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The Best Playing ____

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The Best Playing ____

Postby juufa72 on Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:02 pm

Hello all,

I am in the process of collecting music. I want to know what CDs I should be paying attention to and what I should avoid.

Here is a list of composers I want to get. You tell me which pianist is best playing the composer's music. (One pianist to composer is enough for me thanks...afterall CDs are kind of expensive)

The italics is who I believe brings out the best of the composer's music.


Bach
Beethoven
Brahms- Kissin
Chopin- Rubinstein
Clementi
Grieg
Handel
Haydn
Liszt
Mendelssohn
Mozart
Scarlatti
Schubert
Schumann
C.M. v. Weber
Bartok
Rachmaninov
Saint-Saens
Tchaikovsky


Thanks
-the juuf
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Postby PJF on Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:23 am

You can't go wrong with Garrick Ohlsson or Murray Perhaia for Chopin.

Steer clear of Idil Biret's Rachmaninoff, it's atrocious (what the hell is her publicist thinking?)

Pollini is really good at Beethoven and a little flat in his early Chopin. His later Chopin recordings are very, very good.

For Bach, Angela Hewitt has a new recording of The Well Tempered Clavier that is wonderful.

Juana Zayas is underrated. I particularly like her Mozart.

Olga Kern is overrated, IMO. Her Rachmaninoff is sloppy. I've seen her in concert, to my exasperation. She plays with so much tension, I wonder how she avoids tendonitis.

For a pleasantly nauseating experience, listen to Gould.

Gyorgy Sandor has recorded all of Bela Bartok's music. He knew the composer intimately, so I trust his interpretations.

There are, of course, too many great (and truly awful) albums to list here. Amazon.com has customer reviews of just about everything it sells. I have never been dissapointed when using the reviews as my guide.
Per Sapientiam Felicitas!

Pete
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Re: The Best Playing ____

Postby lol_nl on Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:52 pm

juufa72 wrote:Bach
Beethoven
Brahms- Kissin
Chopin- Rubinstein
Clementi
Grieg
Handel
Haydn
Liszt
Mendelssohn
Mozart
Scarlatti
Schubert
Schumann
C.M. v. Weber
Bartok
Rachmaninov
Saint-Saens
Tchaikovsky


Thanks
-the juuf



Bach - Glenn Gould, or if you can't stand him, Andras Schiff or Murray Perahia

Beethoven - Giles or Richter if you want to enjoy their playing, Brendel or Schnabel if you want to know how a Beethoven Sonata sounds.

Brahms- Kissin. Also check out Julius Katchen.

Chopin- Rubinstein. There are so many great Chopin interpreters in the world. Buy Zimerman for the Ballades.

Haydn - Alfred Brendel (or Sviatoslav Richter)

Liszt - Jorge Bolet, Georges Cziffra. Also listen to Berezovsky's TEs.

Mozart - For the Sonatas, Maria Joao Pires. For the concertos, Alfred Brendel or Geza Anda.

Scarlatti - Dinu Lipatti, Christian Zacharias, etc.

Schubert - Radu Lupu, Sviatoslav Richter

Schumann - ask elf

Rachmaninov - Rachmaninov!

Tchaikovsky - Pletnev
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Postby juufa72 on Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:23 pm

I cannot stand Cziffra!!! I shake my head in disgust when I hear his Hungarian Rhapsodies! Horrible! He just shows off his skill and ignores the music! I want to put some words in here but I cannot because I would be scorned for doing so! *puke*!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Where can I find Rachmaninov playing Rachmaninov? :D
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Postby elvenpianist on Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:03 pm

juufa72 wrote:I cannot stand Cziffra!!! I shake my head in disgust when I hear his Hungarian Rhapsodies! Horrible! He just shows off his skill and ignores the music! I want to put some words in here but I cannot because I would be scorned for doing so! *puke*!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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good

LORD

-elf
~Clara Glennette Georgiana Fiorkapatti

"Those little weirdnesses... Schumann- QUIRKY!" -David Dubal

"I am convinced that Bach is the greatest genius who ever walked among us." -Douglas Adams
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Postby juufa72 on Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:31 pm

Yes, I see that we do not agree on a few facts of life. But let's face it, I firmly believe that Liszt would be insulted by how Cziffra interprets the Rhapsodies. Sure they are bombastic, but frankly, this is overkill.

Anyone want to buy my Cziffra H.Rhapsodie CD? $10, only listened to it once. Bought it for $18. What a waste of my money.
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Postby trouillards on Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:51 pm

juufa72 wrote:Yes, I see that we do not agree on a few facts of life. But let's face it, I firmly believe that Liszt would be insulted by how Cziffra interprets the Rhapsodies. Sure they are bombastic, but frankly, this is overkill.

Come on, you're talking about the composer who wrote grand galop chromatiqe... and Cziffra isn't overkill, Lang Lang is.

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Postby elvenpianist on Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:12 pm

trouillards wrote:
juufa72 wrote:Yes, I see that we do not agree on a few facts of life. But let's face it, I firmly believe that Liszt would be insulted by how Cziffra interprets the Rhapsodies. Sure they are bombastic, but frankly, this is overkill.

Come on, you're talking about the composer who wrote grand galop chromatiqe... and Cziffra isn't overkill, Lang Lang is.


Lang Lang isn't overkill, LL's just dead.

bwahahaha

-elf
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"Those little weirdnesses... Schumann- QUIRKY!" -David Dubal

"I am convinced that Bach is the greatest genius who ever walked among us." -Douglas Adams
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Re: The Best Playing ____

Postby elvenpianist on Thu Sep 28, 2006 11:24 pm

Bach- Gould, Aldwell, Fiorentino
Beethoven- Gilels, Bruce Hungerford ( Brahms- Actually, what I've heard of Zimmerman's Brahms has been very very good. I don't know Brahms's works well, though, so that's all I can say on that score.
Chopin- Kapell, Lipatti, Rubenstein, Zimerman, Gilels, Cziffra, Friedman, Magaloff, Cortot... am I forgetting someone?
Liszt- Cziffra, Fiorentino
Mozart- Clara Haskil, Lipatti
Scarlatti- Pogolerich is actually very good, and has a whole CD of Scarlatti's stuff. Also check out Lipatti, Kapell, Gould, Haskil, etc.
Schumann- depends on your personal sanity balance preference. Very sane- Kempff; fairly sane- Cortot; pretty insane- Pollini, Fiorentino, Cziffra, Argerich, etc. (I like pretty insane, myself 8))

Psht you left out too many of my favorite composers. :P
~Clara Glennette Georgiana Fiorkapatti

"Those little weirdnesses... Schumann- QUIRKY!" -David Dubal

"I am convinced that Bach is the greatest genius who ever walked among us." -Douglas Adams
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Postby Goldberg on Fri Sep 29, 2006 4:12 am

juufa72 wrote:I cannot stand Cziffra!!! I shake my head in disgust when I hear his Hungarian Rhapsodies! Horrible! He just shows off his skill and ignores the music! I want to put some words in here but I cannot because I would be scorned for doing so! *puke*!!!!!!!!!!!!!


A brilliant analysis of one of the greatest pianists and musicians who has ever walked the Earth. Your vast intellect and eloquent writing has cut deep into the heart of the matter and has made me turn my back on Cziffra altogether! Oh, what would I be if not for people like you to illuminate the path for me?!

:roll:

I suppose I might be quasi-kidding, I mean I believe that each person is entitled to his own opinion and should be allowed to defend it, but honestly, I have to wonder how much time you've put into seriously listening to Cziffra's work, or how well you know Liszt's composition and style, etc. What *exactly* is it about Cziffra that you don't like? To me it seems commonplace, regretfully, to discard him as a bombastic, flamboyant, speed demon of a brainless pianist. Is that your criticism of him? Then I ask you to tell me why. Do you know how seriously he took his art? How much he practiced and practiced, and how much he performed all of the pieces before he recorded them, all to make sure that they were perfect? To me, his interpretations always cut to the heart of the matter and reveal the pieces for what they should be (not always what they are, if that makes sense). They are a mixture of intellect, passion, and technical perfection. People think that technical perfection makes a pianist uninteresting, which I think is highly incorrect. Any pianist, like Cziffra, who has tremendous respect and love for the performance art, as well as the work of the composers whose music they play, will work as hard as they can to play the pieces with utmost perfection.

