Author Topic: Micro-blind comparison: Glass Piano Etude No.6  (Read 341 times)

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Offline aukhawk

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Micro-blind comparison: Glass Piano Etude No.6
« on: February 04, 2018, 10:03:38 AM »
Here's a micro-blind comparison -
just 6 recordings averaging 2 minutes each - so this won't take too long - extracted from Philip Glass' Piano Etude No.6
This extract is a bit less than half the duration of the complete Etude, which is itself one of the shorter ones of the set of 20.

Some minimal facts about these:
4 are from complete sets of 20 Etudes, the other two are from partial sets of 10.
3 of these recordings have come to market within the last 3 months.
Another one dates from earlier in 2017, one from 2015.  For a sanity check, one is the composer's own recording from 2003.
Not represented here are two more recordings (complete sets) issued late in 2017, nor several others issued in the last 5 years.

These links and files will be removed after a couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, please enjoy:

Links removed.  For the record the performers were: 1. Nicolas Horvath; 2. Jenny Lin; 3. Philip Glass; 4. Anton Batagov; 5. Vikingur Olafsson; 6. Sally Whitwell

A survey of 12 sets of Glass Piano Etudes (at time of writing, February 2018) can be found on GMG here
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 01:45:39 AM by aukhawk »

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Micro-blind comparison: Glass Piano Etude No.6
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 12:44:16 PM »
Gosh, you really picked some examples that almost sound like different pieces! And since I happen to have not so much to do at the moment...
1. Intense; too much so?
2. Lyrical, but does it enunciate too much?
3. Good, but too analytical?
4. Good build up, but too much rubato/affectations?
5. Fierce, but does it capture the mood adequately?
6. Precise, but does it flow enough?



GO LISTEN NOW TO SEE WHAT YOU THINK BEFORE READING MY COMMENTS! :)



3,4 and 6 didn't do it for me. I found six to be the least effective, but none are really bad. I just didn't prefer them.

Not being familiar with this piece, I am not sure if #1 is totally off the track, but the way it uses reverb, a fast tempo and reduces the effect of the repetitive hitting of the keys makes it a bit less pingy/harsh and I liked that. That said, this pianist just doesn't give one respite. I wouldn't be surprised if some people really hate it (in part, because the impact is a different one). #5 also goes faster, but is much different in the way it reduces the repetitive hitting of the keys. It's much more eloquent in this regard and I liked it much better in terms of lyricism and flow. I really enjoyed #5. I think it takes the best qualities of #1 and #2 and puts it all together. Speaking of #2, I love the way it makes it's impact towards the end, where it's precision is well executed.  It really shines in that second section. Just brilliant there.

So I would put 5 just ahead of #2, but if the rest is consistently like the second section (talking about #2), well, I'd be very interested in this set. In the end, I liked them for different reasons. I liked #1 - it's quite exciting - but it's also missing something compared to the other two. if all of them are played in this way, I might find that wearying.  Still, all were quite good. 

These were brilliant choices - really great stuff. Thanks for putting them up! I've discovered new music to investigate.
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Micro-blind comparison: Glass Piano Etude No.6
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2018, 10:25:35 AM »
Thanks for the rapid feedback!   :)

Not being familiar with this piece, ...

Then I should mention that this music is not very typical of the Etudes as a set - mostly they are more lyrical.  This is like a 'scherzo' whereas mostly they are more like 'nocturnes'.  (I guess to some extent that validates the more 'intense' readings.)   I chose this Etude because (as you observed) the contrasts between recordings are most marked here.

It was recording No.5 that turned me on to this music (although I've always liked Glass and have quite a big collection) and I've since listened to it a lot, although my current favourite (for the set as a whole) is one of the others, perhaps not shown off to best advantage in this extract.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 10:33:17 AM by aukhawk »