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#2262809 - 04/16/14 10:17 PM Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!!
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Wow, has anyone else see this?




Chasing Pianos: the Music of Michael Nyman, played by Valentina Lisitsa

I heard about it from some other piano-internet friends, so forgive me if it's already been talked about here.

So, I have to confess, my first thought was, hey, maybe this will lend some credibility to music in this genre! grin

But that doesn't really matter, i think it's just really cool and I'm excited to get the CD!
(Also, I am now doubly motivated to record for the next recital, because it's one of the pieces included here smile


Edited by ShiroKuro (04/16/14 10:18 PM)
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
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#2262813 - 04/16/14 10:23 PM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Oh, I forgot, there's also this article at NPR:

NPR First Listen

a quote from the article, that many fans of Philip Glass and Michael Nyman will appreciate!

Quote:
Blending minimalist techniques with pop sensibility and skillful, hummable melodies, Nyman has been labeled the British Philip Glass a convenient oversimplification that actually benefits neither composer.


Indeed!
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#2262815 - 04/16/14 10:34 PM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Sorry (I'm kind of spamming myself!) two more links:

There's a discussion about Valentina Lisitsa at the Pianist Corner here: Valentina Lisitsa talks about elitism , and this article was linked:

BBC article

just fyi smile
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#2262858 - 04/17/14 12:57 AM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1543
Loc: Reseda, California
Wow -- What an amazingly bad cover photo. It makes her look fat.
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
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#2262933 - 04/17/14 05:38 AM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
Sam S Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 1423
Loc: Georgia, USA
I'm sure most people have seen the movie (The Pianist) that the album cover photo is recreating. When I watched it all I could think of was how historically inappropriate the music was for the period of the movie. She should have been playing Chopin in that movie, not Nyman.

I don't mean that as a criticism of the music of Nyman, just a poor choice by the movie director. The music was an anachronism that spoiled my enjoyment of the movie.

Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now. Sometimes I feel like a complaining old man! If you haven't seen the movie, then it is worth watching, despite my problem with the choice of music.

And yes, I bought the album - I'm a big Lisitsa fan...

Sam

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#2263006 - 04/17/14 10:18 AM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: JohnSprung]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
Wow -- What an amazingly bad cover photo. It makes her look fat.



Gee, I wonder if anyone would make a similar comment about a man wearing a kaftan or other loose-fitting garment.

For those who don't know, V.L.'s photo is a take-off of one of the original movie poster (and maybe album cover?) from the movie The Piano:



I like both posters a lot, here's another one that I like a lot too. (I'm sorry these photos are so big, I don't know how to resize them without downloading them and re-hosting them)



Quote:
I'm sure most people have seen the movie (The Pianist) that the album cover photo is recreating. When I watched it all I could think of was how historically inappropriate the music was for the period of the movie. She should have been playing Chopin in that movie, not Nyman.

I don't mean that as a criticism of the music of Nyman, just a poor choice by the movie director. The music was an anachronism that spoiled my enjoyment of the movie.


Sam, it's so interesting to me that that was your reaction! I didn't think about the era and what music was available at that time. Instead, when I went to see what the music was for the movie, I remember thinking "of course the music was original compositions made just for this movie, because that music is her voice, and represents her thoughts, so it wouldn't work to have it be well-known pieces." Which is not to say that I disagree with your take on it, I think that's a valid criticism. Just that I had a totally different reaction.

Also, this movie is the Piano, the Pianist is the movie that's about the true story of Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman and how he survived WWII. I know you know that, I bet you typed the Pianist because you were thinking about Chopin. smile


Edited by ShiroKuro (04/17/14 10:20 AM)
Edit Reason: to add photos
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#2263016 - 04/17/14 10:43 AM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1385
"The Heart Asks Pleasure First" has the distinction of being the only piece that has ever made me go out and buy sheet music from a movie!

And I love me some Val, so it's a nice collision of things for me!
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Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
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With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2263033 - 04/17/14 11:18 AM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5417
Originally Posted By: ShiroKuro




Quote:
I'm sure most people have seen the movie (The Pianist) that the album cover photo is recreating. When I watched it all I could think of was how historically inappropriate the music was for the period of the movie. She should have been playing Chopin in that movie, not Nyman.

I don't mean that as a criticism of the music of Nyman, just a poor choice by the movie director. The music was an anachronism that spoiled my enjoyment of the movie.


