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#2306105 - 07/23/14 06:40 PM Famous mistakes by concert pianists
rov Offline
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Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 112
Loc: Mexico
Can someone mention some obvious mistakes by concert pianists?
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#2306117 - 07/23/14 07:03 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
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Loc: New York City
Schnabel had a giant memory slip in the last movement of the Mozart K488 concerto, and improvised for a while while the orchestra stumbled confusedly along.

Rubinstein made the same memory slip twice in the scherzo of the Chopin B flat minor sonata, each time going back from the end of the A section almost to the beginning, until finally getting fed up and improvising into the trio.
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#2306134 - 07/23/14 07:34 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
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#2306143 - 07/23/14 07:39 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
Polyphonist Offline
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Loc: New York City
I knew somebody would post that video.
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#2306166 - 07/23/14 08:37 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
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Sviatoslav Richter split a note, very glaringly, in the first few seconds of Mussorgsky's Pictures at Sofia in 1958 - in a live recording which has become a classic ("The greatest recording of this work that I've ever heard, on record or off" - said a critic at the time, and quoted on the original LP sleeve).

http://youtu.be/CitIXrkQfzo (at 0:25)

There are many more wrong notes later on, but they're in tricky spots with large leaps (Baba Yaga especially). One doesn't expect a wrong note on the easiest page in the score, by one of the greatest pianists who ever lived...... grin
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#2306167 - 07/23/14 08:43 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
Polyphonist Offline
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The coda of the second movement of the Schumann Fantasy is a glorious passage, and notorious for being butchered even by the greats. grin
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#2306184 - 07/23/14 09:24 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: bennevis]
Damon Offline
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Registered: 09/22/06
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Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Schnabel had a giant memory slip ........

Rubinstein made the same memory slip twice ......

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Sviatoslav Richter split a note, very glaringly....


Anybody can find mistakes in performances by those crappy pianists from the past, but what about the modern titans of piano that have mastered all the proper movements?
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#2306192 - 07/23/14 09:40 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: Damon]
Atrys Offline
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Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 990
Originally Posted By: Damon

what about the modern titans of piano that have mastered all the proper movements?

There isn't a person alive or dead that has ever "mastered all the proper movements".
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#2306194 - 07/23/14 09:44 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
ChopinAddict Offline
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#2306241 - 07/24/14 12:12 AM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
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#2306242 - 07/24/14 12:15 AM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: Polyphonist]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
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Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I knew somebody would post that video.

But I didn't think two people would post that video. laugh
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#2306249 - 07/24/14 12:52 AM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
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Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Harold Schonberg reports that once when Schnabel was playing the Brahms Bb with Bruno Walter in NY, Schnabel had a memory lapse in the slow movement and things came to a complete halt. After some consultation, the performance continued. Schnabel seemed unfazed, Walter not so much.

I once heard a pianist have a memory lapse in the first movement of the Schubert D845, but as it was faked so quickly, if one didn't know the piece, nothing would have appeared amiss.
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#2306250 - 07/24/14 12:58 AM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
BDB Offline
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Horowitz messed up the Rachmaninov Sonata pretty badly when he played here in Oakland. It was still exciting.
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#2306252 - 07/24/14 01:03 AM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: Brendan]
Vid Offline
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Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 851
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Originally Posted By: Brendan


Where did those orchestral ones come from? What a hoot!
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#2306262 - 07/24/14 01:30 AM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
BruceD Offline
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Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: rov
Can someone mention some obvious mistakes by concert pianists?


What's the interest in highlighting the mistakes that others make?
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#2306278 - 07/24/14 03:27 AM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: BDB]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1318
Originally Posted By: BDB
Horowitz messed up the Rachmaninov Sonata pretty badly when he played here in Oakland. It was still exciting.


Horowitz messed up quite often.

I like to think it was because he was taking musical risks that paid off more than they detracted.

However, he quite famously totally honked it in the opening measure of the Bach Busoni Toccata in C Major in what was supposed to be his triumphant return to the international stage in 1965. After more than a decade of self-imposed exile, everybody wanted to know if Horowitz still had it. And that mistake brays out so obviously, not even two seconds after his fingers touch the keys.

My heart breaks for him. The more I learn about him as an adult, the more and more I feel for him. He was my formative piano sound as a kid, but I never really took the time to learn about his personal life. I idolized him and in a small way I was part of his problem. He really struggled with identity and felt more keenly than most famous people the essential disconnect between who one really is and what the world perceives one to be.

On the other side of the spectrum entirely was Rubinstein, who seemed to relish the attention and fame and thrived on it. He apparently had some serious stage fright as well, but unlike Horowitz, he transformed the moment he went out there. Horowitz wore his anxiety on his sleeve both on and off-stage until it finally got him in the end. He pulled it together for the very last part of his career, but he truly, truly struggled for a lot of it.


Edited by TwoSnowflakes (07/24/14 03:38 AM)
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#2306305 - 07/24/14 06:02 AM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: Brendan]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1801
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
Originally Posted By: Brendan

Duuuuuude! I think you've got some updating to do wink

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#2306308 - 07/24/14 06:13 AM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
Mken Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/09/13
Posts: 96
Even Vika makes mistakes, she made a fairly big one playing some pop songs when she went to Iceland, and a couple playing live in Germany.

