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#470941 - 02/01/09 11:49 AM A different take on La Campanella
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
I came across this gentleman's performance and detailed explanation of why he is playing this renowned piece so uniquely. I've gotta say that I like both his performance and the explanation he gives. Please see what you think:
a toatally different approach to La Campanella

P.S.- I also very much enjoy the sound of his piano for this piece.
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#470942 - 02/01/09 12:58 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13773
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I wish most pianists were as thoughtful.
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#470943 - 02/01/09 01:02 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 951
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
For my ears the piece has lost all of its sparkling fire in this interpretation \:\(

I have a slow recording of Bolet at 5:12, which is very contemplative, but witty and crystal-clear, and with an infinite variety of dynamics and touch. These qualities are almost completely missing in this guy's recording (sorry to compare him with the masters, but if he claims all masters to be wrong, this is what he asks for...Richard Kastle syndrome?).

Ironically, he justifies his approach with faithfulness to Liszt's intentions. However, it should be noted that La Campanella certainly has an uninterrupted and very dense performance tradition. For example, I have a (Welte-Mignon) recording of Busoni (who could still hear Liszt playing in person), clocking in at 4:29, faster than many contemporary pianists.

Allegretto is not a mathematical description, but a feeling, and it refers to the basic pulse. This guy's playing sounds more like a march. Also, Liszt did nowhere indicate that the piece should be played robotic, without life and passion and with the same touch and dynamics throughout.
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#470944 - 02/01/09 01:02 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Very nice! Thanks for sharing CC2; this actually sounds like I could play it. \:D

And great piano tone, too.
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#470945 - 02/01/09 01:12 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Remember that this guy made a disclaimer that he was not presuming to be better than the virtuosi:

 Quote:
Please do not be offended. I am not claiming I am a better pianist than your beloved heroes and idols, but merely pointing out that their tempos are not Allegretto.
That said, his complete rejection of rubato makes it a little too dry.
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#470946 - 02/01/09 01:12 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
Feux Follets[1] is marked allegretto too ;\)

As pianovirus notes above, allegretto is more a style than a tempo marking. Charles Rosen remarks in his book on the Beethoven Piano Sonatas that even during his (LvB that is) lifetime, the speed of allegretti seemed to increase. He also makes the point that the 2nd movement of Op.54 (so marked) is nearly always played too fast, such that it loses its graceful character and the initial additional indications of dolce (which has more connotations that just piano) are lost too.

I can see this youtube pianist's point, and think it has a lot of validity. However his somewhat metronomic and expressionless playing did mean that even the allegretto feel was a bit lost to my ears. Perhaps in the hands of a different pianist an interpretation of this piece at a slower than conventional tempo would be more effective.

Michael B.
[1] Compare Arrau's appreciably slower recording compared to many others. However he still retains the playful, mischievous and cheerful feel that the composer undoubtable sought by the title, etc.
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#470947 - 02/01/09 01:13 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19265
Loc: New York City
It doesn't sound like an etude to me at that tempo. I think I listened to some of this pianists other recordings and they all sounded wrong to me.

Of course, it's *possible* that it's just that one becomes used to hearing a piece at a certain tempo.

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#470948 - 02/01/09 01:28 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Coolkid70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
I've looked into Cory Hall's (BachScholar) work regarding tempo in J.S. Bach's music before. Though I haven't read all of his documents on the matter, I have some concerns that some of the interpretations about the music might be fixed up to suit the claims. Music is not my specialty, so I don't have some of the necessary background to look into his ideas more thoroughly. Does anybody want to look into some of his work and post about it?

-Matt
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#470949 - 02/01/09 01:31 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
jdhampton924 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 1009
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
I always considered such things to be relative.

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#470950 - 02/01/09 03:48 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17921
Loc: Victoria, BC
A thoughtful approach, perhaps, but as the proof is in the pudding, the results don't work for me in this performance. While other performers may surpass the Allegretto indication in the score to excess - which, as others have said, is relative - this performance has lost impetus and sparkle that this Etude needs.

It may not need (much of) an increase in tempo, but it certainly needs to come alive a little more. It needs to plod a little less at a rather steady, stodgy three-to-the-bar 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3,[/b] and become more 1[/b] 2, 3, 1[/b] 2, 3.

It needs the three L's : lightness, lilt and life!

Regards,
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#470951 - 02/01/09 04:02 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Fleeting Visions Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 1501
Loc: Champaign, IL
I rather like Gavrilov\'s Brutal Performance.
I particularly like the militant, rhythmic conclusion.
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#470952 - 02/01/09 04:29 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19265
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:
I rather like Gavrilov\'s Brutal Performance. [/b]
For me that sounded a little rushed. I prefer Kissin's or Yundi Li's(both around 4'30" vs. Gavrilov's 4'00"):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y9Wiqsd9xY

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#470953 - 02/01/09 04:39 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
A little off topic, but this is Gould playing too slow! (Can you beleive this?)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R54fHB8Zny8

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#470954 - 02/01/09 04:43 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1250
Loc:
Came across this recently, i really like this version. Kemal Gekic.

http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=DtS8Yrw12QQ

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#470955 - 02/01/09 04:43 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:
I rather like Gavrilov\'s Brutal Performance. [/b]
For me that sounded a little rushed. I prefer Kissin's or Yundi Li's(both around 4'30" vs. Gavrilov's 4'00"):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y9Wiqsd9xY [/b]
Kissin is 4 minutes actually... 5 seconds slower than Gavrilov.

BTW, those 2 performances are my favorite.

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#470956 - 02/01/09 04:54 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
babama Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/08
Posts: 800
Loc: Netherlands
Kind of takes the life out of it at that speed. Can't really produce those 'ringing tones'. I like Rubinstein and Kissin best for their balance between technical precision/speed & expression.

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#470957 - 02/01/09 04:56 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Fleeting Visions Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 1501
Loc: Champaign, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by GreenRain:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:
I rather like Gavrilov\'s Brutal Performance. [/b]
For me that sounded a little rushed. I prefer Kissin's or Yundi Li's(both around 4'30" vs. Gavrilov's 4'00"):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y9Wiqsd9xY [/b]
Kissin is 4 minutes actually... 5 seconds slower than Gavrilov.

BTW, those 2 performances are my favorite. [/b]
My sadistic pleasure in the Gavrilov is much like the Pogorelich Gaspard De La Nuit. (Not on youtube). Complete, total ownage. No respect for Ravel's markings, but what incredible playing!
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#470958 - 02/01/09 05:51 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Mati Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/05
Posts: 1276
Loc: Lodz, Poland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwc-nmyPm4I

Lisitsa is 4:11 - and I really like her clarity.


M.
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#470959 - 02/01/09 05:56 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
allegro_concerto Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/10/08
Posts: 181
For a nice sound, also have look at

"La Campanella" played by Alicia de Larrocha available on youtube.

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#470960 - 02/01/09 06:00 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19265
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by GreenRain:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoloverus:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:
I rather like Gavrilov\'s Brutal Performance. [/b]
For me that sounded a little rushed. I prefer Kissin's or Yundi Li's(both around 4'30" vs. Gavrilov's 4'00"):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y9Wiqsd9xY [/b]
Kissin is 4 minutes actually... 5 seconds slower than Gavrilov.

BTW, those 2 performances are my favorite. [/b]
Yes, I forgot to include the announcing of the encore and bow at the end. I think Gavrilov played the first statement of the theme a little faster than Kissin and that's what made me think he rushed it a little even though the times are virtually equal.

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#470961 - 02/01/09 06:14 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1231
Loc: U.S.
I also find BachScholar's playing (not tempo, really) to be boring and academic. Even though I like some of his other recordings, it seems like he has created a "hook" for himself (i.e., the tempo master, or something) to make up for generally lifeless interpretations. Like, "well you say my playing is boring? Yeah? At least I can play things at the proper tempo, so put that in your pipe and smoke it!"

Maybe I'm sounding too harsh, because he does include plenty of disclaimers in his videos as noted. But, especially for a piece like La Campanella--if you're gonna do it, do it right. Don't stuff your shirt up and, rather pompously in my opinion, go around showing people the "right" way to do it. That sort of approach is a little better placed in Bach perhaps, although arguably his music unfortunately already suffers from over-analyzing. I suppose his approach is indeed interesting, but it would be a lot more convincing if he at least looked like he was having fun (the ridiculous Horowitzian air-punch at the end notwithstanding).

I admire many great recordings of this piece, but I'll add to the list Gyorgy Cziffra's clean, wild, and slightly altered version, and on the other end of the spectrum, Hamelin's ultra-precise, somewhat more reserved than most, yet ultimately satisfying take (there's an example of finding a fine balance between the bell style, "allegretto" if you will, and letting daring get the better of the piece).

