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#2076952 - 05/04/13 01:07 AM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: argerichfan]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: beet31425

What I heard in concert was much *quieter* than what I hear in these recordings, but I stand by my basic opinions.

I have never heard LL live, and I have none of his recordings in my library. LL's YT videos are rather distressing, but if a live venue has worked for you, then I respect your opinion.


Hehe, distressing is such a perfect word to use to criticize a piano performance. There was a scene from a movie, I think it was the Royal Tannenbaums, where an art critic calls someone's really bad art "workman-like." I always thought that was my number 1 artistic insult of all time, but distressing is a pretty strong contender.

Anyway, I didn't find the Bach one very distressing myself but maybe I'll have to look up one where he's flailing about a bit more.

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#2077050 - 05/04/13 08:33 AM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
slipperykeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 361
Loc: Dorset, England
Over rated, Art Tatum who I find dull, cold, and repetative.

Also anybody playing 6ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths etc in an endless dirge of going nowhere whilst pretending to be a "keyboard God/Monster/Giant/Whatever".

Plus kids up to 30 years old walking into piano shops and playing enormously fast right hand runs up the keyboard (a la Tatum) and nothing else because the left hand is for the joy-stick, play a bit of Chopin and watch them run.

Under rated, Andre Previn, Valentina Lisitsa and some of the great comics who could play a piano and make people laugh too, Victor Borge, Chico Marx, Les Dawson and Reg Varney, to name but four of many.

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#2077081 - 05/04/13 09:45 AM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: mermilylumpkin]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4840
There are only a few pianists that I wouldn't miss going to hear live in concert, but none of them are under-rated.

However, there are a few (of whom some are now dead or retired) that I've always thought are/were over-rated. They are the boring ones who have no imagination, no individuality and nothing special to say about the music beyond playing what's on the page. There's another category of pianists who don't 'sing', don't have a beautiful cantabile tone when the music demands it, all head and no heart - and those too are, IMO, over-rated.

The older I get (and I'm now very, very ancient wink ), the more I realize how much the ability to convey one's musical intention to the audience relies on a truly comprehensive and all-embracing keyboard technique. Which is why all the pianists in my 'not-to-be-missed' category above have transcendental techniques that allow them to play anything exactly the way they want. I never have to wonder if a tempo choice or some aspect of rubato is because the pianist is playing for safety.....

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#2077203 - 05/04/13 03:13 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
Lang Lang is very good in technically difficult pieces with extended virtuosic sections requiring little musicianship or subtlety. In all other works, you're better off listening to someone else.
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Polyphonist

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#2077215 - 05/04/13 03:32 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2117
Loc: Canada
IMO, the weird thing about Lang Lang is that he's surprisingly boring when playing pieces that are supposed to be exciting. His Appassionata and Prok 7 aren't exciting at all...
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#2077220 - 05/04/13 03:35 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
Is he exciting when playing pieces that are boring? ha
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Polyphonist

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#2077236 - 05/04/13 03:56 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: Kuanpiano]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4840
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
IMO, the weird thing about Lang Lang is that he's surprisingly boring when playing pieces that are supposed to be exciting. His Appassionata and Prok 7 aren't exciting at all...


His Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No.1 is the most exciting as well as the most poetic I've heard from anybody - including Serkin, Perahia, Wang.....

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#2077255 - 05/04/13 04:31 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4762
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

edit: One exception, sort of -- and OpusMaximum mentioned him:



Who's that? wink

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#2077408 - 05/04/13 10:40 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

edit: One exception, sort of -- and OpusMaximum mentioned him:



Who's that? wink

It's using a neuter adjective to describe a masculine noun, which is not allowed. ha
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Polyphonist

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#2077897 - 05/05/13 09:07 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
This pianist should be FAR better known: Hannes Minnaar.

Take your pick of

Or S-S 5, which is such a refreshing change from the empty hot house of Rachmaninov 3.

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Jason

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#2077931 - 05/05/13 10:03 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2271
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Under-rated: Nina Simone

I bet you guys just love Favil Say.
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#2078509 - 05/06/13 07:17 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: Polyphonist]
Frankni Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/13
Posts: 147
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Joel - come back to our thread! We need you! laugh

Valentina, a bit, yes. Lang Lang is much more overrated, though.


