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Astonishing Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto


Stephen  Fine
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1 minute ago, PhilipKT said:

I feel obligated to quench another fire before it starts.

Technical perfection is most definitively not required for a compelling performance. A slipped finger or a sour note here or there means nothing.

I typed "musical perfection."  Musical perfection is much more subjective and personal than "technical perfection."  This performance was not on the right side of "technical perfection." :P

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It seems to me that we need to be more careful in distinguishing the performance from the music. I have heard PhilipKT elsewhere denigrate Tchaikovsky's music as that of a "spoiled baby," so I am already questioning his criticism of PatKop, which I can't really distinguish from that of the composer himself.

Music resides purely in the mind--performance interprets it. That is why it is so frustrating for some players, even great ones, to feel that performance is doomed to fail. Bach wrote his Art of the Fugue for no person and no performer and no specified instrument. In that way it is like a mathematic equation, awaiting application. Beethoven's late quartets are obviously music of the mind, purely. I expect Mozart's work was never performed truly as his imagination conceived it. (I once dreamed I was on stage playing a symphony I had written. It was completely vivid, detailed, and complex, and I received pleasure from "hearing" each musical voice truly....this, though I have never composed music in my life.)

As for musical opinion, which this thread is full of, some of the musical insults on this site reveal just how subjective the "trained" human ear and mind are!

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29 minutes ago, crazy jane said:

It seems to me that we need to be more careful in distinguishing the performance from the music. I have heard PhilipKT elsewhere denigrate Tchaikovsky's music as that of a "spoiled baby," so I am already questioning his criticism of PatKop, which I can't really distinguish from that of the composer himself.

Music resides purely in the mind--performance interprets it. That is why it is so frustrating for some players, even great ones, to feel that performance is doomed to fail. Bach wrote his Art of the Fugue for no person and no performer and no specified instrument. In that way it is like a mathematic equation, awaiting application. Beethoven's late quartets are obviously music of the mind, purely. I expect Mozart's work was never performed truly as his imagination conceived it. (I once dreamed I was on stage playing a symphony I had written. It was completely vivid, detailed, and complex, and I received pleasure from "hearing" each musical voice truly....this, though I have never composed music in my life.)

As for musical opinion, which this thread is full of, some of the musical insults on this site reveal just how subjective the "trained" human ear and mind are!

I’m not sure I used exactly those words, but yes, that is essentially correct.

However, that was a reference to the Emotional content of his music in general, and certainly not about the violin concerto, nor a reflection on the quality of the composer. That distinction needs to be very clear. Tchaikovsky was a good composer. He was not an emotionally profound composer, any more than was Boccherini, or Vivaldi or many another composer Of admitted greatness. But I’m certainly not denigrating him. 
And you have neither grounds for suggesting that I was denigrating the piece nor for suggesting that my opinion of the performance was an any way related to any feelings about the piece or the composer.
Your inability to distinguish the two is your own issue.

Edited by PhilipKT
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4 hours ago, violinnewb said:

3. Theatrics, movement, physical drama in playing...if that is how she feels, or anyone for that matter, then who are any of us to judge?  DuPre was very animated for her time.  She was/is awesome.

Who are any of us to judge ??????  We are the consumer. We are the reason she has the opportunity of doing what she does. The composer produced the music for us and the interpreter should try keep the same direction. We are the final judge and executioner.

And I hope you do not equate DuPre's "animated" with Pat Kop's "physical drama". ( Do notice that I did not say "circus act" ! )

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1 hour ago, crazy jane said:

1. It seems to me that we need to be more careful in distinguishing the performance from the music.

2. I have heard PhilipKT elsewhere denigrate Tchaikovsky's music as that of a "spoiled baby," so I am already questioning his criticism of PatKop,

3. which I can't really distinguish from that of the composer himself.

Music resides purely in the mind--performance interprets it. That is why it is so frustrating for some players, even great ones, to feel that performance is doomed to fail. Bach wrote his Art of the Fugue for no person and no performer and no specified instrument. In that way it is like a mathematic equation, awaiting application. Beethoven's late quartets are obviously music of the mind, purely.

