Ashkenazy retires

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Danny
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Ashkenazy retires

Post by Danny » Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:43 pm


maestrob
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:57 am

Interesting. The article doesn't say what prompted his decision. I hope he's not ill and fighting something.

Ashkenazy's early efforts at conducting did not impress me (Rachmaninov & Shostakovich), so I have not kept up with that part of his career. As a pianist, his Rachmaninov, Scriabin & Chopin were his best, but unlike Brendel & Perahia, Ashkenazy rarely connected with me in the German repertoire. His Bach was good, but a bit bland for my taste. All-in-all, a great artist, and certainly a reliably good pianist. I honestly don't have an opinion on his conducting nowadays. Perhaps he has improved.

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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by Lance » Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:27 am

Well, on discs, he leaves his fans quite a legacy for sure. I have heard something about one of his hands giving him problems - like so many pianists who experience this at some point. You mention his German repertoire, I have his complete Beethoven sonatas, but was more impressed with his boxed set of Schumann's music. A grand artist, for sure. His early Chopin was supreme and his Rachmaninoff concertos/solos, etc., are at the top of the list. I feel like I am aging too quickly with all these artists I grew up with either going to The Great Beyond, or retiring altogether. He has had a rich and extensive career right from the beginning.
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maestrob
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by maestrob » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:58 am

Lance wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:27 am
Well, on discs, he leaves his fans quite a legacy for sure. I have heard something about one of his hands giving him problems - like so many pianists who experience this at some point. You mention his German repertoire, I have his complete Beethoven sonatas, but was more impressed with his boxed set of Schumann's music. A grand artist, for sure. His early Chopin was supreme and his Rachmaninoff concertos/solos, etc., are at the top of the list. I feel like I am aging too quickly with all these artists I grew up with either going to The Great Beyond, or retiring altogether. He has had a rich and extensive career right from the beginning.
Yes, I agree with you about the ageing thing. I miss having new discs from my favorite artists, but am very pleased with the new crew (both pianists and conductors) that are sprouting like weeds. It's comforting to me that the new generation is working mightily to respect & preserve the music we love so much.

barney
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by barney » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:25 pm

Orchestra friends of mine did not necessarily rate him highly as a conductor, though there are some fine recordings. But as a pianist he has certainly been utterly top drawer. I have some very happy memories, particularly of his playing and conducting Mozart concertos from the keyboard.

Rach3
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by Rach3 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:03 pm

[quote=barney post_id=500548 time=1579886720 user_id=
I have some very happy memories, particularly of his playing and conducting Mozart concertos from the keyboard.
[/quote]

Indeed.I have only his Decca cd with the Philharmonia of Nos.12,13,K.414 and 415,superb. For me,K.415 is one of the greatest of Mozart’s PC’s,or any PC, under played.

barney
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by barney » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:28 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:03 pm
[quote=barney post_id=500548 time=1579886720 user_id=
I have some very happy memories, particularly of his playing and conducting Mozart concertos from the keyboard.

Indeed.I have only his Decca cd with the Philharmonia of Nos.12,13,K.414 and 415,superb. For me,K.415 is one of the greatest of Mozart’s PC’s,or any PC, under played.
[/quote]

Yes indeed. Mind you, all Mozart concertos are underplayed. :D They are the sine qua non of my listening engagement. I think my absolute favourites are K595, K466 and K271. But 415 is very special.

Rach3
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by Rach3 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:01 pm

I agree with all your choices.My absolute fav , if but only if I had to choose just one,would be K.467.Next would be 595, 453,415,271. Although not originally a Mozart tune ( he borrowed,reworked) try to hear at YT the slow mov. of his PC #2, K.16 ?

Rach3
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by Rach3 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:21 pm


THEHORN
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by THEHORN » Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:42 pm

Sad to see him retiring from performing . I've enjoyed many of the recordings of him as a conductor too . He's been regular with the Royal Concertgebouw, the Philharmonic , the Royal Philharmonic, the Cleveland orchestra , the Czech Philharmonic , the Deutsches Sinfonie Berlin, formerly the Berlin RSO , and other top orchestras .
If musicians thought he wasn't any good as a conductor, he wouldn't have had an extensive career as one as well as a pianist .

barney
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by barney » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:49 am

