Which pianist has the most beautiful "touch"?

Started by Skogwald, March 25, 2024, 06:21:00 AM

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Skogwald

I have noticed that what I look for in a pianist is that elusive beautiful touch of the keys. It's hard to put into words but for example Ivan Moravec has the ability to make me go "wow" with a single chord.

Which pianists do you think have the most beautiful touch?

DavidW

Kempff.  He is neither heavy nor light, neither too swift nor too slow.  He is always effortlessly charming!

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: Skogwald on March 25, 2024, 06:21:00 AMI have noticed that what I look for in a pianist is that elusive beautiful touch of the keys. It's hard to put into words but for example Ivan Moravec has the ability to make me go "wow" with a single chord.

Which pianists do you think have the most beautiful touch?
A favorite of mine!  ;D Particularly his Chopin and Janacek.  Have you heard his album "Live from Prague"?  It's wonderful!

And like DavidW, Kempff is also a favorite of mine--particularly regarding Beethoven sonatas.  :)

PD
Pohjolas Daughter

Skogwald

Yes, that Live in Prague album is incredible!

Moravec is my favorite, I've been listening to nothing but his playing recently. His version of Beethoven's PC4 is mindblowing too.

I need to go back to Kempff!

Who else should I listen to if I want some gorgeous tones?

Atriod

Among ones that are currently performing - Kun-Woo Paik, Evgeni Bozhanov, Volodos.

Atriod

I would also add Sergei Babayan, but only his Scarlatti disc shows it, possibly the Ravel Gaspard as well (did quite well in a blind comparison I did). The rest of his Russian music, Messiaen, Ligeti, etc don't really lend themself to showing this. It was hearing how gorgeously he played in concert that convinced me.

Todd

Off the top of my head: Volodos, Armstrong, Bozhanov, Block, Yamane, Schuch, Kosuge, Hinrichs, Piemontesi, Tokarev.  There are others, I'm sure.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

Quote from: Todd on March 25, 2024, 08:56:09 AMOff the top of my head: Volodos, Armstrong, Bozhanov, Block, Yamane, Schuch, Kosuge, Hinrichs, Piemontesi, Tokarev.  There are others, I'm sure.

Todd, would you kindly provide their first names please?

Mandryka


Quote from: Skogwald on March 25, 2024, 06:21:00 AMI have noticed that what I look for in a pianist is that elusive beautiful touch of the keys. It's hard to put into words but for example Ivan Moravec has the ability to make me go "wow" with a single chord.

Which pianists do you think have the most beautiful touch?

Can Çakmur; Shura Cherkassky.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Holden

One obvious one is Rubinstein and I think that Yunchan Lim probably fits into this category or if he doesn't yet he certainly will.
Cheers

Holden

Atriod

Quote from: Holden on March 25, 2024, 12:00:52 PMOne obvious one is Rubinstein and I think that Yunchan Lim probably fits into this category or if he doesn't yet he certainly will.

From what I have heard from Lim from The Cliburn, op. 27/2, partial Années and that CD with Beethoven PC5 I hear him as sounding more like Zoltán Kocsis with his slightly hard edge.

Spotted Horses

Based on some listening to his Schubert, Brendel's touch could be magical.
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

DavidW

Quote from: Spotted Horses on March 25, 2024, 01:06:53 PMBased on some listening to his Schubert, Brendel's touch could be magical.

And his Haydn!

(poco) Sforzando

#13
Quote from: Atriod on March 25, 2024, 12:58:00 PMFrom what I have heard from Lim from The Cliburn, op. 27/2, partial Années and that CD with Beethoven PC5 I hear him as sounding more like Zoltán Kocsis with his slightly hard edge.

Having heard him live at Carnegie in the Chopin etudes I'm inclined to agree. He's got a devoted fanbase and phenomenal technique, but I thought the finale of his recorded Moonlight much too aggressive. He can be very delicate in slow nocturne-like pieces, but he pushed himself pretty hard at Carnegie in the Revolutionary and the last big three etudes of op. 25. Exciting stuff, as were his Liszt etudes and Rach 3 from the Cliburn, but already he's having to cancel some performances due to strain in one hand.

Jan Lisiecki has a beautiful touch. (And incidentally based on his social media presence, seems like a genuinely nice guy.) From the little I've heard of her (just a Chopin etude in thirds on YouTube), Beatrice Rana might qualify. And also George Harliono, who didn't make the top 30 in the 2022 Cliburn, but his YouTube version of Chopin 10/8 stands out to me for elegance and humor.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Mandryka

Quote from: hopefullytrusting on March 25, 2024, 09:56:03 PMFor me, no one comes close to the soft tenderness of Irene Scharrer - the epitome of beautiful pushing pianism.


https://static.qobuz.com/goodies/59/000137295.pdf
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Brian

Judging mostly on recordings, I'd agree with Volodos and Moravec, second Can Çakmur (though I don't know how I feel about his style despite this praise), add Vikingur Olafsson, and point out Robert Casadesus' Mozart concerto recordings as examples of flawless tone. Daniil Trifonov is transfixing in live concert for his varied and tasteful "touch."

Quote from: (poco) Sforzando on March 25, 2024, 05:03:40 PMFrom the little I've heard of her (just a Chopin etude in thirds on YouTube), Beatrice Rana might qualify.
I saw her live do Op. 25 No. 1 as an encore and it was breathtaking - her touch reduced the busy-ness of the accompaniment's sound and gave the piece a beautiful floating quality, with a well-voiced melody. It justified the "butterfly" nickname.


(poco) Sforzando

Quote from: Brian on March 26, 2024, 07:53:40 AMI saw her live do Op. 25 No. 1 as an encore and it was breathtaking - her touch reduced the busy-ness of the accompaniment's sound and gave the piece a beautiful floating quality, with a well-voiced melody. It justified the "butterfly" nickname.

Forgive the pedantry, but 25/1 (in A flat, a moderately slow 4/4 with a lot of rustling figuration) is usually nicknamed the Aeolian Harp, while 25/9 (in G flat, a quick 2/4) is the Butterfly. All these nicknames are kind of dumb of course, but somehow they persist and seem inseparable from the music's allure.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

Alfred Cortot, Carlo Zecchi, and Andrej Wasowski.

Brian

Quote from: (poco) Sforzando on March 26, 2024, 08:14:35 AMForgive the pedantry, but 25/1 (in A flat, a moderately slow 4/4 with a lot of rustling figuration) is usually nicknamed the Aeolian Harp, while 25/9 (in G flat, a quick 2/4) is the Butterfly. All these nicknames are kind of dumb of course, but somehow they persist and seem inseparable from the music's allure.
Whoops - thanks - shows how many memory cells I have annexed to those nicknames. (It was definitely 25/1)

(poco) Sforzando

Since I've mentioned George Horliono, one of my current favorite unsung young pianists, see what you think of his touch and tone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz9UHnHyk4Y&t=212s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Sda-6AgOTw

OK, in the scherzo of 31/3 he overdoes the ritards and pauses, but I really find his overall approach appealingly light and charming. Maybe we should have a discussion someday about competitions (and what a racket they are); anyone interested in the topic should read Charles Rosen's witty and acerbic comments on the subject (and the education of pianists in general) in "Piano Notes." Anyway, it dismays me to see that George did not progress beyond preliminary screening in the 2022 Cliburn. It just goes to show there are so many fine and capable pianists out there. But frankly, I'll take his op. 10/8 any day over Yunchan's, which a friend of mine described as "dull and uninflected."
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."