ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition)

Posted by: JoelW

ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 06:30 PM

At 9:25 in this video Bunin doesn't play the octave in the left hand. Instead, he leaves out the lower end of the octave to play the bottom note of the right hand's chord with his left thumb so that he can play a block-staccato chord in the right hand after the grace note. So... is he actually cheating or is there some edition where the left hand octave isn't an octave after all?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8X1Rs_LNeQ#t=9m23s
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 06:50 PM

I had to listen and watch and listen and watch several times to see and to understand exactly what he's doing there -- and I never really did. What made it hard to figure out is that besides the fact that he's doing something unusual, it's something that I think is out of line with what's there. I can't begin to judge or even think of whether it's a "cheat," because of my dislike of it which got in the way of my being able to absorb what he does. The only way I even have any approximate idea of it is from your describing it.

Obviously, as with the Horowitz thing on the scale in the Chopin Polonaise, he's going after a certain effect. But I think it's an effect that seems contrary to anything suggested by what Chopin wrote -- the expanded chord in the R.H. with an indicated "roll," which is a completely different effect than what Bunin does. If there's any cheat involved, I think he's cheating himself. smile

BTW, nice job noticing it, and being able to describe it as you did!
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 06:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
I had to listen and watch and listen and watch several times to see and to understand exactly what he's doing there. What made it hard to figure out is that besides the fact that he's doing something unusual, he's doing something which is out of line with what the basic music is.

So, I can't begin to judge or even think of whether it's a "cheat," because I think what he's doing there stinks. grin
Really. Literally stinks, or as literally as something without odor can stink. And really I never did figure out exactly what he's doing in terms of the notes, because the nature of what he's doing kept getting in the way of my being able to absorb it. The only way I have any approximate idea of what he's doing is because of your describing it.

Obviously, as with the Horowitz thing on the scale in the Chopin Polonaise, he's going after a certain effect. But it's an effect that I dislike and which seems contrary to anything suggested by what Chopin wrote. If there's any cheat involved, I think he's cheating himself. smile


C'mon mark... that's no excuse. Give it a few more listens and WATCH his hands. smile

If in fact he is doing what I described, which I'm 99% sure he is, one would think the judges would've punished him for it. And yet he won...



Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 07:00 PM

Anyone who wants to see what I originally wrote before I softened it ha you can look up here.

Originally Posted By: JoelW
If in fact he is doing what I described, which I'm 99% sure he is, one would think the judges would've punished him for it. And yet he won...

I think any punishment wouldn't have been because of it being a modification of the score, but because they disliked the modification.

Maybe they disliked it, maybe they didn't. But if they did, they liked enough else that he did. And I imagine I would have too.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 07:24 PM

I find it inconceivable that any judge would think any change like this was worth more than one second of thought in terms of how they judged the performance. It's inconceivable that something like this had any effect on the outcome of the competition. Just plain silly IMO.

An extreme example of making something out of nothing. In the hundreds of master classes I have attended the teachers never discuss anything like this. This and the "Horowitz omitted 2 notes thread" are the equivalent of focusing on one grain of sand when looking at an entire beach.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 07:49 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I find it inconceivable that any judge would think any change like this was worth more than one second of thought in terms of how they judged the performance. It's inconceivable that something like this had any effect on the outcome of the competition. Just plain silly IMO.

An extreme example of making something out of nothing. In the hundreds of master classes I have attended the teachers never discuss anything like this. This and the "Horowitz omitted 2 notes thread" are the equivalent of focusing on one grain of sand when looking at an entire beach.


I don't think it's that farfetched. When you change the score itself to be able to play in an unorthodox way, that's worth a little thought. No? But I don't think the judges would have even known that he manipulated the score at that spot because there's no way they could have actually seen his hands. (unless they looked at the video, but I'm pretty sure they would have graded the performance long before they ever had a chance to view footage)
Posted by: BruceD

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 07:50 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
[...]
An extreme example of making something out of nothing. In the hundreds of master classes I have attended the teachers never discuss anything like this. This and the "Horowitz omitted 2 notes thread" are the equivalent of focusing on one grain of sand when looking at an entire beach.


Or, to be totally clich├ęd: unable to see the forest for the trees.

Regards,
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 08:00 PM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I find it inconceivable that any judge would think any change like this was worth more than one second of thought in terms of how they judged the performance. It's inconceivable that something like this had any effect on the outcome of the competition. Just plain silly IMO.

An extreme example of making something out of nothing. In the hundreds of master classes I have attended the teachers never discuss anything like this. This and the "Horowitz omitted 2 notes thread" are the equivalent of focusing on one grain of sand when looking at an entire beach.


