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VIDEO: Liszt's Mephisto Waltz #1 - Sandra Mohr

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by RaphaelLiotto, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. RaphaelLiotto

    RaphaelLiotto New Member

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    http://youtu.be/HZx24jMEHtY


    Dear friends on Piano Society.

    I found this video very interesting and worth watching.

    Comments are welcome!

    Thank you.
     
  2. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    IMO the performance is competent, but the recording sounds like it's in a tunnel with WAY TOO much reflected sound, and the piano itself has a poor sound to it (sounds cheap) and some bad tuning of several high notes. Thumbs up for the pianist, but thumbs down for everything else. :|

    To see the real thing watch Berezovsky perform it masterfully and with elan! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prnW7UA-K8E&feature=g-vrec&context=G20f4f4cRVAAAAAAAAAA


    Edit: Disclaimer: I didn't (couldn't actually) watch it to the end.
     
  3. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Sounds like camcorder audio. The piano also seems to be tuned sharp. It's not easy to tell for sure because of the blurry sound, but I think quite a few sections of passagework are untidy and need work. The sound quality does the performance no favours (and what is the constant creaking noise in the background - the piano stool, or floorboards?) but if I was going to be honest I have some doubts about the pianist's technique which seems to fall short of the virtuoso level required for a piece like this (e.g. the closing arpeggio and the octave leaps section). There should also be more variation in dynamics but I'm prepared to believe that's the fault of the recording equipment and not the pianist.

    @musical-md Don't you think Berezovsky overdoes it a bit?? Even the slow section (which imo should be hallucinatory, dream-like, proto-Scriabin) is fast! Cziffra or Kapell for me.
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm quite sure the piano was a C. Bechstein, but I learned from Rafael that it was a piano donated to that venue. It's over 100 years old, and he mentioned that it was the piano making all the noises, so it's probably in dire need of rebuilding. I'm sure it must have been very distracting to the pianist especially. I've certainly heard better renditions of Mephisto. (One of my favorites is by a generally unknown pianist, David Bean.) But given the poor condition of the piano, the god-awful acoustics of that venue, and sound equipment obviously not up to the task, I cut the pianist some slack. It would be interesting though to hear her play the piece under much better conditions. Then I think our critiques might be more fair and valid. Given the drawbacks as it stands, had I been the artist, I would not have put it on YouTube, but would have done a more pleasing recording elsewhere and posted that instead.

    David
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    @RaphaelLiotto: You probably have not looked around this Forum a bit before posting ?
    The Audition Room is not for posting YT links. There is a section 'Useful Resources' for this. Or in this case, maybe the section
    'Pianists'. Are you affiliated with Mrs. Mohr ? Or just a special interest ? She seems to play well enough, but the dismal sound quality makes it very hard to judge- many notes (including the wrong ones) can hardly be heard. Of course it's a devilish piece, and everyone is excused some slips, even Berezowksy (an indifferent and hard-driven performance IMO).

    For a better recording, which is virtuoso as well as musical (and boasting some tiny freckles), try this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xprr-ozuM08
     
  6. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Under those circumstances, I think you're right to make allowances.

    It has some nice points (in particular the middle section) and is certainly ok for a live performance; but the freckles are bigger than you credit them.. or maybe I know the piece too well.

    A Mephisto very definitely not for the purists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a5RS0NBI4U Petri plays Busoni's edition/paraphrase. Never particularly liked the alternative ending, but some of the textures are remarkable.
     
  7. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    @Andrew: Uh, just listined to Cziffra. One word: wow! His is Golden-Age Virtuoso playing. And reading about his life, it seems that a movie about him could be utterly gripping and deeply moving!
     
  8. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Interesting discussion. Funny that no one's mentioned Horowitz's electrifying version of the Mephisto (actually the Busoni transcription with a few added Horowitzian touches). Horowitz of course tends to be the type of pianist who polarizes listeners into opposing factions, but I've always loved his Liszt, which I think captures the grotesqueries and fantastic side of the composer better than any other (the Sonata and the 2nd Ballade are also highly recommended listening for those who haven't done so). Kapell's is great technically of course but he often seems to me (in this piece as in others such as his Chopin mazurkas) to be a bit aloof from the music. Part of it is the speed. Horowitz really plays it as a more classic waltz tempo and thus has time to impart its demonic precision through carefully placed accents. And he just plays the living shit out of the thundering climaxes. :p

    Horowitz link to mephisto waltz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um1OmSQi_P4


    As for Ms. Mohr's performance, I don't find the sound quite as bothersome as some perhaps, but I basically agree with Andrew's assessment about the playing. Some of it just sounds like rather crude bludgeoning to me, overly zealous pounding in a rather restricted dynamic range with many unclear runs and fumbled passagework. I'm not entirely sure why so many pianists today want to keep beating this virtuoso war horse to death beyond their means when there's so much other repertoire that's just as much or more rewarding without the extreme pyrotechnical demands.

    Joe
     
  9. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    I did think about mentioning it! It is quite unique. I've never known what to make of the last page (where he seems to get carried away and loses touch with reality: those octaves can't possibly be accurate) - other than that, it's a remarkable recording and could only ever be Horowitz.

    There is video of John Ogdon playing the Mephisto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRa_AopptcI - quite a performance!
     
  10. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi

    Amen! From my own personal perspective, this is exact why I play what I truly want to play. I feel no need to record the 1,988,751st rendition of any "war horse" or "conservatory anvil"!

    David
     
  11. StephenC

    StephenC New Member

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    I do want to hear her play from a better piano. Well with the performance she have on the clip, it was already great so I am a bit curious on how would it sound if the recording setup and piano was better than what was used.
     

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