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#979334 - 05/17/07 03:42 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
@Kathleen:
Come on you know astrology is nothing but complete BS ;\)

@All
They are discussing recordings of the Etudes over at the Pianist Corner
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/2/14960.html

[EDIT] Any news from Frank? As you can see we may be missing great Chopin threads on the other forum. If the project of a Composers forum fails, I will have to vote for separate threads on the Pianist Corner. And let us begin with a prefix like "DTC" (for Devoted to Chopin) .. Whose idea was it? I like this.

I see Kathleen's suggestion of "What's new with Chopin". Not bad at all, but I fail to understand how it will clear up the cluttering as we will be still trapped in the one thread system.

@Dannylux
Eeeewwwwww [Request: Please Remove]

There is a tendency nowadays to mess with human history, heritage and culture .. (Chopin being part of it) .. and here is the example presented by Dannylux above.

Money is the supreme mover these days. How sad. \:\(
Tendency towards vulgarity and bad taste is prevailing.

Speaking about messing with heritage .. there is a pianist called Clayderman who makes his own arrangement of classical pieces. You can really be grateful that he did not mess with Chopin until now (at least to my knowledge). \:D

Imagine cutting half of a nocturne (for marketing or so it can fit on a disk). Or worse adding other instruments to the background to make it feel more 'romantic'. :rolleyes:

And there is no harm to adding a beat too so we can all groove with Chopin.
I can imagine the situation now in high school.

"Sup .. did you hear the latest Chopin album man?"

"Yeaaaa .. it's so coooooo'"

"I'm tellin ye man. This Chopin pianist guy is the greatest. Even betta than Justin timberlake"

"Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure"

"I'm gonna play the drums at the party tonight. I will play that famous SONG called Mazzoorka by Chopin, of course with that dorky 'classical' pianist what's his name."

"Insane. You're going to be the star of the night. The girls will love it, just make sure you add a solo drums part in the middle for the WOW effect."

;\)

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#979335 - 05/17/07 03:51 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
I forgot to tell you this .. it is not a joke but it really happened (with me). I told it down at the Pianist Corner once and they all cracked up.
Silly/funny comments from non-musicians

---

I was once playing Chopin for a friend of mine.

"What is this piece called?"

"Nocturne"

"Play another piece"

"What is this one called?"

"Nocturne"

"The same piece !!!"

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#979336 - 05/17/07 07:39 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Hi Bassio: \:\)

Of course...I know that astrology is to be taken with a grain (make that a ton) of salt. However, sometimes someone is doing some very good guessing or has a cohort somewhere or is just plain spooky. Not just in the example of Chopin, but I have had first-hand experience with a chart-reader, and it did get a bit chilling.

Anyhow....great jokes on your link.

My personal favorite:

She: Oh, you play the piano?
Me: Yes
She: You are so lucky!!

***************
As if my fairy godmother took her magic wand and tapped me on the fingers. Lucky?? Not what I'd call it, for sure.
*********************
As for our own forum...I think we can forget about it. Haven't heard from Frank. Probably won't. I am really convinced that the people who "live" here, on and off, (and not necessarily me) just don't want to move out! They feel comfortable in the ABF neighborhood. The Pianist's Corner is sort of "uptown," if you get my meaning. We're sort of "hometown."

Not that I don't enjoy reading the posts at the PC, but so many of them are far over my level of knowledge, experience and skill level. And I believe this is what other Devotees sense also. And believe me, I am very grateful to them, for without them we wouldn't be having our wonderful Chopin Concert.

(BTW...have you started practicing!!?/). :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

So, it's still up in the air right now.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979337 - 05/18/07 06:29 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
I'm practicing like a fiend.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#979338 - 05/18/07 08:00 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Good to hear, Frycek. With the piece you are playing I would imagine you would have little time to do anything else (except work, of course...and maybe a few hours of sleep). Take care.

I am also practicing...like a fool! Since I have a date set, just about 3 weeks away, it acts as a motivator, which I so often need.

