Is the piano recital dying

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barney
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Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:52 pm

I thought some CMGers might be interested in a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald. It was about a new project designed to revitalise the traditional piano recital, which pedagogue and pianist Bernadette Harvey thinks is all but defunct but for a few pianists at the top. I had not understood it to be so endangered.

Forgive me if it is a liberty to post articles by myself, and of course there are few people I disagree with more. You are at liberty to do the same. The article:

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/mus ... z4t97.html

jbuck919
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:56 pm

One reason is that pianists have lost serious interest in solo recitals. Too much has gone to recordings, it is an ordeal even for the best of them, and audiences have become scarcer. Even Martha Argerich will not play a solo recital anymore, but insists on performing with other forces. All the way back in college, I had a classmate who is still a friend, and she gave an excellent solo recital. She now claims that it was the worst decision she ever made.

The last solo recital I heard was a couple of summers ago at an obscure location in New Hampshire. It was Christopher O'Reilly, the host of NPR's Over the Top, which involves young very talented musicians. Many people listen to that program and do not know that Chris is himself a superbly talented pianist. However, at this venue, I am certain that everyone else was confused and that I was the only one who got what was going on. I sent him an e-mail apologizing for the kind of reception he received, and got a response.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Belle
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:15 pm

Why were the people "confused"? Your comments don't make this clear.

Regarding the solo piano recital; I went to many in Vienna, where they are still in great demand: Andras Schiff, Rudolf Buchbinder, Maurizio Pollini, die Brüder Kutrowatz (OK, that was 2), Daniel Barenboim and I've forgotten who else (over 2 different years there).

I seldom go to any in Australia except if it's presented locally and I go because my friends do and I want to support the artist. Last time I went to one in Sydney was with Kovacevich in 2009 playing an all-Beethoven program!! I remember the date distinctly because a grandson had been born the night before. Kovacevich left me in tears, I have to say. Audiences like those, where you can hear a pin drop, are also comparatively rare. It is an elite pursuit in absolute terms (not a word bandied about recklessly as you see nowadays).

And the recording industry has had a significant impact upon the solo recital. Though it is NEVER the same as being at a live performance, records provide a disincentive for people to venture out of their home in all weathers!! I doubt I would ever attend a recital of purely contemporary or otherwise Australian music as I've never heard anything good enough to warrant my closer attention, to be honest. That's not to say there isn't any, just that I don't know about it. No doubt my (pianist) friend would set me straight if this came up in conversation (as he's presenting a program for our music group next year on Peggy Glanville-Hicks).

For the solo recital to survive this would require musicians to think outside the square and go to the people instead of the reverse. From my experience musicians aren't always good at understanding the market, nor are they particularly entrepreneurial. This requires additional input from others. My advice: go to the market. We've had Tamara Anna Cislowska come here to our local area but I didn't go because of what I regarded as dull programming!! And that's another separate issue all by itself! Not all audiences are at the same level of appreciation and understanding. What I would walk over hot coals to hear somebody else would avoid because it was 'esoteric'.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:37 pm

Belle wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:15 pm
Why were the people "confused"? Your comments don't make this clear.
They were not strong classically trained music fans, and it was a difficult program (in terms of knowing the pieces). I'm afraid that this is typical in the US, and doesn't just happen at piano recitals. I'm not saying he did not get any applause, but you would have had to be there to get the problem. BTW this was part of a summer festival, and my main reason for making the long drive was not to attend this recital, but to see my uncle and aunt-in-law in nearby Keene.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by John F » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:21 am

It does seem that there are fewer solo piano recitals in New York than there used to be. Carnegie Hall still has a series, but Lincoln Center's Great Performers lineup does not. The recital still appeals to pianists, who earn more from it than from concerto appearances and don't have to share the spotlight. So I suppose there may be less demand from the public, and therefore from presenters.

If so, if the piano recital doesn't appeal as it used to, I think it must be because there are fewer pianists today that the public is excited about. When a Horowitz or Richter recital was announced, people would stand in line for many hours waiting for the box office to open, and the hall would sell out immediately. Nowadays there are many fine pianists but few if any who generate that kind of excitement in advance, which of course is when the tickets have to be sold.

