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#2039963 - 02/27/13 03:34 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: bennevis]
izaldu Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1250
Loc:
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: izaldu
Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC


Famous pianists have either good publicists/connections/won competitions (or all three). There are many pianists around who do not have those things, yet still have the technique and passion to make for a wonderful performance.


Agreed. Yuja Wang was here this weekend with a local orchestra. She was on the news on the main channel, with the minidress and the stiletto heels. Sokolov, Kissin, Perahia, come pretty much every year and you struggle to find a review on any newspaper. This is no coincidence and definitely not down to artistry.


Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia are long-established names with long-established reputations, connections and recording contracts (except Sokolov, through every fault of his own....). Perahia has just been celebrated by Sony with a huge 67 CD + 5 DVD box containing all his CBS/Sony recordings plus Vox and BBC recordings. What any reviewer say about their concerts will have little impact on their marketability.

Yuja Wang on the other hand is still making a name for herself. (Only last year, she made her debut in London's International Piano series, not in the big Royal Festival Hall, but the smaller Queen Elizabeth Hall.) Naturally, her fashion sense will be scrutinized.....

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.


I am sure there are. Maybe just a few but i am sure there are. Every now and then you come across recordings of unknown people that blow you away.

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#2039977 - 02/27/13 04:56 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: bennevis]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7791
Originally Posted By: bennevis

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.


It's kind of tautological that you can't think of any, seems to me. How would you know about them if they were unknown?

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#2039982 - 02/27/13 05:18 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: BWV 846]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA
Pogo (even thought it would probably be weird as heck)

Stan Bunin

Ben Grosvenor

Lang Lang

Ingrid Fliter (I never knew how good she is. INSANELY good. How did she lose to Yundi...)

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#2039990 - 02/27/13 05:50 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: wr]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5011
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: bennevis

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.


It's kind of tautological that you can't think of any, seems to me. How would you know about them if they were unknown?



That's because I make a point of going to as many debut (and student) recitals as I can - all those pianists are unknown, mostly (but not always) young; some have taken part in competitions, some not. I've only ever spotted one talent so far, and that person went on to bigger things, as I mentioned earlier.

Of course there may be many very talented, even great pianists out there who decided that a concert career wasn't for them, and switched to teaching (or changed career to something unrelated to music) instead, and don't even bother to perform; or maybe suffer from nerves too much to perform. But if they don't perform, one cannot say that they are concert pianists, known or otherwise.

One highly talented pianist I know of who switched career (to become a doctor) while still at the beginning of a promising concert career is Naida Cole, whose CD of French piano music (including Chabrier and Gaspard de la nuit) is still one of the best I've ever heard.

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#2040004 - 02/27/13 07:32 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: bennevis]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7791
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: bennevis

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.


It's kind of tautological that you can't think of any, seems to me. How would you know about them if they were unknown?



That's because I make a point of going to as many debut (and student) recitals as I can - all those pianists are unknown, mostly (but not always) young; some have taken part in competitions, some not.


But part of your criteria was "and been around for a while".

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#2040009 - 02/27/13 07:53 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: wr]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5295
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: bennevis

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.


It's kind of tautological that you can't think of any, seems to me. How would you know about them if they were unknown?

I agree with this. I'll pick a different 'art' to explain my thoughts, since piano obviously is too close to most people's hearts in this forum.

Bruce Lee is still the greatest name in martial arts history. There are martial artists out there who say he was the best, people who will swear by it, despite never meeting the man or being able to test his abilities. "But we have his movies!" some will complain. Yes, we do. But that works more to his detriment than his benefit.

Today, there are dozens of people in nearly every MMA gym across the globe who would run circles around Bruce Lee. Nobody knows their names. But each one of them would drop Lee to the mat in the first round.

There are true masters of different arts in their native lands. Escrima, for example. There is a man in the Philippines whose name was Angel Cabales. In a stick-fight, the man was undefeated. In fact, only one person in the world lasted longer than 3-5 seconds, and that man only survived for 11 seconds. Cabales would not only beat Bruce Lee, he would kill Lee in seconds. Yet nobody outside of escrima knows who he was.


The same goes for any art. There will always be those who rise to fame, and those whom no one has ever heard of who are just as good, if not better, than the famous names.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2040050 - 02/27/13 09:13 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: wr]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5011
Originally Posted By: wr


But part of your criteria was "and been around for a while".


Yes, I did mention that some of the pianists I heard in their 'debuts' aren't young (maybe late 20s to 30s), but still trying to make it as concert pianists. Whether those concerts were self-funded, I don't know, but their CVs usually attest to some previous concerts in minor venues (which only get small reviews - if any - in local papers) and maybe college prizes as students. So, in my book, they are 'unknown', except maybe to people in their home towns.

