Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all

Posted by: Marco M

Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 07:11 AM

I read and see in the method books how I should sit in front of my piano, and how I should engage my fingers to the keys. Not following the recommendations would tense me too much and impact expression, could even produce body injuries. Well, Horowitz is thus no exemplary pianist at all, if I watch his piano bench being too high and subsequently leaning his upper part of the body much foreward, having his bench too low and subsequently his wrists bending frequently. Watch, even his fingers are too much stretched all the time!

And he is still a piano god. Obviously his body and fingers are relaxed as relaxation can be. His face seems him to visit another world while playing. I am not sure if perfectly concentrated to feedback from his ears to the fingers, or just away in piano heaven.
Posted by: Sandra M

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 07:38 AM

Horowitz made this comment once in an interview I saw on TV. He said," I play the way I hear the music in my head, I do not follow all the rules and NO ONE HAS CORRECTED ME YET." Sandra M
Posted by: ClsscLib

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 12:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Sandra M
Horowitz made this comment once in an interview I saw on TV. He said," I play the way I hear the music in my head, I do not follow all the rules and NO ONE HAS CORRECTED ME YET." Sandra M


It's too bad. He really could have accomplished something.
Posted by: ju5t1n-h

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 01:13 PM

He's Horowitz, he can do what he whats haha! When you get to being as good as him you can sit like that at the piano haha! But on a serious note, yes you're right, it's totally off throwing for new pianists who try and copy him.
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 01:18 PM

There are outliers in everything. You could also look at the example of one of my favorite pianists, Grigory Sokolov. He plays with a hunched-over back, but then it may also be because he's a heavier man.

The reason you should still strive to sit and position yourself with good form on the piano bench is to prevent any discomfort and eliminate any preventable inefficiency so you can ignore the outside world and better focus on the music.
Posted by: Kbeaumont

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 01:31 PM

Then there is Bill Evans everyone's favorite hunchback piano player. smile

I've seen Ray Charles in the most contorted positions too.

That doesn't mean it would work for me.
Posted by: woodog

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 03:28 PM

As a freshman music major learning a Haydn sonata, I was playing the sixteenth notes runs with a low wrist, and my teacher (a fantastic player!!) told me to raise my wrists higher but keep them supple. They were too low.

I (as a non traditional student of 28, I could do this) said to her, 'Horowitz plays with his wrists like this'.

She replied, 'Horowitz is a genius*, you need to raise your wrists!'.

ahem... wink

anyway...

A fantastic series of youtube videos by Seymour Bernstein sheds some light on this matter. Video 2 (at 6 minutes, 15 seconds) is the one pertaining to seat height, but they are all excellent and meant to be watched sequentially. I feel they would be valuable regardless of ability.

Video 1 : A Lesson with Seymour Bernstein, Part 1: You and the Piano

Video 2: A Lesson with Seymour Bernstein, Part 2: You and the piano

Video 3: A lesson with Seymour Bernstein, Part 3: You and the piano

Video 4: A Lesson with Seymour Bernstein, Part 4: You and the piano

enjoy,

Forrest

*Horowitz was alive at the time.
Posted by: woodog

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 03:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
There are outliers in everything. You could also look at the example of one of my favorite pianists, Grigory Sokolov.


A shout out to you BOB!!

You lead me to the fantastic blog of Graham Fitch.

So good!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

Forrest
Posted by: Andy Platt

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 03:32 PM

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Glen Gould in this thread yet - a fantastic example of wonderful playing (your view may vary!) with possibly the worse body position you could imagine (your view probably will not vary).

At least in his case, though, that did appear to add to his health problems.
Posted by: Edtek

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 08:16 PM

I remember in the PBS special on the Cliburn competition that the eventual co-winner carried a bench with shortened legs with him everywhere. When he played his elbows were way below the kb. Different strokes eh?
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 08:58 PM

In one of Gould's interviews, he was asked what happens if they were to misplace his chair during transport to a concert. Gould said he would have to take a normal chair and saw off the legs. He said he cannot play using a normal bench. He would be completely lost.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/06/13 08:58 PM

When you are a student you must follow the rules, because you have no history of experience. Once you are a professional then you can make the decisions you wish. Piano is no different.

All doctors, teachers, painters,mechanics, all do things dfferently.

And in the arts it is not how good you are, but how you market the art. There are millions of artists who starve to death each year.


Don't we all know Phds. that are unemployable!
Posted by: TrapperJohn

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/07/13 05:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Michael_99

There are millions of artists who starve to death each year.



shocked

Really?

Maybe we should all start patronizing those ubiquitous "starving artists" sales we see advertised on over night TV infomercials more frequently...
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/07/13 08:12 AM

Unfortunately, I haven't had television since I left home in 1969, so I don't know what you are referring to as infocommercial..

cheers,
Posted by: TrapperJohn

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/07/13 08:45 AM

Michael - Infomercials are extended commercials or advertisements that appear by the hundreds on many TV channels in the wee small hours of the morning - they usually last for at least a half hour or more and try to sell just about every thing under the sun to the gullible viewer from jewelry to real estate to male "enhancements" - there are several which attempt to peddle paintings by "starving artists"...
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/07/13 11:24 AM

So, does finally somebody know any very famous pianist, who would perfectly display a proper body and finger posture during most time of its performance, any piano god to watch on youtube also fullfilling this requirement?
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/07/13 12:46 PM

A good question. Actually, in book one of any piano book there is a description of how to sit and play the piano.

The difficult part of playing the piano is the spending of thousands of hours over 20 years practicing slowly, and accurately. You must enjoy the journey for the 20 years.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/07/13 02:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Marco M
So, does finally somebody know any very famous pianist, who would perfectly display a proper body and finger posture during most time of its performance, any piano god to watch on youtube also fullfilling this requirement?


Yes. Authur Rubinstein -
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/08/13 01:26 AM

Krystian Zimerman is also an oft-mentioned example of "perfection."
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/08/13 03:15 AM

I think Claudio Arrau is decent, also. Particularly his Beethoven Appassionata.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Horowitz, no exemplary playing at all - 02/08/13 03:58 AM

Ah!
Thanks a lot, to everybody! I'll now go and watch some video this weekend ...
Cheers, Marco.