Likewise in opera. There are far fewer star singers, meaning singers the public is excited about, and without them there will always be empty seats at the Met and the other major houses, regardless of the conductors, new productions, even the operas themselves. Rudolf Bing had it easy; he could and did cast "Tosca" with Renata Tebaldi and Jussi Bjoerling or Zinka Milanov, Giuseppe Di Stefano, and Tito Gobbi. Today even Anna Netrebko can't sell out the house. I don't believe this is because the public is ignorant but because it is discriminating.
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:28 am

John F wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:21 am
It does seem that there are fewer solo piano recitals in New York than there used to be. Carnegie Hall still has a series, but Lincoln Center's Great Performers lineup does not. The recital still appeals to pianists, who earn more from it than from concerto appearances and don't have to share the spotlight. So I suppose there may be less demand from the public, and therefore from presenters.

If so, if the piano recital doesn't appeal as it used to, I think it must be because there are fewer pianists today that the public is excited about. When a Horowitz or Richter recital was announced, people would stand in line for many hours waiting for the box office to open, and the hall would sell out immediately. Nowadays there are many fine pianists but few if any who generate that kind of excitement in advance, which of course is when the tickets have to be sold
We've discussed this before, and people showed up for Horowitz because of his fame. He was not that great a pianist. He insisted on playing Kinderszenen at his late recitals, something that I could play adequately when I was twelve years old. Rubenstein never recorded the Chopin Etudes because by his own admission he was not up to them, unlike the twelve-year-old prodigy whom I posted recently, But you do have a point that fame produces audiences.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by John F » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:02 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:28 am
people showed up for Horowitz because of his fame. He was not that great a pianist. He insisted on playing Kinderszenen at his late recitals, something that I could play adequately when I was twelve years old.
Surely there can't be many who agree with that, or ever have! I certainly don't. Horowitz was one of the greatest pianists of our time, indeed who ever lived. He may not always have been a comparably great musician, if that is puritanically defined, but in music that suited his temperament, he was unique.

Where did you get the notion that virtuosos should only play music that others can't? If so, then Mozart would vanish from concert programs and the record stores, if there still are any. Horowitz played "Kinderscenen" because he loved it and because he had a personal view of it to communicate. That's two good reasons for his playing it, against zero reasons against. No doubt any kid in Juilliard's pre-college program could play the notes, but so what? They couldn't or wouldn't play it like this (unless they were copying a Horowitz recording):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq7ncjhSqtk

Horowitz's "Träumerei" was an encore in his Moscow recital, which for a wonder was carried live on CBS's Sunday Morning program. The audience is certainly not disappointed or bored with his choice of music or how he plays it; they are rapt, and so am I when listening to it.
John Francis

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Ricordanza » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:27 am

Is the piano recital dying? I can only speak from my experience in Philadelphia, where the answer is a definite "no." The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society has been sponsoring a piano recital series for 30 years, and I've had the pleasure of attending many of these for the past 18 seasons (generally five or six per season). Many are sold out (including the one I'm attending tonight by Benjamin Grosvenor).

Is the audience elderly? Yes, but that is part of the larger issue of the shrinking classical audience. There's also the factor that the older audience members are those who have the time and money to go to concerts.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:49 am

John F wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:02 am
jbuck919 wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:28 am
people showed up for Horowitz because of his fame. He was not that great a pianist. He insisted on playing Kinderszenen at his late recitals, something that I could play adequately when I was twelve years old.
Surely there can't be many who agree with that, or ever have! I certainly don't. Horowitz was one of the greatest pianists of our time, indeed who ever lived. He may not always have been a comparably great musician, if that is puritanically defined, but in music that suited his temperament, he was unique.

Where did you get the notion that virtuosos should only play music that others can't? If so, then Mozart would vanish from concert programs and the record stores, if there still are any. Horowitz played "Kinderscenen" because he loved it and because he had a personal view of it to communicate. That's two good reasons for his playing it, against zero reasons against. No doubt any kid in Juilliard's pre-college program could play the notes, but so what? They couldn't or wouldn't play it like this (unless they were copying a Horowitz recording):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq7ncjhSqtk

Horowitz's "Träumerei" was an encore in his Moscow recital, which for a wonder was carried live on CBS's Sunday Morning program. The audience is certainly not disappointed or bored with his choice of music or how he plays it; they are rapt, and so am I when listening to it.
I assure you that I could play Traumerei that well when I was that young. What kept me from going on was the realization that I lacked the talent to play most of Chopin. You are greatly over-estimating Horowitz, who in one of his later performances under Giuliani recorded the Mozart K 488, his easiest late concerto, which I have also performed, and made numerous note mistakes. The final rendition is the result of many takes and much cutting and pasting. Horowitz, as you know (irrelevantly) was married to the daughter of Toscanini. They were interviewed many years ago on 60 Minutes by Mike Wallace, when Morley Safer was the better correspondent for such things. It was the worst episode I of that program that I ever saw. Horowitz said he could play all the Chopin scherzos, and I'm sure he could, which is of course quite a feat. But Liszt in his soirées would never let anybody play the one that begins in D flat. He said that anyone's kitchen maid could play that.

