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#1979836 - 10/28/12 08:39 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: pianoloverus]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4932
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: geraldbrennan
He performed or recorded about 2/3 of the Etudes. If he really said that quote, than that was quite arrogant even for a great pianist.

He not only said it, he pretty much hit the nail on the head in reference to this discussion. A great musician has to have that aura of awesomeness and greatness. He had it; the current crop of "great virtuosi" runs short.
No?
Whether he was right or not is not the point. It was how he described other pianists...very arrogant.

There are plenty of extremely great pianists playing before the public today.(Not particularly meaning the ones in the NY Times article.)They may not be at the Rubinstein level but they're in no way "running short". They are absolutely sensational technically and musically.


So what? It's the blunt truth, and he was willing to speak it. The harsh reality doesn't care whose feelings get hurt.

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#1979843 - 10/28/12 09:13 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: JoelW]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19644
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: mazurkajoe
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: geraldbrennan
He performed or recorded about 2/3 of the Etudes. If he really said that quote, than that was quite arrogant even for a great pianist.

He not only said it, he pretty much hit the nail on the head in reference to this discussion. A great musician has to have that aura of awesomeness and greatness. He had it; the current crop of "great virtuosi" runs short.
No?
Whether he was right or not is not the point. It was how he described other pianists...very arrogant.

There are plenty of extremely great pianists playing before the public today.(Not particularly meaning the ones in the NY Times article.)They may not be at the Rubinstein level but they're in no way "running short". They are absolutely sensational technically and musically.


So what? It's the blunt truth, and he was willing to speak it. The harsh reality doesn't care whose feelings get hurt.
That description was far too extreme to be accurate. There were plenty of great young pianists whenever Rubinstein said that because there have always been great young pianists. The statement was arrogant and false. But even if for the sake of argument it was true, it's unnecessary and really only an indication of Rubinstein's inflated ego. The huge majority of professional pianists don't say that kind of thing about their fellow professionals.

I have no idea if anyone's feelings were hurt. I assume that's not the case since no specific pianists were mentioned. But if feelings were hurt and you think that's not important than that's a problem. The statement didn't accomplish anything so if it hurt anyone's feelings then that would be appropriate enough reason not to say it. It was just a gratuitous insult.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/28/12 09:21 PM)

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#1979966 - 10/29/12 05:50 AM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: Pogorelich.]
Gerard12 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 769
Loc: South Carolina
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Originally Posted By: Gerard12
When I hear a student play a recital or audition program, I would prefer not to hear polish or dazzling displays of technical "perfection:"
I want to hear their nervous system.
I'm definitely in the minority, though.

So if given the choice, you'd rather hear a community orchestra do a Tchaikovsky 6th symphony than someone like the Mariinsky?


Ha! Not especially - though there is a certain charm (for lack of a better word) to many of the community orchestra performances I've heard.

I have heard performances by student orchestras that have blown performances of the same pieces by major orchestras out of the water. I have heard performances by undergrads that blow away performances of the same works by their heavily degreed professors (including yours truly - though I'm not as heavily degreed as most).

And yes, some of those performances can be a little (technically) ragged, and the sense of scholarship is understandably low, but the sense of spirit and communication is quite high. And that is what sets them apart to me.
_________________________
Piano performance and instruction (former college music professor).

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#1979983 - 10/29/12 06:51 AM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: TrueMusic]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5553
Some of the best performances of great works (Stravinsky's Firebird and Le sacre du printemps, Mahler symphonies etc) I've heard are by youth orchestras - but they've been well rehearsed, well-practised, and the youngsters are extremely talented. In other words, they are talented young people with a fully professional attitude to their music-making, but they also bring a youthful vitality and sense of discovery to their playing rather than the jaded just-another-performance-of-an-old-warhorse attitude of some professional orchestras. The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (whose members' ages are from 10 to 19) is one such. However, I can't say the same for many amateur adult orchestras, where it seems to me the principal reason for their existence is to give the opportunity for people to get together to play orchestral music. Nothing wrong with that; after all many amateur musicians like to play music with others and perform for audiences. How else would string players not employed in orchestras get to play orchestral music? It's just that their standards in my experience are very often not very high.

As for Artur Rubinstein's pronouncement on young pianists, I'd take that with a pinch of salt: he praised the young Pollini to the heavens when he heard him in the Chopin Competition, and many others when he heard them play.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#1979989 - 10/29/12 07:20 AM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: pianoloverus]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
The huge majority of professional pianists don't say that kind of thing about their fellow professionals.


