Schiff bio

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Rach3
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Schiff bio

Post by Rach3 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:40 pm

Unfortunately , behind a paywall and I am not a subscriber, but from what I can read seems Schiff disses his audiences and , I assume, those who buy his cd's :

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/0 ... listening/

barney
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Re: Schiff bio

Post by barney » Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:06 pm

Here you go, Rach3


One of the world’s leading pianists has despaired that today’s average concert-goer “has hardly the faintest idea about what he is hearing”.

In a forthcoming memoir, Sir András Schiff says modern audiences cannot tell the difference between outstanding and poor performances.

One chapter appears as a “letter” to Robert Schumann, as if he is updating the great German composer on “how our musical world understands” his music some 200 years on.

He tells him: “I fear you would not feel at home in the musical life of today. It’s true that the number of concertgoers has risen dramatically all over the world, but unfortunately the quality and general culture of audiences has diminished in equal measure.

“The average listener of today has hardly the faintest idea about what he is hearing. He neither knows anything about new music, nor can he differentiate between outstanding, moderately good and poor performances. Two days or so after the concert, he reads the opinion of a so-called ‘expert’ in the local paper and adopts it as his own. And with few exceptions, these reviews have sunk to an alarmingly low level.”

In another chapter, he observes that the public was in the past much more likely to play an instrument, take part in chamber music and be able to read a score: “That’s no longer part of middle­-class education…No one was ever born with good taste, but education and training, as well as the fact that music lovers also played, were important for the development of listening and for leading to higher standards.”

The Hungarian-born musician with a home in Britain has been showered with awards. The Telegraph described his recent Schubert recording as “simply stellar”. Another critic wrote: “Who can know what listening facilities Schubert has in heaven? But if he were able to download this album I think he would be tickled pink.”

It has been said that Sir András has “no pianistic equal in terms of humility to the music, or imagination in its performance”.

His memoir, titled Music Comes Out of Silence, will be published by Orion Books on April 2. It traces his story from his childhood in Hungary to the present day. The Schumann letter is among essays that he has written over the years, but which have not appeared in English or in mainstream publications.
Sir Andras Schiff says theatre goers should abide by "ten commandments" including "thou shalt not cough, sneeze or make other horrible noises"
Sir Andras Schiff says theatre goers should abide by "ten commandments" including "thou shalt not cough, sneeze or make other horrible noises" Credit: Roberto Masotti

In his book he also questions what he believes is the undeserved dominance of modern day opera producers.

Pointing to a 1787 poster for the premiere of Don Giovanni in Prague, he notes that, next to the composer and conductor, Mozart, and the librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte, the names of the complete cast are given.

He adds: “But one would look in vain for the name of the producer: in those days, the work and its interpretation were the centre of attention, and not the scenic representation.

"Nowadays, if one reads a newspaper review of a performance of Don Giovanni, one sees a topsy-turvy world. The reviewer is mainly concerned with the staging and the production; the conductor, singers and orchestra are reduced to a mere marginal mention, while the ‘poor’ composer is even more shabbily treated.

“Why do most producers find it so difficult to retreat into the background and place themselves in the shadow of the plays and their authors, where they belong? Where does this mania for self-promotion, pomposity and irreverence come from? Why is there such a lack of humility and modesty?”

For concert-goers, he jokingly offers a series of Ten Commandments because “very little has been done or said to educate people constructively on how they should listen to music”.

He writes: “Most of the offenders have not the slightest idea of how a careless cough can destroy a crucial pause in a Schubert sonata, or can throw the performer off the rails when he is playing complex works like a Bach fugue… from memory… Since silence is the beginning and end of all music, it is absolutely imperative that listeners must be silent too.”

His Ten Commandments include: “Thou shalt not cough, sneeze or make other horrible noises with thy rhino-laryngeal organs…Thou shalt hold thy tongue – in other words, not chatter to anyone. Thou shalt not read the programme notes during the performance… Thou shalt not unwrap sweets, pastilles or other sugary items…Thou shalt not leave the auditorium and bang the door…”

Rach3
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Re: Schiff bio

Post by Rach3 » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:28 am

Many thanks, Barney !!

maestrob
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Re: Schiff bio

Post by maestrob » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:23 am

Yes, Barney, thanks. Schiff makes some good points, but he misses the overwhelming fact that audiences in the USA are diminishing due to a lack of education and interest in the younger generation. The same could happen in England soon. My guess is that Schiff is thinking about European and British audiences, but the alarming reduction in ticket revenue for classical music organizations here in NYC should be mentioned. How many opera companies have folded here in the past 10 years??? (NYCO, Eve Queler, NY Grand Opera, Amato Opera, DiCapo Opera, etc.)

barney
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Re: Schiff bio

Post by barney » Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:10 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:23 am
Yes, Barney, thanks. Schiff makes some good points, but he misses the overwhelming fact that audiences in the USA are diminishing due to a lack of education and interest in the younger generation. The same could happen in England soon. My guess is that Schiff is thinking about European and British audiences, but the alarming reduction in ticket revenue for classical music organizations here in NYC should be mentioned. How many opera companies have folded here in the past 10 years??? (NYCO, Eve Queler, NY Grand Opera, Amato Opera, DiCapo Opera, etc.)
Yes, the great white hope of classical music seems to be Asia (appalling pun intended).