THEHORN wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:42 pm

If musicians thought he wasn't any good as a conductor, he wouldn't have had an extensive career as one as well as a pianist .
Not necessarily true. You were an orchestral musician, and would have held widely varying views of your conductors. Placido Domingo is another who is supposed to be a weak conductor, but he is a very big voice in opera (pun intended), and I bet artistic directors find it hard to say no when he wants to conduct. After all, box office gold.

maestrob
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:16 am

barney wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:49 am
THEHORN wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:42 pm

If musicians thought he wasn't any good as a conductor, he wouldn't have had an extensive career as one as well as a pianist .
Not necessarily true. You were an orchestral musician, and would have held widely varying views of your conductors. Placido Domingo is another who is supposed to be a weak conductor, but he is a very big voice in opera (pun intended), and I bet artistic directors find it hard to say no when he wants to conduct. After all, box office gold.
Just. so, sir. I've seen/heard Domingo on good days (Gounod's Romeo et Juliette at the MET) and bad ones (John Francis posted an excerpt from Die Walkure that was really quite awful). As for Ashkenazy's conducting, I have nothing to say currently, and had hoped, Barney, that you would have attended some of his concerts in Australia recently and could offer some guidance. I judged some of Ashkenazy's earlier efforts harshly, and I haven't noticed more recent recordings among the five star recommendations of various publications, for what that's worth.

barney
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by barney » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:36 pm

I didn't hear Ashkenazy conduct often, because he was chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony, 1000k to the north. The chief conductor we've just lost in Melbourne is Sir Andrew Davis, whom I recall JohnF thought mediocre, but the orchestra loved him and I admired him.

I in fact never heard Ashkenazy with the SSO. I heard him conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra in Melbourne in 1984, in Sydney in 2003 and the Melbourne Symphony a few years ago. He did a pretty good Mahler 5. I thought him pretty good - the mildly negative opinion comes from a few orchestra friends who played under him. And I'm prepared to concede they know a heck of a lot more than me about it.

maestrob
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by maestrob » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:45 am

barney wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:36 pm
I didn't hear Ashkenazy conduct often, because he was chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony, 1000k to the north. The chief conductor we've just lost in Melbourne is Sir Andrew Davis, whom I recall JohnF thought mediocre, but the orchestra loved him and I admired him.

I in fact never heard Ashkenazy with the SSO. I heard him conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra in Melbourne in 1984, in Sydney in 2003 and the Melbourne Symphony a few years ago. He did a pretty good Mahler 5. I thought him pretty good - the mildly negative opinion comes from a few orchestra friends who played under him. And I'm prepared to concede they know a heck of a lot more than me about it.
Just as I thought. Hmmmmmm. "Pretty good" doesn't cut it for me, especially in Mahler, particularly when I've got Solti, Bernstein, HvK & Abbado to compare, just to name a few.

Also, sorry to say, I agree with JohnF about Sir Andrew.

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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by diegobueno » Wed Jan 29, 2020 4:37 pm

Ashkenazy has had such a long and productive career, he deserves to have his rest. I heard him play the Emperor Concerto in 1968 in Saint Augustine, Florida, during the short period when the London Symphony had a summer season there. I was 14, and not a very discerning judge of piano playing, but my brother, who was a budding pianist himself was quite enthusiastic.

I heard him again in 1974, when I was at Florida State University. I believe his program included Pictures at an Exhibition.

One of my favorite of his recordings is volume 8 of a proposed complete Chopin Piano music set, no other volumes of which, to my knowledge ever appeared (this disc is from 1984). You can buy boxed sets of his Chopin now, but this one disc had something no other Chopin record I've seen has: it was arranged chronologically. It starts with the Impromptu in A flat, op. 29, and goes up to the Mazurkas op. 33, and then adds a few non-opussed works from the same period.

I would love to possess a set of complete Chopin piano music arranged this way, rather than by genre, as is inevitably the case, including the Ashkenazy boxed sets. I want to hear Chopin's musical language grow and mature over time. I don't want to listen to one Mazurka after the other after the other, then one waltz after the other after the other, then one nocturne after the other after the other. Probably some idiot at Decca told him to cut it out and said "Don't get too brainy on us Vlad. Stick to "my favorite Chopin" collections. They make more money".
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barney
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by barney » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:25 pm

I agree; it's always interesting when collections are done this way, and it's exceedingly rare. Mind you, I love the Chopin nocturnes so much that I am happy to listen to them one after another - but not the mazurkas, of which there are 863,547, or polonaises etc.

maestrob
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by maestrob » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:03 pm

barney wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:25 pm
I agree; it's always interesting when collections are done this way, and it's exceedingly rare. Mind you, I love the Chopin nocturnes so much that I am happy to listen to them one after another - but not the mazurkas, of which there are 863,547, or polonaises etc.
As for the Mazurkas, for me it depends on who is playing them. Rubinstein is quite dry and stiff, while a newer recording by Pavel Kolesnikov I find to be quite memorable, inventive, fluid and warm-sounding. Believe it or not, I'd rather listen to Kolesnikov any day.

