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Kyohei Sorita was impressive. Beautifully played. Mature and experienced with orchestra playing.

Also looking forward to seeing Aimi Kobayashi. Wanna see how she has improved the same concerto since 2015.

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One of the issue in that competition is that there is a large range of participants in terms of age and maturity. This is particularly obvious in the concerto. Some participants are 26 or 27 years old thus have already 10 years more experience than others. One can not expect someone like Rao to be as mature and experienced as Sorita, no matter how good he is.

Even though it is difficult to put it aside, I think the behavior and experience with orchestra as a criteria should be tempered and be more focused on the actual musical outcome.

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I've been thinking the same listening to yesterday's performances. Is it at all possible to strip the difference in experience from judging the outcome?

With orchestral playing, it's always a two-way feedback. Not only the pianist plays differently if he/she is already experienced in concerto setting, but the orchestra also performs differently with such artist, affecting the whole effect.

Some experienced pianists can then sound lesser than one would expect granted their experience, some exceed expectations granted lack of it.

For now, I put my trust in the judges and sit back to enjoy the sheer amount of exciting performances instead.


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Originally Posted by Mati
I've been thinking the same listening to yesterday's performances. Is it at all possible to strip the difference in experience from judging the outcome?

With orchestral playing, it's always a two-way feedback. Not only the pianist plays differently if he/she is already experienced in concerto setting, but the orchestra also performs differently with such artist, affecting the whole effect.

Some experienced pianists can then sound lesser than one would expect granted their experience, some exceed expectations granted lack of it.

Yes, i agree with you. The musical outcome is also the result in part of the quality of interaction between the pianist and the orchestra, thus experience may give a bonus. It is impossible to entangle musical skills and experience, and i dont think it should be. But on the other hand, i think that purely behavioral criteria should be tempered. Gadjiev, Sorita are 27, Kobayashi 26, Armellini 29 and Rao is 17. He cant compete at the experience level. If the musical outcome is less successful, then the rating should be so accordingly, but he shouldnt be penalized purely on his behavior at the piano.

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After brief listening from yeterdays finals I am somehow split between Armellini and Sorita. Rao was good too, but he was missing here and there some small but important things, rubatos etc. Still plenty of time for him to be learned though.

Least liked was Pacholec performance - he is 23 and his rendition was down to earth, mature but bit bland and was lacking that flow of young happy Chopin, no happiness in finale. In total points I would put his performance on par with Rao - he was too mature and too calm, Rao very good young playing but missing details which Chopin's needs to have. For me these were equally good but on the opposite sides.

Armellini / Sorita though call.

Waiting for others, as Armellini (who is star going fast forward for Top3 here) is not my cup of tea and I am not impressed by her playing as most of the people.

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Let me add a few words about playing with an orchestra (in any circumstance, no less in a competition): it's a very frustrating experience and is rarely what it's made out to be. We see playing a concerto as the pinnacle of our artform and a vehicle of maximum exposure for our personalities. The reality is that it's often extremely stressful from every angle. The conductor might not be able to follow your tempo (or worse, rush), the winds might be out of tune and throw you off, some sections of the orchestra might miss entrances, etc. In my experience, it's basically a test of being able to play very securely playing in tempo and hoping that the ensemble can stay with you. The times I felt most comfortable playing with orchestra were Classical concerti where it's hopefully "set it and forget it" as far as the tempo and ensemble goes. In Chopin and most other Romantic concerti, you're dealing with so many more layers of potential problems (one time while playing the Barber concerto, the orchestra I was working with spontaneously decided that the 5/8 movement should be in 6/8...).

So yes, the extra experience in playing with an orchestra helps, but that's part of a competition. One can always wait until they're 25 or 26 and more experienced, but then that leaves you only a few years left to try big ones. I don't think Hao Rao or Pacholec suffered from ensemble issues or a lack of playing as a soloist; Pacholec was just too cautious and maybe Hao Rao got too excited in places. The orchestra was with them most of the time.

Watching Armellini again last night, the conductor clearly went out of his way to make a magical, memorable performance for her (which, on second viewing, I now see happened), whereas Sorita was in charge of his own performance and made the orchestra follow him, having played the piece 30 times (and again, he absolutely slayed it on a technical and artistic level). As others have said, tough call between the two.

