Author Topic: Virtuoso piano technique  (Read 24668 times)

Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #50 on: 16 May, 2021, 12:10:49 pm »
A noble effort, Wow!

Agreed!

As my wife is a piano teacher I showed her your video and she was suitably impressed.

Thanks, both! I could have got Dez to stitch together a slicker rendition by editing out my slips, but actually being able to play the piece from start to finish without a lapse of concentration is really quite important, I feel. I'm going to keep practising it as I think it benefits from being rather quicker than I played it. Also, once I've got my fingers in the right place, playing it faster means that there's less chance of losing concentration.
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hellymedic

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #51 on: 16 May, 2021, 10:31:55 pm »
I watched the C# Prelude & Fugue played from Perivale last Tuesday, which spoilt me somewhat!

D is also struggling with this piece!

D is practising it right now and notes Henry is 'tuned' to C# as the cleaner works upstairs...

Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #52 on: 19 May, 2021, 08:48:41 am »
I have now started to memorise the fugue. Not there yet, but the bits I can play from memory are more secure.

My next venture will be the A minor fugue from Book 1. This had the reputation of being the hardest of all of Book 1. There are 4 lines of music which need to be knitted together (the C# is in 3 voices) and it really demands a reasonable speed.
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Ben T

Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #53 on: 19 May, 2021, 09:10:56 am »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FfzIAFMe5Q&ab_channel=PeterWalkerPeterWalker


The legato seems nice and clean, would I be right in thinking you're not using much pedal?

Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #54 on: 21 May, 2021, 12:36:36 am »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FfzIAFMe5Q&ab_channel=PeterWalkerPeterWalker


The legato seems nice and clean, would I be right in thinking you're not using much pedal?

I don't think I used any for the fugue. I did for the prelude, but for a lot of it, each bar is just a broken chord so it works well. I just didn't feel the need for pedal in the fugue. I like the way Angela Hewitt plays the prelude without pedalling, but since her technique is so wonderful she can achieve a machine-gun like quality with her notes, and a clarity that I can merely dream of.

Whether or not you pedal when playing Bach is always a contentious point. Some say he didn't have access to a sustaining pedal so we shouldn't use one. The counter-argument is that he didn't have access to a modern (ie after 1850) piano either so if we are being consistent, we shouldn't use that. There is a recording of Andras Schiff stating that he never uses the sustaining pedal when playing Bach. I think it's from 2014. I mentioned this on a Facebook piano technique book, but was then told by a number of people that in more recent videos of him playing, he clearly was. (I said he had Bach-pedalled).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbJI-tP6tNA&ab_channel=ECMRecords
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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #55 on: 21 May, 2021, 01:14:15 am »
Ha!  I've sort of been upstaged by Andras's clever remark, but I was going to turn things round by saying that playing Bach while pedalling is liable to lead to a disaster - but I won't bother, now!  Thanks for the link, Wow.

Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #56 on: 24 May, 2021, 10:37:47 pm »
Angela Hewitt at the Wigmore Hall. I see she's on a Fazioli. Hers, infamously, was wrecked by the shifters a year or two ago when they dropped it. I read that she was practising on a 220cm instrument as a stopgap. That one looks like the full 9 yards feet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h90bwNaSG8&ab_channel=WigmoreHall

Edit: it's her new "lover".

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/jan/04/celebrated-musician-speaks-of-finding-new-best-friend-to-replace-smashed-piano
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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #57 on: 05 June, 2021, 01:51:53 pm »
Wow, I know you are keen on Andras Schiff so when I saw this New York Times article I naturally thought of you.

A Pianist Comes Around on Period Instruments

hellymedic

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #58 on: 05 June, 2021, 06:48:08 pm »
Whereas I was reading this fortnight-old interview in the Jewish Chronicle last night...
https://www.thejc.com/culture/music/after-the-silence-sir-andras-schiff-on-music-post-pandemic-1.516837

Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #59 on: 05 June, 2021, 10:05:56 pm »
That's fascinating about him playing on period instruments. 1859 is very early for a Blüthner - the company was founded in 1853. Mine is a Blüthner from 1935 - at least, that's what the original sales card at the Blüthner showrooms in London has to say. But that card describes a much smaller piano than mine. I suspect that at some point it was restored and the serial numbers printed on the soundboard became confused. I doubt very much that they would have written out an incorrect receipt to a customer.

When I bought mine, I was originally interested in an 1898 instrument at Roberts Pianos in Oxford - that may well have been identical to Debussy's Blüthner because he was only 36 when it was built. It was in a gorgeous rosewood with black, deep red and cream stripes in the grain and I really loved its appearance. But it was the Blüthner patent action, and I found that it was too weak in the second and third octaves above middle C. Blüthner introduced an "aliquot" stringing system, in which the top third of the piano had a 4th string tuned to each note that wasn't struck by the hammer but vibrated in sympathy. I'm not convinced that it makes a lot of difference, but even modern Blüthners have an extra string. The design has changed slightly though. I did play some Debussy on that piano when we tried it in the showroom, and I have never made the 1st Arabesque sing as much as I did that day. The bass strings had an absolutely exquisite tone. But it was frustrating for playing Beethoven because of the weakness of the sound in the upper registers and after about 2 hours playing it I decided, with great sadness, that that piano wasn't for me.

The piano I did buy was still being French polished when we got there and was held up on scaffolding poles as the legs were with the polisher. They put the keyboard back in and I played it and fell in love. It's a gorgeous piano. It's in mahogany and doesn't have the wide range of colours in the wood that the older one did but it is still very attractive. Blüthner abandoned their "patent" action in the mid-1920s and moved over to the same type of action that Bechstein and Steinway were using and mine has the more modern action.

Blüthners are manufactured in Leipzig and Marcus Robert, who sold me mine, reckons that the Communist-era pianos are not so good as the pre-war ones. He says that they are getting much better again now though. I tried out a reasonably modern one - 1980s I think - at an auction at the Conway Hall, and I thought it sounded fine. I didn't like the finish though - the wood had a really thick layer of polyurethane or whatever - so thick that it looked as though it was covered in glass. I have also played new Blüthners at the Baker Street showrooms - two 9' concert grands and a really tall upright. Apparently that model of upright is the tallest piano currently being manufactured by anyone. It had a massive sound, but had the heaviest action of any piano I have ever played. No doubt that could have been adjusted.

I read somewhere that in the 1930s, if Jews who were Blüthner owners decided to emigrate to escape the nazis, the Blüthner company paid for the export of their piano. I don't know how often this happened, but the story I read was that the conductor of the Leipzig and Berlin Radio Orchestra turned up in San Francisco and about 6 months later, to his surprise, so did his Blüthner. IIRC I read this on the blog of a US piano teacher named Mark Polishook, who was working in Leicester. I've looked at the Wiki entries for the conductors of both orchestras but can't find anyone whose biography suggests that it might have been them. I understand that during WW2 the nazis commandeered the Leipzig factory and turned it into a place that manufactured packing cases for munitions.

I must stop now. I have an urge to play Debussy's first arabesque...
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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #60 on: 06 June, 2021, 10:11:39 am »
It'll pass...

Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #61 on: 18 June, 2021, 12:57:20 pm »
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Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #62 on: 22 June, 2021, 11:52:59 pm »
https://www.rcm.ac.uk/events/details/?id=2220341

An event tomorrow at 7pm - Andras Schiff giving a masterclass teaching the last three Beethoven sonatas, op 109, 110, 111.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #64 on: 23 June, 2021, 08:58:52 pm »
I was lucky enough to see Marc-Andre Hamelin perform Op109 and Op111 at the Anvil in Basingstoke.  What struck me was that the playing was so effortless that I could focus completely on the music. 

But the performance that sticks in my mind more than any other, was watching Steven Osborne performing Messaien's Vingt Regards at Wigmore Hall, around the time he was completing his acclaimed recording of the piece for Hyperion. 
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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #65 on: 23 June, 2021, 10:12:12 pm »
I was lucky enough to see Marc-Andre Hamelin perform Op109 and Op111 at the Anvil in Basingstoke.  What struck me was that the playing was so effortless that I could focus completely on the music. 

But the performance that sticks in my mind more than any other, was watching Steven Osborne performing Messaien's Vingt Regards at Wigmore Hall, around the time he was completing his acclaimed recording of the piece for Hyperion.


