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#2043330 - 03/05/13 11:45 AM Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations
montunoman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 82
I'm not much of a classical music buff but after hearing some of the special reports on Van Cliburn lately, I found I really enjoy his playing. I'd like to get some of his recordings on CD. Any recmendations? Maybe some solo works and some stuff that he did with orchestras would be a good start?

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#2043334 - 03/05/13 11:51 AM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: montunoman]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
No surprise to those who've seen my posts on him: How about "My Favorite Chopin." I mean, it's one of my favorite albums!

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#2043417 - 03/05/13 02:50 PM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: montunoman]
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1664
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
I certainly wouldn't want to be without the Tchaikovsky 1 and Rachmaninoff 3 Cliburn recorded upon his return from Russia. But there's much more, including a fine Brahms Handel Variations and Liszt Sonata, quite a bit of Chopin. There's also an all Rachmaninoff recording including my favorite performance of the original 1913 version of the Second Sonata. But at the low price his complete recordings are currently offered at, why not get them all:

http://www.amazon.com/Van-Cliburn-Complete-Album-Collection/dp/B009EJSUBY
_________________________
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#2043446 - 03/05/13 03:46 PM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: montunoman]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18292
Loc: Victoria, BC
29 CD's for less than $80.00 is quite a bargain, I would say.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2043451 - 03/05/13 04:13 PM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: montunoman]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8935
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
And scroll down a bit on Hank's link and you can read his fine review of the set!

By no means have I heard all of Cliburn's recordings, though the review has encouraged me to explore further. Would respectfully disagree, however, with Hank's assessment of Cliburn's Prokofiev 6th as ranking 'with the best'. The reading felt rather generalized and not always accurate, certainly no match for Richter or Ashkenazy, let alone later recordings of Pogorelich or Kissin.
_________________________
Jason

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#2043458 - 03/05/13 04:20 PM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: argerichfan]
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1664
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Well...I'm actually not a fan of the Richter recording (at least the one released as part of Richter Rediscovered on RCA). To me, it just sounds bangy. While Prokofiev is definitely a more percussive composer, the composers' own recordings of his Concerto 3 and various solo works indicate he never played this way. The Pogorelich is outstanding in every respect - what a pity the way his career turned up. I've not heard Ashkenazy's recording, but if it's as generic as everything else I've heard from him...

It's a pity Argerich never recorded this work - that I know of.

Cliburn's rendition is certainly head and shoulders above the version Barbara Nissman recorded for Newport. It's a real snooze.


Edited by Hank Drake (03/05/13 04:21 PM)
_________________________
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#2043481 - 03/05/13 05:06 PM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: Hank Drake]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1123
Along these same lines, I've always thought that Cliburn provided THE best reading of Samuel Barber's Piano Sonata, and that includes the Horowitz rendition. The reason is not so much relative technical proficiency as a sense of "style" -- Cliburn injects elements of warmth and humor into the musical framework that I find lacking in Horowitz. And this for me is a crucial factor in a successful presentation of this piece. I consider it poetically to be a "War Sonata" on a par with Prokofiev's magnificent efforts, and Cliburn gives me that sense of epic terror and despair, seen from an American point of view. More generally, I hear performances of the Barber presented more as a technical tour de force -- which indeed it is -- but, like the Prokofiev -- the poetry of the compositions is a much more important factor.

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#2043506 - 03/05/13 06:19 PM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: montunoman]
opus119 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 314
Cliburn's recording of MacDowell's Second Piano Concerto and the Prokofiev Third Concerto is one of my favorites.

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#2043646 - 03/05/13 11:08 PM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: montunoman]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8935
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
My local classical station just finished a broadcast of Cliburn's recording of Rachmaninov 3, which I gave my full attention to. Not really sure what to say -I had not heard that recording in some years- but often the sound was so clouded that it was difficult to really evaluate Cliburn's contributions.

