it, and the geniuses that made us happy with those masterpieces must have played them themselves, one cannot just invent only on paper that what changes the world, am I being overzealous? YES, sorry...


You're not being overzealous, dolce. I'm with you. There is no doubt that Chopin could play his own works and I said so earlier in another post. I'm not sure anyone is doubting that he was able to (of course there will always be some idiot that wants to be noticed). But in regard to your first sentence, "I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique...", I disagree, unless of course I'm misunderstanding you in overall context. Liszt and Chopin's technique wouldn't stand up to today's instruments and conservatory kids (and many before conservatory age) now possess technique that would run circles around not only Liszt and Chopin, but anyone they'd have been familiar with. This is not a knock against Franz, or Fred, nor is it blasphemy... it's just a simple fact.
_________________________

"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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#1930750 - 07/22/12 03:03 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: stores]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3446
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique, it's blasphemy, or is it just the ignoble who think they own the world, to even doubt Chopin's ability to play his own etudes, the arrogance to compare that to Brahms not being able to executie his violinconcerto, of course he couldn't, it's like doubting Shakespeare ever existed, I can think of even worse denials, but, there are (written) examples, Schumann wrote about it, Chopin wrote about it, and the geniuses that made us happy with those masterpieces must have played them themselves, one cannot just invent only on paper that what changes the world, am I being overzealous? YES, sorry...


You're not being overzealous, dolce. I'm with you. There is no doubt that Chopin could play his own works and I said so earlier in another post. I'm not sure anyone is doubting that he was able to (of course there will always be some idiot that wants to be noticed). But in regard to your first sentence, "I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique...", I disagree, unless of course I'm misunderstanding you in overall context. Liszt and Chopin's technique wouldn't stand up to today's instruments and conservatory kids (and many before conservatory age) now possess technique that would run circles around not only Liszt and Chopin, but anyone they'd have been familiar with. This is not a knock against Franz, or Fred, nor is it blasphemy... it's just a simple fact.


On what evidence are you basing this? Especially in the case of Liszt-- given access to a modern piano and some time to adapt, I'd bet he would be there and with a musicality these "conservatory kids" couldn't touch.

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#1930755 - 07/22/12 03:11 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
Hakki Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2406
Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
Could he play his 24 etudes with ease?


Absolutely. Rather silly to ask.

Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
Did the technique of his day even come close to the technical wizards of today?


Probably not, because today's instruments are not comparable to the instruments he used to play.
_________________________
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#1930827 - 07/22/12 05:17 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: sophial]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: sophial
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique, it's blasphemy, or is it just the ignoble who think they own the world, to even doubt Chopin's ability to play his own etudes, the arrogance to compare that to Brahms not being able to executie his violinconcerto, of course he couldn't, it's like doubting Shakespeare ever existed, I can think of even worse denials, but, there are (written) examples, Schumann wrote about it, Chopin wrote about it, and the geniuses that made us happy with those masterpieces must have played them themselves, one cannot just invent only on paper that what changes the world, am I being overzealous? YES, sorry...


You're not being overzealous, dolce. I'm with you. There is no doubt that Chopin could play his own works and I said so earlier in another post. I'm not sure anyone is doubting that he was able to (of course there will always be some idiot that wants to be noticed). But in regard to your first sentence, "I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique...", I disagree, unless of course I'm misunderstanding you in overall context. Liszt and Chopin's technique wouldn't stand up to today's instruments and conservatory kids (and many before conservatory age) now possess technique that would run circles around not only Liszt and Chopin, but anyone they'd have been familiar with. This is not a knock against Franz, or Fred, nor is it blasphemy... it's just a simple fact.


On what evidence are you basing this? Especially in the case of Liszt-- given access to a modern piano and some time to adapt, I'd bet he would be there and with a musicality these "conservatory kids" couldn't touch.


I agree that given time Liszt, would adapt (were he to come back during his prime). I'm not saying all conservatory kids, but a LOT of them (more than ever before) possess technique the likes of which simply wasn't to be found during Liszt's time. No one mentioned musicality (which SHOULD be included)...the question was about technique.
_________________________

"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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#1930860 - 07/22/12 06:27 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: Ferdinand]
Scordatura Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/12
Posts: 76
Loc: Suffolk, UK
Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Could Chopin have played his etudes with ease on the modern piano? Were the pianos of his time easier to play in some ways? Anyone know?

