Famous pianists that you randomly don't like

Try to say what you don’t like about their playing too.
Knowing the taste of this forum I’m guessing there will be Brendel, Schiff, Pollini… although personally I like the first 2 and probably need to listening to Pollini more to make a proper assessment.

Ahem, so mine is :orgy:

I can understand her appeal; she has a big tech and was very beautiful when she was young. And she does have the sort of personality that draws one in.
However, there is not one recording of hers that I count amongst my favourite versions, e.g. her much hyped Rach 3 I find middle of the pack.
I don’t get what people hear in her playing.
It doesn’t help that she seems to plays the same 3 pieces over and over (no prizes for guessing which ones).
Even her earliest recordings I don’t find compelling. I guess the rep I liked her in the best was baroque but she doesn’t appear to have played that much of it.

Brendel: absolutely no fury whatsoever. Makes music boring on the grounds of serving da composer. fuck you, da :brotha: woudl have been pissed as fuck to here this mofo’z wimpy Appassionata sonata. Pianists like Schnabel, Fischer, Gilels, Richter, Serkin etc all played without ego and yet none of their performances are ever boring or lifeless. There is absolutely no reason for any of his beethoven sonata cycles to exist.

Schiff: kinda the same as Brendel, his playing is pretty boring, although his lecture’s on da :brotha: zonz were very informative. I also don’t agree with many of his interpretive decisions (eg the ridiculously brisk tempo of the funeral march of the 12th sonata, the slow movement of op. 101, op. 109, op.111).

Perahia, Pollini: usually aren’t bad but aren’t anything special either. That being said, I liked Perahia’s goldbergs and mozart concertos (although the former isn’t as good as Gould) and Pollini’s Brahms quintet and 20th century disc. Both pianists’ Chopin recordings are just absolutely overrated though.

Argerich: great virtuosity and romanticism, but lacks depth.

if i really wanted to be nitpicky, here are some great pianists that sometimes disappoint:

Gilels: randomly plays like a wimp in studio recs even when his technique was clearly still good (i.e. in the 1970s, brahms concertos w/ jochum, lots of Beethoven sonatas in the DG set)

Rubinstein: early recordings are technically sloppy and structurally incoherent. late recordings are too mellow and relaxed. Tbh I really only like a few of his Chopin recordings in the 1950s-1960s like his moscow recital, his 1950s polonaises disc, the 1960s nocturnes and the stereo ballades/scherzo.

Arrau: sometimes his tempo choices are just unacceptable

Richter: sometimes bangs too much 8)

What about his EMI Beethoven Concertos? The RCA Liszt & Schubert Sonatas? Rachmaninoff Concerto 3/Saint-Saens 2, French Suite 5 + Shostakovich Sonata 2, Chopin Sonata 2 on EMI, Brahms 2 + Tchaik 1 with Reiner, Brahms Quartet + Ballades on DG, Chopin Sonata 3 on DG, Prokofiev 8 on Great Pianists, Grieg Lyric Pieces, Chopin Concerto 1 with Ormandy, EMI Tchaik Concertos with Maazel, Tchaikovsky trio with Kogan and Rosty, Schubert Quintet.

Plenty of fury in all of these. And most of these are absolutely incredible recordings.

Also, I kind of like the Gilels Prok 3rd Concerto rec. The last movement is slow, but I don’t mind it. And there are several DG Beethoven discs that are incredible, so I can’t really write off that set…

Tru :wink:

:ho: :rectum: :orgy: , Arrausal, Gould (there are exceptions in their enourmous discographys obviously)
and for no particular reason :dong:
Not quite sure what I’m doing there then… :laughing:

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Brendel is probably not the best choice for the appassionata, true. The recordings I particularly like are his liszt recordings on Vox.
Again not the most furious, but not totally lacking. The Sonata is one of my favourites. His mozart concerti are also good (but this is pretty much surefire rep for me).

Which recordings are you referring to?
If there’s one thing the young Rubinstein had it’s a big technique (and brio!).
For example his Albeniz Sevilla and Chopin 2nd Scherzo.

