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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Mark_C
I hope literally nobody agrees with the above.

IMHO It’s one of those posts that is only worthy of being ignored

I was going to go off, but, it's best to either ignore people like this or...

Challenge them to post some of their playing ;), I'd love to see him do better.


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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
1977 was hardly the Stone Age. There were portable cassette recorders like this Uher CR 240 that one could easily sneak into Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor and make a bootleg recording from an audience seat in the first or second row. Indeed there were even smaller cassette recorders. This Horowitz recording is the kind of sound you would get from that machine.


Yes i used some of these. But to get that type of saturation, the mic would have been really close. A front row would not give that type of result. Besides comparing the same piece played by Horowitz in a better recording shows that most of the saturation is gone and so is the banging. Even if most old recordings of Horowitz (those done in the late 30s and 40s) are not faithfull either. Thus the result is the consequence of the recording and not due to Horowitz. Thats why these recordings are not usually released officially as they are damageable to the artist. I am always amazed at how much discussion it can generate when the reliability of the source is so poor.


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As a point of comparison, the Liszt sonata in Ann Arbor and a fairly clean recording (RCA). The first one has an obvious issue of over presence of the bass that is inflated. Given that, either there was an issue of mic placement or some poor tech equipment or whatever issue, in any case i dont see what is the point of putting these extremely poor recordings on YT other than for historical completness.





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Originally Posted by pablobear
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Mark_C
I hope literally nobody agrees with the above.

IMHO It’s one of those posts that is only worthy of being ignored

I was going to go off, but, it's best to either ignore people like this or...

Challenge them to post some of their playing ;), I'd love to see him do better.


If we started asking anyone with an opinion to prove they can play better, then all of us would be subject to the same test when we have an opinion. Few would pass such a test.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
If we started asking anyone with an opinion to prove they can play better, then all of us would be subject to the same test when we have an opinion. Few would pass such a test.
And PW and sites like it would die a slow agonizing death. grin


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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by dogperson
If we started asking anyone with an opinion to prove they can play better, then all of us would be subject to the same test when we have an opinion. Few would pass such a test.
And PW and sites like it would die a slow agonizing death. grin


I was thinking more of a quick death, like the chop of a guillotine. 🤪


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This probably applies less so to this particular thread, but there have been other posts where people are too harsh of others.

There is criticism that is constructive, politely worded, well intentioned and instructive.

There is also criticism that is unreasonably harsh, mean, and meant to bring people down.

The latter is easy to hide behind a username at home.

Much harder (and braver) to put something up for the world to see.

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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by dogperson
If we started asking anyone with an opinion to prove they can play better, then all of us would be subject to the same test when we have an opinion. Few would pass such a test.
And PW and sites like it would die a slow agonizing death. grin
it will be a sudden death.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
As a point of comparison, the Liszt sonata in Ann Arbor and a fairly clean recording (RCA). The first one has an obvious issue of over presence of the bass that is inflated. Given that, either there was an issue of mic placement or some poor tech equipment or whatever issue, in any case i dont see what is the point of putting these extremely poor recordings on YT other than for historical completness.
I think that, to a considerable extent, you can reverse engineer and imagine in your head how it would have originally sounded. That's all that matters. Even listening to Rachmaninoff's piano rolls gives me ideas.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by Sidokar
As a point of comparison, the Liszt sonata in Ann Arbor and a fairly clean recording (RCA). The first one has an obvious issue of over presence of the bass that is inflated. Given that, either there was an issue of mic placement or some poor tech equipment or whatever issue, in any case i dont see what is the point of putting these extremely poor recordings on YT other than for historical completness.
I think that, to a considerable extent, you can reverse engineer and imagine in your head how it would have originally sounded. That's all that matters. Even listening to Rachmaninoff's piano rolls gives me ideas.

Well you can certainly create a wonderful imaginary version, but thats just your version not the reality. I am not denying that certain elements can be interesting but many others are quite misleading. In any case one has to be carefull drawing conclusions out of old recordings that obviously have definite issues.


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The real issue for me is that the OP and a few others seemed to think the first recording posted on this thread was really terrific despite what I would call the banging and far too extreme dynamic contrast(whether caused by poor equipment or Horowitz himself). If the composer's markings range from ff to pp, I don't see why playing what most would call fff and ppp is something desirable or even hard to do and especially when the score is just marked f or p. To me, it's just willful playing for effect.

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Originally Posted by pablobear
Have you ever been to a concert? I think it's really easy to feel this out and understand what this means. I never understood it, until I went to my first concert this Sunday. And, INSTANTLY, I noticed what everyone means by it. If you're a great pianist, you are able to control the mood in the room, its a visceral feeling that is sent across the whole room. The concert I went to, the pianists who played couldn't really control the mood or change it. Although technically, their performance was solid and likely followed score to a tee, to me it was a bit lackluster, because I don't feel the level of artistry that is shown in these recordings. Listen to any pianist from Chopin Comp today play this piece, I listened to nearly all of them, and was not impressed with one.
I think you have some interesting opinions. It's my view that you should follow your ear wherever it leads. You can't superimpose a foreign idea of mastery onto your own playing and expect it to be great. It's very valuable to have opinions, and they will change with time. Obviously, Horowitz will be much better than whoever performed at the recital you attended. He's also better than any of the competitors in the Chopin competition, and I think that any pianist worth their salt will agree with that.