Looks like they're on Youtube, as well, so why not:

Hamelin--http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHFydKDzpE4

Cziffra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqKsCGNq6R8

And a different, live rehearsal tape that I find astonishing (not complete): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQvR7zb6ka0

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#470962 - 02/01/09 06:22 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
it sounds like Bach now. whether it's correct tempo or not, it does mean that tempo would change the meaning of the music or perception of the music.

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#470963 - 02/01/09 06:33 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
I rather enjoy Arthur Rubinstein's La Campanella:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQULyGMhhWs
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#470964 - 02/01/09 07:30 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
 Quote:
Originally posted by Horowitzian:
I rather enjoy Arthur Rubinstein's La Campanella:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQULyGMhhWs [/b]
Boring and slow!

No risk, no fun!


Just kidding \:D

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#470965 - 02/01/09 07:50 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Schubertian Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 937
Loc: Dallas, TX, US
From BachScholar's website, these modest pronouncements:


In July of 1992, a graduate student in piano and musicology in the quaint college town of Lawrence, Kansas, USA, experienced a revelation in which Bach's secret mathematical formulae were revealed to him.

Working fervently with his tools of the trade—a metronome, calculator, and piano—and driven for two days in white heat without sleep by an inexorable cosmic force, this renegade theorist achieved something unprecedented in music history. He uncovered some of Bach’s most cryptic compositional secrets, which allowed him to “crack the Bach tempo code” and prove the tempos and architectural designs Bach intended for virtually all his works! This will soon culminate in his destined to be a cult-classic 350-page treatise, “Breaking the Bach Tempo Code”!

Bach Scholar's original, trailblazing theory, founded upon an innovative scientific method employing illuminating color-coded spreadsheets, breaks new ground in Bach scholarship and performance. Among his profound and surprising discoveries are:
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#470966 - 02/01/09 07:54 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Schubertian Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 937
Loc: Dallas, TX, US
It boils down to the idea that Bach wanted each section of each of his compositions to last for an integer number of minutes - so he set the tempi and number of measures accordingly.

Why would he want to do that - I cannot say that that has been revealed to me yet, but he has some thoughts on the matter.

Actually it is sort of interesting, although I cant say I'm exactly convinced - it is a long hard slog through that website - trailblazingly scientific and soon to be a 'cult classic'.
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#470967 - 02/01/09 08:00 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
 Quote:
Originally posted by GreenRain:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Horowitzian:
I rather enjoy Arthur Rubinstein's La Campanella:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQULyGMhhWs [/b]
Boring and slow!

No risk, no fun!


Just kidding \:D [/b]
:D \:D

;\)
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#470968 - 02/01/09 08:23 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1979
Loc: Salt Lake City
I was born in the "quaint college town of Lawrence, Kansas USA"--perhaps I'll have an earth-shattering epiphany regarding una corda markings in 4'30".

Stay tuned.
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#470969 - 02/01/09 08:26 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
Theowne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/06
Posts: 1099
Loc: Toronto, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by Schubertian:
From BachScholar's website, these modest pronouncements:


In July of 1992, a graduate student in piano and musicology in the quaint college town of Lawrence, Kansas, USA, experienced a revelation in which Bach's secret mathematical formulae were revealed to him.

Working fervently with his tools of the trade—a metronome, calculator, and piano—and driven for two days in white heat without sleep by an inexorable cosmic force, this renegade theorist achieved something unprecedented in music history. He uncovered some of Bach’s most cryptic compositional secrets, which allowed him to “crack the Bach tempo code” and prove the tempos and architectural designs Bach intended for virtually all his works! This will soon culminate in his destined to be a cult-classic 350-page treatise, “Breaking the Bach Tempo Code”!

Bach Scholar's original, trailblazing theory, founded upon an innovative scientific method employing illuminating color-coded spreadsheets, breaks new ground in Bach scholarship and performance. Among his profound and surprising discoveries are: [/b]
I find it amusing that he refers to himself like this once on that page: Bach Scholar™
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#470970 - 02/01/09 08:31 PM Re: A different take on La Campanella
William Clark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 93
Interesting tempo. It would be much more convincing if he added some additional agogic and dynamic variation, along with using a lighter, more playful touch in areas.
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