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Thread: Jorge Bolet

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    Default Jorge Bolet

    A magnificent pianist. Just listening to this right now:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJKfH-TnAxM

    What are your fave recordings from this pianist? We don't seem to hear that much about him these days, while other pianists of the past - Richter, for example - get plenty of exposure.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Bolet's Liszt is incredible - I'm not always that big on Liszt's piano music but Bolet manages to be virtuosic without being bombastic, which is normally what I can't stand in pianists who treat it as pure show music. I haven't heard him on any other composers, though.

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    Agreed about the Liszt. But I'm wondering why this splendid musician seems to have disappeared in our consciousness. There's real poetry and thoughtfulness in his playing. How about this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fviVRrfkws

    This is a much better performance than the Ashkenazy recordings I have of Chopin, which is often anodyne.
    Last edited by Christabel; Apr-27-2020 at 23:24. Reason: link

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Agreed about the Liszt
    + 1, those paraphrases are splendid
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Prokofiev concerto with Thor Johnson
    Chopin 3rd sonata on Marston, the live one. (Not the one in the image, that was a mistake, I haven’t heard it. Vol 1 of that séries from Marston Records.)
    Schubert/Liszt transcriptions
    Brahms and Reger variations
    Carnegie Hall recital with the Chopin preludes.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Apr-28-2020 at 08:39.

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    Excellent!! You're obviously an enthusiast. I listened most of the day yesterday to the Chopin works in the link I provided above, running it through my TV via Chromecast for the sound system that goes with the TV. Some interesting comparisons of the Etudes, just as one example, which I have from Pollini and a couple of other lesser pianists. But very satisfying visiting these works again - which I don't often listen to these days. There was a good deal of poetry in Jorge Bolet's playing.

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    Love his Debussy preludes. A shame that he only recorded 16 of them rather than the full set though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chill782002 View Post
    Love his Debussy preludes. A shame that he only recorded 16 of them rather than the full set though.
    Did he do Book I or Book II?

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Did he do Book I or Book II?
    Book 1. He appears to have recorded little Debussy.

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    I listened to some of his recordings and I am impressed. It seems I neglected this pianist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caryatid View Post
    I listened to some of his recordings and I am impressed. It seems I neglected this pianist.
    It seems many people have. Try this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yt6BINW0FY

    Bolet had hands the size of Rachmaninov. He was an elegant man and sensitive musician, who died 2 years after this Concerto was recorded.
    Last edited by Christabel; Apr-30-2020 at 01:30. Reason: addition

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    I'm wondering if this interview provides some insights into the relative neglect of Jorge Bolet:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vrXvNVMoHQ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christabel View Post
    I'm wondering if this interview provides some insights into the relative neglect of Jorge Bolet:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vrXvNVMoHQ
    Very interesting, thank you.

    Maybe one reason I think he's falling into neglect is that he was overplayed on American radio when he was alive -- I remember an American once saying to me that he was just always being played, and everyone got well and truly sick and tired of his style.

    But more generally, Bolet is a very "beautiful sound" type pianist, he's in the same mould as Josef Hofmann. And there are too many times where that sonic beauty is purchased at the expense of tension.

    He had good technique, hence in music with very little deapth and lots of technical challenges, he's good -- I'm thinking of things by composers like Reger, Kreisler, Anton Rubinstein, Tausig, Liszt.

    In deeper music, Chopin for example, he can come up with something worthwhile, but there are often lots of reservations. I'm listening right now to his live Chopin sonata 3, in the first movement, and it's beautiful. But the complete absence of tension, relief, c ontrast is a major limitation. I don't want to mince words -- it's boring.

    Here's something where he may well be totally unsurpassed. It's just the music's not very good!

    Last edited by Mandryka; Apr-30-2020 at 14:38.

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    A most interesting post. I have Bolet Rediscovered somewhere in this another fine mess, I think it's Liszt. What then exactly is music with huge depth? Is it Bach?

    – once again a bad post of mine. This is horrible. My brain is going away going away going away...
    Last edited by Sad Al; Apr-30-2020 at 15:31.

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    @Mandryka: very interesting comments. Not being American, I had no idea of Bolet's being overplayed on radio during his lifetime. "The beautiful sound"? I didn't really detect this in the Chopin Etudes in the link I provided at the top of this thread; sometimes I found them choppy and uneven but not 'beautiful' per se. A world away from the hard-edged Pollini, which I have on CD. But I hear what you're saying. What did you think of the Rach #3 which I posted? I found a lot of inflection there; subito piano, well-shaped harmonic line bringing out 'counter melody' and so forth. I would say Ashkenazy had that 'beautiful sound' and this doesn't appeal to me so much for the reasons you outline with Bolet!! But it means we are always LISTENING, which is the main game!!

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