4. I expect Mozart's work was never performed truly as his imagination conceived it.

5. (I once dreamed I was on stage playing a symphony I had written. It was completely vivid, detailed, and complex, and I received pleasure from "hearing" each musical voice truly....this, though I have never composed music in my life.)

6. As for musical opinion, which this thread is full of, some of the musical insults on this site reveal just how subjective the "trained" human ear and mind are!

1. Very true.

2. Nothing wrong with that - your prerogative.

3. I can. I really don't like some composers but I have little trouble appreciating a good performance of their works.Or the other one.

4. This is a very interesting idea and we should discuss it one day. I do not subscribe to it. Mozart wasn't Mahler.... :)

5. Happened to me all the time - very irritating. They all sounded like a bad imitation of the 3rd with a more "marchy" quality. ( #v/damore : do not even think of going there ! :) )

6. Are they calling those insults ???

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3 hours ago, Carl Stross said:

............

5. Happened to me all the time - very irritating. They all sounded like a bad imitation of the 3rd with a more "marchy" quality. ( #v/damore : do not even think of going there ! :) )

.....................

Wouldn't dream of it..........  smilie_roflmao2.gif.45fe9e841a29971aa7567095d2fe479c.gif

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IMHO, part of what's she's doing (especially visually) isn't unique, or unknown in classical, you just don't see most "A-List" performers do such things during an orchestral concert solo gig.  Consider Hilary Hahn and the hula hoop, or Nicola Benedetti's  Greene Space appearances.

Paganini 24 Hula Hoop (with Hilary Hahn) - YouTube

Nicola Benedetti and Wynton Marsalis, Barbican, review: 'a labour of love'  – Wynton Marsalis Official Website

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Seriously, Bill?  Apeshit?  Yeesh.  Her body language really doesn't stand out much to me.

But, your point about listening with your eyes closed does bring up one of my favorite studies from a couple years ago.  I think I've mentioned it before.  

Two audiences, experts and laypeople were given the finals of a piano competition to view... and now I need to go reread it because I can't quite remember the exact data... but it was something like, both the experts and the laypeople were better able to predict the winner of the competition by viewing video rather than listening to the sound.  Obviously, if it's the finals of an international competition, the level is already very high and the "winner" is subjective, but I think this data shows us not that competitions are "even more subjective than we thought" but that the visual element of live performance is extremely important in live music, to a much higher degree than is ever emphasized in music school.

 

I wanted to address whomever was asking about why there wasn't opera in Germany...

Parallel to the Miracle Play-->Opera/Oratorio evolution in Italy, there were similar musical evolutions occurring in other European nations.

The first operas come out of Florence right around 1600... Dafne (1597) and L'Orfeo (1607), for example.

By 1627, Dafne was redone in German with music by Schütz, and Staden's Seelewig survives from 1644.

I guess the question might better be posed as why German language composers chose to compose Opera instead of Singspiel.  Why was opera more popular throughout Europe than the native language versions of the same material.  Sure, Mozart eventually gives us Die Entführung aus dem Serail in 1782 (I guess we can ignore Bastien und Bastienne from 1768?) but why was he composing on Italian librettos for German audiences?  Well, for one thing, he spoke Italian and so did the German nobility commissioning his works. Just as now, there are fads.  The difference is that now they move with the speed of the internet.  It could take years or decades for new fashions to rise and fall in the 17th and 18th centuries.

I guess we might also ask why the French Court Dances were the rage throughout all of Europe?  Why is Bach composing on these French forms?  Same answer.  They were trendy.  Of course, by the time Bach was composing the Suites in 1720, the French Court Dances were already old fashioned and no longer the rage (although everyone still would've been familiar with the rhythms and steps), but they were an essential part of European culture for over a century.  (Wow!)

People who think that the music is "there on the page" and that "the composer would have written that if they wanted that" completely misunderstand what music on the page is.  It's a symbol for the live performance.  For some composers (like Bach) it could be considered a very rough outline.  Some composers (like Beethoven late in his life) will often write detailed instructions for phrasing and articulation.  But it is a symbol for a live performance, not a symbol for an ideal version in the head of a composer.