Nevertheless, I was very much left with the feeling that it is simply no match for Horowitz's fusillade with Reiner (and in clearer sound to boot), even with the cuts which I have always hated. Unlike most people here, I prefer the shorter cadenza, maybe less impressive than the 'big one', but IMO it works better in context.

Whilst not the biggest fan of this rather over-written concerto -though I fully understand its attraction and raison d'ĂȘtre- even Argerich (for all her rushed moments) seems to be making better contact with the keys, if no match for Horowitz.

KING-FM programs Rachmaninov 3 on a very regular basis, usually with the latest hot-shot pianists. None of those recordings have ever particularly engaged me, let alone provided any temptation to purchase.
_________________________
Jason

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#2043650 - 03/05/13 11:24 PM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: argerichfan]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: argerichfan

My local classical station just finished a broadcast of Cliburn's recording of Rachmaninov 3, which I gave my full attention to. Not really sure what to say -I had not heard that recording in some years- but often the sound was so clouded that it was difficult to really evaluate Cliburn's contributions.

Nevertheless, I was very much left with the feeling that it is simply no match for Horowitz's fusillade with Reiner (and in clearer sound to boot), even with the cuts which I have always hated.
1) Unlike most people here, I prefer the shorter cadenza, maybe less impressive than the 'big one', but IMO it works better in context.

2) Whilst not the biggest fan of this rather over-written concerto

3) KING-FM programs Rachmaninov 3 on a very regular basis, usually with the latest hot-shot pianists. None of those recordings have ever particularly engaged me, let alone provided any temptation to purchase.


1) I also prefer the smaller cadenza.

2) I'm afraid I will have to disagree that it's overwritten. Would you mind pointing to a part of the piece you think is particularly overwritten? Use a rehearsal mark. I'm interested to see what you have to say since I've had this discussion with people before.

3) It's just a fact that most recordings of a given piece are bad, because there are more bad pianists than good pianists (I don't think anybody will dispute that).
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2043655 - 03/05/13 11:34 PM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6084
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
Along these same lines, I've always thought that Cliburn provided THE best reading of Samuel Barber's Piano Sonata, and that includes the Horowitz rendition. The reason is not so much relative technical proficiency as a sense of "style" -- Cliburn injects elements of warmth and humor into the musical framework that I find lacking in Horowitz. And this for me is a crucial factor in a successful presentation of this piece. I consider it poetically to be a "War Sonata" on a par with Prokofiev's magnificent efforts, and Cliburn gives me that sense of epic terror and despair, seen from an American point of view. More generally, I hear performances of the Barber presented more as a technical tour de force -- which indeed it is -- but, like the Prokofiev -- the poetry of the compositions is a much more important factor.


I 100% agree. I never cared for Barber's piano sonata until I heard Cliburn play it.

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#2043687 - 03/06/13 12:49 AM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: argerichfan]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
....Whilst not the biggest fan of this rather over-written concerto....

Hoping not to offend our many Rachmaninoff fans -- but what the heck, I've offended some teachers of mine with this grin -- that's what I feel about Rachmaninoff overall. Even when it's terrific, which is usually, IMO there's too much.

And BTW, speaking of overwritten things, what's with the word "whilst"? ha
How is it different from while?

No need to answer, but I've just often wondered, and it fits with the "overwritten" theme. smile

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#2043696 - 03/06/13 01:14 AM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: montunoman]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6084
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I've never really thought of anything - or, at least, anything halfway decent - to be overwritten. Even moments in Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Alkan, Saint-Saens, Busoni, Ravel, Prokofiev, etc. where there are tons and tons of notes, if it's actually decent music written by a great composer, that person really knew what he/she was doing with every single note.

Now, if you want to talk about Sorabji (whom I also enjoy listening to, especially his atmospheric-sounding works), I can see where there are just cascades of notes that seem to bombard me and I wonder exactly what his intent was... But I still like him. smile

Although in the end, I'm drawn more toward things such as Schubert, where there are often "no notes to hide behind" and the music making and demands for long line, good tone, and good phrasing are 100% transparent and evident.

