Post by Steve Emerson Post by Andrej Kluge
You seem little grumpy here, Andrej. Bad day?
Actually, yes. Sorry. (I deleted my post, but a tad too late)
"Pleasing to the ear" means the sounds emanating from the piano are
heard the phrase "never an ugly note"?
No, I actually haven't. What does it mean, or in which context is it used?
In praise of a pianist's performance. Means, e.g., the sounds are never
metallic or clangy or percussive. (I guess people don't use the term to
praise somebody's Bartok playing; or they use it to praise somebody who
plays Bartok wrongly; just one example.)
Post by Andrej Kluge
It's a little like that, but in the affirmative and saying somewhat
more than that the sounds are simply non-ugly. Yes, it is subjective.
OTOH, I think it refers to values generally embraced even by people
who play or teach the piano for a living.
Well, yes, I guess that's true. Suggestive. I remember one of my music
classes many years ago, when I was 10 or so, we had to sing a song in chorus
(without any instrumental accompaniment), and all of my classmates were
advancing to the next part without the proper pause (as you hear it very
often when people sing solo), and I protested to my teacher, and she
complimented me on that but conceded to the rest of the group. Obviously I
am sensitive to rhythm although I don't play any instrument fluently (clumsy
Thats why I enjoy performers all the more who share my notion of rhythmical
accurance, and why I can't stand those who don't.
With that good an ear for rhythm, you'd be in a good position to
appreciate somebody's rubato. (smiley)
Not that you meant it this way, but: Tipo being "pleasing to the ear,"
or a pianist never playing an ugly note -- these have nothing to do with
rubato. They have to do with the notes themselves, not how they are
Not just placed, Steve, but made to sound. She NEVER "goes through her tone", as they used to say. By way of comparison, many Russian-trained pianists do go through their tone. Horowitz is the prime example. But Gilels does it also, particularly in his youth. That said, Gilels always had a massive sound rather than a thin clangorous sound that VH favoured.
Indeed, the entire Soviet school of post war pianists seemed to be bangers, the very antithesis of the old school and, to bring the subject back to your example, of Maria Tipo. Fiorentino could also serve as an example. Vladimir Ashkenazy serves as an exception to that rule about Soviet pianists, by the way. He was born a lyrical pianist. He only became a kind of piano-machine later in his career.
The disease which hit piano-playing in the 1950s can, in fact, be traced back to young pianists attempting to imitate Horowitz. The "next Horowitz" became a term of approval. So, bang, bang, bang, fast, faster, fastest were the operative words for an entire generation. The preferred vehicle was, of course, the Rach 3, where the solution was to bang louder and faster than anyone else, whereupon you would conquer the music. LOL
And then along came pianists like Argerich, Freire, Gelber, all from South America (and one could mention many other South American pianists who fit this generalization), who could not only play fast and loud but also had a quality of litheness, elusiveness. They proceeded by indirection rather than direction to achieve their goals. They were like cats rather than Soviet tanks. Very refreshing change of perspective.
There are, of course, lots and lots of exceptions to these vast generalizations. The entire French school, for example, as well as the German and Viennese schools. I accept that. But I like to think that it's kind of fun to look back and see how the performance of music has changed over the years.