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#1945416 - 08/19/12 10:24 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
Orange Soda King Offline
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Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6035
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I honestly like Michelangeli's technique more than Horowitz's, or Richter's, or maybe even Rachmaninoff's. But yeah, I think there are many many more pianists with insane technique these days than there used to be.

Of course, that's only speaking about technique. whistle

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#1945422 - 08/19/12 10:35 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: stores]
carey Online   content
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Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6040
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

Gary Graffman:
Whsn I was growing up, only Horowitz and Rachmaninov were capable of playing the Rachmaninov Third Concerto. Then Willy Kapell was the first young American to play it. Now every 14-year-old Korean girl with tiny hands plays it!
Alexander Braginsky: I have young kids playing repertoire that in my generation very few people could ever master. Eleven year olds playing Feux follets in a way that once only Ashkenazy and Berman and Richter could play it. I have two teenagers playing the Brahms Paganini Variations on a level that was hardly heard of when I was growing up in Russia. That said they are all much less cultured than 50 years ago.

Thank you. Gosh, it would seem I'm not the only idiot that doesn't know what he's talking about... go figure.


grin thumb
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#1945609 - 08/19/12 03:27 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: Orange Soda King]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
I honestly like Michelangeli's technique more than Horowitz's, or Richter's, or maybe even Rachmaninoff's. But yeah, I think there are many many more pianists with insane technique these days than there used to be.

Of course, that's only speaking about technique. whistle

In what aspects of technique do you feel that Michelangeli surpassed Horowitz and Rachmaninov? Michelangeli is certainly one of the most precise pianists that I've ever heard.

Originally Posted By: stores
Thank you. Gosh, it would seem I'm not the only idiot that doesn't know what he's talking about... go figure.

I don't think that anyone denies that there are many current pianists with great technique. My question is whether any of those pianists could compete with the greatest technical giants of the early twentieth century. As Schonberg pointed out, pianists such as Lhévinne, Hofmann, Rachmaninov, and Horowitz were at a very high level of mechanical ability. He also claimed, in 1987, that it is incorrect to believe that modern pianists are technically superior to those people. Are there any living pianists who could match the manual dexterity of Horowitz, Lhévinne, Rachmaninov, or Hofmann?


Edited by LaReginadellaNotte (08/19/12 03:27 PM)

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#1945613 - 08/19/12 03:38 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
trigalg693 Online   content
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Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 523
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte

I don't think that anyone denies that there are many current pianists with great technique. My question is whether any of those pianists could compete with the greatest technical giants of the early twentieth century. As Schonberg pointed out, pianists such as Lhévinne, Hofmann, Rachmaninov, and Horowitz were at a very high level of mechanical ability. He also claimed, in 1987, that it is incorrect to believe that modern pianists are technically superior to those people. Are there any living pianists who could match the manual dexterity of Horowitz, Lhévinne, Rachmaninov, or Hofmann?

Uh, is this a serious question? Hamelin? Argerich?

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#1945616 - 08/19/12 03:47 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
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Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
Hamelin is a potential candidate, but I don't know about Argerich. While she obviously has extraordinary technique, I doubt that she could play the "Double Thirds" Etude as fluently as Lhévinne played it.

Granted, it can sometimes be difficult to ascertain which pianist has the best technique. A pianist may excel at certain technical aspects, but not at others. Hofmann could play runs better than Rachmaninov could, but Rachmaninov could play chords and octaves better than Hofmann could.

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#1945636 - 08/19/12 04:20 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte

I don't think that anyone denies that there are many current pianists with great technique. My question is whether any of those pianists could compete with the greatest technical giants of the early twentieth century. As Schonberg pointed out, pianists such as Lhévinne, Hofmann, Rachmaninov, and Horowitz were at a very high level of mechanical ability. He also claimed, in 1987, that it is incorrect to believe that modern pianists are technically superior to those people.
One person's opinion does not make something true. It's possible he was correct, but you have to realize that Schonberg was a fanatic about "golden age" pianists in every aspect of their playing and somewhat prejudiced IMO about pianists not from that time.