I don't think it's that farfetched. When you change the score itself to be able to play in an unorthodox way, that's worth a little thought. No? But I don't think the judges would have even known that he manipulated the score at that spot because there's no way they could have actually seen his hands. (unless they looked at the video, but I'm pretty sure they would have graded the performance long before they ever had a chance to view footage)
You're looking at one grain of sand on a very big beach.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 09:44 PM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
....I don't think the judges would have even known that he manipulated the score at that spot because there's no way they could have actually seen his hands.....

You're not realizing how different the sound and the concept are from what's written. You don't need to see the hands to realize that something screwy is going on.

It's a very different impression.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 09:48 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
An extreme example of making something out of nothing.

Translation: You don't relate to what some of us talk about. smile

It's not about whether something is something or not, just what is meaningful to you or not, and perhaps what you understand.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/29/13 10:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: JoelW
....I don't think the judges would have even known that he manipulated the score at that spot because there's no way they could have actually seen his hands.....

You're not realizing how different the sound and the concept are from what's written. You don't need to see the hands to realize that something screwy is going on.

It's a very different impression.


Yeah, you're right. After all that is how I noticed it...

How can you dislike it so much? I LOVE it! grin
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 12:33 AM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
...one would think the judges would've punished him for it. And yet he won..


Judges reward musicianship. They don't punish a lack of pedantry.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 12:39 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: JoelW
...one would think the judges would've punished him for it. And yet he won..


Judges reward musicianship. They don't punish a lack of pedantry.

Oy!
You think it's pedantry?

What he does changes the music. It goes against a key aspect of the phrase. Not every liberty does; most probably don't. This does.

Although I do understand that's subjective. smile
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 12:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: JoelW
...one would think the judges would've punished him for it. And yet he won..


Judges reward musicianship. They don't punish a lack of pedantry.


Oh yeah? What about the Pogorelich incident? His playing was incredibly musical and he put his all into each of those performances, yet he was too unorthodox for half of the jury and he paid for it.
Posted by: daviel

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 01:32 AM

Maybe the technical term is "workaround"
Posted by: stores

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 03:45 AM

Originally Posted By: JoelW


Oh yeah? What about the Pogorelich incident? His playing was incredibly musical and he put his all into each of those performances, yet he was too unorthodox for half of the jury and he paid for it.


I don't think the fact that Pogo was "too unorthodox" had anything to do with the outcome of that comp.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 04:31 AM

Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: JoelW


Oh yeah? What about the Pogorelich incident? His playing was incredibly musical and he put his all into each of those performances, yet he was too unorthodox for half of the jury and he paid for it.


I don't think the fact that Pogo was "too unorthodox" had anything to do with the outcome of that comp.


It's not really a matter of opinion here. There's a reason it turned into a big incident and not just another pianist who was cut from the competition. He was eccentric and unorthodox. His playing was totally unique and the jury was divided basically into two sides: those who hated him and those who completely praised him. It had everything to do with the outcome.
Posted by: Thrill Science

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 08:42 PM

It's all about the sound. If it sounds good, it doesn't matter what his hands were doing.

I wouldn't call this "cheating" if he knew how to control the piano such that the interpretation sounded good.

It's not like he's doping! (At least we hope he isn't!)
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 10:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Thrill Science
I wouldn't call this "cheating" if he knew how to control the piano such that the interpretation sounded good.

Absolutely!

But how about if you and others chime in on whether it "sounded good"?

I'm saying it doesn't, and not by a long shot. For sure I'm biased by knowing what the score says and what that indicates, and what goes fairly against it, which this does -- so I don't know what I'd think about how this sounds if not for that.

I imagine that some of you are familiar with the score and with how this part 'usually' sounds, and some aren't particularly. But forget that. I'd be interested in what anyone thinks of how this sounds. We've had comments on cheating or not cheating, pedantry or not pedantry, what judges might or might not think, but nobody but Joel and I have said anything about how we think it sounds, either in its own right or compared to the more usual.

I think that either way, it sounds assss. smile
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 10:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Thrill Science
I wouldn't call this "cheating" if he knew how to control the piano such that the interpretation sounded good.

Absolutely!

But how about if you and others chime in on whether it "sounded good"?

I'm saying it doesn't, and not by a long shot. For sure I'm biased by knowing what the score says and what that indicates, and what goes fairly against it, which this does -- so I don't know what I'd think about how this sounds if not for that.

I imagine that some of you are familiar with the score and with how this part 'usually' sounds, and some aren't particularly. But forget that. I'd be interested in what anyone thinks of how this sounds. We've had comments on cheating or 'not cheating, pedantry or not pedantry, but not much on how people think it sounds, either in its own right or compared to the more usual.