There is still so much talent in the world that most historic pianists are put in the shadow by it. We just don't hear from the newer ones often enough. This of course is an exception.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

arepo
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by arepo » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:10 pm

The piano recital is certainly alive and well in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society series has been totally successful for many years, with sellouts on every piano recital and string quartet programs for decades.
The current year piano recitals include Richard Goode, Benjamin Gosvenor,Hanchien Lee, Jeremy Denk, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Mitsuko Uchida, Ieva Jokubaviciute, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Sir Andras Schiff, Natalie Zhu, and Paul Lewis.
Last year we heard Emanuel Ax, Christian Zacharias, Rudolf Buchbinder, Garrick Ohlssohn, Angela Hewitt and Marc-Andre Hamelin.
Maybe it's the water here in Philly, but we definitely are not lacking for outstanding piano performances to keep us musically fulfilled.
Incidentally, the best seats in the house cost 22 dollars, not 222 dollars .

Wish you all could join us.
cliftwood

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by John F » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:03 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:49 am
I assure you that I could play Traumerei that well when I was that young.
So you say, and good for you. Most of the people on earth can't play it at all, because they can't play the piano. That includes me. Besides, the difficulty of the music is entirely beside the point, as I seem to have to keep saying. It's not just about the fingers, it's about the mind and the heart. Since I've never heard you play anything, I can't say that your expressive powers at the keyboard are not the equal of Horowitz's, but come on now.
jbuck919 wrote:You are greatly over-estimating Horowitz, who in one of his later performances under Giuliani recorded the Mozart K 488, his easiest late concerto, which I have also performed, and made numerous note mistakes.
It's not on his Mozart, and certainly not on a recording made when he was 85, that Horowitz's reputation depends. In another thread I've linked to the finale of the Rachmaninoff 3rd concerto in a live performance 10 years earlier, when he was merely in his 70s, that give some notion of his virtuosic technique and the excitement of a Horowitz performance in full flight. Ten, twenty, thirty years earlier, his command was even greater and one of the wonders of classical music. As in this recording of the Rachmaninoff, made in 1930 on 78s which couldn't be edited. Just listen to the double octaves at the very end - unbelievable! But we have to believe our ears.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CARUE500Zw
jbuck919 wrote:Horowitz said he could play all the Chopin scherzos, and I'm sure he could, which is of course quite a feat. But Liszt in his soirées would never let anybody play the one that begins in D flat. He said that anyone's kitchen maid could play that.
Which of course was not true, even in the 19th century. And anyway, so what? Many pianists have recorded all the Chopin scherzos. Do you disapprove of all of them? By the way, there is no scherzo in D flat; they're in B minor, B flat minor, C sharp minor, and E major. Which are you referring to?
jbuck919 wrote:Horowitz, as you know (irrelevantly) was married to the daughter of Toscanini.
More to the point, he was Toscanini's preferred soloist in piano concertos, not just the Tchaikovsky but both of the Brahmses and Beethoven's Emperor concerto.
jbuck919 wrote:There is still so much talent in the world that most historic pianists are put in the shadow by it.
Believe what you will, but I know better. :mrgreen:
John Francis

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:32 pm

I'm afraid I have to agree with jbuck. I have a recording by Horowitz of "Kreisleriana" which is heavy on pedal and with a lot of banging. Some of the Scarlatti on that same recording is straight out of the sound world of Debussy (in fact, an erstwhile director of our conservatorium said the same thing to me many years ago, and she'd played the same work). As for Schubert, some of it has the tempo pulled around so badly that it could be another composer altogether. I like poetry, sure, but there's a limit. At times in this first piece he thinks he's playing Rachmaninov:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9Ak7Tk9B3s

