View Poll Results: Who is your favourite old-time pianist?

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  • Rubinstein

    6 10.53%
  • Backhaus

    2 3.51%
  • Horowitz

    15 26.32%
  • Kempff

    3 5.26%
  • Arrau

    4 7.02%
  • Richter

    4 7.02%
  • Gilels

    2 3.51%
  • Gould

    3 5.26%
  • Argerich

    4 7.02%
  • Pollini

    0 0%
  • Cziffra

    3 5.26%
  • Curzon

    0 0%
  • Haskil

    1 1.75%
  • Ashkenazy

    1 1.75%
  • Michelangeli

    0 0%
  • Schnabel

    1 1.75%
  • Casadeus

    0 0%
  • Gulda

    1 1.75%
  • Serkin

    2 3.51%
  • Others

    5 8.77%
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Thread: Your favourite old-time pianist

  1. #1
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Hello all,

    Whats your favourite pianist in old times? (Though some artists are still living)

  2. #2
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    I think it's hard to list all the great pianists of our times... TOO MANY unforgettably good ones.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Sure it is, but maybe there could crystilize some tendences. But thats a problem in general: So many composers and interprets are unknown! For example: in classic up to romantic epoche around 10000 symphonies were written. But only 1-2000 are better known.

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    Yeah, I agree.
    I think Horowitz is going to emerge top.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Yup, followed by Gould and Backhaus.

    What do you think of Gould? I dont like all recordings but some are only wonderful (Bach and the Brahms 1 st concert with Bernstein )

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    Ok, I think this is what everybody will agree about Gould... NOBODY can be or is as propulsive as him, yet hold it altogether nicely. And what I like abt his interpretation of Bach is that no 2 fast dances in each suite are quite the same. Gould is really fascinating to listen to. He can be powerful and fiery without being agressive, and light and spirited but crystal clear at the same time. But there are people who not necessarily agree with his interpretation or phrasing rather, esp. at slower movements. He's often too fast for heartfelt reflections. Some percieve his playing as unmusical. I still find him interesting however, and Gloud has proven himself on several occassions that his playing can be highly poetic too. His counterpoint playing, no doubt is superb, but his softer passages are quite poignant at times. And one great thing about him is he observes repeats. I have 2nd thoughts about pianists who skip repeats, esp. so when it's part of a bigger thing, and leaves u feeling rather incomplete.
    Gould never fails to fascinate me. I think if we're talking about Bach...then this is masterful music in Gould's hands. But perhaps we should not forget some of his greatest contemporaries. They did a wonderful, if not better interpretation of Bach than Gould : Robert Levin, Andras Schiff, Gustav Leonhardt, Peter Watchorn, Murray Perahia, Martha Argerich, Maria Joao Pires, Mieczyslaw, Ivo Pogorelich, Horszowski and Angela Hewitt.
    I think Perahia is the overall best choice. He delivers a high degree of power in addition to fine poetry and lyricism...So Gould may not be a good source to listen to, if yr thinking of playing Bach for exams. He may be slightly too eccentric for that occassion.
    LOL...Talking about Bernstein.. I once heard a recoding of Bernstein playing Gershwin's Prelude. It's brilliant, and even better than Gershwin's own recodings. I wondered how strange it must be for one's contemporary to play and record their creations? The idea's just funny to me... Leonard Berstein playing Gershwin??? :0

  7. #7
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Yes, i agree in Gould with you, DW. Another interesting point: Gould and Beethoven. His recordings of the Liszt transcripton of the symphonies....I really like them. The Pastorale: he plays the 2 nd movement in 23 min (actually metronome would say 12-14 min) and also much slower in other movements, but this Symphony gets to a REAL Pastorale.

    Gould was also a very good writer (Said about himself: A Canadian author who plays the piano in his free time :P). I am reading some essays and articles by him right now. Though i can't agree with him in all points (like usual) its interesing to follow his way of thoughts, and the WAY how he does it.