Easier to press the keys down. Easier to play faster. Easier to get clarity of sound. Harder or impossible to do other things.

If you're old enough to have learned typing on a "manual" and then moved to an electric, which you aren't grin that's a little bit like the reverse of what you're asking about.

Would repeated notes have been more difficult?


I once possessed a fine 1848 Broadwood grand of the model played by Chopin in London that same year. Its key-resistance was comparable to that of a modern grand, but (like most pianos manufactured before that date) its key-depth was very considerably shallower. It had the typical "English" action (patented by Broadwood decades earlier) which, for all its astonishing simplicity, I found well adequate for playing the fast repeated-note "frissu" passage in Liszt's 13th Rhapsody and other such passages. Chopin's own (and favourite make of) piano was a Pleyel, with an action essentially of the "English" type.

The "Viennese" action, familiar to Mozart, Beethoven, Hummel, Czerny and others (and much liked by Schumann and Brahms), had less key-resistance, but its capacity for repetition fell far short of the "English" type, largely due to its being mounted on the key rather than the piano-frame. (It would be interesting to know the tempo at which Czerny himself could actually manage his numerous repeated-note exercises on such actions!)

The "state-of-the-art" action in Chopin's day was the double-escapement type, patented by Erard in 1821, from which the modern grand-piano action evolved. Favoured by Liszt, Alkan and others, it was invented specifically with the aim of maximizing the capacity for fast repetition.

(For further info on the history of piano-actions, I'd heartily recommend the "Pianoforte" entry in New Grove.)

As regards whether Chopin would have been able to play his Etudes on a modern grand, I've no doubt whatsoever that he would have, after a certain degree of acclimatization. Although his playing was founded on the light, small-muscle powered finger-touch that served ideally for the harpsichord and early pianos, the same applied for other leading pianists of that period (and would continue to be the accepted norm until the 1860s) who successfully managed to adjust this touch to the increasingly heavy and deep piano-actions that appeared over the course of their lifetimes. (NB: the notion that this touch-form was no longer applicable for playing these newer piano-actions was perpetrated by German piano-teachers, initially Lebert and Stark, and subsequently others like Deppe and Breithaupt - not by the virtuosi! In Russia and France, technical training remained based upon small-muscle powered finger-touch (cf videos of Horowitz & Cortot, for example), and, thanks to the work of Ortmann and Schultz in the 1920s and 30s, its well-suitedness to the modern piano has been re-discovered more generally. That re-discovery, I'm quite convinced, accounts more than any other factor for the astonishing number of pyro-technicians around today.)

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#1930864 - 07/22/12 06:35 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: dolce sfogato]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
That's a stupid remark -- Beethoven could almost certainly not have played his Violin Concerto, Mozart his Clarinet Concerto, Brahms his String Quartets (any instruments). Beethoven could not have played any of the wind parts in his symphonies. A good composer learns to write for instruments which he cannot play. This is quite common knowledge.

Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
what a stupid idea: that Chopin wouldn't be able to play his own etudes, who would be capable of inventing such audacious novelties without the tools to execute them, why, this space must serve something more useful than this.

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#1930865 - 07/22/12 06:38 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: dolce sfogato]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Moreover, even if Chopin was bending the accepted capabilities of the instrument, that is not unusual for composers writing for instruments which they cannot play. That's probably more likely to happen. Beethoven's friend, who was to debut one of his later string quartets, complained that it was unplayable. He remarked "you think I care about your stupid fiddle when the muse strikes me?"

Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
what a stupid idea: that Chopin wouldn't be able to play his own etudes, who would be capable of inventing such audacious novelties without the tools to execute them, why, this space must serve something more useful than this.

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#1930887 - 07/22/12 07:17 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7767
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
That's a stupid remark -- Beethoven could almost certainly not have played his Violin Concerto, Mozart his Clarinet Concerto, Brahms his String Quartets (any instruments). Beethoven could not have played any of the wind parts in his symphonies. A good composer learns to write for instruments which he cannot play. This is quite common knowledge.

Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
what a stupid idea: that Chopin wouldn't be able to play his own etudes, who would be capable of inventing such audacious novelties without the tools to execute them, why, this space must serve something more useful than this.


But, and here it gets into somewhat different territory, questions arise about how idiomatic instrumental writing may be, and whether a composer is deliberately expanding the technical capabilities of an instrument, or if that occurs as a by-product of the kind of music they want to write.

