The borderline between awesome tech and ELITE tech

I think all of us here appreciate pianists with brilliant technical skills but are they all of a similar ‘awesome tech’ level or do you perceive an Elite Echelon of super rare technical skill?

Awesome techs are a dime a dozen, and we can become jaded to this level of skill as there are more awesome techs in the world now than ever. But is there still a pantheon of a rank elite?

Where is the borderline? What do you perceive to be the dividing line awesome tech and elite tech? And if there is an Elite - who do you rank among them?

Think awesome is mastery of the many technical elements, elite is being able to carry off multiple qualities at once with musical details etc all in proportion. In order of Pianistic talent (not necessarily level of prep) cziffra friedmofo horowitz, richter and perhaps by grace of labor Michelangeli

Actually Michelangeli displays incredible control, he maximizes his tech potential but his actual potential in terms of innate dexterity was not elite level.

You never see him unleash some raw insanity. He gives the illusion he had better dexterity than he had by virtue of sheer hard work and perfection.

It’s kinda splitting hairs imo, differentiating between elite and awesome. I think in terms of dexterity and general cleanliness, pianists today are playing better than ever. Where they are falling down is pedal technique (apart from Schiff) and general tonal variety and sound projection. The latter only matters in the hall though. Also, we don’t know how good the old timers where in that respect either.

Well I’d agree about the last bit.

So are you saying in the upper few thousand pianists in the world - just in technical terms - they’re all more or less on the same plane of ability and that there isn’t a smaller batch of elite 'Usain Bolt’s among them?

I have no idea; that’s a huge number of pianists, I doubt I’ve even listened to more than a few hundred in my life. Moreover, I’m discovering random pianists all the time with phenomenal mechanisms. Take Kristina Miller for example, she’s not famous at all but there are some things she plays that I can’t imagine being played any better (in a technical sense).

Then you look at mechanical feats like da MOTEL’s HR6 record, and Richter’s 10/4 and consider that many people CAN recreate those feats…but simply choose not to?

Choosing not to unleash insane tech is like having a Ferrari and only ever driving within the speed limit.

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Nowadays a lot of peniztz have very big, secure techz, and not a lot of imagination. I’m not convinced a lot of thought goes into the actual end sonority in many cases.

The old school greats had both high level tech plus a sense of imagination and style (for me, good examples are Friedman, Cziffra, Wild). A knowledge of how to shape stuff and an understanding of emotional affect. For me, that’s why they are greats. Possibly today’s top virtuosi equal them in tech (apart from :zif:, who imo is sui generis), but not in musicianship.

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ho ho ho hi hi hi ha ha ha

You are perfectly right there are no Rembrandts from 1884.

Wasn’t there someone on youtube who beat Richter’s 10/4? It wasn’t even someone famous.
For me “rape” is a musical device, but not every pianist likes it. Even Richter only played it like that for musical reasons.

This just depends on what you value, musically speaking.

Tru. I don’t value being put to sleep by anti-septic playing :stuck_out_tongue:

I mean I could argue that some of the old timers were annoyingly mannered.

I actually prefer the old 88 sound as well. Just seems more mellow.

Tru, it’s sometimes hard to listen to da PAD and da PACMOFO for anything other than cg. (They definitely didn’t have elite tech, btw.)

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And yet I really love some of the things de Pachmann did. But he’s essentially a miniaturist, like Friedman. Actually, Friedman is basically the Kreisler of piano.

Are you sure you’d say Wild’s tech was elite level?

He could maybe do anything he wanted, It’s just lucky he never wanted to unleash a sub 1:30 10/4 :whale:

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I would really love Friedman’s Chopin but for Samson Francois, who imo is the last great Chopinist.

I never managed to get into him for some reason. Although I do have that EMI chopin box, which I can actually listen to now that I’m reunited with my CDs.

Not ziff level but the one below. Like everyone else non-Ziff :slight_smile: