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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:16 pm 
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It has worked, Eddy!

So it follows that if not seen a pianist can and should use both hands in order to achieve best results.

I see it this way, when at a concert:

A pianist comes on stage. He only has his left hand or maybe he has injured his right one: it is in a cast. He plays. He gives the best he can and the audience loves it. :)

Another pianist comes on stage. He has both hands and has not injured any of them. He plays with one hand. :shock: Why that? Is he showing off? Is he making fun of the audience? Would not a one armed pianist take offense, the same as if a one-legged man were to see me (now that my ankle is almost mended and I definitvely do not need them anymore) using crutches? This pianist is deliberately reducing his technical assets while the pianist with one hand is multiplying his.

Does this make sense?

It reminds me of Khvorostovsky: When he was younger he tried to sing with a pop band, but he soon gave up, when he realised that he had to give his worst and even so he was doing better than the best musician of the band doing his best.

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
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Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:28 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
It has worked, Eddy!

So it follows that if not seen a pianist can and should use both hands in order to achieve best results.

I see it this way, when at a concert:

A pianist comes on stage. He only has his left hand or maybe he has injured his right one: it is in a cast. He plays. He gives the best he can and the audience loves it. :)

Another pianist comes on stage. He has both hands and has not injured any of them. He plays with one hand. :shock: Why that? Is he showing off? Is he making fun of the audience? Would not a one armed pianist take offense, the same as if a one-legged man were to see me (now that my ankle is almost mended and I definitvely do not need them anymore) using crutches? This pianist is deliberately reducing his technical assets while the pianist with one hand is multiplying his.

Does this make sense?

It reminds me of Khvorostovsky: When he was younger he tried to sing with a pop band, but he soon gave up, when he realised that he had to give his worst and even so he was doing better than the best musician of the band doing his best.


richard66 wrote:
Another pianist comes on stage. He has both hands and has not injured any of them. He plays with one hand. :shock:

Richard, I am talking about works composed for LH alone. Are you?

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:42 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
Strange! Chris, your post two above this one (quoting me), is listing it as if it were me posting and quoting you! What happened? :?

Edit: Further, I now observed that both an origial reply to Richard by me (that I never saw posted), and a replacement for same, do not appear! Something is going on. :evil:

I did not notice this post before. Yes you're right, I did it again....
As an admin, I can edit other people's postings. So I get two buttons 'Edit' and 'Quote'. They're small and close to one another, and sometimes I click the wrong one. It would not be the first time :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:00 am 
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Yes, Eddy, I am talking about works written for the left hand.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:11 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Yes, Eddy, I am talking about works written for the left hand.

Well Richard, maybe it just depends upon the audience having knowledge of the fact that the work was composed for LH alone, and why it was so, that warrants the performance. Which raises an interesting question. It is easy enough for us today to appreciate works inspired by the misfortune of Wittgenstein or the temporary disability of Scriabin, but what must people have thought when Brahms comes out with the Chaconne arranged for LH alone? Why would he do this? :?: That truely is sort of circus-like, don't you think? I would rather hope it was a sort of Gradus ad Parnasus for the existing LH training material.

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:48 pm 
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Yes, I find what Wittgenstein did was admirable and what great works we have as a result! Have you heard Bortkiewicz's concerto for the left hand? Now, there you have a most impressive achievement and what difference if there is only one hand? I doubt I could play it with both.

Leon Fleischer followed the example, which just shows that an arm injury does not mean the end of a careet.

I read somewhere that Brahms had written a work for Clara Schumann, who had just injured her right hand closing a drawer, but I do not think this one was it.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:01 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Have you heard Bortkiewicz's concerto for the left hand?

Nope. But I like his concerto No.1 very much!

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:57 am 
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The second one is much better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSWdUvnM6f8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SccSazXWTVg

Or another version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2JKv4_zvfs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPcJ7Hz5q7A

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:20 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
A pianist comes on stage. He only has his left hand or maybe he has injured his right one: it is in a cast. He plays. He gives the best he can and the audience loves it. :)

Another pianist comes on stage. He has both hands and has not injured any of them. He plays with one hand. :shock: Why that? Is he showing off? Is he making fun of the audience?...This pianist is deliberately reducing his technical assets while the pianist with one hand is multiplying his.


I see it as like an artist drawing something in black and shades of grey, not using all the colours available to them, or maybe a poet writing a sonnet. To choose a limited set of technical resources then explore what can be achieved within those constraints is sometimes a beautiful thing.

I can't remeber which writer used the phrase "the expressive power of technical difficulty"--possibly Charles Rosen writing about the Chopin studies?

To get back to my favourite Bach-Brahms chaconne. Bach's original pushes the boundary of what's possible on a violin. As well as sounding beautiful, it's formidably difficult. Part of the magic of a live performance is seeing a human struggling to achieve the near-impossible. Busoni's transcription, transplanting the same work to a piano played with two hands, strikes me as a little bit too slick. I'm not saying it's exactly easy, and certainly it still sounds beautiful, but the sense of struggle is lost. What makes Brahms's version so special, even when played with one hand by a two-handed pianist, is that it preserves this aspect of the chaconne trying to express something a little beyond the technical resources available. To me there's nothing circus-like about it (although I have great respect for the talent and hard work of good circus performers).

At least, that is my taste. I don't expect everyone to agree :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:36 pm 
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This is very true. I played through this Chaconne again yesterday (still on my todo list) and yes, the playing with one hand does add something really special that would not be there when played by two hands. Brahms does not seek virtuosity or difficulty here, only to achieve maximum impact and expression with restricted (rather than limited ?) means. Maybe this is the best and only way to transcribe a violin solo piece - not saying a bad word about Rachmaninov's gorgeous Partita reworking of course :D

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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:50 pm 
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Alexander,
hanysz wrote:
I see it as like an artist drawing something in black and shades of grey, not using all the colours available to them, or maybe a poet writing a sonnet. To choose a limited set of technical resources then explore what can be achieved within those constraints is sometimes a beautiful thing.
Most insightful! I really like this.
hanysz wrote:
Busoni's transcription, transplanting the same work to a piano played with two hands, strikes me as a little bit too slick. I'm not saying it's exactly easy, and certainly it still sounds beautiful, but the sense of struggle is lost.
Well, not for me :lol: . It has several challenging passages. But just like the work for violin, it's not all difficult.
hanysz wrote:
Bach's original pushes the boundary of what's possible on a violin.

This is absolutely true. However, I see it this way, Bach was inspired to compose a work much larger than the instrument he was writing for at the moment. The amazing thing (IMHO) about the Chaconne, in fact regarding much of Bach's oeuvre, is that it transcends the medium. This Chaconne, for example is a moving and beautiful work whether performed on violin, piano, guitar or orchestra. I can imagine it beautifully arranged for a capella choir and thus being performed by living-instruments! This aspect, argues against Rosen's point.
I leave you with this little test (?). :wink: In the "quasi Tromboni" D Major section (but before the "Allegro moderato ma deciso") in both the Busoni transcription and original violin score, there are two adjacent melody notes that struck me as peculiarly un-Bach-like in melodic shape. As I investigated it I discovered that given the limitations of the violin, Bach had no choice but to write it that way. However, given the ample resources of the piano, I re-score the two notes in question to what I believe Bach would have written if he had not suffered the instrumental limitation. Can you identify what two notes these might be? :)

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:19 pm 
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Bach pushed the violin to its limits with the Chaconne, while Brahms transcription limits the technical resources, because the violin can achieve much more; here is the difference. But what matters is the beauty of the Chaconne and this warrants its being played, be it on the violin, the harpsichord or the 'cello.

If we reason like this, then we cannot play Beethoven with a modern piano, seeing that he pushed his instrument to its limits while nowadays a pianist worth his salt will have to hold back here and there.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:53 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
or the 'cello.

OMG, yes! How could I forget this? :roll:

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Curious site
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:10 am 
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Theodore Edel's Piano Music for One Hand is an excellent resource for those interested in the genre. The book covers virtually all the bases. I don't play any music for one hand, but if I were to do so, this unique repertoire guide would reveal a whole new world in the piano literature.

Link: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Music-Hand- ... 930&sr=1-1

David

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