I wonder if Schubert meant his piece to be played like this, which is sheer overindulgence bordering on kitsch: it's poetry for sure, but is it Schubert?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohtikwa64xo

In short, I wouldn't go to a recital to hear a pianist play like this.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:24 pm

Deleted by poster as duplicative.
Last edited by jbuck919 on Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jbuck919
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:32 pm

To John F: I meant the B-flat minor of course. Only the introduction and its recurrence is in that key. It is mostly in D Flat, With a long passage in E Major/minor. The transition between keys is one of the things that make it wondrous, and of course Liszt was wrong in a literal sense. Nevertheless, it is typically the first difficult Chopin taken up by would-be serious pianists.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Lance
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Lance » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:35 pm

As the president of Classical Pianists of the Future where we offer opportunities for young artists to perform, it has worked superbly well for us for the past decade. Audience attendance for these "unknowns" was largely very good. We have had such artists as Anastasia Rizikov (now in Paris studying) who has given a number of recitals for us (by popular demand), Drew Petersen, Michael Davidman, and many others who have gone on to do great things in the piano world. Unfortunately, after a decade, it was decided for us to step down for many reasons, not financial or otherwise, but personal reasons amongst the board of our organization. As you know, all good things come to an end. Being a university town (Binghamton University), piano recitals are a regular feature as are guest artists with our Philharmonic Orchestra. Piano concerto concerts probably sell out the fastest. (I get to see the response because I am responsible for preparing the pianos for concerts.) The Phelps Mansion Museum regularly has piano recitals or chamber concerts where the piano is also employed. So, for an "IBM town," as well as a university town (like Ithaca, NY), we have no complaints. Our stellar pianists who make this area their home include John Covelli who gives many recitals throughout the year. Another young pianist is Gleb Ivanov,a Russian, who has lived here (and NYC area) as did pianist Jean Casadeus before his death, the result of an auto accident in Canada. (At one time, Tchaikovsky competition winner, violinist Elmar Oliveira also lived here.) [Just thought I'd throw in!]

As for Horowitz, yes, I consider him to be an incredibly gifted artist and one of the greats. He had a style all his own, and a piano sound that immediately indicated who was playing if you didn't know. It was distinctive. As most artists age, of course, their technique may begin to suffer, but their brains still know how to produce music that is remembered and leaves an impression on an audience. The Horowitzes are gone, the Rubinsteins, the Moiseiwitsches, the Myra Hess's, the Godowskys, the Hoffman['s, the Gilels, Richters, Bolets, Curzons, Bermans, Brendel (living/retired), Serkins, Haskils, Casadesus', Arraus, Pennarios, de Larrochas, the Goulds, Backhaus's, Cherkaskys, Kempfs, Lhevinnes, Paderewskis, etc., et al, and we are left with a recorded legacy that remains indelible in our minds - and how music should be performed and connect with an audience, live or on recordings: we train our ears with the best of the best and they are the best for good reasons whether you like individual artists or not.

And yes, there are still a good number of outstanding pianists out there, such as Richard Goode, Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Steven Hough, Murray Perahia, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Radu Lupu, Badura-Skoda, Andras Schiff, Mitsuko Uchinda, Pascal Roge, Argerich (chamber music and collaborations), and many others. (Did you notice some obvious exclusions at least as far as I am concerned?)

In the end, I don't think the piano recital is dead, but I am convinced the young people of today are largely NOT involved in classical music of any kind. They rarely even support today's "classical" music scene, but are interested in other genres (and their cellphones).

As John Francis noted, it isn't just piano recitals but opera as well, and the latter all over the world. One thing I have observed in my travels: I still think the Canadians are far ahead of us in presenting classical music recitals, and their young people seem to be vitally interested in it as well.
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:33 pm

You'll still see plenty of younger people at concerts in Japan and Japanese people at concerts in Europe. Same in China; they've taken western art music in both hands and I feel that's where it will thrive in perpetuity - especially if western Europeans don't regard it as significant anymore. Each time Kleiber went to Japan he was treated like a rock star and the same occurs when the Berlin Philharmonic visits Asian countries!! Watch Kleiber's expression at the end of this encore:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IomRh4W ... D8C154C959

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Donald Isler » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:30 am

Raymond Lewenthal, who was no slouch at the piano (listen to anything he played) said he considered Horowitz, pre-retirement (pre 1953), the greatest pianistic mechanism he knew of. Many pianists disagree with how Horowitz played different parts of the repertoire, but few seem to dispute that he was one of the great virtuosos.
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by arepo » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:13 pm

I also am in complete disagreement with JBuck and Belle on this one.
In my view, Horowitz was a musical giant, albeit a bit eccentric at times. His Scarlatti is quite marvelous and I'm fascinated at hearing what you find unsatisfactory with his recording of the Sonatas.
Honestly. with all respect, the statement that he was ordinary and nothing special leaves me somewhere between laughter and astonishment.
I thought I knew a lot about the piano..
Oh, well.
cliftwood

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Wallingford » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:02 pm

I see some consolation in this thread's title. Being a cripple, both in keyboard technique as well as overall physique, I can see why and how I wouldn't have gone far at all as a recitalist, and today it's a lost cause for all but a mere handful.
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That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:55 pm

arepo wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:13 pm
I also am in complete disagreement with JBuck and Belle on this one.
In my view, Horowitz was a musical giant, albeit a bit eccentric at times. His Scarlatti is quite marvelous and I'm fascinated at hearing what you find unsatisfactory with his recording of the Sonatas.
Honestly. with all respect, the statement that he was ordinary and nothing special leaves me somewhere between laughter and astonishment.
I thought I knew a lot about the piano..
Oh, well.
cliftwood
I don't believe I used the words 'ordinary' and 'nothing special'. He played 'poetically' was what I said; it is simply a question of whether that's enough. That's my argument. And my acquaintance who was, at the time, director of the conservatorium and a concert pianist herself expressed general agreement with me in a discussion about Horowitz. Obviously it gets down to how you like your music played. There are some people here who don't like HIP treatments and who regard them as idiosyncratic and/or such. I don't like the way Horowitz played the pieces I like but, having said that, I know little or nothing about his much earlier performing years.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Holden Fourth » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:39 am

I'll come at this from a different perspective - the piano competition. They proliferate nowadays and the end reward for prize winners is a series of recitals.

Recitals are far easier to program than concerto works for obvious reasons and in many places in the world the piano recital is alive and well. These recitals range from a teachers students performing for their family and peers to the top pianists playing in the top venues.

However, as a fellow Australian, I think that for us Aussies Belle might have a point. I live on the Gold Coast, the 6th most populous city in Australia (and rapidly working it's way to 5th), yet if I want to go to a recital I have to travel 80 kms up the road to Brisbane despite the fact that we have our own excellent performing arts centre.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:47 am

I completely forgot about the piano competition - the Sydney International Piano Competition. I've been to it a few times and there is a small but loyal and enthusiastic group who attend every session (many are music teachers) and I do listen on the radio for the first two stages and the accompanying commentary. And I watched quite a bit of the Chopin Competition streamed live from Warsaw 2 years ago when the excellent and poised South Korean won it. Sorry, I just can't recall Asian names with any degree of fluency. I didn't watch the concerto section because it bored me hearing the same thing over and over. But the technology can bring us everything we need when the preferred option - live - isn't available.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:07 am

This thread took off a bit while my attention was elsewhere. How gratifying!
I love piano recitals, and in Melbourne we have a really fine auditorium now, seating about 1000. Re Holden Fourth, yes, it is very hard outside Melbourne and Sydney. Musica Viva brings out top pianists who tour the country, but many of the biggest names just do the two main cities, such as the incredible Daniil Trifonov, who did a recital and a concert each in both cities but did not visit more widely.

In the past few years, I have heard:
Paul Lewis, all-Schubert program
Angela Hewitt: Bach plus a Beethoven sonata
Katia and Marielle Labeque in piano 4 hands
Murray Perahia: Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann
A young Korean, Young Kwon Choi, in Chopin and Ravel (Gaspard de la Nuit, thrilling)
Imogen Cooper: Brahms, Schubert, Chopin
Yefim Bronfman: Haydn, Prokofiev
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet: Beethoven and Ravel
Daniel de Borah, a young Melbourne pianist at a regional festival
Caroline Almonte, another Melbourne pianist, in Bartok and Brahms
Paul Lewis again in Beethoven and Brahms
Pierre-Laurent Aimard: Messaien (21 Regards)
Emmanuel Ax: all Beethoven (New York)
Angela Hewitt again in Bach and Scarlatti
Trifonov: Schumann, Shostakovich, Stravinsky

Admittedly, most of these are the sort of great pianist that Bernadette Harvey says the recital is reserved to now (and I have heard far more pianists in concerts rather than recitals). But nearly all of these have been incredibly enriching, and I am so grateful to have heard them. The point is, they are available. All but one of them was in Melbourne.

