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 Post subject: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:43 am 
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I can't express enough enthusiasm for this pianist, he's just amazing. I bought a few cds of his, restored piano rolls and older recordings, and all of his recordings were incredible.

Here's a link to his Chopin Ballade no. 1, the coda is phenomenal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX6PXkqOr0Y


Any other Hofmann enthusiasts here? :D


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:22 pm 
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Can't deny there are touches of genius here, a headstrong personality, and a jaw-dropping technique. Yet, he does the most godawfully banal and ugly things... How these golden-age pianists got away with the things they did is beyond me. If any modern pianist would play like this, they'd get burned on the stake. Is it nostalgia coloring peoples' judgement ? Was a pianist like Hoffmann really so much better than say, Sokolov, Perahia, Hough ? Just wondering.

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:22 am 
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techneut wrote:
Can't deny there are touches of genius here, a headstrong personality, and a jaw-dropping technique. Yet, he does the most godawfully banal and ugly things... How these golden-age pianists got away with the things they did is beyond me. If any modern pianist would play like this, they'd get burned on the stake. Is it nostalgia coloring peoples' judgement ? Was a pianist like Hoffmann really so much better than say, Sokolov, Perahia, Hough ? Just wondering.


I'm not familiar with Perahia, but I guess that doesn't matter. I don't exactly know what you mean by "godawfully banal and ugly things", could you elaborate? I understand that Hofmann, along with other 'vintage' pianists, occasionally made certain altercations to the score but he still remained true to the overall frame of the piece in all of his recordings. In fact, Hofmann was a great advocate of staying true to the composer's intentions, devoting many pages to the subject in his books on piano playing. I don't see anything contradictory to Chopin's intentions(Of course, I don't know his intentions!) and certainly nothing drearily predictable in this recording, so I don't know maybe you could tell me what bothers you about it. I do agree, though, that many pianists from this era receive praise that is somewhat based on the fact that they are old/legendary. Personally, I think that many pianists today play pieces much less musically than they should and I am fascinated by the uniqueness in Hofmann's playing. I am not saying that Hofmann is better than, say Hough for example, I think that their styles are very different and it really just depends on what your personal taste is. But you cannot deny that Hofmann had an incredible technique, and was, most of the time, an incredible musician.


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:59 am 
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BrokenFingers wrote:
I don't exactly know what you mean by "godawfully banal and ugly things", could you elaborate?

Chris's tastes are often different than mine, but a few things he might have been referring to include the abrupt and harsh accentuation of bass notes, using staccato in strange places, emphasizing secondary themes to the point of overshadowing the main ones, rushing through passages that would probably make more sense with a tad bit of reflection, etc. There wasn't much deviation from the score that I noticed. He botched a few things, but since it's live, that can't be what he's talking about. Despite those things, I enjoyed the recording; I'd rather listen to that than the standard performance, though I would have played it differently.

Chris wrote:
How these golden-age pianists got away with the things they did is beyond me. If any modern pianist would play like this, they'd get burned on the stake. Is it nostalgia coloring peoples' judgement ? Was a pianist like Hoffmann really so much better than say, Sokolov, Perahia, Hough ? Just wondering.

I have never understood the big deal about the Goldens either. Granted, I don't listen to them very much, but I have never heard a recording by Rubinstein or Horowitz that I really liked, and I've heard several that were plain awful. Maybe I am just not listening to the right stuff.

As for modern pianists and burning at the stake...I often feel like the industry stamps out creativity in favor of technical perfection. Others would probably agree, but they would also probably cite Rubinstein and Horowitz recordings with many mistakes to make the point, and that is where they would lose me. :lol: I never felt like there was anything in those recordings (the few I heard) to make up for the slips.

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:14 am 
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Terez wrote:
Chris's tastes are often different than mine, but a few things he might have been referring to include the abrupt and harsh accentuation of bass notes, using staccato in strange places, emphasizing secondary themes to the point of overshadowing the main ones, rushing through passages that would probably make more sense with a tad bit of reflection, etc.
Quote:
That sums it up pretty well. Also the sudden supersonic-velocity flight near the end of the introduction. For me these things were bad enough not to enjoy the recording, even though there were some felicitous details that I have not heard anywhere else.

Terez wrote:
I have never understood the big deal about the Goldens either. Granted, I don't listen to them very much, but I have never heard a recording by Rubinstein or Horowitz that I really liked, and I've heard several that were plain awful.

I've never heard anything awful by Rubinstein, though some of his interpretations can be rather plain-speaking. But some Horowitz recordings make me cringe, like his celebrated Liszt sonata. The Horowitz cult is mostly wated on me, though he could produce delectable things if he wanted to.

Terez wrote:
As for modern pianists and burning at the stake...I often feel like the industry stamps out creativity in favor of technical perfection.

Yes, probably true, but there are more than enough modern pianists who are just as good and creative as those of the past, with no less technical wizardry.

BrokenFingers wrote:
But you cannot deny that Hofmann had an incredible technique, and was, most of the time, an incredible musician.

For that time, certainly :) These were days when pianists could still dazzle audiences with their technical prowess, and could do whatever they wanted with the music and few would complain.

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:43 am 
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Chris wrote:
I've never heard anything awful by Rubinstein, though some of his interpretations can be rather plain-speaking. But some Horowitz recordings make me cringe, like his celebrated Liszt sonata. The Horowitz cult is mostly wasted on me, though he could produce delectable things if he wanted to.

Yes, I have to admit I had Horowitz in mind when I wrote the word 'awful'. Rubinstein has simply never thrilled me, and I have heard tales from both 88man and my piano teacher's husband in the last two days about how he played the Chopin 25/11 in Europe. Apparently, he said that he was surprised when he came to America that people actually expected him to play the right notes! :lol: And now you've made me look it up, and I found this video. Now I'm wondering if this is a clip from where he was telling the story about the rave reviews he got in Europe for...that's almost exactly what I imagined, actually. And with the pedal he's using, and the light RH, I can see how he got away with it. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:17 pm 
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Terez wrote:
Chris wrote:
I've never heard anything awful by Rubinstein, though some of his interpretations can be rather plain-speaking. But some Horowitz recordings make me cringe, like his celebrated Liszt sonata. The Horowitz cult is mostly wasted on me, though he could produce delectable things if he wanted to.