No, they leave that to amateurs.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#1980000 - 10/29/12 08:03 AM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: geraldbrennan]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8027
Originally Posted By: geraldbrennan

Artur Rubinstein never recorded the Chopin etudes. In an interview he admitted that he just didn't have the chops, stunning the interviewer and most of the readers, I'm sure. He noted that conservatories nowadays graduate hundreds every year who have better technique that he had. "But," he added, "when they come out on stage, they may as well be soda-jerks."



I think it's probably always been true that there are pianists with more technique than artistry. Certainly I've read complaints along those lines going way back, e.g., Mozart's assessment of Clementi (which, BTW, I don't take at face value).

But I think the reverse has also probably been true, as well - that there always been pianists with more artistry than technical ability. And Rubinstein himself started his career in this category, and found that he had to take some serious remedial steps.

To me, the current question is more about if the technique/artistry divide has become more pronounced along with the advances in technical ability. I think it has, but probably not as a result of the advances in technical ability - it seems more of a parallel development. I think it is more because the world in which classical music finds itself has changed.

Didn't somebody post a quote not long ago from some teacher who was unhappy that piano students these days were no longer interesting people leading interesting lives, at least not in the way they used to be? I think there's something to that - many of the kind of interesting people who used to play classical piano don't gravitate to it anymore, at least not in the way they used to. Part of that, I'm sure, is simply because the percentage of homes that have an acoustic instrument that can fascinate the toddler/virtuoso-to-be has dwindled sharply. So musically inclined kids find different avenues than piano for their talent.

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#1980017 - 10/29/12 09:29 AM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: wr]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5553
Originally Posted By: wr


Didn't somebody post a quote not long ago from some teacher who was unhappy that piano students these days were no longer interesting people leading interesting lives, at least not in the way they used to be? I think there's something to that - many of the kind of interesting people who used to play classical piano don't gravitate to it anymore, at least not in the way they used to. Part of that, I'm sure, is simply because the percentage of homes that have an acoustic instrument that can fascinate the toddler/virtuoso-to-be has dwindled sharply. So musically inclined kids find different avenues than piano for their talent.



I think one can safely say that the days when one could be a concert pianist and Prime Minister (Ignaz Jan Paderewski) or play chess at world championship level (Mark Taimanov) or just play chess well and compose (Prokofiev) are long gone...

Though I believe Valentina Lisitsa did start off with WGM (Woman Grandmaster) ambitions as a chess player....
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#1980207 - 10/29/12 06:21 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: bennevis]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2393
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: bennevis
As for Artur Rubinstein's pronouncement on young pianists, I'd take that with a pinch of salt: he praised the young Pollini to the heavens when he heard him in the Chopin Competition, and many others when he heard them play.


It isn't hard to understand why. The young Pollini had the grace of Rubinstein and the technique of Hoffmann. Then he spent a decade studying under Michelangeli, which transformed him into a steely, cold performer with an extraordinary level of accuracy and precision.

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#1980208 - 10/29/12 06:26 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: bennevis]
geraldbrennan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 77
Loc: ann arbor, mi
Rubinstein esteemed those he found worthwhile. Like Pollini. I mean, how the heck can you dis on Pollini?! But he was right in his general assessment. "Hurt feelings" aside, he nailed the problem -- most virtuosi lack the charisma and ability to emotionally draw the listener in. And it's MUCH worse now than 20 years or so ago when Rubinstein made that quote.

As an aside, I believe Prokofiev beat Capablanca. Not too shabby a chess player. There must, as one wag said, have been a woman in the room...


Edited by geraldbrennan (10/29/12 06:56 PM)

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#1980215 - 10/29/12 06:39 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: geraldbrennan]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19644
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: geraldbrennan
Rubinstein esteemed those he found worthwhile. Like Pollini. I mean, how the heck can you dis on Pollini?! But he was right in his general assessment. "Hurt feelings" aside, he nailed the problem -- most virtuosi lack the charisma and ability to emotionally draw the listener in. And it's MUCH worse now that 20 years or so ago when Rubinstein made that quote.
I strongly disagree with your assessment of today's greatest pianists. In fact, I find your statement unbelievable. I think there are today and always have been a tremendous number of exciting, accomplished, and charismatic performers.

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#1980222 - 10/29/12 06:47 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: geraldbrennan]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19644
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: geraldbrennan
As an aside, I believe Prokofiev beat Capablanca. Not too shabby a chess player.
This was in a chess simultaneous by Capablanca. My guess is that Prokofiev was at most expert strength. There would not have been one word written about his chess if he had not been a great composer.

