2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread

Posted by: Brendan

2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/19/09 09:28 AM

The 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

Please use this thread for all discussion related to the competition, as per our 2005 Megathread. This includes: reviews, predictions, discussion on the performers and their repertoire, pictures, complaints about parking, etc.


FAQ

When and where is this competition?
It takes place in Bass Hall in Fort Worth, TX from May 22nd - June 7th. We're all interested to hear "live" reports from any PW people who live in Texas or will be at the competition. For a complete schedule, click HERE.


Who are the performers and how many times will I have to sit through the Liszt Sonata?
Find a complete list of the contestants and their repertoire, click HERE. A few people from the last competition made the cut again this year, and it will be interesting to see how far they get.

...and that's potentially five performances of the Liszt Sonata you're looking at.


Where's the live stream? I want to make fun of people who have memory lapses!
You can watch it HERE. Download their application (make sure your system matches the specs at the bottom of the page) and you're good to go.

ALSO, you can listen (audio only) via KTCU's stream: http://www.ktcu.tcu.edu/


What's at stake, aside from internet stardom?
The winner receives three years of management (covering travel), a CD recording, and a $20k prize. Read all about the prizes HERE. While the Cliburn's first prize cash award isn't as high as some others (the Cleveland Competition awards a $50k first prize), the concert schedule it awards is more extensive.


These competitions are so arbitrary! My favorite competitor was eliminated after the first round!
Yes, they are, and many wonderful pianists didn't even make it past the screening round this time. However, sometimes people who DON'T win end up getting more exposure than those who do. Examples from previous editions of the Cliburn - Naida Cole and Frederic Chiu. Although Cole is now a doctor, she had a substantial career after being eliminated from the competition in 1997. Chiu, of course, is a legend. For this year's competition, read about the panel of judges HERE.


I want to read reviews and find out what kind of food and which movies each competitor likes!
Well, stop wasting time and click HERE before anyone else does!


That's about it. I'll start off the discussion with my own prediction for this year's results:

1st Prize - Stephen Beus
2nd Prize - Spencer Myer
3rd Prize - Ran Dank or Soyeon Lee

Other finalists: Di Wu, Evgeni Bozhanov, Haochen Zhang
Posted by: Drunk3nFist

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/19/09 07:02 PM

I wish I had near the ability to take part in the Van Cliburn Competition. The youngest competitors aren't far off my age and their repertoire is extraordinary!
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/19/09 09:32 PM

Actually, I count up to 7 (EDIT: 6 now that Yue Chu has withdrawn) potential performances of the Liszt Sonata (4 prelim, 2 semis, and 1 final round). The next most popular are Gaspard de la Nuit with 6, the Bach/Busoni Chaconne with 5, and a tie between the Barber Sonata, Chopin's 3rd Sonata, Haydn's C Major Hob. 50, Liszt's Spanish Rhapsody, Schubert's Sonata D. 958, and Stravinsky's Trois Mouvements de Petroushka at 4.

Only three competitors have the Rach 2 (Sonata) programmed, putting it at the same level as the Hammerklavier, Chopin's G Minor Ballade, and Takemitsu's Raintree Sketch I (!) among many others.

Other interesting statistics:

-Besides the commissioned works, I count 6 living composers whose work could potentially be heard: Pierre Boulez(Douze Notations), Elliot Carter(Catènaires), John Corigliano(Etude Fantasy), Nikolai Kapustin(Sonata #1), Aaron Jay Kernis (Superstar Etude #2), and Carl Vine (Sonata #1, twice).

-Di Wu's programming of a Clara Schumann Mazurka is the only selected work by a female composer in the whole competition.

-27 of the (now 29) competitors have at least one work which is unique to them and not performed by anyone else--Sorry Michail Lifitz and Ilya Rachkovskiy.

-Derek Bermel has a $2,500 bet riding on Victor Stanislavsky making the semis, as he's the only competitor to choose Bermel's 'turning'.

-Vassilis Varvaresos wins my 'gutsy' award with a selection opening with the Moonlight Sonata in the prelims and closing with Islamey in the finals.

Is there a way of attaching spreadsheets to posts here? I have a list of works by composer that I'd like to stick on here but am not sure how.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/19/09 10:14 PM

i will be watching Evgeni Bozhanov, who won Richter competition last year (2nd prize with no 1st prize), my teacher told me about him then.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/20/09 09:03 AM

Final Round

Beethoven’s 1st – 1
Beethoven’s 2nd – 1
Beethoven’s 3rd – 6
Beethoven’s 4th – 6
Brahms’ 1st – 2
Chopin’s 1st – 2
Chopin’s 2nd – 6
Liszt’s 1st – 1
Mendelssohn’s 1st – 2
Mozart’s 20th – 4
Mozart’s 27th – 1
Prokofiev’s 1st – 2
Prokofiev’s 2nd – 5
Prokofiev’s 3rd – 3
Rachmaninoff’s 1st – 1
Rachmaninoff’s 2nd – 3
Rachmaninoff’s 3rd – 2
Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody – 2
Ravel’s 1st – 1
Tchaikovsky’s 1st – 7

Is it sad that I'm surprised by only 2 performances of Rachmaninoff's D minor? The surprise concerto for me is Beethoven's 3rd.

Daniel
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/20/09 09:13 AM

Originally Posted By: kcostell

Is there a way of attaching spreadsheets to posts here? I have a list of works by composer that I'd like to stick on here but am not sure how.


http://docs.google.com
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/20/09 09:24 AM

Also interesting,

Quote:
With regret, pianist Yue Chu has had to withdraw from the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition four days before Preliminary Round begins, due to a pinched nerve.

That's unfortunate.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/20/09 09:36 AM

What are the top 4-6 competitions in the world in terms of "importance"? Can they be ranked in order?

I'm guessing Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Van Cliburn, Queen Elizabeth in no particular order.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/20/09 09:54 AM

I wonder what the percent of pianists that were Asian born or Asian descent was at the first Cliburn ccmpetition? It is 50% of the original list for this year's Cliburn.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/20/09 11:20 AM

I'm continually impressed by Italy, a country the size of Arizona, who consistently sends 2-3 pianists to the Van Cliburn every time, and they often do very well (Cabassi, Plano, Pompa-Baldi).
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/20/09 07:05 PM

While reading the participant bios I was astounded to find that one was blind since birth. I have never heard of a blind pianist reaching this level(I believe Tatum had some sight and wasn't blind since birth).

Are there Braille music books? Even if yes, it would seem almost beyond belief to be able to learn so much complicated music this way. And of course there's the problem of not being able to see the keys even in the most difficult passages.

Has anyone heard of any completely blind pianist who has reached the level of being able to be a Cliburn participant?
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/20/09 07:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I'm continually impressed by Italy, a country the size of Arizona, who consistently sends 2-3 pianists to the Van Cliburn every time, and they often do very well (Cabassi, Plano, Pompa-Baldi).



Well, it may be the size of Arizona, but it has the population of California and New York together. Impressive nonetheless, but not quite like Arizona sending a steady stream.
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/21/09 12:55 AM

I've posted a spreadsheet with the repertoire list sorted by composer, along with links to (mostly IMSLP) sheet music for each piece in the public domain.

Thanks to Brendan for the Google Docs suggestion
Posted by: JBB_Piano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/21/09 01:07 AM

Very little Mozart, comparatively little Chopin (only one ballade, no scherzos, and no Grande Polonaise), usually more perform the Brahms Paganini Variations...and some surprising popular choices such as the Beethoven Op. 106, Schumann Davidsbundlertanze (and one competitor playing the Schumann Sonata #3 which is almost never performed).
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/21/09 03:24 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I wonder what the percent of pianists that were Asian born or Asian descent was at the first Cliburn ccmpetition? It is 50% of the original list for this year's Cliburn.


You can get a list of the competitors at each competition at the Cliburn site. I count 3 each from Japan and Korea (out of 46 total) at the first competition.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/21/09 07:52 AM

Originally Posted By: kcostell
I've posted a spreadsheet with the repertoire list sorted by composer, along with links to (mostly IMSLP) sheet music for each piece in the public domain.


Neat spreadsheet, thanks for posting that.

Playing order posted:

http://cliburn.org/index.php?page=news_detail&newsID=96&rtn=newsroom
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/21/09 10:54 AM

Drei Davidsbundlertanzen????? Cool!
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/21/09 02:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Drei Davidsbundlertanzen????? Cool!


VERY COOL INDEED!!!!
Posted by: bplary1300

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/21/09 02:47 PM

I've got my money on Beus smile
Posted by: Loki

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/21/09 04:03 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
What are the top 4-6 competitions in the world in terms of "importance"? Can they be ranked in order?

I'm guessing Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Van Cliburn, Queen Elizabeth in no particular order.


Queen Elizabeth seems out of place there. What about Leeds or Hamamatsu?
Posted by: sophial

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/21/09 11:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I'm continually impressed by Italy, a country the size of Arizona, who consistently sends 2-3 pianists to the Van Cliburn every time, and they often do very well (Cabassi, Plano, Pompa-Baldi).



Well, it may be the size of Arizona, but it has the population of California and New York together. Impressive nonetheless, but not quite like Arizona sending a steady stream.


and it has an artistic and musical history and culture second to none! (need we list off the names of the composers, musicians, artists and works of art (culinary art too!) Italy has given us?
Bellissima!

Sophia
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 08:25 AM

Well, I've bookmarked the live webcast url and can't wait for the competition to begin. I am pulling for both Stephen Beus and Spencer Meyer. Both are terrific musicians.
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 12:14 PM

If you're on a slow connection or the webcast turns out to have connection troubles, another option is the audio-only stream at KTCU (assuming it doesn't get preempted by TCU baseball again).
Posted by: rrb

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 12:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I'm continually impressed by Italy, a country the size of Arizona, who consistently sends 2-3 pianists to the Van Cliburn every time, and they often do very well (Cabassi, Plano, Pompa-Baldi).


Not sure why this is surprising given Italy's pianistic tradition cf. Arturo Benedetti Michelaneli, Maurizio Pollini

Perhaps you were referring indirectly to the absence of competitors from other countries of similar size? The UK, for example. Or Spain, or Scandinavia. And I believe it is a while since there has been no competitor from Latin America.
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 02:01 PM

Am I missing something regarding the login/password on the cliburn.tv site? Cliburn.org claims that "no registration is required"...

EDIT: It seems to be working now
Posted by: opus119

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 02:26 PM

The volume is certainly low. I have my speakers turned up full-blast and all of the other sound icons to max, and it's still not loud enough.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 03:02 PM

Thanks for this link!

Daniel
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 03:13 PM

The webcast worked great for the first performance, but for all intents and purposes died out during the interview with Kudritskaya (it won't last more than 5 seconds without stopping). Is anyone else having trouble with this?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 03:23 PM

For the first competitor the picture and music seemed to work, but when Beus started the music and video stop and start every 10 seconds. I also couldn't get any sound from the local radio station.

Is there anything I can do?? I don't know much about computers!
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 03:26 PM

The KTCU feed seems to be working for me (you may need to have Windows Media Player or some similar software installed on your computer). If you're not getting any sound from it, maybe try closing all open programs before opening your browser, or accessing it from a different browser (I'm using Chrome right now).
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 03:35 PM

It's working OK now. Why? I don't know.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 03:41 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
For the first competitor the picture and music seemed to work, but when Beus started the music and video stop and start every 10 seconds. I also couldn't get any sound from the local radio station.

Is there anything I can do?? I don't know much about computers!




If you have a slow internet connection, these are the classic symptoms. smile
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 03:43 PM

try to reboot your computer, which was what i did and everything is fine after that.
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 03:48 PM

I loved Beus' English Suite. I don't remember seeing a couple of the ornaments he used in the CPE Bach book, though. smile
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 04:18 PM

I had never heard Beus play before, but I can see why he is the favorite of some. I've only heard a few performances of the Spanish Rhapsody(Kissen in his NYC recital debut for one) and I thought Beus' was phenomenal. I have never heard the Spanish Rhapsody sound like such a great piece of music, which I guess it can with such supervituosity combined with musicality. What has sounded to me before like mostly a display piece came across as a masterpiece.

I don't know if it was the camera angle on the close ups, but Beus seemed to have enormous hands. He also seemed to play with great joy... something like watching Katsaris.

I was following the IMSLP score and the ending of the Rhapsody Beus played was different. Was it his own ending or someone else's ending or...?
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 04:37 PM

That was a weird performance by Beus...the parts I was sure I was going to love (the Barber Fugue and Spanish Rhapsody) seemed a bit too rushed, while those I were worried about (the Bach suite, the opening of the Barber) were brilliant.

Kudritskaya was amazing once she got past her nerves at the opening of the Chopin. I especially liked the unity she brought to the 2nd and last movements of the Chopin, and how she brought out the melodies in Ondine and the Funeral March.


Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 05:13 PM

What was the last piece on Kunz's program? The listing on the web page seems completely wrong for his prelim recital.
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 05:18 PM

That was Ran Dank, and the last piece was Reminisces de Norma. Kunz isn't on until tonight.
Posted by: EMR

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 08:55 PM

The tally so far today for Van Cliburn preliminary round piano choices: (out of 3 pianos: Cliburn Foundation's New York Steinway D, Cliburn Foundation's Hamburg Steinway D, and another NY D sent in by Steinway).

1- Natacha Kudritskaya: Cliburn Foundation's NY Steinway
2- Stephen Beus: Cliburn Foundation's Hamburg
3- Ran Dank: Cliburn Foundation's NY Steinway
4- Chetan Tierra: the other NY Steinway

I'm listening to Chetan Tierra right now on the webcast, and must say I really like this particular NY Steinway. It sounds like a mix between the classic NY Steinway and classic Hamburg sound-- clear and slightly bright like a Hamburg in the upper registers, but still with that New York warmth and richness in the bass. (It's also distinct in that it's ebony polish like the Hamburg instead of satin.)

Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 08:58 PM

How do you get the info about piano selection?
I am listening to Tierra now. I caught dank's Norma and enjoyed it a great deal.
Posted by: EMR

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 09:00 PM

I've watched all of the webcasts and Steve Cummings, the announcer, always says beforehand which piano the performer is using.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 09:32 PM

Standing ovation for Chetan Tierra! Great Ginastera1
Thanks EMR.
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 09:39 PM

Just tuned in for the first time and saw Tierra's performance (missed all others so far). Very good quality of the webcast (both audio and video). I enjoyed his performance (though given it's 3:30am local time here any fine details certainly slipped my attention). The Paganini book 1 was fun to watch, very clean but at the same time very energetic. The finale of the Ginastera looks like some nasty octave stuff (very well done as well) smile
P.S. The background videos on the performers are also quite good.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 09:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Standing ovation for Chetan Tierra! Great Ginastera1
Thanks EMR.


Agreed. I caught most of it. The Ginastera was exciting!

Are there programs available anywhere?
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 09:56 PM

click on the contestant from 'Competitors' page, you'd see what he's playing in each round.

i never heard or knew Chetan Tierra, but i have to say that his Paganini variations was very good.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 10:22 PM

Thanks you signa! That's a big help for those times where I miss the opening announcement. smile

I'm enjoying Spencer Meyer's recital now. His Beethoven Op. 78 was great, and I loved his Chopin Op. 60. He's playing some Debussy Bk. II Preludes now. Looking forward to his Vine sonata. smile
Posted by: opus119

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 10:43 PM

Getting kinks out. Should be fine by tomorrow. Mozilla works where IE doesn't.
Posted by: Mooseknuckle

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 10:47 PM

Has anyone figured out how to watch these on Jaunty (Ubuntu 9.04) ? I tried installing Mono moonlight, but it doesn't seem to work!
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 11:00 PM

Wow! I couldn't resist to watch one more performance, of Spencer Myer. Nice choice to start with Beethoven op. 78. More introspective, unusual maybe given for people of this age, very interesting in any case. But the Carl Vine 1st sonata showed an entirely different side of this pianist. What a great piece...I'll have to listen to this again, for sure.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 11:11 PM

for some reason Myers's Beethoven op.78 didn't impress me at all, but his Debussey and Vine sonata did.

love this Russian guy's Scarlatti now, so beautiful!
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 11:19 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
love this Russian guy's Scarlatti now, so beautiful!


I was just wondering if others think the same. It's absolutely gorgeous!!! So much cahracter, so many nuances in touch, and incredible differentiation in dynamics. These are things I can really only judge in comparison, because I never know what's lost in these streamings. I wanted to go to bed, but this guy's playing keeps me awake at 5am smile
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 11:33 PM

Actually, Kunz's Scarlatti (particularly the way he handled the ornaments in the second sonata, K197), really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm getting a similarly frustrated feeling from the Chaconne he's playing now, which just feels overplayed in so many places.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 11:34 PM

Spencer Myer's tone was so warm and inviting ... (so different than the impression I got from the qualify round) ... Bravo!

I think his tone tonight set him apart.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 11:52 PM

I enjoyed all of tonight's performances greatly. Particularly Myer and Kunz. smile
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/22/09 11:57 PM

The Scarlatti and Haydn of Kunz were straight from heaven, IMO. The Scarlatti sound (and also his hand style) reminded me a lot of Horowitz (but not as a mere style copy)... In the strange interview afterwards he said he was not happy, but I think this can at most be with the Chaconne, where I (sometimes) had an uneasy feeling that he didn't feel fully at home and was also a bit insecure. It's also quite tough to say some meaningful sentences immediately after an intense recital. Despite this, his intensively emotional playing style was my clear favorite, and touched me most, among the last group of three that I watched.
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 12:08 AM

I was very impressed with all of the players today, including Kunz (despite my comments above). Every one of them had at least one performance I greatly enjoyed, and I wouldn't mind hearing any of them in the next round.

Still, my favorite so far is Kudritskaya. I'm remind of a quote from Carl Tait last year about Ying Feng: "In short, Feng is a thoughtful and sensitive pianist who just happens to prefer extroverted pieces." The perspective and thoughtfulness she brought to Ravel's Gaspard mades me really want to hear more from her.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 12:08 AM

He said he ended up not liking the piano as well. Funny you mention his Scarlatti was kind of reminiscent of H., because I thought the very same thing!
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 12:29 AM

Has anyone been able to listen to the recorded recitals from earlier in the day?
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 12:54 AM

i felt the same as you about his Scarlatti and Haydn, the tone he produced was just terrific. the funny thing is that i thought of Horowitz's Scarlatti sound as well, that liquid or mercury like sound, but not exactly as it in Kunz's. at a moment or 2 i felt his uneasiness when he's playing K197, which might be the reason he mentioned the piano.

i like his Bach-Siloti's as well, great tone!
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 05:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Has anyone been able to listen to the recorded recitals from earlier in the day?


No, I was trying to find them too, but in the archives they only seem to have the 2005 recitals and earlier. Maybe it takes a while to put it up... So if anyone finds out how to listen to recorded 2009 recitals, please let us know.

Btw, all recitals will ultimately be available on CD, for buying or "rented" downloading via Napster & co -- I have listened to lots of 2005 performances the latter way. For fans of raw uncut live performances these CDs are a little treasure trove.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 07:43 AM

Originally Posted By: pianovirus
But the Carl Vine 1st sonata showed an entirely different side of this pianist. What a great piece...I'll have to listen to this again, for sure.

He has a performance available on YouTube, and the same performance is available on his website. I think his performance of the piece last night was definitely more exciting. Joyce Yang's performance of the piece from 2005 is also available on YouTube. Interesting for comparison.

I only heard the first 5 pianists from yesterday, but they were all so wonderful. In the end, I wonder if I'll care who the winner is... Maybe once it narrows down, it'll be easier to pick a personal favorite.

Daniel
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 08:14 AM

I agree this first day had tremendously talented people, and very individual non-generic performances. I am not sure how they will manage to choose among them. Chetan Tierra was a discovery for me. I had not heard of him previousy but he is brilliant.
I have attended the programs of a few other contestants in the last several months (Di Wu, Soyeon Lee, Varvaressos, Zhang Zuo), all of whom were remarkably talented, but essentially all of yesterday's contestants were better (to my humble ears but I am no kaplinsky and definitely no Marcello Abbado.. Boy is this jury intimidating!!)
Posted by: bplary1300

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 11:39 AM

I was sort of iffy about Tierra at first but his Ginastera was fantastic! Myer was excellent, very solid performance of the Vine.
Posted by: opus119

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 12:44 PM

Everyone from yesterday EXCEPT Kunz is archived for on-demand viewing. I wonder why he's not on there? (His is the one performance I didn't get to see, darnit). I wonder if they have the final say on whether their performances can be archived. (It would seem to me that they sign away their rights when they agree to enter the competition.) Someone mentioned that Kunz was not satisfied with his performance yesterday. I wonder if that's why he's not archived like the rest. I enjoyed all of them very much - excellent playing. I LOVED Ran Dank's Beethoven.
Posted by: opus119

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 12:48 PM

Yeah!! I stand corrected...just checked back at cliburn.tv and Kunz is now on there as well. Plan on listening to him right now before the next round begins in two hours. Looking forward to Lee's Albeniz and Schumann Carnaval.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 01:58 PM

OP updated with the KTCU audio information.

The stream is on for Soyeon Lee now!
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 04:34 PM

Hey, no comments on Di Wu? A legendary performance IMHO, the best I've seen so far (and I concur with Daniel and Andromaque that this is just a fantastic piano festival given the many wonderful performers). She appears to be a very modest and nice person. She looks quite calm and very controlled at the piano, but is also capable of extreme outbursts of energy. The Ravel was so full of colors and nuances.
These interviews immediately after the performance are a cruel thing. You can't drag people in front of a microphone after they have been immersed for 40 minutes in trance-like state.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 04:45 PM

I loved Di Wu's recital! Superlative in every respect. Right now, Mr. Vassilis Varvaresos's Liszt Bm is equally fantastic, IMHO. smile
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 04:48 PM

don't know what to say about Di Wu, who obviously played very well, especially the last 2 pieces. i'm not crazy about her Haydn though.

strange this afternoon, everyone played so far has something good or something i don't care.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 04:50 PM

On another "note", has anyone made use of the "Email to a Performer" feature?
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 04:50 PM

Di Wu plays well. She also seemed to have the right kind of personal touch. A competition looks for people who can go out and represent them well. She is looking for her big break.
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 05:10 PM

Loved Di Wu's Haydn, but couldn't figure out what Varvaresos wanted to program the Moonlight Sonata for. Surely it wasn't just to show how fast he could play the last movement?
Posted by: opus119

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 06:19 PM

Did anyone else want to reach right through his or her computer monitor and brush all of that hair out of Soyeon Lee's face? I can't imagine trying to play with hair in my face like that. It was really rather distracting. Her facial expressions were also a bit much. I thought she was musical and expressive and there were definitely some exciting moments. However, her playing was just a tad sloppy in places - and I have no idea how much that impacts the judges' decisions. Don't get me wrong - if I could play 1/1000th as well as she can, I'd be a happy camper. But the excellence level is so high at this competition...does one really have to be close to note perfect AND have everything else they are looking for?
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 06:54 PM

Originally Posted By: kcostell
Loved Di Wu's Haydn, but couldn't figure out what Varvaresos wanted to program the Moonlight Sonata for. Surely it wasn't just to show how fast he could play the last movement?


I thought it was a smart decision. Sure, it is a very familiar piece (the first movement in particular), but he pulled it off very well. I loved the way he began quietly (with "Moonlight" 1st Movt.) and ended quietly (with the end of the Liszt Bm).
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 07:00 PM

I guess what I meant by my (somewhat snarky) comment is the main thing I took away from the Moonlight Sonata was how fast he tried to take the last movement, and how muddy parts of it became because of that. I found very little memorable in the rest of the sonata.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 07:04 PM

Well, I will admit that he did not surpass Kempff (who, IMHO, has the definitive performance, which available on YT) in that particular sonata. smile
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 07:30 PM

actually, it's brave for any pianist to play Moonlight in a competition, since it's such a familiar piece and easily to be criticized for this or that, and unless you really have something to say about this sonata, you don't want to play it. unfortunately, Varvaresos didn't break any ground with it, a very typical performance, imo. his Liszt sonata was much better.
Posted by: justice

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/23/09 08:43 PM

Di Wu plays well. She also seemed to have the right kind of personal touch. A competition looks for people who can go out and represent them well. She is looking for her big break.
---------------agree!!
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 03:07 AM

From a thread-starting post elsewhere that really belongs here -

Originally Posted By: landorrano
I'm astounded at the bad taste surrounding the competition.

The microphone hanging over the piano? Is this a video production stage, or a piano competition?

The ridiculous performer portraits videos.

The foolish twit waiting off stage to interview the players.

Worst of all why are the musicians smiling and talking to him at all?

Are they going to dress them all up as Texas cowboys and have an end of competition show ?



Why shouldn't it be both a video production and a piano competition? Because, in fact, it is both. Hiding equipment to pretend a recording is not being made would be silly. The piece of equipment that does seem a little unnecessarily intrusive from the performers' point of view is that video camera right to the left of the keyboard - surely they could have positioned it a little further away and simply zoomed in a bit.

I'm not sure what is "ridiculous" about the performer portrait videos. Care to explain why they are? Oh, wait, I think I get it - we shouldn't care about the actual person, just about the music, right? If that's what you mean, it is a valid point of view, I think, but not one that pleases the PR-besotted Cliburn competition.

The "foolish twit" is the guy who has been the announcer/MC for the Cliburn for eons. I dare say that almost anyone put in that position of talking to the performer immediately after the performance would probably come off as a foolish twit. It's a horrible idea, probably borrowed from sportscasting, and we should all let the Cliburn people know we think it stinks. Performers are usually in no condition to be making inane small talk mere seconds after such an intense experience, and asking them to do so demeans their performance and the music. And yeah, I was wondering what would happen if a performer simply refused to play along.

Of course, this is in Texas, where being aggressively provincial while wielding enough money to get world-class attention is an art. I'm waiting for the movie - "Borat Does the Cliburn". That could be fun.
Posted by: babama

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 06:21 AM

Nice. I'm checking some performances out of interest and maybe to get to know some new music... so now I also know what Boulez sounds like. shocked

I'm getting a lot of distortion, like it's recorded/amplified too loud. Aaarg this is really, really annoying. Everytime it gets louder I get big distortion.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 07:05 AM

Has anyone listened to Noboyoku Tsujii, particularly the Debussy? He had quite a program; All 12 of Chopin' etudes Op.10, which I did not catch entirely, debussy's Images Book I which was wonderful and a very good La Campanella.
i was particularly impressed with his Debussy. I happened to have hooked up my computer too a good sound system, and the effect was wonderful. Lots of color, beauty, and sensitivity.. AS you may know, this performer is blind since birth, but he is a true master.

Regarding the Cliburn TV "coverage, well it is reminiscent of the NBC coverage of the Olympics but it makes up in interest what it lacks in elegance and style. It humanizes these prodigiously talented contestants and reduces the "untouchable" image they might project had the been kept in isolation from the public. It also may serve to generate interest in piano competitions and classical music, which is not a bad thing. I think I would be a bit permissive here..
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 08:18 AM

Is there any way to fast forward the video from the recitals of the contestants who have already performed? I don't see the usual ways of doing this on youtube.

Regards,
Computer Challenged
Posted by: cscl

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 08:48 AM

I was also getting distortion in the left ear of my earbuds. I thought for sure that my headphones were going out until I tried them on some other music. Maybe it's the video player?
Posted by: veem

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 09:00 AM

Originally Posted By: cscl
I was also getting distortion in the left ear of my earbuds. I thought for sure that my headphones were going out until I tried them on some other music. Maybe it's the video player?


Yes I think it's the video--I got it too.
Posted by: cscl

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 09:02 AM

Assuming you're watching this on www.cliburn.tv through the Silverlight player...

If you watch one of the archived performances and click somewhere on the timeline, the rectangle marking the position will go to that point. However, I get one shot at it. If I'm not where I want to be and then try to move again, the video freezes and I have to reload it.

Not a great player, but hey, it's Microsoft. smile

And I'm getting static in the louder passages from the left speaker only, whether on my built-in laptop speakers or on my headphones. I didn't notice this on day 1 of the competition, but did notice it last night. I just checked a few videos and I only get the static/distortion in loud passages from the May 23 (day 2) videos, not from the May 22 (day 1) videos.
Posted by: veem

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 09:03 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Is there any way to fast forward the video from the recitals of the contestants who have already performed? I don't see the usual ways of doing this on youtube.


If you're using the Silverlight program, it should work as it does on youtube. The time meter comes up when you scroll your mouse over the video. After trying to forward it, it sometimes glitches by stopping the video completely, in which case, I reclick the performer on the bottom of the window and skip to whatever time I want to forward to. And... if it glitches again, well I try again! laugh Hope this helps
Posted by: cscl

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 09:15 AM

I just reported both the search/fast-forward issue and the left side distortion for day 2 videos to the website. They were quick with support issues on day one for the slow stream issues they were having (if you tried, it was awful...you'd get a few seconds of video, then pixelation and freeze, then maybe 15 seconds later you'd get another couple of seconds and it would start all over again.). They seemed to have fixed that problem entirely.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 10:32 AM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Has anyone listened to Noboyoku Tsujii, particularly the Debussy? He had quite a program; All 12 of Chopin' etudes Op.10, which I did not catch entirely, debussy's Images Book I which was wonderful and a very good La Campanella.
i was particularly impressed with his Debussy. I happened to have hooked up my computer too a good sound system, and the effect was wonderful. Lots of color, beauty, and sensitivity.. AS you may know, this performer is blind since birth, but he is a true master.

Regarding the Cliburn TV "coverage, well it is reminiscent of the NBC coverage of the Olympics but it makes up in interest what it lacks in elegance and style. It humanizes these prodigiously talented contestants and reduces the "untouchable" image they might project had the been kept in isolation from the public. It also may serve to generate interest in piano competitions and classical music, which is not a bad thing. I think I would be a bit permissive here..


I thought that his playing had alot of clarity. Really nice touch. Gotta watch this Player Profile.
Matt
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 10:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Regarding the Cliburn TV "coverage, well it is reminiscent of the NBC coverage of the Olympics but it makes up in interest what it lacks in elegance and style. It humanizes these prodigiously talented contestants and reduces the "untouchable" image they might project had the been kept in isolation from the public. It also may serve to generate interest in piano competitions and classical music, which is not a bad thing. I think I would be a bit permissive here..


Agree 100% (except that I don't think the performer vidoes/stories before their performances decrease the elegance).
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 12:29 PM

Just caught up with some of the performances I missed. I have to say I absolutely loved Di Wu.
Posted by: babama

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 01:41 PM

Ah of course, a Microsoft player.

Well, I can't enjoy listening to these performances unless this distortion gets fixed. The whole sound of it seems off-center, towards the left. And the more forte the pianist plays, the more distortion. For me the moonlight part 3 is unlistenable for example because the accented chords are heavily distorted.
Posted by: cscl

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 02:20 PM

I got a response from my report to the website. They said they were working on it and were uploading new versions of the first three performances from Day 2. Hopefully, they'll get all the bugs worked out. I agree it's very unpleasant to listen to with the distortions and taking the left earbud out isn't really an option either!

It's fun to watch though. This is my first piano competition to pay attention to since I started taking lessons.
Posted by: Schubertian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 02:53 PM

Ning ZHou is certainly doing a good job with the Mephisto Waltz 1
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 03:10 PM

I'm 98% sure I just saw my piano teacher from high school, Richard Casper, in the audience! At the end of the Nong Zhou performance, when they were showing the audience standing up about to take a break. I started taking lessons from him 50 years ago.

Probably not known to anyone although he did play in Carnegie Hall and eventually became the head administrator at some music school in New England. He is well into his 70's although he looks no more than 60.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 03:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Schubertian
Ning ZHou is certainly doing a good job with the Mephisto Waltz 1

He certainly had a lighter than expected touch at some moments of the Mephisto, but overall I found his performance of this piece in particular to be too uneven and a bit sloppy. Probably one of the more disappointing performances from what I've heard from the competitions thus far.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 03:23 PM

It's interesting that Michail Lifits's hand position while playing Mozart K. 311 is very much like Horowitz's "below the keys" approach to Mozart.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 03:28 PM

very good Mozart so far!
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 03:31 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
very good Mozart so far!


And the feed died for me. frown Oh, well. I'll watch later once it's archived. smile
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 03:33 PM

Every note is played with care and prefection, but oddly not spirited or up-lifting.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 03:47 PM

Doesn't seem to be much of an audience....
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 04:14 PM

Interesting that Lifitz is married to Mariya Kim from the 2005 Cliburn -- they're almost polar opposites in their repertoire choices and playing styles.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 04:50 PM

Alessandro Deljavan's facial expressions are a hoot! A bit distracting from the music, but still funny. grin
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 05:26 PM

OK, this must be a stupid question... where do I find who is playing when? I followed the link for the schedule given on the first page of this thread, but it just gives the times that the competition is running each day.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 05:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Alessandro Deljavan's facial expressions are a hoot! A bit distracting from the music, but still funny. grin


I think they should totally Botox all of the competitors faces, to stop all the face acting nonsense. This guy delivered a fabulous Liszt sonata, in spite of the above-the-shoulders soap opera.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 05:30 PM

Agreed! Most annoying. As you say, his Liszt Sonata was outstanding despite the...ahhhh...dramatic gestures. smile

Surely the jury must be sick of the Liszt by now. grin
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 05:32 PM

And of all the recitals from the 2005 Cliburn to show at intermission, they pick the one finishing with a Liszt Sonata.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 05:33 PM

Originally Posted By: babama
Ah of course, a Microsoft player.

Well, I can't enjoy listening to these performances unless this distortion gets fixed. The whole sound of it seems off-center, towards the left. And the more forte the pianist plays, the more distortion. For me the moonlight part 3 is unlistenable for example because the accented chords are heavily distorted.


Ran Dank's performance suffers from the same problem. mad

Some Einstein turned the recording level up too high. The mic preamps are clipping, causing a nasty sound.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 05:35 PM

Originally Posted By: kcostell
And of all the recitals from the 2005 Cliburn to show at intermission, they pick the one finishing with a Liszt Sonata.


Hehe, I saw that...and promptly turned it off. I've had my fill of that piece for some time as much as I love it.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 05:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Arghhh
OK, this must be a stupid question... where do I find who is playing when? I followed the link for the schedule given on the first page of this thread, but it just gives the times that the competition is running each day.


http://www.cliburn.org/index.php?page=13th_tickets

There you are. smile

PS–You can find each performer's bio and repertoire for this competition here:

http://www.cliburn.org/index.php?page=cliburn_current_comp
Posted by: Schubertian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 06:39 PM

Quote:
OK, this must be a stupid question... where do I find who is playing when? I followed the link for the schedule given on the first page of this thread, but it just gives the times that the competition is running each day.


What I have been doing is looking up the schedule, and then clicking on the performer (on the '2009 Performers' page) which takes me to the full schedule -
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 07:12 PM

The schedule with everyone's playing time for the prelims is on the link I posted, you just have to scroll down to read it.
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 07:29 PM

Yeah, it's there now. It wasn't when I looked earlier, I swear!!!
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 07:34 PM

I really enjoyed Deljavan's performance. His Liszt was the best I have listened to in the competition so far, although it screamed for some breaths here and there. But I also thought his Haydn was terrific. Also Lifits(?sp.) did a very good job with the Mozart Sonata. It was airy and delicate. Not an obvious competition choice since the pianist has to be heard and not seen. But his Schumann was iffy, I thought. Did anyone listen to those two?
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 07:41 PM

I had a similar reaction to Lifits, and found his Mozart far more gripping than his Schumann, which seemed to tend towards rambling in the middle (it's not a piece I'm familiar with though, so maybe it isn't his fault).

Your statement that Deljavan's Liszt "screamed for some breaths here and there" seems accurate. The last couple of minutes (where he started adding those pauses and breaths) were the exceptional, but much of the rest of the Sonata actually seemed too intense and forceful, if that's even possible for the Liszt Sonata (actually, I think Varvaresos proved quite well that it is in fact possible). Overall, I preferred Zhang Zuo's performance yesterday.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 08:26 PM

Originally Posted By: kcostell
... his Schumann, which seemed to tend towards rambling in the middle (it's not a piece I'm familiar with though, so maybe it isn't his fault)...

I think that could be part of it. The Fantaisie is a piece that took me a few years to truly appreciate. I can definitely remember thinking how "long-winded" it seemed after my first few listens.

Daniel
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 08:58 PM

Deljavan seems to me the best of the afternoon session. his Haydn and Liszt are really good.

this Czech kid Vondracek has such a strange posture at piano, and yet he has great singing tone...
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 09:13 PM

I listened to Liszt's "Harmonies du Soir" for the first time a couple weeks ago on a recording (sorry, don't remember who), and wasn't very impressed with the piece in general. Listening to Vondracek play it was completely different - I was amazed by the piece, and as far as I can tell it didn't seem too transcendentally hard for him.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 09:17 PM

i am completely falling for Vondracek.. Mesmerizing. fast furious and gorgeous, a rare mix!
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 09:29 PM

Did anyone catch the announcement of Vondracek's piano?
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 09:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Did anyone catch the announcement of Vondracek's piano?