Again...I am so thrilled that we just (make that WILL) pull this off. I haven't heard from Thalamus yet. I'll give him another week and then will ask for volunteers to take his piece, which is the #20. Not very difficult, and I would be happy to sub for this one if we don't hear from him or have anyone else who just would LOVE to play it. \:\) Maybe we could get Barry Manilow! ;\)

In the meantime, I am wearing my brain out trying to think of another way we can make our wonderful thread more accessible to others. Other than leaving it altogether and going over the the PC. \:\(

We have received a good idea about staying on the ABF, but everytime we make a post, we begin it with a DTC prefix. But that means this big one will slip into the background and all the great stuff posted on it will probably never be read. \:\( \:\(

And, of course, the other ideas...creating a "What New" thread, which will take some wading through, as Bassio said. Or my just continuing to make indices on this one every 5-6 pages or so. Oh, perhaps then, I could post them on the "What's New" thread.

Gosh...I just don't know. Chime in people.

Or should we just let it be? That's also another possibility. \:D

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979339 - 05/18/07 08:11 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
 Quote:
She: Oh, you play the piano?
Me: Yes
She: You are so lucky!!
:D \:D

It's not really how I feel, and even less how my children feel, forced to listen to me practicing....

I'll never buy anything from RCA, ever, are there really people stupid enough to buy this ??

These days when I don't seem to get anything done, I wonder, how did Chopin have time and strength to compose all these pieces, all so genuine and creative - when struggling with bad health and difficult love affairs, and teaching of more and less promising students.

Did he get a lot of inspiration from his students (female ones especially ;\) ) or did he own this endless source of music inside himself ? (I know he liked to dedicate works, but that was maybe etiquette )

Did you find the answers to this in the Horoscope ? (it was too heavy reading for me)

Ragnhild
_________________________
Trying to play the piano:
http://www.box.net/public/dbr23ll03e

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#979340 - 05/18/07 09:19 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
As an adult, Chopin did most of his composing at Nohant, George Sand's estate, in the summer when he didn't have to teach. He said himself he could never compose in the winter, probably
a combination of too many pupils, and literally being under the weather. I also suspect he had SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder.) He hated grey days, loved sunshine.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#979341 - 05/18/07 09:39 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Hi Ragnhild:

BTW, again...so enjoyed your recital piece.

What drove Chopin to create even though he was quite ill at times, depressed at others, lonely, angry, in love, fearful, etc.??

Much like Beethoven, he lived for his art. What he couldn't say in words to others (we all know about his reticence), he could and did communicate through his music. As with so many artists...he was compelled to do so, I would think. He had no choice, for it was the only way he was comfortable with ....to reach out and give flight to his feelings, thus revealing his emotions. And what emotions they were!!

And don't forget...he didn't have the responsibilities of children or a house to take care of, etc. He was basically free of all the mundane things that take up so much of our time.

Here is what I found in his horoscope that gives reference to these traits/qualities:

“brings out creativity, conception and a deepening apprenticeship in the will to be useful and favours relation to people. You need the others in your way of life although you are not very expansive : creating, innovating, thinking, that's what matters the most to you because this way of expression enriches you and is self-sufficient.”

“indicates a high sensitivity and an elevation of sentiment, Frédéric. Your heart and your emotions are your driving forces and you can't do anything on this Earth if you don't fully feel an affective charge (as a matter of fact the word "feeling" is essential in your psychology). Action and comprehension cannot be achieved if you don't love or feel anything and sometimes, to the detriment of your vulnerability you should learn to fight Frédéric.”

Sorry, if this is too much to go through. I seem to have trouble writing about Chopin with just a sentence or two. Just doesn't seem adequate.

Regards to you,
Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979342 - 05/18/07 09:44 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
I just heard Mike White play the #20 prelude for the recital. Absolutely sublime! So I asked him if he would PM me. If all else fails with Thalamus, perhaps Mike would let us use his recording for the concert.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979343 - 05/18/07 10:51 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
OH...one more thing about that astrology stuff.

When I was about 14 or so, I went with my girlfriend (also 14) to one of those "fortune tellers," for want of another word. It was at a neighborhood carnival. While she was having her "fortune" told, I stood back from the table, about 15-20 feet. Right in the middle of her "forecasting," or whatever, the woman stopped and looked at me and said something like: "You will have great trouble and pain with one of your kidneys."

What??? Where did this come from?

Six years later, I had my left kidney removed.

As I said...spooky.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979344 - 05/18/07 11:23 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
 Quote:
Sorry, if this is too much to go through. I seem to have trouble writing about Chopin with just a sentence or two. Just doesn't seem adequate.
I know, Kathleen - and it's fine that way ;\)

But Frycek has a good point, I am sure he got inspiration also from suffering through the winter, but piece and calm to write he only had during the summer months.