Yes, I have to admit I had Horowitz in mind when I wrote the word 'awful'. Rubinstein has simply never thrilled me, and I have heard tales from both 88man and my piano teacher's husband in the last two days about how he played the Chopin 25/11 in Europe. Apparently, he said that he was surprised when he came to America that people actually expected him to play the right notes! :lol: And now you've made me look it up, and I found this video. Now I'm wondering if this is a clip from where he was telling the story about the rave reviews he got in Europe for...that's almost exactly what I imagined, actually. And with the pedal he's using, and the light RH, I can see how he got away with it. :D


:lol:

It's Horowitz's Rach 3 recordings that make me cringe, euugh that cadenza... I like Rubinstein's nocturnes and mazurkas very much, but most of his other work leaves me dry(his Rachmaninoff, for example). Fame is rarely equal to talent, though I guess that is exactly the point you guys are making. x D

@Chris. I think his recordings are brilliant and just as much enjoyable today as they were 80-100 odd years ago. In most cases of people playing under this 'style', the composer approved! For example, Benno Moiseiwitsch's unique playing of the Rachmaninoff preludes was praised by Rachmaninoff. And I am quite sure that this style was even more so utilized in the times of Chopin & Liszt. The way of playing has certainly drastically changed, and I can't help but think that it has been affected by the lack of composers. For me, all of the different recordings from this period are more interesting to listen to than more modern ones, though sometimes the musical ideas might seem a bit too much. Hofmann was a man who, in St. Petersburg 1913, played 21 concerts in 21 days, repeating no repetoire and playing a total of 235 different compositions. Certainly you can forgive a few of the oddities in this live performance. I encourage you to listen to more Hofmann. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:58 am 
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Terez wrote:
As for modern pianists and burning at the stake...I often feel like the industry stamps out creativity in favor of technical perfection.


I wonder if it is a consequence of conservatory training, preparation for competitions where a pianist doesn't want to do something overly individual to offend juries, etc rather than industry concerns. After all editing is sufficiently advanced nowadays that I have it on good authority some cds of chamber music were sightread and patched together later - surely that implies that there is no requirement to do one-take technical perfection in the studio.

Re Hofmann, I think this is a staggeringly good performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCPkKCOI1m8

There are a very few wrong notes, and I'm not convinced by what happens at 1.28, but what current pianist could play the passage from 1.47 the way he does? Despite the background hiss and extraneous noise, the layering of the sound is magnificent; I've spent a fair amount of time on this piece and couldn't begin to have that level of control. Actually, I'll qualify my question. I'm sure some pianists could play it like that - if they had the imagination to conceive it in that way. His recording blows Michael Ponti's out of the water.

I don't think all the "golden age" pianists are wonderful - I've heard some abominable things from Horowitz (and not just from the times where he was heavily medicated), but even in some of his bad recordings you can often hear from the sonorities produced that he was a remarkable pianist.

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:44 am 
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Quote:
Actually, I'll qualify my question. I'm sure some pianists could play it like that - if they had the imagination to conceive it in that way. His recording blows Michael Ponti's out of the water.


I couldn't agree more. It's interesting that you mention Michael Ponti, for he's the only pianist I really like of the "new generation" (though, admittedly, there are many I haven't heard). But even Ponti's playing has nothing of the orchestration, the color, or the effortless virtuosity of Hoffman. The latter's playing of Wagner's ritual fire dance music makes one forget about the natural percussiveness of piano notes and focus on sound itself.

Personally, I don't think pianism at this level will ever be heard again. Mind you, there are others from the golden age I prefer -- namely Friedman, Barere, Cortot, Saperton, and yes, even Horowitz. In addition, while his Chopin 1st Ballade is great, I think Hoffman's fortes are better exhibited in salon-style passagework and filigree: the ethereal lightness of his Minute Waltz is unparalleled, and his Berceuse typifies the French notion of "jeu perle" (his chromatic double thirds passages in this should IMO be the envy of any serious pianist). Overall, I would say this ballade is a great post here because I think it's less often heard than many of his other performances.

Technically, Hoffman's only competition was his contemporaries, and even they lacked to some extent the raw natural facility of this, one of the greatest musical prodigies since Mendelssohn and Mozart. This brings me to the discussion of technique itself. I often have to smirk when technique is equated with accuracy. This logically makes no sense since the word refers to a "mode of execution," in this case a way of holding one's hand to achieve sound. If a note is being missed because of a technical problem, it may become a subset of execution, but if one is dropping a few notes in a performance because of merely being human or taking risks, the two are tenuously correlated at best. Horowitz said essentially that "technique is sound," and while this may be a rather simplistic summation, there's a lot of truth in it. After all, isn't this why we listen to a recording -- to appreciate a performer's mastery of sound on a particular piece?

The pianists of the past were unfettered by any physical obstruction; they possessed the freedom to do whatever they wanted at any time of day or night. In the modern era, we've been spoiled by recordings and the associated editing techniques. Cortot's Schumann recordings, for example, have been criticized for their lack of polish, but who today would walk into the studio and in one take record the entire work, all 20-odd pieces? Likewise, who would dare to perform, as he did, both books of Chopin etudes in a live performance? Well a few have attempted, but with such panache? Who has such physical control over dynamic range, from the most whispering pianissimo to the grandest fortissimo? Even Hoffman, at his diminutive size, I daresay could make a listener's hair stand on end with his dynamic contrasts.

Many of the pianists of today I have seen pound, wave around their manes of hair, and flail their arms, in short expend unnecessary effort, and in the end all that comes across is opacity, a dense texture of notes. Stephen Hough is a good example; I couldn't quite get over the downright crudity and brutal butchering of his Rachmaninov 3rd. Perahia, by contrast, is tepid and inconsequential. The blandness of his Mozart and Schubert recordings makes me want to squirm as I futilely yearn for some dynamic direction or rhythmic idea to emerge.

But of course we can't quite blame them. The competition era of piano playing that churns out pianists from an assembly line has us all thinking that this is what matters. After all, as Horowitz also said (approximately), "Competitions eliminate; they don't judge excellence." That Hoffman might be burned at the stake for his manner of playing doesn't bespeak ill of him but of the droves of spineless critics who sit with cheese-sniffing expressions on their faces, pen at the ready, caviling over accuracy and markings in the score. What a waste of time. It's practically an exercise we could train chimps for. Any non-tone-deaf dolt can spot a wrong note.