I agree.
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#2080084 - 05/10/13 12:22 AM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2271
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Under rated: Yvonne Lefebure
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#2080093 - 05/10/13 12:40 AM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: argerichfan]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
...the empty hot house of Rachmaninov 3.

I'm really interested in having this discussion with you, about Rach 3 and S-S 5. I'm going to start a thread about it, I think.
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Polyphonist

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#2080245 - 05/10/13 10:02 AM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
jdhampton924 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 1009
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
I am surprised at how my answer to this has changed in the past year or so. I am sure I have answered this questions before, and for one of my classes I had to upkeep a blog, and I don't know how many times I said I did not like Valentina Lisitsa.

I find myself listening more and more for the differences in recordings, and enjoying those differences. There are still recordings I find a bit banal, but overall I found myself enjoying listening to music much more. Enjoying the different nuances and takes from a wide range of artists. It also helps me appreciate what the great artists accomplish more. Those delicate moments before Horowitz would explode and overwhelm the listener, Glenn Gould's impeccable ability with counterpoint, or the intelligence in Stephen Hough's playing.

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#2080428 - 05/10/13 04:44 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: Polyphonist]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
...the empty hot house of Rachmaninov 3.

I'm really interested in having this discussion with you, about Rach 3 and S-S 5. I'm going to start a thread about it, I think.

Hehe, as you wish, but now that I am settled in Paris -and quite having the time of my life!- Rach 3 seems a world away, utterly irrelevant and colossally uninteresting to any matters at hand.

If Rach 3 didn't have the faked-up reputation for being the most difficult concerto in the standard repertoire, might it loose its mystical significance, might some clothes be missing?

Funny how it goes. Unsurprisingly on this board, Rach 3 is the ne plus ultra of piano concertos, and rather amusing to sit back and watch everyone pay their devout respects to a piece of music which is profoundly overwritten, profoundly uninspired, and most of all, profoundly unaware of its musical insignificance.

And that is enough. French culture is calling.
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Jason

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#2080448 - 05/10/13 05:29 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: argerichfan]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4840
Originally Posted By: argerichfan

Funny how it goes. Unsurprisingly on this board, Rach 3 is the ne plus ultra of piano concertos, and rather amusing to sit back and watch everyone pay their devout respects to a piece of music which is profoundly overwritten, profoundly uninspired, and most of all, profoundly unaware of its musical insignificance.

And that is enough. French culture is calling.


Instead of the fake "Egyptian" tunes in your favoured concerto, might I suggest a rather more interesting French concertante work for your delectation, while you're standing below the Arc de Triomphe, and dodging the crazy French motorists?

Debussy's early Fantaisie for piano & orchestra is unjustly neglected, and is far more in need of your eloquent advocacy than the rather pompous Saint-Saëns. Don't worry about the insignificant Rach 3: the rest of us here in PW will do our best to keep it in the public eye and out of its thoroughly deserved obscurity, until your return to civilization (a.k.a. USA).

BTW, I recommend snails in garlic sauce in that posh Restaurant L'Escargot on the Champs-Elysées, followed by roasted frogs' legs. (Sorry, I can't give you any recommendations about wine, as I'm a teetotaller).

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#2080487 - 05/10/13 07:25 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: argerichfan]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3446
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
...the empty hot house of Rachmaninov 3.

I'm really interested in having this discussion with you, about Rach 3 and S-S 5. I'm going to start a thread about it, I think.

Hehe, as you wish, but now that I am settled in Paris -and quite having the time of my life!- Rach 3 seems a world away, utterly irrelevant and colossally uninteresting to any matters at hand.

If Rach 3 didn't have the faked-up reputation for being the most difficult concerto in the standard repertoire, might it loose its mystical significance, might some clothes be missing?

Funny how it goes. Unsurprisingly on this board, Rach 3 is the ne plus ultra of piano concertos, and rather amusing to sit back and watch everyone pay their devout respects to a piece of music which is profoundly overwritten, profoundly uninspired, and most of all, profoundly unaware of its musical insignificance.

And that is enough. French culture is calling.


Jason, how long will you be in Paris? Hope it is magnifique! will you visit any major musical sites?

