Or even taking it further - 14 yrs since the birth of da SDC.
In all this time - what’s changed about your tastes in music? Your tastes in pianists? And your general philosophy about the shifting importance/priorities you place on different elements of music and musicianship.
I think the biggest change for me was that I went from being detail orientated to caring mostly about the big picture. The reason for this change was Richter. Before, I was all about that highlighting details in the way pianists like Hofmann did, but now I consider a lot of that unnecessary and even distracting.
Very interesting…for me the biggest evolution has been my understanding of exactly what makes ‘Classical Music’ different to popular music and other forms.
The evolution of classical music is all about musical architecture. Prior to sheet music - musicians relied upon the short term memory of the ear and dissemination of all music was by ear.
It’s like comparing what kind of building you can build free hand with no plan vs. the kind of building you can build with everything laid out in paper.
Of course the structural relations largely go beyond what can be appreciated upon a singular first exposure but like you say about the ‘bigger picture’ everything becomes clear with repeated exposure.
Having said that - there is also a density of ‘detail’ and momentary colour which is richer in the music also - so appreciation of that doesn’t necessarily have to fade with a maturing ear.
To me it all comes together, and it does depend on how casual/focused your listening is.
If I want to sit down and engross myself I’ll be more inclined to reap the rewards of bigger picture listening, but if my attention is transitory then momentary colour and detail becomes more of a priority.
After all - we fit music into our lives, so our listening style is inherently different when we multitask vs. when we are more attentive.
In the beginning of time I was essentially da zepp. I loved exciting, high flying digital virtuosity (indeed, still do ) and had little use for pieces like Träumerei, 2nd movements in general, and pianists like Kempff, Cherkassky etc. I think what changed was talking to friends who were more about the musical experience and who slowly made me begin to see and appreciate the more artistic sides of music as well. Plus I suppose I grew up too, I don’t think it was until I was around 20 that I first had these transporting experiences a good musician can give you in things like III of the Schumann Fantasy. I think I have become more whole over the years, hence - I still love hearing someone put the piano in flames with a Alkan’s Comme le Vent (or even more preferably Les Preux ) , but I’m just as compelled by and receptive to Schiff’s shimmering colours in a Händel suite, Horowitz’s miraculously nuanced Serenade for the Doll, or the profound experience of Sokolov in a Bach suite.
I suppose this is also why I couldn’t separate work from pianist in Comme’s ideal recital program thread. I’d honestly be just as excited over Kunst der Fuge as Robert le Diable, if it’s played by a pianist who can really bring out what’s in either work.
Not much tbh! I suspect I’ve become pretty jaded about Chopin, and there’s a whole segment of “serious” repertoire which I respect but have no intention of listening to.
Performance-wise I’m no longer prepared to compromise and play music I’m “expected” to play. I did a big local concert a while back and tried to mix pieces I wanted with pieces to ensure it could be considered a “serious” recital. I really do think the Chopin F min fantasy is an excellent work, but I hated working on it… never again.
I think it’s a measure of wisdom, not maturity - to be able to admire technical skill and not deride it.
If Usain Bolt’s 100m record captivated the world in admiration - why can’t the fastest fingers be as respected as the fastest legs.
It’s because musicians can be extraordinarily pretentious and elitist - because music is subjective they ironically revel in the notion that music can’t be competitive. To be both elitist and non-competitive is quite a hilarious oxymoron.
I will concede that while a mechanical feat is worthy of a WOW - it doesn’t attract you to relisten/rewatch it again and again like Music does.
The Art of Virtuosity is Music of the highest order married with technical display of the highest order.
It provides the sensual and emotive delights of music and the WOW factor of something physically impressive.
Why watch a Usain Bolt if there also exists a Usain Bolt who can run a 9 second 100m whilst singing an incredible moving aria?
This is why (for example) even though there are pianists who can unleash Cziffra’s Bumblebee at the same tempo…I keep coming back to his for the thrill of his physical feat COMBINED with incredible musical delights in the form of the variety of rhythmic and tonal colour he brings to it compared to the relatively beige interpretations of others.
Yeah, but it’s about what you’re after and what you’re receptive to as well. Sports is by its nature about beating records, physical feats etc so I can buy that most people interested in sports should also be interested in Bolt, but music is more like movies. Just because you’re a hardcore cineast doesn’t mean you’ll care for the latest Spiderman - or that you’ll care for Ben-Hur. I mean if you’ve never had that otherworldly experience with the Adagio from the Hammerklavier, then what good is the movement, after all? Similarly if you don’t play the piano yourself and you’ve had these amazing experiences with Radu Lupu, then I can understand if you’d be kinda disappointed if someone played you Cziffra’s Bumblebee and told you it’d be the greatest thing ever.
Hehe, I’ve had one of these moments myself incidentally. A friend sent me a recording he had made of an early Hough recital once where he played Tausig’s Zigeunerweisen. It was an exhilharating, stunning performance and I was at the edge of my chair at the end - only to reach the applause and hear my friend say “Whoa. What was THAT all about?”, upon which his wife replied “It makes you really appreciate Chopin!”.
Ah yes absolutely, I was referring to the objective nature of the sporting element of technique and to the subjective nature of music.
I was saying I could find something relatively exhilarating in the short term if it really is outstanding on a physical level…but I wont come back to it because there are alternatives available where that objective exhilaration is combined with musical elements that will bring me back time and time again.
A performance can be impressive without being expressive, and expressive without being impressive.
My definition of Virtuosity is when the two come together to provide a unique thrill that makes you go ‘wow how the fuck did he/she do that?’ AND be musically moved at the same time.
For me it is the opposite for point 2. I used to care a lot more about sound/tone circa 2008. Now, I’m so tolerant I can even handle Kissin (just barely). Although colour is something that makes my in hall experience better, I don’t really consider it fundamental. It’s more of the ‘cherry on top’.
ahahahaha re: da appreciation of ZPEED/M*ZIC, da zepp vil make da followin obzervationz:
in any area of human endeavour
TRU ENJOYMENT of a zheeyat muz zatizfy da followin 2 conditionz:
yo inztinctual attraction to zaid zheeyat (lyk de puzzy)
yo logikal belief of zaid zheeyat bein, attainable to yo own bad zelf (da confidence dat yo cock vil one day end up in dere)
zo when it cummah to INZANE ZPEED n FURY, fo every mofo dere iz a tym when both conditionz r zatizfied
BUT az da of lyf tickz down, we grow evah weary of da 2nd zheeyat, until finally realizin da harzh truth
diz iz different wiz M*ZIC, az tiz pozz to zatizfy both conditionz well into old age. in fact, da 2nd zheeyat may even ztrengthen az u vil haff prezumably gained mo gensui undahztandin az a bearded old mofo
Well, I don’t require it - Levit certainly offered neither and left me quite happy anyway - but when it’s there I appreciate it in a whole other way than I did 10 years ago. I was all about interpretation then, sound and colour only mattered to the point where everything wasn’t completely flat & grey.