What people usually mean by banging is playing with a forceful, harsh attack, which creates a rather unpleasant and harsh tone. You can play loud, even ff or fff without banging. Of course, the harshness can be used as a special effect, but that needs to be done carefully and needs to be intentional.

Controlling the mood in a room -- well, ultimately, it is subtle musical decisions which create that effect. I'll try to list the factors I think that go into it:
- You have better understanding of harmony, which involves e.g. pointing out voice leading, additional melodic lines and good voicing of polyphonic textures, which really bring out multiple voices, phrase them well, and also highlight resolutions.

- You have an increased confidence in going to extreme dynamic ranges, and more control at those ranges. For example, this includes playing very soft without losing the melody, or very loud without coming across as aggressive.

- There's more attention paid to projection, which is sort of related to what you were pointing out. The pianist knows exactly how much he needs to bring out the melody in a large vs small hall, for example. The pianist is very aware of how the sound bounces off and reverberates in a particular hall, and can adjust pedaling accordingly.

- Again, phrasing is a very big thing. Excellent and somewhat daring phrasing comes across really well and can be really special. You can imitate the timbres of various instruments/voice. And so on.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by pablobear
Have you ever been to a concert? I think it's really easy to feel this out and understand what this means. I never understood it, until I went to my first concert this Sunday. And, INSTANTLY, I noticed what everyone means by it. If you're a great pianist, you are able to control the mood in the room, its a visceral feeling that is sent across the whole room. The concert I went to, the pianists who played couldn't really control the mood or change it. Although technically, their performance was solid and likely followed score to a tee, to me it was a bit lackluster, because I don't feel the level of artistry that is shown in these recordings. Listen to any pianist from Chopin Comp today play this piece, I listened to nearly all of them, and was not impressed with one.
I think you have some interesting opinions. It's my view that you should follow your ear wherever it leads. You can't superimpose a foreign idea of mastery onto your own playing and expect it to be great. It's very valuable to have opinions, and they will change with time. Obviously, Horowitz will be much better than whoever performed at the recital you attended. He's also better than any of the competitors in the Chopin competition, and I think that any pianist worth their salt will agree with that.

What people usually mean by banging is playing with a forceful, harsh attack, which creates a rather unpleasant and harsh tone. You can play loud, even ff or fff without banging. Of course, the harshness can be used as a special effect, but that needs to be done carefully and needs to be intentional.

Controlling the mood in a room -- well, ultimately, it is subtle musical decisions which create that effect. I'll try to list the factors I think that go into it:
- You have better understanding of harmony, which involves e.g. pointing out voice leading, additional melodic lines and good voicing of polyphonic textures, which really bring out multiple voices, phrase them well, and also highlight resolutions.

- You have an increased confidence in going to extreme dynamic ranges, and more control at those ranges. For example, this includes playing very soft without losing the melody, or very loud without coming across as aggressive.

- There's more attention paid to projection, which is sort of related to what you were pointing out. The pianist knows exactly how much he needs to bring out the melody in a large vs small hall, for example. The pianist is very aware of how the sound bounces off and reverberates in a particular hall, and can adjust pedaling accordingly.

- Again, phrasing is a very big thing. Excellent and somewhat daring phrasing comes across really well and can be really special. You can imitate the timbres of various instruments/voice. And so on.

Yeah you understand what controlling the mood is. You were able to articulate much better than I could.. Best

Last edited by pablobear; 10/29/21 02:14 AM.

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Started piano during COVID, hopefully I can play Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, and Scriabin compositions one day...
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Originally Posted by spk
This probably applies less so to this particular thread, but there have been other posts where people are too harsh of others.

There is criticism that is constructive, politely worded, well intentioned and instructive.

There is also criticism that is unreasonably harsh, mean, and meant to bring people down.

The latter is easy to hide behind a username at home.

Much harder (and braver) to put something up for the world to see.

I never go for that line generally, but tbh I think I'm going to start using it more, especially when I get better.

If you're going to criticize a master dismissively/snobbily you better have at least something interesting to back it up. I understand you can have a great ear, and not be a great player, but, you need to understand these masters have just as good of a ear if not better, and are better at playing.. So, if you're going to be for a lack of a better word -- a c*ckhead, you better be able to back up some of that cockheadery.

Even if there is someone whos playing I find not that interesting, I would NEVER speak for them. Even if I dislike someone's playing, and find it boring, I still respect them immensley, because, to be honest, until I can play as well as them, I have not much of a say in these matters.

Even for positive criticism, like in this thread, I don't really have much of a say, and understand my opinion does not hold that much weight or water. But, I will never assert anything with 100% confidence like that guy did. The reason it may come off as I have these strong opinions, is because, to be fair I think my ideas on interpretation holds some weight, since I've listened to a lot of stuff and have some sense of style or understanding that I enjoy, which others do as well. But, I also understand it's just a part of my journey, and maybe one day I will be sucking off Schiff, Zimmerman, Barenboim, Kissin (tbf he's got some great recordings) etc. instead of Horowitz, Cortot, Neuhaus, etc.. I don't think I will be, but, I'm always open to challenging my beliefs, and as I learn more I can see myself evolving in this way...


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Originally Posted by pablobear
Yeah you understand what controlling the mood is. You were able to articulate much better than I could.. Best
Great pianists do not attempt to control the room. They are not attempting to control the audience. That phrase implies wanting some kind of power over the audience. They do hope the audience will be moved, thrilled, pleased by, and involved with their playing and the composer's music. They hope their playing will arouse an emotional and/or intellectual response. They hope what they are trying to express in the music will be understood by the audience.

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They do read the room and bounce energy off the audience though. Sort of like a great professor adjusting their lecture based on what they sense from the audience.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
They do read the room and bounce energy off the audience though. Sort of like a great professor adjusting their lecture based on what they sense from the audience.
Saying that a pianist enjoys a responsive audience and it helps their playing or that the audience enjoys a pianist who can communicate with them or arouse some emotional response is certainly true and obvious. But it's a far cry from saying the pianist wants to control the room. Most good, serious classical pianists will not adjust their playing much or probably at all based on the audience's reactions.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ranjit
They do read the room and bounce energy off the audience though. Sort of like a great professor adjusting their lecture based on what they sense from the audience.
Saying that a pianist enjoys a responsive audience and it helps their playing or that the audience enjoys a pianist who can communicate with them or arouse some emotional response is certainly true and obvious. But it's a far cry from saying the pianist wants to control the room. Most good, serious classical pianists will not adjust their playing much or probably at all based on the audience's reactions.

I think it's really a semantic disagreement at this point, we both acknowledge this thing exists.

It's not like they desire power over the audience in an authoritarian sense, but they want power to spellbind the audience and captivate them I guess.

We can use a bunch of words to say this stuff, and look at it a bunch of ways, but, you will know if someone is doing it.

The best example I can imagine is.

Beethoven 16th sonata in g maj, for the piano da da da part, and the F da da da part.

You should feel the contrast in your body of each of the phrases.(premise 1) We can call this just basic dynamic contrast or having confidence to go at extreme dynamic ranges.

Or we can just say that they are trying to please the audience by playing the piece properly.


I think we all agree with premise 1, but what we probably have different perceptions of what it's called.

Also, something funny I saw in a video today.

Liszt said he plays in three ways
-as composer intended (exactly as writtten)
-as compposer intended but with consideration of modern instruments (probably use pedal for prelude in C for bach, but probably light pedal, and still keep rhythm everything even whatever bla bla)
-then doing the extreme to please an audience (playing like a charlatan)

Even Liszt, for the time would say the way to do it is playing fast. For me, for the third one, I think I don't really care about fast tempi, in certain context going as fast as you can be interesting... But, I think one of the most important thing is the extreme contrasts and overall poetry..

If you've ever listened to ervin nyiregyhazi, that is a style that I enjoy and think he does this in a tasteful way. I'm sure you probably aren't a fan, but, this is what is beautiful, because we are all entitled to our own subjective interpretation of music. Also, from what we know about Anton Rubinstein, it seems like he played closer to this style as well. Grotesque to you, may be epic to someone else...



edit: quick note about the Liszt thing, I think you Rubinstein would also agree with this as well. In order to do 3, you must be able to play it perfectly exactly as written, and that should be your first reading of a new piece ideally. But, once this is done, you have the freedom, or have unlocked the keys to the lamborghini to play like a fool, if it will elevate the performance...

Best

Last edited by pablobear; 10/29/21 03:26 PM.

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Originally Posted by pablobear
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ranjit
They do read the room and bounce energy off the audience though. Sort of like a great professor adjusting their lecture based on what they sense from the audience.
Saying that a pianist enjoys a responsive audience and it helps their playing or that the audience enjoys a pianist who can communicate with them or arouse some emotional response is certainly true and obvious. But it's a far cry from saying the pianist wants to control the room. Most good, serious classical pianists will not adjust their playing much or probably at all based on the audience's reactions.
I think it's really a semantic disagreement at this point, we both acknowledge this thing exists. It's not like they desire power over the audience in an authoritarian sense, but they want power to spellbind the audience and captivate them I guess.
It may or may not be a semantic difference but how you say something does make a difference. If you had expressed things the way I did, no one would have disagree and everyone would think it was obvious.

Control of any type does imply some power. That kind of phrasing might be more applicable to some less distinguished 19th century classical pianists, especially the ones who played almost exclusively their bombastic transcriptions or to some contemporary pop music performers. Although many of great pianists have large egos, I don't think performing is primarily an ego trip for most of them.

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