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#907275 - 07/22/02 05:35 PM Concert of Faculty Artists at Mannes
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
I thought I'd share some of my impressions of the concert I attended last evening at Mannes' International Keyboard Festival in which the teachers themselves appeared. Seven teachers appeared on the program. But first let me say that my little PianoWorld button worked! I met decible101 because he recognized the logo which I had hanging on one of my shirt buttons. I was already expecting to see pianoloverus there and indeed we met. So the three of us sat together and let me say it was a pleasure to meet both these fine gentlemen.

Of course the playing was top of the line. Still there was a good dose of bad habits in evidence, if one goes by my teachers plus what I've garnered in the master classes. Examples are: really bad posture; excessive hand flourishes; rocking the hand after a key has been played as if it will change the existing tone; legs everywhere; excessive pedal and flimsy touch.

For me one the more pleasurable aspects of these high-level performances is the lack of obvious memory slips and the sureness and purposefulness of the music. The program consisted of:

Beethoven, Sonata in E minor, Op.90
Bach-Busoni, Chaconne in D minor, BWV.1004-5
Medtner Sonata in A minor, Op.38
Albeniz, Rondena and Triana from Suite Iberia, Bk.II
Brahms, Fantasy Pieces, Op.116, Nos.1-7
Chopin, Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op.30,No.4, Polonaise in A Flat Major,Op.53
Liszt, Dante Sonata

Miscellaneous observations:

* No matter what level you're at, there's always more one can learn.
* I wonder how the teacher's appraised one another?
* There is not one correct way to play a piece.
* The more one has worked on a piece the more critical one becomes when listening to someone else play it.
* Everyone has nerves to deal with.

Like I said, the playing was really top notch but if I were giving these teachers a lesson (ha!), I'd say to the Beethoven player: get rid of the tentative touch that creeps into your playing; to the Bach player: loosen up on the pedal, the gorgeous harmony is getting lost, especially when you're so far down in the lower register; to the Brahms player: you're pushing the limits of rubato, you're OK but be careful and also--make sure your hands are playing together when they're supposed to.

I'd never heard the Dante Sonata before and I like it. Whew! It sounds like a trip to hell! I really need to listen to more Liszt and re-evaluate my opinion. The funny thing is, after the concert I heard a couple talking about it and he says to her "It's a stupid piece of music, isn't it?" I wonder what he meant!?

Well this is probably kind of meaningless if you weren't there. I know pianoloverus and I have a few differences of opinion on some of the playing, care to add anything pianoloverus? decible101?
_________________________
"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

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#907276 - 07/23/02 02:11 PM Re: Concert of Faculty Artists at Mannes
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19646
Loc: New York City
Bernard' comments are in quotes(something didn't work when I tried using the quote icon)

"Of course the playing was top of the line. Still there was a good dose of bad habits in evidence, if one goes by my teachers plus what I've garnered in the master classes. Examples are: really bad posture; excessive hand flourishes; rocking the hand after a key has been played as if it will change the existing tone; legs everywhere; excessive pedal and flimsy touch."

I don't remember any of them having what I'd call bad posture. True they all didn't have as excellent posture as Morozova or Shakin did, but everyone has their own way of playing and I'm sure they've all thought about this carefully. Arnaldo Cohen explained in his master class that some pianists have loose movements of the left leg to relieve tension in their hands(and I don't think he thought this was bad although I do feel it can look funny and be a distraction).

"For me one the more pleasurable aspects of these high-level performances is the lack of obvious memory slips and the sureness and purposefulness of the music."

There was a bad slip by Kovalsky in the Chopin Polonaise(in the section between the part with all the left hand octaves and when the main theme returns for the last time) where he got flustered and repeated a whole measure over.

"Like I said, the playing was really top notch but if I were giving these teachers a lesson (ha!), I'd say to the Beethoven player: get rid of the tentative touch that creeps into your playing; to the Bach player: loosen up on the pedal, the gorgeous harmony is getting lost, especially when you're so far down in the lower register; to the Brahms player: you're pushing the limits of rubato, you're OK but be careful and also--make sure your hands are playing together when they're supposed to."

I cannot at all agree that Rosenbaum's touch in the Beethoven was tentative. I have also been to his master classes and I feel that he, perhaps more than most of the rest of the performers, is incredibly sensitive to sound and shaping of phrases and could not play weakly. I thought the exact opposite as you did about Shehori's Bach-Busoni Chaconne. Of all the live and recorded performances I have heard, I thought he used less pedal than anyone. Remember this is a transcription and not like an original Bach work. As far as Shakin's performance of the Brahms Op. 116, I did not feel there was excessive rubato except perhaps in the E major Intermezzo.

I thought that Morozova's performance of the Sonata Reminiscenza was the highpoint of the evening!

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#907277 - 07/23/02 06:38 PM Re: Concert of Faculty Artists at Mannes
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
Well! To each his own, as they say.
_________________________
"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

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