Sophia

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#2081982 - 05/13/13 04:05 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: argerichfan]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
If Rach 3 didn't have the faked-up reputation for being the most difficult concerto in the standard repertoire, might it loose its mystical significance, might some clothes be missing?

That would not be the case, at least not for me.

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
...a piece of music which is profoundly overwritten, profoundly uninspired, and most of all, profoundly unaware of its musical insignificance.

I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. You have not elaborated on why you think it is overwritten. Uninspired? Insignificant? You really want to go there? You're telling me that the themes in the piece are not INSPIRED? They're some of the most beautiful themes in the Romantic repertoire. You don't like the sentimentality, fine. But I just don't see why you'd make a statement like calling it uninspired.


You still have not justified your argument that S-S 5 is superior? Why is this, do you think? Is it just because the composer happens to be French?
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Polyphonist

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#2082013 - 05/13/13 05:34 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: Polyphonist]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
You're telling me that the themes in the piece are not INSPIRED?

Well, yes. The opening of the slow movement has to be one of the most banal moments in all of the literature. Rachmaninov sexes it up later with a lot of notes, but compared to the equivalent in the 2nd concerto, it is IMO such awfully written music, posturing without substance. Haven't we come along way wherein this empty note spinning is considered genius.
Quote:
You still have not justified your argument that S-S 5 is superior? Why is this, do you think? Is it just because the composer happens to be French?

Not sure why you would think that because S-S is French, I would automatically think him superior. If we are talking organ music, that is a different situation -the French have it mastered to a farthing- but the Romanov Russians didn't write organ music. There was no demand for it.

It all comes down to what we prefer. I don't care about the supposed 'fake' Egyptian tunes in S-S 5, they work well in context, and the 1st and 3rd movements have an inspirational flow and honest spontaneity which I just don't hear in Rachmaninov's bloated assault in playing to the gallery.

Of course we're not going to agree here, and there is nothing to be done. I'm obviously ahead of my time, and not fooled by music which is only designed to impress.

I think I am correct that musically, R's 2nd concerto is a far more honestly written piece of music, it touches the heart and inspires it as well. Meanwhile, PW goes on and on about which cadenza to use in the 3rd, as if it really makes much difference in the long haul.

Cheers, and over and out!
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Jason

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#2082025 - 05/13/13 05:51 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
The piano entrance to the slow movement is about as far from banal as I can imagine. And the melody before it is exceedingly beautiful, with a distinct Russian character, if maybe too drawn-out. "Sexes it up with a lot of notes"? You seem to think the concerto is all about how many notes there are. Can you not feel the emotion in the music at all?

"bloated assault in playing to the gallery" - again, you think he was just trying to write a difficult piece. He wasn't; he expressed what he was trying to express, and it happened to be difficult. Alkan wrote difficult music for the sake of being difficult. Rachmaninoff uses the technical difficulty as a tool to express himself.

"ahead of my time, and not fooled by music which is only designed to impress" - give me a break. If anything, S-S is the one who is infatuated with technique. Look at the first movement of the 5th concerto - look how many scales and runs there are. Look at the end of the last movement - now THAT is uninspired writing. He just does octave runs up and down the piano, and then repeats three notes over and over and has some F major chords to finish it off. I'm not saying it's not a great piece, but look at the way you're insulting Rach's 3rd. You're also acting quite arrogant here - "ahead of my time" and all.

I'm not going to give an opinion on whether R's 2nd is better than his 3rd, because it's useless to do so. Both are very inspired and very beautiful. I think the 3rd's 2nd movement is superior - no, it's not because there are more notes. They have a very different character, and they both work in the context of the concerto as a whole.
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Polyphonist

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#2082142 - 05/13/13 10:03 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: argerichfan]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4840
Originally Posted By: argerichfan


I think I am correct that musically, R's 2nd concerto is a far more honestly written piece of music, it touches the heart and inspires it as well. Meanwhile, PW goes on and on about which cadenza to use in the 3rd, as if it really makes much difference in the long haul.