He played the Cliburn Foundation's NY D. You can tell them apart because the Cliburn NY D is satin lacquer and the C&A D Steinway NY sent down is finished in shiny polyester, like many of the newest C&A pianos.

I loved, loved, loved his performance!!! Easily one of the best I've seen so far, IMHO. smile
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 09:42 PM

It appears to me the European players put too much effort into making a "pure" and "beautiful" sound. This affects the flow of music. You can not play a whole concert using nothing but "pure" and "beautiful" sound. The net effect will be boring and a lack of contrast.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 10:57 PM

Someone was coughing like a madman during Ning Zhou's (not that great, in my opinion) performance of the Miroirs towards the end.

Why is it that I can go weeks without hearing a single person coughing yet when you're in the recital hall suddenly everyone has a bad cold.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 11:51 PM

Vacatello: jaw-dropping Petroushka. She was truly stunning. What amazing technique and gorgeous sound! Very impressive.

I must say that the European Schools of piano ruled the day (perhaps the competition so far) with the Czech Vondracek and the Italians Deljavan and Vacatello.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/24/09 11:58 PM

Did I forgett to mention mechanical? That seems to be in the European tradition too.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 12:00 AM

Originally Posted By: newport
Did I forgett to mention mechanical? That seems to be in the European tradition too.


I'm listening to Vondracek again, and I must confess I cannot understand where you are coming from. confused
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 12:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Why is it that I can go weeks without hearing a single person coughing yet when you're in the recital hall suddenly everyone has a bad cold.


I remember when I was in High School and was part of a combined (over multiple schools) choir of several hundred singers. To make a point, the conductor did a warmup exercise involving leaving out various notes from rapidly sung scales(e.g. do-silence-me-fa-so-la-ti-do). The point was that even though each individual singer got almost all of the silences correct, for most of our first few runs at least one person sang the omitted note. As everyone else was silent, that one person resounded over them.

It's the same way at a concert. Even if each individual person manages to hold in their coughing with only a single exception over the course of 3 entire hours of recitals, the net result will be a chorus of coughing.
Posted by: jdhampton924

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 03:16 AM

Originally Posted By: bplary1300
I was sort of iffy about Tierra at first but his Ginastera was fantastic! Myer was excellent, very solid performance of the Vine.


He played great, but his program was a heavy one.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:48 AM

It seems that the powers that be at the Cliburn have decided to no longer tell us who the teachers of the competitors are. Hmmm...I guess I'll just have to assume that they are all students of jury members.
Posted by: landorrano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 06:46 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
It seems that the powers that be at the Cliburn have decided to no longer tell us who the teachers of the competitors are. Hmmm...I guess I'll just have to assume that they are all students of jury members.


Now there's someone who knows the competition business.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 09:13 AM

I wondered about that yesterdy. In my Memorial weekend idleness, I tallied up the schools of the competitors (undergraduate and graduate). Well 10 have been or are at Juilliard, 6 at Curtis and one each at Oberlin, Eastman, Manhattan School and Yale.
US schools are the most represented (14) followed by Germany (5, 3 of which are the Hanover Hochschule) and Russia (3).
Each of Italy, Japan and China had 2. (The numbers do not represent individual competitors; some went to 2 or more schools).

Most interesting though is the fact that at least 2 of the competitors (Di Wu and Soyeon Lee, both of whom are Cliburn returnees)are being taught by a Jury member, Kaplinsky!! And there is no discussion that I noticed about how the Cliburn Foundation handles this gross conflict of interest!.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 10:14 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
It seems that the powers that be at the Cliburn have decided to no longer tell us who the teachers of the competitors are. Hmmm...I guess I'll just have to assume that they are all students of jury members.


There are at least two members on the panel that have several students in this time. It's less blatant than in 2005, but what can you do?

My picks for the semis so far:

Beus
Dank
Myer
Tsujii
Vacatello
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 11:37 AM

Do you mean Kalichstein? Who are his students?
Who are Dank and Varvaresos' teachers?
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 12:12 PM

Generally the Cliburn handles students of jurors by simply forbidding jurors from scoring their own students. Since the voting is also done without discussion (each juror just gives each competitor a score from 1-25 and a computerized averaging system kicks in), jurors don't have too much opportunity to push their own students before votes are in.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 12:13 PM

I'll agree, and add Vondracek and Wu. If I were on the jury, I'd also vote for Kunz, but his program was, well, a bit controversial, and the Bach didn't capture quite the same magic that the Haydn and Scarlatti did.

Originally Posted By: Brendan
Originally Posted By: wr
It seems that the powers that be at the Cliburn have decided to no longer tell us who the teachers of the competitors are. Hmmm...I guess I'll just have to assume that they are all students of jury members.


There are at least two members on the panel that have several students in this time. It's less blatant than in 2005, but what can you do?

My picks for the semis so far:

Beus
Dank
Myer
Tsujii
Vacatello
Posted by: LeOniuS

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 12:33 PM

I saw Vondracek live in my city performing the Prokofiev 2 last year - unbelievable. Apparently his parents were both pianists and he started at age 2? Talk about grooming.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 02:14 PM

those who're self-taught earlier on should see some hope from Feng Zhang, who taught himself to play from age 9, and only started having a teacher later at 15. from what i see, he has such great techniques and the best trills in this competition.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 03:20 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
...he has such great techniques and the best trills in this competition...

I have been quite satisfied by the well executed trills of all the competitors. Nothing irritates me more than a poorly executed trill.

Daniel
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 03:30 PM

best Mozart so far from Bozhanov... his playing is captivating. no wonder my teacher mentioned him.
Posted by: babama

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 03:41 PM

Distortion still there. What a shame.
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 03:44 PM

Liked Bozhanov's Mozart until he got to the final movement, where it felt some of the dance-like character was being lost due to his habit of connecting everything together even through rests on the score.

That character I was looking for came back with interest in the Chopin Rondo though.

Originally Posted By: babama
Distortion still there. What a shame.


I've switched to the KTCU feed, which seems to have better sound.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 03:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I'll agree, and add Vondracek and Wu. If I were on the jury, I'd also vote for Kunz, but his program was, well, a bit controversial, and the Bach didn't capture quite the same magic that the Haydn and Scarlatti did.


Yeah, Kunz was great until the Chaconne. He seemed to lose concentration and couldn't regain it, though. Vondracek's personality and playing were compelling, but I wasn't blown away by him. Di Wu's Haydn was so frustrating. The second movement was one degree shy of Prokofiev!

YMMV, of course.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 03:59 PM

Originally Posted By: kcostell
[...]
Originally Posted By: babama
Distortion still there. What a shame.


I've switched to the KTCU feed, which seems to have better sound.


Where might I find that?
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:00 PM

http://www.ktcu.tcu.edu/

audio-only, unfortunately
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:01 PM

Can't find a single reference there to the Cliburn. frown
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:03 PM

Click on "turn it up...listen live" in the upper right
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:04 PM

I found Myer a bit too restrained, aloof, too clean-cut..
My picks so far :
Vondracek
Vacatello
Beus
Tsujii
Kunz (may be.. weirdprogram. but leaves yo uwanting to hear more)
Deljavan
Bozhanov ( a poet and a master sound maker..)
Posted by: BZ4

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:06 PM

I've been watching and listening to the competitors off an on. Does everyone get a standing ovation? It seems so.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:08 PM

if i would pick only one, that'd be Bozhanov, who's just fantastic.
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:09 PM

Bozhanov's Chopin Sonata was frustrating for me. It had some of the loveliest moments I've heard so far (the entire 3rd movement) as well as some that just did not work for me at all (the way he barreled through the 2nd movement, and some of what he tried in the final movement). I'd still like to see him through to the next round, just because I want to hear more of how he approaches things. (EDIT: Especially now that I've seen he's scheduled to play Schubert's D960 in the semis...the first movement should be extraordinary).

I'm actually surprised he hasn't programmed any Rachmaninov in his solo recitals. It seems like his sound would be very suited to that.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:14 PM

Bulgarians like Russians are always good at Rachmaninov. they're pretty much share the same Russian style.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:22 PM

Originally Posted By: kcostell
...that just did not work for me at all (the way he barreled through the 2nd movement...)

Interesting. I quite enjoyed his treatment of the 2nd movement, which is my least favorite movement of the sonata.

Originally Posted By: BZ4
I've been watching and listening to the competitors off an on. Does everyone get a standing ovation? It seems so.

It seems that every professional performance now receives a standing ovation. It has had no significance for some time.

Daniel
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 04:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Originally Posted By: signa
...he has such great techniques and the best trills in this competition...

I have been quite satisfied by the well executed trills of all the competitors. Nothing irritates me more than a poorly executed trill.

Daniel


Di Wu's trills towards the end of the Gounod-Liszt were just incredible.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 05:00 PM

..except he is schooled in germany
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 05:08 PM

only now, but his early years spent in his home country where he started studying piano (my guess, and i really don't know him).
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 05:11 PM

Originally Posted By: kcostell
Click on "turn it up...listen live" in the upper right


Thanks! smile
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 05:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente

It seems that every professional performance now receives a standing ovation. It has had no significance for some time.


I agree. Tsuji in my opinion received the most genuine standing ovation, for obvious reasons. Everyone was on their feet instantly, unlike the other performers where the audience appeared to lazily force themselves to give the standing ovation.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 05:38 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
only now, but his early years spent in his home country where he started studying piano (my guess, and i really don't know him).


Well I don't know what is the "right" way of "classifying" pianists' backgrounds. I am kind of interested in this, not sure why.
So, Bozhunov studied in Bulgaria up till the age of 15; he then moved to Germany and enrolled in the Music School in Essen; there he studied with Boris Bloch, an outstanding pianist, graduate of the Moscow conservatory and taught by Bashkirev. More recently Bozhunov moved to the Schumann School in Duesseldorf where he studies with Georg Friedrich Shenk.

I know this info because I read it when he won the Richter competition last year. FWIW..
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 05:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente

It seems that every professional performance now receives a standing ovation. It has had no significance for some time.


I agree. Tsuji in my opinion received the most genuine standing ovation, for obvious reasons. Everyone was on their feet instantly, unlike the other performers where the audience appeared to lazily force themselves to give the standing ovation.


American audiences are generally excitable, in a positive way. That's why many artists love them. Mariangela Vacatello said yesterday, after her terrific performance, that she was surprised at the standing ovation (they brought her back 3 times), especially since she ended her program with the 3 movements of Petroushka. She thought it would have been boring to the audience..
Italian audiences are also excitable but more so when something is negative; they will notoriously boo and cause a ruckus if displeased (though mostly at the opera).
British audiences on the other hand, will go wild.. but only if they are watching soccer.. Beats me why.. laugh

I don't mind the generosity of Americans towards artists.
Posted by: cscl

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 08:22 PM

Are you getting the distortion on the live feeds or just on the archived versions? I don't think I've noticed it on the live feeds.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 08:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Originally Posted By: signa
only now, but his early years spent in his home country where he started studying piano (my guess, and i really don't know him).


Well I don't know what is the "right" way of "classifying" pianists' backgrounds. I am kind of interested in this, not sure why.
So, Bozhunov studied in Bulgaria up till the age of 15; he then moved to Germany and enrolled in the Music School in Essen; there he studied with Boris Bloch, an outstanding pianist, graduate of the Moscow conservatory and taught by Bashkirev. More recently Bozhunov moved to the Schumann School in Duesseldorf where he studies with Georg Friedrich Shenk.

I know this info because I read it when he won the Richter competition last year. FWIW..

thanks for the info! i think that explained his style (from his Russian background teacher). i really think he stands out in this competition. we shall see how he does later...
Posted by: bplary1300

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 08:43 PM

Ugh the distortion is awful, every loud chord is accompanied with distortion...
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 08:43 PM

What do you think of the following statement:

"And some hint that the old "Russian school" of training a battalion of classical pianists to create a highly physical, even volcanic sound may now not only suffer in comparison with the emerging Asian stylistic school, but finally may yield far fewer truly impressive masters of that once-singular Russian sound."

Van Cliburn 2009: Russian pianists dwindling in number
04:54 PM CDT on Friday, May 22, 2009

By ANDREW MARTON / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 08:55 PM

there's no wonder about that, as far as population goes and globalized music/piano education, Asia will produce more pianists than any country in the rest of world.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 09:04 PM

I am intrigued by the term "Asian Stylistic School" ... I think there is something to it.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 09:04 PM

I am not so sure one can speak of an Asian school yet. Certainly not from the perspective of a high end competition like the Cliburn. I am defining 'Asian School" as a music teaching tradition, not based on an individual's nationality.
Despite the plethora of Asian nationalities (may be 50% of all competitors), there are only 2 competitors who are graduates from (or currently at) Chinese conservatoires: Feng Zhang (Shanghai) and Ning Zhou (also Shanghai). Zhang Zuo started at Shenzhen but is now at Eastman, so she probably counts as a Chinese graduate.
There is one competitor fully trained in Japan (Tsujii). I think 2 more had partial training in Japan and Korea, respectively.
If anything, the "American School" is over-represented. However if you look at equally prestigious competitions elsewhere, such as the International Tchaivovsky competition, the majority of the winners are Russian. Politics, anyone?
Posted by: L'echange

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 09:18 PM

Rashkovskiy has to be the most right-handed pianist I have ever heard! I am always partial to a pianist who picks Op. 110, but I was very unimpressed.

As far as the 'asian stylistic school' goes, whatever seems to accompany them in their conquest is not in their favor. I have yet to be impressed by an imaginitive Asian schooled pianist. Lang Lang has come close a few times, Yundi Li may have impressed me with his slight originality in the Liszt sonata, Kudo's Vine sonata was decent,,, but their training and approach to the piano is evident in their playing. While on the subject, Zhang Zuo's performance, to me, embodied the Asian approach to our music in program, technique, and style... yet I did enjoy her performance.



Did anyone else think that Stanislavsky's choice of the Ligeti Capriccios was a bit odd? While the capriccios are very wonderful and 'cute' in their own way, I've never seen them as very representative of Ligeti's genius...
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 09:27 PM

As someone said earlier, we shouldn't get too caught up in what Cliburn's website puts as "nationality" and then start speaking about "Asian" and "American" stylistic patterns in piano playing...there are a lot of competitors with Chinese flags next to their titles on the biographies but most of them attended schooling in the West. Thank globalization or whatever, but we can no longer assume that we are watching the different approaches of different nations to piano-education when we see a wide variety of contestants in terms of backgrounds in these competition. I'm sure it's tempting to watch Ilya Rashkovskiy, see the Russian flag, and then make all kinds of delicate comments about Russian pianistic techniques....except that he moved to Germany for music schooling.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 09:29 PM

Originally Posted By: L'echange
\ While on the subject, Zhang Zuo's performance, to me, embodied the Asian approach to our music in program, technique, and style... yet I did enjoy her performance.


Yes, that certain (almost scripted) "style" is very evident in ZZ's playing in many aspects, which I enjoy because it's not (in my mind) the antiseptic European style. In fact, she has the same teacher in ShenZhen as YDL, SC, and Haochen Zhang.
Posted by: L'echange

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 10:16 PM

I don't mind music being free of contamination or pollution! laugh ...Just foolin'
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 10:28 PM

In Nobuyuki Tsuji's performance portrait, he begins to play some piece on the piano after a brief snippet talking about how he composed music when he was ten years old. Does anyone know what he is playing there? (If not, I assume it's his own composition). Sounds nice...
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 11:12 PM

Anyone else absolutely love that Lam played some Granados? I think she could have cranked up the volume in a couple spots in the Quejas..., but I guess she conserved energy to get through that Kernis Etude... smile

I enjoyed her playing.

Daniel
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/25/09 11:37 PM

Yes, but I'm enjoying the Stravinsky from Haochen Zhang even more.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 12:11 AM

I haven't caught up to all the contestants but so far, of the ones I've listened to I've enjoyed Haochen Zhang, Lam, Di Wu and Vacatello the most.
Posted by: BZ4

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 01:20 AM

I also enjoyed Lam's take on part of the "Goyescas". I followed with the score--pretty tricky. I enjoyed her playing--and that "Superstar" Etude was way cool with the jazz inferences!
Posted by: currawong

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 02:48 AM

I'm unable to listen but I'm pleased Andrea Lam's performances have been well received. I first heard her play here in Oz quite a few years ago when she was about 13.
Posted by: JBB_Piano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 03:03 AM

I heard Amy Yang perform in NYC several years ago. She is a tremendous artist. I noticed she has not programmed any real "blockbusters" in the sense of the Carnaval, Liszt Sonata, Spanish Rhapsody, Chopin Sonatas, etc., but rather "musical blockbusters" such as the Davidsbundlertanze, Berg Sonata and Brahms Op. 119. I must admit there has been a very consistently high level of playing amongst all of these competitors, but if Ms. Yang plays the same way tomorrow that she did in NYC, I think she'll emerge as a front runner. Sound is very important to me.
Posted by: CherryCoke

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 03:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Standing ovation for Chetan Tierra! Great Ginastera1
Thanks EMR.


I really enjoyed his playing a lot. Unfortunately, he'll likely be eliminated to due to the last couple minutes of the Liszt ballade...:(
Posted by: landorrano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 03:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
As someone said earlier, we shouldn't get too caught up in what Cliburn's website puts as "nationality" and then start speaking about "Asian" and "American" stylistic patterns in piano playing...there are a lot of competitors with Chinese flags next to their titles on the biographies but most of them attended schooling in the West. Thank globalization or whatever, but we can no longer assume that we are watching the different approaches of different nations to piano-education when we see a wide variety of contestants in terms of backgrounds in these competition. I'm sure it's tempting to watch Ilya Rashkovskiy, see the Russian flag, and then make all kinds of delicate comments about Russian pianistic techniques....except that he moved to Germany for music schooling.


Quite often, however, there are Russian professors in the music schools.

I have remarked at competitions that the young Chinese pianists, generally speaking, speak Russian.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 03:58 AM

Originally Posted By: kcostell
Generally the Cliburn handles students of jurors by simply forbidding jurors from scoring their own students. Since the voting is also done without discussion (each juror just gives each competitor a score from 1-25 and a computerized averaging system kicks in), jurors don't have too much opportunity to push their own students before votes are in.


That is all very well, but it really doesn't completely eliminate problems of bias caused by allowing students of jurors to compete. For one thing, although a juror may not get to vote on their own, they certainly can undervalue those who aren't their students. And there's some kind of inherent unfairness in the fact that all competitors don't have the same number of jurors, since the number will be reduced each time a juror has to pass. I also doubt that all of the jurors really are always completely unaware of who the teacher of some of the competitors are.

I've read of some piano competitions where students of jurors are simply forbidden to compete, so it is possible to do that. I seem to remember the Cliburn giving some lame excuse for not adopting that policy, some nonsense about how hard it was to find qualified jurors, which just on the face of it seems to me like a laughably transparent fabrication. They have, for reasons I don't understand, at least one favored juror who seems to always have students competing. Hmmm....

To be fair, I have not looked at the history of the competition to tally up the statistics of that sort of information (if it's even available without hiring a PI). I think it would be a much healthier situation if they at least rotated out the jurors.
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 07:30 AM

Originally Posted By: CherryCoke
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Standing ovation for Chetan Tierra! Great Ginastera1
Thanks EMR.


I really enjoyed his playing a lot. Unfortunately, he'll likely be eliminated to due to the last couple minutes of the Liszt ballade...:(


Quite a memory lapse in the Brahms Paganini variations as well. Despite the mistakes, I still liked his performance.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 07:44 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
I seem to remember the Cliburn giving some lame excuse for not adopting that policy, some nonsense about how hard it was to find qualified jurors, which just on the face of it seems to me like a laughably transparent fabrication.


That reasoning doesn't seem lame to me. The best teachers would tend to have the best students, so if no juror was alllowed to have a student in the competition it could hurt the quality of the jury or be incredibly unfair to potential contestants(by not allowing them to participate).

How many competitions don't allow judges to have their students in the competition? Do any of the biggest competitions have this rule?
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 08:50 AM

An alternate juror could be made available! The world (outside the US) is full of accomplished artists and teachers!
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 10:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
An alternate juror could be made available! The world (outside the US) is full of accomplished artists and teachers!


How would that solve any of the problems?

Teachers could still lower their vote for contestants that weren't their students, although I would, perhaps naively, that not many on the jury do this. Also, just because the juror was from outside the US wouldn't mean he/she had no pupils in the contest.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 10:27 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
An alternate juror could be made available! The world (outside the US) is full of accomplished artists and teachers!


How would that solve any of the problems?

Teachers could still lower their vote for contestants that weren't their students, although I would, perhaps naively, that not many on the jury do this. Also, just because the juror was from outside the US wouldn't mean he/she had no pupils in the contest.


Teh idea would be not to have jurors judging their own students. This is kind of preposterous, if nothing else, for PR reasons.
AS far as lowering the grades of the other contestants, for one i like to beliebve that the distinguished jury folks are professional . For two, I think the probablitiy of succeeding in pushing their own by lowering other competitors' assessments is low, and may be too transparent for their colleagues..
Posted by: Dubious

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 10:57 AM

i'm not sure when the jury is selected (I assume that the competition jury may not be the same as the one that selects the 30 contestants to begin with). Once the 30 contestants have been chosen, then you can select the competition jury being careful to avoid teachers of the 30 contestants. That shouldn't be too hard...
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:01 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
An alternate juror could be made available! The world (outside the US) is full of accomplished artists and teachers!


How would that solve any of the problems?

Teachers could still lower their vote for contestants that weren't their students, although I would, perhaps naively, that not many on the jury do this. Also, just because the juror was from outside the US wouldn't mean he/she had no pupils in the contest.


I believe each juror's scores are normalized both for mean (so that giving all scores between 1-5 has the same effect as 21-25) and standard deviation (so a juror who gives a wider range of scores doesn't have more influence than one who gives a narrower one).

Is it possible to game the system? Perhaps, but not without being so obvious about it that it would cause a scandal.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
An alternate juror could be made available! The world (outside the US) is full of accomplished artists and teachers!


How would that solve any of the problems?

Teachers could still lower their vote for contestants that weren't their students, although I would, perhaps naively, that not many on the jury do this. Also, just because the juror was from outside the US wouldn't mean he/she had no pupils in the contest.



Teh idea would be not to have jurors judging their own students. This is kind of preposterous, if nothing else, for PR reasons.
AS far as lowering the grades of the other contestants, for one i like to beliebve that the distinguished jury folks are professional . For two, I think the probablitiy of succeeding in pushing their own by lowering other competitors' assessments is low, and may be too transparent for their colleagues..


Didn't an earlier poster say that in the Cliburn a judge is not allowed to vote if one of their students is performing? Also, the idea of a judge purposely lowering his vote if the contestant was not his student was suggested by another poster, not me.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:39 AM

Originally Posted By: Dubious
i'm not sure when the jury is selected (I assume that the competition jury may not be the same as the one that selects the 30 contestants to begin with). Once the 30 contestants have been chosen, then you can select the competition jury being careful to avoid teachers of the 30 contestants. That shouldn't be too hard...


The paring down of the contestants to the 30 in Texas only occurs around 3 or 4 montns before the competition. So it wouldn't be possible to select a jury after that whittling down process.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:47 AM

Book them ahead of time!
Posted by: Dubious

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:49 AM

why not? I would think 3 months is more than enough time, or am I missing something?
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 12:00 PM

maybe, we should have a new scoring system like figure skating's, which will force the jury to judge on more detailed level and give the reason to score.

nothing will be totally fair however with any judging system or jurors, because it always has subjectivity involved unless it can be minimized.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 12:16 PM

The jury is selected WAY in advance and can't vote on their own students (that doesn't prevent others for advocating for them, however).

The biggest problem that I see is that most major international competitions have the same jurors - Pressler, Kaplinsky, Richard Dyer, Kalichstein, John O'Connor, Hiroko Nakamura, Zhou Guangren, John Giordano, Zhou Guangren, Arie Vardi, etc. It's particularly an issue with the Cliburn, IMO. Most of the same jurors come back each time.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 12:20 PM

double
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 12:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Book them ahead of time!

They have to be booked ahead of time, and that's precisely why it would be impossible to guarantee that no teacher has a student in the competition. You're not suggesting that a competition disallow a juror who teaches any of the 100+ competitors who start out are you??
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 12:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Dubious
why not? I would think 3 months is more than enough time, or am I missing something?


You really think the people on the jury don't plan their schedules more than three months in advance?
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 01:10 PM

I'm a small time nobody, and my schedule is booked at least 6 months in advance. I would not be surprised if Kaplinsky's schedule is booked 3-5 years out.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 01:21 PM

another option is to group jury pool by competitions, especially for major ones. that is for each major competition, we assign a group of potential jury, which is excluded from other jury groups for other competitions (maybe during a time span, say 5 year range). that way, the jury of each competition can only vote for this competition but not the others, which will eliminate the same jury for all the competitions.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 01:26 PM

I'm impressed by the lively and diverse performances so far. Can't pick a winner--to me, they're all good. Are the jurors inclined to score higher if they like the pieces they hear, and not necessarily the performance thereof? Maybe that's why you hear so many "usual suspects."

I love Andrea Lam's program the most. I'm not familiar with those Goyescas, but they really give the performer a chance to show musicality.

And then Zhang Haochen just blew me away. What was I doing when I was 19?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 02:13 PM

I made a separate thread about the Chopin Rondo Op.5 but copied it below because I thought more people might read it here and it's also relevant to this thread:

I just heard this piece for the first time played by Bozhamov. I was amazed at how terrific a piece I thought it was, and wondered why it is to my knowledge not performed more often. Anyone have experience playing or hearing this work performed? Why do you think it is so rarely performed?

Here is a youtube recording(not as good as the VC performance IMHO):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PesThjPQdR0&feature=related

And the IMSLP socre:
http://imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/1/19/IMSLP00486-Chopin_-_Rondo_a_la_Mazur__Op_5.pdf
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 02:22 PM

thanks for posting this piece, and i'm interested. Bozhanov is really an artist pianist, and i really love his playing, basically everything he did, and definitely will watch his performance video again, and probably just follow this score.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 02:29 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Book them ahead of time!

They have to be booked ahead of time, and that's precisely why it would be impossible to guarantee that no teacher has a student in the competition. You're not suggesting that a competition disallow a juror who teaches any of the 100+ competitors who start out are you??


A piano ocmpetition is not the only organization that needs to navigate around conflicts of interest. Similar situations come up routinely in academics, government affairs, industrial affairs,etc.. Most organizations follow some rules of conduct even if they do not believe they are necessary. Your arguments are easily refutable. Scheduling is not a problem. Just like in court cases, you have standby jurors.. It is also prestigious and a good career move for many teachers to be invited to the jury pool. And there is no dearth of qualified people.. The only explanation for the Cliburn Foundation's dismissal of this issue, is the usual one: they are an old boys (and girls)' club!
I may not have looked carefully enough but their website does not say anything about how they handle conflicts, this one in particular(if you noticed otherwise, please indicate and I will delete my statement). Also, as someone mentioned, the applicants' bios only occasioanlly mention their schools and rarely if ever, their teachers, which is highly unusual in the field..But the Cliburn Foundation must have its reasons for being different there.
Mind you, I am very appreciative of their work and the opportunities they provide pianists and the public. I, for one, enjoy their webcast tremendously. I am just saying..

Now regarding Bozhanov, I wholeheartedly agree. He is magnificent, and not just in the Chopin.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 02:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Book them ahead of time!

They have to be booked ahead of time, and that's precisely why it would be impossible to guarantee that no teacher has a student in the competition. You're not suggesting that a competition disallow a juror who teaches any of the 100+ competitors who start out are you??


A piano ocmpetition is not the only organization that needs to navigate around conflicts of interest. Similar situations come up routinely in academics, government affairs, industrial affairs,etc.. Most organizations follow some rules of conduct even if they do not believe they are necessary. Your arguments are easily refutable. Scheduling is not a problem. Just like in court cases, you have standby jurors.. It is also prestigious and a good career move for many teachers to be invited to the jury pool.I may not have looked carefully enough but their website does not say anything about how they handle conflicts, this one in particular(if you noticed otherwise, please indicate and I will delete my statement).


???

It's already been explained by two people plus me in this thread how they handle conflicts...a teacher can't vote if the performer is one of his/her students.
I doubt many would want to be a standy juror. It's not like a trial where one has to serve jury duty or be a standy juror if the judge wants that.

And even if someone was willing, how would they possibly get someone who didn't teach any of the 30 finalists when they don't even know who the finalists are until 3-4 months in advance? Do you really think they can call an important pianist or teacher up only a few months in advance?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 03:01 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
thanks for posting this piece, and i'm interested. Bozhanov is really an artist pianist, and i really love his playing, basically everything he did, and definitely will watch his performance video again, and probably just follow this score.


But I do find his facial expressions very distracting. The only pianist whose expressions find as distracting is....one of the judges (MP).

Can these expressions hurt a candidate in the eyes of some judges?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 03:13 PM

I have personally found the tone produced by virtually every competitor to be extremely beautiful. This is not the case for me when I listen to every YouTube recording by a professional, even one of the "greats".

How have you found the tone from the competitors?

Do you think the tone(if you find it beautiful) is due to the performer's talent, incredibly high quality of the pianos, the latest advances in recording quality or some combination of these?
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 03:56 PM

thanks for the quality of live streaming technology! it does have something to do with the technology, live streaming one especially. if you have ever been there at Berlin Phihamonic's Digital Concert Hall (with the same live streaming technology), you'd hear the same high quality sound.

youtube bandwitch is limited for each video, which means people would be more likely to upload low quality videos than high quality ones in an effort to put a certain length video there.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 03:59 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: signa
thanks for posting this piece, and i'm interested. Bozhanov is really an artist pianist, and i really love his playing, basically everything he did, and definitely will watch his performance video again, and probably just follow this score.


But I do find his facial expressions very distracting. The only pianist whose expressions find as distracting is....one of the judges (MP).

Can these expressions hurt a candidate in the eyes of some judges?

i don't like his facial expression as well, but he's too good with everything under his fingers and therefore i could forgive everything else...

i don't think judges would care about it, unless it's a bad performance.
Posted by: Juishi

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 04:00 PM

It is all about recording technology imo.
Comparing those videos to youtube videos is slightly unfair since youtube uploads have restrictions on file size, duration etc and sound quality tends to get more or less supressed when the recordings are first converted to form which YT accepts and then uploaded.

Moreover the recording quality is very advanced today and very naturally the sound is much more near the real than on some old 78rpm disc :p I don't think it has anything to do with performer's quality. Extremely fine pianos were built 100-50 years ago. I have read from many sources that, for example, Mr. Rachmaninoff had beautiful and golden tone which went straight to the heart yet I cannot quite hear that from his recordings.

My favorite performer in the competition so far has been Ran Dank though I must admit I haven't been listening performances too actively. I loved Dank's choice of repertoire which presented music from several different periods of time and his execution was simply flawless!
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 04:15 PM

I enjoyed Dank too. Unfortunately, his archived recital has some of the worst clipping and distortion. frown
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 04:26 PM

Say, has anyone noticed that the commemorative plaque on the bass side of the Cliburn Hamburg D has been covered? Kyu Yeon Kim's recital is on now.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 05:04 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Book them ahead of time!

They have to be booked ahead of time, and that's precisely why it would be impossible to guarantee that no teacher has a student in the competition. You're not suggesting that a competition disallow a juror who teaches any of the 100+ competitors who start out are you??


A piano ocmpetition is not the only organization that needs to navigate around conflicts of interest. Similar situations come up routinely in academics, government affairs, industrial affairs,etc.. Most organizations follow some rules of conduct even if they do not believe they are necessary. Your arguments are easily refutable. Scheduling is not a problem. Just like in court cases, you have standby jurors.. It is also prestigious and a good career move for many teachers to be invited to the jury pool.I may not have looked carefully enough but their website does not say anything about how they handle conflicts, this one in particular(if you noticed otherwise, please indicate and I will delete my statement).


???

It's already been explained by two people plus me in this thread how they handle conflicts...a teacher can't vote if the performer is one of his/her students.
I doubt many would want to be a standy juror. It's not like a trial where one has to serve jury duty or be a standy juror if the judge wants that.

And even if someone was willing, how would they possibly get someone who didn't teach any of the 30 finalists when they don't even know who the finalists are until 3-4 months in advance? Do you really think they can call an important pianist or teacher up only a few months in advance?


You don't need to shout. It is not nearly as complicated a problem as you make it up to be. MOre complex conflicts are known to have been resolved, with the exception of the Middle East problem perhaps.. Let us agree to disagree
Next topic.. laugh
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 05:17 PM

Maybe we should have a contest to see which PW poster can pick the highest nuber of pianists that are the same as the judges' choice?

Of course, someone would have to be willing to tally votes which could be less than thrilling(and I'm not volunteering). If people are interested and agree to alphabeize their choices it would make it easier to tally the votes.

I really don't feel qualified to choose in a rational way. Except for the last two performers this afternoon, I thought almost all were terrific.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 05:23 PM

I did not get chance to watch / listen today since I am still at work. How was the Kreisleriana and the Davidsbuendlertaenze? Did anyone listen?
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 06:17 PM

I'll write some more in detail later, but of the ones I have seen, those that really struck me were...

Beus
Dank
Tierra
Di Wu
Bohzanov.......with a particular fascination of Tierra and Bohzanov..
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 06:22 PM

It just occurred to me....

If one watches Cliburn documentaries dating back to the 70's and 80's....(in the days of De Groote, Shub, Pedroni, and even Nakamatsu..etc) the overall level of performance and artistic sensibility
in today's Cliburn seems to be of a supremely higher level. Possibly there is some factor clouding me from being objective, but it certainly seems to be the case.
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 06:33 PM

Oh and about the politics of the thing.....

It is a little disturbing that this competition has the SAME jurors year in and year out, but in the largest estimation, I would like to believe the thing is fair.

What does strike me unusual is that, if anyone remembers the horrific scandals involving Kaplinsky four years ago, how there she was being so criticized for having many of her OWN students in the competition (a stunning number....like 7 or something)..one would think that she would not be invited back again for the sake of bad publicity on the part of the competition but nobody seems to care....

I heard a rumor from a reputable classmate who is a Chinese pianist that 2005's second place winner, Joyce Yang, had a father who made an extremely large contribution to the Cliburn foundation. She is also a Kaplinsky student, and in my opinion her playing didn't merit her even being in the finals. How a piece of information like this stays either so private, so neglected, or so blissfully ignored by people of all parties goes beyond me..

Posted by: landorrano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 06:33 PM



My choices are

Deljavan
Vacatello
Kudristskaya
Posted by: landorrano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 06:48 PM

I don't think that the competition is fair. I know nothing specfically about the Cliburn, but I have seen enough in other competitions to have lost all confidence in this respect. I also know as a fact of some participants in this Cliburn who have benefitted from, shall I say, unfair juries in other competitions, and their prescence casts a shadow on the Cliburn.

There was an interview on the Cliburn TV with a guy who spoke about fixed results in other competitions. He spoke about the statistical methods used in the Cliburn to root out cheating by the jury. To me that sounds like the risk management techniques that made bundled mortgages appear foolproof.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 06:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
It just occurred to me....

If one watches Cliburn documentaries dating back to the 70's and 80's....(in the days of De Groote, Shub, Pedroni, and even Nakamatsu..etc) the overall level of performance and artistic sensibility
in today's Cliburn seems to be of a supremely higher level. Possibly there is some factor clouding me from being objective, but it certainly seems to be the case.


Don't forget that back then, there was required repertoire. This ends up stifling artistic sensibility since everyone is playing exactly the same pieces.

Nowadays, the only pieces chosen from a "required" list are the chamber recital and one of the two finals concerti.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 07:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Dubious
i'm not sure when the jury is selected (I assume that the competition jury may not be the same as the one that selects the 30 contestants to begin with). Once the 30 contestants have been chosen, then you can select the competition jury being careful to avoid teachers of the 30 contestants. That shouldn't be too hard...


At any rate, a teacher will know far in advance whether their students are trying for the Cliburn, and if they are, they shouldn't agree to be a juror. That is simple.

I also just do not believe that the pool of potential jurors is that small - there are probably hundreds of them, if not thousands of them, although they may not all be well-known. Maybe they should have juror competition, too, to select the best jury. smile

I also don't see why the jurors have to be teachers at all, which would eliminate the problem for those jurors who are not. There are many other music professionals who would be just fine, including non-teaching professional pianists, conductors, critics, etc.
Posted by: landorrano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 07:06 PM

Originally Posted By: wr


At any rate, a teacher will know far in advance whether their students are trying for the Cliburn, and if they are, they shouldn't agree to be a juror. That is simple.