In the end, Hoffman always delivered an eminently individual statement. Many times I disagree with the interpretation, but he had a real imagination. I have yet to hear (with the exception of many of Ponti's recordings) a professional pianist from this modern era that tells his own story or plays with abandon. As Oscar Levant put it in the movie Humoreske (also approximately), "If a pianist doesn't have his own individual sound, he may as well quit."

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Last edited by jlr43 on Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:16 am 
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jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
..who would dare to perform, as he did, both books of Chopin etudes in a live performance?


Pollini, to name one pianist. I agree with alot of the points that you have made, but the world isn't inhabited by entirely safe pianists today. Who would dare perform all 12 Transcendental Etudes in a live performance? Berezovsky, Lugansky etc. etc. Not to speak of the things that Hamelin has done live. But maybe I'm rambling, I'm just saying the kind of lion like bravado of pianists of the past still exists today, although maybe less so.


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:26 am 
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Quote:
Pollini, to name one pianist.


Thanks for clarifying. I thought while writing this that a few prominent modern pianists must have done the complete set live (though I was unaware of it, having only heard one book performed by many), but then neglected to qualify it.

Incidentally, I've heard Pollini's etudes on recording and find it the essence of monotonous, syrupy, nerveless playing, the tempos too careful and the rhythm overly straight and "rubatoless." Pollini may have accomplished the feat of getting through them all live, presumably with most of the notes right, but I think his performances of these pieces are very "safe" by comparison with Cortot's, Friedman's and Lhevinne's (select etudes), Saperton's, or even Backhaus's.

Hamelin's manner and execution to me are reminiscent of some dweeby accountant crunching numbers. In his hands, a Haydn sonata, a Liszt rhapsody, and a Godowsky song transcription all sound the same.

Anyway, I edited above to reflect your comment.

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Last edited by jlr43 on Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:31 am 
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I just listened to Hofmann's Chopin 48/1 nocturne in c minor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K8CH1RUWH8

After listening to Lugansky and then Argerich...I find myself in the boat with Chris. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:32 am 
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Terez wrote:
After listening to Lugansky and then Argerich...I find myself in the boat with Chris. :lol:

OMG :roll: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:08 pm 
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Terez wrote:
I just listened to Hofmann's Chopin 48/1 nocturne in c minor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K8CH1RUWH8

After listening to Lugansky and then Argerich...I find myself in the boat with Chris. :lol:


Nooooo! :(
You can't trust all of his recordings, as some were made when he was very old.(and a dangerous alcoholic)'

Here, listen to this ; D I couldn't find the correct recording on youtube, but if it's anything like his earlier recording you'll be amazed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eU2k0VaMQo


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:47 pm 
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Quote:
You can't trust all of his recordings, as some were made when he was very old.(and a dangerous alcoholic)'


Very true. Funny, I remember his recording of this from the Golden Jubilee album as being more "presentable" so I hope this isn't the same one. Here, he sounds a bit rambling and unsure in places. Still, what color and control! The seamless legato and flexible rubato in the intro (compare this to Argerich who jerkily distorts the rhythm), the dramatic dynamic contrasts and perfectly clear arpeggiated chords in the octave middle section, and perhaps most impressively (for me), the sustaining of the melody over the rather lush orchestral texture in the closing recap; I've never heard anyone balance that so elegantly.

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:41 am 
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techneut wrote:

Yet, he does the most godawfully banal and ugly things... How these golden-age pianists got away with the things they did is beyond me. If any modern pianist would play like this, they'd get burned on the stake. Is it nostalgia coloring peoples' judgement ? Was a pianist like Hoffmann really so much better than say, Sokolov, Perahia, Hough ? Just wondering.


You cannot take those "godawfully banal and ugly things" out of historical context and traditions of that time. Along with that it is important to understand that from historical point of view, still in many ways Hoffmann had modernistic trends of playing (of course, with all idiosyncrasies of "Romantic" playing of that time). In any case, MOST of his pre "Golden Jubilee" Concert recordings are unsurpassed by ANY modern pianists in term of taste, filigree and "naturalness" of technique, imagination, temperament, etc. Just listen to his Chopin both Concerti to understand the titanic qualities of his pianism, surpassing even those of Josef Lhevinne.

While indeed, pianists like Perahia, Pollini, Kissin, etc. play piano well, the main difference is that Hoffmann (as well as Rachmaninov, Horowitz, Gould, Gilels, and few others) had individuality. They had what to say, and they could be recognized just from a few notes. Most of the modern pianists are like Hollywood divas--you cannot say one from another--they all look the same.

By the way, I am not sure how one could mention in the same sentence Sokolov and Perahia. Those two are completely in two different spheres of both, pianism and musicianship.

Best, M


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:44 am 
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Terez wrote:
BrokenFingers wrote:
but I have never heard a recording by Rubinstein or Horowitz that I really liked


WAT :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:27 am 
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Marik wrote:
By the way, I am not sure how one could mention in the same sentence Sokolov and Perahia. Those two are completely in two different spheres of both, pianism and musicianship.

Yes. I should have used two different sentences :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:26 pm 
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Terez wrote:
I just listened to Hofmann's Chopin 48/1 nocturne in c minor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K8CH1RUWH8

After listening to Lugansky and then Argerich...I find myself in the boat with Chris. :lol:

Terez,
The recording of that nocturne...is just horrible.. I did not feel the climax anywhere and very dry for my taste. Luganskys interpretation is rather different... He plays the beginning more slowly than most pianists and plays the doppio section faster than most...But he does keep control of the melody which is vital and crucial, I personally enjoy this rather drawn out interpretation...Agreich... truly romantic performance of this nocturne and her middle section before the octaves is truly breathtaking. Rubinstein and Igoshinas version is my favorite though.
As for Hoffman, he is a good pianist no doubt. But due to the recordings that he has made, I cannot make a full judgment. Have you herd his Rachmaninoff prelude op 3 no 2? It was so rushed...it took out all the emotion. Maybe I am wrong. But just my opinion


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:36 pm 
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BrokenFingers wrote:
jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
..who would dare to perform, as he did, both books of Chopin etudes in a live performance?