I am not at all happy with my recital piece, that is a work in progress (and Lisztaddict put the finger on why ;\) ), but I am very proud that I've listened to and commented all of the recital - in a language that I really don't master. I just hope I did not accidently offend anybody \:D

Ragnhild
_________________________
Trying to play the piano:
http://www.box.net/public/dbr23ll03e

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#979345 - 05/18/07 06:25 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Ragnhild: You HAVE to give yourself a break, dear. \:\)

First and foremost, ALL of our music is a work in progress. It is NEVER done, at least to our satisfaction. Compare it to the tens and tens of times writers do rewrites on their books before they finally give the OK to publish. And Chopin (and other composers) constantly rewriting/recomposing...take some out there, add a little here, change this, leave that alone....and on and on.

And, you are also quite good at our language. Certainly, much better than I could ever be at yours.

I don't think, for a minute, that you offended anyone.

Please give yourself a big hug and feel good about yourself. You deserve it.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979346 - 05/18/07 08:15 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Yet another "portrait" of our hero.



Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979347 - 05/19/07 08:08 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Good Grief: That picture looks as if Chopin is wearing lipstick!

Good Morning (Afternoon or Evening, whatever the case may be): :rolleyes:

Two things...
Regarding how you are doing on your prelude; How would you grade yourself at this point?

That's presuming you have actually started on it.

I think, and my chest rather swells at this, I would give myself a C+. I'm actually able to play through it and can even give some sections the right phrasing and pedal work. But I've a long way to go, especially tempo-wise. Right now, it's still in the "dirge" stage.

Secondly: Do you still love your prelude?

I have always loved mine when listening to a recording. But I have discovered, through the actually playing/practicing it, that I appreciate it and love it even more. It is often stated that Chopin so easily fits under one's fingers, and I have found this to be true (once I managed to get some tricky hand shifts down). But, the way he can pluck at your heart strings with just a chord change or the blending of two notes, sometimes quite discordant, or a strong and ff descending octave section...so seemingly simple and so evidently the way to go...yet so unique and unexpected, and, of course, so very Chopin!

If you feel like responding, would love to hear from some of you.

Regards,
Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979348 - 05/19/07 10:45 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Me again. I'm waiting for my daughter to get out of my bathroom (she's here to drop off her "babies"..a dog and cat and "grandma" is babysitting).

Anyhow to kill time, I did some surfing on reviews of M. Chopn[/b] . I found one by John Olson of the "Chicago" page of "Talking Broadway" that was extremely positive (and, of course, I agreed, totally).

If you have the time and would like to read a very nicely detailed version of the "play," here is the link M. Chopin Review by John Olson

But then I came across one that just astounded me. And the more I read, the angrier I got. This person obviously should not have been given the assignment because he knows practically nothing about classical music or Chopin or the "theater of music" at all. I couldn't believe he actually compared M. Chopin to Bernstein's Young People's Concerts. How ridiculous! Hershey, in his creation of M. Chopin, had NO intention of recreating Bernstein's vastly popular concerts, and he NEVER implies that he is doing so. While the reviewer did say that M. Chopin was quite popular with audiences all over the world (sold-out performances, always), he said :"Felder's Chopin, however, is pure Disney -- the stereotype of the neurotic and suffering artist and his "Romantique" world."

And then he said the Hershey plays like an actor and acts like a pianist. To top it off..he actually said that Hershey disappointed him because he thought he should act like a Barrymore and play the piano like a Rubinstein. THAT was the final straw.

I know if Hersh ever reads this, he will smile and maybe write to say that "you can't please everyone." But this review was so offensive and so far off-base, that I considered it mean-spirited. Surely, Hersh knows he is not a Barrymore, but if you ever hear him play the piano, the thought of a Rubinstein never enters the picture. He plays as beautifully as I have ever heard! Frycek will agree with me.

I know I am more than a little partial to M. Chopin, and, of course, Hershey. But partial or not, I felt the review was utter nonsense.

Mr. Kroll, the reviewer, needs to be reassigned by his editor to the obit page. \:D

I am not going to provide the link because it's not only insulting but completely "stupid."

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979349 - 05/19/07 01:44 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
How am I doing on my prelude.....hmmmm , I think maybe a C- since I have not memorized it. I think I still love the prelude but sometimes I hate my interpretation of it - I hope to try it on another piano to cheer me up !

Another little thing (of no importance really, just bugging me) when I listened to your recital piece on tuesday morning (Norwegian time) I am sure the last page was missing (I had the sheet music in front of me)?? - but your playing was still lovely.

I enjoyed reading ohn Olson's review, and I am happy that you did not put a link to the other one.
I am not as lucky as you Kathleen that has seen M Chopin live, but listening to the cd's I'd say that Hershey made a very honest and very much alive Chopin to me - and if he did not quite play like Rubinstein it was closer than lots of others I've heard ;\)

Ragnhild
_________________________
Trying to play the piano:
http://www.box.net/public/dbr23ll03e

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#979350 - 05/19/07 02:21 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Hershey plays like Hershey and that's quite well enough. He definitely rose to the challenge of presenting Monsieur Chopin on Paderewski's great old tug of a Steinway.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#979351 - 05/19/07 03:04 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
You're right, Ragnhild. I did leave the last section out of the prelude. It was repetition, basically...and I was really pushing my luck getting through it almost error free. The Fontana section took me some time to learn because I had practiced it the other way, but I liked the double notes better. I think I held my breath through that whole part.

I love the prelude you are playing. I learned it many years ago, and my fingers know the way better than I do. In fact, I just played it in my practice session today. I opened by book and there it was...almost waiting for me. It truly is quite lovely. And yes...maybe playing it on another piano will give it new zest.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979352 - 05/19/07 03:35 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
This is from a post in the Fantaisie-Impromptu troubles thread. I thought it bore repetition here:

"The printed page only partly reflects the emotions, imaginative splendor, ecstasies and esthetic finesse that are the real essence of Chopin's music."

That's by Alfred Mirovitch, from his Introduction to Chopin: A Progressive Course of Study Including a Treatise on the Pedal.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#979353 - 05/19/07 04:32 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Thanks for bringing that wonderful quote over, Steven. It speaks volumes. The author obviously belongs here on the "Devoted" thread.

I looked for the book on Amazon and found one very similiar to the one to which you refer...only it didn't have the "Introduction to Chopin:" part...just the "A Progressive....Pedal. Is this the same book?

Thanks,
Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979354 - 05/19/07 05:10 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Hershey88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/06
Posts: 149
Loc: France
Hey All -

Just checked in before the final performance in Seoul - and was most amused to find Kathleen's post regarding Mark Kroll and a review entitled "Sudsy Chopin..."

Here's the deal - everyone has enemies for whatever reason, and even history's greatest artists have had their fair share. I have often said when it comes to reviews like the one mentioned that "greater artists have gotten much worse..." including our beloved Chopin.

In fact, I did have "words" with Mr. Kroll after this review and I guess, it's no secret, I don't like his attitude. I don't have issues per se with him having any opinion he likes of my work, disagree though I do, but I do have serious issues with him insulting everyone in attendance that didn't quite agree with him including the gentleman sitting next to him.

The truth is, what Kathleen did not mention is that he does acknowledge the audience response, including the man sitting next to him who was a world famous scientist who was completely enthralled. He also mentions that in Cambridge, 02138, the most opinionated zip code in America, the production is sold out for weeks on end... so, by his own design, my opinion is that he sounds a little jealous, and goes on to diminish my effort by calling it populist...and then saying that it's like Liberace, who was all the wiser for he laughed all the way to the bank.

My letter to him, which induced a back and forth of several emails long (I can only post my letter, but not his several, without his authorization) is more or less my point of the whole thing, and 'may' be of interest to some of you. I can say, that the communcation did end decently, I was nice to him, and I don't hold the review against him, he is entitled to his opinion, but alas, and history does go to show - that such opinions in the long run - don't really mean much... think of Rellstab on Chopin to name just one...

Anyway - the reason I post that communication, is to reveal my intention with what I do, and yes, the tone of my note is somewhat angry given that it was in direct response to his review which as I have given you the information can look up. I don't often if ever respond - but there was something about this review that really upset me - it went to the heart of what I hold most dear - it insulted my audience. I can accept someone insulting me, raking me over the coals - that's fair, however, I will not tolerate my audience essentially being called a bunch of dummies.

To be fair to Kroll however, - this review was from a very early performance of M. Chopin - my control of the work, the playing while talking and the material itself is much more developed now... so there's that too - but still, he misses the point entirely, and again - he insulted my audience. What did they do to him?

Here 'tis...