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So is the main value of experience playing with an orchestra the ability to coordinate with the orchestra, e.g. being able to either lead the orchestra with one's playing or adjust one's tempo if the orchestra starts rushing or is not following you, etc.?

I've also wondered if the conductor is performing a concerto with so many different pianists if he uses a different score each time that he's marked with the soloists preferences?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 10/19/21 09:02 AM.
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Originally Posted by Brendan
Watching Armellini again last night, the conductor clearly went out of his way to make a magical, memorable performance for her (which, on second viewing, I now see happened), whereas Sorita was in charge of his own performance and made the orchestra follow him, having played the piece 30 times (and again, he absolutely slayed it on a technical and artistic level). As others have said, tough call between the two.
Can you expand a little on what you mean when you say the conductor went out of his way to make a memorable performance? Also, how does a pianist like Sorita take charge?

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Decent but at times insecure playing from Bui. Fantastic performance given his age, but technically and artistically not nearly as mature as Sorita/Armellini which is understandable given the age gap. Given his excellent previous rounds, perhaps a lower prize winner (5/6th)?

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I agree, it didn't compare to the performances yesterday. Gadjiev was very interesting and probing, as expected. Even though we've heard only E minor, I wasn't blown away by F minor as a piece of music as I hoped I would (it's clearly inferior, aside from the slow movement). Sorita is still the front runner as of now, IMO.

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Wow, Martin Garcia Garcia. The most satisfying performance so far. Bravo!

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Yeah really impressed with Garcia Garcia. Wasn't a big fan going into this round but he KILLED IT! Really showed the kind of showpiece the f minor can really be. The third movement was magical as was the slow movement. His touch was amazing.


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Is this the “B” orchestra?

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Originally Posted by APianistHasNoName
Yeah really impressed with Garcia Garcia. Wasn't a big fan going into this round but he KILLED IT! Really showed the kind of showpiece the f minor can really be. The third movement was magical as was the slow movement. His touch was amazing.

Agreed! He was kind of the sleeper from today's roster and stood out with the F minor concerto as both a piece and a foil to so many E minor (convinced me more than Gadjiev's did).

Listening to Eva now and finding it very conservative/safe and not as compelling as the others.

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I know this year's finalists are very fine performers, but compared to the finalists 6 years ago, I am not as impressed. Is it just me?

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Chiming in for the first time in this thread.

Tonight's star was undoubtedly Martin Garcia Garcia, who was simply amazing. He quite stunned me as in the previous rounds I was not super impressed by him - very musical approach but somewhat sloppy and maybe too exaggerated. But in the f minor concerto he absolutely shined, this has to take him high on the podium.

Gevorgyan gave a solid performance of the e minor concerto, though I overall I still have some reservations about her. As expected she's technically superb, but somehow I find it hard to feel moved by her playing. In the previous round I actually really disliked her playing (esp. of the mazurkas and her sonata), which I felt were way too heavy and harsh. But today she did a better job. Could end up close to the podium.

I was quite disappointed by Gadjiev, whom I liked a lot in the previous round, but I felt like he let it down quite a bit with this concerto. It could also be partly due to the Kawai, which I generally like but perhaps not so much for the f minor concerto. Also there were quite a large number of mistakes, so I'd say Gadjiev is unfortunately out for a high prize.

I didn't listen to all of Bui's playing, but felt it was overall a good performance though with some issues. Probably not a high prize but might just reach the podium.

Last edited by PianoEntropy; 10/19/21 02:36 PM.

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Another vote for Garcia Garcia - so much charm and grace in his reading of the F Minor Concerto.

There were memorable moments from all 3 of the younger set.


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Didn't listen to Garcia Garcia, but Gevorgian was OMG.

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Eva left me mostly unimpressed today, with sound suiting Tchaikovsky more than Chopin. At least that was my first picture I got in my had.

Very sad for Gadjiev, his reading of the concerto had beautiful moments, but overall was riddled with mistakes and continuity issues of the whole idea. He felt stressed and not on his good day. I was hugely impressed by his earlier rounds.

Garcia Garcia though - he was something else. Exquisite.


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Yeah, I think they might make history with either the first Japanese or first Spanish winner.

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