Pollini, to name one pianist. I agree with alot of the points that you have made, but the world isn't inhabited by entirely safe pianists today. Who would dare perform all 12 Transcendental Etudes in a live performance? Berezovsky, Lugansky etc. etc. Not to speak of the things that Hamelin has done live. But maybe I'm rambling, I'm just saying the kind of lion like bravado of pianists of the past still exists today, although maybe less so.

You are wrong there.
I have attended 12 Pollini concerts in my life time. Not once did he play all the etudes from both books. He played either one of the books, or selective etudes from both books. He has RECORDED them, along with Berezosky, and Lugansky ...But they never play ALL of them in a concert. Berezovsky and Hamelin play Godowksy etudes, and even those are selective, such as op 10 no 12, op 25 no 12, op 10 no 4. So he is not wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:40 pm 
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Chopaninoff wrote:
BrokenFingers wrote:
jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
..who would dare to perform, as he did, both books of Chopin etudes in a live performance?


Pollini, to name one pianist. I agree with alot of the points that you have made, but the world isn't inhabited by entirely safe pianists today. Who would dare perform all 12 Transcendental Etudes in a live performance? Berezovsky, Lugansky etc. etc. Not to speak of the things that Hamelin has done live. But maybe I'm rambling, I'm just saying the kind of lion like bravado of pianists of the past still exists today, although maybe less so.

You are wrong there.
I have attended 12 Pollini concerts in my life time. Not once did he play all the etudes from both books. He played either one of the books, or selective etudes from both books. He has RECORDED them, along with Berezosky, and Lugansky ...But they never play ALL of them in a concert. Berezovsky and Hamelin play Godowksy etudes, and even those are selective, such as op 10 no 12, op 25 no 12, op 10 no 4. So he is not wrong.

And yes, Berezosky did play 12 etudes of Liszt...But it was a concert dedicated to JUST those etudes OF Liszt...the only program from Liszt. and probably other composers ...same thing as Baremboim when he was in Berlin...He gave a concert performing ONLY Beethoven Sonatas.


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:30 am 
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Chopaninoff wrote:
Terez wrote:
I just listened to Hofmann's Chopin 48/1 nocturne in c minor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K8CH1RUWH8

After listening to Lugansky and then Argerich...I find myself in the boat with Chris. :lol:

Terez,
The recording of that nocturne...is just horrible.

I agree! :lol: The ballade was not bad, and interesting to me, but this was just...ugh.

Chopaninoff wrote:
Agreich... truly romantic performance of this nocturne and her middle section before the octaves is truly breathtaking.

I agree. I understand the criticism mentioned earlier of her live performance, but one of the things I loved about it is that it always seemed on edge, as if she was just about to lose control of the piece, or at least the tempo...but she never did. And by the time she got to the octaves you speak of, it was obvious she was in control, which made it all that more exciting to me. The emotion of it was what appealed to me the most.

Chopaninoff wrote:
Rubinstein and Igoshinas version is my favorite though.

I will have to see if I can find them.

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:54 pm 
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Chopaninoff, you're talking about Berezovsky like he's only performed the Liszt etudes once. He has made several different programs using them, and from my understanding, rarely just plays the etudes. For instance, I link a review of a concert (I ordered a cd of this particular concert) of his where he played Crumb's Makrokosmos and Ravel's Sonatine in the first half, and then after a brief intermission/break played through all of the Liszt etudes. And even if he did just include the Liszt etudes as his only program, which he does not, performing all 12 of them without flaw is still a herculean achievement. They are longer and more difficult than most of Chopin's, as I'm sure you are aware. My point was that the kind of bravado of former pianists like Cortot does still exist today, and that it's incorrect to say that it's non-existent.

If what you're saying about Pollini is true (Just going to 12, out of thousands, of his concerts doesn't necessarily mean he NEVER performed both books of the etudes) then I suppose I should apologize for the large assumption that I made. But there are pianists that play through both books of etudes, which is less impressive in light of some of the other things Concert pianists play live. Your mentioning of the Godowsky etudes was strange, because you said "even those.." as if they're easier than the Chopin etudes. I don't know, maybe it was just a misunderstanding (as I seem to mistake the intention of your posts). But works by Alkan, MacDowell, Prokofiev, Hindemith and even more modern composers are horrendously difficult and on a completely different scale than the Chopin etudes, but are also performed in public. Not to go off topic, and I apologize if I was a bit abrasive or misunderstood your meaning.


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:25 pm 
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BrokenFingers wrote:
Chopaninoff, you're talking about Berezovsky like he's only performed the Liszt etudes once. He has made several different programs using them, and from my understanding, rarely just plays the etudes. For instance, I link a review of a concert (I ordered a cd of this particular concert) of his where he played Crumb's Makrokosmos and Ravel's Sonatine in the first half, and then after a brief intermission/break played through all of the Liszt etudes. And even if he did just include the Liszt etudes as his only program, which he does not, performing all 12 of them without flaw is still a herculean achievement. They are longer and more difficult than most of Chopin's, as I'm sure you are aware. My point was that the kind of bravado of former pianists like Cortot does still exist today, and that it's incorrect to say that it's non-existent.

If what you're saying about Pollini is true (Just going to 12, out of thousands, of his concerts doesn't necessarily mean he NEVER performed both books of the etudes) then I suppose I should apologize for the large assumption that I made. But there are pianists that play through both books of etudes, which is less impressive in light of some of the other things Concert pianists play live. Your mentioning of the Godowsky etudes was strange, because you said "even those.." as if they're easier than the Chopin etudes. I don't know, maybe it was just a misunderstanding (as I seem to mistake the intention of your posts). But works by Alkan, MacDowell, Prokofiev, Hindemith and even more modern composers are horrendously difficult and on a completely different scale than the Chopin etudes, but are also performed in public. Not to go off topic, and I apologize if I was a bit abrasive or misunderstood your meaning.