I also just do not believe that the pool of potential jurors is that small - there are probably hundreds of them, if not thousands of them


I agree, 100 percent.
Posted by: JBB_Piano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 07:23 PM

By the way, this is a competition that used to have jurors such as de Larrocha, Bolet, and Firkusny. I think you can actually correlate the competitions that produced pianists that had truly meaningful performance careers with juries that had this type of caliber. The current one clearly does not.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 07:25 PM

does anyone know why the prelim archives are no longer available from the webcast page?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 07:27 PM

Originally Posted By: landorrano
There was an interview on the Cliburn TV with a guy who spoke about fixed results in other competitions. He spoke about the statistical methods used in the Cliburn to root out cheating by the jury. To me that sounds like the risk management techniques that made bundled mortgages appear foolproof.


When I heard that interview I didn't think of it the way you did. The main thing specifically mentioned was some mathematical process used so that the votes by judges who give out very high or very low scores would not carry more weight than judges who voted more moderately. If this is done, it seems to me it would prevent possible "gaming" by the judges.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 07:46 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
does anyone know why the prelim archives are no longer available from the webcast page?



I haven't noticed that. Let me go look. [edit] They are still available for me. smile


Originally Posted By: JBB_Piano
By the way, this is a competition that used to have jurors such as de Larrocha, Bolet, and Firkusny. I think you can actually correlate the competitions that produced pianists that had truly meaningful performance careers with juries that had this type of caliber. The current one clearly does not.


Good point. The 1985 Cliburn (Feghali was the gold medalist), definitely had Bolet on the jury. The entire competition is available on YT in cleverly edited form that makes use of the fact that every performer played the same pieces.

Here is Part 1/10:

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

Also notice the piano selection. Besides a couple of Steinways, there is also a Baldwin, a Bösendorfer, and a Bechstein available.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 08:19 PM

Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: wr


At any rate, a teacher will know far in advance whether their students are trying for the Cliburn, and if they are, they shouldn't agree to be a juror. That is simple.

I also just do not believe that the pool of potential jurors is that small - there are probably hundreds of them, if not thousands of them


I agree, 100 percent.



Maybe, but since the biggest jurors are booked years in advance(I think a knowledgable poster said 3+ years)how would they know at that point if one of their students would be trying for the Cliburn? A lot of improvement or lack therof can happen in that length of time. The student may not even be studying with them yet!
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 09:19 PM

Okay, I'll guess:

Beus
Dank
Myer
Bozhanov
Tsujii
Haochen Zhang (although I found him boring)
Di Wu
Vacatello
Son
Lifits
Deljavan
Kunz (or Yang?)
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 09:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Don't forget that back then, there was required repertoire... Nowadays, the only pieces chosen from a "required" list are the chamber recital and one of the two finals concerti.

There's also the American Composers Invitational.

Daniel
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 09:26 PM

I think, at least in the case of the Cliburn, they try very, very hard to keep the judging as fair as possible. (Joyce Yang is an excellent pianist and played very, very well. Whether she should have come in 2nd is debatable but I do think she deserved to be in the finals.)

That being said, I think the jury has a real job ahead of them whittling this group down to 12. I heard so many excellent performances. And some wonderful imaginative programming. Nobody seemed to give a bad performance or self-destruct or even struggle in their performance, with maybe the exception of Kunz in the Chaconne.

Some of those I heard that I really liked were Lam, Vacatello, Haochen Zhang, Dank, Beus, Meyer, Lee, Deljavan, Vondracek,Lifits...that makes 10. But others had wonderful parts to their programs. I liked Yang's Schumann if not her Bach. I adored Kunz's Scarlatti but his Bach-Busoni...something went wrong there and I'm not sure.

But this was by all accounts just an extraordinary prelim. I hope all of these wonderful pianist have long and fulfilling careers.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 09:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Brendan
Haochen Zhang (although I found him boring)

As did I. There are a few I would put above him. But I guess you're guessing who the judges will pick, and not who you would want to make it?

Daniel
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 09:32 PM

Son seemed to struggle a bit technically in the Spanish Rhapsody (of course I'm being a picky bastard and it's all relative because she was quite spectacular... but others have been absolutely flawless.) But I preferred her performance to that of Beus.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 09:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Originally Posted By: Brendan
Haochen Zhang (although I found him boring)

As did I.


Are you sure your audio-player/head-phone is in the right order?
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 09:57 PM

my mistake, the archives are fine now, if only i start the webcast from cliburn.tv.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 10:24 PM

i don't think the last pianist is going to make it to semi. she just couldn't bring out the pain of Rach's moment musical no.3...
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 10:32 PM

Originally Posted By: newport


Are you sure your audio-player/head-phone is in the right order?


No, I seriously fell asleep listening to him.

...and I agree with signa about Sakimoto. Not quite moving, IMO.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 10:37 PM

Brendan, thanks and i agree with you about Zhang, whom i didn't mention because i know many like him much, even though i was not moved by his playing. he's quite good however for his age.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 10:45 PM

Yes I agree re: Sakimoto. She seems charming, but the spirit of -Rachmaninov was not there.
But I really enjoyed Yeol Eum Son. What terrific Haydn and her Rhapsodie Espagnole, I thought, was far better than Beus'. Great performer!
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:00 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
Brendan, thanks and i agree with you about Zhang,


You don't say ... and keep away from my Haochen! eek mad smile
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:14 PM

Predictions (in alphabetical order):
*Evgeni Bozhanov
Ran Dank
Alessandro Deljavan
*Yoonjang Han
*Kyu Yeon Kim
*Andrea Lam
Yeol Eum Son
Victor Stanislavsky
Mariangela Vacatello
*Lukas Vondracek
*Di Wu
*Haochen Zhang

However, I'd prefer seeing Natacha Kudritskaya, Chetan Tierra, Ning Zhou, Naomi Kudo, and Zhang Zuo in place of the non-starred names.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:18 PM

yeah, right. see that's how subjective jurors would feel too. we'll see who make it in semi, and it doesn't matter how everyone else feels... i would just want to see Bozhanov is there, and whoever else, laugh
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:23 PM

For reference: Last year I had 6 favorites after the prelims. Exactly one of them made the semis crazy .
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:27 PM

I really like this lady announcer ... very charming and knows what she's talking about.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/26/09 11:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Don't forget that back then, there was required repertoire... Nowadays, the only pieces chosen from a "required" list are the chamber recital and one of the two finals concerti.

There's also the American Composers Invitational.

Daniel


You are right. I totally forgot about that. blush
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:22 AM

Bozhanov, Dank, Deljavan, Kim, Kunz, Lam, Lifits, Son, Tsujii, Vacatello, Wu and Zhang
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:24 AM

strange, Spencer Myer didn't make it?
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:24 AM

They cut Beus AND Myer! WOW.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:24 AM

Okay, I'll be the first to say:

NO BEUS??? NO MYER???

But props to Brendan for getting 10 of 12! He got mad judgin' skillz!
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:25 AM

I know. WOW. But everyone else I was rooting for (Vondracek excepted frown ) got in. smile
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:25 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Okay, I'll be the first to say:

NO BEUS??? NO MYER???

But props to Brendan for getting 10 of 12! He got mad judgin' skillz!


Indeed. thumb
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:25 AM

Sad that Vondracek did not make it, esp. if you compare to Lifits!!
I think it will come down to Son and Bozhanov
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:29 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Okay, I'll be the first to say:

NO BEUS??? NO MYER???


Man. Unbelievable! I thought either he or Spencer would definitely medal. Not a single American got through.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:32 AM

I'm surprised about Vondracek, too.

And I'm very surprised about Beus. It was somewhat controversial when he didn't pass the 2005 prelims, so I thought for sure they'd let him through this time around.

But I'm glad Kunz got through. It was an odd program (all classical/baroque), but he had something to say, and I'm glad we get to hear more.


BTW, even though the competition doesn't resume until Thursday, they announced that the quintet rehearsals will be broadcast tomorrow online.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:33 AM

I was also shocked that neither Beus nor Myer got in. I was happy to see both Andrea Lam and Di Wu make the cut. I really enjoyed both of their performances.
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:34 AM

I'll predict
Bozhaniv
Dank
Deljavan
kyu yeon kim
Eduard Kunz
Andrea Lam
Michail lifits
Yeol Eum Son
Nobuyuki Tsujii
Vacatello
Di Wu
Haochen Zhang

Oh they won!? I was right about all of them!
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:41 AM

i was hoping Bozhanov and Kunz getting in, and didn't expect much of everyone else, and i should be happy in a way. but my teacher emailed me about Spencer Myer whom he watched and thought his playing of rare quality, plus everyone else liking him, which seems a sure thing for him to get into the semi. but jurors are extremely unpredictable on such competitors, but not the ones a little more controversial like Kunz.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Damon
I'll predict
Oh they won!? I was right about all of them! Edited by Damon (May 27, 2009 03:36 AM)
Edit Reason: update


Except your "edit" gave you away!
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I'm surprised about Vondracek, too.

But I'm glad Kunz got through. It was an odd program (all classical/baroque), but he had something to say, and I'm glad we get to hear more.


Of all the preformers he intrigued me the most. His Scarlatti was just wonderful, interesting and fresh. Something though happened somewhere in the Bach-Busoni. (I forget where, I'll have to watch the performance again.)It was almost as if he had a memory lapse or something. He looked very shaken. I thought it might cost him a spot. I'm glad it didn't.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:43 AM

I knew something good was happening to Kunz when the camera was almost zeroing in him from the start ... not a glimpse of Beus and Myers.
Posted by: BZ4

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:44 AM

I was also surprised at the omission of Beus and Myer! Interesting that Kunz made the cut, he had a rather non-virtuoso recital (except for the Bach/Busoni Chaconne). But the live experience is so different than the webcast with limited audio. I'm sure there were a lot of musical nuances that the judges liked. Same with Lifits, his reading of the Schumann Fantasy was right on (he handled the jumps in the 2nd with ease), but I couldn't catch all his subleties in the last movement. Kim's reading of "Kreiserliana" is wonderful. Still can't get over the blind pianist handling the Chopin C# minor Etude (No. 4) perfectly.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 01:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Okay, I'll be the first to say:

NO BEUS??? NO MYER???



Amazingly wrong, isn't it? Jury weirdness strikes again.

Oh, well, at least a few of those I liked made it, so I guess I should be happy.
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 01:22 AM

I loved Myer's playing, but I can understand him not making it through.
Beus, I thought, should have made it.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 01:27 AM

Didn't Beus play the Barber back 2005? I thought he would make it into the semi-finals this time but in the back of my mind I kept asking "Why is he playing it again?" I think he needed to show the jury something more. Though his Bach was wonderful and should have been enough to get him in. Go figure.
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 02:15 AM

Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Didn't Beus play the Barber back 2005? I thought he would make it into the semi-finals this time but in the back of my mind I kept asking "Why is he playing it again?" I think he needed to show the jury something more. Though his Bach was wonderful and should have been enough to get him in. Go figure.


You may be right. I wonder what the precedent is for repeating as a competitor, playing same repertoire, and advancing.
Posted by: kcostell

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 02:47 AM

I've posted another spreadsheet, this one restricting the repertoire list to the competitors advancing to the semifinals. Whatever you think about the Cliburn jury, they committed one sin that was truly unforgivable...

...they advanced both of the competitors with the Liszt sonata programmed for the semifinal round.
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 03:30 AM

Like some others, I'm also very happy that Kunz made it to the semifinals, as his playing caught my attention more than anyone else's. It's good that the technical problems in the Chaconne did not overrule the great musicality he showed in the other pieces. Looking forward to hearing more of him. Anyone know this piece "Bates White Lies for Lomax" he is going to play in the semifinals?

I'm sorry about Myer - maybe his playing (except in the Vine) was too deliberately unspectacular and thoughtful. I liked it very much.

Happy about Di Wu, who gave a stunning recital, with a calm yet confident outer appearance.

I did not watch all performances, but all that I saw were interesting in one way or another!
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 04:25 AM

I was just wondering - didn't they use to have a commissioned work for each competition? I thought Bolcom Bagatelles were one of those. So did they change this custom?
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 05:02 AM

Originally Posted By: pianovirus
I was just wondering - didn't they use to have a commissioned work for each competition? I thought Bolcom Bagatelles were one of those. So did they change this custom?


They do invite several composers to submit recent works for the Van Cliburn. Up to five works among these are chosen and then sent out to the competitors. Composers of chosen works each receive $2,500. The work with the highest number of semifinalists performing it will earn its composer an additional $5,000. Apparently Mason Bates won it this year for "White Lies for Lomax." That'll be interesting to hear.

See here for more explanation: http://www.cliburn.org/index.php?page=cliburn_current_acs
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 05:19 AM

Originally Posted By: pianovirus
I was just wondering - didn't they use to have a commissioned work for each competition? I thought Bolcom Bagatelles were one of those. So did they change this custom?


Just adding to AZNpiano's reply, those Bolcom Bagatelles you mention were in fact the last of the commissioned works for the Cliburn, in 1997.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 05:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Phlebas
I loved Myer's playing, but I can understand him not making it through.

I can agree with you there. I wanted him to advance, though I can't say I think he deserved to over others.

Though only 6 of the 12 I wanted made it, the only thing that irks me is that Zhang advanced, when I think there were at least 6 better than him. Someone was talking about the "quality" of the live stream? I guess it's not that great, because I apparently missed what others found superior in his performance.

I'm very glad Son & Lam made it, because I was unsure about them advancing.

Daniel
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 05:50 AM

Thanks AZNpiano and wr for the link and explanation. It's actually a good idea to help more than just a single piece to prominence in this way. Yes, the Bates piece seems to be the most popular of the four proposed pieces. I'm curious to hear them all.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 07:24 AM

Well, the semis look to have some wonderful and interesting programming.


Di Wu is performing a Mazurka by Clara Schumann - might be a first for any competition - along with another traversal of the Davidsbündlertänze. In addition she will be playing the Medtner Fairy Tales and Moszkowski's Caprice Espagnol. Does anyone play Medtner? Or for that matter Moszkowski?

Ron Dank is playing the Bach D major Partita and Prokofiev 6. (Beautiful program.)

Nobuyuki Tsujii - OMG, the Hammerklavier!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeol Eum Son gives us a selection of Debussy Preludes, the
Godowsky Metamorphosis on Die Fledermaus and Barber Sonata.

Even Haochen Zhang has chosen a most unusual program contrasting the Liszt Spanish Rhapsody (yes, another) with those most mercurial and personal of works, the 24 Chopin Preludes. (It will be very interesting to see what he does with these.)

In contrast Kunz, who had such an interesting prelim will be playing the “Waldstein” and Rachmaninoff Moments Musicaux.

(Of course, they are also performing their chosen commissioned works.)

So much music, so little time.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 08:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Brendan
Okay, I'll guess:

Beus
Dank
Myer
Bozhanov
Tsujii
Haochen Zhang (although I found him boring)
Di Wu
Vacatello
Son
Lifits
Deljavan
Kunz (or Yang?)


I'm curious if these were your personal favorites or the ones you thought the jury would pick.

(And, by the way, great Youtube performance of the 10th of Messiaen's Vingt Regards!)
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 10:07 AM

Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Well, the semis look to have some wonderful and interesting programming.


Di Wu is performing a Mazurka by Clara Schumann - might be a first for any competition - along with another traversal of the Davidsbündlertänze. In addition she will be playing the Medtner Fairy Tales and Moszkowski's Caprice Espagnol. Does anyone play Medtner? Or for that matter Moszkowski?

Ron Dank is playing the Bach D major Partita and Prokofiev 6. (Beautiful program.)

Nobuyuki Tsujii - OMG, the Hammerklavier!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeol Eum Son gives us a selection of Debussy Preludes, the
Godowsky Metamorphosis on Die Fledermaus and Barber Sonata.

Even Haochen Zhang has chosen a most unusual program contrasting the Liszt Spanish Rhapsody (yes, another) with those most mercurial and personal of works, the 24 Chopin Preludes. (It will be very interesting to see what he does with these.)

In contrast Kunz, who had such an interesting prelim will be playing the “Waldstein” and Rachmaninoff Moments Musicaux.

(Of course, they are also performing their chosen commissioned works.)

So much music, so little time.


I think it's great that Wu will play Medtner. His music is long overdue for this kind of exposure! Moszkowski too! Not to mention someone playing Godowsky. smile
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 11:44 AM

I hope this doesn't sound too cynical, but does anyone think Tsujii got to the semis because of his blindness since that this makes a "good story". I doubt there has ever been a better pianist who was oompletely blind from birth, but for me his playing was not so special compared to others who didn't make it to the semis.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 11:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I think it's great that Wu will play Medtner. His music is long overdue for this kind of exposure! Moszkowski too!

Diversity is good, but Moszkowski's Op 37 isn't the meatiest piece in my opinion, more of a flashy showpiece, suitable for an encore...
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:04 PM

One observation about the semis...

Several of them played shorter programs for the prelims (not the full 50 minutes). I wonder if this is the case of quality over quantity--i.e., it's not how much you play, but how well you play.

Tsujii's semi program worries me. Just Beethoven?? Boy, it has to be the best Beethoven the jury has ever heard in their lives.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:06 PM

If anything, the blindness is probably a very small edge. What probably got him in was the audacity of playing Chopin Op. 10 - a set of works that every judge on that panel knows inside and out. You can't play Chopin etudes badly at the Cliburn and advance, even if you can get the notes right with a blindfold, using only 3 fingers, with Crisco on the keyboard.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I think it's great that Wu will play Medtner. His music is long overdue for this kind of exposure! Moszkowski too!

Diversity is good, but Moszkowski's Op 37 isn't the meatiest piece in my opinion, more of a flashy showpiece, suitable for an encore...


Think of it as "Liszt with a Spanish flavor." I actually like Op. 37 quite a bit...tried to play it before.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
If anything, the blindness is probably a very small edge. What probably got him in was the audacity of playing Chopin Op. 10 - a set of works that every judge on that panel knows inside and out. You can't play Chopin etudes badly at the Cliburn and advance, even if you can get the notes right with a blindfold, using only 3 fingers, with Crisco on the keyboard.


Crisco is bad for your heart. Try olive oil..

I actually loved Tsujii's Debussy. It evoked colors, images, new worlds.. just like it is meant to be.
On a more peronal note, his mother's dedication is almost palpable in the few clips she appeared in. But his website needs an overhaul!
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:18 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I hope this doesn't sound too cynical, but does anyone think Tsujii got to the semis because of his blindness since that this makes a "good story". I doubt there has ever been a better pianist who was oompletely blind from birth, but for me his playing was not so special compared to others who didn't make it to the semis.


Maybe to a small degree, but I think it was more the fact that he played a very solid op 10.

[edit: Kreisler said about the same thing]
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 12:34 PM

I think it definitely helped since his performance was one of the shakiest of the group. He seemed to tire in the last three or four Chopin etudes, and wrong notes started to creep in. He kept his composure, though, and maintained a spirited performance throughout.

Since so many of these players closed their eyes throughout their performances, it may be tempting to think that Tsujii's blindness is not that much of a handicap. But notice that everyone closes their eyes only in the slow, easy sections. The instant a difficult or fast passage comes along their eyes are focused right back on the keyboard. If you watched the close-ups of Tsujii's hands, you could see the little micro-second stutters as his hands sought the right position on the keys. I think he is under much more strain throughout his performance in comparison to a sighted pianist, and he may tire more quickly than most, but he handles it magnificently. He deserved his promotion.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 01:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
I think it definitely helped since his performance was one of the shakiest of the group. He seemed to tire in the last three or four Chopin etudes, and wrong notes started to creep in.


I'm quite sure there were quite a few wrong notes in the first few etudes also.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I think it's great that Wu will play Medtner. His music is long overdue for this kind of exposure! Moszkowski too!

Diversity is good, but Moszkowski's Op 37 isn't the meatiest piece in my opinion, more of a flashy showpiece, suitable for an encore...


I basically agree. I did hear one performance at the Mannes Piano Festival a few years ago by some young Asian pianist(can't remember hu)that I enjoyed very much and made me think the piece is not as bad as I had previously thought. I think that kind of program selection could have a slight negative effect on some judges.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 01:16 PM

Speaking of Mannes, I noticed they have one of the current Cliburn competitors listed (Ran Dank) for their Keyboard Festival this year, in addition to the medalists Kern and Kobrin.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 06:14 PM

Quote:
I hope this doesn't sound too cynical, but does anyone think Tsujii got to the semis because of his blindness since that this makes a "good story". I doubt there has ever been a better pianist who was oompletely blind from birth, but for me his playing was not so special compared to others who didn't make it to the semis.


I disagree. I loved the clarity and style in his Chopin and I thought there was wonderful depth in his Debussy. I found his playing much more compelling than many others at the competition. I think many people are being quick to criticize the choice because they immediately gravitate towards thinking it's due to his blindness.

Sadly this is one reason he will definitely not win, and I hope he understands this. They won't give him first place because it would bring in all the inevitable storms about bias and sentimentality and hurt the reputation of the competition. They would probably prefer to play it safe, even if he plays the best Hammierklavier ever in the semifinals.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 06:19 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

I'm curious if these were your personal favorites or the ones you thought the jury would pick.

(And, by the way, great Youtube performance of the 10th of Messiaen's Vingt Regards!)


Thanks, friend. smile

My own favorites were Vacatello, Tsujii, Kunz, Bozhanov, and Beus. If I had to pick an all-around favorite so far, it would be Vacatello.

Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 07:01 PM

Tsuji's rehearsal coming up. Should be interesting. Unlike the others, I suppose he would have to memorize everything before the rehearsal.
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 07:26 PM

Originally Posted By: newport
Originally Posted By: Damon
I'll predict
Oh they won!? I was right about all of them! Edited by Damon (May 27, 2009 03:36 AM)
Edit Reason: update


Except your "edit" gave you away!


Go Kunz, Go.
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/27/09 07:49 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I hope this doesn't sound too cynical, but does anyone think Tsujii got to the semis because of his blindness since that this makes a "good story".


I don't know. Is it cynical to think there is a reason other than pianism that all American males failed to advance?
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 03:30 AM

Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I hope this doesn't sound too cynical, but does anyone think Tsujii got to the semis because of his blindness since that this makes a "good story".


I don't know. Is it cynical to think there is a reason other than pianism that all American males failed to advance?


No, "cynical" wouldn't be the right term for that.
Posted by: gerg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 03:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Brendan
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

I'm curious if these were your personal favorites or the ones you thought the jury would pick.

(And, by the way, great Youtube performance of the 10th of Messiaen's Vingt Regards!)


Thanks, friend. smile

My own favorites were Vacatello, Tsujii, Kunz, Bozhanov, and Beus. If I had to pick an all-around favorite so far, it would be Vacatello.



She is my favorite as well.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 06:14 AM

Wow. Bozhanov's performance was incredible. He is so expressive (perhaps a bit too much so with his face, but with that playing who cares?)

If he keeps up this level of performing, I think he could win this competition.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 09:36 AM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
Wow. Bozhanov's performance was incredible. He is so expressive (perhaps a bit too much so with his face, but with that playing who cares?)

If he keeps up this level of performing, I think he could win this competition.


Yes he is terrific. Looking forward to his recital today.
I noticed he is the only one to have chosen the Cesar Franck quintet (what gorgeous music!). Most others are doing Brahms with Dvorak and Schumann coming next.
Also only Tsujii chose to perform Musto's Improvistaion and Fugue among the new works..
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 10:20 AM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
Wow. Bozhanov's performance was incredible. He is so expressive (perhaps a bit too much so with his face, but with that playing who cares?)

If he keeps up this level of performing, I think he could win this competition.


Indeed. His facial expressions are perhaps too much, but his playing is simply incredible. I missed him live, but I watched his archived prelim performance yesterday. Unlike many of the others, it is distortion-free. smile
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 10:24 AM

I also re-listened to Haochen Zhang and his audio in the archives was much better than what I got live. I actually liked him a lot, his polonaise being the least impressive of his program though. He is a true prodigy that one. Only 19! HE studies with Gary Gaffman I think.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 10:43 AM

He does. Gary Graffman studied with Horowitz for a time, too. He is indeed an excellent player, but he just needs time to mature. smile
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 01:25 PM

i felt the same about him. he could win this, and let's hope... his 2nd recital is this afternoon, and i could only listen to it from KTCU at work.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 02:38 PM

I finally got around to watching Kyu Yeon Kim's full performance and liked it very much. I'm adding her to my personal favorites list! laugh
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 05:11 PM

Vacatello seemed a bit "shaky" on the Liszt. Was she nervous? The Hagel was fun, and her Scriabin was excellent.

Daniel
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 05:17 PM

If Bozhanov wins and they make a movie out of it he will be played by Jack Nicholson. Same eyebrows.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 05:27 PM

the best Beethoven i've heard in this competition and perhaps beyond...
Posted by: babama

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 05:56 PM

I'm really enjoying player Bozhanov at the moment.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 06:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
I also re-listened to Haochen Zhang and his audio in the archives was much better than what I got live. I actually liked him a lot, his polonaise being the least impressive of his program though. He is a true prodigy that one. Only 19! HE studies with Gary Gaffman I think.

Can someone talk to Brendan and find out why he fell in sleep listening to Haocheng? mad laugh
Posted by: BZ4

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 06:45 PM

I'm also enjoyed Bozhanov's playing as well. His reading of the Schubert B flat was outstanding, especially the 2nd movement. He also has a good flair for the Slavic feel of the last movement (because he's Central European?).
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 07:53 PM

Are there no archives for the semis? I missed the whole afternoon, and cannot find anything about that. frown
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 08:07 PM

I'm sure they will post them....I doubt the web people are that incompetent...
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 08:54 PM

And indeed they have! smile I'll have to catch up tonight.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 09:18 PM

Originally Posted By: newport

Can someone talk to Brendan and find out why he fell in sleep listening to Haocheng? mad laugh


Because he's boring. smile
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 09:58 PM

Lam is my favorite so far, what beautiful sound. The Brahms she played tonight was just right.

Matt
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/28/09 10:42 PM

Bozhanov was awesome. Especially the 3rd movement of that Beethoven, that's just about as good as it gets. I also loved the first two movements of his Schubert.

Lam is outstanding! Incredible pianist to experience. Like her Granados, I think her Brahms could have used a bit more volume in some areas (like the Ballade) but her interpretations are fantastic nonetheless. I am so relaxed watching her, as it all seems to come so effortlessly. I'm definitely rooting for her all the way to the end.

Daniel
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/29/09 12:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Vacatello seemed a bit "shaky" on the Liszt. Was she nervous? The Hagel was fun, and her Scriabin was excellent.


I liked the Liszt, but it had more mistakes than I would have believed possible at this level. I'll bet she doesn't move on.
Posted by: Black36White52

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/29/09 01:53 PM

I wish they linked the competitor's name on the schedule to their bio/repertoire page.

Just a thought ...
Posted by: pianovirus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/29/09 04:18 PM

Does anyone know if the four symposia will also be streamed?
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/29/09 04:42 PM

Anyone else loving White Lies for Lomax?

Daniel
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/29/09 05:03 PM

...me included, and like Bozhanov's the best so far.

semi archives are now available.
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/29/09 08:23 PM

I also really liked White Lies for Lomax. I've only heard Lam's performance of it, and found her performance a little on the tame/conservative side. It seemed to me like it needed more of an agressive jazzy feel in places.
Posted by: Synapse

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/29/09 09:44 PM

I actually like White Lies for Lomax so much that I'm considering picking up the score laugh

Apparently there's an orchestral arrangement for it too.
Posted by: Synapse

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/29/09 09:55 PM

WOW Yeol Eum Son's Godowsky blew me away
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/29/09 10:48 PM

i didn't like it at all, maybe it's partly because of the music (Godowsky).
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/29/09 11:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Anyone else loving White Lies for Lomax?

Daniel


Heck yeah. Lovely.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 04:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Anyone else loving White Lies for Lomax?



"Loving" is a bit strong, but I like it well enough. It seems just a bit on the easy side for big competition, but I am happy it was included in the list because the pianists seem to enjoy playing it.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 04:09 AM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Bozhanov was awesome. Especially the 3rd movement of that Beethoven, that's just about as good as it gets. I also loved the first two movements of his Schubert.

Lam is outstanding! Incredible pianist to experience. Like her Granados, I think her Brahms could have used a bit more volume in some areas (like the Ballade) but her interpretations are fantastic nonetheless. I am so relaxed watching her, as it all seems to come so effortlessly. I'm definitely rooting for her all the way to the end.



Agreed about Bozhanov. Wouldn't surprise me if he gets the gold.

I really liked Lam and hoped she'd make it to the finals, but she was having some strange problems. Lots of wrong notes and insecure playing. She was having a bad day, even though she was quite valiant about it. I'm afraid it is over for her, which is too bad.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 05:41 PM

Do many of the major competitions have as lengthy repertoire requirements(3 solo recitals, 1 chamber work, 2 concerti) as the Cliburn?
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 06:04 PM

Kunz's Waldstein was unique and well structured, despite some wrong notes. his Rach moment musicals were great and more emotionally involved. his Bates was interesting as well. i like him, but i don't know if he could make it to the final.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 06:22 PM

Loved his performance. Particularly the Rachmaninoff. I was called away, so I'm waiting for the archived version so i can rewatch. smile
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 07:11 PM

Re Kunz, the Beethoven started well, but toward the end it seemed to me that he was just playing notes, and wanted it to be over.

I think the final movement of that Op 16 was disastrous. I liked his approach of playing some of the melodic chords with less force (and even piano) but he just seemed frazzled, and that secondary motif throughout the movement was completely muddled and lost. In the end, I thought "wow... that was pretty bad..." To me, he looked quite disappointed with his performance as well.

Unfortunate.

Daniel
Posted by: BZ4

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 07:16 PM

Bohzhanov I feel is a strong contender for the next round. Also Lifits--his reading of the Schumann Piano Quintet was stronger than Nobu's. Zhang is remarkable, I liked his reading of the Chopin Preludes, and an awesome finish in the Lizst Rhapsody. He should move on as well.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 07:32 PM

i got my teacher's email about Kunz, and he likes his playing a lot even though he noticed his wrong notes too. so, i'm in agreement with my teacher on Kunz at least. i think Kunz is a really unique musician, whose style may elude some people though, but i love his playing anyway.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 07:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Re Kunz, the Beethoven started well, but toward the end it seemed to me that he was just playing notes, and wanted it to be over.

I think the final movement of that Op 16 was disastrous. I liked his approach of playing some of the melodic chords with less force (and even piano) but he just seemed frazzled, and that secondary motif throughout the movement was completely muddled and lost. In the end, I thought "wow... that was pretty bad..." To me, he looked quite disappointed with his performance as well.

Unfortunate.

Daniel


I missed the end of the Rach. Too bad. frown
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 08:01 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
i got my teacher's email about Kunz, and he likes his playing a lot even though he noticed his wrong notes too. so, i'm in agreement with my teacher on Kunz at least. i think Kunz is a really unique musician, whose style may elude some people though, but i love his playing anyway.


I like his playing a lot and I hope he moves on. I also think Hauchen Zhang should advance.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 08:03 PM

I agree...Kunz did very well with some of the Rachmaninoff and Beethoven, but seemed to tire a bit towards the end of both.

The standout in the semis for me so far is Bohzhanov - absolutely fantastic beginning to end.

I'm looking forward to Wu tonight and Kim tomorrow. Davidsbundler!
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 09:10 PM

absolutely great Frank quintet, both music and performance!
Posted by: martyb

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/30/09 10:23 PM

Does anyone know who the two piano tuners are that are featured in the "offstage" program on the live tv website?
Posted by: landorrano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 04:13 AM

Hats off to the big guy who interviews the pianists after each performance. You can see that 20 years of experience in an international competition has really paid off. With infinite respect for their artistry he asks "what was the toughest part?". The player doesn't understand and answers something else. Our bloke then ever so delicately tells them "go have dinner !"
Posted by: Dubious

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 01:54 PM

I find this guy pretty annoying (and I think Kunz would agree with me); except that sometimes he reminds of John Hodgman (the PC guy, from Mac vs PC Apple ads) laugh
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 02:02 PM

Originally Posted By: landorrano
Hats off to the big guy who interviews the pianists after each performance. You can see that 20 years of experience in an international competition has really paid off. With infinite respect for their artistry he asks "what was the toughest part?". The player doesn't understand and answers something else. Our bloke then ever so delicately tells them "go have dinner !"



I'm fairly sure the "go have dinner" was a jab at Kunz, who wasn't exactly letting himself be interviewed all that well and came off as pompous.

I thought it was amusing that Kunz said the reason he chose the "Lomax", as did most other people, was that it was easy to learn. Ironically, the blind pianist, Tsujii, is the only one who chose John Musto's Improvisation and Fugue, which sounds like an absolute pain to sight-read, I can only imagine even worse to have to memorize and learn by ear.

Kunz didn't same to put much weight on the "Lomax". Same with the Chamber performance. Someone on a blog said that maybe Kunz was just relying on good sight-reading ability to "coast" through parts of the competition he didn't care that much about.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 02:44 PM

Musto's Improvisation and Fugue sounds even better than Bates's White Lie to me. Tsujii was incredible playing it with everything memorized.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 04:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Dubious
I find this guy pretty annoying (and I think Kunz would agree with me); except that sometimes he reminds of John Hodgman (the PC guy, from Mac vs PC Apple ads) laugh



grin

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought that...
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 05:04 PM

Wow, Lifits isn't through with the Liszt Sonata yet and already I don't want to hear anything else from him. I know, that's harsh, but I've never been so bored by a performance. Now he's dropping notes like crazy in the fugue while I'm typing.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 05:06 PM

the problem was that he didn't always ask right questions, especially when the pianist was exhausted from performing and had to answer some stupid questions. i wouldn't want any interview at all if i were any competitor there.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 05:09 PM

Lifts has some lovely slow moments with Liszt, but anything else seems falling apart.
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 05:47 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
Lifts has some lovely slow moments with Liszt, but anything else seems falling apart.


I thought it was overly slow, and still he bungled harmonies on several occasions. It seems that the audience was more appreciative.
Posted by: L'echange

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 06:46 PM

Bozhanov's Schubert Bflat was incredible!
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 07:09 PM

I think that Bozhanov, Wu, and Zhang are in definitely. For the other spots, I'm not so sure. I am unsure about Tsujii. I was moved by his Hammerklavier, but I don't know how much his blindness is coloring my reaction. Both Lifits an Lam seemed to struggle a bit more in their performances compared others. I didn't like either of Kunz semifinal rounds, I don't think he'll make it through.
Posted by: Synapse

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 08:27 PM

I can't wait to hear Deljavan's Scriabin 5
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 08:53 PM

Tsujii's Hammerklavier was really good with clarity and almost note perfect or everything, but i didn't feel that moved by his playing, just not deep enough for me. don't know what jury would think about him, with 2 good semi performances. i suspect he'd be in final, but not sure.

i know many people don't care about Kunz's semi performance which certainly was not perfect, but i really like him and his style and some musical ideas, and hope i could hear him in final again.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 09:25 PM

Such mixed reactions with Tsujii. All of the posters at the official blog were gushing over the Hammierklavier, while some other bloggers had a pretty much opposite reaction.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 10:07 PM

does anyone else find Deljavan boring?
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:06 PM

My guess for the finalists:
Bozhanov
Tsujii
Zhang
Wu
Son
Vacatello
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:07 PM

And that has to be a difficult problem for the judges. Even the best pianists have "off" days, and Kunz seemed to have one. But, he does seem to have something interesting to say.

So who do you pick? The consistent performer whose voice isn't perhaps as original or who doesn't take as many risks, or the inconsistent performer who may, or may not, bring profound revelation in the finals?

Originally Posted By: signa
i know many people don't care about Kunz's semi performance which certainly was not perfect, but i really like him and his style and some musical ideas, and hope i could hear him in final again.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:17 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
Tsujii's Hammerklavier was really good with clarity and almost note perfect or everything, but i didn't feel that moved by his playing, just not deep enough for me. don't know what jury would think about him, with 2 good semi performances. i suspect he'd be in final, but not sure.


Personally, I loved his Beethoven and felt that he played to all of its aspects as a composition very well. The first movement had plenty of grandeur without being overplayed. I liked how he focused on the soft end of the dynamic spectrum whenever possible (second themes, etc.), and by doing so he put the majestic character of the opening material in perspective (making loud dynamics seem louder by greater contrast - a very Alicia de Larrocha thing to do). The third movement nearly had me in tears, and I was being a total geek and following along with the score. I heard Peter Serkin play this sonata live a few years ago and Tsujii's performance was equally captivating, and sometimes more so. I honestly wasn't expecting a lot in terms of depth, but he totally delivered, IMO.

Sure, the fugue was occasionally messy, but in spite of some wrong notes I never got the sense that his concentration waned.

