Author Topic: "Golden Age Pianists":Cortot, Moiseiwitsch,Sofronitsky,Ney,Michelangeli etc  (Read 51164 times)

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Offline mjwal

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Strange. Most modern pianists i've tried sucked. Horribly. Perhaps you'd like to expand on your claim?
Well, it does depend on what they are playing, n'est-ce pas? But for the romantic repertoire I would tend to agree with you that the qualities of magic, of elegance, hypnotic reverie etc tend to be rather lacking with contemporary pianists. I would take Schumann's Op. 6, the Davidsbündlertänze as an example: I have several recordings of this, Rosen (I think), Berezovsky, Pollini, X, Y & Z (my record collection is elsewhere any my memory rather challenged), but the very first recording I acquired, back in the 60s, was a clattery performance by Walter Gieseking (which has been slightly improved sonically on various CD incarnations), but after a few minutes you were literally entranced and transported. At the time I played this to student flat-sharers heavily into Dylan etc: they were rapt, and wore the LP out in the following months. This effect still works. The Cortot is marvellous too -
- but Gieseking...I can't explain it.
The Violin's Obstinacy

It needs to return to this one note,
not a tune and not a key
but the sound of self it must depart from,
a journey lengthily to go
in a vein it knows will cripple it.
...
Peter Porter

Offline Mandryka

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There's a high romantic style which may suit DBT, and Gieseking and Cortot were were good at it. Ugorski's DBT is pretty successful in the same style. And there are plenty of excellent DBTs a notch below -- Perahia's for example, and Le Sage's and Arrau's. And of course there's a radically different conception from Pollini. That's not a bad spread of good performances pre war to quite recently.

Even if you (sorry ccar by "you" I don't mean you . Il vaudrait mieux dire si l'on n'aime pas les pianistes de nos jours...) don't like modern pianists -- if you don't like Sokolov's Chopin Op.25 or Virssaladze's Waldszenen or Ranki's Haydn sonatas or Lubimov's Mozart or Beethoven concertos or . . .   --  then by all means don't listen to them. But  nothing follows about state of pianism. If you want to draw a conclusion about that,  rather more argument is needed.

« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 09:43:43 AM by Mandryka »
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Scarpia

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Well, it does depend on what they are playing, n'est-ce pas? But for the romantic repertoire I would tend to agree with you that the qualities of magic, of elegance, hypnotic reverie etc tend to be rather lacking with contemporary pianists. I would take Schumann's Op. 6, the Davidsbündlertänze as an example: I have several recordings of this, Rosen (I think), Berezovsky, Pollini, X, Y & Z (my record collection is elsewhere any my memory rather challenged), but the very first recording I acquired, back in the 60s, was a clattery performance by Walter Gieseking (which has been slightly improved sonically on various CD incarnations), but after a few minutes you were literally entranced and transported. At the time I played this to student flat-sharers heavily into Dylan etc: they were rapt, and wore the LP out in the following months. This effect still works. The Cortot is marvellous too -
- but Gieseking...I can't explain it.

The obvious explanation is that it was that it made the strongest impression because it was the first recording you heard.  Personally Gieseking has bored me to tears whenever I've listened to him, and I can't imagine a better performance of the Davidsbundlertanze than Pollini's.

Offline mjwal

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Il Barone Scarpia wrote: "The obvious explanation is that it was that it made the strongest impression because it was the first recording you heard.  Personally Gieseking has bored me to tears whenever I've listened to him, and I can't imagine a better performance of the Davidsbundlertanze than Pollini's."
This explanation seems to make sense - until I reflect that hardly any of my present preferences derive from my first experiences with a work, whether on record or more seldom in concert. Actually only this and to a lesser extent Erik Tuxen's Sibelius #5. For me, Pollini's Schumann is impeccable but lacking in that "rêveusement" that Cortot enjoined upon his pupils.
The Violin's Obstinacy

It needs to return to this one note,
not a tune and not a key
but the sound of self it must depart from,
a journey lengthily to go
in a vein it knows will cripple it.
...
Peter Porter

Scarpia

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Il Barone Scarpia wrote: "The obvious explanation is that it was that it made the strongest impression because it was the first recording you heard.  Personally Gieseking has bored me to tears whenever I've listened to him, and I can't imagine a better performance of the Davidsbundlertanze than Pollini's."
This explanation seems to make sense - until I reflect that hardly any of my present preferences derive from my first experiences with a work, whether on record or more seldom in concert. Actually only this and to a lesser extent Erik Tuxen's Sibelius #5. For me, Pollini's Schumann is impeccable but lacking in that "rêveusement" that Cortot enjoined upon his pupils.

I assume "rêveusement" means "wrong notes" because that is the only thing I find missing in Pollini's recordings.   0:)

I don't mean to imply that I think modern pianists are superior, but I think one is just as likely to find ones transcendent performance among new pianists as old, and why listen to those technically horrid recordings from old days?

« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 11:52:04 AM by Il Barone Scarpia »

Offline Mandryka

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Corot's 1954 Kreisleriana has just been uploaded on symphonyshare, so I've finally had a chance to hear it. This is a recording he never authorised, presumably partly because of the numerous wrong notes. It was published by error in Volume 1 of his Great Pianists. Philips withdrew all copies when they found out the mistake.

The interpretation is memorable. The second Sehr Langsam (6)  and Sehr racht (7) seem to me to have  that special hallucinatory quality which is a characteristic of his best recordings.

There are some wrong notes, and even some whole bars, where he loses the plot. Best to focus on the positive I say.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 02:21:59 AM by Mandryka »
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Bulldog

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The obvious explanation is that it was that it made the strongest impression because it was the first recording you heard.  Personally Gieseking has bored me to tears whenever I've listened to him, and I can't imagine a better performance of the Davidsbundlertanze than Pollini's.

A different take: Gieseking playing Schumann is thoroughly exciting, and I've heard better performances of the Davidsbundlertanze than from Pollini (including Gieseking).

Offline Clever Hans

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A different take: Gieseking playing Schumann is thoroughly exciting, and I've heard better performances of the Davidsbundlertanze than from Pollini (including Gieseking).

What an impossible piece to get right! Although I still think Pollini has a stronger interpretive profile than perhaps Schiff, Zacharias, le Sage, who are all very meticulous.

I think I will have to order the Catherine Collard Lyrinx version from France to have a modern version with which I can be satisfied. Her Erato is highly regarded as well, but her later recordings won so many french awards, I have a feeling they have more character and I think the samples on youtube sound just great.

Drasko

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DG will be releasing in September this hodge-podge 10 CD set of previously unreleased recordings by five pianists (2 CDs each): Arrau, Moiseiwitsch, De Larrocha, Lewenthal, Petri.

Among the rest it'll include bunch of Arrau's Beethoven sonatas from mid 50s never released before in any form and Benno Moisiewitsch 1961 American Decca recordings (Schumann, Beethoven, Mussorgsky), and those are the ones I want to hear the most. By this time Moiseiwitsch technique probably wasn't what it used to be, but some claim that these 1961 sessions are recorded in best sound ever given to him and that they capture his inimitable tone qualities as none before.

I have to say I'd prefer five two-fers, to pick and choose but DG went for box under rather spurious title probably for marketing reasons and they were probably right.

Contents here:
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/DG/4779527

Offline Herman

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The obvious explanation is that it was that it made the strongest impression because it was the first recording you heard.  Personally Gieseking has bored me to tears whenever I've listened to him, and I can't imagine a better performance of the Davidsbundlertanze than Pollini's.

I think that's part of it. However I did not imprint first on Gieseking, and still I do think it's a very special recording. As for Pollini, I used to have a live Salzburg DBT (from 1984 if memory serves) that was really great. The studio recording I find less compelling.

Perahia's early recording is one of the best modern recordings  -  although one may say that a 1970's recording is vintage, too, in a way.

Offline Herman

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I assume "rêveusement" means "wrong notes" because that is the only thing I find missing in Pollini's recordings.   0:)

I don't mean to imply that I think modern pianists are superior, but I think one is just as likely to find ones transcendent performance among new pianists as old, and why listen to those technically horrid recordings from old days?

The term "Golden Age' is used rather loosely here, including pianists who recorded in the 1940s and later, when recording techniques were sufficiently advanced to allow for good sound, especially with today's restoration instruments. A solo piano after all is not as difficult to catch as a complete orchestra.

I think perfection is musical performance is a double edged sword. There are pianists today who can play material that was way over Cortot's, Gieseking's or Rubinstein's head. But in many cases this proficiency seems to come at a price, in that there seems to be less rapturous music making. Meticulous studio practice, recording pieces in tiny, pristine sections doesn't help either.

Personally I think Pollini's legacy would have been much better served if he (and DG) hadn't been so obsessed with making the ultimate recording every time, and just had recorded his performances live. The sound could hardly have been worse than in the studio (Pollini is very very badly served by DG's engineers who want to make him sound like this steely fingered robot man) and there would have been more poetry in his recorded music making.

Offline Mandryka

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I think that what you say has a lot of truth in it Herman . You know some of the pianists who give rapturous, poetic performances today tend not to record in the studio. I'm thinking of Sokolov and Ranki.

Nevertheless it's not hard to think of rapturous recent studio performances -- Ugirski's Davidsbuendlertaenze, and  Lubimov's Prokofiev 7 for example.  I can see why Scarpia says what he does too.

Pollini's about something different -- there are different values. I need to think about it.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 01:49:52 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline George

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How about this dude?

I just grabbed this CD today and haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Offline Mandryka

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How about this dude?

I just grabbed this CD today and haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.

Busoni's performance of the HR 13 is extraordinary.

