Are there fewer great pianists these days?

Posted by: netizen

Are there fewer great pianists these days? - 09/17/02 02:02 PM

In a reply to Martin Kettles' complaint, appearing in The Guardian, about the relatively boring performances served up by pianists nowadays (posted in an earlier thread started by AndrewG), Susan Tomes (pianist in the Florestan Trio) scratches out an interesting reply. She makes some interesting points, but is not, imo, entirely convincing. Brief excerpt:

"A live concert these days often serves just to back up what one already knows of a player through their recordings. Players themselves are conscious that they are known through their recordings and have to be recognisably like that: a vicious circle of "high standards" is created, which keeps out innovation."

Read the rest of it Online Here

Cheers, N
Posted by: Nina

Re: Are there fewer great pianists these days? - 09/17/02 06:27 PM

Hmmm, I just briefly glanced through the Guardian piece and I agree, it is interesting.

One thing I have often wondered is how much latitude an audience will give a performer to interpret a piece in their own way. For instance, if one grew up hearing Rubinstein's version of the Chopin Ballades (true enough in my case), will one be uncomfortable and/or unappreciative if hearing another pianist who doesn't play them in the same way? ... and is it even possible to reproduce a studio performance (cutting, splicing and other studio magic) on stage?

I suspect that audiences may have difficulty when the performance doesn't "match" their expectations from their latest CD. (And, BTW, I think those of us with multiple versions of the same music played by different musicians are a tiny minority...).

... And, giving the competition for increasingly fewer concert-goers and classical music buyers, perhaps it's just too risky for many of today's performers to try anything new?

Nina