Dear Mr. Kroll -

I was just forwarded your review of Monsieur Chopin. I was most interested in your mention of a world renowned music-loving scientist sitting next to you who by your account was completely thrilled, and yet you manage to dismiss the event as being music-101, music-lite, Disney etc.. Is it that the intellectual and accomplished public is that easily fooled? Or was the world-famous scientist sitting next to you just not all that bright?

As Jeff Kallberg worked on this project, he was in attendance, the Saturday night before your Wednesday attendance. In his own words, after seeing the current result, he confirmed that he is proud to be associated with this project. That you can't see beyond what you think it should be is frustrating. As far as academia, I am indeed (among other things) a specialist in Chopin, his approach to the piano, his manuscripts, his scores, letters, personal history, etc. As far as your challenge that the piece is not academically based, Dr. Kallberg will disagree with you, and he is, of course, the current leading Chopin scholar, along with Eigeldinger. Even so, this is a work for the stage - meant to move in a theatre, not a lecture for a lecture hall. Lectures, as you may give them, do not necessarily good theatre make...

What appears to you as the stereotype of a suffering artist, is actually all based in very specific truths, especially concerning what Chopin would say to his students during his lessons - much of which is taken directly from Eigeldinger's treatise, 'Chopin, Pianist and Teacher as Seen By his Pupils.' I gather from your piece that you do not know this work. It is of tremendous value and should be part of your basic keyboard knowledge. My goal however, is not to demonstrate how knowledgeable I am to the public, but to attract the public to the character, which I am succeeding in doing. My goal is to introduce to the public the notion that Chopin's psychology and his deepest communication is through his music - that one can actually begin to hear Chopin "speaking" through the notes - which is the point - (and of course, is the basic premise of Chopin's planned but unrealized "methode.") Still, the way one teaches a musician, is not the same way one teaches the public at large, and moreover, while in his day Bernstein's approach worked, I guarantee you, as I know much of the product, it would not work today, because of the much different approach to media that young people now experience. Further, by today's standards, the old Bernstein programs sound very arch and contrived. As an aside, Humphrey Burton, Bernstein's number one biographer and former director of music of the BBC is both a friend and a fan of my work, and we have actually discussed a similar character creation with me playing the role of Bernstein. Still, It's not that you did not acknowledge the audience response, as you very well did. It's that you fail to understand that the audience is responding to the fact that they are indeed learning something, in a way that they can accept the information. That you can't see the value in that basic premise is a huge part of why classical music as presented by folks like yourself, is by so many accounts, 'dying - ' and yet, I have such remarkable attendance in whichever city I present.

The larger issue, however, is that I fear for the state of classical music considering attitudes like your own - because it ignores the needs of the public. In terms of the performance itself, you clearly can't think beyond the obvious - even though the public does.

With regard to the 'action' that you question - what else is the character meant to do when discussing his life and music at the piano? What happens in a piano lesson? Do you swing from the chandelier when you teach? Do you roll around under the piano? Or do you simply talk, talk and play, play and talk, talk? Perhaps. But can you keep an audience "thrilled" (your word) for two hours? That requires craft, intention and ability - a knowledge of what works theatrically, and the ability to deliver text and music all at once. The goal is to create a character that the audience will listen to - not to be a 'Barrymore.' (That you should even suggest this, means you know next to nothing about the theatre beyond what you think will make you sound knowledgeable. I mean, can anyone in their right mind imagine Barrymore playing the title role of a diminutive, sensitive, quiet, soft, delicate and thoughtful Chopin? Not every actor can play every character, for a million reasons - much of which has to do with natural qualities not well suited to every type of individual. I mean, really....) By your own admission, holding an audience for two hours, without a break, indeed means that the "whole" is being delivered. The combination of playing and acting is in fact, an invention, where one doesn't play as in concert, and one doesn't act as in a solo oration. It is something new and different, that once again, by your own admission, entertains, enthralls, and horror of all horrors, does remarkably well financially. So to suggest that I am not up to the task that I have set out for myself, when by your admission, I have succeeded in doing exactly what I set out to do - attracting a public to the theatre, keeping them committed throughout the performance about Chopin's life and music, (of all things - and you admit to this too) and then earn standing ovations and bravos that you were witness to, and report, is simply disingenuous.