Why are we discussing difficulty of etudes? Its not the point...And I am not saying it is wrong to perform those etudes...I just personally never heard or saw anyone play it. When I mentioned the Godowsky I was showing you an example that Berezosky didn't play all of them...He played some of the more technically challenging ones such as op 10 no 4, op 10 no 12, op 25 no 12...etc
This matter does not pertain to Hoffman...But I was merely siding with the other person because I as well never heard of any other pianist other than Cortot play both books.
As for Hoffman, I have mentioned earlier...This pianist does not shock me. Yes he is good without doubt, or even better than some. But he does not stand out in my mind. Richter for example does. He is a pianist that never played scales or etudes...yet is considered to have a "virtuoso technique"
Anyway...Hoffman took great risks in his piano playing. But just because he took great risks doesn't mean they succeeded and worked for his advantage. His ballade no 1 from Chopin...Just horrible. How he adds those low notes it just an offense to Chopin! They block out the melodic notes..And the coda he played extremely fast...It does say Presto Con Fuoco...But it doesn't mean to be rushed through and play random notes staccato. It all has to do with a matter of taste. For example, I think Horowitz does a fine job. He is able to play all the little notes or "not so important" notes quietly, while leading the main melody notes.
I listened to his Chopin Nocturne op 27 no 2 and the left hand which is marked Sempre Legato and Dolce....He does the opposite. With his random accents and unnecessary staccato...Ruins the whole flow of the "nocturne" I will list some times for you...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cw1Yqja ... re=related I am following that link....
:31 -:34
staccoto when marked with a legato and crescendo
:45-:46- makes a minor change in the score and adds an extra note(s) in the right hand
1:01- Another slip/ or change in the score
1:22-1:24- more staccato when marked legato
2:07-2:10: that WHOLE bar is played detached when Chopin marks a Leggierissimo ( very light) and several legato marks
2:40-2:57: misses out the WHOLE crescendo....Misses out on 4 Sforzando and then when Chopin marks a FFF (rare for a nocturne) he plays it piano...
there are just few examples. YES I AM EXTREMELY PICKY I am aware. I do not think he is a bad pianist....but I do not see the need to emphasis on something that he does not have. A wonderful rendition of this nocturne would be from Pollini, Rubinstein, or even Lugansky. Once again, I am not saying he plays this nocturne bad...But I have been noticing so many patterns in his playing that really do not go well with the pieces. I play this nocturne myself and yes I understand that it is sometimes OK to stray from the score and put a little of your character in, but not as much as Hoffman does. Hope no one took offense to my criticism just felt like throwing some examples out.


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:22 pm 
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Chopaninoff wrote:
HUGE QUOTE


As I explained in my post, my point in discussing the difficulty of what is being played publicly was meant to illustrate the fact that bravado still exists among pianists today.



About Hofmann's Op. 27 no. 2, I could first point out that it might not be an accurate recording. Hofmann, like Rachmaninoff, was suspicious of early recording techniques and altered/toned down the subtleties of his playing. Making few recordings in his prime, he made even less when he started getting older and turning to heavier drinking. Unfortunately, these recordings of the 'older' Hofmann are the most common and can give the wrong idea about the pianist. A good Hofmann recording, however, is an electrifying thing. It's pointless, though, to argue that you have to listen to a specific recording to really hear the pianist, because then how can you actually gauge what a pianist is like? I'll just say that Hofmann is not for those who are nauseated by artistic deviations from the score.

(Also, it's not that I'm mesmerized by pianist who take liberties with a piece. I'm very happy you mentioned Richter, as he's also a favorite pianist of mine. And his style is very much about providing a mirror of the composer's intention. I do like variety in performers and renditions of pieces, though, and that's really what I love when listening to the same pieces over and over again.)


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:22 am 
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Pollini's 27/2 is awful IMO. I think I have discussed that with Monica before; we compared and contrasted Pollini and Lang Lang, and I much prefer Lang Lang's recording of it. Not a huge Lang Lang fan, but he played that one nicely, perfect 'Chopin rubato', while Pollini played it like a drunken sailor.

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:28 am 
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Terez wrote:
Pollini's 27/2 is awful IMO. I think I have discussed that with Monica before; we compared and contrasted Pollini and Lang Lang, and I much prefer Lang Lang's recording of it. Not a huge Lang Lang fan, but he played that one nicely, perfect 'Chopin rubato', while Pollini played it like a drunken sailor.


Terez,
I think the reason why I like Pollini's is because its more straightforward. I dont really enjoy the ones that drag out the melody and make you wait for the next note to come...Pollini plays it faster than most, but I guess its more straightforward. As for Lang Lang, this mite seem a little rude, but I cant stand watching him play that piece with a strait face on. Its just a joke...So whenever I listen to him I turn off the computer screen.


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:56 am 
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I also don't watch Lang Lang play usually, or anyone that is gasming at the piano (real or fake). I probably do it too, but when my friend video-recorded my recital I asked her to focus on my hands. I probably don't do it at recitals, though...more likely to actually get into the music that much when I'm alone or in the company of friends.

Pollini....my biggest problem with him was that he has no clue whatsoever about a proper Chopin rubato. His tempo changes were erratic, and I didn't find them to be straightforward at all, or musical. My only problem with Lang Lang is that he was just a little too subdued in the RH, could have brought the melody out more (though I tend to differ hugely from anyone that puts the climax of the piece where Chopin put a decrescendo...but most people do that).

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:06 pm 
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For the record, Pollini played in concert all the Chopin's 24 Etudes at least once: in Milano, in 1957. He was fifteen.

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:11 pm 
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Chopaninoff wrote:
His ballade no 1 from Chopin...Just horrible. How he adds those low notes it just an offense to Chopin! They block out the melodic notes..And the coda he played extremely fast...It does say Presto Con Fuoco...But it doesn't mean to be rushed through and play random notes staccato. It all has to do with a matter of taste. For example, I think Horowitz does a fine job. He is able to play all the little notes or "not so important" notes quietly, while leading the main melody notes.
I listened to his Chopin Nocturne op 27 no 2 and the left hand which is marked Sempre Legato and Dolce....He does the opposite. With his random accents and unnecessary staccato...Ruins the whole flow of the "nocturne" I will list some times for you...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cw1Yqja ... re=related I am following that link....
:31 -:34
staccoto when marked with a legato and crescendo
:45-:46- makes a minor change in the score and adds an extra note(s) in the right hand
1:01- Another slip/ or change in the score
1:22-1:24- more staccato when marked legato
2:07-2:10: that WHOLE bar is played detached when Chopin marks a Leggierissimo ( very light) and several legato marks
2:40-2:57: misses out the WHOLE crescendo....Misses out on 4 Sforzando and then when Chopin marks a FFF (rare for a nocturne) he plays it piano...
there are just few examples. YES I AM EXTREMELY PICKY I am aware. I do not think he is a bad pianist....