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#1980224 - 10/29/12 06:52 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: pianoloverus]
geraldbrennan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 77
Loc: ann arbor, mi
Pianoloverus,
I agree with your assessment.
I think that you, like me, are speaking of but a fraction of the virtuosi at large. There has never been so many fine pianists as there are today, but that's a numbers game. Take 50 young super-techs -- maybe 1 is unforgettable. It takes a combination of great technique and a great soul. Rare.
GB


Edited by geraldbrennan (10/29/12 07:31 PM)

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#2016654 - 01/18/13 11:13 AM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: Works1]
jdott Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/13
Posts: 34
Loc: Colorado, USA
All of his 16 yr old students may play the Rach op 30, but how many actually get the music out of it? I consider it to be one of the technically most difficult, but I believe the most difficult part of this marvelous work is bringing all of the beautiful melodies (often 2 or 3 simultaneous) out. I've heard (and own) many performances of it, and few actually do justice to the music in the work. My favorites for this work are Horowitz and Earl Wild. As for why we play, I didn't play for many years and now can't play pieces that were formerly my 'war horses,' So, now I have new, simpler pieces, but am still compelled to plug away at the master works. Why do we play when we can listen to others that are so much better? I do it because it is so emotionally satisfying.

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#2016759 - 01/18/13 02:23 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: jdott]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6470
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
jdott should get an award for resurrecting the greatest number of old threads at one time !!!!!!!!!!

But aside from that, welcome to the Forums !!

grin


Edited by carey (01/18/13 02:24 PM)
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2017112 - 01/19/13 07:17 AM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: carey]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8027
Originally Posted By: carey
jdott should get an award for resurrecting the greatest number of old threads at one time !!!!!!!!!!



I'm thinking of besting that record, just to prove a point. And I think it would work.

But the moderators might not approve...wasn't a zombie thread locked before it even had a chance to lurch forward, not too long ago?

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#2017127 - 01/19/13 08:35 AM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: TrueMusic]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 698
Loc: Illinois
Quote:
Interesting article I just found on the NY Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/arts/m...ed=all&_r=0


Can't see it, I despise urls that require me to "login" before I can read/see any content. No offense to you of course, it's just a pet peeve of mine. Life will go on I suppose without this article being commited to my grey matter. grin
_________________________
Ragdoll

Never get directions from someone who hasn't been there.


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#2017229 - 01/19/13 12:16 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: Ragdoll]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 778
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: Ragdoll
Quote:
Interesting article I just found on the NY Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/arts/m...ed=all&_r=0


Can't see it, I despise urls that require me to "login" before I can read/see any content. No offense to you of course, it's just a pet peeve of mine. Life will go on I suppose without this article being commited to my grey matter. grin

Ragdoll, for some reason the link in your quote doesn't work correctly. But the link in the opening post of this thread does. Might want to give that a try.

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#2017365 - 01/19/13 03:45 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: Old Man]
Ragdoll Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 698
Loc: Illinois
Noop, I'm a frayed knot. Both of them take me to a login screen. But thanks anyway. I've frequently had this problem with the online NY Times.
_________________________
Ragdoll

Never get directions from someone who hasn't been there.


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#2017469 - 01/19/13 06:57 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: wr]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6470
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: carey
jdott should get an award for resurrecting the greatest number of old threads at one time !!!!!!!!!!



I'm thinking of besting that record, just to prove a point. And I think it would work.


Go for it !!!!! grin
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2017548 - 01/19/13 09:54 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: carey]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8027
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: carey
jdott should get an award for resurrecting the greatest number of old threads at one time !!!!!!!!!!



I'm thinking of besting that record, just to prove a point. And I think it would work.


Go for it !!!!! grin



Only if the mods agree to give you the "time out" that would inevitably result, rather than me.

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#2017555 - 01/19/13 10:07 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: TrueMusic]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19644
Loc: New York City
I think the correct meaning of "virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen" is that a far greater number of pianists today have outstanding technique compared to 50 or 100 years ago. I think the idea that most/many of these pianists have great technique but no musicality is nonsense.

At the Mannes IKIF each summer I have attended numerous concerts in the Presitge series that begin at 6 pm. These are concerts mostly by prize winners of recent competitions or other outstanding young pianists. I think most of these concerts are sensationally good from both a musical and technical standpoint.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/19/13 10:12 PM)

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#2017574 - 01/19/13 10:55 PM Re: Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen - NY Times [Re: wr]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6470
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: carey
jdott should get an award for resurrecting the greatest number of old threads at one time !!!!!!!!!!

I'm thinking of besting that record, just to prove a point. And I think it would work.

Go for it !!!!! grin

Only if the mods agree to give you the "time out" that would inevitably result, rather than me.

Never mind.......
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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