But I've never heard such pianists play to the standard of those who get engagements in the big international concert halls.

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#2040061 - 02/27/13 09:46 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: BWV 846]
izaldu Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1250
Loc:
Not long ago, after a lesson, my teacher proposed to go to a friend's place. She (her friend) was practicing for a recital, it had been a while since she d last played in front of an audience, and she could do with playing the whole program in front of a few friends. So we go to her place, to a soundproofed flat that had two Steinway D face to face. We had a glass of wine and a brief talk and then she started playing.

4 mazurkas, Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante, 4 scherzos and the Fantasy. She was absolutely amazing. Of course after each piece she said "that wasn´t great" or "that sucked" and that kind of stuff, but that 's her. I ve heard few interpretations at taht level, and definitely heard many inferior ones from well known pianists.

Sure, she is a pro, studied in Madrid, Warsaw (3 years) and Paris (3 years). She does have the instruction, the hopursd of practice, dedication and talent of a pro. But has never pursued a frantic concert career. She teaches. None of you know of her and i am sure you would agree with me if you ever listemed to her playing.

I think that s what bennevis meant. There are people that are pros ( i just can't see a self taught musician achieving mastery of the classical repertoire) but didn t want to/couldn t have a successful concert career. I've come across a few lesser known musicians who in my opinion are better than some of the so called stars. The comparison in classical music is immediate as they all have common repertoire.

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#2040443 - 02/27/13 11:02 PM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: bennevis]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7791
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: wr


But part of your criteria was "and been around for a while".


Yes, I did mention that some of the pianists I heard in their 'debuts' aren't young (maybe late 20s to 30s), but still trying to make it as concert pianists. Whether those concerts were self-funded, I don't know, but their CVs usually attest to some previous concerts in minor venues (which only get small reviews - if any - in local papers) and maybe college prizes as students. So, in my book, they are 'unknown', except maybe to people in their home towns.

But I've never heard such pianists play to the standard of those who get engagements in the big international concert halls.


oic - you're talking about the unknowns you do know of, not about the ones you don't.

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#2040529 - 02/28/13 03:17 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: izaldu]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7791
Originally Posted By: izaldu

I think that s what bennevis meant. There are people that are pros ( i just can't see a self taught musician achieving mastery of the classical repertoire) but didn t want to/couldn t have a successful concert career. I've come across a few lesser known musicians who in my opinion are better than some of the so called stars. The comparison in classical music is immediate as they all have common repertoire.


Yes, I finally figured out that bennevis meant something other by "unknown" than what I thought he meant.

Yes, I agree, there are some amazing "unknown" pianists out there. A few years ago, a local radio station was doing a tribute to a local teacher who had recently passed away, someone who I'd never heard of. They played a recording of the Copland Variations from a recital of hers that I thought was as good or better than many things I have heard from some of the big names. It was, technically excellent, and, IMO, musically it was definitely better and more insightful than a performance I heard Stephen Hough give of the same piece, around the same time.

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#2040555 - 02/28/13 05:54 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: bennevis]
Lemon Pledge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 350
Originally Posted By: bennevis


But I've never heard such pianists play to the standard of those who get engagements in the big international concert halls.


Interesting. That has not been my experience at all. When I think of the best piano performances I've heard live, the most memorable, inspired, powerful, etc, only a minority of these were provided by internationally famous pianists playing in big concert halls. Less than 25%. Non-famous pianists play better than famous ones very frequently.

Then there is the problem of the halls. The biggest names tend to play in the biggest spaces, which are disadvantageous to a large portion of the piano repertoire. Also, it often happens that the qualities that make a particular artist sound special on recordings are simply not audible in Stern-sized caverns. In general I've had better luck with small halls, churches, classrooms, living rooms, etc.

Of course, when I buy an expensive ticket to see an internationally famous pianist in a giant hall, I am priming myself to have a big experience. Expectations are high, and I listen differently, I'm sure. Generally, this probably enhances my enjoyment, but it also makes it harder to be caught off-guard, to be surprised or stunned.

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#2040568 - 02/28/13 06:40 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: Lemon Pledge]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7791
Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge

Then there is the problem of the halls. The biggest names tend to play in the biggest spaces, which are disadvantageous to a large portion of the piano repertoire.



That's a very good point, I think.

Another element is the incessant travel that the touring artists are doing, compared to hearing someone on their home turf. I think there's a kind of dislocation and lack of centeredness in some touring professionals because of it, and it can show up in their playing. And being in a more or less constant state of jet lag can mess with circadian rhythms, too, which I also think can have a negative effect on playing. There's just this underlying sense of the artist being slightly out of kilter (or worse, quite definitely out of kilter), even if they are generally very good.

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#2040596 - 02/28/13 07:47 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: JoelW]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1730
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Ingrid Fliter (I never knew how good she is. INSANELY good. How did she lose to Yundi...)

The Beethoven/Chopin recital I heard her do last summer in California was one of the biggest sleeping pills of the year. I don't know if she just had a bad day or not, but I was completely shocked to see that she had gotten THAT far in a competition of that magnitude when offering entirely passionless readings of the F minor ballade, op 27 nr 2, appassionata etc, not to mention she was having memory issues and played "safe" the entire evening.
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#2040658 - 02/28/13 09:23 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: Lemon Pledge]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5011
Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge
Non-famous pianists play better than famous ones very frequently.

Then there is the problem of the halls. The biggest names tend to play in the biggest spaces, which are disadvantageous to a large portion of the piano repertoire. Also, it often happens that the qualities that make a particular artist sound special on recordings are simply not audible in Stern-sized caverns. In general I've had better luck with small halls, churches, classrooms, living rooms, etc.

Of course, when I buy an expensive ticket to see an internationally famous pianist in a giant hall, I am priming myself to have a big experience. Expectations are high, and I listen differently, I'm sure. Generally, this probably enhances my enjoyment, but it also makes it harder to be caught off-guard, to be surprised or stunned.



I agree that if you sit in the back of huge halls, you're not likely to get a very satisfying sound experience in solo piano recitals. I'm fortunate in that even in the biggest hall I go to in London, I get to sit quite close to the piano, in a cheap seat (usually <$12). In some smaller halls, I have to sit much further away, and pay more for the privilege....

But over the years, I've pruned down the number of recitals by well-known names that I go to, because some of them are somewhat predictable and play the same repertoire again and again with no change in interpretation. I'll only go if their program contains something I really want to hear, preferably something I've not heard them play before.

I'm more likely to go to one by someone I've never heard live before - frequently a recent competition winner, or someone who's just come to the fore recently because they've just signed a big recording contract (apparently there are still recording companies prepared to gamble on doing that), or promoted by someone famous like Argerich. In such instances, it's the pianist rather than the program that's the attraction. These pianists can sometimes be more interesting than most of the star names, but I often wish they'd be more adventurous in their choice of repertoire. But it's still the case that IMO, the majority of these (usually young) pianists sound much like anyone else, with little individuality or magic that makes them stand out from the crowd. Some sound like they've played the same pieces once too often.

Which is why, when someone like Benjamin Grosvenor comes along (who not just plays with a personal stamp, but also programs adventurous repertoire), it's like a breath of fresh air. But he certainly isn't an unknown, not by a long stretch. I'm still looking forward to the day when I go to a concert by someone not so young with no big reputation, and wonder why he/she still hasn't been taken up by a big agent, been given a recording contract etc, etc.

Until then, I've just have to believe that cream really will always rise to the top, one way or another, and that there is no hitherto undiscovered beverage where the cream has been languishing for some time, still waiting for the opportunity to rise......

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#2040718 - 02/28/13 11:20 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: wr]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
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Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge

Then there is the problem of the halls. The biggest names tend to play in the biggest spaces, which are disadvantageous to a large portion of the piano repertoire.
That's a very good point, I think.
I've heard numerous recitals form the upper balcony of Carnegie Hall and never felt there was a problem in terms of the sound.

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#2041186 - 03/01/13 06:18 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: wr]
Lemon Pledge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 350
Originally Posted By: wr
Another element is the incessant travel that the touring artists are doing, compared to hearing someone on their home turf. I think there's a kind of dislocation and lack of centeredness in some touring professionals because of it, and it can show up in their playing. And being in a more or less constant state of jet lag can mess with circadian rhythms, too, which I also think can have a negative effect on playing. There's just this underlying sense of the artist being slightly out of kilter (or worse, quite definitely out of kilter), even if they are generally very good.


I've noticed this also, and "out of kilter" is a good way to describe it. A sense that the famous pianist is somehow disoriented. Heavy touring -- flying to a new city every few days, for months -- must be brutal, particularly for the no-longer-young.

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#2041201 - 03/01/13 06:53 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: pianoloverus]
Lemon Pledge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 350
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I've heard numerous recitals form the upper balcony of Carnegie Hall and never felt there was a problem in terms of the sound.