Rach 2 is evidently a practice run for Rach 3 grin : the melodies in the latter are longer-breathed, the harmonies more inspired and richer, the writing for both orchestra and piano not only more interesting but also more exciting and more emotionally fulfilling. Great pianists cut their teeth on Rach 2 before venturing on to Rach 3. wink

OK, argument over and out, now back to French music. Other than the Debussy Fantaisie I mentioned earlier, I'd say that the most unjustly neglected French piano concerto is Vincent d'Indy's Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français, which is suffused with Wagnerian harmonies but allied to Gallic charm. OK, its piano part may be more reminiscent of an obbligato rôle (like Szymanowski's Symphony No.4, or Bernstein's Symphony No.2) than a virtuoso vehicle for the soloist, but it's well written and makes the work what it is.

And it's far more interesting than Saint-Saëns's "Egyptian": you can really breathe in the mountain air .......... wink

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#2082194 - 05/14/13 12:18 AM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
TylerNB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/10
Posts: 301
Loc: U.S.A.
I agree that Lang Lang is over rated. I listened to one of his concerts on youtube a few months back and I wasn't really impressed. I also agree that he is way too show-offish. I think he could have potential if he left that behind. The one piece I did list to by him, and I believe it was a Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody, it really had barely any dynamic value. I also didn't sense really any emotion in that piece either.

As far as under rated pianist are concerned, John Schimdt. He plays for the piano guys now and he is very good, in my opinion anyways. His popularity has taken off with the piano guys but I don't think he was very popular as a solo pianist, as good as he is.
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#2082257 - 05/14/13 02:53 AM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: JoelW]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
I think Đặng Thái Sơn is underrated,and relatively unheard to many of considering his achievement, compared to the likes of Krystian Zimmerman, for example, who I think is rated correctly, neither over or under, by most people.

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#2082469 - 05/14/13 01:55 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: Polyphonist]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
You're also acting quite arrogant here - "ahead of my time" and all.

That wasn't meant to be taken seriously, and quite frankly I have enjoyed being the devil's advocate. Polyphonist, my friend, it isn't that big a deal.

Alexis Weissenberg once said (or wrote) that he considered Rach 3 the most gloriously written of all piano concertos, yet that could just as easily be said by most of the pianists who have successfully, or maybe not so successfully, performed this piece.

Let us please keep the perspective, and enjoy it for the masterly work it is, but with some of the adulation -not by you- floating around PW over the years, one would think Rachmaninov's music is on the level of a Beethoven or a Brahms.

Paris is warm, cloudy, humid, and overstocked with a full catalogue of humanity. I love it.
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Jason

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#2082474 - 05/14/13 01:59 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: bennevis]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: bennevis
I'd say that the most unjustly neglected French piano concerto is Vincent d'Indy's Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français, which is suffused with Wagnerian harmonies but allied to Gallic charm.

That is a wonderful work! Have you read d'Indy's preface to his edition of Franck's piano works? (It has been reprinted by Dover.)

d'Indy's piano sonata has some interesting moments, but it feels a bit long for its material. One of the other big French sonatas from the time -Dukas- seems to me a better work.
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#2082514 - 05/14/13 03:41 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: argerichfan]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7513
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
with some of the adulation -not by you- floating around PW over the years, one would think Rachmaninov's music is on the level of a Beethoven or a Brahms.

Some would say it is on that level (of Brahms, not Beethoven of course.)
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Polyphonist

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#2082533 - 05/14/13 04:08 PM Re: Underrated and overrated pianists? [Re: argerichfan]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4840
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: bennevis
I'd say that the most unjustly neglected French piano concerto is Vincent d'Indy's Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français, which is suffused with Wagnerian harmonies but allied to Gallic charm.

That is a wonderful work! Have you read d'Indy's preface to his edition of Franck's piano works? (It has been reprinted by Dover.)

d'Indy's piano sonata has some interesting moments, but it feels a bit long for its material. One of the other big French sonatas from the time -Dukas- seems to me a better work.


No, I didn't know that d'Indy edited Franck - must look out for that Dover edition. So far, I've played Franck's Prélude, Chorale et Fugue and Prélude, Fugue et Variation (which you probably play on the organ); and of course his Violin Sonata (in Cortot's transcription for solo piano), but absolutely nothing of d"Indy. Dukas's Piano Sonata is a huge work, but rarely played, even by French pianists.

Incidentally, Liszt made a wonderful (& virtuosic) transcription of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique which is rarely played, unlike his Beethoven symphonies.


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