Admittedly I have heard far more pianists in concerts, but what can I say? That's a privilege too.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:10 am

Re Horowitz, I'm in the middle. As I heard a preacher say once, that's why God gave us divided buttocks, so we could sit on the fence. :D
I think he is a genius capable of sometimes lazy or pro forma performances - he belonged to a more casual age.
But he's not usually my first choice in most repertoire.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:13 am

Piano competitions changed pianism, there's no doubt. We became fixated on accuracy and articulation, which has helped lead to the mass of soloists today who are technically superb but have relatively little to say. Many of them are Asian, because that's where the interest is moving. Lots of them are hugely accomplished: Mitsuko Uchida, Yuja Wang, Lang Lang (yes, when it comes to technique), Yundi Li, are among those who spring instantly to mind.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:19 am

Lance says young people have turned off classical music.
In Australia this week we had Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett (also a former federal Arts Minister who tried to kill the Australian National Academy of Music but was defeated) slagging off former Prime Minister Paul Keating, a noted Mahler lover. Listen to the music of the people, he shouted, as he sang his raucous rubbish.
Of course "elite" endeavours will always be less popular, as they involve more concentration, more knowledge by the audience.
So is Bernadette's salon approach (original article) right to widen the audience? We've moved away from that without answering it.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:54 am

Your list of piano recitals makes me ashamed I don't make a greater effort these days. I like competitions because of the concentration of so much piano music within a very short space of time. And I enjoy the comments of Gerard Willems! A lovely man completely without ego.

But the 85 minute drive to Hornsby, parking the car there (somewhere!!) and getting the train down the North Shore and then the long walk to the Opera House (not so bad if Angel Place) from the Quay is a major deterrent; it's the very late return home that's another problem. The whole journey is like an extended game of mouse trap. Worse if it's raining.

And it's very often difficult to even get tickets to those top level artists even if they do come to Australia. As I said, I did see quite a few in Vienna and felt a mixed response.

Completely agree with your comments about Garrett and "Midnight Oil". He seems an intelligent fellow; I wonder what makes him gyrate like that on the stage in his 60s? Complaint rock is so YESTERDAY, but it continues to have an audience.

And I think the salon approach to the piano is arguably about the only option remaining these days. For me, programming is hugely important.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:01 pm

Actually, the younger Horowitz is when he was at his best, Belle. YOu should try his Sony set of live recitals in Carnegie Hall, during which he tackled a wide repertoire with considerable success.

Image

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:21 pm

Belle wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:54 am
Your list of piano recitals makes me ashamed I don't make a greater effort these days. I like competitions because of the concentration of so much piano music within a very short space of time. And I enjoy the comments of Gerard Willems! A lovely man completely without ego.

But the 85 minute drive to Hornsby, parking the car there (somewhere!!) and getting the train down the North Shore and then the long walk to the Opera House (not so bad if Angel Place) from the Quay is a major deterrent; it's the very late return home that's another problem. The whole journey is like an extended game of mouse trap. Worse if it's raining.

And it's very often difficult to even get tickets to those top level artists even if they do come to Australia. As I said, I did see quite a few in Vienna and felt a mixed response.

Completely agree with your comments about Garrett and "Midnight Oil". He seems an intelligent fellow; I wonder what makes him gyrate like that on the stage in his 60s? Complaint rock is so YESTERDAY, but it continues to have an audience.

And I think the salon approach to the piano is arguably about the only option remaining these days. For me, programming is hugely important.
I live a long way out too, in the Dandenongs, and really relate to how costly in terms of time and energy it is for you, though your journey is far more arduous than mine. It's about a 40-minute drive home, or an hour in the train.
Love the line about complaint rock.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:22 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:01 pm
Actually, the younger Horowitz is when he was at his best, Belle. YOu should try his Sony set of live recitals in Carnegie Hall, during which he tackled a wide repertoire with considerable success.

Image
I didn't notice that when it came out, Brian. Looks great. Are they all older recordings, eg from 78s?

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:10 pm

As I said earlier, my comments about Horowitz were based upon his later work and I'm unfamiliar with anything much before the early 1970s. And I understand he had quite a lot of time off the performing stage because of nervousness and other issues. He was certainly a major exponent of the piano; I guess it's a question of whether you like what he does with it.