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#1945640 - 08/19/12 04:28 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte
Granted, it can sometimes be difficult to ascertain which pianist has the best technique. A pianist may excel at certain technical aspects, but not at others. Hofmann could play runs better than Rachmaninov could, but Rachmaninov could play chords and octaves better than Hofmann could.
I think there are at least 20 pianists with such perfect overall technique that trying to say which one is the "best" is not worth discussing. And as you say, there are numerous aspects of technique and no one is best in all of them.

David Dubal gave an interesting lecture quite a while ago where he discussed many different aspects of technique and played recordings by a few examples of the pianists he thought were the best in each category. Even in a single category of technique I think one could name many pianists ted for the "best".

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#1945643 - 08/19/12 04:48 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: pianoloverus]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
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Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
That sounds like a very interesting lecture. Is it available on video? Just out of curiosity, which piansts did Dubal consider the best in certain categories? I have some guesses as to who would have been included. For runs and repeated notes, Hofmann was unsurpassed. The top octave players probably included Horowitz, Rachmaninov, Lhévinne, Hamelin, and Argerich. For double note technique, Friedman, Lhévinne, and Hofmann were probably included.

As to comparing different technicians, it's true that we may never obtain a definite answer regarding who is the best, but I still think that it's interesting to discuss the topic. I enjoy intellectual exercises, especially ones that involve comparing and contrasting great musicians. For example, we may conclude that the pianist who excels in the greatest number of technical challenges is probably the top technician overall. Lhévinne was outstanding at both octaves and double notes. Argerich has excellent octaves, but her runs have never been as clearly articulated as those of Pollini, Horowitz, or Hofmann, and I have never heard her play double notes of the Lhévinne order. For those reasons, I think that Lhévinne was overall a better technician than Argerich was.


Edited by LaReginadellaNotte (08/19/12 04:49 PM)

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#1945667 - 08/19/12 05:43 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
acortot Offline
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Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 423
Loc: Italy
piano-technique can be based on muscle-memory, founded on hours of mechanical repetition until the phrases sound 'perfect' and beyond criticism

it can also be based on artistic thought, where the technique is under the pianist's complete control

Chopin could improvise for hours. This to me means he had a very strong technique, in the sense that he played what he envisioned...

can the musical artists of today improvise like the old masters?

Jazz Pianists are constantly improvising and interacting on-the-fly. I believe that it is this mental connection with the music that gives Jazz pianists the kind of technique that Chopin or Liszt used to have

in fact, before 1860 or so, to be considered a great pianist one had to play his own compositions

'muscle memory' technique has more of an athletic approach. The pianists who practice endless repetition may play correctly but I would not call their technique good because it has been tainted by the physical aspect of playing

music is created in the mind, not in the fingers
_________________________
rhythm must be inborn

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

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#1945680 - 08/19/12 06:04 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: acortot]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: acortot
piano-technique can be based on muscle-memory, founded on hours of mechanical repetition until the phrases sound 'perfect' and beyond criticism
All the great pianists of every age have this kind of technique. It is not something negative.

Originally Posted By: acortot
it can also be based on artistic thought, where the technique is under the pianist's complete control
Muscle memory isn't under a pianist's control?

Originally Posted By: acortot
Chopin could improvise for hours. This to me means he had a very strong technique, in the sense that he played what he envisioned...
Anyone can improvise for hours. While we can assume Chopin's improvisations were very great and at at high technical level this doesn't mean his improvisations were at the technical level of his compositions.

Originally Posted By: acortot
'muscle memory' technique has more of an athletic approach. The pianists who practice endless repetition may play correctly but I would not call their technique good because it has been tainted by the physical aspect of playing
All the great pianists have very good or great muscle memory technique in addition to their great musical understanding. All of them practiced endless repetition. As Alexander Braginsky has said playing the piano is half athletic and half mind(of course, he didn't mean exactly half and half...he just meant there is an important athletic part)






Edited by pianoloverus (08/19/12 06:07 PM)