Sam, it's so interesting to me that that was your reaction! I didn't think about the era and what music was available at that time. Instead, when I went to see what the music was for the movie, I remember thinking "of course the music was original compositions made just for this movie, because that music is her voice, and represents her thoughts, so it wouldn't work to have it be well-known pieces." Which is not to say that I disagree with your take on it, I think that's a valid criticism. Just that I had a totally different reaction.


You've got Nyman's (and Jane Campion's, the movie director) thinking exactly. Nyman had the brief to compose music that was vaguely of the period but not anything recognizable, because the piano was to represent Holly Hunter's thoughts as closely as possible (as she was mute in the movie). Chopin or any other classical (Romantic) composer would not work, because we'd have heard the music before and have our own 'associations' with it. Not to mention the fact that the music would have to be heavily adapted to the script, which would have the whole classical fraternity up in arms.... wink

Michael Nyman was the Composer of the Week on BBC Radio 3 a few weeks ago, where he explained all this in detail. There's a podcast available, but I don't know whether his explanation of his process of composing for The Piano is on it:
www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/cotwhq/all
_________________________
"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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#2263043 - 04/17/14 11:52 AM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5255
Loc: Italy
The other interesting thing about the composition of the music to represent Holly Hunter's character's thoughts is that it was written to match Holly Hunter's piano playing skills level. smile
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Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#2263051 - 04/17/14 12:17 PM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
LarryShone Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 856
Loc: Darlington, UK
Hmmm Ive still not seen the Piano
Mind you I'm told I probably wouldn't enjoy it as its not actually about a piano but rather is a Jane Eyre-esque soppy romance.
Love Lisitska tho (and I have Nyman's earlier album Children)


Edited by LarryShone (04/17/14 12:18 PM)
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#2263284 - 04/18/14 12:05 AM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Bennevis, thanks for the link. Wow, I didn't know all that. That's very interesting. Sam, are you swayed to change your opinion? smile

Casinitaly, I knew she played in the movie, but I didn't realize the music was composed with her in mind.

Now I want to see it again!

Larry, I don't know that I'd call it a "soppy romance" (but then, I like the film very much so I'm not unbiased) still, I think there's a lot more going on than just a romance. You should give it a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised.
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#2263358 - 04/18/14 05:18 AM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
Sam S Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 1423
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: ShiroKuro
Sam, are you swayed to change your opinion? smile


No, I'm sticking to my opinion. We are all products of the time we live in, especially back before recorded music was so universal. She would have played what she learned or heard. I guess I am just an old curmudgeon.

After listening to the album, I'm surprised at how varied Nyman's music is. There's variety between pieces - there is still not enough variety within the pieces. A simple ABA form with the B section a contrast would be a relief. The sameness of the music has always been one of my complaints about composers like Einaudi - the only way to tell the difference between his pieces is by the titles...

Also the endings, which are non-endings. Is it too much to ask to actually end the piece?

I'll quit complaining now...

Sam

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#2263448 - 04/18/14 10:14 AM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Sam, why don't you tell us how you really feel? laugh

Regarding my earlier comment about changing your opinion of the music in the Piano, I was just giving you a hard time.

But your comments about music like that composed by Nyman and Einaudi aren't really fair. Their music sits squarely within the realm of contemporary composition informed more by popular music than by any rules like those that pertain to classical, romantic, baroque etc. Whether or not you like it is one thing, and whether or not you think that music should be used in certain contexts is one thing (and I think we're all clear on the answer to both of these questions smile but asking that it be different is kind of pointless, and IMO misguided in its own way. Nobody asks "why can't Philip Glass sound more like Mozart?" Or "why doesn't country music sound more like techno?" Or, for that matter, "why can't English grammar conform to the rules of Japanese grammar?" But that's how your questions sound to me.

This is actually what I meant by speculating that maybe Lisitsa recording Nyman's work would give some much needed credibility to the genre. But evidently not! smile Nyman, Einaudi, and other composers like them compose music that conforms to its own internal standards. Some people don't like those standards, some people like them a great deal. This is fine. I don't ask that everyone embrace this kind of music, I just wish that people would give it the credibility it deserves by recognizing it as a genre in and of itself, rather than expecting it to conform to some musical norms that are not relevant to this genre.

Ok, now I'll quit complaining laugh
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#2263465 - 04/18/14 10:47 AM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
Sam S Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 1423
Loc: Georgia, USA
I don't want to argue, really. I do like Einaudi and Nyman and the other composers like them, they are just pretty far down the list of things I want to listen to. And it's the things that make their music unique that I don't like - the repetitiveness, the limited harmonic vocabulary, the lack of variety, the non-endings. But I still like to listen because the music evokes a particular mood - its quite good at that.