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#2043801 - 03/06/13 08:03 AM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: montunoman]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5548
I've never thought of Rach 3 to be 'over-written': it's in accord with the composer's full-blooded Romantic style in his middle period. And the big chordal cadenza is in perfect accord with the rest of the work, whereas the compact quicksilver one sounds like it has been transplanted from an off-cut from his Paganini Rhapsody, before an abrupt change of style when it joins up with the original cadenza. That change always sounds jarring to me. But if you like the Rach-Pag but not Rach 3, undoubtedly you'd prefer the short cadenza. Pianists like Stephen Hough who play Rach 3 in a fast and light manner also prefer it.

But I think it's significant that some great pianists have switched from the short cadenza to the big one as they matured, but no well-known pianist I know of has done the opposite. Among the pianists who switched are Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mikhail Pletnev and Barry Douglas: all past winners of the Tchaikovsky Competition.....

Van Cliburn's conception of Rach 3 is broad and almost monumental, like that of many of today's pianists including Evgeny Kissin. Rachmaninoff himself cited Horowitz and Gieseking as two of the best performers of this work, and they couldn't be more different in their approaches - which in turn are also different from the composer's own recording.

Back on the theme of 'over-writing', it seems to me that if music sounds think and opaque, that is a sign. And I have to say that Brahms's concertos (piano, violin and double) all sound 'thick' to me, and even the greatest pianists cannot make the textures in the piano concertos sound transparent, unlike in Rach 3, where no matter how fast and thick the notes come, you can still hear the 'air' between the notes, and the inner melodies within the textures.
_________________________
"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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#2043846 - 03/06/13 09:45 AM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: Polyphonist]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19643
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
3) It's just a fact that most recordings of a given piece are bad, because there are more bad pianists than good pianists (I don't think anybody will dispute that).
I'd strongly dispute that.

My conception of the word "bad" would apply to a very small percent of those who record any given work...less than 10%. To me, to say there are "more bad pianists than good pianists" sound monumentally arrogant.

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#2043854 - 03/06/13 10:13 AM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: Polyphonist]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

3) It's just a fact that most recordings of a given piece are bad, because there are more bad pianists than good pianists (I don't think anybody will dispute that).


Polyphonist, welcome to the forum! Looking forward to reading what you have to say.

I can't say that I agree with the whole of your statement above but ... but I do agree that most recordings of a given piece are bad. I feel that recording just isn't the situation for really taking a close look either at a musician or at a piece of music.

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#2044077 - 03/06/13 06:44 PM Re: Van Cliburn Recording Recomendations [Re: Polyphonist]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6248
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: argerichfan

My local classical station just finished a broadcast of Cliburn's recording of Rachmaninov 3, which I gave my full attention to. Not really sure what to say -I had not heard that recording in some years- but often the sound was so clouded that it was difficult to really evaluate Cliburn's contributions.

Nevertheless, I was very much left with the feeling that it is simply no match for Horowitz's fusillade with Reiner (and in clearer sound to boot), even with the cuts which I have always hated.
1) Unlike most people here, I prefer the shorter cadenza, maybe less impressive than the 'big one', but IMO it works better in context.

2) Whilst not the biggest fan of this rather over-written concerto

3) KING-FM programs Rachmaninov 3 on a very regular basis, usually with the latest hot-shot pianists. None of those recordings have ever particularly engaged me, let alone provided any temptation to purchase.


1) I also prefer the smaller cadenza.

2) I'm afraid I will have to disagree that it's overwritten. Would you mind pointing to a part of the piece you think is particularly overwritten? Use a rehearsal mark. I'm interested to see what you have to say since I've had this discussion with people before.

3) It's just a fact that most recordings of a given piece are bad, because there are more bad pianists than good pianists (I don't think anybody will dispute that).


While your third remark may be generally true, I don't think you will get a capable orchestra to make a recording with a bad pianist.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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