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#1945685 - 08/19/12 06:15 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte
As to comparing different technicians, it's true that we may never obtain a definite answer regarding who is the best, but I still think that it's interesting to discuss the topic. I enjoy intellectual exercises, especially ones that involve comparing and contrasting great musicians. For example, we may conclude that the pianist who excels in the greatest number of technical challenges is probably the top technician overall. Lhévinne was outstanding at both octaves and double notes. Argerich has excellent octaves, but her runs have never been as clearly articulated as those of Pollini, Horowitz, or Hofmann, and I have never heard her play double notes of the Lhévinne order. For those reasons, I think that Lhévinne was overall a better technician than Argerich was.
There are a lot more than two or three aspects to technique. That's why trying to rank pianists in terms of their "technique"(even if one could rank the individual aspect of their technique precisely...which one can't)is IMO fruitless. I think the best one can try to do is have some broad ranking categories for great technician.

Same thing for composers. Most would put Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and some others in the highest category. But why try and decide if Mozart comes before Beethoven or vice versa?


Edited by pianoloverus (08/19/12 06:16 PM)

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#1945746 - 08/19/12 07:52 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: LaReginadellaNotte
I think that Lhévinne was overall a better technician than Argerich was.

I suspect she would agree with that. As you say, it is an 'intellectual exercise', and nothing more, eh?

The point is that Argerich -like an experienced cook- has put all the ingredients together in a sumptuous recipe, and if certain pianists exceed her in double notes, scales, or octaves, what of it? That does not diminish her stature. I have no problem rating Argerich over Hofmann, Hamelin, Friedman, Lhévinne, or even Pollini. I have heard recordings of all of those pianists, but IMO they don't bring quite as much to the table as Argerich.

Charles Rosen -a student of Hofmann- claimed that he had the most effortless technique (speaking of Chopin Op 10/1), but he does not comment on Hofmann's interpretations of the masterworks. Hofmann was a pianist of his time, but unlike Rachmaninov, I don't think his recordings are more than a curiosity today.
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#1945752 - 08/19/12 08:03 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: allegro_concerto]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: allegro_concerto

And don't forget Clara Haskil, Samson François and Dinu Lipatti were his students, among many others.

How could I forget? thumb

But sorry to rain (or reign) on the parade, but IMO those pianists -particularly François- have left recordings which are far greater than anything I've heard from Cortot. I guess (a) you had to have been there or (b) had to appreciate how 'musical' he was.

Cortot's pedagogical stature is not in any way questioned.
_________________________
Jason

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#1945756 - 08/19/12 08:11 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3885
Loc: New York
why so green Jason?

Everytime I see the title of this thread, my brain responds with
"he had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad technique. There!".
I personally fail to see the relevance of these comparisons. People sound like they are discussing breeding racehorses or NASCAR drivers for fastest, recklessest and so on.

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#1945765 - 08/19/12 08:34 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: Andromaque]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
why so green Jason?

I don't get it. 'Green' to me is everything that George Will and Bill Kristol oppose.
Quote:
I personally fail to see the relevance of these comparisons.

I don't either, though I'll 'play' along. But I do wonder if Argerich's octaves were the equal of Horowitz and Rachmaninov, would she be a greater pianist?
_________________________
Jason

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#1945779 - 08/19/12 08:50 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: argerichfan]
allegro_concerto Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/10/08
Posts: 181
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: allegro_concerto

And don't forget Clara Haskil, Samson François and Dinu Lipatti were his students, among many others.

How could I forget? thumb

But sorry to rain (or reign) on the parade, but IMO those pianists -particularly François- have left recordings which are far greater than anything I've heard from Cortot. I guess (a) you had to have been there or (b) had to appreciate how 'musical' he was.

Cortot's pedagogical stature is not in any way questioned.


Well, that 1919 recording impressed Horowitz and me, and it suggested to me at the height of his powers, he must have been an extraordinary pianist.

Leopold Godowsky was another pianist with extremely outstanding technique, but I could not tell this from a number of recordings we had of him today. But that does not make him a lesser pianist in my view.

I think since Chopin etc.. were all dead with no recordings, there is little point to speculate how good their technique was, it is much more productive to work on our technique instead.

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#1945788 - 08/19/12 09:05 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: allegro_concerto]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: allegro_concerto

Leopold Godowsky was another pianist with extremely outstanding technique, but I could not tell this from a number of recordings we had of him today.