I think it is generally true that the more intimate a composer's knowledge of an instrument is (i.e., how experienced they are at playing it), the better equipped they are to write music that will explore and exploit subtle aspects of technique. Which of course, doesn't mean that they must be able to play what they write. And many composers routinely consult with instrumentalists about technical matters to help make their music more playable and idiomatic, especially when composing a virtuosic work like a concerto.

I am pretty sure Stravinsky couldn't give an adequate performance of his 3 Scenes from Petrushka, which broke some new technical ground, but he was a good enough pianist to perform his piano concerto. His knowledge of how to write for the instrument was thoroughly grounded in practical experience, which enabled him to write for it in ways in the 3 Scenes that I am guessing he wouldn't have done if he didn't play it at a reasonably advanced level.

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#1930901 - 07/22/12 08:13 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd/
A good composer learns to write for instruments which he cannot play. This is quite common knowledge.

Indeed, and then of course Hindemith, if he did not know how to play a particular instrument, would take a few weeks off to learn it!

What an incredible musician he must have been.

For all that, I do enjoy a lot of Hindemith's music, but after a while it all feels a bit neutral and pale in its appeal. All those busy inner voices, then he decides 'that's enough', and comes to an abrupt cadence.

Richard Strauss famously told Hindemith: 'you have talent, why do you write like this?'

And there is a point. After one piece of Hindemith, I don't particularly feel any burning desire to listen to another one. The thought of a whole concert of Hindemith -as opposed to Strauss- might be a rather chilly affair.
_________________________
Jason

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#1930903 - 07/22/12 08:17 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Beethoven's friend, who was to debut one of his later string quartets, complained that it was unplayable. He remarked "you think I care about your stupid fiddle when the muse strikes me?"

laugh , there is also the story of a woodwind instrumentalist confronting Richard Strauss about the difficulties in one of his tone poems.

'Well, sir, this may be possible to play on the piano, but not on my instrument'.

Strauss: 'Don't worry, it's not possible on the piano either'.
_________________________
Jason

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#1930932 - 07/22/12 09:37 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: Scordatura]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19657
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Scordatura
Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: beet31425
....Were the pianos of his time easier to play in some ways?....
Easier to press the keys down. Easier to play faster. Easier to get clarity of sound. Harder or impossible to do other things....
Would repeated notes have been more difficult?
I once possessed a fine 1848 Broadwood grand of the model played by Chopin in London that same year. Its key-resistance was comparable to that of a modern grand, but (like most pianos manufactured before that date) its key-depth was very considerably shallower. It had the typical "English" action (patented by Broadwood decades earlier) which, for all its astonishing simplicity, I found well adequate for playing the fast repeated-note "frissu" passage in Liszt's 13th Rhapsody and other such passages. Chopin's own (and favourite make of) piano was a Pleyel, with an action essentially of the "English" type.

The "Viennese" action, familiar to Mozart, Beethoven, Hummel, Czerny and others (and much liked by Schumann and Brahms), had less key-resistance, but its capacity for repetition fell far short of the "English" type, largely due to its being mounted on the key rather than the piano-frame. (It would be interesting to know the tempo at which Czerny himself could actually manage his numerous repeated-note exercises on such actions!)

The "state-of-the-art" action in Chopin's day was the double-escapement type, patented by Erard in 1821, from which the modern grand-piano action evolved. Favoured by Liszt, Alkan and others, it was invented specifically with the aim of maximizing the capacity for fast repetition....

Wow! What an answer!

It feels like that Woody Allen movie where a guy is saying this-and-that about "Marshall McLuhan," and Woody Allen says, well, I happen to have Marshall McLuhan right here.... ha

You are our Marshall McLuhan for that question about repeated notes. grin

Some years ago I stayed for a week and a half in an apartment that had a well-maintained vintage Erard -- exactly how vintage, I didn't know, but I think it was said to be from around 1880. But I just punted on the repeated-note question because I don't remember exactly how that was on the Erard. I do remember that I didn't notice any issue about it (and I did notice other things that were issues!) so I'd guess this aspect was quite comparable to modern grands. Besides not being sure about that, I realize that anyway there may have been advances in the Erard's mechanics from the earlier part of the century.