I think it sounds infinitely better than the usual. In fact, I think if Chopin had heard it played like that he would have changed the score without hesitation. It's THAT good. (imo of course...)

Quote:

I think that either way, it sounds assss. smile


Uh... what? lol

Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 10:13 PM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
....I think if Chopin had heard it played like that he would have changed the score without hesitation. It's THAT good....

I'd think that was arrogant if not that I used to think things like that. ha

If Chopin thought of something completely different and not that thing, it was for a reason. smile
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 10:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: JoelW
....I think if Chopin had heard it played like that he would have changed the score without hesitation. It's THAT good....

I'd think that was arrogant if not that I used to think things like that. ha

If Chopin thought of something completely different and not that thing, it was for a reason. smile


I don't think it's fair to say that. I highly doubt that Chopin actually thought of the 'Bunin version' and turned it down. I don't think that idea ever came to him in the first place. I DO however think that even Chopin was just a human. wink
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 10:36 PM

Mark, have you listened to the entire performance?
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 01/30/13 10:43 PM

I said judges don't punish a lack of pedantry. That's different than deliberately antagonistic eccentricity. (Which is what Pogo seems to revel in.)
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/01/13 01:34 AM

You know... one could cheat on those thirds trills in the coda. Instead of taking it 13/24 like normal thirds trills, take it 14/23.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/01/13 03:00 AM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
You know... one could cheat on those thirds trills in the coda. Instead of taking it 13/24 like normal thirds trills, take it 14/23.

Please tell us you're joking.

Neither is more 'honest' than the other. smile

But what about if we played notes with our nose -- is that kosher? ha

BTW, I did in "The Alcotts" of Ives' Concord Sonata (on a chord near the end) -- and nobody ever noticed, except the people who were already in on it.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/01/13 03:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: JoelW
You know... one could cheat on those thirds trills in the coda. Instead of taking it 13/24 like normal thirds trills, take it 14/23.

Please tell us you're joking.

Neither is more 'honest' than the other. smile



But one is a HECK of a lot harder!
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/01/13 09:09 PM

An easy trill fingering is 1-3, 2-5. I don't remember if I listened to this whole performance, but I'm not the biggest fan of Bunin - some pieces are great, others are just plain weird. His tone also sounds very boxy in some of the Chopin competition videos.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/01/13 09:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
An easy trill fingering is 1-3, 2-5. I don't remember if I listened to this whole performance, but I'm not the biggest fan of Bunin - some pieces are great, others are just plain weird. His tone also sounds very boxy in some of the Chopin competition videos.


Care to elaborate?
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/01/13 09:46 PM

Great = Fantasie Impromptu, parts of the 4th ballade.
Weird - Revolutionary etude. Where's the dynamic contrast? Heroic Polonaise - why is everything so perky and staccato?
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/01/13 10:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Great = Fantasie Impromptu, parts of the 4th ballade.
Weird - Revolutionary etude. Where's the dynamic contrast? Heroic Polonaise - why is everything so perky and staccato?


There's nothing abnormal about his etude's dynamics. It's all there.

As for the polonaise, that I understand. I guess it's a matter of taste. I love his polonaise. I can't even listen to others' renditions anymore. They're all so overly done with rubato. It spoils the piece.
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/02/13 12:00 PM

He doesn't respect the "piano" markings, but instead just plays forte all the way through. Like it works in a live performance, but if you listen to it a few times it gets a bit monotonous.

Just FYI, my favourite interpretation of the 4th scherzo is by Richter, who makes it sparkle like nobody else.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF0orKWbP-c
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/02/13 12:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
He doesn't respect the "piano" markings, but instead just plays forte all the way through. Like it works in a live performance, but if you listen to it a few times it gets a bit monotonous.

Just FYI, my favourite interpretation of the 4th scherzo is by Richter, who makes it sparkle like nobody else.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF0orKWbP-c


sick Sorry...
Posted by: Damon

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/02/13 01:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Great = Fantasie Impromptu, parts of the 4th ballade.
Weird - Revolutionary etude. Where's the dynamic contrast? Heroic Polonaise - why is everything so perky and staccato?


Agreed, on all counts! I would add that the polonaise is nearly unbearable.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/02/13 01:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano

Just FYI, my favourite interpretation of the 4th scherzo is by Richter, who makes it sparkle like nobody else...

Ashkenazy's earlier Decca recording is quite nifty also.

And try Godowsky. He is very special:
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/02/13 01:49 PM

Thanks!
I didn't know we even had any recordings of his, even though I'm a big fan of those old-old recordings.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/02/13 07:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Great = Fantasie Impromptu, parts of the 4th ballade.
Weird - Revolutionary etude. Where's the dynamic contrast? Heroic Polonaise - why is everything so perky and staccato?


Agreed, on all counts! I would add that the polonaise is nearly unbearable.


You know, he won 'best polonaise' award.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/02/13 11:24 PM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
You know, he won 'best polonaise' award.

Well, I don't think it would have won "best polonaise" at the amateur Chopin competition there. ha
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/02/13 11:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: JoelW
You know, he won 'best polonaise' award.

Well, I don't think it would have won "best polonaise" at the amateur Chopin competition there. ha


I don't get it.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/02/13 11:50 PM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
I don't get it.

Good for you -- because it's just stupid. grin


And what's stupider is that I really think it's not as good as some of the polonaise performances at the amateur Chopin competitions. ha

And this isn't a first.
While I realize that most people would indeed think this is just stupid, and that it's ridiculous to think otherwise, and heck, they could be right ha
.....a couple of years ago, our guy fuzzy8balls posted a recording of himself playing the Op. 22, and another member who thought it needed a lot of improvement posted a couple of recordings of it from the Chopin competition, for him to use as models. I thought fuzzy's was already better, in the sense of being more interesting, more in the feeling of a polonaise, and more distinctive, which for me trumped things like little flaws here and there.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/02/13 11:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I don't get it.

Good for you -- because it's just stupid. grin


And what's stupider is that I really think it's not as good as some of the polonaise performances at the amateur Chopin competitions. ha

And this isn't a first.
While I realize that most people would indeed think this is just stupid, and that it's ridiculous to think otherwise, and heck, they could be right ha
.....a couple of years ago, our guy fuzzy8balls posted a recording of himself playing the Op. 22, and another member who thought it needed a lot of improvement posted a couple of recordings of it from the Chopin competition, for him to use as models. I thought fuzzy's was already better, in the sense of being more interesting, more in the feeling of a polonaise, and more distinctive, which for me trumped things like little flaws here and there.


Bunin's polonaise... whistle
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/03/13 12:00 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C


And what's stupider is that I really think it's not as good as some of the polonaise performances at the amateur Chopin competitions. ha



I agree, this is stupid. grin
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/03/13 01:54 AM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
I agree, this is stupid. grin

Seems pretty safe. ha
Posted by: wower

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/03/13 02:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Judges reward musicianship. They don't punish a lack of pedantry.


QFT
Posted by: Damon

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/03/13 06:44 AM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Great = Fantasie Impromptu, parts of the 4th ballade.
Weird - Revolutionary etude. Where's the dynamic contrast? Heroic Polonaise - why is everything so perky and staccato?


Agreed, on all counts! I would add that the polonaise is nearly unbearable.


You know, he won 'best polonaise' award.


Good for him. I won't ever listen to it again. I've never heard a performance of it that I liked less.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/03/13 06:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Damon

Good for him. I won't ever listen to it again. I've never heard a performance of it that I liked less.


Hehehe...
Posted by: SlatterFan

Re: ACTUAL cheating? (scherzo 4, Chopin competition) - 02/04/13 06:15 PM

Joel, thanks for sharing that performance. I don't feel as strongly as Mark_C, perhaps because I see that moment as being one of several weird moments! Bunin's playing comes across as full of warmth and heart, with plenty of sensitivity along with some choices that strike me as weird. I like that he *really* has the technique to do what he wants with the piece, and I think there are relatively few pianists who could claim that. He also mostly produces a large tone without banging unpleasantly.

Onto the weird bits... in several places Bunin opts for a detached sound where Chopin (and the music itself I feel) call for more fluidity. For example, right at measure 9 there is Ped. marked with the low staccato B, but Bunin plays without pedal there, and at every similar place throughout the piece. He fairly bounces off measure 151 (the D sharps in the treble that are written as lasting for six beats with ten. for good measure!!!) - pretty radical changes. I'm sure he had his reasons, but... hmmm. I also don't think he integrates some of the later details well, for example, the octaves from measure 614 sound more like a new idea interrupting another rather than organic impetuosity. And measures 752? He almost seems to get quieter at the end, rather than the ingenious 'crescendo within a chord' effect. I do like the performance as a whole though, honestly.

P.S. Is it just me, or does anyone else see measure 28 and similar as having written-out grace notes, 'enforced' in this case as occurring on the beat? I would play the initial quarter note slightly quicker than its strict metronomic value, to give the grace note feel.