Not his recording of the Chopin E major Scherzo? I think that is magnificent, unmatched in my experience. I have never been a big fan of Rubinstein, generally preferring Ashkenazy in this repertoire, but Godowsky was really something else.

I fail to see why you are so upset that some of us may not rate Cortot as highly as you do. It is certainly not a personal attack.

Lighten up my mate. wink
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Jason

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#1945807 - 08/19/12 09:35 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: argerichfan]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3885
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
why so green Jason?

I don't get it. 'Green' to me is everything that George Will and Bill Cristol oppose.


Referring to your avatar darling. Or whatever the little green or yellow heads next to user names are called. The green one you are sporting (unknowingly?) is decidedly sickly, dengue or ebola or something of the sort.

Bill kristol? why waste your time?

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#1945842 - 08/19/12 10:45 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: Andromaque]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Andromaque

Referring to your avatar darling. Or whatever the little green or yellow heads next to user names are called. The green one you are sporting (unknowingly?) is decidedly sickly, dengue or ebola or something of the sort.

Oh. I see what you mean, not terribly appetizing. Since returning from Paris last May I have lost a lot of weight, does PW track this? laugh

Better we leave Kristol alone... what an evil warmonger, but I digress. blush
_________________________
Jason

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#1945849 - 08/19/12 11:10 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: pianoloverus]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
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Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

There are a lot more than two or three aspects to technique. That's why trying to rank pianists in terms of their "technique"(even if one could rank the individual aspect of their technique precisely...which one can't)is IMO fruitless. I think the best one can try to do is have some broad ranking categories for great technician.

Same thing for composers. Most would put Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and some others in the highest category. But why try and decide if Mozart comes before Beethoven or vice versa?

Obviously, there are a lot more than three aspects of technique. Perhaps the most reliable method of assessment would be to list as many technical aspects as possible and to determine which pianist(s) excel in the greatest number of aspects. In some cases, it will be obvious that one pianist- in practically every conceivable way- is a better technician than another. I think that we can all agree that Argerich and Horowitz are/were much better technicians than Brendel is.

However, even when assessing supervirtuosi, sometimes we can conclude that one person (at least in certain aspects) is superior to another. For example, in Rachmaninov's biography, it describes an octave contest between the composer and Lhévinne. They were trying to see who could play the fastest octaves, and Rachmaninov won. That suggests that Rachmaninov had better octaves than Lhévinne did. In addition, Rachmaninov declared that Horowitz had the fastest and loudest octaves, which suggests that Horowitz had better octaves than either Rachmaninov or Lhévinne.

Also, we could compare Horowitz to Volodos (an extraordinary technician in his own right). Volodos recorded Horowitz's transcription of the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody #2, and- for the most part- Volodos' technique doesn't compare to that of the Maestro. Horowitz plays the runs more evenly and easily than Volodos does, and the Maestro's octaves are much more sonorous and exciting than Volodos' octaves. There is one repeated note passage that Volodos plays more cleanly than Horowitz does, but overall, Horowitz displays better technique. My point is that even when comparing virtuosi of extremely high calibers, we may find solid evidence that one is better than the other.

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
The point is that Argerich -like an experienced cook- has put all the ingredients together in a sumptuous recipe, and if certain pianists exceed her in double notes, scales, or octaves, what of it? That does not diminish her stature. I have no problem rating Argerich over Hofmann, Hamelin, Friedman, Lhévinne, or even Pollini.

I definitely agree that Argerich is an extraordinary pianist. She is a particular favorite of mine, and I definitely like her playing better than Pollini's. Few people can generate as much visceral excitement as Argerich does in virtuoso repertoire, but she is also surprisingly good in Bach.

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#1945931 - 08/20/12 04:26 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: pianoloverus]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 423
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: acortot
piano-technique can be based on muscle-memory, founded on hours of mechanical repetition until the phrases sound 'perfect' and beyond criticism
All the great pianists of every age have this kind of technique. It is not something negative.

Originally Posted By: acortot
it can also be based on artistic thought, where the technique is under the pianist's complete control
Muscle memory isn't under a pianist's control?

Originally Posted By: acortot
Chopin could improvise for hours. This to me means he had a very strong technique, in the sense that he played what he envisioned...
Anyone can improvise for hours. While we can assume Chopin's improvisations were very great and at at high technical level this doesn't mean his improvisations were at the technical level of his compositions.

Originally Posted By: acortot
'muscle memory' technique has more of an athletic approach. The pianists who practice endless repetition may play correctly but I would not call their technique good because it has been tainted by the physical aspect of playing
All the great pianists have very good or great muscle memory technique in addition to their great musical understanding. All of them practiced endless repetition. As Alexander Braginsky has said playing the piano is half athletic and half mind(of course, he didn't mean exactly half and half...he just meant there is an important athletic part)






yes of course muscle memory is necessary but a technique which is based on endless repetition, perhaps while reading a book, is not in the same league as a technique developed with absolute concentration (which is far more energy-consuming mentally)

This is why Chopin got very angry if his students studied more than a couple of hours a day, and perhaps why he suggested that students take rests every once in a while to regenerate their mental energies

Jazz players have to concentrate fully on their playing because they are constantly improvising, so that influences the WAY they study.. this is what I meant
_________________________
rhythm must be inborn

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

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#1946436 - 08/20/12 09:37 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: argerichfan]
allegro_concerto Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/10/08
Posts: 181
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: allegro_concerto

Leopold Godowsky was another pianist with extremely outstanding technique, but I could not tell this from a number of recordings we had of him today.

Not his recording of the Chopin E major Scherzo? I think that is magnificent, unmatched in my experience. I have never been a big fan of Rubinstein, generally preferring Ashkenazy in this repertoire, but Godowsky was really something else.

I fail to see why you are so upset that some of us may not rate Cortot as highly as you do. It is certainly not a personal attack.

Lighten up my mate. wink


Actually I am not upset at all, I am actually not a big fan of Alfred Cortot myself, but I do have a lot of respect for him as a pianist and as a teacher. I just felt some comments relating to Cortot were unjustified, hence my comments etc...

That recording of Chopin E major Scherzo was very well played, with brilliant technique and I have never heard of this recording until just now.

It seems strange we have one (?) brilliant recording of Godowsky and not so great recordings elsewhere, and similarly for Cortot, but then Cortot is regarded as a "bad" pianist...

I reckon if I had a fraction of Godowksy or Cortot's talent, I can die happy.

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#1946561 - 08/21/12 07:26 AM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: acortot]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: acortot
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: acortot
piano-technique can be based on muscle-memory, founded on hours of mechanical repetition until the phrases sound 'perfect' and beyond criticism
All the great pianists of every age have this kind of technique. It is not something negative.

Originally Posted By: acortot
it can also be based on artistic thought, where the technique is under the pianist's complete control
Muscle memory isn't under a pianist's control?

Originally Posted By: acortot
Chopin could improvise for hours. This to me means he had a very strong technique, in the sense that he played what he envisioned...
Anyone can improvise for hours. While we can assume Chopin's improvisations were very great and at at high technical level this doesn't mean his improvisations were at the technical level of his compositions.

Originally Posted By: acortot
'muscle memory' technique has more of an athletic approach. The pianists who practice endless repetition may play correctly but I would not call their technique good because it has been tainted by the physical aspect of playing
All the great pianists have very good or great muscle memory technique in addition to their great musical understanding. All of them practiced endless repetition. As Alexander Braginsky has said playing the piano is half athletic and half mind(of course, he didn't mean exactly half and half...he just meant there is an important athletic part)
yes of course muscle memory is necessary but a technique which is based on endless repetition, perhaps while reading a book, is not in the same league as a technique developed with absolute concentration (which is far more energy-consuming mentally)
Your reply seems to have little to do with my comments. Who said anything about reading a book or not concentrating? All I said was that the athletic part of piano playing is an important one.

Some very great pianists did practice technique while reading a book and it worked for them although it may not be a good idea for most. As long as one's technique allows one to do whatever one wants, I don't think it matters how it's achieved.