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#1930950 - 07/22/12 10:30 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: stores]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3446
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: sophial
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique, it's blasphemy, or is it just the ignoble who think they own the world, to even doubt Chopin's ability to play his own etudes, the arrogance to compare that to Brahms not being able to executie his violinconcerto, of course he couldn't, it's like doubting Shakespeare ever existed, I can think of even worse denials, but, there are (written) examples, Schumann wrote about it, Chopin wrote about it, and the geniuses that made us happy with those masterpieces must have played them themselves, one cannot just invent only on paper that what changes the world, am I being overzealous? YES, sorry...


You're not being overzealous, dolce. I'm with you. There is no doubt that Chopin could play his own works and I said so earlier in another post. I'm not sure anyone is doubting that he was able to (of course there will always be some idiot that wants to be noticed). But in regard to your first sentence, "I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique...", I disagree, unless of course I'm misunderstanding you in overall context. Liszt and Chopin's technique wouldn't stand up to today's instruments and conservatory kids (and many before conservatory age) now possess technique that would run circles around not only Liszt and Chopin, but anyone they'd have been familiar with. This is not a knock against Franz, or Fred, nor is it blasphemy... it's just a simple fact.


On what evidence are you basing this? Especially in the case of Liszt-- given access to a modern piano and some time to adapt, I'd bet he would be there and with a musicality these "conservatory kids" couldn't touch.


I agree that given time Liszt, would adapt (were he to come back during his prime). I'm not saying all conservatory kids, but a LOT of them (more than ever before) possess technique the likes of which simply wasn't to be found during Liszt's time. No one mentioned musicality (which SHOULD be included)...the question was about technique.


Well, Liszt's technique wasn't to be found during Liszt's time-- until Liszt. I find it hard to believe that the Liszt who wrote and played the earlier (much more difficult) versions of the TE's would not be able to handle the demands of anything the "conservatory kids" are doing-- and wipe the floor with them musically. (and yes, we're talking about technique, but if one can't execute it musically, who cares? )

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#1930960 - 07/22/12 10:52 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: sophial]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6071
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: sophial
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: sophial
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique, it's blasphemy, or is it just the ignoble who think they own the world, to even doubt Chopin's ability to play his own etudes, the arrogance to compare that to Brahms not being able to executie his violinconcerto, of course he couldn't, it's like doubting Shakespeare ever existed, I can think of even worse denials, but, there are (written) examples, Schumann wrote about it, Chopin wrote about it, and the geniuses that made us happy with those masterpieces must have played them themselves, one cannot just invent only on paper that what changes the world, am I being overzealous? YES, sorry...


You're not being overzealous, dolce. I'm with you. There is no doubt that Chopin could play his own works and I said so earlier in another post. I'm not sure anyone is doubting that he was able to (of course there will always be some idiot that wants to be noticed). But in regard to your first sentence, "I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique...", I disagree, unless of course I'm misunderstanding you in overall context. Liszt and Chopin's technique wouldn't stand up to today's instruments and conservatory kids (and many before conservatory age) now possess technique that would run circles around not only Liszt and Chopin, but anyone they'd have been familiar with. This is not a knock against Franz, or Fred, nor is it blasphemy... it's just a simple fact.


On what evidence are you basing this? Especially in the case of Liszt-- given access to a modern piano and some time to adapt, I'd bet he would be there and with a musicality these "conservatory kids" couldn't touch.


I agree that given time Liszt, would adapt (were he to come back during his prime). I'm not saying all conservatory kids, but a LOT of them (more than ever before) possess technique the likes of which simply wasn't to be found during Liszt's time. No one mentioned musicality (which SHOULD be included)...the question was about technique.


Well, Liszt's technique wasn't to be found during Liszt's time-- until Liszt. I find it hard to believe that the Liszt who wrote and played the earlier (much more difficult) versions of the TE's would not be able to handle the demands of anything the "conservatory kids" are doing-- and wipe the floor with them musically. (and yes, we're talking about technique, but if one can't execute it musically, who cares? )


The earlier versions of the Paganini etudes were also more difficult so I tend to agree that maybe Liszt was one of the first that became committed to technique in way that almost all of his contemporaries weren't. On the other hand, haven't the physical feats of previous generations always been bested? We run faster, jump higher, etc. etc., than ever before. Why would piano be different? I sometimes find it amusing to think that if we could travel back in time, we might be profoundly disappointed. Maybe Liszt or Thalberg couldn't win an amateur competition today. laugh
_________________________
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#1930961 - 07/22/12 10:54 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: sophial]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19657
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: sophial
Well, Liszt's technique wasn't to be found during Liszt's time-- until Liszt. I find it hard to believe that the Liszt who wrote and played the earlier (much more difficult) versions of the TE's would not be able to handle the demands of anything the "conservatory kids" are doing-- and wipe the floor with them musically. (and yes, we're talking about technique, but if one can't execute it musically, who cares? )

I agree.

Warning: Baseball analogy coming up. grin

The discussion reminds me of some baseball arguments, where people wonder how (for example) Babe Ruth would have done in today's game. The doubters talk about what a different game it is today, with the overall level much higher (which it is). Someone like Babe Ruth soared above his contemporaries to an extent that he probably couldn't have done today, but I have to believe he would still be a standout. And I have to believe it is likewise with any such historic over-the-top talent, absolutely including Liszt and Chopin. Liszt, because he was more than just someone who played great -- he was (from anything that we know about him) a pianistic genius with over-the-top physical pianistic skills and instincts; and Chopin because he was essentially creating an approach and sound that hadn't existed and doing it in a way that nobody else could -- and I believe he still would, in any era -- and (again, from anything we know) he had a mechanism fully adequate for those highly demanding ends.

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#1930968 - 07/22/12 11:07 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: sophial]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: sophial

Well, Liszt's technique wasn't to be found during Liszt's time-- until Liszt. I find it hard to believe that the Liszt who wrote and played the earlier (much more difficult) versions of the TE's would not be able to handle the demands of anything the "conservatory kids" are doing-- and wipe the floor with them musically. (and yes, we're talking about technique, but if one can't execute it musically, who cares? )

A good point.

I have heard recordings of the earlier versions of the TE's, and they are hardly convincing. One looks at those scores with a longing: if Liszt could indeed play them as written (big IF), then I don't think his technique has been exceeded.

Look at those HUGE rolled chords at the 'Grandioso' in the 11th etude. No doubt Liszt was wise to subsequently simplify, but if he really pulled off the original as written -and he may have- then his technique fully matches the legend.
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#1930973 - 07/22/12 11:14 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: argerichfan]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6071
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: sophial

Well, Liszt's technique wasn't to be found during Liszt's time-- until Liszt. I find it hard to believe that the Liszt who wrote and played the earlier (much more difficult) versions of the TE's would not be able to handle the demands of anything the "conservatory kids" are doing-- and wipe the floor with them musically. (and yes, we're talking about technique, but if one can't execute it musically, who cares? )

A good point.

I have heard recordings of the earlier versions of the TE's, and they are hardly convincing. One looks at those scores with a longing: if Liszt could indeed play them as written (big IF), then I don't think his technique has been exceeded.

Look at those HUGE rolled chords at the 'Grandioso' in the 11th etude. No doubt Liszt was wise to subsequently simplify, but if he really pulled off the original as written -and he may have- then his technique fully matches the legend.


Have you heard anyone but Leslie Howard try?
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#1930977 - 07/22/12 11:31 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: Damon]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Damon

Have you heard anyone but Leslie Howard try?

Yes, actually. Cannot remember her name (Joyce something... not Hatto) but long OOP. Doesn't come up on Amazon or Archiv, but I think it came out in the early '90's. I'm sure I heard it as a student, that was enough.
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#1930998 - 07/23/12 12:17 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
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Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2117
Loc: Canada
I recall that Arrau also claimed that the Douze Grandes Etudes were impossible on a modern instrument. He probably attempted a few of them, considering how huge his musical appetite was.
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#1931000 - 07/23/12 12:20 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: argerichfan]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6071
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: Damon

Have you heard anyone but Leslie Howard try?

Yes, actually. Cannot remember her name (Joyce something... not Hatto) but long OOP. Doesn't come up on Amazon or Archiv, but I think it came out in the early '90's. I'm sure I heard it as a student, that was enough.