But, you know, it doesn't matter what I like - what's important is what you like.

Sam

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#2263529 - 04/18/14 01:14 PM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Sam, I don't want to argue either, although if I'm going to argue, I would prefer it be with someone like you smile

Either way, I'm glad this came up, because it gave me a chance to articulate something I hadn't quite put into words when I started this thread.

Also, I think it's interesting that you have these very strong criticisms of the music but still like to listen to it. Does that mean you just don't like to listen to more than one piece in a row by one of these composers? (totally serious question, no sarcasm)

And does Big My Secret (Nyman) have all the elements of your criticisms? I ask not to start another argument but because I'm working on trying to record this piece right now and I have always thought it was quite different from a lot of other pieces in the genre, and very different from Einaudi for example. This piece (Big My Secret) was hard for me to "get into" practicing, by which I mean I couldn't sit down and read-play through it the way I can with an Einaudi piece, or even something like The Heart Asks Pleasure First, which I could sight-read HS basically at tempo from the beginning of my attempts at playing it. Whereas with Big My Secret, I couldn't get my head around the music, and as a result, I couldn't really even play through it HS in the beginning because the score didn't make sense to me (if that comment makes any sense)

So, I have always thought of Big My Secret as an outlier of sorts. What do you, Sam or anyone else reading, think of that?

(also, I haven't bought VL's CD yet, so I haven't heard the full piece, but just based on the little sample on Amazon, I think she may play this piece very differently from the original recording, for what it's worth)
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#2263597 - 04/18/14 03:17 PM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
Sam S Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 1423
Loc: Georgia, USA
I like the way VL plays "Big My Secret". She has the finger control to bring out the melody lines no matter where they are in the forest of notes and make everything else just a whisper. I love the way the treble runs sparkle above everything else. And it has a real ending smirk

But, a minute after listening, I've already forgotten the melody lines and there's no harmony that made an impression. There's just a lingering mood. But it's fun to listen to!

Can't wait to hear your version!

Sam


Edited by Sam S (04/18/14 03:17 PM)

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#2263654 - 04/18/14 04:46 PM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Ugh, I shouldn't have asked! Maybe I won't submit BMS for the next recital afterall. (SK slinks away with her sloppy finger control)
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#2263725 - 04/18/14 07:00 PM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: LarryShone]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1228
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: LarryShone
Hmmm Ive still not seen the Piano
Mind you I'm told I probably wouldn't enjoy it as its not actually about a piano but rather is a Jane Eyre-esque soppy romance.
It actually is about a piano, and someone who plays it. And I wouldn't characterized it as a "soppy romance"; it seemed more a psychological study to me. But even though I disagree with your summary, I won't recommend it to you. I thought it was quite horrifying, and even after a few years, there are scenes that I still can't get out of my head. I wouldn't want to watch it again.
_________________________
Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXVI

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#2263857 - 04/18/14 10:11 PM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: ShiroKuro]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
She plays it like a prayer

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#2263871 - 04/18/14 11:32 PM Re: Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!! [Re: MaryBee]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 252
Originally Posted By: MaryBee
Originally Posted By: LarryShone
Hmmm Ive still not seen the Piano
Mind you I'm told I probably wouldn't enjoy it as its not actually about a piano but rather is a Jane Eyre-esque soppy romance.
It actually is about a piano, and someone who plays it. And I wouldn't characterized it as a "soppy romance"; it seemed more a psychological study to me. But even though I disagree with your summary, I won't recommend it to you. I thought it was quite horrifying, and even after a few years, there are scenes that I still can't get out of my head. I wouldn't want to watch it again.


Me too. I found it very disturbing. In fact after i saw it the first time, i got the piano music stuck in my head as an earworm and found it very distressing because I did not want to think about the movie. to this day I go out of my way not to listen to the music from that film.

I later took a uni course where we were using film to think about gender and power, and we had to watch that film on our own time and later have class discussions about it. I did not watch it with sound, but had it on mute so i wouldn't hear the music or the dialogue, and read the script along instead. (there weren't subtitles in the copy i was watching). Then I skipped over the really disturbing scenes.

Totally crazy, but that is how much this movie bothered me.

i really love Valentina Lisitsa but I don't know that I will be listening too much to this album! On the other hand, maybe her playing would help me to associate the piece with something other than the movie. :\

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