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Thread: Overrated Pianists?

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    Default Overrated Pianists?

    Who do you think is the most overrated pianist?

    For me, I would have to answer that with “Barenboim”.

    I’ve been going through my Beethoven collection recently, seeing as though it was Beethoven’s 250th not long ago, and I’m sure every single one of you did the same.

    Came across some Barenboim. After listening to a few random movements of LvB piano sonatas, I immediately thought to myself: “I paid for THIS?” (I’m referring to the DVD box set where he performed all 32 piano sonatas live.)

    His playing is sloppy all around. He uses too much pedal, drowning about 25% of the notes, plays scales unevenly in note-value and volume. Et cetera.

    I reckon every amateur/semi-pro pianist in, for example, the Warsaw Chopin Piano competitions, could play Beethoven better than he can.

    How is this guy considered a “great” Beethoven interpreter? Terrible “amazing” pianist, IMO. DG, why?! Sokolov, Kissin, etc. completely understand.... Barenboim though?!

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    Senior Member Handelian's Avatar
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    I don’t like these threads where we pull people and artists to pieces. I feel at the moment there’s enough negativity in the world for everyone and it would be far better to think of which are the best pianists anddiscuss what is good about them rather than those who we think are overrated. In any case it usually comes out to a matter of prejudice anyway
    Last edited by Handelian; Jan-06-2021 at 14:48.

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    I don’t want to be negative either, but I was just about to answer barenboim too lol. I have no idea how he has had such an amazing career, if I played like that my piano teacher would roast me so bad that dishonor would be brought upon my family for three generations

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    Senior Member vtpoet's Avatar
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    Brahms.

    I've read that his music was much better than his playing. Still. More musical talent in his thumb nail than in all of me put together.
    Last edited by vtpoet; Jan-06-2021 at 17:39.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmperorOfIceCream View Post
    I don’t want to be negative either, but I was just about to answer barenboim too lol. I have no idea how he has had such an amazing career, if I played like that my piano teacher would roast me so bad that dishonor would be brought upon my family for three generations
    If I played like that my teacher would have fallen off her chair in amazement!

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    Quote Originally Posted by vtpoet View Post
    Brahms.

    I've read that his music was much better than his playing. Still. More musical talent in his thumb nail than in all of me put together.
    Where did you read that? Every account I've ever seen said that he was a tremendous pianist.

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    Senior Member GucciManeIsTheNewWebern's Avatar
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    What exactly are the criteria for scrutinizing a professional grade musician this way? While expression and touch certainly differ, in the end they're playing the same notes right? I've seen Glenn Gould and Evgeny Kissin come under heavy fire around these parts and I don't have the ear to detect the subtlety there as more experienced listeners might have.

    EDIT: Forgot Barenboim, though he was the first to come up in this thread. Gets a lot of hate on here. To be fair, I'm not partial to any particular musician, conductor, orchestra, etc. as I don't feel it's my place to judge.
    Last edited by GucciManeIsTheNewWebern; Jan-06-2021 at 18:57.

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    Barenboim was mentioned. Now he's nowhere near being among my favorite pianists (or conductors), but since he's to my knowledge never really been held up to be the GOAT I don't know that he's really been "overrated". I'd echo those who say they're tired of the constant "overrated" line of thought. If I don't particularly like this composer or conductor or orchestra or musician, I don't listen.

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    Barenboim is interesting in op 131/ii on EMI, slow, like Claudio Arrau and Ernst Levy. There's also a Mozart concerto worth a listen, K 451 (PC 16)
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jan-06-2021 at 19:49.

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Although I find Barenboim a horror show in Bach, I do appreciate his Beethoven and Mozart recordings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GucciManeIsTheNewWebern View Post
    What exactly are the criteria for scrutinizing a professional grade musician this way? .
    The answer is contained in this song


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    The answer is contained in this song

    I think I just succumbed to an 80s overdose

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    Although I`m not very fond of his solo repertoire, I consider Barenboim a top notch chamber player and a decent accompanist. Therefore, I`m not exactly sure how to rate his pianism but I would not say he is an overrated musician in general. The only pianist I might consider as overrated is Sokolov. I have yet to witness an interpretation by him that I do not dislike.

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    Not sure why there is such a dislike for Barenboim. Okay, his Berlin Philharmonic Mozart is somewhat heavy but try the youthful exuberance of his earlier set with the English Chamber Orchestra. Then again his Beethoven and Brahms concertos with Klemperer and Barbirolli respectively show that he was great when paired with an experienced conductor. His early set of Mozart symphonies is still highly enjoyable. I can accept that as he has grown older his style is less free and a little more heavy but he can still delivery the goods. Try the Mozart Wind Sinfonia Concentante with his East West Divan Orchestra on Warner Classics where he seems to persuade the young musicians to have fun whilst playing. And who can forget Nupen’s film of the Trout with Perlman, Zukerman, du Pre and Zubin Mehta.
    For me the young Barenboim was a great musician and if I prefer him to his later more considered self I still think he is a pretty good pianist and musician even if I wish that he was less influenced by the style of Furtwangler.
    Last edited by Geoff48; Jan-06-2021 at 23:59.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highwayman View Post
    Although I`m not very fond of his solo repertoire, I consider Barenboim a top notch chamber player and a decent accompanist. Therefore, I`m not exactly sure how to rate his pianism but I would not say he is an overrated musician in general. The only pianist I might consider as overrated is Sokolov. I have yet to witness an interpretation by him that I do not dislike.
    I'm at the opposite end. Every recording that I have of his pleases me greatly, especially his wonderful Art of Fugue.

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