CharmNewton
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Re: Schiff bio

Post by CharmNewton » Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:30 pm

In the mid-to-late 1980s I attended a concert of Schiff playing the Well-Tempered Clavier Book II. It was split into 3 parts with 8 Preludes and Fugues in each. It was an impressive concert in that he played it entirely from memory. But it was also a tough listen over a very long afternoon. I was glad when it ended and promised myself I would never listen to a work like that in concert in its entirety again. I don't have any memory that his playing was distinctive. Even the D major Prelude which is so joyous and happy sounding. I have a few of his recordings, but not his Bach.

I was thinking of Schiff a few weeks ago and I recalled this concert. His Bach recordings for Decca have been collected and are available inexpensively. After so many years, I listened to selections on Spotify to see if my opinion would change. They are clean and well played, but I didn't really enjoy them. Even at low cost not a bargain for me.

John

Lance
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Re: Schiff bio

Post by Lance » Tue Mar 17, 2020 12:34 am

As for András Schiff in Bach's solo keyboard works, I have not been greatly enamoured, but in Bach's concerted works such as in the 1,2,3,4 piano concertos on the Hungaroton label and the Decca label, I thought to be outstanding. Certainly the solo works, such as the WTC, etc., are rendered very well and may be technically secure, but given choices, I would much rather hear Edwin Fischer, Sviatoslav Richter, Gould, Feltsman, Nikolayeva, Feinberg, Ashkenazy, or Wanda Landowska on the harpsichord. Where I have found Schiff's recordings to be most memorable is in his work with Scarlatti, Haydn, Schumann, Schubert and what Beethoven, he recorded, especially the cello sonatas with Perenyi. I have never acquired his set of Beethoven 32 sonatas having so many other complete and individual recordings of those. Schiff is a rather well rounded pianist having collaborated with other artists such as singers Cecilia Bartoli, Peter Schreier, Sylvia Sass and others. All said, I believe András Schiff to be a superb pianist and artist.
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barney
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Re: Schiff bio

Post by barney » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:51 am

Lance wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 12:34 am
As for András Schiff in Bach's solo keyboard works, I have not been greatly enamoured, but in Bach's concerted works such as in the 1,2,3,4 piano concertos on the Hungaroton label and the Decca label, I thought to be outstanding. Certainly the solo works, such as the WTC, etc., are rendered very well and may be technically secure, but given choices, I would much rather hear Edwin Fischer, Sviatoslav Richter, Gould, Feltsman, Nikolayeva, Feinberg, Ashkenazy, or Wanda Landowska on the harpsichord. Where I have found Schiff's recordings to be most memorable is in his work with Scarlatti, Haydn, Schumann, Schubert and what Beethoven, he recorded, especially the cello sonatas with Perenyi. I have never acquired his set of Beethoven 32 sonatas having so many other complete and individual recordings of those. Schiff is a rather well rounded pianist having collaborated with other artists such as singers Cecilia Bartoli, Peter Schreier, Sylvia Sass and others. All said, I believe András Schiff to be a superb pianist and artist.
Me too. And his most recent Schubert CD was one of the best of 2019.

maestrob
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Re: Schiff bio

Post by maestrob » Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:45 am

Lance wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 12:34 am
As for András Schiff in Bach's solo keyboard works, I have not been greatly enamoured, but in Bach's concerted works such as in the 1,2,3,4 piano concertos on the Hungaroton label and the Decca label, I thought to be outstanding. Certainly the solo works, such as the WTC, etc., are rendered very well and may be technically secure, but given choices, I would much rather hear Edwin Fischer, Sviatoslav Richter, Gould, Feltsman, Nikolayeva, Feinberg, Ashkenazy, or Wanda Landowska on the harpsichord. Where I have found Schiff's recordings to be most memorable is in his work with Scarlatti, Haydn, Schumann, Schubert and what Beethoven, he recorded, especially the cello sonatas with Perenyi. I have never acquired his set of Beethoven 32 sonatas having so many other complete and individual recordings of those. Schiff is a rather well rounded pianist having collaborated with other artists such as singers Cecilia Bartoli, Peter Schreier, Sylvia Sass and others. All said, I believe András Schiff to be a superb pianist and artist.
I agree with your overall assessment, Lance, but just to nitpick a bit, I find his Scarlatti quite dull, when compared to, say, Horowitz or Maria Tipo, or even the new 4CD set by Lucas Debargue. MHO, but there it is. :wink: And, I agree with Barney that Schiff's Schubert is a very strong suit.

Rach3
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Re: Schiff bio

Post by Rach3 » Tue Mar 17, 2020 10:27 am

I heard many of his Beethoven piano sonatas lectures /performances at the time broadcast and found them fascinating. Apparently still available here.You may wish to try a few out:

https://wigmore-hall.org.uk/podcasts/an ... e-recitals

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