Haha well maybe for you a better question is, which pianists do you randomly like? :dong:

Yeah, I can’t imagine how anyone could criticize Early Ruby technique… Dude was a beast.

And Mikey… Richter left like 1500 recordings… Surely among those there is something you like?

Well to be fair I said randomly and 1970s afterwards. :smiley: Gilels’ early studio recordings are absolutely legendary. I haven’t heard as many recs as you have, but out of the ones I have heard, you’re preaching to the choir. I love his Brahms 2 with Reiner as mush as anybody else. :rectum:

Although to be honest, I heard the studio Liszt sonata on RCA studio and it was a bit too laid back. Certainly nothing compared with his live recordings from say, 1961 and 1965.

I will admit I cut my teeth on Brendel’s Mozart concertos with Marriner and liked them quite a bit. However, I think there are better recordings out there. Haven’t heard his Liszt recordings but I would be very curious to know what you hear in them. It seems to me that Brendel’s temperament as an artist is completely incompatible with Liszt’s music.

And about Rubinstein, one example I’m thinking about would be the 1945 appassionata finale. Of course it’s got maximum speed and fury but it’s just a bit too technically and rhythmically sloppy for me. I did a comparison with a live Gilels I have on Brilliant Classics. His playing is just as fast, risk-taking and exciting while also being much more technically secure.

There are few pianists that I don’t like. Even then it’s mostly because I dislike them personally and refuse to listen to them because of that. Brendel is a self-righteous prick. Schiff is an arrogant asshole. I don’t really enjoy any of their recordings that much - even Early Brendel, though it’s certainly not bad. I have in my collection ZERO recordings of these pianists. I have no Barenboim recs either, though that’s not to do with his personality, so much as I just find his playing to be stiff and boring. Angela Hewitt is a giant douche cunt. I very much dislike most of her recordings. And I’m very put off by the amount of admiration she receives for her Bach playing.

Pollini is a fine pianist, but he didn’t live up to the promise of his early recs. But still I like many of his recordings. Perahia too, I enjoy from time to time, though he certainly isn’t a pianist with ‘heroic’ sensibilities or anything. Nothing wrong with that. Hamelin I find to be completely lacking in imagination. Just listen to him in standard rep and you’ll see he’s way out of his league. I do appreciate some of his other recordings, but in most cases, as long as a couple of pianists have recorded the same works, you’ll find better recs. Take Medtner, for example. I think pretty much every other Medtner recording is better than his… Kissin I rarely enjoy. I don’t know why. I’m sure he’s fine, but I simply have zero interest in listening to him. I so completely disliked his Rachmaninoff third, I suppose that tainted whatever appreciation I had for him.

Gavrilov annoys me. Both as a person and a pianist. His early recordings were fine, though lacking is something. Rosalyn Tureck pisses me off. I’ve never heard a good recording from her. Period.

As for some of the comments here. Argerich may not be to everyone’s taste, but at least she’s the exact opposite of a Brendel or Schiff. She might be a bit over expressive and antsy, but I generally appreciate all her playing, at least in the moment. I rarely think of her recordings as definitive, but they’re always excellent. A tad more discipline and she’d be incredible. There are a few discs where she must have taken a Valium or something, and those recs are incredible. Her Bach disc, for example, is wonderful. Same goes for her Tchaik 1 with Abbado on DG.

As for Arrau, most of the recordings we have of him are from when he was more than 60 years old. That’s hardly good material to judge him from. Pick up any of his recordings from pre-1965 and you’re set.

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Yeh, like I said there are some I like. There are composers I think he’s suited to more than others - Prok obviously, Liszt, the schumann fantasie disc from what I remember
I find his Mozart dull and not fond of his Schubert (I think you would agree it’s an acquired taste)
Ho and Gould is more their tone that annoys the hell out of me, That’s not to say all these people aren’t amazing pianists!
I was really surprised hearing Argerich live doing prok 3 - was expected to be blown away with excitement but…just didn’t raise the pulse…amazing piano playing though.

Lupu, Zimerman, Perahia, Cortot, Solomon, Curzon probably my favs.

