The Art-Music Forum
August 09, 2020, 11:38:53 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Here you may discover hundreds of little-known composers, hear thousands of long-forgotten compositions, contribute your own rare (non-copyright) recordings, and discuss all the Arts in an erudite and decorous atmosphere full of freedom and delight. To participate, simply log in or register.
 
  Home Help Search Gallery Staff List Login Register  

Who are the finest pianists of today's generation?


Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Who are the finest pianists of today's generation?  (Read 578 times)
Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 78
Offline Offline

Posts: 1354



View Profile
« on: July 02, 2012, 08:05:05 am »

Undoubtedly there have been fine pianists down the years...  but they are material for another day's discussion.

Who are the finest pianists performing currently?  And who are the upcoming stars?  Technical bravura is far from sufficient on its own. Here we require finely-honed musicianship and sophisticated interpretation.

By way of something to set the ball in motion, , from the Musikverein, Vienna. 

Mr Volodos's program was as follows:

Scriabin: Prélude, op. 37'1
Scriabin: Prélude, op. 11'16
Scriabin: Dance Languide, op. 51'4
Scriabin: Guirlandes, op. 73'1
Scriabin: Piano Sonata 7, op. 64
Ravel: Valses nobles et sentimentales
Schumann: Waldszenen, op. 82
Liszt: Après une lecture de Dante
Bach: Sicilienne
Tchaikovsky: Lullaby during a storm, op. 54
Scriabin: Feuille d'album, ор. 45


Is this not pianism at its finest? Wink
Report Spam   Logged

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 78
Offline Offline

Posts: 1354



View Profile
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 07:22:51 pm »

OK - you menton Arcadi Volodos, so what about Fredrik Ullén, Marc-André Hamelin, Jonathan Powell, Donna Amato, Carlo Grante, Francesco Libetta for starters - some pretty extraordinary talents there, methinks; what does anyone else think?

I've only had the chance to hear about 3 of the above in live performances. Powell and Hamelin stand out as the hardest-working, it seems to me?  In the sense that they are constantly adding new material to their repertoire, rather than just gigging the same stuff all over Europe (pace Stephen Hough).
Report Spam   Logged
ahinton
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 27
Offline Offline

Posts: 853


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 09:57:11 pm »

OK - you menton Arcadi Volodos, so what about Fredrik Ullén, Marc-André Hamelin, Jonathan Powell, Donna Amato, Carlo Grante, Francesco Libetta for starters - some pretty extraordinary talents there, methinks; what does anyone else think?

I've only had the chance to hear about 3 of the above in live performances. Powell and Hamelin stand out as the hardest-working, it seems to me?  In the sense that they are constantly adding new material to their repertoire, rather than just gigging the same stuff all over Europe (pace Stephen Hough).
Well, Stephen Hough is now writing some of his own - and has, to my mind, come on by leaps and bounds over the years, at least in part as a result of a conscious influence of the late great Shura Cherkassky. Ullén worries me; his facility is beyond astonishing, as his Ligeti Études and, far more, his Sorabji Studies CDs demonstrate, but he has a second life as a research neuroscientist and the absence of his name on recital programmes around places of late must presumably be down to his concentrating more on that discipline of late. Jonathan Powell's appetite for work is indeed extraordinary; in the past decade and a bit the additions to his repertoire include Concerto and Symphonie of Alkan, Granados's Goyescas, Albéniz's Iberia, Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus and no less that 24 hours' worth of Sorabji's immensely challenging piano writing, to say nothing of having given performances of the complete Scriabin sonatas as a single programme; Hameln's repertoire is probably better known to you, especially as much of it is now recorded.
Report Spam   Logged
guest54
Guest
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2012, 01:55:09 am »

I am most pleasantly surprised to find how much the "your-tube" business has improved since the last time I looked. High quality, 523,218,067 bytes, and a video duration of one hour twenty-eight minutes. And with so much Scryabine on the programme could any one fail to enjoy this recital?

But for me the question is never "Who is the finest pianoist?" but rather "Which pianoist is least inaccurate?" In a perfect world every performance would be perfect and all pianoists equal. Whoever first introduced the concept of "interpretation" has a lot to answer for. In reality the interest lies always in how the composer's intentions emerge DESPITE the pianoist.

Decades ago I had the privilege of attending a Scryabine recital in Hong Kong by Shura Cherkassky which has remained in the memory; several late sonatas. Afterwards I was able to discuss their wonders with the local population.

In fact we have a number of fine pianoists among our members. Some contribute quite regularly; others do not and we do wish they would or could.
Report Spam   Logged
ahinton
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 27
Offline Offline

Posts: 853


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2012, 07:37:35 am »

But for me the question is never "Who is the finest pianoist?" but rather "Which pianoist is least inaccurate?" In a perfect world every performance would be perfect and all pianoists equal. Whoever first introduced the concept of "interpretation" has a lot to answer for. In reality the interest lies always in how the composer's intentions emerge DESPITE the pianoist.
So "pianoist" is the latest Grewist invention, I see? Anyway, no one ever "introduced" the idea of interpretation but your "perfect world" is not one that makes sense to the composer who knows as well as anyone that there's never a single "right" way of performing anything; composers revise their ideas both during and after writing works and they are amenable to different ways of going about them (within reason, of course) just as their ideas about them change over time. Speaking personally, I've occasionally found a performer who really understands well what I'm up to who suggests the odd minor amendment in order to make it sound even more like what I wnat that what I'd written does - and that is always a most gratifying experience.

Decades ago I had the privilege of attending a Scryabine recital in Hong Kong by Shura Cherkassky which has remained in the memory; several late sonatas. Afterwards I was able to discuss their wonders with the local population.
Cherkassky's performances were almost always memorable; at his very best, they were models of hyper-control and technical near-perfection but at the same time brimming with so rare an electrifying spontaneity that the listener could be forgiven for thinking that he'd just written all the music himself; I even remember him turning out a Liszt Second Hungarian Rhapsody that simply danced its way off the concert platform and sounded as though the ink was still wet on the page and gave the impression that one had never previousy heard the piece, which is quite an achievement in itself. He seemed to be a rather strange man who had remarkably little in his life besides the piano, but there's no doubt in my mind that he was one of the finest pianists of his generation.
Report Spam   Logged
Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 78
Offline Offline

Posts: 1354



View Profile
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2012, 11:20:45 am »

He seemed to be a rather strange man who had remarkably little in his life besides the piano, but there's no doubt in my mind that he was one of the finest pianists of his generation.

Hmmm, they say of Sokoloff that he only does three things: (i) he prepares for his concerts (ii) he goes to his concerts (iii) he plays his concerts.  But the results are, indeed, extraordinary...  he deserves his place in our pantheon, I feel?

I've always admired Cherkassky, and always been surprised by the grimaces pulled by supposedly intelligent people when his name is mentioned. However, our task here is concerned with the pianists of the current, and upcoming generations Smiley  Any views about Gindin, for example?

Report Spam   Logged
ahinton
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 27
Offline Offline

Posts: 853


View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2012, 01:41:20 pm »

He seemed to be a rather strange man who had remarkably little in his life besides the piano, but there's no doubt in my mind that he was one of the finest pianists of his generation.

Hmmm, they say of Sokoloff that he only does three things: (i) he prepares for his concerts (ii) he goes to his concerts (iii) he plays his concerts.  But the results are, indeed, extraordinary...  he deserves his place in our pantheon, I feel?
Such as I've heard of him is indeed pretty impressive.

I've always admired Cherkassky, and always been surprised by the grimaces pulled by supposedly intelligent people when his name is mentioned.
I've encountered this kiond of attitude as well, although far less so in recent time, I have to say.

However, our task here is concerned with the pianists of the current, and upcoming generations Smiley  Any views about Gindin, for example?
Don't know his work, I'm afraid, although I've heard some good things about him. I believe that he's played under Ashkenazy's baton and I rather doubt that he'd have done that unless he had something to offer. Perhaps others here know more than I do about him.

OK - so any thoughts about Argerich? (apart from her frustratingly small Michelangelesque public repertoire, that is!)...
Report Spam   Logged
Sorabji Lobbyist
Guest
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2012, 12:49:50 pm »

Sokolov is an astounding performer. Libetta (and Kevin Bowyer, to deviate from the subject) are the only individuals who could be considered technically superior to Hamelin.
Report Spam   Logged
Sorabji Lobbyist
Guest
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2012, 12:58:50 pm »

Powell and Hamelin stand out as the hardest-working, it seems to me?  In the sense that they are constantly adding new material to their repertoire, rather than just gigging the same stuff all over Europe (pace Stephen Hough).

Yep. Next year Jonathan Powell will premiere Sorabji's Piano Symphony No. 6. Highly recommended. (That goes for both the piece and the performance.)
Report Spam   Logged
Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 78
Offline Offline

Posts: 1354



View Profile
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2012, 03:33:37 pm »

May we ask when we might hear this tempting cultural offering?

I believe Mr Powell is currently deeply involved in matters of a family nature, so I hesitate to disturb him..
Report Spam   Logged
Sorabji Lobbyist
Guest
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2012, 07:30:55 pm »

May we ask when we might hear this tempting cultural offering?

I believe Mr Powell is currently deeply involved in matters of a family nature, so I hesitate to disturb him..

Copy-paste from elsewhere:

20 October 2013, 11.30am
The Forge
3-7 Delancey Street 
London NW1 7NL
020 7383 7808
Report Spam   Logged
guest54
Guest
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2012, 02:35:34 am »

I was not expecting much when I downloaded this: http://liveweb.arte.tv/fr/video/Happy_Birthday__Lang_Lang/ yesterday; but I thought I would have a quick look at his Tschayicoughski First Concerto. Well! As it turned out I sat there enthralled for thirty-seven minutes! Firstly, I think the composer would have approved completely of the showy but unorthodox setting. And the pianoist, who is completely confident and accurate, has evidently thought long about every single chord and note. The result is that the work, which I had thought hackneyed and of no special interest, in this performance holds one's intense attention at every moment. And I even enjoy his facial expressions, which has never been the case where any other performers I have watched were concerned. Having said all that though, I have not yet been able to bring myself to watch the second half, consisting as I understand of some sort of american grotesqueries.


Report Spam   Logged
ahinton
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 27
Offline Offline

Posts: 853


View Profile WWW
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2012, 07:45:22 am »

I was not expecting much when I downloaded this: http://liveweb.arte.tv/fr/video/Happy_Birthday__Lang_Lang/ yesterday; but I thought I would have a quick look at his Tschayicoughski First Concerto. Well! As it turned out I sat there enthralled for thirty-seven minutes! Firstly, I think the composer would have approved completely of the showy but unorthodox setting. And the pianoist, who is completely confident and accurate, has evidently thought long about every single chord and note. The result is that the work, which I had thought hackneyed and of no special interest, in this performance holds one's intense attention at every moment. And I even enjoy his facial expressions, which has never been the case where any other performers I have watched were concerned. Having said all that though, I have not yet been able to bring myself to watch the second half, consisting as I understand of some sort of american grotesqueries.


I have to admit that, for me, underneath all the physical antics and spectacle, the actual playing of this pianist is really rather ordinary, although it's good to witness your ability and willingness to change your view and admit to having done so - and for all that I've never heard of "Tschayicoughski", the concerto that our double-barrelled Chinese Scotsman performs here, whilst the weakest (and indeed most hackneyed) of Tchaikovsky's concertos and certainly not one of his best works (of which there are embarassingly many!), is (as the Chicago-based impresario Harry Zelzer once declared of "classical music") not nearly as bad as it sounds! The pianist's repertoire is not all as safe and obvious as one might imagine from a mere attention-seeking keyboard superstar, however. Tippett's concerto, for example, is hardly the kind of piece that springs immediately to mind as an obvious vehicle for the kind of onstage flamboyance upon which all too much of his fame rests; its many difficulties are not at all of the kind that are easily amenable to the showman, after all, the trick here being to fathom how best to fashion the composer's superabundance of pianistic clumsinesses into convincing, lyrically expressive and affecting pianism, which a number of other pianists (not least John Ogdon) have certainly demonstrated can be done.

I have certainly yet to encounter any credible evidence that Lang Lang, whatever his merits, is deserving of serious consideration as one of "the finest pianists of today's generation". That said, however, I am as pleased to note the use of the words "pianist" rather than "pianoist" and "today" rather than "to-day" in the thread topic as I am minded nonetheless to observe that the pleonastic absurdity inherent in the tortuous effort at pseudo-Anglicisation that presumably prompted the spelling "Tschayicoughski" is especially notable on the grounds of the "ough" (non-)rule, by which I mean the many different correct pronunciations of English words and names containing the letters "ough" in immediate succession in that order, such as "Ferneyhough", "bough", "rough", "through", "ought" and (dare I mention it) "cough".
Report Spam   Logged
guest54
Guest
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2012, 10:36:51 am »

. . . Tchaikovsky's concertos. . .

So, Mr. H - one may presume that you "sky" down a mountain-side and "kov" if you catch cold . . . !
Report Spam   Logged
ahinton
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 27
Offline Offline

Posts: 853


View Profile WWW
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2012, 11:01:57 am »

. . . Tchaikovsky's concertos. . .

So, Mr. H - one may presume that you "sky" down a mountain-side and "kov" if you catch cold . . . !
"one" may - even the unidentifiable "we" might - I take leave to doubt that anyone else would!

Anyway, that's got nothing to do with contemporary pianists...
Report Spam   Logged

Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum


Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy