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#2216365 - 01/17/14 07:13 PM Interview with Bruce Brubaker
vlhorowitz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 290
Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year, and hope you've all had a great week! Here is our latest interview with the chair of piano at NEC, Bruce Brubaker. Here, the Juilliard alumnus talks about Horowitz, music criticism, and assesses this interesting quotation from Schoenberg:
"It must be admitted that in the period around 1900 many artists overdid themselves in exhibiting the power of the emotion they were capable of feelingÖ".

As always, thank you for reading smile

http://www.examiner.com/article/interview-with-pianist-bruce-brubaker


Edited by vlhorowitz (01/17/14 07:26 PM)

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#2216427 - 01/17/14 10:12 PM Re: Interview with Bruce Brubaker [Re: vlhorowitz]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Thanks for another great interview with another great interviewee.

I had the pleasure (and privilege) of meeting Bruce, through his being a judge at the Boston amateur competition. It's one of the great things about those events, that we humble amateurs have the opportunity to play for people like Bruce Brubaker, people who are far above those that most of us would usually have the opportunity to play for, to speak with them, and to be taken seriously by them. He was enormously gracious and enthusiastic about listening to and working with us amateurs.

From this interview that covered such a very wide array of musical subjects, I'll comment on just this little thing, about Liszt's playing:

Quote:
But, in terms of sound waves, Iím fairly confident that to our standards of technical accomplishment, I doubt it would be satisfying to us. I base this on the recordings from the early twentieth century that we do have. Iím a tremendous fan of recordings from period - the 1910ís, 20ís, 30ís - but at the same time, my belief is that the music that is completed by me now, the listener listening now, is not the same as it was for a listener from that time.

Unless I'm misunderstanding what he means, I have to disagree. I assume he means it in two ways:

-- Liszt's technique wasn't so over-the-top by modern standards, and....

-- We just wouldn't so much appreciate that style of playing.

And, I base this on the same thing that he bases what he's saying: the early recordings that we do have. When I hear those recordings, from the best of those pianists what I hear is extraordinary technique by any standard, and a style of playing that's more satisfying than almost any more-recent playing.

Subjective?? Sure. I can only speak for myself. smile

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#2216634 - 01/18/14 10:57 AM Re: Interview with Bruce Brubaker [Re: Mark_C]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1119
Hi, Mark! Well, I remember attending an informal lecture-recital that Garrick Ohlsson conducted some 40 years ago, when he was a young phenom, and shortly after he had won the prestigious Chopin Competition that "put him on the map". As part of his commentary (in 1972 or so), he said that he felt pianistic technique had actually declined somewhat relative to the early 20th century practitioners -- meaning Lhevinne, Friedman, and Hoffman as well as Rubenstein/Horowitz/Rachmaninov et al. He said that from the early recordings, he could get a sense of what these pianists "had in reserve" -- the technique they COULD have visited upon a piece had they so chosen, but didn't for artistic reasons -- and that their "actual" prowess eclipsed that of his generation. I found that POV most interesting, and I guess I'd be curious whether he still sees it that way.

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#2220913 - 01/26/14 07:12 AM Re: Interview with Bruce Brubaker [Re: vlhorowitz]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8026
Finally got around to reading this interview, and am glad I did - interesting, informative, and provocative stuff. I've known about his blog for awhile and think it's one of the better ones around.

I had not heard his playing until recently, when BBC Radio 3 included him in one of their weekly new music shows - I was quite taken with what he did with some of Philip Glass' piano music, which I'd never much liked before. It was good to have my mind changed...

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#2222628 - 01/29/14 03:10 PM Re: Interview with Bruce Brubaker [Re: wr]
vlhorowitz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 290
Thank you all for reading and commenting smile

wr, I couldn't agree more: his Glass playing was revelatory and his writings are worth keeping up with.

PS: I'll have an interview with Marc-Andre Hamelin up in the next few days.

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#2222640 - 01/29/14 03:29 PM Re: Interview with Bruce Brubaker [Re: vlhorowitz]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19640
Loc: New York City
In an interview in International Piano Magazine sometime in the last few years, Alexander Braginsky says that the general level of technical skill today is astronomically higher than say 20-50 years ago. He said something like "When I was growing up, only a handful of pianists could really handle a piece like the Rachmaninov PC #3, but today tons of teenagers handle it easily." Of course, this doesn't that the top few technicians of an earlier time(Horowitz, Rachmaninov, Friedmann, Rosenthal, etc.)weren't at least equal if not superior to most of the today's young technical wizards.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/29/14 03:29 PM)

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