Quote:
i know many people don't care about Kunz's semi performance which certainly was not perfect, but i really like him and his style and some musical ideas, and hope i could hear him in final again.


/agree

I like his personality, and despite his inconsistencies he gets a sound out of the instrument that no one else has been able to yet. It's just too bad that he had to fake so much of the Dvorak and the Rachmaninoff. He'll likely be out.

..and as I type this, Son is boring me to tears with her incredibly thin Brahms quintet.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:19 PM

Oh, I forgot to look into my Magic 8-Ball and reveal the names of the finalists:

Bozhanov
Dank
Son
Tsujii
Wu
Zhang
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:27 PM

So ... Brendan seems to have a soft spot for boring players ... smile

(I am all for people having soft spots!)
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:27 PM

I guess I'll play along and make my guesses

Bozhanov
Zhang
Son
Tsujii
Wu
Vacatello
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:35 PM

Originally Posted By: newport
So ... Brendan seems to have a soft spot for boring players ... smile

(I am all for people having soft spots!)


They were solid, but still boring. Unfortunately, that's what wins competitions.

Zhang was painfully redundant, but he didn't miss anything. Terrible!
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Brendan
Originally Posted By: newport
So ... Brendan seems to have a soft spot for boring players ... smile

(I am all for people having soft spots!)


They were solid, but still boring. Unfortunately, that's what wins competitions.

Zhang was painfully redundant, but he didn't miss anything. Terrible!

Would it be a dis-service if you convince people what they like wasn't worth liking?

(Like if you convince people virgin-birth wasn't worth believing?)
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:42 PM

I'll take a guess.

Kunz
Tsujii
Zhang
Son
Dank
and Lang L... oops, I mean Bozhanv.
smile
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:43 PM

Originally Posted By: newport

Would it be a dis-service if you convince people what they like wasn't worth liking?

(Like if you convince people virgin-birth wasn't worth believing?)


What's your problem?

For my tastes, they're boring players. Sadly, they'll probably advance since they were more consistent than some others.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Brendan
Originally Posted By: newport

Would it be a dis-service if you convince people what they like wasn't worth liking?

(Like if you convince people virgin-birth wasn't worth believing?)


What's your problem?

That was just joking ... I respect your expert opinion. smile
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:52 PM

I think Tsujii's Beethoven was great.

I'm surprised no one has said anything about Dank's semi-final performance. That was some fantastic Bach in my opinion. The Prokofiev was great as well.

I'm hoping Dank, Son, and Lam make it to the finals. I think Bozhanov has secured his spot.

Daniel
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:54 PM

i would pick Kunz over Zhang any day. the difference between the 2 are: one is an artist and the other is still a student (though a prodigy perhaps).
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 05/31/09 11:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Damon
I'll take a guess.
and Lang L... oops, I mean Bozhanv.
smile

No way .. LL won't be caught dead curving his pinkies like that! eek

Oh no .. he's the anti "Asian Stylistic School" ... He's the one-person "Bulgarian Stylistic School"!
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 12:05 AM

i'm not sure about Dank. but read someone else's review here:

http://performancetoday.publicradio.org/?month=4&day=3&year=2007
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
I guess I'll play along and make my guesses

Bozhanov
Zhang
Son
Tsujii
Wu
Vacatello


So, guess who got the winners right.... smile
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:17 AM

Here we go:

Bozhanov
Son
Tsujii
Vacatello
Wu
Zhang

Vacatello and not Dank!
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:18 AM

I love how when it goes from Bozhanov to Son, all suspense is over, as you know all six.

Daniel
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:23 AM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Originally Posted By: Theowne
I guess I'll play along and make my guesses

Bozhanov
Zhang
Son
Tsujii
Wu
Vacatello




So, guess who got the winners right.... smile


Originally Posted By: DameMyra
My guess for the finalists:
Bozhanov
Tsujii
Zhang
Wu
Son
Vacatello


We did, didn't we?
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:29 AM

I can't believe there will be yet another Davidsbündlertänze performance (from Bozhanov) - when did it turn into grist for the competition mill? And two Prokofiev 2nd concertos. Accckkk. I love it, but it's getting overplaying like crazy. And to think, when I was a kid it was almost never played. Weird.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:38 AM

Di Wu's final recital looks very exciting with Bach, Schoenberg & Ravel. She is also the only Rach3. And I think Vacatello is going to just rip it up with the Prok3. And I am anxious to hear Zhang's Mozart. (Didn't Kobrin play the D minor in 2005?)

Anyway....

Can't wait for the finals to begin!!!!
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:38 AM

Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Originally Posted By: Theowne
Originally Posted By: Theowne
I guess I'll play along and make my guesses

Bozhanov
Zhang
Son
Tsujii
Wu
Vacatello



Originally Posted By: DameMyra
My guess for the finalists:
Bozhanov
Tsujii
Zhang
Wu
Son
Vacatello

So, guess who got the winners right.... smile


We did, didn't we?


Good going! Now we know to pay special attention to your predictions of the winners.

Anybody getting tired of it? I sort of wish it was over - getting through the final round is going to be a bit of a slog, because I am not really that enthusiastic about most of the people playing. Bozhanov is the most interesting by far, to me.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:42 AM

I'm beginning to love the Schumann Quintet! What a lovely composition.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:42 AM

Yep, I'm definitely getting worn down with this... but I can't not listen, I feel like I'll miss out on something something great, or important... or something...
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:44 AM

Actually I will be looking for some surprises in the final round. I think anyone who is in the final six has a chance to win it all and I see everyone taking chances and going for it. I'm especially looking to see Zhang open up.
Posted by: CherryCoke

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 02:30 AM

No Andrea Lam. frown
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 02:40 AM

Originally Posted By: CherryCoke
No Andrea Lam. frown


I know - I really liked her playing and personality.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 02:55 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: CherryCoke
No Andrea Lam. frown


I know - I really liked her playing and personality.

So I'm not the only one crying myself to sleep over this?... (not literally but you get the idea...)

Slightly comforting.
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 02:58 AM

I have a feeling it's going to come down between Bozhanov or Wu - possibly even a tie for gold between the two of them.

I was quite surprised that Dank and Lam (who I preferred to Son) were eliminated. I thought it would be between Bozhanov or Dank. I immensly enjoy Vacatello's playing, but I feel she is not quite consistent enough to win. Zhang, to me, is sort of similiar to Yundi Li : extremely wholesome, well rounded, enjoyable, meticulously crafted playing but ultimately generic (I have to confess, I haven't watched his complete recitals). I have not listened to Tsujii very much, like what I have heard, but can't help but think that his blindness has helped propel him to this level. As for Son, I think there should have been at least 5 other rejected people deserving her place in the finals.

Both Bozhanov and Wu, for me, epitomize artistry in piano playing; my faith in this competition will be restored if either of them take the gold.

A rough prediction....

1st Bozhanov
2nd Wu
3rd Zhang

Finalists: Son, Vacatello, Tsujii
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 03:01 AM

Am I the only one who feels like Bozhanov is a bit Pogorelichesque....

This jury has a repuatation for being easily offended, I'm surprised and delighted he has made it so far!

And I'm falling more and more in love with Di Wu by the second....such Sultry, erotic, etheral sounds and energy!
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 03:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Such mixed reactions with Tsujii. All of the posters at the official blog were gushing over the Hammierklavier, while some other bloggers had a pretty much opposite reaction.


It felt a little strange when I recognized that some of the people gushing about Tsujii over on the official blog were once major Joyce Hatto groupies.

Which reminds me - one of the jurors, the former critic Richard Dyer, was also a big big fan of those bogus Hatto recordings. How can he even sit on a piano competition jury after a debacle like that?

Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 03:32 AM

Perhaps Tsujii is secretly being controlled by remote controls guiding his fingers, which receive transmissions from a pianist playing an electronic piano backstage. When this gets out...
Posted by: justice

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 04:21 AM

my choice:

1st:wu di and tsujii

2nd:bochanov or zhang
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 07:57 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
Good going! Now we know to pay special attention to your predictions of the winners.


Nah, it's just something that we find fun to do. Have you heard of this concept?
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 08:50 AM

I don't understand Wu's advancement at all. Her Davidsbundler seemed obvious and, at times, even a bit sloppy note-wise.

I was hoping for Kunz and Kim but understand why they didn't make the cut.

Bozhanov I expected. Tsujii surprised me (he had his ups and downs, but his good moments were great.)

I agree with Brendan (mostly) about safe players advancing, but I've come to expect it in the Cliburn - since the prize includes three years of concert management, they need very consistent players.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 12:14 PM

the jury is looking for some safe bets and those who played the least wrong notes, and they don't have the courage to choose Kunz or the like. i guess that's mostly what competitions do these days.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 12:19 PM

i agree, and i too look forward to hearing Bozhanov, who's by far the most interesting among all those finalists.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I agree with Brendan (mostly) about safe players advancing, but I've come to expect it in the Cliburn - since the prize includes three years of concert management, they need very consistent players.


By "safe" do you mean a fairly standard/conservative interpretation and/or lack of wrong notes or something else?
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:54 PM

Standard/conservative interpretation. Wrong notes don't matter so much, unless they result as a lack of focus.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 01:56 PM

I'm fascinated watching the Bozhanov rehearsal partly because the volume seems louder than in the quintet rehearsals where I couldn't hear much of the conversation. I'm surpirsed Bozhanov is not marking his score after they decide on some particular point. Is he so good he can remember everything they decided to do? (Or is Conlon marking Bohzanov's score??)

For those who have performed concerti, is this the usual procedure or would you write things in your score?

Do you get the impression that either Bohzanov or Conlon is defering to the other person or are they just working as equals? I would think it's fairly important for Conlon to defer to Bohzanov because it's Bohzanov's interpretaion that's being judged.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 02:17 PM

Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Actually I I'm especially looking to see Zhang open up.


Do you mean show more emotion either in his playing or his stage presence or something else?

To me, Zhang plays somewhat like Perahia but maybe with more technical flair. Everything is beautifully phrased.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 05:54 PM

Personally I'm blown away by Bohzanov's playing. Despite the fact that the rehearsal has revealed that his facial expressions are just an act for the audience, his playing is superb, the kind that really brings an audience to life. I can see him winning, though I won't be attending his concerts if he does...I've had enough of the "Lang Lang" type...
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 06:17 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Actually I I'm especially looking to see Zhang open up.


Do you mean show more emotion either in his playing or his stage presence or something else?

To me, Zhang plays somewhat like Perahia but maybe with more technical flair. Everything is beautifully phrased.


I know I am in the minority, but I really love Zhang's playing and have been rooting for him since the start of the competition. I would love to see him relax a little and enjoy himself a little more while playing. Also I would love to see him connect more with the audience. He always looks a little surprised and almost embarassed after each performance. The audience obviously loves him. Perhaps, now that he's in the finals he can enjoy himself a little.

I've read some posts where people compare him to Kobrin and I think the comparisons are fair in many ways. He is unflappable, he doesn't make mistakes, his performances are well thought out and executed.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 06:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Perhaps Tsujii is secretly being controlled by remote controls guiding his fingers, which receive transmissions from a pianist playing an electronic piano backstage. When this gets out...


smile

What I meant was that there are some fans who seem to get especially enthused about pianists who are hampered in some way (or appear to be hampered). With Hatto it was her age and the story of recording while suffering terribly from cancer. It just made a weird resonance when I saw some of the same people gushing about Tsujii who I remember from the Hatto claque. I know, I know - correlation isn't causality.

Tsujii doesn't seem hampered all that much in his actual playing, though. After all, sighted people can learn to play in the dark or with their eyes closed, and that's without being accustomed to getting around without vision. It is interesting that one of the Dohnanyi exercises involving big chordal leaps is to be mastered with the eyes closed. I think Medtner once said something about always playing with his eyes closed, too, but I don't have the exact quote.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 06:25 PM

Sounds like something easier said than experienced. Yes, some pianists close their eyes when they play, but that's very different from being completely blind from birth and reaching this level of ability.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 06:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Personally I'm blown away by Bohzanov's playing. Despite the fact that the rehearsal has revealed that his facial expressions are just an act for the audience, his playing is superb, the kind that really brings an audience to life.


While it's true that there seemed to be less facial expressions during his concerto rehearsal, I think part of the reason was that much of this was shown in a profile view. I can't imagine anyone would make the expressions he does on purpose because they're so bizarre looking. I don't think they'd appeal to almost anyone and especially not to the jury(and they're the ones who vote).

While I don't like Lang Lang's expressions and movements, at least they are not bizarre looking in the sense of contorting one's face.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 07:19 PM

Originally Posted By: wr


Tsujii doesn't seem hampered all that much in his actual playing, though. After all, sighted people can learn to play in the dark or with their eyes closed, and that's without being accustomed to getting around without vision.


But I think that's a lot different from playing the enitre Rachmaninov 2nd PC with no sight of the keyboard. When Bohzanov rehearsed that piece his eyes were almost constantly glued to the keyboard.

I don't think Tsuji is hampered, but that's because he may be the best blind pianist ever.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 07:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Sounds like something easier said than experienced. Yes, some pianists close their eyes when they play, but that's very different from being completely blind from birth and reaching this level of ability.


Well, sure, it is much easier said than experienced. But of course, it is also easy to assume that playing is much more difficult for him and other vision-impaired people than it actually is, and then to sentimentalize that assumed difficulty. That is what I think some people do without thinking much about it. While I can't recall any famous classical pianists who were blind, I don't think blind pianists are really that rare. For example, there was another vision-impaired Cliburn contestant some years ago, and also one in the Cliburn amateur competition. I have known teachers with blind students. And there have been some very famous and accomplished non-classical blind pianists.

More obvious as a disadvantage is not having direct and easy access to scores, as a blind person here pointed out recently. It is interesting to think about how classical music might be conceptualized without the visual element of a score.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 07:47 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr


Tsujii doesn't seem hampered all that much in his actual playing, though. After all, sighted people can learn to play in the dark or with their eyes closed, and that's without being accustomed to getting around without vision.


But I think that's a lot different from playing the enitre Rachmaninov 2nd PC with no sight of the keyboard. When Bohzanov rehearsed that piece his eyes were almost constantly glued to the keyboard.



Well, I don't understand what Bohzanov looking at the keyboard has to do with it - some pianists look, some don't. My point is that playing without sight may not be as difficult as some people with sight make it out to be. You don't actually know what it is like any more than I do, right?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 08:19 PM

Originally Posted By: wr


While I can't recall any famous classical pianists who were blind, I don't think blind pianists are really that rare. For example, there was another vision-impaired Cliburn contestant some years ago, and also one in the Cliburn amateur competition. I have known teachers with blind students. And there have been some very famous and accomplished non-classical blind pianists.


If you're thinking of Tatum, I don't think he was completely blind and certainly not form birth? Are you thinking of someone else? Could they play with anywhere near Tsujii's technical skill?

I'm quite sure the amateur Cliburn pianist didn't play on the level of Tsujii.

As far as blind pianists not being extremely rare, that would depend on your meaning of that phrase. In terms of playing on Tsujii's level is 1 out of 100,000 or maybe 1 out of 250,000 rare enough for you?
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 08:22 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

I don't think Tsuji is hampered, but that's because he may be the best blind pianist ever.


He's certainly one upped Ray Charles. grin
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 09:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

I don't think Tsuji is hampered, but that's because he may be the best blind pianist ever.


He's certainly one upped Ray Charles. grin


Not sure if you're kidding or sarcastic, but obviously Ray Charles is a technical midget compared to Tsujii.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 09:11 PM

He's rehearsing the Chopin E minor right now with the FWSO. Quite beautiful, IMHO. smile
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 09:16 PM

Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr


Tsujii doesn't seem hampered all that much in his actual playing, though. After all, sighted people can learn to play in the dark or with their eyes closed, and that's without being accustomed to getting around without vision.


But I think that's a lot different from playing the enitre Rachmaninov 2nd PC with no sight of the keyboard. When Bohzanov rehearsed that piece his eyes were almost constantly glued to the keyboard.



Well, I don't understand what Bohzanov looking at the keyboard has to do with it - some pianists look, some don't. My point is that playing without sight may not be as difficult as some people with sight make it out to be. You don't actually know what it is like any more than I do, right?


In the solo recitals Bohzanov eyes weren't glued to the keyboard. My point was how difficult a piece the Rach 2 is.

Anything might not be as difficult as people think it is. If it's so easy why are there so few blind pianists with Tsujii's technique? Try playing your hardest piece with your eyes closed.
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 09:25 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

I don't think Tsuji is hampered, but that's because he may be the best blind pianist ever.


He's certainly one upped Ray Charles. grin


Not sure if you're kidding or sarcastic, but obviously Ray Charles is a technical midget compared to Tsujii.


C'mon now, I used a smiley, grinny face. I thought I did both.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 09:39 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr


While I can't recall any famous classical pianists who were blind, I don't think blind pianists are really that rare. For example, there was another vision-impaired Cliburn contestant some years ago, and also one in the Cliburn amateur competition. I have known teachers with blind students. And there have been some very famous and accomplished non-classical blind pianists.


If you're thinking of Tatum, I don't think he was completely blind and certainly not form birth? Are you thinking of someone else? Could they play with anywhere near Tsujii's technical skill?



Well, since Tatum, Charles, Shearing, et al. aren't classical, I don't think the technical skill issue is really comparable. But they all played the piano in their own idiom very well.

Quote:


I'm quite sure the amateur Cliburn pianist didn't play on the level of Tsujii.



I am sure too. Neither did the sighted pianists, I don't think. What's your point?

Quote:


As far as blind pianists not being extremely rare, that would depend on your meaning of that phrase. In terms of playing on Tsujii's level is 1 out of 100,000 or maybe 1 out of 250,000 rare enough for you?


Obviously, rarity is relative, and there aren't all that many young pianists playing at Cliburn level at all, blind or sighted. I just think the fuss over Tsujii because he is blind may be a little overblown. And he is not the only person in history to play piano really well without sight. I don't know how well the Cliburn competitor in 1973 who was blind played, but assume that since they were in the competition at all, they must have been fairly decent.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 10:09 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: wr


Tsujii doesn't seem hampered all that much in his actual playing, though. After all, sighted people can learn to play in the dark or with their eyes closed, and that's without being accustomed to getting around without vision.


But I think that's a lot different from playing the enitre Rachmaninov 2nd PC with no sight of the keyboard. When Bohzanov rehearsed that piece his eyes were almost constantly glued to the keyboard.



Well, I don't understand what Bohzanov looking at the keyboard has to do with it - some pianists look, some don't. My point is that playing without sight may not be as difficult as some people with sight make it out to be. You don't actually know what it is like any more than I do, right?


In the solo recitals Bohzanov eyes weren't glued to the keyboard. My point was how difficult a piece the Rach 2 is.

Anything might not be as difficult as people think it is. If it's so easy why are there so few blind pianists with Tsujii's technique? Try playing your hardest piece with your eyes closed.


But we aren't talking about anything, we're talking about something (shouting is so much fun...) I know the Rach 2 is difficult. So is almost everything being played at the Cliburn. And the point is...?

How do you know there are so few blind pianists with really good technique? Secondly, assuming for the sake of discussion that it is true there are so few, could it be because of reasons other than the difficulty of playing? Like not enough encouragement, opportunity, and support?

What would me trying to play my most difficult piece with my eyes closed prove, since I'm not blind from birth? Did I say somewhere I thought that a sighted person would have the same spatial and kinetic sense of the piano as a blind person when they close their eyes?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 10:10 PM

Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
[quote=wr]

While I can't recall any famous classical pianists who were blind, I don't think blind pianists are really that rare. For example, there was another vision-impaired Cliburn contestant some years ago, and also one in the Cliburn amateur competition. I have known teachers with blind students. And there have been some very famous and accomplished non-classical blind pianists.


If you're thinking of Tatum, I don't think he was completely blind and certainly not form birth? Are you thinking of someone else? Could they play with anywhere near Tsujii's technical skill? tsujii



Well, since Tatum, Charles, Shearing, et al. aren't classical, I don't think the technical skill issue is really comparable. But they all played the piano in their own idiom very well.

Quote:


I'm quite sure the amateur Cliburn pianist didn't play on the level of Tsujii.



I am sure too. Neither did the sighted pianists, I don't think. What's your point?

[quote]

My point was you were using an example of a pianist not on Tsujii's level to claim that his level of playing for a blind pianist was not so rare.

Since Shearing's and Charles' technique is quite elementary compared to Tsujii's, they certainly don't compare. Yes, they played well but their playung did not require the technical level needed to reach the finals of the Cliburn. Tatum, some would argue was Tsujii's equal in terms of technique, but he wasn't completely blond.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 10:14 PM

Andrea Lam, you broke my heart frown

She should be in the finals, IMO
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 10:57 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

My point was you were using an example of a pianist not on Tsujii's level to claim that his level of playing for a blind pianist was not so rare.



That's not my claim. And it should be fairly obvious that isn't my claim, because I mentioned the amateur competition and the non-classical pianists, none of whom are likely to be able to rattle off Chopin op. 10 and the Hammerklavier like Tsujii.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/01/09 11:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Debussy20
Andrea Lam, you broke my heart frown

She should be in the finals, IMO


I was disappointed she didn't make the finals also, but not surprised. She has a wonderful personality and it comes out in her playing. But if you're going to program sonething as difficult as the Stravinsky Etudes in a competition like the Cliburn, you've got to nail them.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 02:12 AM

Although I'm a big fan of Tsujii, Bozhanov is on another level playing the same pieces. Tsujii is young (20) and still comes off as a student. I hope to see him in a few years, more developed and individualistic. I still think that his accomplishment is remarkable.
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 10:39 AM

Blind pianists are not a novelty: Alec Templeton (fab), George Shearing - who could play anything, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder-ful...there's a pretty good list. To me, playing piano is a "feel" thing, anyway.

Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 12:30 PM

Any guessing on to how these pianists practice while they're there? I'd love to look at their ruitine and know exactly what they do.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 01:51 PM

I'm a peeping Tom on Wu's rehearsal session. She is making Rachmaninoff's concerto look so easy (relatively speaking of course...)

It's almost annoying me... haha
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 02:14 PM

Some pianists at the cliburn blog such as Eric Zuber are claiming that Conlan is overstepping "his place" in the way he is rehearsing with some of the competitors. As in advising them on their interpretations or tones (he said "Play this with character" once to one of the competitors. What do you think?
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 02:30 PM

I assume this references Zhang? As a conductor, I would NEVER want to put on a performance I wasn't proud of. He felt the piano part needed some spice, I see nothing wrong with his very vague suggestion. The discussion comes up from time to time when pianists talk of accompanying also.

Daniel
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 03:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Some pianists at the cliburn blog such as Eric Zuber are claiming that Conlan is overstepping "his place" in the way he is rehearsing with some of the competitors. As in advising them on their interpretations or tones (he said "Play this with character" once to one of the competitors. What do you think?


Well, he's always careful to tell the competitors that they need not follow his advice. I think the relationship between the two needs to be symbiotic anyway, so sharing a few ideas is a good thing whether they are put into practice or not.

On another note, I respect Maestro Conlon's musicianship greatly, but sometimes I get the feeling that he likes to hear the sound of his own voice. Especially in those "Encore with James Conlon" episodes.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 03:25 PM

He speaks Italian?!?!

Matt
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 03:28 PM

And French. He's conducted opera extensively in Europe, so he's got some mad language skills. I don't know for a fact, but would be very surprised if he didn't know German as well. (And probably some Spanish and Russian.)
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 03:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Auntie Lynn
Blind pianists are not a novelty: Alec Templeton (fab), George Shearing - who could play anything, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder-ful...there's a pretty good list. To me, playing piano is a "feel" thing, anyway.



I've only heard a little from the last three, but it certainly doesn't seem to me that they could play "anything". In fact, their piano technique seems quite limited. I think Charles and Stevie Wonder are primarily singers.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 04:28 PM

I think we're missing one key aspect of being a blind classical pianist - score reading.

Classical pianists are expected to pay very close attention to the details in the score. While braille music exists, it is unable to capture all the details of where a composer chooses to place dynamics, slurs and phrase marks, and the different types of accents.

Shearing and Charles are wonderfully gifted pianists, but they work in a field of music where the tradition is an aural one. Classical music has an aural aspect, to be sure, but the primary means of transmission - from composer to performer - has always been written. Jazz and pop doesn't work that way.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 06:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Theowne
Some pianists at the cliburn blog such as Eric Zuber are claiming that Conlan is overstepping "his place" in the way he is rehearsing with some of the competitors. As in advising them on their interpretations or tones (he said "Play this with character" once to one of the competitors. What do you think?


Well, he's always careful to tell the competitors that they need not follow his advice. I think the relationship between the two needs to be symbiotic anyway, so sharing a few ideas is a good thing whether they are put into practice or not.


His tone is a bit different with different competitors. His behavior towards Zhang was a lot more like 'talking down' teacher to student than his behavior towards Vacatello or Bozhanov. At points he was advising Zhang on his actual piano technique, which doesn't really seem appropriate and that's what bugged Eric Zuber over at the official blog.
Posted by: poulencfan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 07:04 PM

I live in the Ft Worth area and have been to a lot of the Cliburn sessions and admit that I'm getting a mite fatigued with the Tsujii mania. I haven't been very wowed by him. In fact the whole Tsujii phenomenon reminds me of the Cliburn Amateur competition where the blind pianist, who played much easier repertoire than the rest of the field, advanced to the finals.

What's everyone's opinion on whether Tsujii would've made the finals (or even semi-finals) if everyone played behind a screen anonymously?

The other thing I wonder about Tsujii is how much time he spends with his teacher weekly. He learns his music by listening to her play each piece, divided into short passages. How long does it takes Tsujii to learn a concerto, for instance? (The Cliburn requires each contestant to have 6 concertos performance-ready.)
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 07:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Theowne
Some pianists at the cliburn blog such as Eric Zuber are claiming that Conlan is overstepping "his place" in the way he is rehearsing with some of the competitors. As in advising them on their interpretations or tones (he said "Play this with character" once to one of the competitors. What do you think?


Well, he's always careful to tell the competitors that they need not follow his advice. I think the relationship between the two needs to be symbiotic anyway, so sharing a few ideas is a good thing whether they are put into practice or not.


His tone is a bit different with different competitors. His behavior towards Zhang was a lot more like 'talking down' teacher to student than his behavior towards Vacatello or Bozhanov. At points he was advising Zhang on his actual piano technique, which doesn't really seem appropriate and that's what bugged Eric Zuber over at the official blog.


If you read a lot of the posts on various blogs you'll see a lot of references to Zhang's youth and musical immaturity. I guess Conlon bought into it, even though I thought he might be above that sort of thing. Zhang personality also seems very easygoing and almost deferential, which might work against him.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 07:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne

His tone is a bit different with different competitors. His behavior towards Zhang was a lot more like 'talking down' teacher to student than his behavior towards Vacatello or Bozhanov. At points he was advising Zhang on his actual piano technique, which doesn't really seem appropriate and that's what bugged Eric Zuber over at the official blog.


That does seem like a bit much. It would have been fun had Zhang shown some spirit and said, "Maybe you'd like to play the piano while I conduct?"
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 08:23 PM

i think that conductor has right to make some suggestions during the rehearsal, since it's a cooperating effort from both orchestra and soloist and they have to try to make their sound blend well together. it's not one sided that either a soloist makes the call or the conductor. they both have to make suggestions and make adjustments based on how soloist would prefer and how conductor would think the music should go. in the end, they have to make the agreement on tempi and phasing and whatever...

besides, everyone has an opinion about how to play a concerto, but in the end, they have to play together...
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 08:39 PM

Originally Posted By: poulencfan
I live in the Ft Worth area and have been to a lot of the Cliburn sessions and admit that I'm getting a mite fatigued with the Tsujii mania. I haven't been very wowed by him. In fact the whole Tsujii phenomenon reminds me of the Cliburn Amateur competition where the blind pianist, who played much easier repertoire than the rest of the field, advanced to the finals.


I think he was worthy of being a semifinalists, but there were other semifinalists who were more deserving of finalist status. I do think, however, that he has strengths above others and is not a "pity" case. I still think that his preliminary performance was better than many others, particularly his Chopin etudes. But what bothered me about his later performances, and the orchestra rehearsal, is that he still seems to be in the mindset of a student who wants to play the pieces "properly" rather than as an "artist" who wants to say something individual with them.

One other thing is that the lack of English proficiency is an even greater problem. For example, if he wins the concert, I don't think he can really go around touring with orchestras in the U.S. with his translator. I mean, he could, but watching the Cliburn rehearsals, it's just very difficult to communicate and discuss the music when you cannot see or speak directly, and as with the "student" mindset I said earlier, he is a lot more deferential and passive than other candidates. I'm sure it's different when he's in Japan and can freely speak with anyone, but it would be a big problem internationally.
Posted by: poulencfan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 09:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
One other thing is that the lack of English proficiency is an even greater problem. For example, if he wins the concert, I don't think he can really go around touring with orchestras in the U.S. with his translator.


Theowne: All six finalists have concerts set up for them for the next 3 years by the Cliburn Foundation. That's why the Cliburn folks emphasize that competitors must be ready to hit the ground running the day after the competition. My impression is akin to yours: Tsujii seems to live in a very insular environment, which is understandable given his blindness. Unlike the others, he's going to need quite an entourage in the coming years to meet his obligations.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/02/09 10:47 PM

The more I see of Conlon, the less I like him, laugh


Matt
Posted by: landorrano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 01:26 AM

I noticed that after the rehearsal Zhang immediately got up and went over to Conlon, who seemed to try to escape into his book.

Whereas with Vacatello and Wu Conlon immediately came over to the piano.

Well, I have to admit that I'd come over to the piano too, if Di Wu was there.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 08:33 AM

Tsujii's already proven he can do it. He's already completed concert tours in Asia.

When I played for Valery Kuleshov years ago, he spoke very little English and traveled with his wife who did most of the translating for him.

Originally Posted By: poulencfan
Originally Posted By: Theowne
One other thing is that the lack of English proficiency is an even greater problem. For example, if he wins the concert, I don't think he can really go around touring with orchestras in the U.S. with his translator.


Theowne: All six finalists have concerts set up for them for the next 3 years by the Cliburn Foundation. That's why the Cliburn folks emphasize that competitors must be ready to hit the ground running the day after the competition. My impression is akin to yours: Tsujii seems to live in a very insular environment, which is understandable given his blindness. Unlike the others, he's going to need quite an entourage in the coming years to meet his obligations.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 10:38 AM

Originally Posted By: landorrano
I noticed that after the rehearsal Zhang immediately got up and went over to Conlon, who seemed to try to escape into his book.

Whereas with Vacatello and Wu Conlon immediately came over to the piano.

Well, I have to admit that I'd come over to the piano too, if Di Wu was there.


In other words: par for the course as far as conductors go. laugh
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 02:02 PM

Such is the problem with conductors.

If you have the audacity to think you can lead a group of highly trained musicians by waving your hands around and can sell that to the board who hires you, you're probably a bit of a self-absorbed egomaniac.

If you're the kind of person who would rather take a backseat and let the musicians and soloists take center stage and make brilliant music, then you probably will never get hired as a conductor because the board and audience members will wonder what on earth they're paying you for.

As you may have guessed, I have a very low opinion of 98% of the conductors on the planet. The ones who are good musicians don't seem to have the personality or charisma to lead and handle the politics effectively, and the ones who can handle the politics and musicians seem musically undistinguished.

Having seen Conlon live many times and having observed his rehearsals first-hand (not at the Cliburn), he's actually in the 2% I like. (Along with Gustav Meier and James DePriest.)
Posted by: landorrano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 03:26 PM

Apparently there'a a session of the final tonight.

Does anybody know who's playing?
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 03:28 PM

Vacatello's Final Recital
Bozhanov's Chopin No 1
Wu's Beethoven No 2

Daniel
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 06:01 PM

Quote:
If you have the audacity to think you can lead a group of highly trained musicians by waving your hands around and can sell that to the board who hires you, you're probably a bit of a self-absorbed egomaniac.


That's kind of simplifying the role of a conductor, isn't it? It's what the public sees, but the conductor is most important during a rehearsal, right?

I'm not liking Conlon even more here. I already don't like the fact that he is changing the pianists' interpretations in a piano competition final round, but his unequal treatment of different performers irritates me. When Bozhanov wants to rewrite the accelerandos in the Rachmaninoff concerto, Conlon goes along with it, but when Zhang says that the orchestra is a bit loud during one passage, Conlon basically ignores the comment. Yes, Zhang is younger, but people involved in a competition are not supposed to be influenced by that sort of thing.

P.S. Is it just me or did they remove the 1 on 1 rehearsals from the archives?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 07:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne

I already don't like the fact that he is changing the pianists' interpretations in a piano competition final round...


I wondered about that also. If the jury likes or dislikes something in a competition, shouldn't it be the competitor's
interpretation/ideas they're evaluating?

On the other hand, I suppose one could argue that some of the ideas in a competitor's performance were suggestions fron their teacher.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 07:26 PM

I don't think those 1 on 1 rehearsals were going to be archived. smile
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 07:28 PM

But they were archived. Then they were removed.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 08:15 PM

strange, they removed all rehearsal with Conlon videos. why did they do that?
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 08:33 PM

Hmmm, that's strange. I distinctly remember Jade Simmons commenting on the last day of semis that the rehearsals would not be archived, so don't miss them.

Where were they before the removal?
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 08:39 PM

On another "note", I am happy to see that Vocatello will be playing the Chopin Op. 16 Introduction & Rondo.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 08:40 PM

they were under "Offstage" tab.
Posted by: boo1234

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 08:40 PM

vacatello is making a mess of the first movement of the italian concerto.. lots of bad wrong notes.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 08:49 PM

i didn't like her Bach sound much, but i don't know the music.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 08:50 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
they were under "Offstage" tab.


Thanks. They certainly aren't there now.

Originally Posted By: boo1234
vacatello is making a mess of the first movement of the italian concerto.. lots of bad wrong notes.


I can't say I've noticed any "bad" mistakes–and bad mistakes stick out like a sore thumb in Bach. smile
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 09:07 PM

I did like her ornaments, though.

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I can't say I've noticed any "bad" mistakes–and bad mistakes stick out like a sore thumb in Bach. smile


That must be why I don't play much Bach...
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 09:12 PM

Hehehe, yeah. You have to be precise. That Invention I'm learning (see my sig) is my first "real" Bach piece. Looks easy on the page...NOT. You have to keep your concentration at all times. smile

I enjoyed Vocatello's ornaments, too. thumb
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 09:35 PM

Wow, that was quite a performance. I really enjoyed the Shostakovich. Can't wait to hear her in the concerto round. I'm sure her Prok3 will kick butt.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 10:04 PM

Vacatello probably won't go down as a legendary interpreter of Bach and Chopin, but I very much enjoyed her performance nonetheless!

Gaspard was great, and I enjoyed the Shostakovich. I'm also looking forward to her Prokofiev concerto.

Hope she medals!

Daniel
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 10:05 PM

I also wanted to add that although her Scriabin was great in the previous round, I think this performance finished making up for what I thought was shaky Liszt in the semis.

Daniel
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 10:35 PM

And as the audience returns, so do Bozhanov's silly facial expressions.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 10:55 PM

why does everyone have to care about his face? look at his fingers that's where it gets interesting. he did seem a little nervous and edgy tonight, and made a few mistakes, but still it sounds great to me. it's a much intersting performace than vacatello's recital, which just didn't draw much of my attention.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 11:18 PM

It seems that both Bozhanov and Wu tanked fairly hard on their concerti. Vacatello has had the widest range of sound out of those heard tonight, IMO. She's not the most interesting artist of the finalists, but she plays very beautifully nonetheless.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 11:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Brendan
It seems that both Bozhanov and Wu tanked fairly hard on their concerti. Vacatello has had the widest range of sound out of those heard tonight, IMO. She's not the most interesting artist of the finalists, but she plays very beautifully nonetheless.

Saying Di Wu tanked, that I can probably agree... quite a few obvious mistakes/slips already without many brilliant moments to make you forget those mistakes.

Bozhanov, I thought, did a brilliant job. There was a few mistakes for sure, but overall I quite liked his interpretation and performance, very fresh and very interesting.

Re: Bozhanov's facial expression... this thought occured to me:
It's like watching a white Lang Lang. laugh

(Though Lang Lang would most likely choose something a lot more bombastic than Chopin #1.)
Posted by: justice

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/03/09 11:44 PM

wu di's performance is very very exceptonal!!
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 12:04 AM

Originally Posted By: signa
why does everyone have to care about his face?


Because when someone WANTS you to care about their face, then you can comment on their face.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 12:21 AM

i agree with Axtremus about Bozhanov's Chopin. even when he's a little tense tonight, the music still came out right for me, overall structure, pacing and sound. there're quite a few lovely passages i would want linger a little longer however, but he didn't take cheap shots to do that just for the effect (as he and Conlon discussed in their rehearsal). but his nerve and little tense tonight did affect his playing, not as perfect as in his recitals.