Now that you've torn apart Hofmann as a pianist you're ready for our Audition Room. We need brave men like you, Nikolai. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:06 am 
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alf wrote:
Chopaninoff wrote:
His ballade no 1 from Chopin...Just horrible. How he adds those low notes it just an offense to Chopin! They block out the melodic notes..And the coda he played extremely fast...It does say Presto Con Fuoco...But it doesn't mean to be rushed through and play random notes staccato. It all has to do with a matter of taste. For example, I think Horowitz does a fine job. He is able to play all the little notes or "not so important" notes quietly, while leading the main melody notes.
I listened to his Chopin Nocturne op 27 no 2 and the left hand which is marked Sempre Legato and Dolce....He does the opposite. With his random accents and unnecessary staccato...Ruins the whole flow of the "nocturne" I will list some times for you...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cw1Yqja ... re=related I am following that link....
:31 -:34
staccoto when marked with a legato and crescendo
:45-:46- makes a minor change in the score and adds an extra note(s) in the right hand
1:01- Another slip/ or change in the score
1:22-1:24- more staccato when marked legato
2:07-2:10: that WHOLE bar is played detached when Chopin marks a Leggierissimo ( very light) and several legato marks
2:40-2:57: misses out the WHOLE crescendo....Misses out on 4 Sforzando and then when Chopin marks a FFF (rare for a nocturne) he plays it piano...
there are just few examples. YES I AM EXTREMELY PICKY I am aware. I do not think he is a bad pianist....



Now that you've torn apart Hofmann as a pianist you're ready for our Audition Room. We need brave men like you, Nikolai. :lol:


I have clearly mentioned that I am aware of how picky I am and that I do not think he is a bad pianist. I pointed out what he does wrong and what I do not like, and I gave prime examples of it with a video and times, and other users on here pointed some of the same stuff that I have said, except I went further and showed examples. No need to call me up to the audition room and challenge me. Also, I play that same nocturne in Db major...Not saying I can better...But as an executor of this piece I have a right to criticize his playing...being that it IS a discussion page of him. Can I please know the exact information of his concert? I know that he studied at the Milan Conservatory in Milano...If he performed the etudes AT the conservatory than it does not count as a concert for public. It must have been for exams. Like for example Horowitz, played Rachmaninoffs 2nd piano concerto at the conservatory, but never performed it at the concert stage. I may be wrong. But please send me a link proving that I am wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:14 pm 
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Chopaninoff wrote:

I do not think he is a bad pianist.


Thank you for giving Hoffmann at least that credit. Rachmaninov actually, thought of him as pianist no. 1 in the world... or is it that Rachmaninov just was not as picky? Heh, go figure...

Chopaninoff wrote:
I pointed out what he does wrong...


I am so glad that finally, there is somebody here who knows EXACTLY what is right and what is wrong :roll: .

Chopaninoff wrote:
I know that he studied at the Milan Conservatory in Milano...If he performed the etudes AT the conservatory than it does not count as a concert for public. It must have been for exams.


I was unaware Hoffmann ever studied in Milano. Any points as for where did you find this information? Not sure which etudes are in question, however, going on stage Hoffmann usually was asking his manager: "What do I play today?"

Best, M


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:55 am 
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Marik wrote:
Chopaninoff wrote:

I do not think he is a bad pianist.


Thank you for giving Hoffmann at least that credit. Rachmaninov actually, thought of him as pianist no. 1 in the world... or is it that Rachmaninov just was not as picky? Heh, go figure...

Chopaninoff wrote:
I pointed out what he does wrong...


I am so glad that finally, there is somebody here who knows EXACTLY what is right and what is wrong :roll: .

Chopaninoff wrote:
I know that he studied at the Milan Conservatory in Milano...If he performed the etudes AT the conservatory than it does not count as a concert for public. It must have been for exams.


I was unaware Hoffmann ever studied in Milano. Any points as for where did you find this information? Not sure which etudes are in question, however, going on stage Hoffmann usually was asking his manager: "What do I play today?"

Best, M


I really do not appreciate your sarcasm. Rachmaninoff ALSO said that Horowitz played his concerto better than he did! Rachmaninoff was very open with compliments and appreciated other pianists. I was talking about Pollini who studied in Milano and we are talking about the Chopin etudes. I would appreciate it if you would tone it down a little bit and be aware of what are debating on before replying to me. As for Hoffman I stated my opinion that I do not like him as a pianist and I showed exactly why. No need to get all defensive.
Nikolai


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:36 am 
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Chopaninoff wrote:

I really do not appreciate your sarcasm.


Well, then maybe next, when you publically tear apart somebody of Hoffmann's magnitude you might 1) think about historical context, 2) understand the style (both of romantic pianism of that era and also of that of Chopin), 3) consider the fact that artists are judged by their highest achievements, and 4) have enough humility not to start judging, pretending you know what's right and what's wrong.

Chopaninoff wrote:
Rachmaninoff... was very open with compliments and appreciated other pianists.


I'd suggest to study the topic little deeper, particularly read Rachmaninov's letters and memoirs about him. You will be quite surprised as for your findings.

In any case, the fact Rachmaninov dedicated his 3rd Concerto to Hoffmann, as well as called him "Pianist number One" speaks little more that just giving a mere compliment.

Chopaninoff wrote:
I was talking about Pollini who studied in Milano and we are talking about the Chopin etudes. I would appreciate it if you would tone it down a little bit and be aware of what are debating on before replying to me.


Sorry, from your original message it was extremely unclear that you were debating about Pollini, as his name was not mentioned anywhere in that post. All the reference I saw was "his". Since we were talking about Hoffmann I believe it was fair to assume you were referencing to him. Of course, I think it is understandable I had no idea that in fact, you were referencing to Pollini (again, since his name was not in that message at all). I am not sure how I'd be aware of what is "debating on" and what do you mean by "tone it down" in respect to that?