I shall be listening to Mr Osborne tomorrow,   https://www.liverpoolphil.com/whats-on/classical-music/royal-liverpool-philharmonic-orchestra/3948
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Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #66 on: 23 June, 2021, 11:10:27 pm »
I was blown away by a Schiff assertion about the slow movement of the 31st Beethoven sonata. He reckoned that Beethoven was quoting the Bach St. John Passion "Es ist vollbracht" - Christ's last words - "It is finished" and it was a reference to Beethoven's state of health and that he knew he was dying. He still hung around for another 5 years after writing that sonata. There's no question - the two passages are very similar.

But musical history maintains that none of Bach's choral works were performed after he died until Mendelssohn resurrected them with a performance of the St. Matthew Passion in 1829 - 2 years after Beethoven died.

If Schiff is right, then Beethoven must have had at least a sight of the score at some point.

Fascinating stuff.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #67 on: 25 June, 2021, 09:36:21 pm »
This started automatically on my Youtube feed.

I instantly recognised the piano as a Bösendorfer Imperial (97 keys instead of the usual 88 - I played one in Vienna a few years ago) and of course Andras Schiff is the conductor/pianist!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XVgMXKdO8U&ab_channel=SonorumConcentusBeethoven
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Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #68 on: 26 June, 2021, 12:04:17 am »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJVVCqgnimQ&ab_channel=RT%C3%89News

Amazing - Debussy was still alive when she was born.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #69 on: 23 February, 2022, 11:54:35 pm »
I was blown away by a Schiff assertion about the slow movement of the 31st Beethoven sonata. He reckoned that Beethoven was quoting the Bach St. John Passion "Es ist vollbracht" - Christ's last words - "It is finished" and it was a reference to Beethoven's state of health and that he knew he was dying. He still hung around for another 5 years after writing that sonata. There's no question - the two passages are very similar.

But musical history maintains that none of Bach's choral works were performed after he died until Mendelssohn resurrected them with a performance of the St. Matthew Passion in 1829 - 2 years after Beethoven died.

If Schiff is right, then Beethoven must have had at least a sight of the score at some point.

Fascinating stuff.

I asked our mus dir from the choir about this. The answer was an equivocal "Baron van Swieten".

Baron van Swieten was a librarian of some note as well as a keen amateur musician - apparently he introduced an early card system for cataloguing books, and he had a significant collection of Bach's original, unpublished, scores. It is well-known that Mozart visited him regularly and they played a lot of Bach and Handel. It's quite possible that van Swieten had some of Bach's choral scores, including the St. John Passion. Beethoven may well have seen the score - and they might well have had enough musicians there for a run through.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottfried_van_Swieten#Sharing_works_by_Bach_and_Handel
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CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #70 on: 24 February, 2022, 05:51:44 pm »
Listening to Liszt Transcendental Studies Op139. 

I remember at the height of my time trialling prowess, when I once made the top 10 of an open TT and could post a decent distance in a 24Hr TT.  A certain R Prebble was riding out with our club, and could (even though he was no longer seriously competing) drop me on the flat or any other terrain except waiting for a South West Train.  I'm fairly sure that Mr Prebble would have be dropped by Mark Cavendish up any hill of their choosing.  Etc.  Etc.

Music like this is (a) there to remind me that however much I study and develop my skills, there will be many orders of magnitude of difficult above me that others can play with a fraction of the effort and (b) to sound utterly amazing as well.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #71 on: 26 April, 2022, 08:41:50 pm »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di2k06uNU1U&ab_channel=WarnerClassics

Decidedly inauthentic, but great fun nonetheless.
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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #72 on: 03 September, 2022, 01:09:28 pm »
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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #73 on: 05 October, 2022, 09:46:32 am »
https://twitter.com/DBarenboim/status/1577358192711008256


"It is with a combination of pride and sadness that I announce today that I am taking a step back from some of my performing activities, especially conducting engagements, for the coming months."


"A serious neurological condition" sound ominous.     I've a ticket to see him play with the RLPO in January.


Edit: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/oct/05/daniel-barenboim-steps-back-from-performing-for-health-reasons
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CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Virtuoso piano technique
« Reply #74 on: 05 October, 2022, 01:17:30 pm »
As this thread popped up, here is a pianist to consider, with an inappropriate name - Vincenzo Maltempo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VW2ms-jpCY  (Alkan's 2hr Opus 39 played live)

and him playing the last of Lyapunov's transcendental studies, after F. Liszt, with this one dedicated to the great man himself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntkANiGiUVU



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