But she just carries on like nothing happened.

I'd note though that anything you see on youtube will probably be the result of many many attempts and restarts, so nobody is utterly perfect!
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#2306546 - 07/24/14 03:33 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
Parks Offline
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Registered: 03/05/14
Posts: 441
Loc: Northern CA
Don't you guys know that experts are the most experienced at mistakes?
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#2306652 - 07/24/14 06:23 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: Parks]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1318
Originally Posted By: Parks
Don't you guys know that experts are the most experienced at mistakes?


I must be an expert pianist, then! smile
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Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
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#2306860 - 07/25/14 08:57 AM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: BruceD]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7898
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: rov
Can someone mention some obvious mistakes by concert pianists?


What's the interest in highlighting the mistakes that others make?


I don't know why the OP is interested, but for me, it's nice be reminded once in a while that concert pianists are human beings who can mess up, instead of being perfect all the time. Plus, knowing how they mess up can be edifying. Not to mention amusing.

A couple of the more interesting mistakes I've witnessed were when seasoned pros sat down....and made a false start. For whatever reason, they played just a second or two, then stopped and had to regroup and start over. After that, everything was fine.

Related to that, I remember a pianist starting an encore, and then changing his mind after just few notes, and stopping, then switching to a different piece. Not sure if that is a "mistake", though.

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#2307010 - 07/25/14 02:18 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
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Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1318
I agree. I stand in awe of perfection and often it can paralyze me as I dwell on my own imperfection. Modern recordings often paint a somewhat idealized picture of the process. Now, don't get me wrong; I don't like to see mistakes as if I have some kind of fascination with train wrecks. Some do, I do not. In fact, it makes me nervous to hear anybody make a mistake and I don't like watching other people fail. I don't even like to see the other team lose in sports where, by definition there must be a loser.

But every once in a while if I see that my idols are, in fact, human, it helps me to view the road ahead of me a little less dauntingly. But only for a moment. I can't take too much failure at once. It just makes me sad and nervous.
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Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2307156 - 07/25/14 08:29 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
hreichgott Offline
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Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1103
Loc: western MA, USA
I find it very inspiring to listen to the greats being incredibly great at performing the piece even when there are technique mishaps. It helps me dwell on things other than technique mishaps when I play.
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#2307856 - 07/27/14 04:26 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: TwoSnowflakes]
Steve Peterson Offline

Bronze Level Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 03/15/13
Posts: 154
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: TwoSnowflakes
[quote=BDB]


My heart breaks for him. The more I learn about him as an adult, the more and more I feel for him. He was my formative piano sound as a kid, but I never really took the time to learn about his personal life. I idolized him and in a small way I was part of his problem. He really struggled with identity and felt more keenly than most famous people the essential disconnect between who one really is and what the world perceives one to be.

On the other side of the spectrum entirely was Rubinstein, who seemed to relish the attention and fame and thrived on it. He apparently had some serious stage fright as well, but unlike Horowitz, he transformed the moment he went out there. Horowitz wore his anxiety on his sleeve both on and off-stage until it finally got him in the end. He pulled it together for the very last part of his career, but he truly, truly struggled for a lot of it.


Couldn't agree more. I've long admired Horowitz for his passion, musicality, and nerve. The fact that he made more mistakes than others just doesn't bother me that much. When you shoot for the moon, you miss sometimes. When he hit, though, he saw *sublime*.

Have you read the Biography by Shonberg? I recently read it, and found it to be one of the most compelling biographies I've read.
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#2307933 - 07/27/14 09:03 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7898
Charles Rosen relays this story about Clara Schumann - "she is supposed to have found herself trapped inside Mendelssohn's Spinning Song like a squirrel in a cage, unable to find the exit as the opening theme went by yet again, and finally remembering the little alteration that leads to the final cadence only after having been round eight times. Mendelssohn, who was present, afterwards expressed his warm appreciation of her evident attachment to the piece."

Rosen also says he has never heard the last section of Kreisleriana played in public without at least one memory slip. But then, he doesn't indicate how many times he has heard it played in public.

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#2307947 - 07/27/14 10:10 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: Steve Peterson]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8905
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Steve Peterson

Have you read the Biography by Schonberg? I recently read it, and found it to be one of the most compelling biographies I've read.


Curious to read that sometime. I am about to embark on Neil Powell's bio of Benjamin Britten, so that will occupy me for a fortnight.

Since Schonberg's bio of Horowitz dates from 22 years ago, we have come a long way. (And if that needs to be explained... well by all means.)
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#2307960 - 07/27/14 11:21 PM Re: Famous mistakes by concert pianists [Re: rov]
Kuanpiano Offline
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Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
Almost every pianist I've seen perform has messed up here and there - sometimes it's obvious mistakes, and other times it's more subtle. It happens, but I wouldn't say that wrong notes decrease how much I've liked the performances.
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