Speaking of Hatto, it might be interesting to dump Howard's recording into audacity and "fix" it, record it onto a wax cylinder and claim it was Liszt. laugh
_________________________
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#1931008 - 07/23/12 12:34 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
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Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2117
Loc: Canada
Does Audacity have a "fix boring" function though? laugh Sorry, I couldn't resist!
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#1931010 - 07/23/12 12:36 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: Damon]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3446
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: sophial
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: sophial
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique, it's blasphemy, or is it just the ignoble who think they own the world, to even doubt Chopin's ability to play his own etudes, the arrogance to compare that to Brahms not being able to executie his violinconcerto, of course he couldn't, it's like doubting Shakespeare ever existed, I can think of even worse denials, but, there are (written) examples, Schumann wrote about it, Chopin wrote about it, and the geniuses that made us happy with those masterpieces must have played them themselves, one cannot just invent only on paper that what changes the world, am I being overzealous? YES, sorry...


You're not being overzealous, dolce. I'm with you. There is no doubt that Chopin could play his own works and I said so earlier in another post. I'm not sure anyone is doubting that he was able to (of course there will always be some idiot that wants to be noticed). But in regard to your first sentence, "I just can't follow people who think they, or any other contempories could equal Chopin's or Liszt's technique...", I disagree, unless of course I'm misunderstanding you in overall context. Liszt and Chopin's technique wouldn't stand up to today's instruments and conservatory kids (and many before conservatory age) now possess technique that would run circles around not only Liszt and Chopin, but anyone they'd have been familiar with. This is not a knock against Franz, or Fred, nor is it blasphemy... it's just a simple fact.


On what evidence are you basing this? Especially in the case of Liszt-- given access to a modern piano and some time to adapt, I'd bet he would be there and with a musicality these "conservatory kids" couldn't touch.


I agree that given time Liszt, would adapt (were he to come back during his prime). I'm not saying all conservatory kids, but a LOT of them (more than ever before) possess technique the likes of which simply wasn't to be found during Liszt's time. No one mentioned musicality (which SHOULD be included)...the question was about technique.


Well, Liszt's technique wasn't to be found during Liszt's time-- until Liszt. I find it hard to believe that the Liszt who wrote and played the earlier (much more difficult) versions of the TE's would not be able to handle the demands of anything the "conservatory kids" are doing-- and wipe the floor with them musically. (and yes, we're talking about technique, but if one can't execute it musically, who cares? )


The earlier versions of the Paganini etudes were also more difficult so I tend to agree that maybe Liszt was one of the first that became committed to technique in way that almost all of his contemporaries weren't. On the other hand, haven't the physical feats of previous generations always been bested? We run faster, jump higher, etc. etc., than ever before. Why would piano be different? I sometimes find it amusing to think that if we could travel back in time, we might be profoundly disappointed. Maybe Liszt or Thalberg couldn't win an amateur competition today. laugh


People in general are larger than 200 years ago-- better nutrition, fewer diseases and other factors contribute. But size and muscle mass are not as crucial to the piano as they are to track and field or basketball and would likely not make as much difference as they have to sports. Human physiology as applied to the piano has not changed all that much (if any) since Liszt.

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#1931016 - 07/23/12 12:48 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: Kuanpiano]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19657
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
I recall that Arrau also claimed that the Douze Grandes Etudes were impossible on a modern instrument. He probably attempted a few of them, considering how huge his musical appetite was.

(emphasis added)

Can't tell what percent wry you are being.


In case it's zero percent: grin



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#1931029 - 07/23/12 01:10 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2117
Loc: Canada
(Liszt's Douze Grandes Etudes), 'cause Argerichfan brought up how they're still a testament to how Liszt's technique remains at a level beyond today's piano virtuosos..
_________________________
Working on:
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Brahms - 6 Klavierstucke op. 119
Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata no.1

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#1931033 - 07/23/12 01:31 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: Kuanpiano]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6071
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Does Audacity have a "fix boring" function though? laugh Sorry, I couldn't resist!


Looking on youtube for the s.137 versions, I found someone already took it upon themselves to speed up Howard's efforts. laugh

_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#1931036 - 07/23/12 01:39 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: argerichfan]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17836
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: Damon

Have you heard anyone but Leslie Howard try?

Yes, actually. Cannot remember her name (Joyce something... not Hatto) but long OOP. Doesn't come up on Amazon or Archiv, but I think it came out in the early '90's. I'm sure I heard it as a student, that was enough.



Might it have been Eileen Joyce? She was, according to Jeremy Siepmann, "... a Lisztian of both poetry and bravura." See Wikipedia for more details about her renown.

Regards,
_________________________
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