Da Doc repliez to da criticizm

from yahoo groupz fo thoze of yall who dun read deze, basically diz mofo wuz pizzed dat da doc changed da prog to da hidin chop, wit no virt encore sheeyat,

da doc repliez:

I have kept in touch with what happens in piano groups to some degree over
the years, but so far I’ve resisted actually piping in. However, recent postings
in this group relating to my Salt Lake City recital on October 3rd force me
to reply, since at least in one respect I feel I’m under attack. (Those who
voice criticism in those groups might be surprised at how many of those postings
are actually read by the subject!)

The reason for the repertoire change lay in the fact that I will be
performing the Haydn/Chopin program in Munich in December. I didn’t want to be
it for the first time at that particular occasion, so I set out to try to play
it in as many venues as possible prior to that time. This meant asking
promoters for permission to change previously established programs. Salt Lake
allowed this; Wake Forest University in NC (where I played two days later) did
preferring the original program. One might infer from this that I consider
Salt Lake a less important venue than the Herkulessaal in Munich; the fact is
that I thought Salt Lake would be an excellent venue to ‘break in’ this
particular program, since its public is particularly attuned to piano music (not
because of the Bachauer competition) and I thought this would provide me with
much additional motivation. Most importantly, I was playing both the Haydn
little B Flat Major Sonata and the Chopin 3rd Sonata for the very first time
day, and so I needed a good audience to keep me on my toes. I felt
particularly good about choosing Salt Lake for this purpose.

I happen to love this Haydn/Chopin program, and I never thought it would
alienate anybody. And please be assured that I feel good enough about it to play
it anywhere, in cities big or small. To call it a’ pedestrian’ program is cruel
and offensive, and reveals a very cavalier attitude towards these amazing
composers. I’m quite sure that this program was appreciated by most of the
audience on that day. If I set out to please everyone all the time - and I used
try very hard, before I came to my senses - I’d go nuts. I can’t be playing
just for Chase Kimball. I’m sorry he was ‘bitterly disappointed’. All I was
was sharing my enthusiasm towards music I truly love with a very receptive
audience. I felt just as good doing this as I did when playing Mozart K. 271 –
a startlingly original and extraordinary work – two years ago with the Utah
Symphony. By the way, the choice of concerto was the Orchestra’s.

And as far as this program not being in line with my reputation…… well, said
reputation is not my doing. If you catch my recitals (as well as listen to my
CDs), you will find that they contain a much greater proportion of ‘standard’
repertoire, simply because I feel it’s ill-advised to play too many
unfamiliar works in the course of a single evening.

The Godowsky Passacaglia as an encore? I sincerely hope that’s hyperbole (I’m
not absolutely sure…)! I would like those members of the group who are so
interested in virtuosity, as Mr. Kimball seems to be, to explain to me what is
thrilling in Godowsky’s music form a purely virtuosic standpoint? There is
practically no overt pianistic display in his writing. Would playing The Swan as
an encore have been satisfactory? After all, that’s also Godowsky.

Incidentally, the reason I only played one encore in Salt Lake was that
people stopped clapping after one encore. Period. I had quite a few lined up; I
always do. The audience kept clapping in Wake Forest, so I kept on playing.
That’s the way it works. Some audiences are shy about asking for encores out of
consideration for the pianist’s dwindling energies; I suspect that’s probably
what happened in SLC.

By the way, if Mr. Kimball happened to know just how demanding my left-hand
étude is, he wouldn’t complain any more than if I’d played Godowsky’s Study
no.13, for example (the one after op.10 #6). Mine is extremely intricate and
demands the ULTIMATE in pedal and tonal control. The idea is truly to make one
hand sound like two, and in this case that’s a very tall order. Incidentally, I
felt particularly good about picking Salt Lake in which to give this work its

I feel uncomfortable with the fact that, for some people, nothing I do in the
area of musical finesse matters as long as I play the performing monkey in
order to redeem myself. I do not feel that concerts are Olympic events. And why
do people think that ‘supervirtuoso’ pieces come easily to me? This is a
completely gratuitous assumption. I need to practice, sometimes very hard, just
like anyone else. And just because things may look easy to everyone doesn’t mean
that they actually ARE easy.

The truly unfair point of this whole thread, and the one that really tipped
the scale and got me to write all this in the first place, is my supposed
attitude towards Salt Lake. In the past, I have given PLENTY of concerts in very
small towns - much, much smaller than a city like Salt Lake - mostly under the
umbrella of a Canadian association called Piano Six. The idea was to expose
such areas to a kind of good music-making that they might not encounter
otherwise, and I enjoyed performing such a service for many years. For that
reason, I
would never call any town a ‘hick town’, however small or musically unaware.
And I don’t ‘snub’ audiences, whatever that means. It’s not in my nature, and if
any musician approaches engagements with that state of mind, it’s time for
serious reexamination.

So I offended Chase Kimball so much he didn’t want to talk to me? I I have
often been amazed at how easy it can be to alienate people without ever
intending to…….

Lastly, I never thought I’d actually have to apologize for my appearance! For
the record, eyeglasses are no longer necessary for me, since I had lens
transplant operations on both eyes last June. The lenses had been riddled with
cataracts for many years, and now I can read just about effortlessly without the
aid of glasses.