Chopaninoff wrote:
As for Hoffman I stated my opinion that I do not like him as a pianist and I showed exactly why. No need to get all defensive.


First of all, it seems in fact, it were you, who was defensive... but this is not of importance.

All I can say, even though it is your right not to like Hoffmann (and of course, it is your right), that man was an important part of our past. Moreover, I can say I don't like some aspects about his playing myself. However, it really does not matter, as the main thing is to understand that historically, he was a titanic figure... God of piano, somebody of probably... Michael Jackson's stature of that time. In a sense, Hoffmann was a bridge to a modern pianism.

Without understanding this, without coming back to his recordings, listening, rewinding and listening again, analyzing, thinking, trying to understand what was so special about him, what made him to be a cult for entire generation... without all of that we cannot understand piano and piano performance of today, as (as we all aware) without knowing our past and understanding history we cannot understand today and go into tomorrow.

Best, M


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:35 pm 
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Chopaninoff wrote:
No need to call me up to the audition room and challenge me.


The AR joke was meant as a listener and critic not as a player (which would be indeed a cheap shot on you, speaking of Hofmann, and however you play). But I was also a tad serious, since a Beckmesser like you is probably more at ease in AR than here finding faults with Hofmann's interpretations.


Chopaninoff wrote:
Also, I play that same nocturne in Db major...Not saying I can better...But as an executor of this piece I have a right to criticize his playing...being that it IS a discussion page of him.


Marik said it all. What's the next step? To censure Beethoven's parallel fifths and respell Joyce's Finnegans Wake?


Chopaninoff wrote:
Can I please know the exact information of his concert? I know that he studied at the Milan Conservatory in Milano...If he performed the etudes AT the conservatory than it does not count as a concert for public. It must have been for exams. Like for example Horowitz, played Rachmaninoffs 2nd piano concerto at the conservatory, but never performed it at the
concert stage. I may be wrong. But please send me a link proving that I am wrong.


AFAIK, it was a recital, not a student concert, and was held at "Circolo della Stampa" in Milano. Does it make any difference? Ah, forgot you're picky...

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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:35 pm 
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alf wrote:
Chopaninoff wrote:
No need to call me up to the audition room and challenge me.


The AR joke was meant as a listener and critic not as a player (which would be indeed a cheap shot on you, speaking of Hofmann, and however you play). But I was also a tad serious, since a Beckmesser like you is probably more at ease in AR than here finding faults with Hofmann's interpretations.


Chopaninoff wrote:
Also, I play that same nocturne in Db major...Not saying I can better...But as an executor of this piece I have a right to criticize his playing...being that it IS a discussion page of him.


Marik said it all. What's the next step? To censure Beethoven's parallel fifths and respell Joyce's Finnegans Wake?


Chopaninoff wrote:
Can I please know the exact information of his concert? I know that he studied at the Milan Conservatory in Milano...If he performed the etudes AT the conservatory than it does not count as a concert for public. It must have been for exams. Like for example Horowitz, played Rachmaninoffs 2nd piano concerto at the conservatory, but never performed it at the
concert stage. I may be wrong. But please send me a link proving that I am wrong.




AFAIK, it was a recital, not a student concert, and was held at "Circolo della Stampa" in Milano. Does it make any difference? Ah, forgot you're picky...


Marik wrote:
Chopaninoff wrote:

I really do not appreciate your sarcasm.


Well, then maybe next, when you publically tear apart somebody of Hoffmann's magnitude you might 1) think about historical context, 2) understand the style (both of romantic pianism of that era and also of that of Chopin), 3) consider the fact that artists are judged by their highest achievements, and 4) have enough humility not to start judging, pretending you know what's right and what's wrong.

Chopaninoff wrote:
Rachmaninoff... was very open with compliments and appreciated other pianists.


I'd suggest to study the topic little deeper, particularly read Rachmaninov's letters and memoirs about him. You will be quite surprised as for your findings.

In any case, the fact Rachmaninov dedicated his 3rd Concerto to Hoffmann, as well as called him "Pianist number One" speaks little more that just giving a mere compliment.

Chopaninoff wrote:
I was talking about Pollini who studied in Milano and we are talking about the Chopin etudes. I would appreciate it if you would tone it down a little bit and be aware of what are debating on before replying to me.


Sorry, from your original message it was extremely unclear that you were debating about Pollini, as his name was not mentioned anywhere in that post. All the reference I saw was "his". Since we were talking about Hoffmann I believe it was fair to assume you were referencing to him. Of course, I think it is understandable I had no idea that in fact, you were referencing to Pollini (again, since his name was not in that message at all). I am not sure how I'd be aware of what is "debating on" and what do you mean by "tone it down" in respect to that?

Chopaninoff wrote:
As for Hoffman I stated my opinion that I do not like him as a pianist and I showed exactly why. No need to get all defensive.

thinks
First of all, it seems in fact, it were you, who was defensive... but this is not of importance.

All I can say, even though it is your right not to like Hoffmann (and of course, it is your right), that man was an important part of our past. Moreover, I can say I don't like some aspects about his playing myself. However, it really does not matter, as the main thing is to understand that historically, he was a titanic figure... God of piano, somebody of probably... Michael Jackson's stature of that time. In a sense, Hoffmann was a bridge to a modern pianism.

Without understanding this, without coming back to his recordings, listening, rewinding and listening again, analyzing, thinking, trying to understand what was so special about him, what made him to be a cult for entire generation... without all of that we cannot understand piano and piano performance of today, as (as we all aware) without knowing our past and understanding history we cannot understand today and go into tomorrow.

Best, M


I think both of you are straying off. You claim he is a great pianist. Ok I'll agree with you. But please show me a piece where he is SOMEWHAT loyal to the composers dynamics. Saying that he is good and this and that and that Rachmaninoff thinks highly of him is not enough. Because a great composer said hes a great pianist does not mean everyone should think that. For instance, Scriabin hated Brahms. From an article I read. " Scriabin's later works strike out on their own, in a manner more similar to Brahms late piano works where the composer is really speaking from his own psyche. Scriabin hated Brahms, chastising the young Rubinstein who, much to Scriabin's distant admitted his fondness for Brahms piano music. " Scriabin is beside the point. But its an example that just because a great composer like Scriabin hated Brahms, does not mean everyone should. Which ties back with Rachmaninoff saying Hoffman is great. And we can not really judge Hoffman based off of his recordings because I think you will agree with me, they are horrible. not his fault though. What Im saying is that it is not wise to judge Hoffman based off what other pianists from his era said. And just because I do not like Hoffman does not mean other people should not either. Do not get me wrong. I am merely showing what he does wrong, and stuff that I, nor do other people do NOT like. Show me a piece where you feel he truly is able to capture your attention. I really would like to understand what people love about this pianist. I have listened to his Chopin Nocturnes, Ballades, Rachmaninoff prelude (which is extremely rushed) the C sharp minor one, The g minor one as well (which was on a piano roll which cannot be judged at all) Liszt libestruam no 3 which was also rushed and not even at all! etc etc etc. I apologize for my English, it is hard to convey what I am saying from Russian.
Nikolai


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:00 am 
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Chopaninoff wrote:

But please show me a piece where he is SOMEWHAT loyal to the composers dynamics.


Nikolai,

I am not sure why you are so concerned with his dynamics (esp. in relation to Chopin). There were numerous versions of the same piece with completely different dynamic marks. Very often in the same place you can find pp in one version and ff in another.
Every time Chopin re-wrote pieces for his students he would change notes, dynamics, harmony, etc. etc. etc. His music is essentially improvisatory and in that era it was customary to be "inventive". On the other hand, you are saying how "horrable" Hoffmann was doubling low octaves and say that this is an "offense to Chopin." At the same time you praise Horowitz for his Scriabin (which I completely agree), but conveniently "forgetting" that he was doing the same, and often even worse, re-writing entire sections, doubling things, etc. etc. etc.
Or care to listen Sofronitsky's Scriabins Waltz with score?

So at least it would be nice to be consistent.

Chopaninoff wrote:

Saying that he is good and this and that and that Rachmaninoff thinks highly of him is not enough. Because a great composer said hes a great pianist does not mean everyone should think that...


Not sure why you keep bringing up Rachmaninov again and again. As I stated, Rachmaninov was not alone and Hoffmann was a cult figure for entire generation. For a record it is not even my opinion--for strarters I'd recommend to read some Harold Schoenberg, Abram Chasins, heck--or at least David Dubal (and yes, I am aware Soviet musicology tend to belittle Hoffmann, calling him "old fashioned" and "forgotten").

Chopaninoff wrote:
...Show me a piece where you feel he truly is able to capture your attention. I really would like to understand what people love about this pianist. I have listened to his Chopin Nocturnes, Ballades, Rachmaninoff prelude (which is extremely rushed) the C sharp minor one, The g minor one as well (which was on a piano roll which cannot be judged at all) Liszt libestruam no 3 which was also rushed and not even at all! etc etc etc.


While I disagree the Rachmaninov's Prelude (and Liszt Libestraum) are rushed, I will post just a few examples which capture (at least) my attention:
Chopin-Liszt, The Maiden's Wish (I personally think nothing matches it... even Rachmaninov's version):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G14YEue6XVg

Chopin Concerto no. 1, 3rd Movement (unfortunately Concerto no. 2 is not on youtube):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec9qn3H2 ... re=related

Beethoven, Sonata no. 18, Scherzo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qt3yXoKDsp4

There is much more from him I like, but it is not on youtube, so make your own research and judge for yourself.

Best, M


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 Post subject: Re: Josef Hofmann
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:01 am
Posts: 53
Marik wrote:
Chopaninoff wrote:

But please show me a piece where he is SOMEWHAT loyal to the composers dynamics.


Nikolai,

I am not sure why you are so concerned with his dynamics (esp. in relation to Chopin). There were numerous versions of the same piece with completely different dynamic marks. Very often in the same place you can find pp in one version and ff in another.
Every time Chopin re-wrote pieces for his students he would change notes, dynamics, harmony, etc. etc. etc. His music is essentially improvisatory and in that era it was customary to be "inventive". On the other hand, you are saying how "horrable" Hoffmann was doubling low octaves and say that this is an "offense to Chopin." At the same time you praise Horowitz for his Scriabin (which I completely agree), but conveniently "forgetting" that he was doing the same, and often even worse, re-writing entire sections, doubling things, etc. etc. etc.
Or care to listen Sofronitsky's Scriabins Waltz with score?

So at least it would be nice to be consistent.

Chopaninoff wrote:



Saying that he is good and this and that and that Rachmaninoff thinks highly of him is not enough. Because a great composer said hes a great pianist does not mean everyone should think that...


Not sure why you keep bringing up Rachmaninov again and again. As I stated, Rachmaninov was not alone and Hoffmann was a cult figure for entire generation. For a record it is not even my opinion--for strarters I'd recommend to read some Harold Schoenberg, Abram Chasins, heck--or at least David Dubal (and yes, I am aware Soviet musicology tend to belittle Hoffmann, calling him "old fashioned" and "forgotten").

Chopaninoff wrote:
...Show me a piece where you feel he truly is able to capture your attention. I really would like to understand what people love about this pianist. I have listened to his Chopin Nocturnes, Ballades, Rachmaninoff prelude (which is extremely rushed) the C sharp minor one, The g minor one as well (which was on a piano roll which cannot be judged at all) Liszt libestruam no 3 which was also rushed and not even at all! etc etc etc.


While I disagree the Rachmaninov's Prelude (and Liszt Libestraum) are rushed, I will post just a few examples which capture (at least) my attention:
Chopin-Liszt, The Maiden's Wish (I personally think nothing matches it... even Rachmaninov's version):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G14YEue6XVg

Chopin Concerto no. 1, 3rd Movement (unfortunately Concerto no. 2 is not on youtube):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec9qn3H2 ... re=related

Beethoven, Sonata no. 18, Scherzo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qt3yXoKDsp4

There is much more from him I like, but it is not on youtube, so make your own research and judge for yourself.

Best, M


Thank you. I will listen to these links. I hope no one was offended by my remarks, and I wish you a good night.
Nikolai


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