Thanks, maestrob, for the heads up on this. I see some of it is on U-Tube and I'll certainly listen. I've just started with a 1953 recital and the "Precipitato" from Prokofiev Sonata 7 and I already find it idiosyncratic!! He does some interesting things with the base line but I didn't really get a sense of this movement's disruptive 7/8 rhythm and syncopated base rhythm. At times he seemed to make that base line sound 'romantic' (for want of a better word). I prefer this one, which I have on CD:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rfle8wSwJM

I remember writing an analytical essay on this sonata for 3rd year Musicology, decades ago. It's around the house somewhere so I may be able to dig it out.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:23 pm

Hi, barney!

That set is actually from recordings made in Carnegie Hall as early as the 1940's on acetate discs, beautifully restored, and features complete transcriptions starting in the 1950's from tapes, all recorded live, up through the 1970's. It's an astonishing wealth of material: grab a copy if you can, even used. It's a collectors' item now: new copies are selling on amazon here for over $2,000. I learned so much about Horowitz by listening to this set.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:06 pm

I listened closely to the entire concert presented in the link just two comments back. I had it going on Bluetooth as I was preparing for Thursday's music program in our local community and I have to say it was excellent. I already made a comment about the Prokofiev, of which I wasn't particularly enamoured. But the rest of it was pleasing. He makes a rather romantic sound world, IMO, which is quite different from today's players who make a strong case of their own. A gentle and sensitive aesthetic isn't always what a work will ask for - but that was his interpretive decision and you take it on its merits. Anyway, the performance was very different from his last decades - which I'd describe as mannered and precious - and all the more inviting for that!

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:12 pm

barney wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:21 pm
Belle wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:54 am
Your list of piano recitals makes me ashamed I don't make a greater effort these days. I like competitions because of the concentration of so much piano music within a very short space of time. And I enjoy the comments of Gerard Willems! A lovely man completely without ego.

But the 85 minute drive to Hornsby, parking the car there (somewhere!!) and getting the train down the North Shore and then the long walk to the Opera House (not so bad if Angel Place) from the Quay is a major deterrent; it's the very late return home that's another problem. The whole journey is like an extended game of mouse trap. Worse if it's raining.

And it's very often difficult to even get tickets to those top level artists even if they do come to Australia. As I said, I did see quite a few in Vienna and felt a mixed response.

Completely agree with your comments about Garrett and "Midnight Oil". He seems an intelligent fellow; I wonder what makes him gyrate like that on the stage in his 60s? Complaint rock is so YESTERDAY, but it continues to have an audience.

And I think the salon approach to the piano is arguably about the only option remaining these days. For me, programming is hugely important.
I live a long way out too, in the Dandenongs, and really relate to how costly in terms of time and energy it is for you, though your journey is far more arduous than mine. It's about a 40-minute drive home, or an hour in the train.
Love the line about complaint rock.
You are living in a beautiful part of Victoria! I've only been there once but it was very appealing. A fellow who owns a nursery/landscaping business there in the Dandenongs flew all the way up here in 2008 to buy a second hand Volvo from us. Monbulk it was; I remembered the name because of the jam!!

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Holden Fourth » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:10 am

barney wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:07 am
This thread took off a bit while my attention was elsewhere. How gratifying!
I love piano recitals, and in Melbourne we have a really fine auditorium now, seating about 1000. Re Holden Fourth, yes, it is very hard outside Melbourne and Sydney. Musica Viva brings out top pianists who tour the country, but many of the biggest names just do the two main cities, such as the incredible Daniil Trifonov, who did a recital and a concert each in both cities but did not visit more widely.

In the past few years, I have heard:
Paul Lewis, all-Schubert program
Angela Hewitt: Bach plus a Beethoven sonata
Katia and Marielle Labeque in piano 4 hands
Murray Perahia: Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann
A young Korean, Young Kwon Choi, in Chopin and Ravel (Gaspard de la Nuit, thrilling)
Imogen Cooper: Brahms, Schubert, Chopin
Yefim Bronfman: Haydn, Prokofiev
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet: Beethoven and Ravel
Daniel de Borah, a young Melbourne pianist at a regional festival
Caroline Almonte, another Melbourne pianist, in Bartok and Brahms
Paul Lewis again in Beethoven and Brahms
Pierre-Laurent Aimard: Messaien (21 Regards)
Emmanuel Ax: all Beethoven (New York)
Angela Hewitt again in Bach and Scarlatti
Trifonov: Schumann, Shostakovich, Stravinsky

Admittedly, most of these are the sort of great pianist that Bernadette Harvey says the recital is reserved to now (and I have heard far more pianists in concerts rather than recitals). But nearly all of these have been incredibly enriching, and I am so grateful to have heard them. The point is, they are available. All but one of them was in Melbourne.

Admittedly I have heard far more pianists in concerts, but what can I say? That's a privilege too.
You're a lucky bastard Barney.... How I wish I could have heard Trifonov!

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:41 pm

Yes, I am a lucky bastard.
I think Trifonov is the most exciting pianist I've heard. I don't say the best, as I've heard the likes of Perahia, but for sheer brilliance...
Mind you, he's young enough that brilliance is sometimes the point. Still a couple of years shy of 30.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:43 pm

Belle wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:12 pm
barney wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:21 pm
Belle wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:54 am
Your list of piano recitals makes me ashamed I don't make a greater effort these days. I like competitions because of the concentration of so much piano music within a very short space of time. And I enjoy the comments of Gerard Willems! A lovely man completely without ego.

But the 85 minute drive to Hornsby, parking the car there (somewhere!!) and getting the train down the North Shore and then the long walk to the Opera House (not so bad if Angel Place) from the Quay is a major deterrent; it's the very late return home that's another problem. The whole journey is like an extended game of mouse trap. Worse if it's raining.

And it's very often difficult to even get tickets to those top level artists even if they do come to Australia. As I said, I did see quite a few in Vienna and felt a mixed response.

Completely agree with your comments about Garrett and "Midnight Oil". He seems an intelligent fellow; I wonder what makes him gyrate like that on the stage in his 60s? Complaint rock is so YESTERDAY, but it continues to have an audience.

And I think the salon approach to the piano is arguably about the only option remaining these days. For me, programming is hugely important.
I live a long way out too, in the Dandenongs, and really relate to how costly in terms of time and energy it is for you, though your journey is far more arduous than mine. It's about a 40-minute drive home, or an hour in the train.
Love the line about complaint rock.
You are living in a beautiful part of Victoria! I've only been there once but it was very appealing. A fellow who owns a nursery/landscaping business there in the Dandenongs flew all the way up here in 2008 to buy a second hand Volvo from us. Monbulk it was; I remembered the name because of the jam!!
I'm quite close to Monbulk, maybe 15 minutes' drive if it's not rush hour. A son went to school there. It is pretty, but also a nerve-wracking place to live in bushfire season.

Belle
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:39 pm

Until 1980 we lived in the Kuring-gai area, just north of Hornsby, completely surrounded by bush. It was terrifying, especially when school kids would light fires, so I understand how those people in Monbulk feel. The funnel web spiders were bad enough in Sydney without the further threat of fires. Where we live now there are heavily wooded areas in close proximity but the Rural Fire Service has its headquarters, and 2 helicopters, about half a km from our house!!

And 150km from piano recitals in the Sydney CBD! :D

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:50 am

I think you can be forgiven for getting your piano recitals from CDs or YouTube or locally!

Belle
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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Belle » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:50 am

barney wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:50 am
I think you can be forgiven for getting your piano recitals from CDs or YouTube or locally!
It has actually been easier, in the past, to fly to Vienna with Emirates and go to them there!!! Just a 3 station run on the U-Bahn once in that city. We're longing to return but we think our former landlady has died (she was ill with cancer in 2015 when we were there and hasn't answered my emails since). Just as was the case with the 1988 Adelaide Festival (our Bi-Centenary year), the concert and recital programs in Vienna of 2011 have never been equalled. The programs in ensuing hears at Theater an der Wien have been downright dull. And Harnoncourt has died. (sigh) There's always NYC.

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by Holden Fourth » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:34 am

I've got long service leave in early 2019 and am headed for the UK so Wigmore Hall here I come. I was in London in April this year and got to experience the Good Friday performance of the Messiah at the RAH. Absolutely brilliant!

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Re: Is the piano recital dying

Post by barney » Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:10 am

I hope, for your pleasure, that Trifonov is in London at the same time. But, regardless, you will have some wonderful treats, I am sure.

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