Wu's performance wasn't that great, mostly academic and less interesting, beside her technical problems.

maybe i just didn't listen to her right, but to me, Vacatello sounded a little aggressive and less polished (regarding the tone), mostly her Bach and Ravel. or maybe we should blame on webcast...
Posted by: justice

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 01:04 AM

6/4/1989, are there any american pepole knowing something about

china in the day?
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 08:23 AM

Originally Posted By: justice
6/4/1989, are there any american pepole knowing something about

china in the day?


Not enough.

Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 09:14 AM

Originally Posted By: justice
6/4/1989, are there any american pepole knowing something about

china in the day?


Yes. I could make a joke about using the word 'tanked', but that would be in bad taste.
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 10:53 AM

Y'know, sports fans, sometimes they do NOT award the top prize (and sometimes - I know - it's a tie)...I wonder what the final analysis will be...four more days!

Want to hazard a ranking at this point?

Also, PBS usually runs a documentary on this exercise along about the following October (2009); has there been any mention of this?


Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 12:19 PM

got my teacher's email after Bozhanov's Chopin, and he said that Bozhanov's collaboration with the orchestra was perfect last night.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 02:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Auntie Lynn
Y'know, sports fans, sometimes they do NOT award the top prize (and sometimes - I know - it's a tie)...I wonder what the final analysis will be...four more days!

Want to hazard a ranking at this point?

Also, PBS usually runs a documentary on this exercise along about the following October (2009); has there been any mention of this?




It's in the Cliburn's "rulebook" that a first prize always be awarded. Richard Rodzinski has gone on record saying that not awarding a first prize is a bad idea and makes everyone (especially the promoters) feel cheated because they have X amount of dates already under contract for the winner.

As far as my own ranking goes, it's still too early to tell. Personally, I'm still shedding tears for Beus.
Posted by: landorrano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 03:32 PM

Anybody know who's playing tonight?
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 03:33 PM

There's a link to the finals schedule on the front page:

http://www.cliburn.org/
Posted by: landorrano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 03:36 PM

Thanks!
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 05:55 PM

Tonight - Thursday June 4

7:30 pm- 8:20 pm – Recital - Yeol Eum Son
8:45 pm- 9:25 pm – FWSO with Nobuyuki Tsujii (Chopin #1, Op. 11)
9:45 pm- 10:25 pm – FWSO with Haochen Zhang (Mozart #20, K 466)
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 07:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Auntie Lynn
Tonight - Thursday June 4

7:30 pm- 8:20 pm – Recital - Yeol Eum Son

I'm definitely rooting for her to take the gold. Interesting choice of a closing recital program though...

Anyone else find it interesting that she was a Finalist in the 2005 Chopin Competition, but did not play a single Chopin piece this time around?

Daniel
Posted by: virtuoso_735

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 09:40 PM

Absolutely sublime Beethoven op. 111.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 09:40 PM

Agreed. I am in awe of that performance.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 09:54 PM

Yes, very good rendition of Op. 111. thumb
Posted by: virtuoso_735

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 10:26 PM

Tsujii's Chopin is going very well right now.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 10:33 PM

he has a very straight forward approach to this piece. the 1st movement sounded very good this way, but i kind of feel the 2nd movement sounds flat, and 3rd a little mechanical. but he has such incredible ability.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 10:38 PM

Straightforward it may be, but I prefer it far more to the maniacal one heard yesterday .
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 10:42 PM

no question, most people would like this one better, more of the standard way of playing it. but i know what i like.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 10:44 PM

Yes, most people would, as being different isn't always being better.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 10:46 PM

it's subjective.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 11:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Straightforward it may be, but I prefer it far more to the maniacal one heard yesterday .
Tsujii played competently, but I prefer the maniacal one heard yesterday.

Zhang's Mozart is sounding quite a bit more grand and quite a bit more Romantic that what I'd normally expect for a Mozart piece... but what the heck, it's still quite enjoyable.

[EDIT: added after end of performance] I like it. Very nicely done. thumb thumb
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 11:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Originally Posted By: Theowne
Straightforward it may be, but I prefer it far more to the maniacal one heard yesterday .
Tsujii played competently, but I prefer the maniacal one heard yesterday.

Zhang's Mozart is sounding quite a bit more grand and quite a bit more Romantic that what I'd normally expect for a Mozart piece... but what the heck, it's still quite enjoyable.


Tsujii continues to amaze me. thumb And the Mozart was the first performance I've heard from Zhang that I found interesting.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/04/09 11:43 PM

Of the two concerti tonight, I preferred Tsujii's performance (and also preferred it to yesterday's rendition) but I have to admit that Zhang did play quite beautifully. He was much more interesting tonight than he has been in previous rounds. I have a feeling that they'll both medal.

Son was still a snooze-fest, IMO.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 04:34 AM

I just came across this interesting internet petition called Transparancy In International Music Competitions . One thing that makes it especially interesting is the list of fairly prominent musicians that have signed (they are mentioned towards the bottom of the homepage). Another is that I spotted the names of some competitors in this current competition in the list of names. The basic idea - that there is no good reason the scoring given by each judge should not be made public - seems fairly sensible to me.
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 08:20 AM

Friday - June 5 - Evening Performance == FYI:

7:30 p.m. - Mr. Evgeni Bozhanov (Recital)
8:45 p.m. - Ms. Yeol Eum Son (Chopin, Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op. 21)
9:45 p.m. - Ms. Mariangela Vacatello (Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58)
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 08:38 AM

Does anyone think Zhang's hands look very big(as in an easy 12th)? Maybe it's just the camera angle but they seem very big to me.
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 09:17 AM

I guess we all hear things differently. I was not particularly impressed with Eum Son's Op.111, although she played it well. The piece itself is so awesome it's easy to get carried away by it.

The Beethoven repitore many times ends up as the distinguishing factor in competitions. Beethoven is the great equilizer.
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 09:22 AM

.......Oh I forgot, Pressler's interview; give me a break.....PLEASE.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:13 AM

What was wrong with it? Seems like a nice fellow to me. confused
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:34 AM

The words "Pressler" and "nice" are oxymorns.
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:50 AM

Add to that the fact that the last time Pressler performed in this town, the reviews were so bad, I thought it was a career ender. But like Old Man River, he just keeps rollin' along...
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 03:41 PM

Hmmmmm.......Eum Son is rehearsing the Chopin F minor concerto. Somethings not quite right with it. Sounds a little like excerpts from Hannon. Maybe that's a little harsh.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 03:44 PM

I thought the exact same thing! And I'm supposed to be biased because I'm hoping she takes the gold. I'm hoping she's just conserving her energy for the performance...

Daniel
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 04:12 PM

Man, what's going on here. Vacatello is stepping all over the Beethoven. Wow, I feel like a jinx.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 04:35 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
why does everyone have to care about his face?


I'm sure that some people don't mind at all, but I cannot think of a single pianist who facial expressions are as weird or distracting as Bolzhanov. The only one I can think of that comes close might be Serkin, but his expressions never bothered me that much. Of course, one usually does not see the performer's face from as close and head on like one does for the Cliburn broadcast. I think the profile view might be much less distracting.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 05:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Ralph
The words "Pressler" and "nice" are oxymorns.


So....can I assume then that he isn't exhibiting his true personality? Or are you saying he is a bad musician? I'm not attacking you; I really don't know. smile
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 06:05 PM

He was a great musician in his day, but reputation in master classes is well known. He was not always to most tactful person. During the interview he said "learning is not fun, it's painful." I couldn't disagree more. It might be hard, but I've never thought of it as painful. He seems to have gone out of his way to make it painful for many people through the years. Anyway, I've seen him in action and the interview he gave and his past conduct seemed inconsistant.

More importantly, did anyone hear Vacatello's Beethoven?

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/473957/1.html
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 07:44 PM

Maybe he turned over a new leaf. I'd like to think so, anyway. Thanks for the link, though I'd seen that thread when it was first posted, and now recall the details about his masterclasses.

Oh, well. some people just don't have that great of a personality, even if they can cover it up for the cameras.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 09:44 PM

such a speechless and amazing feast from Bozhanov tonight! after him, i don't really care to listen to anyone else...
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 09:45 PM

I thought he played very well too.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 09:48 PM

I agree, especially in the Takemitsu and Liszt. The Schumann was a pretty individual take.

He really maximized the contrast between the characters and I liked it a lot compared to Di Wu's.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 09:54 PM

Missed most of Bozhanov's performance... thought he messed up the Schumann a bit.

Yeol Eum Son is up now... first impression - I like her dress! thumb
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 09:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
I like her dress! thumb


Indeed, it almost makes up for her playing. smile
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 10:10 PM

What's wrong with her playing? Maybe I'm not critical enough of small errors, but I hear a very enjoyable performance. confused
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 10:19 PM

She's actually playing a lot better than her rehearsal earlier today, but still there's something missing as long as you ignore the wrong notes.

I like it when she bows (I'm a pig)
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 10:20 PM

1. I really like her dress... I didn't say that to be mean. When I posted that, she hasn't started playing yet, it was just the orchestra doing the intro. So the "I like her dress" sentiment was genuine.

2. Technically, nothing wrong with her playing. Emotionally, I would prefer looser rubato, more pronounced embedded melodies, more attention to larger phrasing, perhaps more aggressive dynamic contrast... at least for the first 2 movements. I like her 3rd movement a bit better now. Certainly "enjoyable," just not quite "inspiring" for me (and I hold the bar higher than usual here for the simple reason that it's a Van Cliburn final).
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 10:37 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
such a speechless and amazing feast from Bozhanov tonight! after him, i don't really care to listen to anyone else...


I felt the same way! What an incredible pianist he is! cool
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 10:39 PM

Hmmmm, maybe so.

Her dress was indeed nice. smile
Posted by: Emanuel Ravelli

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 10:55 PM

I'm with Horowitzian. She started a little uninspired, but I thought the 2nd movement was lovely and the 3rd movement was spectacular -- strong, clear and crisp. (OK, the dress didn't hurt either. But it didn't need to "make up" for anything, IMHO.)
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:09 PM

Vacatello's playing a lot better than earlier. She's a little older than the others and it shows in her Beethoven.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:09 PM

Does Haochen remind anyone of McLovin? laugh laugh laugh

Must be a teenage thing?
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:25 PM

Well what do you think? Did she hit too many wrong notes in the third movement or is she OK?
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:26 PM

Vacatello played very well. I liked her performance very much... such exceptionally light touch and agile fingers, such sensitive musicality and good sense of structure!
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:29 PM

You know this contest is getting so hard to call. I think it's all going to come down to the final concerti. The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:46 PM

I think it's going to be Bozhanov. I think he's been the most consistant, but it could go to another. Tsujii is the sentimental favorite.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Debussy20
Does Haochen remind anyone of McLovin? laugh laugh laugh

Must be a teenage thing?



Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/05/09 11:59 PM

They talk pretty much the same also... laugh




Matt
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 12:03 AM

I enjoyed her Beethoven too. She definitely has the maturity where some of the younger competitors do not with Beethoven.

My favorite to win is Bozhanov (aside from the facial expressions, he's my favorite anyway), and Tsujii and Vocatello are next in line in my book. I don't think Tsujii is quite gold medal material, but he deserves a medal for all his hard work and wonderful playing, which has only gotten better as the competition goes on. There aren't many seeing pianists who can brag about being finalists at the Cliburn, let alone blind pianists.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 12:37 AM

Haochen photo album smile

http://cid-0b5558d4cd63e618.skydrive.live.com/albums.aspx?ct=photos
Posted by: Emanuel Ravelli

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 09:34 AM

It's always hazardous to pick winners before the playing is done, since that ignores the real possibility of a brilliant performance or a total flameout in the last two days. But assuming each finalist finishes up in a way that's consistent with his/her caliber of play so far, my money is on Bozhanov for the gold. Tsujii should win silver on the merits, but I fear the jury may have reservations about his ability to handle the heavier concert schedule and public relations chores associated with one of the top two prizes. I know these things shouldn't have any influence on the jury's decision, but I think they will. His playing has been too amazing for him to finish out of the money, so I think he'll take the 3rd place crystal award.

So who gets second? Who knows? They're all good enough to deserve it. But my wild guess is that Son will get it, for a reason competition veterans will grasp: Bozhanov is going to start a major fight in the jury room, a compromise will be needed in order for them to give him the gold, and Son is the player whose restrained, classic style is most likely to appeal to jurors who dislike Bozhanov. On the other hand, I could be dead wrong. Stay tuned.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:38 AM

i do wish Bozhanov wins, since he is the most imaginative pianist among the finalists (or maybe all contestants) in this competition, and makes everyone else sound like 'a good student'. i don't ever remember there's such a pianist in all the competitions i watched before (in past 10 years). whether you like his way of playing or not (even my teacher doesn't always agree with something he does), he stirs somehow your emotions or casts shadows in your heart.

i would guess that he has made some jurors like him and others hate him, even though no one can deny his musical imagination. we may have to wait till he finishes Rach 2.

Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:17 AM

I have seen awards ceremonies where Mr. Cliburn has gotten in front of the mike and droned on...and on...and on...and on...(zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz). Is there any way to get him the message: give us five easy sentences and get on with it...many thanks!
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:20 AM

Matinee Performance:
1:30 p.m. - Mr. Haochen Zhang (Recital)
2:45 p.m. - Ms. Yeol Eum Son (Prokofiev, Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16)
3:45 p.m. - Mr. Nobuyuki Tsujii (Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18)

Evening Performance:
7:30 p.m. - Ms. Di Wu (Recital)
8:45 p.m. - Mr. Evgeni Bozhanov (Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18)
9:45 p.m. - Ms. Mariangela Vacatello (Prokofiev, Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26)
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:22 AM

Originally Posted By: signa
i do wish Bozhanov wins, since he is the most imaginative pianist among the finalists (or maybe all contestants) in this competition, and makes everyone else sound like 'a good student'.


Far too harsh IMHO. There are some of the best pianists under 30 in the world. Many/most who didn't even make the semis have successful performing careers already.
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 12:13 PM

James Conlon is giving an interesting talk, but he's engaging in a little bit of tangential thinking. He's skipping over a lot of ideas and thoughts, some of which I'm not sure are related.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 12:46 PM

Some observations:

1) Will no one rid us of these meddlesome pianists - the ones who can't let the music speak for itself? It's bad enough that every single competitor has learned to sway to the music, close their eyes dreamily during tender passages, and scowl at the piano when things get technically difficult. Now we have to put up with the inhuman antics of Lang Lang and Bozhanov, inhuman because their facial expressions do not correspond to any typical human reaction to the emotions supposedly being represented. What does all that puckering of the lips, bouncing of the eyebrows, and conducting the performance with one hand flopping around in the air have to do with the music? Unfortunately, by elevating Bozhanov to the finals we are guaranteed dozens more imitators in the future, since no one wants to put a stop to these horrors.

2) This competition ended at the preliminaries. That was the last opportunity to hear some pianists who deserved to win - not because they were necessarily better pianists (though some clearly are than this last group of six) - but because they deserved a chance at a career. You know what the six finalists have in common? They don't need to win. They all have careers already. They perform in recital or with major orchestras around the world. They have recording contracts. They are established as teachers. They've been at this business all their lives. Zhang made his debut at five performing all the Bach two-part inventions. Bozhanov made his debut at 12, as did Tsujii performing at the same age at his Carnegie Hall debut. They all represent very safe choices for the jury, ready to hit the road tomorrow as Van Cliburn winners.

3) Musically, the one finalist who really stands out is Bozhanov. Listen to his Chopin concerto compared to Tsujii - much more poetry, passion, and tonal contrast. His sense of touch - very evident in his Schumann performance - exceeds that of any of the other finalists. His only flaw musically is a tendency to wrong notes in fast passages. Then of course there is the fact that he is the sort of pianist you can enjoy only in the safety of your own home listening to a CD, so you don't have to look at him.

4) Tsujii has already established that the soloist doesn't have to watch the beat of the conductor in order to perform a piano concerto properly. So what do we need James Conlon for? Aren't you getting tired watching him conduct while he rests his butt on the piano?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 01:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
Some observations:

1) Will no one rid us of these meddlesome pianists - the ones who can't let the music speak for itself? It's bad enough that every single competitor has learned to sway to the music, close their eyes dreamily during tender passages, and scowl at the piano when things get technically difficult. Now we have to put up with the inhuman antics of Lang Lang and Bozhanov, inhuman because their facial expressions do not correspond to any typical human reaction to the emotions supposedly being represented. What does all that puckering of the lips, bouncing of the eyebrows, and conducting the performance with one hand flopping around in the air have to do with the music? Unfortunately, by elevating Bozhanov to the finals we are guaranteed dozens more imitators in the future, since no one wants to put a stop to these horrors.
In contrast to Lang Lang, I don't think the facial expressions of the finalists are fake(even Bolzhanov's eyebrows...no one would do that on purpose), and I don't find any of them extreme, the slightest bit annoying, unusual or out of place except Bolzhanov.

Originally Posted By: tomasino
2) This competition ended at the preliminaries. That was the last opportunity to hear some pianists who deserved to win - not because they were necessarily better pianists (though some clearly are than this last group of six) - but because they deserved a chance at a career. You know what the six finalists have in common? They don't need to win. They all have careers already. They perform in recital or with major orchestras around the world. They have recording contracts. They are established as teachers. They've been at this business all their lives. Zhang made his debut at five performing all the Bach two-part inventions. Bozhanov made his debut at 12, as did Tsujii performing at the same age at his Carnegie Hall debut. They all represent very safe choices for the jury, ready to hit the road tomorrow as Van Cliburn winners.
Are you suggesting only pianists without already established careers should be allowed to win? If you check the pianists eliminated in the prelims, I think you'll find of them already have good careers also.

Originally Posted By: tomasino
4) Tsujii has already established that the soloist doesn't have to watch the beat of the conductor in order to perform a piano concerto properly. So what do we need James Conlon for?


The orchestra doesn't need a conductor or you just don't like Conlon? Since he has had to conduct up to 5 concerti on some days in either rehearsal or performance, I don't really mind where he rests his butt unless he fall backward into the piano if the lid falls down.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 01:30 PM

regarding facial expressions, i sort of agree with pianoloverus, which are mostly not intentional. look at Zhang's when he was playing some passage, with closed eyes or a sort of dreamy frown look, which you can also call it fake but it might be just what he feels at the moments. for Bozhanov, i can see that some of that were not controllable (like habits), since i saw that in his rehearsal as well. last night, i actually felt that he was trying to control it more at the beginning, but later he got into the music and didn't really care about anything anymore.

btw, Bozhanov is quite good looking if he keeps a straight face all the time. so, i doubt that he intends to make everyone see his face in not that gracious ways when he plays.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 02:38 PM

Bozhanov knows what makes people talk. If you start making ridiculous faces, you'll become the center of controversy, everyone will talk about you, and at least 20% will start comparing you to Glenn Gould. Personally, I find his face-making combined with his overtly grandiose gestures and hand movements to clearly be part of the same "package" he wants to put out there. It's a shame, because he is quite a good pianist, but I don't think I will be going to any of his concerts if he wins this thing as it is.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 02:40 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
[...] last night, i actually felt that he was trying to control it more at the beginning, but later he got into the music and didn't really care about anything anymore.

[...]


I think he did too. His expressions were quite minimal until later in the program.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 02:47 PM

Horowitzian, i think we pretty much agree on Bozhanov, and what a pity that some others couldn't see what we see!
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 02:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: signa
[...] last night, i actually felt that he was trying to control it more at the beginning, but later he got into the music and didn't really care about anything anymore.

[...]


I think he did too. His expressions were quite minimal until later in the program.


I think it was because the first piece on the program by Takemitsu was more abstract than the overtly Romantic Schumann and Liszt. As soon as he got into the Schumann he started his grimaces. I can't imagine that he would all of a sudden try to control something he regularly does naturally.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 03:05 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
Horowitzian, i think we pretty much agree on Bozhanov, and what a pity that some others couldn't see what we see!


Or perhaps, the other way around.
Posted by: Synapse

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 04:09 PM

Man, Eum Son was one of my favorites until I heard the first movement of that Prokofiev =(
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 04:33 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: signa
[...] last night, i actually felt that he was trying to control it more at the beginning, but later he got into the music and didn't really care about anything anymore.

[...]


I think he did too. His expressions were quite minimal until later in the program.


I think it was because the first piece on the program by Takemitsu was more abstract than the overtly Romantic Schumann and Liszt. As soon as he got into the Schumann he started his grimaces. I can't imagine that he would all of a sudden try to control something he regularly does naturally.

i agree.

btw, did anyone hear Son was out of synch with the orchestra sometimes? she did finally show some passion in her playing though.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 04:37 PM

Yeah, that's probably the best way to explain his facial expressions.

I did hear her out of sync a couple of times, but overall it was a quite good, passionate performance. I was hoping to hear a bit more power at the climaxes, but perhaps that's just restrictions of the medium?
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 04:39 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
Horowitzian, i think we pretty much agree on Bozhanov, and what a pity that some others couldn't see what we see!


Well, this is extremely subjective. And ordinarily I would strongly dislike him for his "theatrics", but what he brings out of the piano captivates me in a way no other performer in this competition has done.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 04:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
but what he brings out of the piano captivates me in a way no other performer in this competition has done.

exactly what i feel!
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 04:53 PM

Tsujii's start... eek!
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 04:55 PM

Is it just me or did the orchestra enter faster than his tempo....
Posted by: Drunk3nFist

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 04:56 PM

What the hell is wrong with the orchestra? The conductor should have taken even more responsibility than usual in Tsujii's playing.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 05:01 PM

in Tsujii case, it's difficult for the conductor too who basically has to follow the pianist all the time.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 05:09 PM

I missed the beginning, but it's definitely not my favorite Rach 2. frown
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 05:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
What the hell is wrong with the orchestra? The conductor should have taken even more responsibility than usual in Tsujii's playing.


I don't know what's wrong with Conlon and the orchestra. The piece opens with a piano solo that sets the tempo with very clear bass notes...is it really that hard to enter in time with the piano? And then Conlon keeps looking over at Tsujii as if transmitting some cue to him. What a bad way to have one of your final performances begin...thank god it didn't fall apart.
Posted by: Drunk3nFist

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 05:11 PM

His hands are shaking. Bless the fellow.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 05:28 PM

it's not the best Rach 2 for sure, partly because of the orchestra. the 2nd movement was the best, lovely played by Tsujii. but he has the limitation of dynamic range for Rach 2, especially the 3rd movement.
Posted by: Drunk3nFist

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 05:33 PM

For a blind person, Tsuji done very well. I wouldn't be surprised if he actually wins the competition.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 05:35 PM

If Tsujii has any dynamic range limitation, I think it's because he cannot afford to ever lift hands more than the smallest amount off the keys. Probably because it would be too hard to find his way around the keyboard. That's one reason his playing "looks" so much easier than it is...his hands are incredibly quiet.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 05:38 PM

I agree that Tsujii has a limitation on dynamic range due to his blindness. Conlon was urging once, I think, for more powerful bass hits during some sections, but that's not possible for Tsujii during fast sections, because he constantly must position his fingers, he simply cannot do those grandiose keyboard strikes. Which also means that he doesn't possess a certain "flair" that many pianists do because he must always keep his fingers steady on the keyboard. In the end, I think performers each have distinctive traits that draws people to them, and while people might see Lang Lang for his extroverted behavior at the piano, Tsujii has his own individuality due to his blindness and accomplishment that will draw audiences, even if he cannot be as flippant and virtuosic in appearance.

However, I place a lot of blame on Conlon/orchestra for the disastrous opening. The bass notes immediately prior to the entrance are a clear indication of the tempo, and Conlon shouldn't have tried to "speed up" the piece to his own liking, particularly during the actual performance, with a pianist who cannot take cues as easily as others. Thing is, he kept doing it later on.....I don't want to keep harping on about this, but I can't even imagine how nerve-wracking it must have been for the pianist at that moment.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 05:47 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
If Tsujii has any dynamic range limitation, I think it's because he cannot afford to ever lift hands more than the smallest amount off the keys. Probably because it would be too hard to find his way around the keyboard. That's one reason his playing "looks" so much easier than it is...his hands are incredibly quiet.

i agree. i noticed that he always has to position his hands first before striking keys. so, it would be very hard for him with fast jumps. he certainly can do it, but just has to put hands really close to keys, which therefore limits his sound range.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 05:51 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
it's not the best Rach 2 for sure, partly because of the orchestra. the 2nd movement was the best, lovely played by Tsujii. but he has the limitation of dynamic range for Rach 2, especially the 3rd movement.


That was the movement I heard the most of. Quite nice! I missed the 3rd movement. From what I heard of the first movement, I must say I thought that Maestro Conlon was not as sympathetic to the needs of the pianist as he could have been. I'd say Tsujii did well in spite of everything.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 06:00 PM

I am looking forward to Bozhanov's Rach 2 tonight. It will be interesting to see of Conlon attempts to speed things up or otherwise force things in his own direction.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 06:18 PM

Undoubtedly, it will be a lot more....uh..."visual" than the one we just heard.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 06:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Undoubtedly, it will be a lot more....uh..."visual" than the one we just heard.


I think Bolzhanov did a lot more of those hand motions in his finals recital compared to his two earlier recitals. I found it quite silly after a while.

But there are certainly those, including professionals, who only think the music counts. So I don't really know what to make of it.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 06:50 PM

That opening was pretty blatantly Conlon's fault. What the hell is his problem? It's the final round of a marathon competition, and it seems to me like he purposely torpedoed Tsujii's performance because he didn't like the tempo.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 07:13 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
If Tsujii has any dynamic range limitation, I think it's because he cannot afford to ever lift hands more than the smallest amount off the keys. Probably because it would be too hard to find his way around the keyboard. That's one reason his playing "looks" so much easier than it is...his hands are incredibly quiet.


Very good observation. There is no reason Tsujii cannot build a career based on composers and compositions that suit his style and his particular limitations. That means more Chopin or Debussy, and less Liszt, but so what? Most pianists limit themselves, especially as they get older. Brendel in his last two decades could no longer lift his hands to perform the Hammerklavier. Perhaps Tsujii should not have programmed the Rachmaninoff if the judges are looking for a powerful "Russian" performance, but he shouldn't be criticized for performing it his own way, even if the conductor insisted on not collaborating with him.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 07:30 PM

Quote:
by pianoloverus:

The orchestra doesn't need a conductor or you just don't like Conlon? Since he has had to conduct up to 5 concerti on some days in either rehearsal or performance, I don't really mind where he rests his butt unless he fall backward into the piano if the lid falls down.


I just don't like Conlon. While I appreciate the devotion of the orchestra to assisting so many pianists and having to repeat many of the concertos, it seems Conlon is not interested in helping the pianists appear at their best.

Quote:
Are you suggesting only pianists without already established careers should be allowed to win? If you check the pianists eliminated in the prelims, I think you'll find of them already have good careers also.


I think so. What is the purpose of these competitions otherwise? Why not just have a conclave of all the best young pianists under 30 if established professional artists can participate. The problem here may be that the competitions haven't changed while the music industry has. It is harder even for the most famous pianists to fill a concert hall these days or get a recording contract. Fewer and fewer can create a touring career if they don't have independent means of support. Consequently the definition of a concert performance career has changed and been downscaled to include most of the things these competitors already are doing: performances in venues grand and small, at major and minor festivals, and with professional and less professional orchestras. Do these competitors need the Van Cliburn to be able to continue with the more modern and modest career path?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 07:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Numerian

Quote:
Are you suggesting only pianists without already established careers should be allowed to win? If you check the pianists eliminated in the prelims, I think you'll find of them already have good careers also.


I think so. What is the purpose of these competitions otherwise? Why not just have a conclave of all the best young pianists under 30 if established professional artists can participate. The problem here may be that the competitions haven't changed while the music industry has. It is harder even for the most famous pianists to fill a concert hall these days or get a recording contract. Fewer and fewer can create a touring career if they don't have independent means of support. Consequently the definition of a concert performance career has changed and been downscaled to include most of the things these competitors already are doing: performances in venues grand and small, at major and minor festivals, and with professional and less professional orchestras. Do these competitors need the Van Cliburn to be able to continue with the more modern and modest career path?


I would think that if someone wins or gets one of the top three slots in the Cliburn they would then have a chance for a much bigger career than they would otherwise have.

I'm not sure if any of the finalists have, for example, ever played in Carnegie Hall or another big NYC hall. Although I'm very into piano, I had never heard of any of the finalists before seeing them in the competition.
Posted by: babama

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 07:49 PM

I heard 'Gaspard de la Nuit' for the first time, so I have nothing to compare to, but I feel that performance by Zhang was pretty amazing.
Posted by: rrb

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 07:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
Do these competitors need the Van Cliburn to be able to continue with the more modern and modest career path?


I tried to start a thread on the issue of 'competitions' several weeks ago, but it was not 'popular'. In my opinion, many of the comments in this thread support the notion that these days van Cliburn entrants are treated not awfully different from those of 'American Idol'.

Personally, I think this is a tragedy, but I have observed from the manner in which posters have responded to the competition that not everyone would agree with this.

In particular, the promotion of this obviously absurd 'competition' by the moderators of this forum gives me considerable disquiet.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 08:05 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus


I'm not sure if any of the finalists have, for example, ever played in Carnegie Hall or another big NYC hall. Although I'm very into piano, I had never heard of any of the finalists before seeing them in the competition.


Quite a few have played in major halls. Di Wu just had her debut NY recital at Alice Tully Hall, which if it was the main hall seats 2,000+. Tsujii performed more than ten years ago at Carnegie Hall's adjunct recital hall, Weill Hall. This facility seats several hundred and can be rented out by any pianist who wishes to claim they played in Carnegie Hall, but it is still a highly respected venue.

It seems to me the competition judges look for precisely such professional or quasi-professional careers before selecting someone for the preliminaries.

Speaking of Di Wu, she gave a choppy performance the other night of the Beethoven 2nd. This will probably put her in 6th place but I bet anything she was playing on a cooked piano, by which I mean the action had swelled up making the instrument difficult to control. Her starting time was 9:45 p.m. and there have been consistent comments/complaints about the very hot lights on stage. That piano had been under those lights for four hours before she got to it. I wonder if the judges take that into consideration. Despite the lousy performance, she got a standing ovation and the local audience really seems to like her performance. I wonder if that too goes into the judges' consideration. I think it would be fair to give Tsujii and Wu extra points for audience response.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 08:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus


I'm not sure if any of the finalists have, for example, ever played in Carnegie Hall or another big NYC hall. Although I'm very into piano, I had never heard of any of the finalists before seeing them in the competition.


Quite a few have played in major halls. Di Wu just had her debut NY recital at Alice Tully Hall, which if it was the main hall seats 2,000+. Tsujii performed more than ten years ago at Carnegie Hall's adjunct recital hall, Weill Hall.


Well that's really at most one out of six(I don't think Weill recital hall counts as CH or a major venue). And Alice Tully Hall is not as major as Avery Fischer Hall.
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 08:58 PM

As far as facial contortions go, none are worse than Andre Watts. I saw him in Philadelphia back in 1975 and I was totally distracted. Have never been able to watch him since. Lang Lang gets bashed a lot around here, but there have been many pianists with that problem. Glenn Gould, whom Im a huge fan of, was pretty bad too.

I think Conlon may be a self rightious pompous a**.

Di Wu just had a very luke warm response from the audience.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 09:06 PM

Conlon makes me mad. His attitude makes me sick. We really need Victor Borge here saying "Please, don't touch the piano" and "Hands off please"



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVIHyfvPceo&feature=PlayList&p=58EF05D54B382E35&index=0


laugh

Di Wu isn't as sharp tonight...

Matt
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 09:14 PM

she's just not very interesting to listen to, and i never feel moved by her playing in this competition, and tonight it's even so.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 09:20 PM

Ditto.

I feel that her sound is so UGLY.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 09:22 PM

And as usual, that announcer Simmons has nothing but good things to say...smokin Though I suppose she can't say anything bad.

I disliked the performance as well. frown
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 09:25 PM

Do they usually tune the piano right before like that? What's the purpose of that? Surely that piano must have been tuned very very VERY recently in this kind of competition.

Matt
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 09:27 PM

One performance is all it takes to degrade a tuning. Especially a performance featuring Schoenberg and Gaspard. Performance instruments are tuned prior to each use.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 09:50 PM

Bozhanov really rushed that orchestra entrance..(in my opinion)
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 09:50 PM

Is Bozhanov rushing this opening?

What does everyone think of that side of the 2 for the low F at the beginning?
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 09:51 PM

His rehearsal with Conlon was pretty rough. They kinda disagreed on the ending tempo for the first movement. It's going to be very interesting to see how that turns out in the next few minutes.

Matt
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:00 PM

Update us on how it turned out, as I didn't watch the rehearsals..

Wrong notes littered about (to be expected) and the soft sections didn't move me that much. However, he definitely can generate excitement in the louder portions. Let's see how the 2nd movement goes (which was Tsujii's best movement in my opinion)
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:02 PM

How can a conductor disagree with a pianist during a competition? He should do whatever the pianst wants and let the chips fall where they may. That's part of revealing the pianist's musicality and interpretation of the score.
Posted by: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:04 PM

Regarding the tuning...you have to be careful not to try to be a hero on these occasions....Ron Conors carefully checked the unisons and tapped a few back into place...note that he didn't check any octaves or intervals...at least not that I saw....
My guess is that he tuned the piano right before the concert and just wanted to give the performer as clean a sound as possible by tweaking in the break.
Those lights and a good pounding will knock a few unisons out....great to see him in action...he is a master.

Just listening live...NOW...I heard a really out of tune clarinet..at least my ear told me that....anyone else notice???
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:04 PM

The sounds Bozhanov is creating in the 2nd movement.....my god
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Ralph
How can a conductor disagree with a pianist during a competition? He should do whatever the pianst wants and let the chips fall where they may. That's part of revealing the pianist's musicality and interpretation of the score.


Because sometimes it's easier for the pianist to play a section presto than the orchestra.
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:11 PM

Very good 2nd.
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:12 PM

The third so far is horrible.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:14 PM

His 3rd is not impressing me so far. frown

Matt
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:16 PM

Then again, I have my score open following his every move. smile
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician
Just listening live...NOW...I heard a really out of tune clarinet..at least my ear told me that....anyone else notice???



I caught that too.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:21 PM

Bravo! He's still my favorite!
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:23 PM

He finished strong, in typical Russian (Soviet school) manner. Loud and banging, but overall I think he tanked it.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:25 PM

they worked very well together tonight, and Bozhanov was watching at the conductor constantly. fabulous performance! i was nervous watching...
Posted by: ThomasF

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:27 PM

Bozhanov moved me to tears during the second movement - that climax with the big E major chords... man oh man.

And the third movement was incredibly exciting!



I can't wait to hear Mariangela though - right now I am a really big fan of the Prokofiev 3rd.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Ralph
He finished strong, in typical Russian (Soviet school) manner. Loud and banging, but overall I think he tanked it.


He said in an interview (or at least I think it was him?) that the Russian school "teaches you to be warrior at piano". laugh

He showed that tonight for sure.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:29 PM

Di Wu's recital ...

Missed most of the beginning... the Ravel sounded too bass-heavy, not sure to blame the pianist, the piano, or the recording/reproducing system; very good otherwise.

-----------------

Bozhanov's Rach 2 ...

OK, if nothing else, the guy is at least interesting, and I like the performance over all ...

But would it kill him to let the piano fade into the background and just "blend in" from time to time? And what's with those oddly placed accents?
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:31 PM

Overall a poor performance. He has moments of beauty and certainly has potential, but it was far too messy and careless for my liking.

Conlon looked ticked off for a moment there. Maybe this is karma for his screwup with Tsujii earlier.

Of course, the audience loves the showmanship....
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:38 PM

Looks like Vacatello is going to use the American Steinway for the Prokofiev.
Posted by: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:39 PM

After hearing an amazing Hamburg D...looks like we have a New York D for the last performer. Yipeeeee
Posted by: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:40 PM

Sorry Ralph, you beat me to it....
Can't wait....
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:41 PM

Bozhanov's Rach controversial? No, just aweful.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:42 PM

Bozhanov is an edgy and exciting pianist. wrong or right, like him or not, he'll be always remembered.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:43 PM

Question: Where can I find the Van Cliburn competition's programming (music selection) rules?

Thanks.
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:43 PM

'bout time someone used a real piano.
Posted by: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:51 PM

I'm sure that bloody clarinet is blowing sharp again in the upper register...or is it me???
Piano sounds superb...what colours!!!
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:53 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
Bozhanov is an edgy and exciting pianist. wrong or right, like him or not, he'll be always remembered.


Indeed he is. smile

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Overall a poor performance. He has moments of beauty and certainly has potential, but it was far too messy and careless for my liking.

Conlon looked ticked off for a moment there. Maybe this is karma for his screwup with Tsujii earlier.