Now, about that black shirt…….does anyone in the group happen to know how
HOT a tuxedo can get under stage lights? Although I still have to wear a tux for
orchestral appearances, I have elected to switch to something lighter for
recitals, partly because I’m on stage for a much longer time, and heat has a
nasty effect on one’s concentration. And this is something I do even in
places like London and New York. However, the look of the shirt itself, because
Mr. Kimball’s pointed remark, is a cause of concern for me, since I thought
I’d sufficiently pressed it just before leaving the hotel. So this is the one
valuable lesson I’ve learned from all this; I obviously have to hone my ironing

Marc-André Hamelin

haha tru, maybe dere iz a chance da :doc: readz da sdc? like da :lib:



man tha whole tym i wuz readin that it wuz lyk in moviez readin a lettah wit a DOC voice ovah


“does anyone in the group happen to know how
HOT a tuxedo can get under stage lights”

zound lyk

“You’re not going to tell me that’z EAZY!”



this time I througly laughed :whale:

-da Meph

I was at that concert at Wake Forest University in NC. It was pretty ridiculous. And I got an autograph.

ridiculous in the good or bad sense?

-da Meph


:doc: “correktly, i iz a lurkah”

pozzibly if da :jake: talk enuff sheeeyat he vill rezpnd here

Very classy letter. :doc:

hahaa da Clean smooth Doc style :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc:
(just like his playin 8) )

Hahahah DANG! To think someone thiz reztrained in hiz writing can unleash like an uttah mofo - da tru tonal control. Man, respec the diplomatic DOC.


@brew can you show exactly what provocted this letter by da :doc: .

:doc: can play what ever he wants. after listening to his Brahms2 he is truly a pianist of the ages.

-da Meph

ok well WTFFFFFFFFF!!! duz any of u mofoz actually have thiz :chop: B minah perf??? :doc:

:doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc: :doc:



i iz zhor da DOC vil join da sdc

if we ban da lib 8)

i juz wanna zay that i think :da judy: iz abzolutley gorgeouz

HAHAHA DA DOC!!! Respec da fello " Québécois" 8)

we all know who’s momentous to da SDC.

look at da emotion.


but damn, da doc was disappointed in SLC i think. he pozzibly wont cum back to da SLC.

tiz a whole thread worth o sheeyat. Too much to repozt here. look on ThePiano Yahoo group (you vill haff to join) if you’re really interested.
Here iz da inspectah john kimball’z responze to da doc:

Dear Mr. Hamelin: let me begin by stating that I admire you
tremendously, and I deeply regret causing yoiu discomfort. I have
numerous prized recordings by you, listed below, and consider you one
of the top five piano virtuosi in history. I must note that I said
many positive things in my review which you have left out of your
rebuttal. I noted that I enthusiastically requested that you be
booked for the “Virtuoso Series.” I said I was absolutely thrilled
by your original program of Vladigerov, Liszt/Wagner etc. Of the
concert itself I mentioned your superb finger legato and said the
lines in the Haydn were a joy to listen to. I called your playing
stunning, miraculous, controlled, perfect; and said beyond wishing
for a little more abandonment there was nothing for me to criticize.
I said I clapped ferociously. I said your encore was very beautiful,
that the concert was fantastic playing of great music.

Unfortunately, I also said I was bitterly disappointed. I stand
behind all these statements. Would I have made these statements if I
had known you were going to respond as you have? No; it turns out I
am one of those shy types that prefers to avoid public humiliation.

I was excited enough about your concert to seek out the scheduled
program well in advance. Had it been Haydn/Chopin from the
beginning, my attitude would doubtless have been that I was mildly
disappointed by the program but knew that you would knock it out of
the park anyway, which you surely did. But I got myself keyed up for
the exotic program, and was shocked when there was a substitution of
a decidedly non-exotic nature. If I went to a restaurant that was
famous for its Peking Duck, and was told they were out and I had to
get sweet and sour chicken, I would be disappointed even if the sweet
and sour chicken was the best I ever had. I didn’t say you snubbed
us, I said I felt snubbed, and there is a huge difference. I didn’t
talk to you after the concert because I was afraid I would directly
express my disappointment to you. which would have been ridiculous
given the fantastic concert you had just played.

My feelings are my feelings. I reported them honestly, and you have
replied honestly (with the caveat that you ignored the numerous
positive things I said). I may have embarrassed you, and I apologize
for that. I know you embarrassed me, but I guess I had it coming.
Your dress was totally immaterial to me as far your performance goes,
I mentioned it only to the extent that it helped explain my feelings
of being snubbed. I have since learned that you played in similar
dress in Chicago, so it turns out I was wrong about this, as I was
wrong about so many other things, too many wrong things for me to
address them all here. I deeply regret this entire incident.

Chase Kimball

PS, I hope that this public apology will also be transmitted to you,
in the same way my original post was.

Footnote 1, list of Hamelin recordings in my collection.
Alkan, sonata op. 33
Alkan, sonatine op. 61, and various miniatures
Alkan, Symphony for Piano (private recording)
Bach, French Suite #5, (private)
Chopin/Godowsky, complete etudes
Behr, Polka and lots of miniatures from Kaleidoscope
Godowsky: Sonata in E minor and various Godowsky
Godowsky, Passacaglia
Kapustin, sonata #2 and concert etudes (private)
Liszt, Paganini Etudes
Liszt: various Transcendental Etudes (private)
Schubert/Liszt, marches
Roslavets, preludes
Rzewski: The People United, etc. and various Rzewski
Scriabin, sonatas complete
Sorabji, sonata #1
Szymanowski, masurkas
Villa-Lobos, Rudepoema and etc.

randomly fair doc collection, but not sdc level :doc:

i wasn’t sho if da doc wud be proud seeing countless of his bootlegz leaking here. on behalf ov da SDC, 1 membah shud top da Kimball collection off by posting da gensui list of doc recs/vids.


just to show da appreciation towards him w/ a hope of having him visited us one day.