I think you'll find that, objectively speaking, Cziffra was truly one of the greatest interpreters and pianists of the 20th century. His pedalling technique is beyond extraordinary; it is godlike. That is one of the first things I mention in order to illustrate how unique and masterful he was as a pianist, and his Mazeppa is one of the best, most accessible examples of this (as well as everything he played, with the possible exception, I admit, of the 4th Chopin ballade and a few of his later recordings, made when he was probably experimenting with different pedal effects which didn't always end up as the best options). His dynamic range is enormous, and he can weight chords any way he pleases, bringing out different voices and sonorities and colors like an orchestra conductor. But he is subtler than that; he leaves things to the imagination. He doesn't spoonfeed his colors to his audience like a Horowitz or a Kissin (and by the way, I don't mean to slander either one of those pianists; I am myself rather fond of Horowitz, although he's not one of my favorites--and he was a brilliant colorist) but instead, in most cases, backs off and let the music speak for itself. Witness his Mephisto Waltz. He uses sparse pedal and an occasionally harsh tone which gives the work a very raw, dry edge and distinctly yellow (in my mind) color. It's very powerful. Or hear his Fantasie-Polonaise, filled with subtle shadings that works itself into your consciousness very slowly, unlike Horowitz's brashly defiant recording, which excites me, but does not leave me as moved as Cziffra's does.

Cziffra devoted himself not only to the scores themselves, but even more importantly (imo) to the study of the composers themselves. He was intimately connected with Liszt in such a way that the two were almost interchangeable, and I strongly believe that Cziffra's spirit was Liszt's spirit, in the sense that the former interpreted Liszt's exactly the same way as Liszt would have himself. This goes beyond integrity to the score, which can only dictate so much--it is integrity to the MAN, Liszt, who co-existed as a composer and a virtuoso pianist who changed scores on the fly, and improvised freely within his own works. Cziffra does this with brilliant fluency and imagination. He also performs Chopin with the same tempered, even control with which one could imagine Chopin playing his own works, and he brings out Schumann's capriciousness expertly. The list goes on and on.

That his technique was perfect and fluid--and the fact that he COULD play fast (and it should be said that he only played fast when it rightly complemented the composition)--remain second to the musical ideas which the technique served. He would sometimes be angry when people complimented his technique, and said that he essentially only worked hard on technical problems in order to ensure that his interpretations wouldn't be overshadowed by technical weaknesses--and so it was throughout his career. I think a lot of people got jealous of his naturally brilliant technique, and so criticized him for being the equivalent of a brutish technique monster who only played fast and bangy repertoire. On the other hand, I think he remained modest and humble, and never "showed off" his technique, but only allowed it to expand to reach the full extent of his vast imagination.

If there's one criticism I could find to raise against Cziffra, it's that his recorded and performed repertoire remained small, and was usually limited to popular repertoire. It is, however, a well-known fact that at home, Cziffra played through just about everything imaginable, including Alkan, which was too unknown at the time to really be performed anyway.

Well, I don't know if any of that actually means anything to you. I probably shouldn't have wasted so much time typing that out, since it probably won't make a difference. After all, you're so close-minded as to have admitted to hearing your Hungarian Rhapsody disc only once, and then passing judgement on a genius performer based on that. What makes you think that you have the right to so arrogantly criticise no lesser man and artist than Cziffra himself, after only hearing, what, an hour and a half of his music?

And, another thing. Say what you mean, for God's sake. Who cares if you're "scorned" for it afterwards? You got scorned anyway, for having such a careless opinion of a tremendous artist.
One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.
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You know, some people just have natural talents-like some people play the piano but aren't very tall.
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Postby Brewtality on Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:02 am

juufa72 wrote:I cannot stand Cziffra!!! I shake my head in disgust when I hear his Hungarian Rhapsodies! Horrible! He just shows off his skill and ignores the music! I want to put some words in here but I cannot because I would be scorned for doing so! *puke*!!!!!!!!!!!!!


thank you for reminding me why I avoid this place.

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Postby Thracozaag on Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:50 pm

Bravo on a well-reasoned, impassioned rebuttal, Goldberg (and done in far more civil a tone than I would have employed). My only quibble is your statement regarding the small nature of Cziffra's repertoire. While, certainly, when compared to say, Arrau or Richter, his ouevre was far smaller, his repertoire did include basically everything from Baroque (his Scarlatti is wonderful) to Ravel. And as you pointed out, he did play through vast other amounts of music at home (like Horowitz).

koji

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Postby Thracozaag on Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:01 pm

As an addendum, I should state that one of the amazing facets of Cziffra's art is the unbelievably consistenly high level of his performances throughout his career--a testament not only to his incredible work ethic, but to his intergrity, as well.

koji

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Postby MI_5 on Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:07 pm

There are so many awesome Chopin pianists.

Definitely Glenn Gould for Bach.
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