Edited by pianoloverus (08/21/12 07:44 AM)

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#2016705 - 01/18/13 12:28 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
jdott Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/13
Posts: 34
Loc: Colorado, USA
I read many biographies on Freddy in my youth, and history indicates that he was the complete package. His volume range, particularly ppp was unmatched. Before he contracted TB, he concertised extensively. Also, he supposedly took Liszt to task often for adding fireworks to Chopin's compositions.

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#2016745 - 01/18/13 01:50 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: jdott]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: jdott
I read many biographies on Freddy in my youth, and history indicates that he was the complete package. His volume range, particularly ppp was unmatched. Before he contracted TB, he concertised extensively. Also, he supposedly took Liszt to task often for adding fireworks to Chopin's compositions.

thumb Well said!
Although, I'm not sure about the "extensive" concertizing. It depends what we mean by concerts. I imagine he played dozens or maybe hundreds of "salons," "soirees" etc., but I recall reading that he probably didn't play more than about a couple dozen what we'd now call concerts. (Not sure I'm right about this, but I think that's what I saw.)


edit: I checked it out a little and this appears to be so.


Edited by Mark_C (01/18/13 01:52 PM)

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#2016781 - 01/18/13 03:23 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: jdott]
BruceD Online   content
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Originally Posted By: jdott
I read many biographies on Freddy in my youth, and history indicates that he was the complete package. His volume range, particularly ppp was unmatched. Before he contracted TB, he concertised extensively. Also, he supposedly took Liszt to task often for adding fireworks to Chopin's compositions.


"Freddy"? Really?

I would like to know where you get this information. It has been documented in the biographies that I have read that Chopin gave relatively few concerts in his adult years. In some of which he did give, he was criticized for having a weak tone that did not project well.

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#2016788 - 01/18/13 03:45 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: BruceD]
jeffreyjones Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: jdott
I read many biographies on Freddy in my youth, and history indicates that he was the complete package. His volume range, particularly ppp was unmatched. Before he contracted TB, he concertised extensively. Also, he supposedly took Liszt to task often for adding fireworks to Chopin's compositions.


"Freddy"? Really?

I would like to know where you get this information. It has been documented in the biographies that I have read that Chopin gave relatively few concerts in his adult years. In some of which he did give, he was criticized for having a weak tone that did not project well.

Regards,


In those days, opera was the primary entertainment for the masses, so I imagine any critic would have been expecting the operatic approach to projection. Chopin's music is unusually intimate and gentle, and he played with a very wide tonal palette, so it's easy to imagine that the comment about a "weak tone" is based on the tastes of the day. It only takes a read through one of his Preludes compared to Liszt's to understand how far ahead of the curve he was. That's not to say he wasn't frail, but it has never taken a lot of physical effort to play loudly, certainly not on pianos of the day.

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#2016796 - 01/18/13 04:08 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: jdott]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: jdott
I read many biographies on Freddy in my youth, and history indicates that he was the complete package. His volume range, particularly ppp was unmatched. Before he contracted TB, he concertised extensively. Also, he supposedly took Liszt to task often for adding fireworks to Chopin's compositions.
Not according to what I've read.

Any biographies or articles I'm familiar with make a point of how few concerts he gave in his life. And many of them, while praising his playing to the skies and commenting on his control at very soft levels, talk about his very soft overall playing which would imply a lack of dynamic range in his playing. This second aspect of his playing we can't ever be sure about because "dynamic range" can depend on the standards of a particular time or the personal definition of those who commented on Chopin's playing.

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#2016798 - 01/18/13 04:13 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Online   content
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Although the subject of Chopin's technique is very interesting to me, it's a shame we will never know for sure. I'm just glad he wrote his stuff down.

Where exactly did you read that Chopin concertized regularly before catching TB? I've never heard that.
_________________________
To each his own.

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#2016899 - 01/18/13 08:12 PM Re: How good do you think Chopin's technique was? [Re: BruceD]
jdott Offline
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Registered: 01/17/13
Posts: 34
Loc: Colorado, USA
I said before he contracted TB, which, if memory serves, was in his early twenties. I believe he was in his late teens when he toured Europe, then spent most of his time in Paris. What's wrong with 'Freddy?'. He wasn't a God; he was a great composer.

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