Of course, the audience loves the showmanship....


I don't think it was a poor performance. Perhaps too "individualistic" for some people's tastes (and in all likelihood, the jury's), but not "poor" by any stretch. No, it wasn't the best Rach 2 ever, at least in the outer movements. Seemed like he bobbled on the opening chords a bit, and subsequently in the arpeggios after the orchestra comes in. But his 2nd movement was simply divine. JMHO! smile
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician
I'm sure that bloody clarinet is blowing sharp again in the upper register...or is it me???
Piano sounds superb...what colours!!!


Yeah something still sounds wrong... mad

But the piano is great! The Cliburn NY and the Hamburg D previously used are doubtless the two best pianos there, in that order. The shiny C&A D just doesn't have the color palette of either of these two.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:58 PM

Quote:
Perhaps too "individualistic" for some people's tastes (and in all likelihood, the jury's), but not "poor" by any stretch.


It's poor by my stretch. Being "individualistic" does not shield a performer from being called out on what I consider a poor performance. I could go up on stage and play the whole piece pianissimo and that would be individualistic. From what I heard, it was an occasionally beautiful performance covered with all-too-frequently-messy playing, and judging by the blogs, there's quite a few people who agree.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:59 PM

Vacatello is doing great so far, such amazing agility and clarity in articulation ... I'm liking her performances more and more. thumb

A few places where the woodwind (especially the flutes) fail to keep up in the 1st movement, but that's not the pianist's fault... those are places where the piano should rightfully lead.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 10:59 PM

Eek! What the heck happened @ the end of Vacatello's 1st movement??
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:02 PM

For the last couple of days I've been thinking the hamburg D sounded like glass breaking. Vacatello is very mature and smart. She chose wisely.
Posted by: ThomasF

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:03 PM

My thoughts exactly! I think Conlon held the orchestra back.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Quote:
Perhaps too "individualistic" for some people's tastes (and in all likelihood, the jury's), but not "poor" by any stretch.


It's poor by my stretch. Being "individualistic" does not shield a performer from being called out on what I consider a poor performance. I could go up on stage and play the whole piece pianissimo and that would be individualistic. From what I heard, it was an occasionally beautiful performance covered with all-too-frequently-messy playing, and judging by the blogs, there's quite a few people who agree.


Well, we can agree to disagree. I'm just not overly picky about wrong notes and a touch of sloppiness; what's important to me is the overall musical effect, and he had that down in spades. Perhaps that's why I love Horowitz so much! grin
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Eek! What the heck happened @ the end of Vacatello's 1st movement??


Agree. They didn't end together.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Ralph
Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Eek! What the heck happened @ the end of Vacatello's 1st movement??


Agree. They didn't end together.


Yep. I couldn't tell whose fault it was, but if it was Conlon he needs to get his act together. This is a piano competition, not a conducting competition.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:06 PM

Do orchestras get tired? Maybe it's unusual for an orchestra to play all day, day after day, and sloppiness creeps in eventually. This is I presume a respectable mid-level American orchestra, but they are sounding ragged and careless as the night wears on. Not very fair to the pianists, but what's the alternative?
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:07 PM

Hire the NY Philharmonic? grin
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I'm just not overly picky about wrong notes and a touch of sloppiness


Just to be clear, my (and others) issue with his performance is not just about "wrong notes and a touch of sloppiness".
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Ralph
Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Eek! What the heck happened @ the end of Vacatello's 1st movement??


Agree. They didn't end together.


Yep. I couldn't tell whose fault it was, but if it was Conlon he needs to get his act together. This is a piano competition, not a conducting competition.



That's my point exactly. If the pianist feels he/she should crawl into the piano and take a nap, the conductor should let them. It's all about how the pianist interprets the score.


You better believe orchestras get tired.
Posted by: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:13 PM

She's doing great despite the orchestra....
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:15 PM

Vacatello's Prok 3 ...

It's all in the execution...

A mostly conventional interpretation, nothing overtly individualistic there, no excessive showmanship, just brilliant, BRILLIANT execution by the pianist.

Orchestra and piano were out of sync a few times... mostly because the orchestra failed to keep up. Though I had hoped that the pianist would have adapted to accommodate the orchestra's deficiencies by the 2nd and 3rd movement.

Even so, Prok 3 definitely pwned Rach 2 tonight. thumb thumb
Posted by: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:15 PM

WOW!
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:15 PM

Marvelous Prok.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I'm just not overly picky about wrong notes and a touch of sloppiness


Just to be clear, my (and others) issue with his performance is not just about "wrong notes and a touch of sloppiness".



I said we could agree to disagree. End of story. smile
Posted by: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:21 PM

Can I ask a favor here???
Flying to NY tomorrow for a week at the factory...chops improvement etc...
Can someone PM me with results/comments please...
I'll have an iPhone, that's all...I get in to NY around 7.30pm local...

Cheers
P
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Vacatello's Prok 3 ...

It's all in the execution...

A mostly conventional interpretation, nothing overtly individualistic there, no excessive showmanship, just brilliant, BRILLIANT execution by the pianist.

Orchestra and piano were out of sync a few times... mostly because the orchestra failed to keep up. Though I had hoped that the pianist would have adapted to accommodate the orchestra's deficiencies by the 2nd and 3rd movement.

Even so, Prok 3 definitely pwned Rach 2 tonight. thumb thumb


I have to agree, on the grounds that Rach 2 isn't exactly the flashiest concerto from the pianist's point of view. Perhaps Bozhanov's major fault was trying to "make the music better than it is". Despite the orchestra's problems, Vocatello did a fantastic job!! smile
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Theowne
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I'm just not overly picky about wrong notes and a touch of sloppiness


Just to be clear, my (and others) issue with his performance is not just about "wrong notes and a touch of sloppiness".



I said we could agree to disagree. End of story. smile


You can see how personal these competitions get and how hard they are to judge.


Personally I feel Vacatello stole the night. Together with her Beethoven 4th performance, she may win.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician
Can I ask a favor here???
Flying to NY tomorrow for a week at the factory...chops improvement etc...
Can someone PM me with results/comments please...
I'll have an iPhone, that's all...I get in to NY around 7.30pm local...

Cheers
P


Sure! I'll be happy to. smile
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Ralph
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Theowne
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I'm just not overly picky about wrong notes and a touch of sloppiness


Just to be clear, my (and others) issue with his performance is not just about "wrong notes and a touch of sloppiness".



I said we could agree to disagree. End of story. smile


You can see how personal these competitions get and how hard they are to judge.


Personally I feel Vacatello stole the night. Together with her Beethoven 4th performance, she may win.


Exactly. I think being a juror is pretty much an unenviable position to be in.

Vocatello has tied with B. for being my favorite after that Prok. thumb
Posted by: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:24 PM

I feel better already...thanks Horo...
P
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:25 PM

No problem! thumb

Have fun at the factory!
Posted by: RoyP

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:40 PM

These are great to watch. I've really only gotten to watch Vacotello...last night and tonight, and caught the end of Bozhanov. I had to tune and sit through a concert tonight, and got home late. At least I was getting paid! Bozhanov was good, but I enjoyed Vacotello more. I did like the NY D tonight better than the Hamburg D she played last night..at least for what comes through on my lousy laptop speakers.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/06/09 11:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian

I said we could agree to disagree. End of story. smile


And I was telling the rest of the forum that my opinions were a bit less simplistic than your characterization. I think I'm still allowed to speak to the other people, right? smile
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 12:19 AM

Yeah! smile
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Vacatello is doing great so far, such amazing agility and clarity in articulation ... I'm liking her performances more and more. thumb

A few places where the woodwind (especially the flutes) fail to keep up in the 1st movement, but that's not the pianist's fault... those are places where the piano should rightfully lead.


If the piano plays faster than the orchestra can actually play, then it is the pianist's fault. And that stuff should be worked out in rehearsal.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:19 AM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
Quote:
by pianoloverus:

The orchestra doesn't need a conductor or you just don't like Conlon? Since he has had to conduct up to 5 concerti on some days in either rehearsal or performance, I don't really mind where he rests his butt unless he fall backward into the piano if the lid falls down.


I just don't like Conlon. While I appreciate the devotion of the orchestra to assisting so many pianists and having to repeat many of the concertos, it seems Conlon is not interested in helping the pianists appear at their best.



What makes you think that Conlon is supposed help the pianists appear at their best? It is entirely possible that what he is doing is giving the competitors a test by not being a very good collaborator, in order to show the jury how the they deal with that kind of situation. It's one they definitely will have to deal with in real life. The Cliburn is as interested in how the winners will do after the competition as how they play during the competition, and demonstrating how they cope with an uncooperative conductor can give the jurors insight.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:58 AM

It seems too subtle a test for the judges to arrange, first of all. Second, thousands of people have paid good money to attend the concerts in the hall, and thousands more are listening in live or on delayed tape. You would think they would want to give the best impression possible of the Fort Worth Symphony, the Van Cliburn competition and its organizers, and most of all of the music being performed. Instead we get intonation problems, contrasting tempos between the orchestra and soloist, and playing that is out of sync. This has happened to a number of the competitors so it is clearly a conductor/orchestra problem.

If they are looking for a subtle test that these competitors are likely to face, why not put on the stage one of those Steinways that show up in the showroom unprepped, rather than the three Steinways the competitors now get that seem to be fussed over day and night by Steinway's two top technicians. That would be a cheap and easy test and something that all concert and amateur pianists would understand and empathize with.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:15 AM

FYI - this is one of the better sites blogging the competition.


http://startelegram.typepad.com/notes_from_the_cliburn/
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:48 AM

Originally Posted By: wr


What makes you think that Conlon is supposed help the pianists appear at their best? It is entirely possible that what he is doing is giving the competitors a test by not being a very good collaborator, in order to show the jury how the they deal with that kind of situation. It's one they definitely will have to deal with in real life. The Cliburn is as interested in how the winners will do after the competition as how they play during the competition, and demonstrating how they cope with an uncooperative conductor can give the jurors insight.



I think there is about as much chance of this being true as my being able to play the Prok 2 cadenza with my nose.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 09:21 AM

Yeah, the 'Conlon isn't really an arrogant jerk, he just plays one for the Cliburn' theory doesn't convince me either.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 10:36 AM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
FYI - this is one of the better sites blogging the competition.

http://startelegram.typepad.com/notes_from_the_cliburn/

Is that an "official" blog?
I couldn't find any criticism in there.

Quote:
From the blog site:

In terms of sound, Zhang said, the Hamburg is “more full,” while the “Cliburn American” that he used Saturday “was more thick.”


For the technicians - how does that translate to technical terms? confused
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 12:03 PM

I think they do a fine job. Sure, there are problems, but think about what they're being asked:

The orchestra and conductor have to rehearse and perform 12 different concerto performances in under a week. Since the exact concerti were not known until the announcement of the finalists, the exact concerti - and schedule - were unknown to the players until the last minue. This means remembering and executing 12 different sets of tempi in a very short amount of time.

This is in stark contrast to what most orchestras do - 4 rehearsals on one concerto, including 2 without the soloist and 2 with.

Plus, it's completely fair to expect pianists of this caliber to be able to work with an orchestra's problems. They've all played with orchestras before, and the management contract they'll receive will include performances with orchestras who are not as good as Fort Worth.

In my three years at the Aspen Festival and School, I heard probably two or three dozen concertos. Of those, which were played by one of the finest festival orchestras on the planet with some of the greatest soloists ever, only two stand out as having achieved a level of perfection where there were no issues with intonation and ensemble. They were Gil Shaham (Mendelssohn) and Stephen Hough (Scharwenka).

Live performance always has its pitfalls, even more so when the stakes and adrenaline run so high.

Originally Posted By: Numerian
You would think they would want to give the best impression possible of the Fort Worth Symphony, the Van Cliburn competition and its organizers, and most of all of the music being performed. Instead we get intonation problems, contrasting tempos between the orchestra and soloist, and playing that is out of sync. This has happened to a number of the competitors so it is clearly a conductor/orchestra problem.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 12:24 PM

maybe next time, they would find a better orchestra? it's pretty unfair for all those finalists who have to play 2 concerti with only 1-2 hour rehearsal time. another option is to play only 1 concerto in the final instead of 2.

Cleveland competition has a world class orchestra, which never had such problems.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 01:31 PM

The Cliburn Competition will always be in Texas.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 01:37 PM

I think the best solution, if you want perfect orchestral parts, is to have more than one orchestra. Why not have the Dallas Symphony do the matinee session and the FWSO do the evening session?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 02:09 PM

The main difficulty is lack of rehearsal and that won't solve the problem. Also, I think out of fairness all competitors should play with the same orchestra and conductor.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 02:41 PM

Very true, but no amount of rehearsal will help if the orchestra is simply tiring out after all the performances asked of them. No reason to change conductors, either. Orchestras work under guest conductors all the time. So to amend my proposal:

1) Have two orchestras, but with the same conductor

2) Increase rehearsal time, maybe by allowing each performer at least two rehearsals with each orchestra. This is one of the premier competitions, after all, why not spend more time on getting everything right?

OTOH, someone pointed out that the current setup is a good test of a performer's ability to cope with a less-than-ideal orchestra and perhaps a conductor who has his own ideas, and is a stubborn collaborator. Like any decision, there's pros and cons.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 02:45 PM

if we have 2 orchestras, then each finalist will play 1 concerto with one and the other concerto with the other. so, it will still be fair.

i really think one orchestra for 12 concerto performances is too much, whether the players are good or not.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 02:47 PM

Tsujii's recital selection should cement him as audience favorite:

LvB Op. 57 Appasionata
Chopin Op. 57 Berceuse
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody #2
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 02:48 PM

I'm lovin' it already. cool

thumb
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 02:48 PM

Wow, the Cliburn has gotten so mediocre.. Their orchestra is simply asinine. So unprofessional, they aren't even together with THEMSELVES, let alone with the soloist - terrible! I am speechless!

Not really crazy about any of the contestants either. I hope Nobu wins though - he's actually inspiring. Oh yeah, and now I'm ashamed I'm Bulgarian thanks to that FREAK.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 02:51 PM

so far, a very typical Appasionata and clean.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 02:55 PM

Maybe he'll play the 3rd movement like Gould.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 02:55 PM

be proud of your country man and what he has done so far in the competition! i know my teacher would be too, in spite of B's mistakes. there're more people talking about him than about anyone else in the Cliburn.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 02:58 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
if we have 2 orchestras, then each finalist will play 1 concerto with one and the other concerto with the other. so, it will still be fair.

i really think one orchestra for 12 concerto performances is too much, whether the players are good or not.


Two orchestras might help fatigue but the main problem is lack of rehearsal time, and I don't think this would help. More importantly, I'm sure the Cliburn has given all these possibilities literally thousands of hours of thought over the past 40 years.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:14 PM

i don't like this Liszt that much. feel something is not quite there.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:16 PM

His performance was fine, but somewhat lackluster.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:17 PM

Tsukii recital...

Beethoven Appasionata - fairly typical interpretation, very cleanly executed.

Chopin Berceuse - quite beautifully rendered... imageries of sappy anime scenes kept popping into my head as I listened.

Liszt HR-2 - seems a bit rushed in the opening, was hoping for more cheesy sort of interpretation, more dramatic changes of tempi... but he seem to be getting better as the music enters the more Tom & Jerry bit... oy, then he got bit sloppy as speed picked up. OK, the piece ended. Still think it could have used more bravado, more drama.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:17 PM

yeah, note wise very good. but something is missing.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:17 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
i don't like this Liszt that much. feel something is not quite there.


It was all right. Not spectacular, but all right. Don't forget this is one of the most difficult pieces in the repertoire! grin

People who know Richard Kastle will get this joke. *cough*
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:22 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
yeah, note wise very good. but something is missing.


What's missing is that since he cannot see the keys, he has to feel for them, and that sort of precludes much bravura display.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:36 PM

Now that the recitals are done, Bozhanov still leads the pack in my view. smile
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:41 PM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
Now that the recitals are done, Bozhanov still leads the pack in my view. smile



Really? Based on just the recitals? Because his concerto last night struck me as pretty immature (maybe excluding the 2nd movement).c

Matt
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:44 PM

Yeah, my view is

1 Bozhanov,
2 Vocatello,
3 Wu

And I'm not basing that just on the recitals, I just was noting that all the recitals are now done.
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: signa
i don't like this Liszt that much. feel something is not quite there.


It was all right. Not spectacular, but all right. Don't forget this is one of the most difficult pieces in the repertoire! grin

People who know Richard Kastle will get this joke. *cough*


grin

Unfortunately I'll have to wait for the link. A storm just passed through and knocked out my computer for his recital. But remember, it was the just the last run that was the most difficult piano part. smile
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: signa
i don't like this Liszt that much. feel something is not quite there.


It was all right. Not spectacular, but all right. Don't forget this is one of the most difficult pieces in the repertoire! grin

People who know Richard Kastle will get this joke. *cough*


grin

Unfortunately I'll have to wait for the link. A storm just passed through and knocked out my computer for his recital. But remember, it was the just the last run that was the most difficult piano part. smile


Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. grin
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 03:51 PM

i heard that the final ranking will include the previous 2 rounds. so, does anyone know how they score each finalist after all is done?
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 04:22 PM

Zhang is impressive. Can't believe he's only 19.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 04:24 PM

Is anyone else noticing a lot of noise in the live feed?
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 04:24 PM

Zhang's Prok 2...

It's a damned good performance. I've got nothing to criticize.
No lack of excitement at all

Just feel it a bit unfair that he had to come after Vacatello's Prok 3.

I think I would have written more glowingly about Zhang's Prok 2 had I not listened to Vacatello's Prok 3 first.

EDIT to add: OK, there's something that Zhang's Prok 2 did better than Vacatello's Prok 3 - Zhang's Prok 2 sync'ed better with the orchestra. Yay!
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 04:25 PM

someone seems saying that he's always note perfect. he does have great techniques and high precision, which is his advantage.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 04:25 PM

Quote:
jon-nyc wrote:
Is anyone else noticing a lot of noise in the live feed?

Zhang is a hummer, á la Gould.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 04:29 PM

Theres real sincerity here, I think it comes out clearly.

- Eric Zuber at June 7th, 2009, 2:16 PM
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 04:35 PM

That was wonderful.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 04:35 PM

Now we hear Di Wu play the Rach 3. What a way to end such a fantastic competition!
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 04:56 PM

One more hour and my life can get back to normal. I'm kinda music-ed out...

haha
Posted by: Drunk3nFist

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:08 PM

I am LOVING Di Wu's Rachmaninoff 3rd Cadenza! Very fiery and unique!
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:08 PM

Yeah, I love Ravel but I'm full up on Gaspard for a while...


Its quite a commitment to listen to this competition.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:09 PM

Zhang's Prok 2 was great! But I am loving Di Wu's Rach 3. Interesting she chose the same cadenza Horowitz performed.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:11 PM

Sadly .. DW is out of medal contention (Not all her own fault)
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:13 PM

How do you figure?
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:13 PM

i don't really like her Rach 3 so far, lack of imagination at least. she's just too confined into an academic mode that she can never get out. she's a good pianist, but that's about it for her.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:14 PM

She has too much a task on her hands. Not surmountable at this poinrt ... (I would like to be proved wrong!)
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
FYI - this is one of the better sites blogging the competition.

http://startelegram.typepad.com/notes_from_the_cliburn/

Is that an "official" blog?
I couldn't find any criticism in there.




No, the official blog is here:

http://www.cliburn.org/blog/
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:19 PM

While I don't think Wu's performance is always the cleanest, I find her a much more interesting pianist than both Zhang and Tsujii, and would opt for her over either of them any day.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:20 PM

Originally Posted By: newport
She has too much a task on her hands. Not surmountable at this poinrt ... (I would like to be proved wrong!)


She'll definitely need to knock the house down in the third movement. smile
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: newport
She has too much a task on her hands. Not surmountable at this poinrt ... (I would like to be proved wrong!)


She'll definitely need to knock the house down in the third movement. smile

I am keeping my fingers crossed for her!
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
While I don't think Wu's performance is always the cleanest, I find her a much more interesting pianist than both Zhang and Tsujii, and would opt for her over either of them any day.


I agree, she won me over in the prelims. Her Miroirs was fantastic.
Posted by: Drunk3nFist

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:24 PM

Hmm.. Di Wu should have started the end of the 2nd movement with a constant crescendo instead of blurting out those keys at fortissimo.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:27 PM

Does anyone else have an opinion on her choice of cadenza? I missed her rehearsal, and I was quite expecting to hear the "big" cadenza. IMHO, it was a pleasant surprise to hear the "small" cadenza, which I think is the more effective of the two.
Posted by: Drunk3nFist

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:29 PM

Yeah H, I liked the idea of her performing the small cadenza. I'm more accustomed to listening to this one anyway smile. I especially liked the way she performed it, I don't know any other pianist that performs this cadenza the way she did.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Does anyone else have an opinion on her choice of cadenza?

As long as you do a good job with it, I guess? smile
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:32 PM

I can't play either, so I don't know. frown
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:34 PM

Yeah I really liked where she was going with the cadenza, but again, I think she got sloppy. New approaches are great, but you need to be able to execute them when it matters.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I can't play either, so I don't know. frown

Since when?

Hahaha .. don't hit me (I am worse) laugh
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Drunk3nFist
Yeah H, I liked the idea of her performing the small cadenza. I'm more accustomed to listening to this one anyway smile. I especially liked the way she performed it, I don't know any other pianist that performs this cadenza the way she did.


It was slightly of reminiscent of Horowitz's 1978 performance with Zubin Mehta and the NY Philharmonic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5mxU_7BTRA

My, oh, my. She is really doing well now!
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:35 PM

Wow .. she has a first rate finale!!! I am happy for her!!
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:36 PM

She did a fantastic job.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:36 PM

Originally Posted By: newport
Wow .. she has a first rate finale!!! I am happy for her!!


YES!! yippie
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:37 PM

Indeed. Like newport, I have my fingers crossed for her. I think she was overshadowed by some of the other competitors, but she can make great music.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:38 PM

Di Wu's Rach 3...

Another damned fine performance. A bit of sync problem in the first minute or two, the piano rushes the orchestra sometimes, and orchestra rushed the piano sometimes. After that, she rocked all the way through.

I heard her rehearsing the Rach 3 with Conlon (sans orchestra), then heard her rehearsed with the orchestra, then this final performance. She's just very consistent with Rach 3 and she performs it very well. It's her piece.

A rockin' Rach 3. thumb
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:38 PM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
Yeah, the 'Conlon isn't really an arrogant jerk, he just plays one for the Cliburn' theory doesn't convince me either.


That's not the theory so much as it's the "we don't want a non-assertive non-entity on the podium who will always make nice with the precious and oh-so-fragile competitors" theory. It's not as if Conlon is an unknown quantity to the Cliburn powers that be, since he's being doing these for some time now. Hence my thought that he's a deliberate choice precisely because he poses a challenge for the competitors. Of course, maybe he's just got a lock on the position for some other reason, like for example, he's the only well-known conductor they can find who will do it.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:44 PM

so far the orchestra and soloist in sync is the problem with basically every finalist, and no one seems to escape from it. i kind of realize now that's why the pianist, Di, Zhang and Bozhanov at least, kept watching the conductor because they felt pushed at the moments.
Posted by: Drunk3nFist

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:45 PM

She is a BEAST! Go Di Wu!
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:46 PM

I disagree on the Rachmaninoff. For my tastes, it was one of the worst performances in the entire competition. She banged the hell out of piano for no good reason, didn't voice a single chord, and wasn't even clean in the Mendelssohnian bits in the second and third movements. I really felt that she made the piano sound horrible (and it wasn't the piano's fault, as in Vacatello's Beethoven).

Okay, here's my guess:

1. Son
2. Tsujii
3. Vacatello

What I would hope for:

1. Tsujii
2. Vacatello
3. Zhang
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:49 PM

After that final recital you'd put Tsujii first?
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:50 PM

My wild guess:

1. Zhang
2. Vacatello
3. Tsujii
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 05:56 PM

I'll make my prediction and agree with newport.

1) Zhang
2) Vacatello
3) Tsujii

I think Bozhanov has potential, but I don't know his Rachmaninoff, and various other..."intricacies" ars going to go down with the jury, I assume that he will polarize the vote and thus eliminate his chances. Tsujii gave some great performances and really inspires the crowd, so I think he'll get a medal.

Son and Di Wu were good, but they don't really leave any lasting impression in my mind.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:04 PM

Summarizing my thoughts on the final round...

1. Vacatello and Zhang are the most consistent performers. They did very well in both their recitals and in all four concerti.

2. Vacatello's Prok 3 was the most electrifying of all the concerto performances, sync problem with the orchestra notwithstanding. And she had something very memorable from her recital too -- her ornaments in the Bach piece. She's the champion in my mind.

3. Zhang also gave a fresh and interesting rendition of the Mozart concerto. He'd probably be the runner up if I emphasize consistency.

4. Wu and Bozhanov ... Both are excellent performers, excellent pianists. Wu gave a brilliant performance of the Rach 3, but flopped the Beethoven. Bozhanov pulled off a fresh and interesting interpretation of the Chopin concerto, but flopped the Rach 2 in a fresh and interesting way. Both gave excellent recitals, though I think Bozhanov edged Wu out by a hair in recitals. I'd probably put Bozhanov above Wu if I cannot tie them... definitely put Bozhanov above Wu if I want to emphasize originality and creativity.

5. Overall, it's a close call among Vacatello, Zhang, Wu, and Bozhanov. Based on artistic merit alone, I have no problem cutting out Son and Tsujii. But if I'm a money grabbing concert promoter, I'd drop Zhang and keep Vacatello, Wu, and Bozhanov... these three are simply a lot more photogenic and telegenic than Zhang. Bozhanov has the added edge of being "interesting" and even "controversial" in a Lang Lang sort of way. With a money grabbing concert promoter mindset, I might even drop Zhang for Tsujii if I think I can sell sap stories surrounding Tsujii's blindness.

6. Longer term, though, I think Bozhanov has the best chance of leaving a mark in history. The guy has high potential of leaving behind highly original, highly interesting stuff. While I normally prize originality and creativity rather highly and hope Bozhanov gets something out of this, I also don't think a Cliburn prize matters that much to the truly creative and the truly original in the long run. Zhang might as well, simply because he's still young and has lots of time to develop and mature. If he doesn't get a medal this time, no big deal... he is young and has lots of time to enter many prestigious competitions.

7. So, my medal favorites are Vacatello, Zhang, Bozhanov, and Wu. Which medal Bozhanov gets (or whether he gets one at all) would depend on how much originality/creativity is weighted vs. consistency and deference to tradition.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:06 PM

From Eric Zuber!!

Thanks to everyone involved for making this a fantastic viewing experience. Thanks also to the competitors for your sacrifice in bringing us your vision of this music. To all 29, congratulations.

Not that my opinion matters in the least, but here are some final thoughts and my finalist rankings from a fellow young pianist.

From sixth to first:
Evgeni Bozhanov: He did some absolutely gorgeous things with sound and timing, especially in the Davidsbundlertaenze. He has the capability, confidence, and freedom to be creative musically, often with lovely results. I loved the humor in his playing, Op. 31 # 3 was especially delightful. The concerti were not played according to my personal preference, but that’s just me. Thank you for the wonderful moments. – Sixth Prize–

Di Wu: I was very impressed by Di Wu’s level of personal commitment to the music on stage, especially in her final recital. It may be the first (and the last) time that I hear Schoenberg played with such care and love. I thought Gaspard was beautifully shaded. I just couldn’t disagree more with the tempi that she chose for the Rachmaninov Concerto, but that’s just me. She obviously works extremely hard and is very talented. Wonderful efforts! - Fifth Prize-

Yeoleum Son: Yeoleum is a rock solid pianist. I enjoyed her playing immensely. She has a tremendous amount of confidence. I think this girl was born to be on stage! Wonderful job, thanks so much. –Fourth Prize-

Mariangela Vacatello: This girl blew me away with her rendering of the Busoni-Chopin Variations! It was the first time I heard the piece, but I can’t imagine it being played much better. There were many lovely moments sprinkled throughout her recitals. For my own personal taste, her playing seems just a bit detached from the depths of her soul. Perhaps it’s because I could NEVER imagine playing the piano with such a consistently straight face. If the music is sad, her face is straight—if the music is happy, it’s also straight. Nothing ever changes visually about her at all, so for me it’s a bit harder to get emotionally connected to what she’s doing. While the playing itself is extremely communicative, I just visually can’t see the joy that I KNOW she has for this music. Of course, that’s such a small thing and my own personal preference! Musically and technically, she is an incredibly solid player. I especially enjoyed the rush of energy she gave to the Prokoviev Concerto. She has a wonderful career ahead of her. Thank you for your efforts! - Third Prize –

Nobuyuki Tsujii: His rendering of Opus 106 was in itself worthy of a medal, and his playing throughout the competition was consistently beautiful. His final recital was especially memorable for me. Personally, I find that his playing in certain types of repertoire lacks just a tiny bit of flexibility and sensitivity to harmonic changes. I just don’t always get the sense that he listens between the notes– to the emotional implication of the harmonies. Sometimes I feel that certain nuances get looked over. To simplify even further– I’m missing subtlety in general in his playing. (For whatever reason, this is a less apparent, if non-existent problem in his Beethoven interpretations which are absolutely top-class.) Still, the achievement is absolutely and undeniably remarkable, and I have not a shred of doubt that he will go on to have an incredible career. His story and his playing, two things which will be inexorably linked throughout the course of his life, are both fantastically inspiring. Thank you. – Second Prize –

Haochen Zhang: From the first time I heard this young man play, I knew he would be a finalist. Amid all of the (in my opinion) unjust criticism he received after what was one of the best concerts I’ve ever heard given at a competition, I wrote this:

“Im not sure if everyone heard the same performance I just did, but the one I heard was absolutely stunning in every sense. From a sheer physical perspective, there aren’t many people in the world who can do what he can at the keyboard. Combine that with his obvious sincerity, inate musicality, and perfect sense of timing, and you have a young man destined for a huge career. Mark my words, if he continues to play at that level, or even on the merits of this performance alone, he will be in the finals, and personally I think he will win. If he places second or third because of his age (like Joyce did in 2005) then that and that alone will be the reason.”

That pretty much sums up how I still feel. The glow has not worn off. This is a young man with musical sincerity, complete confidence, technical impeccability. He can afford– and will for sure as he grows and matures—to incorporate more creativity and musical freedom in his playing. Sometimes, it sounds almost a little too rehearsed and refined, with not enough spontaneity. That being said, I find his almost classical refinement refreshing in a musical climate where exaggeration too often equals musicianship to many. In my opinion, he is the clear winner of this competition, and I have absolutely no reservations about saying that. Best of luck in your future endeavors! -First Prize-
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:09 PM

I can't believe it Eric and me must be mental twins separated at birth ... Hahaha ...(I am laughing at myself :-))
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:13 PM

i'm on pins and needles...
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:14 PM

My opinions line up somewhat with Eric Zuber's. He also seems to enjoy Son and Wu, but they don't really affect him on any great level, and I agree with that. They are consistent and enjoyable performers but nothing more. I also agree that Zhang hasn't given a bad performance throughout the competition, which can't be said for most other competitors. He really does have an immense talent. Reaction to Bozhanov is unpredictable. If the judges are fooled into thinking that anything that looks/sounds unique is immediately a god-given revelation, he could come out on top. Or they may just ignore the bad aspects of his performances and recognize that there is talent underneath somewhere. Either way, I have a hard time seeing him as 2nd or 3rd, it's either top prize or not prize.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:19 PM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
i'm on pins and needles...
You're not in the maternity ward and accidentally sat on a tray of needles and instruments, are you? wink
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:20 PM

Not yet! I'm glad this ends now, I have to leave to the hospital in 3 1/2 hours...
Posted by: timmyab

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:23 PM

Difficult one to call.I enjoyed Wu's final recital but her Rach 3 tonight seemed patchy.Son's Prok 2 was great but her Schubert was a let down for me.Tsujii was good all round but failed to shine anywhere in particular.Vacatello's Prok 3 was the highlight of the competition for me.
I'd vote:

1) Vacatello
2) Bozhanov
3) Zhang
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:26 PM

What the heck...

1) Vacatello
2) Son
3) Zhang
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:36 PM

What part of 5pm CDT don't these clowns understand?
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:37 PM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
What part of 5pm CDT don't these clowns understand?


Apparently they think they are in MDT. mad
Posted by: ThomasF

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:38 PM

1) Zhang + Vacatello
2) Wu
3) Tsuji
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:41 PM

Here are my winners from the competition - people I would pay to hear perform (and in no particular order):

Evgeni Bozhanov
Lukas Vondracek
Naomi Kudo
Di Wu
Mariangela Vacatello
Haochen Zhang
Chetan Tierra
Mikhail Lifits

All the hype about their being semi-finalists and finalists makes you forget the superb musicians who were also part of this competition.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:42 PM

How I will celebrate if ...

* Zhang wins - each Kentucky Fried Chicken, dark meat, Zhang's favorite, and pre-performance, food.

* Vacatello wins - buy a picture magazine featuring Italian supermodels and admire them.

* Tsujii wins - eat sushi, but need to research what sort of blind fish can actually be made into sushi first.

* Son wins - eat Korean tofu pot, may be wear a green shirt for a day

* Wu wins - Chinese food or picture magazine with Chinese supermodels... hard call

* Bozhanov wins - don't know, probably go buy a lottery or watch Funny Face
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:44 PM

Man! Lets get on with it already.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:45 PM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
What part of 5pm CDT don't these clowns understand?


Award ceremony half an hour after the final performance? I could have predicted a delay.
Posted by: ThomasF

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Tsujii wins - eat sushi, but need to research what sort of blind fish can actually be made into sushi first.


Come on now, hahahaha....
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
I'll make my prediction and agree with newport.

1) Zhang
2) Vacatello
3) Tsujii


Ditto
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:53 PM

They just showed Zhang in the audience with earphones in. What the heck is he listening to?
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:54 PM

I can't believe I wasted 50 minutes of my life watching all that filler.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: Theowne
I'll make my prediction and agree with newport.

1) Zhang
2) Vacatello
3) Tsujii


Ditto

Wow, we have a quorum in our own guerrilla court? smile
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:56 PM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
They just showed Zhang in the audience with earphones in. What the heck is he listening to?



James Conlon - Lecture on the technique of playing Mozart concertos.... part 1. laugh
Posted by: ThomasF

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 06:58 PM

Ireland wins but Krum gets the snitch.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Debussy20
Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
They just showed Zhang in the audience with earphones in. What the heck is he listening to?



James Conlon - Lecture on the technique of playing Mozart concertos.... part 1. laugh



LOL!
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:05 PM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
I can't believe I wasted 50 minutes of my life watching all that filler.
What? You in a rush to go somewhere? wink
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:06 PM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
Originally Posted By: Debussy20
Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
They just showed Zhang in the audience with earphones in. What the heck is he listening to?



James Conlon - Lecture on the technique of playing Mozart concertos.... part 1. laugh



LOL!

He is listening to Don Giovanni. eek
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:06 PM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
They just showed Zhang in the audience with earphones in. What the heck is he listening to?


I think it was Led Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song"
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:07 PM

ferchrisssake get on with it already...
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:07 PM

Argh...my student is here for his lesson...
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:07 PM

HERE WE GO!
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:08 PM

Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
ferchrisssake get on with it already...


I understand that the jury is still deliberating. Ah, here we go...something is starting.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Debussy20
HERE WE GO!


grin ^^^^^^^
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:10 PM

I'll predict Vacatello, Zhang, Tsujii
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:10 PM

yeah, yeah, yeah. announce the damn winners.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:20 PM

somebody throw a tomato at this woman.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:22 PM

"we see this when we see a baby, a butterfly.... a pearl" please please please shut up. now... please... stop. oh my god.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:23 PM

Zhang, Vacatello, Wu.
Posted by: timmyab

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:23 PM

Talk about milking it.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:23 PM

You are all pearls of a necklace......oh dear god.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:23 PM

Forget the tomato, somebody set her hair on fire.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:24 PM

Tell her to tape her pre-speech and put in the archvie.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:26 PM

"bring out your pearl for the world to know"
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:26 PM

Chicken soup for the pianist?
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:27 PM

Does Conlon remind anyone of Robin Williams except not funny and really egotistical?

Matt
Posted by: jotur

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:27 PM

Who wudda thunk I'd be sitting here watching people live blog the Van Cliburn? thumb

Cathy
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:27 PM

Man, that's a big woman.


Originally Posted By: jon-nyc
Forget the tomato, somebody set her hair on fire.


That would be a huge blaze.
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:28 PM

I NEVER say "I told you so..." but I told - oh, whatthehell...
Posted by: Pumpkinhead

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:29 PM

Who the hell was that old broad?
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:29 PM

"the real competition should be within yourself"

Where's the barf smiley when you need it?
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:32 PM

oh my god a history lesson.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:32 PM

Next they will re-introduce all the past winners (after the history lesson).
Posted by: timmyab

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:36 PM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:36 PM

What is art?