I would not. His D960 and D894, maybe. But everything else is played at normal tempos.
For Example:

Also, Richter’s earlier Mozart recordings are excellent. I’m willing to bet you’ve only listened to his later ones.

I find his interpretations very convincing. It’s one of those things where you can’t point to any one thing because it’s not a detail orientated approach. I like his pacing and the fact that the music speaks for itself.
The pieces that I think he’s suited to are things like the Sonata, concerti, Harmonies poetiques et religieuses, late pieces. I don’t need to hear him in things like the Norma fantasy.

Well I don’t know if he was ever a technician equal to Gilels. Also he was almost 60 in 1945. Early Rubinstein for me is 1937 or earlier (generally pre-1930).

This is very interesting, I’m guessing you only feel like this for people whose playing you’re indifferent to anyway?

I try as best as possible to separate the person from the musician. Otherwise I’d have a hard time listening to practically anyone.
Think of how Cortot, Furtwangler, Karajan, Gieseking, Bohm, Schwarzkopf (allegedly) acted during WW2.
Not to mention Wagner. If I considered the man, I’d never be able to listen to his music ever again.
Not separating the two also leads to the Hatto type situation where you pre-judge a recording or allow non-musical considerations to colour your opinion.
This is quite prevalent amongst the old school pianophiles on the internet (RMCR etc).

To be honest, I’d take the Brendel/Schiff approach over the Argerich any day. Probably because an interpreter can never make a piece I love boring. And with pieces I don’t love I’m more inclined to blame the composer (or myself).
I guess for me, rather than being ‘excellent’ I find Argerich to be merely ‘good’ and so I’m not usually inclined to listen to her. As I said before it doesn’t help that I’m not wild about the repetoire she plays.

Zimerman, Argerich (except for chamber music)

dayum my brain can’t think of anything else i will come back to this later :confused:

Argerich (except for her Bach) and Gould (especially his Bach) pretty much for me. The others on my ‘dun like’ list should be pretty obvious 8)

The fuck? If anything, Rubinstein’s early technique was impeccable and on par with Hofmann and such, only later did he got sloppy. What ‘early’ recordings did you listen to?

I listened to the 1945 Appassionata, but I didn’t realize until Brew pointed out to me that he was actually almost 60 then. :blush: I guess I never truly realized how old he was since he lived to such an old age and so many of his recordings are in stereo. Really makes me appreciate his later recs, like his Ballades and Scherzos in stereo recorded when he was in 70s. :blush:

Sorry if one of your favorites shows up here. If they’re in the list it means I can’t think of recording by them that I really really admire. I’m using great pianists set as a rough guide.

Angela Hewitt
Rosalyn Tureck
Ingrid Haebler
Yundi Li
Lang Lang
Kemal Gekic
Alexander Brailowski
Fazil Say
Segio Tiempo
Denis Matsuev
Yujia Wang
Mark Hambourg
Marc-Andre Hamelin
Emmanuel Ax
Vladimir Ashkenazy (post 1970s, and only piano)
Daniel Barenboim
Friedrich Gulda
Andre Previn

Haven’t listened to enough, but haven’t been impressed by:
Rudolf Serkin
Clifford Curzon
Andre Watts
Stephen Kovacevich
Geza Anda

Pianists I’m on the fence about (I admire, but their playing sometimes annoys me):
Argerich, Brendel, Lupu, Schiff, Hough

Pianists I didn’t like, but like now:

I sense an ulterior motive 8)

Trust me, if he could play Beethoven I wouldn’t care!

That’s a pretty good list, jake. Honestly, there’s not much on there I’d change, except for Serkin and Anda. Serkin was a Sony(Columbia) whore, so you never get to hear anything except his studio stuff. But I have a bunch of Serkin recitals that are phenomenal. Much better than most of his studio stuff. Anda has a lot of stuff out there, but since he played a lot of standard rep, besides all the Bartok, he is overshadowed by the other great pianists. His Mozart Concertos and Bartok Concertos, in particular, are excellent. The rest of his recs are, mostly, very competent.

Just joking with you :laughing: