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#2087161 - 05/23/13 03:52 AM Liberace
Alex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 116
Loc: Plano, tx
Hi All and hello from Bangkok. It's been a while since I've been out here. Anyway, I saw this article on Slate magazine regarding the new movie Liberace. They ask the question: "Was Liberace a good pianist?". Here is the link:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013...nist_video.html

So, what do you all think?

Cheers

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#2087182 - 05/23/13 06:29 AM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
Goomer Piles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 112
His excesses cast shame on generations of boys taking piano lessons.

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#2087193 - 05/23/13 07:21 AM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2600
Loc: Manchester, UK
I think he was wonderful.

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#2087220 - 05/23/13 08:18 AM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19218
Loc: New York City
I think he was a sensational showman, and in terms of visibility he had a great advantage because he had a TV show.(of course, it was his great popularity that allowed him to have his own TV show)But in terms of his performances of popular music I think his harmonic and stylistic approach was that of a classically trained musician playing popular music. So I find his interpretations very limited or four square compared those by a great jazz pianist. Perhaps he was kind of like Richard Clayderman but with a much bigger technique and personality.


Edited by pianoloverus (05/23/13 08:23 AM)

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#2087345 - 05/23/13 11:44 AM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
*I* liked him, and he was the reason many people took piano lessons.
_________________________
Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.

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#2087368 - 05/23/13 12:05 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
Goomer Piles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 112
Flaunting his wealth, his execrable costumes and accessories, and his grotesquely effeminate behavior (while absolutely, unconditionally closeted) were the height of bad taste. To me, all of that overshadowed any thought of whether he was a good, or not good, pianist.

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#2087387 - 05/23/13 12:25 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Goomer Piles]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19218
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Goomer Piles
Flaunting his wealth, his execrable costumes and accessories, and his grotesquely effeminate behavior (while absolutely, unconditionally closeted) were the height of bad taste. To me, all of that overshadowed any thought of whether he was a good, or not good, pianist.


His costumes and entrances were for amusement and showmanship. His costumes were purposely over the top to be funny and outrageous. He wasn't taking himself seriously. It was self parody and that was one reason audiences liked him.

One of his favorite routines went like this: L comes on stage in some outrageous costume, smiles, looks around to the audience and says "Do you like it?" More applause and then L says "You should...you paid for it!" Even bigger applause.

He lived at a time when coming out of the closet could end a career. No performer, then or now, is obliged to reveal anything about any area of their personal life.


Edited by pianoloverus (05/23/13 12:26 PM)

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#2087488 - 05/23/13 03:08 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2600
Loc: Manchester, UK
I think it's in pretty bad taste to dislike someone because they are effeminate.

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#2087542 - 05/23/13 05:14 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Perhaps the best way to assess L, is to say he was very good at what he did, which was to entertain.

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#2087588 - 05/23/13 06:36 PM Re: Liberace [Re: debrucey]
The Hound Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/11
Posts: 124
Originally Posted By: debrucey
I think it's in pretty bad taste to dislike someone because they are effeminate.


Quite.

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#2087617 - 05/23/13 08:12 PM Re: Liberace [Re: The Hound]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6192
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: The Hound
Originally Posted By: debrucey
I think it's in pretty bad taste to dislike someone because they are effeminate.

Quite.

Actually it's beyond bad taste....it's narrow-minded, intolerant and cruel. smokin


Edited by carey (05/23/13 08:18 PM)
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2087621 - 05/23/13 08:18 PM Re: Liberace [Re: pianoloverus]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6192
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Goomer Piles
Flaunting his wealth, his execrable costumes and accessories, and his grotesquely effeminate behavior (while absolutely, unconditionally closeted) were the height of bad taste. To me, all of that overshadowed any thought of whether he was a good, or not good, pianist.


His costumes and entrances were for amusement and showmanship. His costumes were purposely over the top to be funny and outrageous. He wasn't taking himself seriously. It was self parody and that was one reason audiences liked him.

One of his favorite routines went like this: L comes on stage in some outrageous costume, smiles, looks around to the audience and says "Do you like it?" More applause and then L says "You should...you paid for it!" Even bigger applause.

He lived at a time when coming out of the closet could end a career. No performer, then or now, is obliged to reveal anything about any area of their personal life.


And let us not forget that before L. became a parody of himself, he was fairly conventional in his approach to entertainment (I'm recalling his popular TV show in the 1950s, the feature film he made in 1955, etc.).
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2087638 - 05/23/13 08:59 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 874
Loc: UK
As he once said "I cried all the way to the bank."

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#2087640 - 05/23/13 09:06 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8815
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Just the other day I was talking with some friends of mine about the movie. We're all curious to see it.

Wonder how The New Yorker will review it...
_________________________
Jason

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#2087641 - 05/23/13 09:10 PM Re: Liberace [Re: pianoloverus]
Goomer Piles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 112
Originally Posted By: debrucey
I think it's in pretty bad taste to dislike someone because they are effeminate.

To be homosexual and to act thoroughly effeminate while vigorously denying you are homosexual (to the point of suing a tabloid that made that insinuation) is hypocritical.

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
No performer, then or now, is obliged to reveal anything about any area of their personal life.

When you're in the public eye, you get public scrutiny. Deal with it.

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#2087642 - 05/23/13 09:13 PM Re: Liberace [Re: carey]
Goomer Piles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 112
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: The Hound
Originally Posted By: debrucey
I think it's in pretty bad taste to dislike someone because they are effeminate.

Quite.

Actually it's beyond bad taste....it's narrow-minded, intolerant and cruel. smokin

How's the air up there? Don't get nosebleeds!

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#2087645 - 05/23/13 09:19 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Goomer Piles]
chopin_r_us Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 874
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Goomer Piles
Originally Posted By: debrucey
I think it's in pretty bad taste to dislike someone because they are effeminate.

To be homosexual and to act thoroughly effeminate while vigorously denying you are homosexual (to the point of suing a tabloid that made that insinuation) is hypocritical.

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
No performer, then or now, is obliged to reveal anything about any area of their personal life.

When you're in the public eye, you get public scrutiny. Deal with it.
He fought for his right not to be defined by his sexuality. Good for him!

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#2087653 - 05/23/13 09:41 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Goomer Piles]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19218
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Goomer Piles
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
No performer, then or now, is obliged to reveal anything about any area of their personal life.
When you're in the public eye, you get public scrutiny. Deal with it.
Just because the public is interested doesn't mean one is obligated to tell them anything. Most people "deal with it" by being private about whatever they want to be private about. Being a public or well known person in no way obligates one to discuss anything about one's private life.

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#2087659 - 05/23/13 09:48 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
I would have hoped that this forum was a place for reasonable intellectual discussion, even if on a thread of this title. Why do some of you have to cause the discussion to degenerate into morality and ethics. Leave the late Mr. L alone. He was, first and foremost, a human being. Talk about his piano playing.

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#2087680 - 05/23/13 10:41 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Mwm]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6192
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Leave the late Mr. L alone. He was, first and foremost, a human being. Talk about his piano playing.

Yes, he was a good pianist.
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2087807 - 05/24/13 07:47 AM Re: Liberace [Re: Goomer Piles]
The Hound Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/11
Posts: 124
Originally Posted By: Goomer Piles
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: The Hound
Originally Posted By: debrucey
I think it's in pretty bad taste to dislike someone because they are effeminate.

Quite.

Actually it's beyond bad taste....it's narrow-minded, intolerant and cruel. smokin

How's the air up there? Don't get nosebleeds!


If you think it's acting high and mighty to be tolerant of innocent human diversity then I would humbly suggest that your sense of morality is somewhat skewed.

As for the actual topic, Liberace never featured much on my radar, but from what I can tell it's hard to judge his worth as a serious musician as he never really presented himself as such - more of an entertainer/personality. He certainly seems to have had reasonable chops, though.

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#2087828 - 05/24/13 08:56 AM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1656
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
I recall a Liberace concert on TV, where he coyly asked if the audience had heard any "rumors" about him. After a pause, he exclaimed "Well, who do you think started 'em?"

In a way, Liberace has the last laugh, doesn't he? Over a quarter century since his death, and we're still talking about him.

I don't have HBO, but I'll be sure to catch the biopic when it's on DVD.
_________________________
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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#2087864 - 05/24/13 09:43 AM Re: Liberace [Re: carey]
the nosy ape Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 705
Loc: Westford, MA
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: The Hound
Originally Posted By: debrucey
I think it's in pretty bad taste to dislike someone because they are effeminate.

Quite.

Actually it's beyond bad taste....it's narrow-minded, intolerant and cruel. smokin

People can dislike someone for any reason that they wish. As long as they treat them with courtesy and respect the dislike is not really an issue.

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#2087876 - 05/24/13 10:07 AM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6192
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Liberace playing the Opus 53 "Heroic" Polonaise.........

http://youtu.be/3OTRa2FeSGs
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2087895 - 05/24/13 10:40 AM Re: Liberace [Re: the nosy ape]
The Hound Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/11
Posts: 124
Originally Posted By: the nosy ape
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: The Hound
Originally Posted By: debrucey
I think it's in pretty bad taste to dislike someone because they are effeminate.

Quite.

Actually it's beyond bad taste....it's narrow-minded, intolerant and cruel. smokin

People can dislike someone for any reason that they wish. As long as they treat them with courtesy and respect the dislike is not really an issue.


Well, yes, I certainly agree how they treat them is far more important; I don't believe in thought crime. However, the reason can still be terrible, and if expressed on an internet discussion forum it's up for challenge.

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#2087901 - 05/24/13 10:49 AM Re: Liberace [Re: carey]
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1656
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Originally Posted By: carey
Liberace playing the Opus 53 "Heroic" Polonaise.........

http://youtu.be/3OTRa2FeSGs



After hearing that, it's probably best that Liberace moved into playing arrangements of Chopsticks and the like.
_________________________
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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#2087927 - 05/24/13 11:36 AM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
Brad Hoehne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/22/11
Posts: 365
Loc: Ohio
With all the media surrounding the new HBO bio-pic, I've watched a dozen or so videos of Liberace on YouTube over the last few days. In purely pianistic terms, I get the sense that he was amazingly technically adept, a bit lackadaisical and therefore sloppy at times (which doesn't bother me), showy for the sake of it, and a great and humorous improvisor/arranger.

However, after watching these videos, I wish that he would have deigned, every once in a while, to play a work from beginning to end in its entirety. Time and time again, what we get is the Cliffs Notes of the piece rather than the piece itself. The constant leaping forward in a piece drives me nuts.


Edited by Brad Hoehne (05/24/13 11:54 AM)
_________________________
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Currently working on:
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#2087935 - 05/24/13 11:56 AM Re: Liberace [Re: Hank Drake]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8815
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Hank Drake

After hearing that, it's probably best that Liberace moved into playing arrangements of Chopsticks and the like.

And no doubt he thought so too.
_________________________
Jason

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#2087961 - 05/24/13 12:16 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
Michael Sayers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 858
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
My suspicion is that he practiced less and less as he got older and became prone to distraction (practicing most or virtually all of every day, seven days a week forever isn't for everyone), but definitely he was a thoroughly capable pianist when he was on the way up, it is just that recordings of him playing "serious" repertoire when he was in top condition are scarce.

Didn't he play one of the Liszt concertos with an orchestra when he was 12? Or did I misread that somewhere?


Mvh,
Michael

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#2087971 - 05/24/13 12:26 PM Re: Liberace [Re: Alex]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
Yes, I believe Liberace was a very good pianist. He was certainly "good enough" to earn the love and respect of his audience, and to make a ton of money along the way. We can't really apply the same standards to Liberace as we would to so-called "serious" pianists, because L was, first and foremost, an entertainer. One simply wouldn't practice piano, or prepare for a performance the same way as a classical musician would. But had he decided to play "pure" classical piano, IMO he had the necessary musical "chops" to have been successful.

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