So history is over now we're in philosophy class.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:37 PM

I will be softer blow if and when it comes I guess.
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:37 PM

At least now I know why Zhang brought his iPod.

Smart kid.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:38 PM

thumb

And now we have to listen to Bob Schieffer...sick
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:38 PM

He has learned another concerto sitting there.
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:38 PM

A gut feeling..

1. Wu
2. Bozhanov
3. Zhang

Son, Vacatella, Tsuiji
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:39 PM

please, stop talking!

Bob something, it's more than enough...
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:39 PM

Do they rank 4,5,6?
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:39 PM

God Zhang was soooo smart bringing an ipod to Bass Hall. I bet the other competitors are jealous of those earbuds.

Matt
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:41 PM

i don't think they rank anyone other than top 3.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:41 PM

Somewhere out there Tsujii is sitting through all this, not understanding a word which is being said.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:41 PM

Lucky!

And now Cliburn...
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:42 PM

Want to start a pool on how long Van Cliburn will speak before the winners are announced?

I bet some one can finish writing the healthcare reform bill before Van Cliburn finishes talking.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:45 PM

I bet hes done at 7:52 Eastern
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:45 PM

You think you got all these webcast for three weeks for free?
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:47 PM

Oh God they brought the woman back
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:47 PM

bad sign? is that like a consolation prize?
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:48 PM

OK, I was wrong... they starting to announce the winners now. smile
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:49 PM

maybe vocatello gets the PILF award.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:50 PM

So all the semi-s are all supposed to stay around for the possible award?
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:53 PM

That Mr Cliburn is a pro :-)
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:54 PM

Interesting. 3rd prize not awarded.
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:55 PM

WHAT???!!!
Posted by: ThomasF

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:55 PM

1) Zhang + Tsuji
2) Son
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:55 PM

ALl those venues that had booked the bronze medalist now need to scramble...
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:58 PM

"Woah what!? Better take these earbuds out....."
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:58 PM

Wow, I cannot believe I spent so many hours watching this competition.

It is no different than American Idol. I was fooled... I feel retarded.

No disrespect intended at Tsujii & Zhang, as they are fine pianists, but they were NOT the best pianists at this competition.

Quite a disappointment...
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:58 PM

Originally Posted By: ThomasF
1) Zhang + Tsuji
2) Son


Nice.
Posted by: boo1234

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 07:59 PM

ugh.. are you kidding me?
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:00 PM

I ......am...........speechless..s
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:01 PM

Don't they go to a sudden death payoff or something?
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:01 PM

Well, they made their choices. I think I'll skip all of the post-decision vitriol that is going to certainly be spewed around these parts, thank you =)
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:02 PM

Someone messed up badly. Vacatello was supposed to get gold, Tsujii was supposed to get audience favorite...
Posted by: ThomasF

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:03 PM

I think that the prizes were very wisely awarded!
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:04 PM

Haochen will do good, I promise! yippie
Posted by: debrucey

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:06 PM

I am so happy Nobuyuki won first. It's been a long time since a performance of something has made me cry. Zhang wasn't my favourite but his Prokofiev 2 was very exciting to watch. I wasn't keen on Yeol Eum's performances. They seemed very careless to me, and lacking in variety of dynamic and colour. I would have gone for Mariangela instead. Never mind. Im sure the jury know what they're doing.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Well, they made their choices. I think I'll skip all of the post-decision vitriol that is going to certainly be spewed around these parts, thank you =)


Me too...totally wrong IMHO will be my final words. smile
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:09 PM

Huh?? Juries often seem to make weird choices, but this one just made a joke of the whole competition. I hope next time around the best young pianists boycott this farce.
Posted by: poulencfan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:12 PM

I'm with the others who are very disappointed with the Cliburn results. Nobu just fizzled out in the finals. His final recital today, in particular, was simply average.

Although no one among the finalists particularly impressed as a sure thing, Zhang seems much more explainable for the gold than Nobu. I guess the jury is going for novelty.

After seeing Nobu at Bass Hall the past few weeks, my final opinion is that he can handle the poetic, Chopin-esque works, but beyond that, is out of his depth. He still needs to grow into the bigger stuff. Giving him the gold medal was a sentimental choice and a mistake.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
How I will celebrate if ...

* Zhang wins - each Kentucky Fried Chicken, dark meat, Zhang's favorite, and pre-performance, food.

* Vacatello wins - buy a picture magazine featuring Italian supermodels and admire them.

* Tsujii wins - eat sushi, but need to research what sort of blind fish can actually be made into sushi first.

* Son wins - eat Korean tofu pot, may be wear a green shirt for a day

* Wu wins - Chinese food or picture magazine with Chinese supermodels... hard call

* Bozhanov wins - don't know, probably go buy a lottery or watch Funny Face


So Ax - it looks like Kentucky Fried Sushi for you.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:14 PM

sick
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
Originally Posted By: Axtremus
How I will celebrate if ...

* Zhang wins - each Kentucky Fried Chicken, dark meat, Zhang's favorite, and pre-performance, food.

* Vacatello wins - buy a picture magazine featuring Italian supermodels and admire them.

* Tsujii wins - eat sushi, but need to research what sort of blind fish can actually be made into sushi first.

* Son wins - eat Korean tofu pot, may be wear a green shirt for a day

* Wu wins - Chinese food or picture magazine with Chinese supermodels... hard call

* Bozhanov wins - don't know, probably go buy a lottery or watch Funny Face


So Ax - it looks like Kentucky Fried Sushi for you.

Yeah, please do that instead of raw dark meat...

smile
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:15 PM

Originally Posted By: bruce-san
I'm sure the jury know what they're doing.
No they don't. They should let us vote to select the winners like American Idol.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Originally Posted By: bruce-san
I'm sure the jury know what they're doing.
No they don't. They should let us vote to select the winners like American Idol.


Hmmmm... they did

http://www.cliburn.org/index.php?page=audience_vote
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:18 PM

Originally Posted By: poulencfan

Although no one among the finalists particularly impressed as a sure thing, Zhang seems much more explainable for the gold than Nobu. I guess the jury is going for novelty.


I would say it seems more like the jury was going for the stated purpose of the award which is to have a pianist who can make those performances consistently and make headlines and bring audiences into the halls. Zhang, with his consistent playing and virtuosity, can do that, and so can Tsuuji, with his inspiring story. Like it or not, the competition isn't purely about best "pianist" in whatever subjective terms.
Posted by: debrucey

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:19 PM

When has American Idol produced anything but trash?

The Van Cliburn institute has to manage these guys careers for 3 years on giving them the prizes. They wouldn't award them if they didn't think they pianists were up to it.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Originally Posted By: Numerian
Originally Posted By: Axtremus
How I will celebrate if ...

* Zhang wins - each Kentucky Fried Chicken, dark meat, Zhang's favorite, and pre-performance, food.

* Vacatello wins - buy a picture magazine featuring Italian supermodels and admire them.

* Tsujii wins - eat sushi, but need to research what sort of blind fish can actually be made into sushi first.

* Son wins - eat Korean tofu pot, may be wear a green shirt for a day

* Wu wins - Chinese food or picture magazine with Chinese supermodels... hard call

* Bozhanov wins - don't know, probably go buy a lottery or watch Funny Face


So Ax - it looks like Kentucky Fried Sushi for you.

Yeah, please do that instead of raw dark meat...

smile

See what I mean by the juries don't know what they're doing?
The combo just makes no sense.

(Actually, "raw dark meat" is a possibility... but I have to go for raw horse meat off a blind horse's arse; hard to find in the USA, but reflective of the results. laugh )
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:24 PM

I am happy by winning they will make Zhang's concerti DVD available? I must have them! ha
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Originally Posted By: poulencfan

Although no one among the finalists particularly impressed as a sure thing, Zhang seems much more explainable for the gold than Nobu. I guess the jury is going for novelty.


I would say it seems more like the jury was going for the stated purpose of the award which is to have a pianist who can make those performances consistently and make headlines and bring audiences into the halls. Zhang, with his consistent playing and virtuosity, can do that, and so can Tsuuji, with his inspiring story. Like it or not, the competition isn't purely about best "pianist" in whatever subjective terms.
If I can be serious for a moment...

While I do not like the results, I agree with the criteria and that line of thinking. It's just that even with the same criteria in mind, I assess those pianists against those criteria differently than the juries have.

(EDIT to add: Can probably also argue that the Van Cliburn Foundation should use seasoned concert promoters and talent scouts with established track record as juries rather than piano teachers and over-the-hill concert pianists.)
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:36 PM

As much as those in the piano/music world are following this, I think that the jury decision was really one made for the sake of the general, non-musical public. After all, they are going to account for the majority of ticket/DVD sales and publicity gross in the future, and Rodzinski, knowing this, probaby manipulated in some way or another hir jurors to go for Nobu, convincing them that while not the most artistic, he would benefit the name and finances of the competition in the general media more than anybody else. (Think about the marketabilty the "Blind Cliburn Gold Medalist" carries with it).

Zhang is a more reasonable first prize, but still, I just can't believe how badly they failed.
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:39 PM

I'd say the suprise was Son.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Damon
I'd say the suprise was Son.


I concur. I thought she'd finish 6th. Her finals program was underwhelming. I guess the judges dig Prokofiev 2nd.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 08:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Originally Posted By: Theowne
Originally Posted By: poulencfan

Although no one among the finalists particularly impressed as a sure thing, Zhang seems much more explainable for the gold than Nobu. I guess the jury is going for novelty.


I would say it seems more like the jury was going for the stated purpose of the award which is to have a pianist who can make those performances consistently and make headlines and bring audiences into the halls. Zhang, with his consistent playing and virtuosity, can do that, and so can Tsuuji, with his inspiring story. Like it or not, the competition isn't purely about best "pianist" in whatever subjective terms.
If I can be serious for a moment...

While I do not like the results, I agree with the criteria and that line of thinking. It's just that even with the same criteria in mind, I assess those pianists against those criteria differently than the juries have.



Except I don't the person who gave the criteria said anything about "making headlines" or "bringing people into the hall". The criteria he gave were readiness to perform the concerts right now and artistic merit.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 09:19 PM

I assumed it wasn't too much of a leap to assume the Cliburn wanted people to come watch their booked performances.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 09:59 PM

Tsujii's gold is mostly about the merit and headline for Cliburn competition. without his blindness factor i really don't think his performances would win the gold. i cannot argue about Zhang the same way, because he might deserve it with his consistency and prodigious techniques, although i feel he's not mature yet artistically.

somehow the result seems made up partly for publicity rather than anything else. they really need some uplifting story written aside their competition winner list.

btw, Bozhanov's chamber award is rightly deserved, but i don't think Son's chamber performance was at the same level.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 10:48 PM

有的时候自己半夜12点从学校练完琴回家,走在空无一人的小道上,走着走着就哭得泪流满面了:我那么要强是为了什么?

Sometimes at mid-night I walked home from school after practicing, walking alone on a small trail, I suddenly felt my face covered with tears: Why do I work so hard, what is it for?

4/14/2006 Haochen's last blog entry (before getting too busy to write)
Posted by: Pumpkinhead

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 10:49 PM

Those of you who don't agree with the results are missing something crucial. This jury has seen thousands of world class pianists over the years, over numerous Cliburns and international competitions, seeing many pianists as good as Vacatello and Son and Bohzenov. They are aware that we will be saying the same thing about a new Vacatello and a new Son in four short years. Now, how often does a mature, polished, technical Wunderkind such as Zhang show up? He may not be all fireworks and showmanship, but he has an uncanny maturity to his playing that is far, far less common than the charisma and electricity of a Bohzenov. And the same goes for Tsujii. When has a blind pianist ever risen to the ranks of Cliburn FINALIST? I assure you that they haven't seen one before, and they most likely won't in four years. I couldn't agree more with their decision.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 11:26 PM

again, uplifting story or publicity is the key for their decision.

i agree with what being mentioned earlier, the competition winners are not necessarily the best pianists. it's all subjective anyway even by different juries.

the only good thing about this competition is that we all got chances to watch online free recitals and concerts with some top level pianists!
Posted by: jello_g

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 11:37 PM

Several contestants captured my attention, but only Nobu's music evoked an emotional response. Others may have played Rach better, but Tsujii was the only pianist to communicate to me. I am satisfied with the jury's decision.
Posted by: pno

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 11:51 PM

And there is a reason why a jury is a jury and a forum poster is a forum poster.
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 11:52 PM

Originally Posted By: poulencfan
]Although no one among the finalists particularly impressed as a sure thing, Zhang seems much more explainable for the gold than Nobu. I guess the jury is going for novelty.


...or they recognized that he is a compelling artist and was more consistent and reliable than the other finalists.

Quote:

After seeing Nobu at Bass Hall the past few weeks, my final opinion is that he can handle the poetic, Chopin-esque works, but beyond that, is out of his depth. He still needs to grow into the bigger stuff. Giving him the gold medal was a sentimental choice and a mistake.


Why should he need to play "the bigger stuff"? Both of the Beethoven sonatas that he offered were, in my opinion, superior to the sonatas and concerti offered by other contestants. However, since you mentioned "the bigger stuff," I heard Peter Serkin play the Hammerklavier live a few years ago and Nobu's performance was equally striking.

Zhang can play Prokofiev 2nd until he's blue in the face, and that's fine - it's his piece, he should play it, and it will serve him well. Nobu has his own personality and sound at the piano. He'll succeed by playing what he plays best (Beethoven, Debussy, and Chopin) and shouldn't be held against the standards of what others are playing. It's like criticizing Uchida for not playing the Corigliano Piano Concerto.

Now, let's talk about Bozhanov. I agree that he's an amazing artist and is worthy of merit and distinction. HOWEVER, if he had played in the finals like he did in the prelims and semis, he would have unquestionably won the competition. Something snapped and he all of a sudden became a different pianist. Maybe Conlon rubbed him the wrong way. Maybe he got tired of all the cameras. Maybe he couldn't get the rep up to his standards in time and gave up. He went from being a poetic, sensitive artist to a complete animal with "my way or the highway" as his motto. It was the most baffling thing I've ever seen. He was simply someone else for the entire last round.

Let's look at it another way. The two gold medalists come off as very humble, sincere people, even before being pianists. Do you think a conductor or promoter is going to hire someone who acts like a total jackass over them? I don't really care for her playing, but take note of how many concerts Joyce Yang is playing compared to Kobrin this year. It's about personality and reliability, and Bozhanov has much to learn in the former category.

I'm sad that Vacatello didn't medal. Wu was unremarkable from start to finish. I mostly agreed with the discretionary awards, with the exception of Son getting the chamber music prize.

Back to practicing. Watching this competition has eaten up too much of my time!
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/07/09 11:57 PM

Originally Posted By: newport
有的时候自己半夜12点从学校练完琴回家,走在空无一人的小道上,走着走着就哭得泪流满面了:我那么要强是为了什么?

Sometimes at mid-night I walked home from school after practicing, walking alone on a small trail, I suddenly felt my face covered with tears: Why do I work so hard, what is it for?

4/14/2006 Haochen's last blog entry (before getting too busy to write)


at least now he has an answer....
Posted by: yhc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 12:07 AM

Well, I'd still buy Bozhanov's CD when it comes out.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 12:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Debussy20


at least now he has an answer....

Yes, no more tears! yippie
Posted by: fredericch

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 12:54 AM

I call this year's results "The Young and the Restless".

It is a good thing that there are two of them to share the burden of first prize. Both will benefit from a slightly lighter load.

Fredericch
Posted by: fredericch

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 12:55 AM

And my personal list was:

Vacatello
Bozhanov
Zhang
Tsujii
Son
Wu
Posted by: Guldesque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 01:40 AM

If it comes out...It's no secret that competitions aren't what they used to be 50 years ago, when it made a difference. In today's world I honestly don't see the two winners competing at the world's stage. It maybe insensitive to point out, but there is already plenty of people filling in the "chinese pianist" niche. And the silver medalist? Didn't she get the silver at the previous competition? I was amazed how little buzz and relevance the competition carried overall, and honestly the biggest discussion about it was...well, HERE! Amazing how the mainstream world simply isn't tuned in, because honestly there aren't any interesting personalities, stories, or real artistry involed. It turned into a purely academic, boring, restricted, and utterly rigged activity that has no relevance whatsoever. Competition's era is over, these older than old judges are irrelevant, they don't (haven't been for a long time) produce real artists, those who are able to have an impact, to create strong feelings in people's minds and hearts. I don't have anything against any of the contestants, but I am sorry, all of the recent "big" competitions is the very definition of mediocrity. Don't expect Glen Gould to ever win, his posture wouldn't have been "WRONG". I doubt we will ever have a personality like him, or Horowitz, or Gillels, let alone Rachmaninoff and Liszt. SAD! Never have I ever been so turned off by this whole thing! I will step outside for a breath of fresh air...
Posted by: pno

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 02:17 AM

Soon we will be talking about nobody is filling in the American pianist niche when the Chinese pianist "niche" is becoming the maintream.

The only problem I see in competitions like these (not just in piano, but in everything) is that the Americans are falling out of relevancy, in their own turf. And they still don't know why. Blame someone else! LOL!

Go outside and smoke all you want, if it makes you feel better!
Posted by: pno

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 02:26 AM

By the way, one doesn't need to be a psycho to make a great artist.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 08:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
I assumed it wasn't too much of a leap to assume the Cliburn wanted people to come watch their booked performances.


Well, that goes without saying, but it's far different from saying that was one of the main criteria for choosing the winners. Similalry, your other statement about choosing the winners based on who would make the best headline was certainly not one of the "stated" criteria and highly cynical IMHO.

I think all the finalists are among the best young pianists in the world(most of them have aleady won other big prizes) and deserve far more respect than some PW members(especially the amateur pianists) are willing to give them.

If one looks at the musical accomplishments of the jury members compared to those who seem so ready to criticize them, I think that this is also highly out of place.
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 09:56 AM

Do we move on to the Tchaikovsky International now, or can we take a breather...

Thanks!
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 10:21 AM

Originally Posted By: newport
有的时候自己半夜12点从学校练完琴回家,走在空无一人的小道上,走着走着就哭得泪流满面了:我那么要强是为了什么?

Sometimes at mid-night I walked home from school after practicing, walking alone on a small trail, I suddenly felt my face covered with tears: Why do I work so hard, what is it for?

4/14/2006 Haochen's last blog entry (before getting too busy to write)


How to you get his blog to read in English? I think I got to his his blog site at his "Major seducer of music" page , but the only blog I could find was in Chinese:
http://haochen0603haochen0603.spaces.live.com/blog/

Thanks!
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 10:30 AM

The Tchaikovsky is way off. The next big competitions are the Minnesota E-Competition June 29 - July 10 and Leeds at the end of August.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 11:43 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: newport
有的时候自己半夜12点从学校练完琴回家,走在空无一人的小道上,走着走着就哭得泪流满面了:我那么要强是为了什么?

Sometimes at mid-night I walked home from school after practicing, walking alone on a small trail, I suddenly felt my face covered with tears: Why do I work so hard, what is it for?

4/14/2006 Haochen's last blog entry (before getting too busy to write)


How to you get his blog to read in English? I think I got to his his blog site at his "Major seducer of music" page , but the only blog I could find was in Chinese:
http://haochen0603haochen0603.spaces.live.com/blog/

Thanks!


I don't know...maybe google can help with the translation?

Man, that kid has issues. He's thinking way too much about life, especially at his age. Quite profound and profane at the same time. Read the poem he wrote to his mother.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 11:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
How I will celebrate if ...

* Zhang wins - each Kentucky Fried Chicken, dark meat, Zhang's favorite, and pre-performance, food.
...
* Tsujii wins - eat sushi, but need to research what sort of blind fish can actually be made into sushi first.

* Son wins - eat Korean tofu pot, may be wear a green shirt for a day

In honor of the 2009 Van Cliburn medalists...



The Korean tofu pot will have to wait, since I have to go to a different town to get it.
Posted by: pno

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 12:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
The Korean tofu pot will have to wait, since I have to go to a different town to get it.


Oh poor guy! I could not imagine myself living in a town with such limited choices. Life must be tough there! grin
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 02:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Brendan

Now, let's talk about Bozhanov. I agree that he's an amazing artist and is worthy of merit and distinction. HOWEVER, if he had played in the finals like he did in the prelims and semis, he would have unquestionably won the competition. Something snapped and he all of a sudden became a different pianist. Maybe Conlon rubbed him the wrong way. Maybe he got tired of all the cameras. Maybe he couldn't get the rep up to his standards in time and gave up. He went from being a poetic, sensitive artist to a complete animal with "my way or the highway" as his motto. It was the most baffling thing I've ever seen. He was simply someone else for the entire last round.

ok, he's not perfect at all in his Rach 2, but his Chopin concerto and his final solo recital were quite good, although some may not like his Chopin because of his style. so, it's not a completely different Bozhanov from start to finish. he might have simply got bored or irritated by what everyone has to say about him and the way he plays, and decide to play that Rach 2 differently. who knows. but you just cannot say that he's totally bad in the final. i didn't see it except i felt he's under some sort of pressure in the last couple of days. he's one of artistic type of pianists, more in line with Gould or Pogo type than anyone else. so he will not always be understood by many people. just let it be. that's what i would say about him.

i will try to go to his live recitals in Cleveland competition soon, and i do want to hear his sound again.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 03:19 PM

Bozhanov has an exquisite sense of touch; an ability to shape phrases and balance voices that exceeds that of anybody else at the competition and puts him in the same league as Lang Lang and Kissin. Of these three, Bozhanov puts these skills to the best use in terms of making convincing and interesting musical interpretations. Kissin is close and Lang Lang is hit and miss in his use of these techniques.

On this basis I am interested in hearing more from Bozhanov, if I can avoid looking at him. I gather from comments on the Van Cliburn blog that Bozhanov had many family members there - sort of an entourage - who shielded him from others, and he was reluctant to give interviews with the press, which is an absolute no, no for a competition that asks for a three year public commitment from its winners.

In other words, he had "attitude". This may be what makes his performances interesting as well, so I could take some of his attitude as an individual since I'm just a member of the paying public, not his manager. I do wish, though, he would get rid of the neurotic facial gestures. He's in danger of becoming as ridiculed as Lang Lang, and that just detracts from his superb playing.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 06:40 PM

Listened to Vacatello's Prok 3 again.

Still electrifying, still satisfying... but now I hold the opinion that she bears more responsibility for getting our of sync with the orchestra in the 1st mov't.

I made it a point to "count the beats" this time and found that she accelerated where there's no justification to (this is subjective) and even chomped the beats (cut the beats short) in a few places (this is less subjective). If I were to take facial expression into account, I'd say that she probably didn't realize that she accelerated and chomped beats.

Same problem at a few places in the 3rd mov't as well.

If I were Conlon, I would so ding her marks.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 07:17 PM

Originally Posted By: DameMyra
The Tchaikovsky is way off. The next big competitions are the Minnesota E-Competition June 29 - July 10 and Leeds at the end of August.

i'm looking forward to watching Kunz playing again in the E-competition, and seeing Bozhanov live in Cleveland competition (7/28-8/5), and hopefully watching him online in Leeds.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 11:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Listened to Vacatello's Prok 3 again.


If I were Conlon, I would so ding her marks.


Did Conlon get a vote with the rest of the jury? If not, did they accept any input from him? Did Van Cliburn get a vote?
Posted by: virtuoso_735

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/08/09 11:23 PM

No vote from either Conlon or Van Cliburn. I don't think either had any input.

I see Haochen's name listed as a competitor in the upcoming Leeds Competition. I wonder if he'll withdraw his name after this.
Posted by: timmyab

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 05:58 AM

Originally Posted By: virtuoso_735
I see Haochen's name listed as a competitor in the upcoming Leeds Competition. I wonder if he'll withdraw his name after this.

I should think so.He'll be too busy for one thing.
Looking at the history of the Leeds competition, I've just noticed what a fantastic year 1975 was.Or maybe the judges were just unusually perceptive.

First prize
Dmitri Alexeev (USSR)
Second prize
Mitsuko Uchida (Japan)
Third prize (joint)
Andras Schiff (Hungary)
Pascal Devoyon (France)
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 09:02 AM

I am curious about one thing. I did not come across much coverage, not even a mention of the winners, in the mainstream media online or in print. Specifically, the NY Times, which often covers a wide spectrum of music including recitals by unknown students in small venues, had a 5 liner today simply stating the names of the competitors and the prize.
Is this the norm? Considering the amount of PR the Foundation seems to put into its competition, and the extensive webcast, it is somewhat surprising that it does not get much discussion or "critique" in the main newspapers. Is this the case in other large newspaper outlets in Boston, LA, Chicago etc..?
I did follow the competition closely and I thought the pianists were wonderful but the overall quality was rather "banal". Certainly the winners were good students but not people with creative musical concepts. Which is not to say they can't develop into great artists.. I did perceive aspects of such creativity in Bozhanov but he is not competition material .. Too individual, too liberal in his reading and interpretation of the scores, but with brillaint music making moments. I do look forward to see what he makes of his talent. He needs to be locked up at the Moscow Conservatory for 2 years with an old school teacher, then something wonderful will probably emerge.
Looking at the roster of winners at the Tchaikovsky competition, one can immediately see that the caliber of finalists there is far superior (Ashkenazy, Ogdon, Pletnev, Sokolov, Douglas, Berezovsky, Lugansky etc). Perhaps the Cliburn's focus on a "marketable" pianist is the problem. It is peculiar that one would put up this extensive show for the sake of commerce and not the actual god of music. It became clear to me during the competition that they are looking for a commercially viable candidate when I had assumed that they are looking for the greatest artist and then they would put their marketing talents at his/her service..
I should add that their "extensive" concertizing tours have not necessarily helped push their winners' careers dramatically, with the exception of a few. Kobrin, Ioudenitch, Philipov, Nakamatsu and the whole 97 crew barely rise above the masses of excellent pianists..
Lining up these two youngsters (Zhang 19 and Tsujii 20) for extensive touring, felt uneasy. They would benefit themselves and their audiences much more if they were to remain more sheltered at their respective schools for a while longer..
Am I way off the mark here??
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 09:25 AM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque

I did follow the competition closely and I thought the pianists were wonderful but the overall quality was rather "banal". Certainly the winners were good students but not people with creative musical concepts. Which is not to say they can't develop into great artists..

Wonderful and banal at the same time? I think it is way off the mark to classify Zheng as a "good student" without "creative" musical ideas.

It get the impression you think someone has to do something very different to qualify as a good musician or "creative". Does Perahia play things very differently from most? To me he mostly plays things more beautifully than many other pianists, but his interpretations are not so far to one side of the center. I think Zheng played virtually everything with perfect technique, great musicality, extreme beauty and passion.

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Perhaps the Cliburn's focus is on a "marketable" pianist is the problem. It is peculiar that one would put up this extensive show for the sake of commerce and not the actual god of music. It became clear to me during the competition that they are looking for a commercially viable candidate when I had assumed that they are looking for the greatest artist and then they would put their marketing talents at his/her service..


I didn't get the impression that the Cliburn's focus is on a marketable pianist. I don't see how you can state this as if it were a fact. I don't think marketable and great artist are mutually exclusive.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 10:28 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

It get the impression you think someone has to do something very different to qualify as a good musician or "creative".
I didn't get the impression that the Cliburn's focus is on a marketable pianist. I don't see how you can state this as if it were a fact. I don't think marketable and great artist are mutually exclusive.


I get the impression you misunderstood what I said.
Perhaps I could have explained myself better. I will try again later/
What is most surprising is that you did not sense their focus on marketing!!! They all but said so, plainly!
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 10:35 AM

i am curious that which big competitions actually have named the top prize winners who since have become great pianists in the world as well. i know Chopin Competition did for Pollini, Argerich at least. YL and the latest winner (RB?) are fading however. Cliburn only has Lupu so far.
Posted by: boo1234

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 11:33 AM

Originally Posted By: signa
i am curious that which big competitions actually have named the top prize winners who since have become great pianists in the world as well. i know Chopin Competition did for Pollini, Argrech at least. YL and the latest winner (RB?) are fading however. Cliburn only has Lupu so far.


The Chopin competition has produced the most stars.
Pollini
Argerich
Ohlsson
Zimerman
Li
..Askenazy and Uchida finished 2nd
Posted by: Brendan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 12:34 PM

International competitions are a dime a dozen these days. It all comes down to personality and sustained marketability after winning to stay in the limelight.

Since the competition is done, I'm unstickying the thread. Good times!
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 01:26 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
i am curious that which big competitions actually have named the top prize winners who since have become great pianists in the world as well. i know Chopin Competition did for Pollini, Argrech at least. YL and the latest winner (RB?) are fading however. Cliburn only has Lupu so far.


Cliburn has a lot more than Lupu. Look at the list of competitors for the past 50 years and there are many very recognizable names:

Votapek from 1962
Lupu, Uribe, and Snyder from 1966
Ortiz and Nojima from 1969
Viardo, Rodriguez, and Zacharias from 1973
Toradze, Swann, Hobson, Egorov, and Angela Hewitt from 1977

1981 was a big year, with Schub, Douglas, Rodriguez, Kahane, and O'Riley all past the first stage.

Feghali, Bianconi, Douglas (#1, 2, and 3 in 1985) have all had solid careers, as have Norman Kreiger and Diane Hidy.

Lupo, Angela Cheng, Boris Slutsky, and Sara Davis Beuchner from 1989 have all done well.

Since 1990, many of the competitors went on to various college teaching jobs: Kuleshov (University of Central Oklahoma), Taylor (University of Wisconsin), Bidini (UT Arlington at first, now at a University in Berlin), Kasman (University of Alabama), Ioudenitch (Park University near Kansas City), Pompa-Baldi (Cleveland Institute of Music), etc...

Just last night I heard Andrew Russo in concert. He's been doing a lot of crossover and transcription work (he played his own transcription of Stravinsky Firebird and it was incredible!) He continues to be very busy and is doing some very interesting outreach work at Le Moyne college.)

I say all of this because I think it's important for people to realize that playing concertos with the Chicago symphony is not the only goal or definition of success that pianists hold. They follow a wide range of career paths, some more visible than others, some more mainstream than others, but the vast majority making a living doing something they love and making a real contribution to the musical community.
Posted by: RonaldSteinway

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 03:26 PM

One of the requirements to win a competition is to be able to adjust one's style to a certain style that will not offend the judges, yet still amazes them. In a way, Zheng is very clever in this. He can easily change his style to be more bold or to whatever he wants. He was able to control himself to adhere to a certain formula, yet still played with extreme beauty.

It was unbelieavably difficult to play such a long program as perfect as those contestants....
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 06:14 PM

Who is Zheng? smile
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 07:53 PM

I'm assuming he means Haochen Zhang.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 08:02 PM

Originally Posted By: newport
Who is Zheng? smile


I don't know why everybody is having a problem with Zhang's name, either.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 08:51 PM

Just think if you were This Guy.

Posted by: heidiv

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/09/09 09:53 PM

Thanks for the belly laugh, Kreisler!
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 11:05 AM


Edit: Please ignore the question below. I just figured out there are two different picutres of the same person and one has the concerto while the other has the solo recital.

Have some of the performances been removed for the 2009 contest? If I click on "finals" and then go to one of the pianists I get either the concerto performance or the solo recital but don't seem to be able to locate both. Same problem for the semis. I get either the chamber performance or the recital but not both.
Posted by: pno

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 11:10 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Just think if you were This Guy.



It can make a good pianist (or musician) name!

Lang Lang, Yo YO, Zheng Zheng, or Zhang Zhang.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 11:58 AM

Originally Posted By: pno
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Just think if you were This Guy.



It can make a good pianist (or musician) name!

Lang Lang, Yo YO, Zheng Zheng, or Zhang Zhang.

Are you ready? I was told Nio Nio, Lei Lei, Peng Peng are coming ... fasten your seatbelt! frown
Posted by: pno

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 12:17 PM

Originally Posted By: newport
Originally Posted By: pno
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Just think if you were This Guy.



It can make a good pianist (or musician) name!

Lang Lang, Yo YO, Zheng Zheng, or Zhang Zhang.

Are you ready? I was told Nio Nio, Lei Lei, Peng Peng are coming ... fasten your seatbelt! frown


No those are panda names.
Posted by: ec

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 01:30 PM

Here's some recent follow up press coverage to chew on--any responses to this contrarian article that challenges the jury, orchestra and finalists ?? For the record, I followed as much as I could of the online coverage, was astonished at the dropping of Lifits, Rank and Lam, and appalled that Vocatello did not receive a medal!
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 02:57 PM

ec, where is the link of "some recent follow up press coverage"?
Posted by: virtuoso_735

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 03:17 PM

What do you guys think of this article from the Wall Street Journal about the Cliburn? I don't know who this Benjamin Ivry fellow is, but he sounds pretty bitter about the results. Can he say anything nice about anyone?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124458728669699751.html
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 04:30 PM

wow, what an article! it just proved this year, everything is controversial in Cliburn, not just the top 3.

i really agree about the comments on the orchestra and chamber group selection.

on another thought, the jury shouldn't be the same on the next Cliburn, with all current jurors excluded.
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 04:59 PM

I have to agree with Mr. Ivry. The jury got things upside down. Di Wu, Evgeni Bozhanov, and Mariangela Vacatello were much more interesting, imaginative, and risk-taking artists than the three who got medals. Plus, some in the preliminaries and semi-finals deserved to be in the finals. The Fort Worth Symphony was exhausted at the end. Mr. Ivry seems to know the local music scene well since he can recommend two alternatives to the Fort Worth Symphony for the next competition. I'll have to take his word for it.

I suspect by now the Van Cliburn Foundation is hearing an earful about this year's decisions. If they get defensive enough one of the jurors is going to have to come out with an explanation. One other thing they are going to have to consider. The webcasts opened up the competition to tens of thousands of informed and passionate observers, which also means there are many more people who can get upset at the jury's decisions. This exposes piano competitions to more criticism than they are used to receiving, making the whole structure of these competitions open to question. Who knows, they may wind up one day deciding winners by public vote like American Idol. I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of them tries it.
Posted by: pno

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 05:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
Who knows, they may wind up one day deciding winners by public vote like American Idol. I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of them tries it.


That would be the worst. I wouldn't want to see it!
Posted by: poulencfan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 05:13 PM

I just read the WSJ editorial about the Cliburn by Ivry and thought he hit the nail exactly on the head. I also agree with Numerian's comment about the Cliburn results being criticized a lot more this time since most of the performances are easy to assess online.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 05:18 PM

Quite a bitter article. While I agree with most of it, and am also disappointed with the results, I believe he crosses the line when he opines that Tsujii "[and other soloists] who cannot see a conductor's cues should not be playing concertos in public." Unnecessarily malicious in my opinion.

Daniel
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 05:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
I suspect by now the Van Cliburn Foundation is hearing an earful about this year's decisions. If they get defensive enough one of the jurors is going to have to come out with an explanation.


I don't think they need any explanation other than they awarded the prizes based their stated criteria of ready to perform in the concert series sponsored by Cliburn and artistic merit.

There always will be people who will disagree with the jury. At PW there have been a large number of varying opinions from the prelims until the end.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 05:26 PM

Originally Posted By: virtuoso_735
What do you guys think of this article from the Wall Street Journal about the Cliburn? I don't know who this Benjamin Ivry fellow is, but he sounds pretty bitter about the results. Can he say anything nice about anyone?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124458728669699751.html


When someone is this negative about everything(quality of the orchestra, quality of the quartet, order of the finalists, choices for the finals and semifinals)I think they lose credibility.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 05:43 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: virtuoso_735
What do you guys think of this article from the Wall Street Journal about the Cliburn? I don't know who this Benjamin Ivry fellow is, but he sounds pretty bitter about the results. Can he say anything nice about anyone?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124458728669699751.html


When someone is this negative about everything(quality of the orchestra, quality of the quartet, order of the finalists, choices for the finals and semifinals)I think they lose credibility.

Agreed ... filled with half-truth like most things are in life, especially in the WSJ ... I think our president already took notice laugh.
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 05:44 PM

He had nice things to say about Di Wu.
Posted by: jello_g

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 06:35 PM

Sour grapes. He can try to be part of the jury next time. *wave*
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 07:33 PM

Originally Posted By: pno
Originally Posted By: Numerian
Who knows, they may wind up one day deciding winners by public vote like American Idol. I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of them tries it.


That would be the worst. I wouldn't want to see it!


It's a great idea as long as they can find piano jury members who are the equivalent of Randy Johnson, Simon Cowell, and Paula Abdul. Any suggestions?
Posted by: Numerian

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 07:51 PM

Well, Elton John obviously. Stevie Wonder would be another good choice. As for the Paula Abdul equivalent, where is Liberace when we need him?
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 07:57 PM

Could be modeled after Iron Chef, where they often have judges that aren't food experts.

