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#2043416 - 03/05/13 02:49 PM So...what's important?
FSO Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/12
Posts: 854
Loc: UK, Brighton
As I see it, there are only a few qualities of performance and some of them are contradictory (and others are so closely entwined it's difficult to pinpoint their difference); faithfulness to score, technicality, emotive force, imagination and creativity (or uniqueness and interpretation), appearance and stage presence (not always applicable, obviously) and tone. Um...I may have missed something (in which case add it laugh ), but in what order would you reckon their importance lay? Personally, it would be: emotive force, tone, imagination, technicality, faithfulness and finally appearance. I mean, I don't expect everyone to agree or anything, but I'm rather curious as to whether there are any statistically significant outliers...I hope you're all quite well and happy; take care!
Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3

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#2043450 - 03/05/13 04:13 PM Re: So...what's important? [Re: FSO]
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13827
Loc: Iowa City, IA
In what context?

Audience expectations vary widely. What one looks for at Proms would be quite different from a house recital, and the important attributes of a traditional 19th century piano recital would be quite different from a new or early-music group.
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#2043477 - 03/05/13 04:57 PM Re: So...what's important? [Re: FSO]
FSO Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/12
Posts: 854
Loc: UK, Brighton
Quite fair enough to ask...I suppose I envisioned a fairly intimate hall or large chamber; not so large that people would be sat apart but large enough to seat at least a couple of dozen people..um...no expectations; it's not necessarily a concert and you're not necessarily expecting music, say, just...what would captivate you most and make you think "now *this* is good playing"?
Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3

#2043517 - 03/05/13 06:45 PM Re: So...what's important? [Re: FSO]
JoelW Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 5444
Loc: USA
When I go to a concert, I usually enjoy it regardless of whether I would ever listen to a recording of that particular performance or not, because it's live music. Live music has a different effect than records. On records I am much more picky. But live music is an event and I always have fun going to big concert halls. The music is never bad too of course, but a really great performance for me would have to include some originality in the interpretation and intelligent use of musical tools- legato, staccato, rubato, etc.

I can't stand listening to music, specifically Chopin, when the performer uses ridiculously inappropriate rubato. Even Chopin advocated judicious use of it.

#2043531 - 03/05/13 07:05 PM Re: So...what's important? [Re: FSO]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19550
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: FSO
[...]large enough to seat at least a couple of dozen people..um...no expectations; it's not necessarily a concert and you're not necessarily expecting music[...]"now *this* is good playing"?

It's not [...] a concert and you're not necessarily expecting music [...] but "good playing"?

Well, then, what are we expecting? A good chess match?
- - - - -
Estonia 190

#2043552 - 03/05/13 07:52 PM Re: So...what's important? [Re: FSO]
Lemon Pledge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 353
Here's something that's absolutely not important, or anyway shouldn't be: whether or not I agree with the performer's interpretive decisions, whether I think he's doing it "right." Much casual piano criticism is about this, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the performance.

I'm not sure that uniqueness is all that important either, at least for me. A conception that falls within all the common boundaries can be perfectly satisfying and enjoyable, if that conception is vivid, detailed, and convincing. Then again, most performances with these qualities do somehow impress as being personal and non-generic in some way, even if it's difficult to identify their distinguishing features.

#2043568 - 03/05/13 08:32 PM Re: So...what's important? [Re: FSO]
bennevis Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 7761
These days, when I pay to go to a concert, I expect a lot more than just faithfulness to the score, and the musicality and technique to bring it off. (If the concert is free, as with most student recitals, I lower my expectations of course... grin).

I'm looking for individuality, and magic - something that makes me prick up my ears, and marvel anew at the vision of the composer, and makes me glad I'm alive to be able to hear such a wonder of the human mind. The performer must have the imagination and the musicality - and the technique - to bring off his own conception of the music. It doesn't matter if his view doesn't agree with mine - but it must be compelling enough to hold my attention. That applies if the music is very familiar to me (and in my presently very advanced age wink , most classical piano music is indeed very familiar to me). Not too much to ask for, is it?

If the music is unfamiliar, then I might attend just for the sake of hearing something I've not heard before, without necessarily expecting anything special from the performance. In my younger days, this was much more common, and I was much less selective about which concert I would attend - but not now.

There's still a lot of music I've heard on CD recordings or radio broadcasts which I've yet to encounter live in concert. For me, it's disappointing that (seemingly) only the tried and tested gets performed again and again and again, even when the pianist has nothing special to say about the music. Now, if a young virtuoso was to play a program of say, Grazyna Bacewicz's Piano Sonata No.2 (which Zimerman has recorded brilliantly), followed by a sonata by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, then another sonata by Edward MacDowell, Balakirev's Sonata No.2 in B flat minor (one of my favorite Romantic piano sonatas) and finishing with Carl Vine's Piano Sonata No.1 or 2, and encoring with Scriabin's Sonata no.4 wink - that would really be a meaty piano recital that I'd travel far to hear......
"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."

#2043596 - 03/05/13 09:15 PM Re: So...what's important? [Re: FSO]
vers la flan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/11
Posts: 180
Hi all,

FSO: I think you have a good baseline list of criteria. What I'd add to it are architecture and scope, though I don't know if that would fit into the category of "faithfulness to score." They're closely related concepts, but I'd distinguish them thus--architecture in the sense of having an interpretation where the musical structure is solid, and scope in the sense that the rendition from beginning to end has a kind of consistency of narrative.

My prioritization would be pretty close to yours. I might put mine like this: imagination, architecture, emotive force, tone, scope, technicality, faithfulness, appearance.

#2043681 - 03/06/13 12:39 AM Re: So...what's important? [Re: FSO]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2190
Loc: Canada
A real ability to connect with the audience and convey a meaningful musical message.
Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#2043743 - 03/06/13 03:04 AM Re: So...what's important? [Re: Kuanpiano]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
A real ability to connect with the audience and convey a meaningful musical message.
....through emotive force.

#2043744 - 03/06/13 03:08 AM Re: So...what's important? [Re: FSO]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23784
Loc: Oakland
What is important is that you go, and that you enjoy the show, no matter what it is. It is better to find something to enjoy, rather than to look for some reason not to enjoy it.
Semipro Tech


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