    Bernstein and Gerschwin...lol...must take a look for that recording. By the way: heard Bernstein once on an old LP with the g-minor Symphonie of Mozart. The only recording which catches the drive in right way i think.

    Maybe we should mention also Clara Haskil. Her so clear and cultural touch in Beethoven... Huh, so many to mention

  8. #8
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    Another interesting point: Gould and Beethoven. His recordings of the Liszt transcripton of the symphonies....I really like them. The Pastorale: he plays the 2 nd movement in 23 min (actually metronome would say 12-14 min) and also much slower in other movements, but this Symphony gets to a REAL Pastorale.
    Yes... U have no idea how much I agree with u. Gould's playing can be suprising reflective at 'essential' times.
    There's this one pianist I hate to listen to when it comes to Baeethoven and Bach... Alfred Bran??? Alfred Brandel/Brandon???
    I find this speedster rather unmusical, and he tends to deviate from Beethoven's original intentions too much... Esp. where pulsation and rhythm is concerned. But I like his Mannheim feel for some of Beethoven's early works, which goes to show how much one understands of Beethoven's outputs( which generally can be classified into 3-5 periods ).
    I haven't read Glenn's essays b4... Hey feed me in the details. I'm sure it will be interesting and enriching. And u were saying a recording with Berstein? As in he plays Bernstein? Or some kind of collaboration between the 2? Feed me in. :P
    U know the funny thing abt Bernstein? He established himself so much as a composer, that people often 'forgotten' the fact that he's quite an accomplished pianist also. It justs feels weird to see Berstein's name as performer.

    Maybe we should mention also Clara Haskil. Her so clear and cultural touch in Beethoven... Huh, so many to mention
    Definately... Clara Haskil. What other pianists do u recommend for Beethoven? :P
    I think Beethoven is one of the most 'over-recorded' composers. There are sooo many 'bad' recordings out there. Maybe bad is too strong a word. But they don't really reflect Beethoven. They are either too 'straightfoward' or too 'lush'.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    There's this one pianist I hate to listen to when it comes to Baeethoven and Bach... Alfred Bran??? Alfred Brandel/Brandon???
    Oh yes Alfred Brendel....well i can't say to him much, because i didn't listen to him...LOL.
    (*knows what to listen through at the next shopping day*)

    And u were saying a recording with Berstein?
    Yes his perfomance of the Brahms 1 st piano concert with Bernstein as conducter. Before that concert, Bernstein held a speech, beginning with the words: "Don't be frightened, Mr Gould is here...." Afterwards he went on with the reason why he held that speech: Because Gould's interpretation of the Brahms is so different and unconventional that he felt to hold a speech to say that he doesn't agree with Gould in many points. "Who is the boss" Bernstein asked. His answer is easy. Sometimes it's the soloist, sometime the conducter. Then he goes on, why HE conducted not an assistant or somewhat. Because Goulds interpretation is so amazing and shows so many new aspects, that it is worth to cunduct and show the world.

    And indeed it is worth. Though Gould plays it slooooooooooowly (25:49 for 1 st mov, 13:45 for 2 nd, and 13:47 for 3 rd mov) it is only wonderful for me. So much tension i didn't hear in any other perfomances of that concert. Others sounds a bit superficcial against that recording. An ironic point: Brahms metronome marks are so fast that even the standard playing time today is too slow!

    About Goulds writings...they have so much wordplays, irony, sarcasme sometimes and really knowledge.

    For example he wrote fictional interviews with himself: gg (glenn gould (kinda a psychatrist :P)) interviews GG (Glenn Gould-the real Gould) about Glenn Gould, or later he takes alias names like Herbert von Hochmeister (word play to Karajan). They are built up like real interviews. The topics are for example his thoughts about Beethoven and Mozart. Mozart was a too hedonic man for Gould. He didn't like him much, his structure was to conventional ("when a theme from tonic comes to dominant like it was thousand times before, what is a world moving thing in that?"). He disliked Appasionata and some later sonatas by Beethoven. He adored much Schönberg and was known as avantgardist.
    He didn't write only in interview structures, but also articles and some single essays... (He wanted to ban applaus in concerts, as he was in general against the concert life, he saw it like a sportific competition (like the gladiator fights in old Rome :P) where the audience only waits for false notes to be able to critize.

    This book is really fun to read. A good night lecture and really good to read, in no way dry! ITs exciting

    But they don't really reflect Beethoven. They are either too 'straightfoward' or too 'lush'.
    You are absolutely right...especially because of all those boxes and complete recordings...

    - Daniel

  10. #10
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    For example he wrote fictional interviews with himself: gg (glenn gould (kinda a psychatrist )) interviews GG (Glenn Gould-the real Gould) about Glenn Gould, or later he takes alias names like Herbert von Hochmeister (word play to Karajan). They are built up like real interviews. The topics are for example his thoughts about Beethoven and Mozart. Mozart was a too hedonic man for Gould. He didn't like him much, his structure was to conventional ("when a theme from tonic comes to dominant like it was thousand times before, what is a world moving thing in that?"). He disliked Appasionata and some later sonatas by Beethoven. He adored much Schönberg and was known as avantgardist.
    He didn't write only in interview structures, but also articles and some single essays... (He wanted to ban applaus in concerts, as he was in general against the concert life, he saw it like a sportific competition (like the gladiator fights in old Rome ) where the audience only waits for false notes to be able to critize.
    This is really intriguing... :huh: I must grab a copy of the book... I simply had to quote back the lot...really fascinating. :P
    What's the tittle of this book? :huh:
    Actually I hated Appasionata too. I don't understand what's the fuss about all that supposedly 'intensity'( which is really vulgar to me ) and massive playing...
    Wow... banning applause? But I think that will make the performer more awkard and self-conscious. I think applause in some ways help to destress the performer, esp. in works where excitement escalates and u feel like yr going to burst... The concert will be too 'solemn' if no applause is allowed... very church like 'discipline' code.
    I'll still gladly prefer applause(the more the merrier)...It relieves me of all the tension, and in a way breaks u away feom the previous programme. Imagine playing without that audience interaction... Won't u feel like playing a multi-movements work???
    I have read interviews of Joshua Bell, Horowitz etc. But this is 1 of a kind. MUST grab a copy.
    Talking abt books... I recently came across this book ' Music Unbottoned'. Very interesting collection of interviews also...and there's a whole list of renowned virtuosos( pianists and violinists) from 18th-21st century. Worth taking a look. :P

  11. #11
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    backhaus is still tied with horowitz

    go Backhaus!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Harvey's Avatar
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    Zimermann! and then Horowitz, and then Gould, and then Pollini.

    Edit: Oops. Old-time. Didn't catch that.
    IF I hit a wrong key its becaus i kind of like it that way.

  13. #13
    Senior Member oistrach13's Avatar
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    they hate the appassionata :unsure:

    which recording have you been listening too? I have richter, backhaus, and some lebanese guy. the lebanese guy is not vulgar at all, he plays it a bit slower, in french style (studied in france). Backhaus is always backhaus, he plays only slightly slower than richter, no extremes in dynamics (even though the boesendorfer he's using has a fortissimo that can bring the roof down), very structured, and quite enjoyable. richter on the other hand :unsure:, fast, and could be considered vulgar (although I disagree).

  14. #14
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    Friends,

    Can you add Georgy Cziffra to the list? At the moment i would definateley vote for him!!

    Sorry Daniel....

    Second: Gould
    Third: Horowitz
    Fourth: Richter
    Fifth: Rubistein, and Casadesus (ex equo)

  15. #15
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    HAHA, I added Cziffra for you. (for me Cziffra is only finger, no musical heart) Can you explain your love to Cziffra?

    Interesting, you are the first mentionng Casadeus. I find it difficult to get CDs by him, but what I know I really think he is really worth to be listened to.

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