In trying to understand where you are coming from, I listened to much of your musical samplings on your self-promotional website. I was really disapppointed in the level of your playing. By your commentary, I must admit, I expected something infinitely more refined and well played, and well, professional. However you play, and choose to self-promote is your choice, but I must admit, I become frustrated with someone like yourself. Perhaps you should consider the public, how it is you should teach them, ingratiate them, bring them on board, allow them to take part in music making, even at the simplest level, and then perhaps, you will begin to understand what it is I do, why the public attends, and why I hope at least some percentage leaves the theatre and goes online or to the record store to purchase a Chopin recording by Rubinstein, or Hoffman, or Rosenthal, etc et al...More importantly, you probably don't realize this, but you managed to insult an entire audience - including your world-famous scientist... and by the way - there were quite a few other musicians, and world renowned folks there that night. Your seat partner wasn't alone. I'll tolerate almost everything, but not insults hurled at my wise, thoughtful and generous audience.

The fact is, you won't kill the industry of classical music - but I hope you give your approach some thought as you continue to have an opportunity to bring even one more person into the fold through your reviews. And also, perhaps before trying your hand at humor, you should have a listen to some early Liberace before diminishing his accomplishment. He was capable of remarkable things at the keyboard, and while he made it into "showbizz" for whatever his reasons, you should know better than to try and minimize his remarkable basic keyboard abilities, abilities, which you do not possess.

Hershey Felder

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#979355 - 05/19/07 07:39 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Dear Hershey: Thank you SO very much for...

1) responding to a post I thought might upset you somewhat, but I should know you better by now. :rolleyes:

2) giving my opinion of Mr. Kroll's review some value. I just knew he was so far off, and I am very pleased that some of the "points" I raised were well-taken. (I could have mentioned more, obviously, but didn't want to give the man too much "screen time.")

3) last, but actually foremost...for putting the man in his place, so to speak, and sharing your letter to him with us. It was extremely well-written. You responded to each and every one of his negative comments with intelligence and dignity (something Mr. Kroll knows nothing of). \:D

Of course it comes as no news to me, but the fact that your deepest concern is for your audience is quite evident. It comes shining through all during your performance. That you hold them in the highest regard is the reason why you and your play/s are so enjoyable, highly valued and best of all, loved. \:\)

As an aside...I wanted to write in my original post on his review that the man didn't even know enough about Chopin to know that he always admonished his students to never touch the keys without washing their hands...thus the "Sudsy" remark. As I mentioned before, the whole review was written by a man who (well, stupid isn't nice) didn't know his facts.

And THANK YOU for your Liberace reference. Even though the man went over the top towards the end of his career, I actually thought he could play the piano quite well. But no one has ever agreed with me before! Aha!!

I can post the link to Mr. Knoll's review here, if you want me to. I think it would be humorous reading for us Chopinophiles. Let me know if it's O.K.

Otherwise, know your final performance in Seoul went as they always do!!

Take care and, again, thank you for taking the time and effort to write such an interesting and "wonderful" post.

Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979356 - 05/19/07 07:55 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Hershey88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/06
Posts: 149
Loc: France
Hey Kathleen - yes, thanks for your thought...

I wouldn't post the link. If someone really wants to see it, we have given all the information, so that it can easily be found. I don't really find him amusing, I find him rather sad, and not a good support for classical music, and for classical music audiences. I do really believe that he in a very small way is part of a much larger problem that affects classical music. With regard to the bigger picture - classical music as we know it, IS in trouble - the world is changing, and we have to do everything to bring our audiences together. Think of it this way - my personal perspective - I am a huge fan of Kissin. I have always loved his playing, I marvel at his keyboard mastery, and as someone who performs as much or more, I have a deep understanding of what kind of control is needed in front of a crowd. His control is simply unsurpassed - argue, one may with his interpretations or whatever, but his mastery of the instrument is unequalled, even by some of history's greats - at any rate - in ant given city - even large ones - he can draw - what five thousan, six thousand??? In cities of several million? These are scary numbers - not even a blip on the numbers scale - we have to do everything possible to make those numbers grow - and if telling the stories the way I do makes even one more person head to a Kissin concert because he'll be playing some Chopin - then i have done my job... in the meantime, M. Chopin sold 50,000 seats in chicago (the longest run...) twenty thousand in Boston, etc. etc - so it is working, now I just hope that folks will go to concerts as well. I do know that this has happened, because I have heard from some fans who were introduced to Chopin's life through M. Chopin, and now they are ardent followers of the world of pianists and Chopin.

\:\)

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#979357 - 05/19/07 09:04 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
I looked up the Kroll review, and I thought it was mean-spirited. I saw M. Chopin last year, and although I'm pretty snobby about my entertainment (I don't watch TV, rarely see a mainstream movie, etc.), I thought it was on a very high musical and intellectual level. (I also have a doctorate in music, FWIW.)

RE the two preludes I'm working on, I don't know what kind of grade I would give or get or whatever, but I have them both memorized and can play them fairly fluently. I do really need to get down to working on some details, and I also should listen to some recordings. (Any recommendations?) I love both of them, and working on them has made me want to learn as many more of the preludes as I can.
_________________________
Recovering cellist, amateur pianist.


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#979358 - 05/19/07 09:13 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
Hi Hersh:

Boy, you are fast.

Of course, we all agree that classical music is in trouble and has been for many, many years. I remember being so incensed when I read (years ago when I was about 15 or so) that The Supremes were getting something like $100,000 a performance and Rubinstein was getting, maybe $40,000 (remember this was years ago). I thought of the years and years and years of arduous study and training and practicing. hours... far too many to even imagine, that the likes of a Rubinstein or a Horowitz had endured and then to be "outdone" by 3 women who had little if any musical training (perhaps they sung in a church choir) and just got "lucky" to have the right sound at the right time. I remember voicing my outrage (yes, outrage) to anyone who would listen to me. Their response was usually a shrug of the shoulders. I think, even at that young age, I could see the writing on the wall.

I won't even get into the state of so-called popular music today; it's sickening, not to mention dangerous and, in many cases, demeaning to women and to society, in general, and to the young people who lap it up. If they only knew.

I have heard of and even listened to Kissin (he's LiztAddict's favorite) and to many more amazing young pianists. I recently attended a Beethoven Fesitival (his 5 piano concerti) performed by a wonderfully talented young man, Alon Goldenstein. Who has ever heard of him? No one, probably. Yet, his talent and the love and joy of the music he played just mesmerized the audience. And, guess what? The audience was filled with people my age. Where were the young people? I don't care to guess.

Thank you, dear, for making your chosen profession a way to help revive the love of and respect for classical music. And how it must seem so worth it all...to know that through your performances, Chopin has gained some fans. What could possibly be more rewarding?

I can't even guess how you manage to keep it fresh after so many thousands of times. Yet, you do. A tribute to your genius and to Chopin's.

Fondly,
Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979359 - 05/19/07 09:24 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4690
Loc: Illinois
PianoAgain: A doctorate in music! You are much too modest.

I am so pleased to learn you have them both memorized (again, green envy). Not really, just very happy for you and unhappy for me. "Miles to go before I sleep." \:\(

With your knowledge and talent (your recital piece was glorious), I would imagine learning all 24+ wouldn't be too much of a problem for you. \:D

My recording collection is quite paltry. I know others here can help you with some suggestions.

I'm sure Hersh will be pleased by your comments.

Regards,
Kathleen
_________________________
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

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#979360 - 05/19/07 09:34 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Hersh, if you're out there. I just watched Copying Beethoven on DVD. The whole time I was watching I was wondering how you're going to approach The Man. Care to comment on that, or the movie?
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#979361 - 05/19/07 10:48 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
Hershey88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/06
Posts: 149
Loc: France
Hi Piano again...what a nice thing to say...Kroll really isn't mean spirited, he just forgot about what music actually is - sheer joy for most of us. Sadly, he doesn't have much of a career - and we must remember (!!!) (In Kroll's voice) it's the STUPID AUDIENCE'S FAULT (!!!) for not really knowing what is quality and what isn't... (of course, I am being facetious... \:\)

Thank you for seeing the level of the performance - of course I believe that this is the case - as do many others who are out there working, seriously performing and bringing lots of joy to those of us who love music - but we all have enemies - back to Chopin - Rellstab...his review of Chopin is on my other computer - but it is vicious and shocking and terrible - that Rellstab was a real blowhard, a phony, a sort of do-nothing-well guy who had an opinion about everything, an opinion that was no higher valued than by himself - didn't stop people from reading, or talking about him, or giving him credit - and amazingly, he understood nothing at all about music - he was a terrible vicious moron, and hurt Chopin terribly. Chopin called him an idiot. Rellstab, today, is probably best remembered for coining the name "Moonlight Sonata" - and we all know how Beethoven hated those kinds of names - anyway - there are lots of these characters out there - and much as we must take them with a grain of salt, we don't - because as kind and generous people - we give others the benefit of the doubt... the difference in the end is that I would hate to be so unhappy as to have to make myself into someone or something by identifying all what is wrong with other people, on top of not doing anything for the world. In a word - Pheh... and that episode ends...