What I described above isn't really a matter of having a problem with the sound. The acoustics in Carnegie Hall are very nice, famously so, even in the balconies and at the back, maybe even especially at the back. But it's still a huge hall. Certain repertoire (much of it originally played in parlors or salons) is less effective there, unless presented in an exaggerated, big-hall way. Certain styles of playing don't project well in enormous spaces, and have to be adapted. Certain subtleties are not audible.

And for the listener, it's just a different experience, acoustically and psychologically. Wouldn't you rather hear one of your Great Pianists in Weill, or in Le Poisson Rouge, or in someone's living room?

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#2041246 - 03/01/13 08:51 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: Lemon Pledge]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7791
Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I've heard numerous recitals form the upper balcony of Carnegie Hall and never felt there was a problem in terms of the sound.


What I described above isn't really a matter of having a problem with the sound. The acoustics in Carnegie Hall are very nice, famously so, even in the balconies and at the back, maybe even especially at the back. But it's still a huge hall. Certain repertoire (much of it originally played in parlors or salons) is less effective there, unless presented in an exaggerated, big-hall way. Certain styles of playing don't project well in enormous spaces, and have to be adapted. Certain subtleties are not audible.

And for the listener, it's just a different experience, acoustically and psychologically. Wouldn't you rather hear one of your Great Pianists in Weill, or in Le Poisson Rouge, or in someone's living room?


I've often thought, when reading through it, that a major reason Medtner's music isn't better known is because it isn't designed for large halls and big audiences.

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#2041254 - 03/01/13 09:05 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: wr]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5011
Originally Posted By: wr

I've often thought, when reading through it, that a major reason Medtner's music isn't better known is because it isn't designed for large halls and big audiences.



I'd have thought that Chopin fitted that description rather better - he always thought of his music as 'salon' music and that's where he preferred to play it. Even his piano concertos, which was often performed in salons as chamber music (string quartet or quintet with piano).

In contrast, Medtner's concertos are large-scale. As large as his pal's Rachmaninoff's in fact. His solo piano music may not have the bombast of Rach's, but it still sounds 'bigger' than most of Chopin's.

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#2041304 - 03/01/13 11:32 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: Lemon Pledge]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I've heard numerous recitals form the upper balcony of Carnegie Hall and never felt there was a problem in terms of the sound.


What I described above isn't really a matter of having a problem with the sound. The acoustics in Carnegie Hall are very nice, famously so, even in the balconies and at the back, maybe even especially at the back. But it's still a huge hall. Certain repertoire (much of it originally played in parlors or salons) is less effective there, unless presented in an exaggerated, big-hall way. Certain styles of playing don't project well in enormous spaces, and have to be adapted. Certain subtleties are not audible.

And for the listener, it's just a different experience, acoustically and psychologically. Wouldn't you rather hear one of your Great Pianists in Weill, or in Le Poisson Rouge, or in someone's living room?
I have heard every kind of repertoire played at Carnegie Hall(including the most intiimate pieces and pieces from every compositional era) and think they all work quite well there.

I'd say that a hall that big is not ideal for any repertoire from both a viewing and listening perspective. I rarely go to CH these days but spend most of my time at the Mannes concert hall which holds around 300 and, for me, is an ideal size. Not to mention the best seats at Mannes, when there is any cost at all, are 1/5 or less the price of the orchestra seats at CH.


Edited by pianoloverus (03/01/13 08:47 PM)

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#2041596 - 03/01/13 08:30 PM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: bennevis]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7791
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: wr

I've often thought, when reading through it, that a major reason Medtner's music isn't better known is because it isn't designed for large halls and big audiences.



I'd have thought that Chopin fitted that description rather better - he always thought of his music as 'salon' music and that's where he preferred to play it. Even his piano concertos, which was often performed in salons as chamber music (string quartet or quintet with piano).

In contrast, Medtner's concertos are large-scale. As large as his pal's Rachmaninoff's in fact. His solo piano music may not have the bombast of Rach's, but it still sounds 'bigger' than most of Chopin's.


What I meant about Medtner wasn't about overall scale, but something more difficult to describe. It is something about the density of the texture, the amount of fine detail. Also, I wasn't really thinking about the concertos, since I've not played through them, but the solo works.

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#2041648 - 03/02/13 12:02 AM Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? [Re: bennevis]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8848
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: bennevis

In contrast, Medtner's concertos are large-scale. As large as his pal's Rachmaninoff's in fact.

No disagreement there, but listening to and checking the scores of all three Medtner concertos, what a lot of empty note spinning, difficulties for their own sake. Utterly flaccid music, no wonder they are never programed.
Quote:
His solo piano music may not have the bombast of Rach's, but it still sounds 'bigger' than most of Chopin's.

I never thought Medtner 'bigger' than Chopin, just more self-indulgent.
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