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barney
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by barney » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:39 pm

Not a player I've heard of, but I'll keep an ear out for him.
I'm interested in your Rubinstein comment - have you heard many versions by him, because he recorded them more than once? Was it before or after he changed his technique? And do you feel that way about Rubinstein in other Chopin? For me, he's the sine qua non in the nocturnes.

maestrob
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by maestrob » Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:13 am

barney wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:39 pm
Not a player I've heard of, but I'll keep an ear out for him.
I'm interested in your Rubinstein comment - have you heard many versions by him, because he recorded them more than once? Was it before or after he changed his technique? And do you feel that way about Rubinstein in other Chopin? For me, he's the sine qua non in the nocturnes.
Of course I'm referring to Rubinstein's Chopin Mazurkas on RCA in stereo. I agree with you about his Nocturnes on RCA. The only pianist that comes close to Rubinstein's quality in those is Guiomar Novaes, whom I heard live in concert when I was just a lad of 11. Her set of Chopin's Nocturnes on Vox (mono) is outstanding to my ears. Nobody's heard of her nowadays, but I rank her as one of the greats of the last century. Her Chopin is to die for, IMHO, as is her Mozart.

barney
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by barney » Sat Feb 01, 2020 5:15 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:13 am
barney wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:39 pm
Not a player I've heard of, but I'll keep an ear out for him.
I'm interested in your Rubinstein comment - have you heard many versions by him, because he recorded them more than once? Was it before or after he changed his technique? And do you feel that way about Rubinstein in other Chopin? For me, he's the sine qua non in the nocturnes.
Of course I'm referring to Rubinstein's Chopin Mazurkas on RCA in stereo. I agree with you about his Nocturnes on RCA. The only pianist that comes close to Rubinstein's quality in those is Guiomar Novaes, whom I heard live in concert when I was just a lad of 11. Her set of Chopin's Nocturnes on Vox (mono) is outstanding to my ears. Nobody's heard of her nowadays, but I rank her as one of the greats of the last century. Her Chopin is to die for, IMHO, as is her Mozart.
OK, so that's relatively late Rubinstein, after he changed. I'll have to listen to a few. To tell you the truth, I seldom turn to the mazurkas - not sure why. But I find the other music more interesting - ballades, preludes, etudes, polonaises, sonatas etc. With the nocturnes at the apex.
I have heard the name Novaes, but have never heard her playing. Thanks for the tip.

barney
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by barney » Sat Feb 01, 2020 5:22 pm

PS, have you read the two volumes of Rubinstein autobiography. Highly entertaining, and a good part fiction, according to actual biographers, especially his sexual adventures.

But Rubinstein features in one of two musical adventures in my family history of which I boast. (A little reflected glory, you know.) In the first, my great-great grandmother was patted on the head by Brahms when she was an infant being taken for a stroll in a Vienna park, and told she was a beautiful baby.
In the second, my aunt tripped over a pair of legs reaching her seat in a Paris concert hall, and found they belonged to the elderly Rubinstein, who eyed her appreciatively.
I don't believe Ashkenazy has been a prolific writer - I found one co-written volume, Beyond Frontiers on the Net just now. But I'm sure he would be scrupulous. :D

Rach3
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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by Rach3 » Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:42 am

maestrob wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:13 am
Of course I'm referring to Rubinstein's Chopin Mazurkas on RCA in stereo.
You may wish to try his set from the late 30's which is now available, mine the lp set I believe on Seraphim.Certainly a different view than the somewhat more "impressionistic" readings we oft hear today.For me the Mazurkas are best heard 2 or 3 at a time.

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Re: Ashkenazy retires

Post by Lance » Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:28 am

Yes, Ashkenazy wrote his autobio with Jasper Parrott … it's been out a long time now. Like Rubinstein, and now that he is retiring, perhaps, like Rubinstein, Ashkenazy will come forth with a new autobiography taking him to the time of his retirement.
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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