Now onto Frycek and Beethoven - yes, I am "out there..." WAY out there, still in Korea, last performance in a few hours... it is tomorrow for you... \:\) the food has been kind of stirring me up here, an abalone on my plate, and when a salad leaf touched it the little guy actually MOVED... (okay - back to Beethoven...enough of that - I need something like simple and COOKED...but i do love the people, very generous and kind...)

Anyway - Beethoven. So you watched Copying Beethoven... I understood the intention - but boy - that was a tough road to take - and one a bit roughly trodden...but that's the thing with artistic choices - better to actually make one and not quite succeed - than try nothing new at all...cudos to anyone who will take a shot at doing something new... movies are also tough - once shot, if the puzzle can't be assembled into something that really works - then it is much too expensive to reshoot, rewrite - not the same of theatre - Frycek and Kathleen can attest to the deepening of character of MC from the recording - that was just teh beginning, and I still have ways to go - even though I won't trot out some of the more questionable past research (not my own) in the future (for Frycek... \:\) Even though the questionable research is part of real Chopin lore...

Anyway - my approach to Beethoven - aha - this is a bit of a secret - but what I decided to do was to go in a completely unqeustionable way and to dramatize a real and reliable document of the period - thereby, creating a character that is actually a TRUE first person account of the man himself...

I am quite excited about the whole thing - very excited - it may turn out to be the strongest dramatic work of the lot because of what happens... I can hardly wait to get working on rehearsal - which will happen in LA when I start the lengthy Gershwin and CHopin runs in a few weeks...

so - stay tuned to what happens here - and please always ask me questions - truth is, I don't want to give away the B. story because I want you guys to be surprised with what happens as well - that's part of the fun If you know what's coming, I'm afraid I would ruin it for you. It's a little known story that is actually stunning in its final analysis...

So - off to work this am... and maybe avoid the buckets of fresh eels jumping about in their little plastic basins in front of the restaurants on my way to the theatre - this to show the customers, that indeed, the eels are FRESH!

\:\) \:\) \:\)

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#979362 - 05/19/07 11:51 PM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2895
Loc: Florida
I am so glad to hear that a major professional pianist like Hershey is also a Kissin fan.

Kissin's recording of 2 Chopin piano concerti in 1984 (when he was 12) and his video "The gift of music" played a significant role in my come back to the piano 6 years ago.

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#979363 - 05/20/07 07:41 AM Re: Just for those totally devoted to Chopin
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
It's so fascinating to read here about the review of M.Chopin and Hershey's response. I do think Mr. Kroll's attitude is one that alienates the public from classical music, and he probably doesn't intend that. His attitude is a variation on "holier than thou," maybe something like "more knowledgeable/talented/cultured than thou." I think it's a sadly common attitude among the conservatory graduates I've run into. I wonder sometimes if the tendency to criticize one's peers is because there's no real way to compare one pianist to another. So if a pianist is getting praise or audiences or sales--some common ways to measure success--other pianists, ones without a strong sense of their innate worth, will make less of this type of success to deflect from their own concerns about their ability.

I don't mean to over-analyze this poor Kroll fellow; it's just that I recently had a conversation with a very arrogant pianist who said similar things about a performance to what Kroll did about M. Chopin, so it is on my mind. On the other hand, I know plenty of pianists who are happy for the success of any musician, feeling it only adds to the collective success of his field (maybe drawing the line at "Shacking up with Chopin"!)

Hershey's comment about the abalone makes me wonder how in the world traveling musicians and actors can stay at a high level of art while adjusting to different foods, cultures, germs, time zones, etc. I can barely play the piano well in my own home after a full night's sleep in my own bed! I'm glad they do it so I can enjoy their talents, but I sure am glad not to have to do it myself!

By the way, I have just started a lovely Chopin Waltz. I'll post some recordings when I get it listen-able.

Pianoagain, I am also impressed by your doctorate. (after Kathleen's joke, I did not tell you how lucky you were to have it!) What area of music is it in?

Nancy
_________________________

Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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