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András Schiff

Discussion in 'Pianists' started by pianolady, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I saw András Schiff perform in Chicago tonight. I do not know very much about him and have only recently listened to him play Bach when I was working on the Aria. So I know he is a fine Bach player, but in this concert he played five Beethoven sonatas in this order:

    No. 22 in F Major, Op. 54
    No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 (Appassionata)
    No. 24 in F-sharp Major, Op. 78
    No. 25 in G Major, Op. 79
    No. 26 in e-flat Major, Op. 81a (Les adieux)

    He is also a fine Beethoven player!!

    Out of the five sonatas, I will comment on two of them. The No. 25 is a piece I play around with now and then. I like the light-heartedness of it and it’s not as hard as most of the other sonatas. Someday, I may get serious and get it down. The Appassionata – Wow, is about the only thing I can say right now. I thought it was great. I heard one little slip and it was in a strange place. Either in the second movement or third, but it was the top note of an arpeggio that was one of the slower ones. He got the top note, but I think he caught the key next to it as well. Something sounded off there. He didn’t make the same slip on the repeat. Other than that, I didn’t hear any other mistakes, which to me is just incredible.

    And his tone – beautiful – running the full spectrum of the dynamic range. He used the una corda pedal around 75% of the time. Many times he ended with such fierce ferocity that his body literally shot back from the piano and I couldn’t help but think that if he had been sitting on a lightweight bench, he would have been flying across the stage. Or more likely tipping over backwards.

    For an encore, he performed only one piece and I didn’t quite hear what he said. It was Schumann – the third movement of something, possibly in C Major? Whatever it was, it was very beautiful. And that was the end of the concert.

    He wore a black suit with white shirt, black tie, and royal-blue waistcoat, complete with a gold chain draped in the lower pocket – perhaps a pocket watch? He strikes me as being a traditionalist. He looked older than I expected too (I don't know how old he is). I know a couple other members were at this concert too. One of them was Brian – so Brian, if you have more to add to this, whether to agree with my assessment or to disagree and say that I’m nuts, please feel free to do so. :lol:
     
  2. Mark

    Mark New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Glad to hear that you're listening to a little more Beethoven Monica. Schiff played in Philadelphia on Friday (he gets around). I didn't go, because I was furiously practicing for my own recital on Saturday. I listened to a few advertising snippets of the sonatas he was performing, and they sounded quite good and competent, but not exciting enough to get me to take time off on such an important evening. I agree that he's a traditionalist in his playing as well as apparently his dress, and personally, I prefer a very terse, lean, virtuosic, high-strung Beethoven. A young man's Beethoven if you will. Interesting to hear about the soft pedal. This seems to be something that many artists do! He's coming back through Philly two more times this season to play more of his Beethoven Sonatas, and I'll probably see at least one of those performances.

    I look forward to hearing your recording of No. 25. It sounds fun.
     
  3. bclever

    bclever New Member

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    The encore was the third movement of Schumann's Fantasy in C Major. Damn that was
    beautiful. Monica, did you hang around to get his autograph? His hands are very small!
    And he's probably around 5'7". It's funny to me that Mark thinks he is a traditionalist musically.
    I certainly shouldn't argue with someone that's actually educated :) but I was thinking
    Schiff's playing was anything but traditional. All those thundering chords and unexpected rubatos,
    repeats played at slightly different tempos and moods, all that counterpoint and unusual
    phrasing. Also, I think all of his experience with Bach really brings something very fresh to
    those sonatas. Anyways, as usual I could be completely wrong about all this.

    Oh yeah, that mistake was extremely unfortunate since it was the only sound in the whole
    auditorium. He laughed a little at himself over it. This was the third time I've heard the
    Appassionata played live: Ax, Pollini and now Schiff. They all made mistakes in the easy
    parts :shock:. Weird.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Dang it, no we didn’t stay. We thought we would beat the crowd to the parking garage and slip out before getting caught in the big, long exit line. Well, we made it out fine, only to get stuck on I-88 from all the Bears after- game traffic. We crawled almost all the way to Naperville. Should have done what you did.

    And I don’t think you are wrong. You and Mark know much more about Beethoven than I do. I just know that what he played sounded good. Also, I’m glad you heard that same mistake - yes, it was in a very quiet place, and the audience was pretty good. No one clapped in the wrong places, not too many ‘coughers’ (the lady next to me snored a bit, though. But then Schiff came down hard and loud on a chord and she jumped and woke up. Happened often – I almost really did LOL). And how about that cell phone – did you hear it? It came from a young woman a couple rows behind me. Boy, did she get the dirty looks!
     
  5. Mark

    Mark New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hey Brian,

    My only experience with Schiff has been in his Bach playing, in which he strikes me as a rather traditional, "excellence through subtlety" sort of player. He may be totally different in other repertoire. A reviewer in a Philly newspaper said the Appassionata was one of the best performances he'd ever heard. I clearly have to see him play Beethoven on his next pass through town!

    LOL @ my education. If you perceived him to be non-traditional, he probably was. You were the one who actually saw him play after all!
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I saw him perform again this afternoon. He played an all-Schumann concert. 1. Waldszenen, Davidsbundlertanze, Kinderszenen, and Symphonic Etudes. As I expected, he played very well. Only one encore - which I can't remember now - was a pretty piece though! All in all, a nice concert but not that memorable. I don't know.... I was also a little tired and restless at the same time, and a bunch of stupid people kept coughing and making noise. Oh well, still a nice afternoon and the warm weather this time of year in Chicago was a nice bonus!
     
  7. piano55

    piano55 New Member

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    i like András Schiff and stand for it ......
     
  8. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,
    how nice to open a thread with the subject of Andras Schiff here. As you probably know, I know him from the "International Musicians Seminar" at Prussia Cove, though it´s some year ago. I met him there in the 80th and I went to Cornwall in England five years consecutively. It was very interesting and inspiring to met him and to get all his very convincing ideas and imaginations of music. As a Hungarian he is a "full blooded" musician as his old friend and teacher, Sandor Vegh (who died some years ago). I also met Vegh there and Tamas Vasary, Ferenc Rados, some other of his Hungarian "colleagues".
    He teached me and others in "piano in chamber music" in his master class there at Prussia Cove. I was a very young pianist then and this time was absolutely formative for me (as you can imagine). Still today I often remember of his wonderful suggestions of interpretations and the many little concerts in England (mostly in some little churches), in which he played himself with other pupils of the seminar (violin, viola, cello). Here I found my great love to piano in chamber music, which still is one of my favorite domain.
    And I heard Schiff playing the Well-Tempered Clavier, book I at one evening by heart, which also was a formative inspiration for myself.
     
  9. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Re:

    I have only listened to him play the c minor partita, and while I would agree with you for the most part, he did some rather non-traditional things with the courante, like dotting rhythms on the repeats. Seemed to me something a harpsichordist might do. I liked it.
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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