Daniel
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 08:16 PM

"I just read the WSJ editorial about the Cliburn by Ivry and thought he hit the nail exactly on the head. I also agree with Numerian's comment about the Cliburn results being criticized a lot more this time since most of the performances are easy to assess online."

Having the competition online was one of the more admirable things, in my view--- one of the big things the Van got right, and I'm thankful to them for doing it. The criticism was mainly about the quality of the jurying, with a sidelight on the Fort Worth orchestra's ability to hold up under an assignment that proved to be too much for them. Fair enough, and his suggestions of other nearby orchestras were worth consideration.

I'm less sure about Ivry's comment on the blind pianist's ability (as such) to perform with an ensemble. There should be some way to make this work out in a country with the Americans with Disabilities Act (even for Japanese competitors; fair is fair).

But Ivry's comment about how Heflin himself would have fared under this season's jury is cause for pause. He ends by wishing well to those who were worthy but passed-over. Nothing so negative about that; I would have to join him in it.
Posted by: BZ4

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 10:07 PM

I read the article by Mr. Ivry, and at the same time was listening to the Rach 2 performed by Nobu, and I have to agree with Ivry. Although the competition is more than just one concerto, Nobu's playing sounds amateurish in his tempo selections and not much tonal control or variety in the 2nd movement. There are other comments on the Cliburn blog that blame conductor Conlon on the major miscues in the opening of the first movement, but there were also misfirings in the final big section of the 3rd as well. All in all, not an overall gold medal standard to my ears, compared to Di Wu or Vacatello. Zhang is very talented, but still a maturing pianist, not yet finished. Perhaps he is too young for the rigors of the concert stage as well? Hope he doesn't burn out.
I still think the jury was out to market a "hook" to the general, non-discerning public. For $$$$ of course, with any artistic inclinations on the side. Look how the movie "Shine" took off-- the general public will eat it up!
Regarding Ivry's comments on Van Cliburn himself, that was a little questionable. Most piano cognoscenti know that Cliburn unofficialy retired from concertizing, following an extended sabbatical. But there is some irony in wondering if the namesake of the competition could even get out of the first round of his own competition (assuming he was still playing in his prime).
But overall an insightful article, and a definitive critical response to all the bloggers so enamored of a blind pianists abilities, that they disregard far more competent and musically interesting talents.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 10:25 PM

Originally Posted By: BZ4
Zhang is very talented, but still a maturing pianist, not yet finished.

Zhang must the most notably "not finished" 19 yo in the whole of human history.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 10:26 PM

Replacing the Van Cliburn jury ...

Let's use a market based pricing mechanism.

Set up a futures market with derivatives backed by future revenues of the recordings of the pianists' performances in the Van Cliburn competition.

The pianist whose recordings' futures got priced the highest in the open market at the end of the competition wins. :p
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 10:31 PM

I think "not yet finished" is the new "doesn't put enough feeling into it".
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/10/09 10:32 PM

The thing about bloggers, critics, and armchair jurors and competition coordinators is that none of them have to deal with the reality of holding a competition.

It's easy when you don't have to pay and schedule an orchestra four years in advance, arrange for jurors, keep the financial backers happy, recruit competitors, arrange management and recording contracts for the winners, handle ticket sales, book the hall, and produce internet and radio broadcasts.

I say this because I'm coordinating a competition this year, and I started receiving phone calls from people regarding the lack of fairness ten days after I accepted the position, three months before the applications are due, and five months before the competition is being held!
Posted by: Damon

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 12:33 AM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
Who knows, they may wind up one day deciding winners by public vote like American Idol. I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of them tries it.


At least you could stop worrying about how many times you'll hear the Bm Sonata. But start worrying about how many times you'll hear Fur Elise, the Ab Polonaise, and the 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody. laugh
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 01:38 AM

Where does one graduate to after the Bm Sonata? smile
Posted by: izaldu

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 03:24 AM

Wow, took a while to catch up with this thread ... i 've been watching the main guys on youtube and still can't believe Vacatello didn't win.
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 06:30 AM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente
Quite a bitter article. While I agree with most of it, and am also disappointed with the results, I believe he crosses the line when he opines that Tsujii "[and other soloists] who cannot see a conductor's cues should not be playing concertos in public." Unnecessarily malicious in my opinion.



It may be uncomfortable to read, but to me it seems more like a pragmatic assessment, rather than malicious in spirit. After all, Tsujii has said he gets cues from the conductor's breathing, and I'm sorry but that just doesn't cut it for professional work, no matter how virtuosic a breather the conductor might be. As far as I know, from their own point of view, conductors work pretty much exclusively through visual cues, which logically means they are going to have a nearly total disconnect with a blind performer.

On the other hand, there is a subset of concertos that don't necessarily require finely graded communication between conductor and soloist (mostly from the Classical era but including some later ones), so I think it is a feasible proposition to be working with sight-impaired instrumentalists, but only within a pretty severely limited range of works.

There's been a bit of discussion here about how much difference, in terms of difficulty, it makes to play the piano without sight. I personally think it's been wildly over-estimated, and sentimentalized much more than necessary. It just dawned on me - where are all the blind classical violinists and wind players, were the (purported) need for vision as an aid to placing the finger is basically nonexistant?
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 07:16 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
After all, Tsujii has said he gets cues from the conductor's breathing, and I'm sorry but that just doesn't cut it for professional work, no matter how virtuosic a breather the conductor might be.


I guess that begs the question. Were there more ensemble issues with his playing vs other performances? I didn't see any of the concerto performances or chamber music.

Also, everything being equal, if Tsujii (or another blind pianist) is a true artist, does it not make sense for conductors and other collaborators with him to think creatively about how to manage ensemble work with a blind performer?
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 08:08 AM

No. The ensemble issues are completely invented. There are plenty of pianists who never look at conductors or chamber musicians while playing. Breathing works fine, and most of the time in a concerto situation, you pay more attention to the concertmaster anyway.

The only major ensemble problem in Tsujii's performances was the opening of the Rachmaninoff, and that was not a sight issue.

The whole breathing/watching the conductor issue is invented by people who have never played an orchestra or string quartet. Sight is a lot less important in good ensemble playing than people think it is.
Posted by: yhc

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 08:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Replacing the Van Cliburn jury ...

Let's use a market based pricing mechanism.

Set up a futures market with derivatives backed by future revenues of the recordings of the pianists' performances in the Van Cliburn competition.

The pianist whose recordings' futures got priced the highest in the open market at the end of the competition wins. :p


Fully agreed, plus let's wait for 10, 15, 20 years before we truly judge them. Could you remember the past Cliburn Champions 4, 8, 12 years ago? How do they fare in general publics' view now?
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 09:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler

The whole breathing/watching the conductor issue is invented by people who have never played an orchestra or string quartet. Sight is a lot less important in good ensemble playing than people think it is.


In the Clavier October 2007 issue, there was an interview with Jean Barr (collaborative piano professor at Eastman) she says one of the things she does with her students, like a piano/clarinet duo, is to have them play facing away from each other. This forces them to listen to each other and the result is they actually play together better than when they are trying to look at each other. Tsujii must be an expert in this area, since he relies on his hearing for a lot more than a sighted person does.

There may be a few issues getting cues from a conductor, but these would be minimal, and I'm inclined to agree with Phlebas that solutions for these places could be found.
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 10:11 AM

Here's the review by Benjamin Ivry - don't know if it will take, but here goes:

WHAT WAS THE JURY THINKING? By BENJAMIN IVRY

In the murky, labyrinthine world of music competitions, efforts at transparency can leave listeners disconcerted and even flummoxed. Such is the conclusion sparked by the results,
announced June 7, of the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort
Worth, Texas.

This year, for the first time, all performances in the quadrennial 17-day contest were transmitted live via Webcasts, and later archived online at www.cliburn.tv. Selected
rehearsals were also shown live, although not archived for later viewing. In 1966, the Cliburn competition jury got it right when it awarded a gold medal to the great Romanian pianist Radu Lupu. Since then, the competition has more often resulted in odd picks, such as the provincial-sounding Olga Kern and plodding Alexander Kobrin, Cliburn gold medalists in 2001 and 2005, respectively. Yet nothing in recent memory has been as shocking as this year's top prizes, which ignored the most musically mature and sensitive
pianist competing in the finals, Chinese-born Di Wu, but gave gold medals to Nobuyuki Tsujii, a student-level Japanese performer plainly out of his depth in the most demanding
repertoire, and Haochen Zhang, a clearly talented but unfinished musician who just turned 19. Second prize went to Yeol Eum Son, a bland South Korean pianist, and no third prize was awarded.

Many articles have focused on the fact that Mr. Tsujii was born blind and learns music by ear. But only results count, and his June 6 performance of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto with the mediocre Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, led with steely resolve by James Conlon, was a disaster. Soloists who cannot see a conductor's cues should not be playing concertos in public, out of simple respect for the compose rs involved. Promoters can easily turn musical performances into stunts, like the staged operahouse appearances of the otherwise cannily intelligent tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Mr. Tsujii was highly uneven even in solo music, such as a jejune version of Beethoven's "Appassionata" Sonata on June 7, yet the jury, which included the distinguished pianists Menahem Pressler and Joseph Kalichstein, as well as the famed Juilliard piano teacher Yoheved Kaplinsky, awarded him first place. Also on the jury of eleven were pianists not known for unfailing taste in their own performances -- Russia's Dmitri Alexeev, China's
Hung-Kuan Chen, and France's Michel Béroff -- as well as such less-than-stellar conductors as Italy's Marcello Abbado, Poland's Tadeusz Strugala, and the jury's chairman, John Giordano, who leads the aforementioned dispiriting Fort Worth Symphony. Yet the jury's composition hardly explains its errors, which are all too evident if we watch the archived performances on the Web.

Texas boasts a number of accomplished orchestras, so why not give the Fort Worth ensemble a rest for the next competition and instead invite the world-class Norwegian maestro Per Brevig's nearby East Texas Symphony or the Dutchman Jaap van Zweden's
Dallas Symphony as house orchestra in the spirit of healthy competition? Likewise, requiring all contestants to perform chamber music with the brash, imprecise Takács Quartet from Hungary did precious few favors this year to listeners or the art form of the piano quintet.

If standard accompaniment was so rough, can we be surprised that Bulgaria's Evgeni Bozhanov, a flashy, showily brutal performer, reached the finals, while Israel's Ran Dank, a far better musician who in a May 30 semifinal performance offered up stylistically astute versions of Bach Partita No. 4 in D major and Prokofiev's kaleidoscopic 6th Sonata, was eliminated by the final round? Mr. Dank's compatriot, the Ukraine-born Israeli Victor Stanislavsky, was given even shorter shrift by the jury, eliminated after the preliminary rounds despite an agile, emotionally engaging May 25 recital of music by Scarlatti,
Mozart, Schumann and Ligeti.

Watching real talents fall by the wayside in such competitions (Australia's Andrea Lam, another example, was stopped in the semifinals) is part of what happens when musicmaking is turned into a public contest for career-advancement. Yet when the
performances are put online for all to see, noting such mishaps is no longer mere second-guessing; if the jury has missed opportunities to praise the worthy, doing so becomes the duty of anyone who cares about the music being played. As if systematically, those performers with the most insight into the composers they played were accorded the least advancement by this year's Cliburn jury. How else can we explain Ms. Wu's deeply
poetic renditions of Ravel's "Miroirs" (on May 23) and "Gaspard de la Nuit" (June 6) being overlooked?

Intensely choreographic in conception, these Ravel works were turned into miniballets by Ms. Wu, who combined assured, contained strength with high drama. By comparison, a version of the same "Gaspard de la Nuit" by Mr. Zhang, the gold-medal winner, on June 6 was excessively abstract, however ably executed. Characteristically, Mr. Zhang made his finest impression on June 7, the competition's final afternoon, by playing Prokofiev's percussively machine-like Second Concerto, while Ms. Wu majestically embraced the passionate Rachmaninoff Third Concerto, to no apparent avail.

Of course, gifted young musicians who expose themselves to the harrowing experience of competitions realize what they are getting into. The frenzy for attention in an ever-narrowing market can be overwhelming, and the results even more cataclysmic today than in a music economy where talent naturally rose to the top. For example, because no third prize was awarded by the Cliburn jury, Ms. Wu, 24, was not given the opportunity to
record a CD sponsored by the competition. Yet visitors to Ms. Wu's own Web site (www.diwupiano.com) can already purchase a privately made CD of her playing Debussy, Liszt and Brahms with dazzling mastery.

One wonders if Mr. Cliburn, now 74, would have done any better had he, by some miraculous time shift, entered his own competition as it is today, in the guise of his younger self. He might have been excluded from this competition before the semifinals rolled around. A real talent, whose early recordings of Chopin's Sonatas are still admirable, Mr. Cliburn weakened as time went by and his career more or less faded out. May those real talents who are underestimated by the latest Cliburn Competition prove to be made of stronger, more artistically durable stuff than Mr. Cliburn.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 11:33 AM

this was the article we're talking about, as the link was posted earlier.

as to Tsujii case, there's one solution however, i would think, that some day he'd just conduct and play piano himself for a concerto performace, like Uchida does. that would take away the need for him to get cue from a conductor. but it may restrict him playing certain Romantic concerti, while it would work well for Mozart or Beethoven.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 02:53 PM

Some of this reminds me of criticisms made of Evelyn Glennie. (For those who don't know, she's a percussion virtuoso who is profoundly deaf.) Here's her answer to her critics:

http://www.evelyn.co.uk/live/hearing_essay.htm
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 07:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
No. The ensemble issues are completely invented. There are plenty of pianists who never look at conductors or chamber musicians while playing. Breathing works fine, and most of the time in a concerto situation, you pay more attention to the concertmaster anyway.

The only major ensemble problem in Tsujii's performances was the opening of the Rachmaninoff, and that was not a sight issue.

The whole breathing/watching the conductor issue is invented by people who have never played an orchestra or string quartet. Sight is a lot less important in good ensemble playing than people think it is.


I have both played a concerto with an orchestra and done chamber music, so at least for me, thinking about the ensemble issues are not simply invented from nothing, but have some basis in experience. Not a lot of experience and not very recent, it's true, but still, not invented out of thin air.

No, you don't need to spend a lot of time looking directly at the conductor when doing a concerto (how much depends on the concerto), but you do have peripheral vision that is feeding you the info about what the conductor is doing. And whether you can see the concertmaster at all depends on the placement of the piano and the concertmaster. I think in many performances there's no possibility for visual communication with that chair in the orchestra. But why communicate with them anyway, since they aren't conducting? They don't even play continuously.

Breathing might work fine to get things started, if the conductor is noisy enough about it, but it doesn't work for tempo fluctuations while playing, which may not be accompanied by any change in breathing at all. In my memories of playing chamber, it was often a bending forward motion or nod of the head on the part of the first violin (or whoever had the first notes) which was the cue to begin, and again, tempo fluctuations while playing is in progress aren't necessarily coordinated with breathing cues.

Obviously, though, it's possible in a literal sense to actually get through a concerto with a soloist who doesn't see the conductor, but I don't think it makes for good collaborative music-making in many works. Too many subtleties are lost. But I imagine that as Tsujii gains more experience with working with others, he and his people will find the best ways to give conductors foreknowledge of how to work with him, to get things to go as well as possible. I wish him and his collaborators luck.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/11/09 09:50 PM

Originally Posted By: yhc
... plus let's wait for 10, 15, 20 years before we truly judge them. Could you remember the past Cliburn Champions 4, 8, 12 years ago? How do they fare in general publics' view now?
Well, if we wait that long to gauge the general public's view, then there's no doubt that Susan Boyle should have won the 2001 Van Cliburn gold medal. laugh
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 01:41 AM

More information about Haochen (many things I didn't know about):

http://sywanghappy.spaces.live.com/?_c11_BlogPart_BlogPart=blogview&_c=BlogPart

His first orchestral performance followed at 6 when he played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major K. 467 with the Shanghai symphony.

No wonder he played the No. 20 so well! smile
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 02:13 PM

here is another article about the result, but with more of understanding towards the result than anything else:

http://www.publicradio.org/columns/perfo...p.shtml?refid=0
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 02:41 PM

Any kind of press coverage is good. We should thank Mr Ivory for hie effort, I am sure he only wanted to 'help'! smile
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 02:41 PM

While I don't agree with it all, I like this paragraph from his review.

Originally Posted By: Greg Allen
So... The awards have been announced, and the jury has pretty much validated my educated guess as to the medalists, notwithstanding the first-place tie. To them is due all possible gratitude, for their expertise, professionalism and stamina. I personally think they got it right, insofar as Cliburn winners have always been the pianists who play a broad range of repertoire accurately, tastefully, and consistently, with just the right degree of imagination and dignified showmanship - just like Van himself. (To those who look at this tendency with disdain, who see boring propriety trumping unconventional individuality over and over, I say - you're not entirely wrong. Lang Lang would never win this competition...) In this case we had Bozhanov, who seemed to fit the mold and was well positioned to win a medal, until his idiosyncrasies went berserk. Vacatello might have been a prime candidate if not for inconsistencies that, unfortunately, may have been beyond her control. Wu, with all her audience appeal, was lucky just to make the finals. (My opinion, of course.) Several of the others who didn't, like Kunz, Lifits, Deljavan, Lam, Myer et al, showed distinctive personalities as well as respectable integrity. Ultimately, though, it is these three medalists who are best suited to represent the ideals of the Cliburn Competition. In the real world, for better or worse, ya gotta have a hook, a defining image, and each of them has one. The diminutive Samurai warrior, triumphant over adversity. The shy youth, guileless, humble and wise. The serene diva, draped in radiant robes. These things can help a career, and shouldn't be completely discounted, but of course they're ultimately peripheral to the qualities of outstanding pianism and musicianship that really speak to us. I'm thinking that all three of them have an abundance of these assets, and that we'll be hearing from them a lot in the future.


Funny that he says "Lang Lang would never win this competition." Just sayin... smile

Daniel
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 03:07 PM

and he said, 'the winners' of the Cliburn have been just like Van himself...
Posted by: LisztAddict

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 03:44 PM

From two other writers "Blind Pianist Nobuyuki Tsuji Blazes a New Path in Classical Music"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204482304574220150779764622.html
Posted by: Ralph

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 03:50 PM

In order to have a truely "fair" competition, wouldn't it be better to require all the contestants to play the same pieces?
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 03:58 PM

Originally Posted By: LisztAddict
From two other writers "Blind Pianist Nobuyuki Tsuji Blazes a New Path in Classical Music"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204482304574220150779764622.html


"Some evidence suggests a correlation between blindness and musicality. In the general population, absolute pitch is rare, a skill one in 1,000 or perhaps one in 10,000 has, says Oliver Sacks, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, whose book “Musicophilia” explores the relationship between music and the brain. In those born blind, he says, it is one in two or one in three."

Interesting.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 08:26 PM

Originally Posted By: signa
here is another article about the result, but with more of understanding towards the result than anything else:

http://www.publicradio.org/columns/perfo...p.shtml?refid=0


Thanks! My faith is restored after reading through professor Gregory Allen's commentaries.

There is a saying in Chinese "天地有正氣“ : permeating heaven and earth, there is something called Justice.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 09:33 PM

I found this reverse agism most alarming in so many Cliburn blog commentators, the notion that you are automatically "finished" once you pass the age of 19.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 09:33 PM

has anyone read this book?

http://www.amazon.ca/Ivory-Trade-Business-International-Competition/dp/0671673874

i'm seriously thinking of buying it.

also, here is another article:

http://www.factsandarts.com/articles/odd-couple-share-cliburn-gold/
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 10:12 PM

Originally Posted By: signa


What has this guy been smoking? Tsujii isn't "mentally handicapped".
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 10:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Theowne
Originally Posted By: signa


What has this guy been smoking? Tsujii isn't "mentally handicapped".


Wonder where he got that from? Besides, what is a technology reporter doing writing an article about a music competition?
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/12/09 10:53 PM

I don't know, but if the amount of research that went into this article is what goes into his tech-related work, it can't be much better.
Posted by: pno

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 01:19 AM

Nowadays it seems everyone and his dog can be an art critic.
Posted by: Axtremus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 11:38 AM

Originally Posted By: pno
Nowadays it seems everyone and his dog can be an art critic.
If one and his dog can criticize highly complex decisions on Trillion dollar war on terror and Trillion dollar financial system bailout and Trillion dollar healthcare reform bills... surely the same one and his same dog can criticize the simple matter of piano competition, or any given piece of art, for that matter. wink
Posted by: pno

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 02:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Axtremus
Originally Posted By: pno
Nowadays it seems everyone and his dog can be an art critic.
If one and his dog can criticize highly complex decisions on Trillion dollar war on terror and Trillion dollar financial system bailout and Trillion dollar healthcare reform bills... surely the same one and his same dog can criticize the simple matter of piano competition, or any given piece of art, for that matter. wink


He certain "can" in the sense that everyone has freedom to say anything. But I am talking the other "can". There is a reason certain credential/skill is required to do certain work. Owning a column doesn't make one automatically a critic of everything.
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 03:19 PM

the author of the article defends his opinion here:

http://jessicamusic.blogspot.com/2009/06/van-cliburn-competition-delivers-odd.html

i think it's good that we hear different opinions on the competition outcome, and the debates about the competition or competitions in general will benefit the future judging process of all competitions.

btw, if you had read the blogs at the Cliburn, you probably will recognize the name of a bloger: Brad Hill. here is an interview with him on the subject:

http://www.cassandrapages.com/the_cassandra_pages/2009/06/discussing-the-cliburn-with-brad-hill.html

(check the part 2 & 3 on left navigation bar)
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 03:33 PM

What a foolish person...he says he "stands by his reporting"...which includes posting blatantly false statements and attributing a shy/deferential behavior to some nonexistant mental deficiency / "idiot savant " syndrome.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 04:14 PM

Nubo's not autistic is he?
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 04:39 PM

Nope.
Posted by: poulencfan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 07:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Debussy20
Nubo's not autistic is he?


The thought that Tsujii might be autistic certainly started going through my head (and others') many times while watching him play (in person at Bass Hall) and on the webcasts. He was carefully insulated from the press by his entourage during the entire competition. When asked even the simplest of questions, his translator(s) would whisper furiously to him and there would be lots of verbal prodding and a long, long wait before he would give even a brief answer. For the most part, he displayed a flat emotional aspect that was weird.

The more I saw of Tsujii, the more I was reminded of the Peter Sellers movie, "Being There." That Tsujii might be autistic or have some other problem is not out of the question. He's got quite a buffer zone of handlers around him who can easily obscure anything they want to.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 08:21 PM

There were also backstage post-performance interviews/performer portraits where you can see him speaking with his translators in a non-rehearsal setting, and which (if you understand Japanese) does not sound like conversations with an autistic person.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 10:28 PM

Well autistic is not a bad word (or rather it should not be), nor is it a diagnosis for us to bandy about lightly.
But I will admit sharing some of poulencfan's impressions.
Pf, it sounds like you saw him live. Does he maintain the same stereotypical head rotations when he is not playing? Or is there some acoustic need for the constant head turning?
Oh and what's a "professional teenage herder"??
Posted by: poulencfan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 11:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Well autistic is not a bad word (or rather it should not be), nor is it a diagnosis for us to bandy about lightly.
But I will admit sharing some of poulencfan's impressions.
Pf, it sounds like you saw him live. Does he maintain the same stereotypical head rotations when he is not playing? Or is there some acoustic need for the constant head turning?
Oh and what's a "professional teenage herder"??


Don't have the answer to the teenage herder question, Andromaque. But I saw two of Tsujii's recitals and his concerto performances live, the rest (including the awards) on the webcast. He did the same odd head movement routine over and over even when he was sitting in the audience. It was the same group of moves over and over, which strongly reminded me of three people I know (one kid, one teenager, one adult) who are moderately to severely autistic.

I wouldn't write a review calling Tsujii autistic based on those observations alone. But after watching him a few times, and then watching those anxious, hovering handlers of his, it kept crossing my mind how easy it would be for them to cover for Tsujii by claiming he didn't speak English and answering for him.
Posted by: Theowne

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/13/09 11:58 PM

Conspiracy!
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/14/09 12:15 AM

pf, the teenage herder reference comes from your own profile!!care to explain?? laugh
Posted by: poulencfan

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/14/09 12:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
pf, the teenage herder reference comes from your own profile!!care to explain?? laugh


Egads, what a doof I am - I completely forgot about that phrase in my profile. A teen herder is exactly what it sounds like. I've got 2 teenagers here - the oldest has been launched (and I hope, continues to stay that way).

Herding involves constantly checking (through visual exam or word of mouth) that your teens: 1) are generally where they say they are; 2) haven't been arrested; 3) haven't pierced or tattooed yet another body part; 4) aren't stoned or inebriated; 5) aren't (oi!) pregnant. This is in addition to the everyday herding that includes chauffering and general nagging.
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/14/09 01:02 AM

This sounds all too familiar....
Posted by: jdhampton924

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/14/09 07:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Originally Posted By: Kreisler

The whole breathing/watching the conductor issue is invented by people who have never played an orchestra or string quartet. Sight is a lot less important in good ensemble playing than people think it is.


In the Clavier October 2007 issue, there was an interview with Jean Barr (collaborative piano professor at Eastman) she says one of the things she does with her students, like a piano/clarinet duo, is to have them play facing away from each other. This forces them to listen to each other and the result is they actually play together better than when they are trying to look at each other. Tsujii must be an expert in this area, since he relies on his hearing for a lot more than a sighted person does.

There may be a few issues getting cues from a conductor, but these would be minimal, and I'm inclined to agree with Phlebas that solutions for these places could be found.


I would say just because he is blind he is not better. In alot of ways after watching his performances. It seems he relied much more on other people following what he did.

I do disagree with learning things by ear. I think it takes away from what the individual can bring to the music. He is learning someone else's interpretation not his own. When I first saw him play, I did not know he was blind at all. I remember finding his playing rather dull despite his program of the Chopin etudes.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/14/09 08:44 AM

Originally Posted By: jdhampton924


I would say just because he is blind he is not better.
I don't think anyone ever claimed this.

Originally Posted By: jdhampton
I do disagree with learning things by ear. I think it takes away from what the individual can bring to the music. He is learning someone else's interpretation not his own. When I first saw him play, I did not know he was blind at all. I remember finding his playing rather dull despite his program of the Chopin etudes.


I think it depends on whether or not he just learns the notes from the recordings or he copies the interpretation also. As long as his teacher tells him about all the other markings in the core besides the notes, so he knows what the composer wrote, he would be at least theoretically free to use his own interpretation.

I think some performers have heard or listen to other recordings before or while learning a work, some listen to a recording after learning a work, and others almost never listen to another recording of the work.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/14/09 11:17 AM

Some competitors may not listen to a lot of recordings, but they've participated in enough masterclasses, festivals, and attended enough recitals that they are VERY familiar with other people's interpretations of the literature.

If anyone feels that Tsujii is copying someone else, then I'd ask them to provide some kind of evidence that his interpretations are more derivative than Son/Vacatello/Zhang/etc...

And if it's so obvious that Tsujii is simply copying someone else's interpretations, then why haven't we seen a single post that names the subject of his plagiarism? If it's so obvious that he's copying people, then compared to the other performers, it should be relatively easy to say who he's copying. Yet nobody has...
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/14/09 12:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Some competitors may not listen to a lot of recordings, but they've participated in enough masterclasses, festivals, and attended enough recitals that they are VERY familiar with other people's interpretations of the literature.

If anyone feels that Tsujii is copying someone else, then I'd ask them to provide some kind of evidence that his interpretations are more derivative than Son/Vacatello/Zhang/etc...

And if it's so obvious that Tsujii is simply copying someone else's interpretations, then why haven't we seen a single post that names the subject of his plagiarism? If it's so obvious that he's copying people, then compared to the other performers, it should be relatively easy to say who he's copying. Yet nobody has...


This is very interesting because I believe there are some pianists on this forum who have claimed to never listen to anyone else's recording(or I assume master class performance etc.). I never really believed that this was the case for 99% of them.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/14/09 01:13 PM

Yeah, and for the Cliburn competitors, all of whom have attended some kind of music school or conservatory, a good bit of their formal training has included studio class, masterclass, and recital attendance.

Besides, listening to somebody doesn't necessarily mean you're going to copy them. Sometimes the most interesting interpretations come from making the decision to be different from what you've heard.

Remember, one of the most original pianists in the 20th century, Glenn Gould, admitted to being influenced by his teacher and Rosalyn Tureck's playing.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/14/09 01:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler

Remember, one of the most original pianists in the 20th century, Glenn Gould, admitted to being influenced by his teacher and Rosalyn Tureck's playing.


I'm reading the very psychologically oriented bio of Gould called Bravo Fortissimo. It also mentions that Gould studied Schnabel's Beethoven playing a lot, especially the Concerto #4.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/14/09 02:30 PM

Speaking of influence, according to my google search Zhang said last year his favorite pianist was Schnabel, and his favorite performance was Ricter's Schubert b-flat Sonata 2nd movement. (He was playing Beethoven and Schubert and he's a YouTube fanatic. :))
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/16/09 03:46 PM

For those who have access to the Naxos online music library, the prelims are all available to listen to.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/18/09 06:44 PM

Just received my DVD order.

They are barely audible. No where near the quality of the on-line webcast. Nor are they any better than those videos posted on YouTube. I don't mind the no-frill packaging. But the below professional level audio quality is more than I can take. I am hugely disappointed.
Posted by: pno

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/18/09 08:12 PM

Originally Posted By: newport
Just received my DVD order.

They are barely audible. No where near the quality of the on-line webcast. Nor are they any better than those videos posted on YouTube. I don't mind the no-frill packaging. But the below professional level audio quality is more than I can take. I am hugely disappointed.


I was going to order...now I need to find ways to save the streaming...

Thanks for telling us!
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/18/09 09:09 PM

Originally Posted By: newport
Just received my DVD order.

They are barely audible. No where near the quality of the on-line webcast. Nor are they any better than those videos posted on YouTube. I don't mind the no-frill packaging. But the below professional level audio quality is more than I can take. I am hugely disappointed.


I would definitely contact them. Perhaps there were some technical problems in copying the DVDs. If they can't replace them with something of a better quality I would return them for a refund.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/18/09 09:34 PM

Originally Posted By: pno

I was going to order...now I need to find ways to save the streaming...


I still hope the CD's I haven't received yet will be of a better quality.

Originally Posted By: DameMyra
If they can't replace them with something of a better quality I would return them for a refund.


I wrote them a letter to complain but not sure I am prepared to give them any more hard time (unless they offer to). I am sure they are frustrated about what happened as well.
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/18/09 09:42 PM

Already got a reply (3 hours after I sent them the email):

Feel free to mail it back and we will refund the cost of the DVDs . These are sold as unedited recordings; they were never intended to be or advertised as professional, studio-engineered products. In the fall, harmonia mundi will release CDs of all three medalists using selections that were performed at the competition but “cleaned up” to have the professional sound quality you are seeking.

Marcia Garoon
Van Cliburn Foundation
Director of Finance/Business Manager
Posted by: wr

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/19/09 02:46 AM

Originally Posted By: newport
Already got a reply (3 hours after I sent them the email):

Feel free to mail it back and we will refund the cost of the DVDs . These are sold as unedited recordings; they were never intended to be or advertised as professional, studio-engineered products. In the fall, harmonia mundi will release CDs of all three medalists using selections that were performed at the competition but “cleaned up” to have the professional sound quality you are seeking.

Marcia Garoon
Van Cliburn Foundation
Director of Finance/Business Manager



If I understand the problem correctly, the issue has nothing to do with the editing, but simply that the recording level was set way too low. The probable reason for that is that most professional equipment is operating at a different level than consumer equipment, and somebody forgot to make the adjustment when producing the DVDs.

Ironically, the one and only commercial CD I ever bought that had this problem came from harmonia mundi, back in the early days of CDs.
Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/19/09 08:07 AM

Originally Posted By: newport
Just received my DVD order.

They are barely audible. No where near the quality of the on-line webcast. Nor are they any better than those videos posted on YouTube. I don't mind the no-frill packaging. But the below professional level audio quality is more than I can take. I am hugely disappointed.

Which performances/performers did you get?

Daniel
Posted by: signa

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/19/09 12:42 PM

i got some DVDs from them too but only watched one so far, which wasn't too bad and is audible for sure. but i agree the quality of picture and sound aren't exceptionally good. i surely will check the others to see if they're acceptable.
Posted by: pianozuki

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/19/09 01:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Arghhh
For those who have access to the Naxos online music library, the prelims are all available to listen to.


Here's what's currently available in the Naxos Music Library, to which I subscribe:
http://www.rcblue.com/Misc/VanCliburnCompetition.png

I've listened to a few of these--they are all high-quality recordings.

BTW I can highly recommend the NML. I paid 225 USD for one year. I couldn't be more pleased.
http://www.naxosmusiclibrary.com
Posted by: newport

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/19/09 05:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Ridicolosamente

Which performances/performers did you get?


I bought the Zhang DVDs and a whole bunch of other CDs.
Posted by: beet31425

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/19/09 10:00 PM

Originally Posted By: pianozuki


BTW I can highly recommend the NML. I paid 225 USD for one year. I couldn't be more pleased.
http://www.naxosmusiclibrary.com


Just want to put in an additional thumbs up for the Naxos Music Library. There's an amazing number of great recordings of basically every piece you can think of, from Baroque to 21st century. It's actually revolutionized the way I listen to music, and has opened my eyes to dozens of new composers and pieces I never would have listened to without it!
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/22/09 08:59 AM

Vacatello playing an encore(not at the Cliburn)

Gershwin(arranged by Gershwin): The Man I Love

For those of you familiar with the score, notice how she plays the dotted the dotted 8ts as basically straight 8ths. I actually like it much better this way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHjEiZqs6p4&feature=related

Posted by: Ridicolosamente

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/22/09 09:47 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Vacatello playing an encore(not at the Cliburn)

Gershwin(arranged by Gershwin): The Man I Love

For those of you familiar with the score, notice how she plays the dotted 16ths as basically straight 8ths. I actually like it much better this way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHjEiZqs6p4&feature=related


Fantastic pianist... I'm still bitter!
Posted by: Philip Lu

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 06/23/09 11:46 AM

When I voted, I saw that Vacatello was the most popular with the blind pianist lagging behind by less than a tenth of a percent... I guess she was more popular with the audience than with the judges.
Posted by: 710md68

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 08/10/09 10:37 AM

Hi, I am brand new to this forum.

I have read carefully your posts about the Van Cliburn 2009 and in particular about Nobu Tsujii.

I have read so many things, most of them absolutly amazing but a lot of them incredibly wrong.

1 - I would like to start with the suspect that Nobu could be "autistic". Well, since I am a doctor and a amateur pianist, I find this hypothesis incredibly wrong. I even read the critics in which there is the so sure approach to the handicapped pianist ! Well, an autistic is amimic, unable to feel emotions and above all to joke ! So enjoy the video in here (2008) so you could understand how far is the truth about Nobu.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEE50V8O9DQ&feature=player_profilepage

2 - About the technique and the way he learndt to play piano. Who said he plays by ear ? This is a incredible lie ! He learndt to play piano according with the Brail method. So another big lie.

3 - I read about his problems to the incipit of a piano concerto or something like this in ensamble. Well, listening to how he playes in quintet at van Cliburn the Schumann E-flat Major Op 44 I could say exaclty the opposite !!!

Conclusion

When I listen to him for the very first time I didnt know he was blind and I said: "GOSH !!!! HE IS SUPERB ! Who is ?"

He is a 20 yold guy that got already the tech skill and interpretation more than older competitors attendin the Cliburn.

So put apart the enviness because he stay there not because is blind !!!

A last thing: I never listen a "Campanella" played as Nobu did !!!!! Just listen over and over to that interpretation !!! Over and over.

Thanks so much for reading me.

Luke
Posted by: jefierii12

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 02/25/10 06:01 AM

I had my tickets for the competition from TicketFront.com . They were quite inexpensive . I really enjoyed it a lot with my friends
Posted by: Ubon2009

Re: 2009 Van Cliburn Competition Megathread - 09/12/10 10:39 PM

I know it's been a while since the Cliburn Competition, which I didn't follow due to other commitments. But the documentary "A Surprise in Texas" was shown earlier this month and I was captivated by it, especially the portrayal of Nobuyuki Tsujii. I am not as learned as some who posted on this thread apparent are, but I know good music when I hear it, and it takes a stout heart not to be moved by Tsujii's accomplishment.
If you admire Nobuyuki Tsujii, please allow me to invite you to visit this site that I put together as a repository of information on him and on his work: https://sites.google.com/site/nobufans/
You might just find a comment that you posted to this thread included (anonymously) in the "quotes" section on that site.