The best thing about Busoni is his name:

Ferruccio Dante Michelangelo Leonardo Busoni

Petri's like Backhaus -- no nonsense.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 11:49:24 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline George

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Re: "Golden Age Pianists":Cortot, Moiseiwitsch,Sofronitsky,Ney,Michelangeli etc
« Reply #54 on: September 26, 2011, 03:56:57 AM »
Happy Birthday, Alfred! :wave:

Now enjoying:




Henry Purcell Minuet 1937
Henry Purcell Siciliana 1937
Henry Purcell Gavotte 1937
Henry Purcell Air 1937
Antonio Vivaldi Chamber concerto 1937
JS Bach Concerto No. 5 in F minor Arioso 1937
Handel Harmonious Blacksmith 1926
Schubert Litanei 1937
Franz Schubert Ländler (12) for piano D. 681 1937
Brahms Wiegenlied 1925
Albéniz Malagueña 1930
Albéniz Seguidillas 1930
Albéniz Sous le palmier 1926
Saint-Saëns Caprice En Forme De Valse 1931
Chopin Etude in A Flat 1925
Chopin Waltz in C sharp minor 1925
Chopin Impromptu in F Sharp 1925
Chopin Ballade No. 1 1926
Chopin Berceuse 1926
Chopin Arr. Liszt - My Joys 1939
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Offline Mandryka

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Re: "Golden Age Pianists":Cortot, Moiseiwitsch,Sofronitsky,Ney,Michelangeli etc
« Reply #55 on: September 29, 2011, 10:47:19 AM »
Happy Birthday, Alfred! :wave:

Now enjoying:




Henry Purcell Minuet 1937
Henry Purcell Siciliana 1937
Henry Purcell Gavotte 1937
Henry Purcell Air 1937
Antonio Vivaldi Chamber concerto 1937
JS Bach Concerto No. 5 in F minor Arioso 1937
Handel Harmonious Blacksmith 1926
Schubert Litanei 1937
Franz Schubert Ländler (12) for piano D. 681 1937
Brahms Wiegenlied 1925
Albéniz Malagueña 1930
Albéniz Seguidillas 1930
Albéniz Sous le palmier 1926
Saint-Saëns Caprice En Forme De Valse 1931
Chopin Etude in A Flat 1925
Chopin Waltz in C sharp minor 1925
Chopin Impromptu in F Sharp 1925
Chopin Ballade No. 1 1926
Chopin Berceuse 1926
Chopin Arr. Liszt - My Joys 1939


It's a very good CD. The Purcell is really nice and the Vivaldi especially is astonishing -- it's a shame we don't have more of that sort of thing.

There's a longish discussion, argument, about  the Brandenburg concerto  movement on this forum .

No one, not even Cortot, has helped me to enjoy Schubert Landlers.

It's the Vivaldi though which haunts me the most.

« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 10:48:56 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline George

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Re: "Golden Age Pianists":Cortot, Moiseiwitsch,Sofronitsky,Ney,Michelangeli etc
« Reply #56 on: September 29, 2011, 12:13:03 PM »
It's a very good CD. The Purcell is really nice and the Vivaldi especially is astonishing -- it's a shame we don't have more of that sort of thing.

There's a longish discussion, argument, about  the Brandenburg concerto  movement on this forum .

No one, not even Cortot, has helped me to enjoy Schubert Landlers.

It's the Vivaldi though which haunts me the most.

Yeah it is a great CD. The Vivaldi moved me as well.  :)
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Drasko

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Re: "Golden Age Pianists":Cortot, Moiseiwitsch,Sofronitsky,Ney,Michelangeli etc
« Reply #57 on: September 30, 2011, 12:36:09 PM »
Perhaps I should check and see if the Gavotte was recorded by that fine pianist, Marcelle Meyer, who also had an affinity for Erik Satie. Small world, huh.

If you mean the one with six variations Meyer recorded it twice at least.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/7PKAFOhVZ4Q" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/7PKAFOhVZ4Q</a>

Offline Mandryka

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Yes, I got it, but I need the late Symphonic Etudes and Kreisleriana by Cortot, if you can help me out I'd appreciate it.

Cortot's 1954 Kreisleriana

http://groups.google.com/group/Symphonyshare/browse_thread/thread/15f146b367461094/292032e20c740b30?lnk=gst&q=cortot+kreisleriana#292032e20c740b30

Cortot's 1953 Schumann Etudes

http://quartier-des-archives.blogspot.com/2009/05/schumann-12-etudes-symphoniques-alfred.html

The Etudes are for me one of the few really  hallucinatory  piano records. Schumann on opium.
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Offline George

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Cortot's 1954 Kreisleriana

http://groups.google.com/group/Symphonyshare/browse_thread/thread/15f146b367461094/292032e20c740b30?lnk=gst&q=cortot+kreisleriana#292032e20c740b30

Thanks!

Quote
Cortot's 1953 Schumann Etudes

http://quartier-des-archives.blogspot.com/2009/05/schumann-12-etudes-symphoniques-alfred.html

The Etudes are for me one of the few really  hallucinatory  piano records. Schumann on opium.

For this link, I get:

"The key you provided for file download was invalid. This is usually caused because the file is no longer stored on Mediafire. This occurs when the file is removed by the originating user or Mediafire."  :-[
"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure