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After talking with a colleague of mine one day recently, I decided to make a bracket so we could choose our favorite performances of Ravel’s Tzigane. He and his wife, both of whom are players, took it quite seriously, and it occurred to me that this might be something entertaining for Maestronet.

Here’s how to “play:”

1) Listen to the opening cadenza as played by each performer. Everyone on the bracket is searchable on YouTube.

2) Go through the bracket and pick your favorites.

3) Share your selections in this thread.

I can tabulate the results to see which player is the most popular overall, however I don’t expect there to be much consensus. I don’t think there is a true “winner,” as personal preferences will vary, and all performances are by accomplished players.

Disclaimer: I have my reasons for setting up the bracket the way I did, but please don’t take this too seriously—it’s just intended as a way to see what everyone likes. I’m much more interested in seeing what the choices are than trying to find an ideal. There are other performances that could fit into this bracket very well, but I chose ones that were immediately accessible on YouTube and limited the number to fit into a standard tournament bracket. Any players excluded from my bracket are only excluded as a result of limited parameters, not a judgment against their performances!

Addendum: Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s name was clipped  by the form. 

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4 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

Addendum: Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s name was clipped  by the form.

She strives to be known as Pat Kop, which makes a lot of sense... 

I don't know how this works, but she ought to win.  It's a performers piece and she's the best performer ever.

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re. best performer ever --

Not here to argue. (Or to hijack). But although he doesn't seem to ever have recorded the Tzigane, this guy's Paganini has made a lot of virtuosi sit down and sing small over the years -- which is probably why he got no promotion  in this country -- too many reputations would have been put in their proper perspective.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=vasa+prihoda+&&view=detail&mid=FCD84944A7923C696838FCD84944A7923C696838&&FORM=VRDGAR

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I agree, the "orchestra" is great. In the past most players seem to have regarded Tzigane as no more than a virtuoso showpiece, failing to appreciate Ravel's wry humour. Now we're finally getting wiser as players like Philippe Graffin demonstrate, but it doesn't need to be camped up like Apap does

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I have not seen recent videos of Mr Apap, but he is an important player. He had newer interpretations of French works which were very interesting, when he was more visible ten years ago. 

At first, the thought of bracketing was a frustrating as it simply reduces personal works into a "winner." When students go shopping for an instrument, that's what they end up doing. The bracket is only as good as the user's knowledge.

But thanks to TVB, the bracketing was interestingly crafted and i was able to spend a some time at a friends house watching the piece. The Tzigane was a good choice because of the solo opening, but the context makes it difficult. I have to teach it without the octaves at first. The very nature of delivering earthy growls from the sonic bowels of the violin makes it difficult for a Tesla-chauffeured Apple phone wielding kid to understand. This piece is so difficult to express; I have issues with how it should be played. But despite the slightly acted out "camp" which i agree with Matesic, these youtube videos help. Mr Apap does move quite a bit, as do I, but his movement is not too musically incongruous. Maybe. 

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Unfortunately it seems nobody here fancies listening to the Tzigane 16 times. Chaconne-a-Thon anyone, or would that be considered sacriligious? 

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4 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

one problem is the  brackets picture ought to at least be a pdf with embedded links to the performances.

100%!

I had to write down the list in order to begin searching on youtube.  Too hard to toggle on a single screen laptop or mobile device.

I like this thread though.  I will have my vote soon.

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11 hours ago, matesic said:

Unfortunately it seems nobody here fancies listening to the Tzigane 16 times. Chaconne-a-Thon anyone, or would that be considered sacriligious? 

I would be happy to participate in that as well, although I think it would be even harder to keep it at 16 performances.

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12 hours ago, matesic said:

Unfortunately it seems nobody here fancies listening to the Tzigane 16 times. Chaconne-a-Thon anyone, or would that be considered sacriligious? 

Pretty sure the rules were to listen to the opening cadenza.  That's not bad at all.  

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I'd have to say that after listening to all 16 I'd have confused most of the early ones so would have to hear all the "winners" again. So 30 hearings of the cadenza to decide the overall champion? I know it's just intended to be a bit of fun, but damn!

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You have struck on something close to my heart.

Competitions are problematic. Sometimes there is clearly a winner. And there might be a reason for it. 

Under the pressures of time, Judges will likely be in triage-mode unless there are clearly outlined minimal objectives like tone or color or clarity. All can be applied for instrumentalists or instruments, or speeches or artworks.

This is too general, but I have to simply these ideas for my high school students but it comes down to communication. It irritates me that life is not broad and generous ( or intelligent ) enough that it accept complexity but we learn to filter.

Tzigane is an anomaly. It can be scholarly, genuine ( in it's original or adapted-style, ) or played off the page. The Ciaccone would be more stylistically agreeable, but there'd be at least 3 approaches or tiered efforts of period/ ancient ( where we'd hear a variety of "a" pitches, ) the modern, and the hybrid ( higher pitches, period bows, variety of gut strings ) which would be fine. But if we need an absolute winner, would it be the players ability to adapt the music to the instrument? or just the outright joy of the music? I believe that Bach would have wanted the celebration of the music to be the primary goal, but the intellectual exercises? or artistic choices? might get in the way... of a gold medal?

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On 9/8/2019 at 7:45 PM, The Violin Beautiful said:

this might be something entertaining for Maestronet.

pick your favorites.

I don’t think there is a true “winner,” as personal preferences will vary, and all performances are by accomplished players.

not a judgment against their performances!

 

From the clips of the OP, we should infer that this is for fun.  Entertainment.  Anyways, pick apart and analyze the subjectivity of "competition" and the word "winner" while I indulge the OP by giving my favorite....

Vengerov for the left.

Perlman for the right.

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3 hours ago, violinnewb said:

From the clips of the OP, we should infer that this is for fun.  Entertainment.  Anyways, pick apart and analyze the subjectivity of "competition" and the word "winner" while I indulge the OP by giving my favorite....

Vengerov for the left.

Perlman for the right.

Yes, the intent of this bracket is to have fun with a great piece and listen to the varying approaches that performers take. I’m glad if you and anyone else here gets some enjoyment out of it. I’ve certainly had fun with it at work. 

Thank you for your picks. I’m curious to know some of the other choices you made and which performer you’d pick overall. 

I have a couple performances to watch again, then I’ll post my own bracket. FOR FUN!

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1 hour ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

I’m curious to know some of the other choices you made and which performer you’d pick overall. 

Ok, I picked Vengerov and Perlman based upon the cadenza only.  BUT--my answer to this question really depends...If I were watching live, Vengerov.  I love how animated he is.  Recording, I'm leaning towards Perlman.

For the record, I have to say I did not like how you put Perlman and Heifetz in the same bracket and in the same first round.  Part of me will always be a purist and want to vote Heifetz for virtually any piece of music.  BUT--the Tzigane is a little different.  For sure, you ask me about the Chaconne, its always Heifetz.  

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40 minutes ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

 ( ... )

I have a couple performances to watch again, then I’ll post my own bracket. FOR FUN!

The NCAA style bracketing is fun and i appreciate that. Yes, this is supposed to be fun.

My point was not about subjectivity - as discoursed in another thread - and ( the lack of ) sharing of that reasoning. In competition, judges or viewers, may fall back on any ( number of ) agenda that we might have, aware or unaware, due to a lack of time. That was my point. This thread works - in my mind - because we have time to view the videos and perhaps make valid? judgments and discuss what we think. No time limits. Some may change their opinions with the insights of others, which is valuable - we learned something.

A bracket implies a winner. The NCAA ( an organization making money on entertainment ) relies on visuals ( the brackets ) and hype as well as all the news outlets that cover sports. It is meant to entertain. MarchMadness creates discussion among buddies and clicks and money and generates incredible amounts of money and makes those involved wealthy ( which is fine ) and promotes to helps certain American educational institutions and that is what it is it about and it seems to be finally changing.

These performances are relatively important. The fact that they were brought up and viewed is incredible. I am thankful for the fact thqt people listen and make assessments. They are like gifts. When growing up, i would have loved viewing these "live" performances. Recordings were what i had back then. I had to imagine what they did, listen for fingerings and string crossing selections. Copying ( actually, attempting to ) those performances were essential . Imagine when there were no recordings. Were there more original performances? More original thinking? Elman's vibrato?

One of the best performances of i have witnessed of the Tzigane ( maybe 2 a year? ) was with Ms Salerno-Sonnenberg when she had a memory slip. I did not have the nerve to speak to her afterwards, but she was certainly in the moment and that was beautiful. Ravel, Roma, Peresson. I tend to discuss the memory slip for academic reasons, but her performance in that moment was gutsy and true. I think it was blameless. Sometime when performing, it is like the snap of fingers of the hypnotist, waking up is disorienting. 

 

 

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Vengerov was my favorite overall, but Patricia Kopatchinskaja's interpretation seemed like the most personal/original to me. This was a fun exercise... 

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The most interesting thing about this is Heifetz and Perlman are bracketed together, because they are considered equals  From what I can see, Heifetz has fairly small hands ("Paganini is not for me"), and Perlman has huge hands and cigars for fingers.

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18 hours ago, Three13 said:

Vengerov was my favorite overall, but Patricia Kopatchinskaja's interpretation seemed like the most personal/original to me. This was a fun exercise... 

I’m glad you enjoyed it!

 

10 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

The most interesting thing about this is Heifetz and Perlman are bracketed together, because they are considered equals  From what I can see, Heifetz has fairly small hands ("Paganini is not for me"), and Perlman has huge hands and cigars for fingers.

That bracket selection was the one that I spent the most time setting up. I felt that the two ultimately belonged together because of their reputations and because of similarities in their interpretations, but it was a difficult decision.

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