An important fact of my musical life so far is that composers enjoy interpretation.  Composers enjoy when the music comes out differently from how they hear it in their head.  I have worked with dozens of composers at this point, some students, some very very famous, I have yet to come across a nitpicker, oftentimes, when you ask composers a specific question about articulation or phrasing, they'll say, "I don't know" or "Play it how you like."  I'm sure the nitpickers are out there, but I completely reject the notion of composers rolling in their graves about this or that.  Especially the 18th and 17th Century composers who took a completely practical, utilitarian view of their music.

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19 hours ago, Carl Stross said:

Who are any of us to judge ??????  We are the consumer. We are the reason she has the opportunity of doing what she does. The composer produced the music for us and the interpreter should try keep the same direction. We are the final judge and executioner.

And I hope you do not equate DuPre's "animated" with Pat Kop's "physical drama". ( Do notice that I did not say "circus act" ! )

In my opinion, there are 2 general spheres of performers (I learned this as a chef and it equates well to music and elsewhere): 

1. Those who cater to an audience.

2. Those who do for themselves.

Now, the overlap might be economics.  Either way, you have to make a living right?  As a performer, and a former chef, I care not for what the consumer thinks.  I play, and cooked, for myself.  If the consumer did not like it, meh. This is pretty much the aura of Steve Jobs and his products.  He made something for himself and if the consumer didn't like it, oh well.  NOW...Jobs was (not a nice person) a genius when it came to convincing his consumer that his product was what the consumer wanted.  The end result was that Jobs did what he wanted, without care of what anyone said, and he was successful in gathering a large audience.  Very little compromise in his style.

When you say that "we" are the reason PK has the opportunity to do what she does, that "we" just might not matter to her.  And, if like Jobs, there are people who yearn for her style of playing, she may become very successful (if not already). 

Further, of course "we" can judge others.  That is what humans do.  We do it for various reasons.  Some do it to compensate for their own insecurities, some do it to be mean, some do it to help... 

My point is, does it matter to the performer?  I would argue, it does not matter what "we" (if "we" means critics) like her performance or not.  She will continue to do what she does.  

Personally, if anyone criticized my performance, the things that would truly matter to me would be things I could, and would want to, change.  Certainly, I would not care if someone judged the way I move to the music or my choices in phrasing.  

In the end, if I were to listen to every person who criticized my playing, I would end up playing like everyone else, or some confusing mish mosh thereof.  Then, I think I would lose joy in my music.  

 

P.S. I do not "equate" PK to JDP.  DuPre's physical playing did in fact invoke sharp criticism. So does PK's.  Are they the same?  Nope.  Do agree with me the same?  Nope.   

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1 hour ago, Violadamore said:

IMHO, part of what's she's doing (especially visually) isn't unique, or unknown in classical, you just don't see most "A-List" performers do such things during an orchestral concert solo gig.  Consider Hilary Hahn and the hula hoop, or Nicola Benedetti's  Greene Space appearances.

Paganini 24 Hula Hoop (with Hilary Hahn) - YouTube

Nicola Benedetti and Wynton Marsalis, Barbican, review: 'a labour of love'  – Wynton Marsalis Official Website

Agreed.  Except that Hahn was hula hooping for the intended effect of a funny challenge.  I don't think someone challenged PK to be visually provocative.  PK just plays how she wants to.  Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't.  I am certain she doesn't care whether I like her performance.  

And BTW...playing Pag 24 while hula hooping is impressive AF!

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2 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

... Obviously, if it's the finals of an international competition, the level is already very high and the "winner" is subjective, ...

An important fact of my musical life so far is that composers enjoy interpretation.  Composers enjoy when the music comes out differently from how they hear it in their head.  ...

1. The problem regarding the finals of international competition is that it's less about the talent and more about the politics.  That goes for ANY international competition BTW.  I had my eyes opened when I overheard two international sports coaches talking about the athletes...:blink:

(Always a danger of being overheard when one is too arrogant to think the plebeians are capable of speaking more than one language...:P)

2.  I'll take your word for it.  I've only had a couple of experiences.  But the one was quite the opposite.  The composer (of a very nice fiddle tune) was teaching it in a workshop and was very nitpicking.  She very obviously wanted to hear it played her way (and I could see she was getting increasingly distressed when it wasn't going as planned).  I would have played it rather differently left to my own devices.  Frankly, I'm now scared to play it at all, lol.  So - I agree that's not the way to approach putting out music to be played by others.  Composing something and wanting to retain too much control versus seeing where it all goes once it's 'released' into the big wide world - not good.  I am sympathetic to the stress it may cause the composer, but you gotta let go!

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4 hours ago, Violadamore said:

IMHO, part of what's she's doing (especially visually) isn't unique, or unknown in classical, you just don't see most "A-List" performers do such things during an orchestral concert solo gig. 

I don't mean letting her hair down,  I'm talking about a mode where it's like an impish,  Chaplinesque character she's portraying is making the decisions.  For better or worse, listening, her playing stands out from the pack and is more enjoyable when she's doing it like that.  There are examples of her playing not using the imp character on Fazil Say's piano channel.

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1 hour ago, Bill Merkel said:

Nobody's commented on her using the music in the original video.

Actually, some have.  Having the music up for reference isn't a big issue to me.  Nobody attacks pianists for it.  The unwritten  requirement for violin soloists to perform entirely from memory impresses me as being one of the "paying to see a circus act" aspects of the violin business.  :P

When you eventually buy the CD, for all you know, they were playing off a Teleprompter............  :lol:

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The rule is or at least has been for all instruments use music for chamber music, incl. sonatas and don't for concertos.  Concertos are for showing off, or for showing your skill.  If somebody uses the music for a concerto it's usually (or has been...) because they're afraid they didn't know the music well enough to avoid memory slips

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3 hours ago, violinnewb said:

1. In my opinion, there are 2 general spheres of performers (I learned this as a chef and it equates well to music and elsewhere): 

1. Those who cater to an audience.

2. Those who do for themselves.

2. Now, the overlap might be economics.  Either way, you have to make a living right?  As a performer, and a former chef, I care not for what the consumer thinks.  I play, and cooked, for myself.  If the consumer did not like it, meh.

3. This is pretty much the aura of Steve Jobs and his products.  He made something for himself and if the consumer didn't like it, oh well.  NOW...Jobs was (not a nice person) a genius when it came to convincing his consumer that his product was what the consumer wanted.  The end result was that Jobs did what he wanted, without care of what anyone said, and he was successful in gathering a large audience.  Very little compromise in his style.

4. When you say that "we" are the reason PK has the opportunity to do what she does, that "we" just might not matter to her. 

5. And, if like Jobs, there are people who yearn for her style of playing, she may become very successful (if not already). 

6. Further, of course "we" can judge others.  That is what humans do.  We do it for various reasons.  Some do it to compensate for their own insecurities, some do it to be mean, some do it to help... 

7. My point is, does it matter to the performer? 

8. I would argue, it does not matter what "we" (if "we" means critics) like her performance or not.  She will continue to do what she does.  

9. Personally, if anyone criticized my performance, the things that would truly matter to me would be things I could, and would want to, change.  Certainly, I would not care if someone judged the way I move to the music or my choices in phrasing.  

10. In the end, if I were to listen to every person who criticized my playing, I would end up playing like everyone else, or some confusing mish mosh thereof. 

11. Then, I think I would lose joy in my music.  

 

12. P.S. I do not "equate" PK to JDP.  DuPre's physical playing did in fact invoke sharp criticism. So does PK's.  Are they the same?  Nope.  Do agree with me the same?  Nope.   

1. I'm good with that - I can relate. ( #vdamore : Don't ! )

2. Your personal take on things/experience can not form a basis for general conclusions though it may be usable as to invalidate such attempt through a counter-example. Most restaurant/hotel managers will not employ chefs who who ignore customers' tastes. It's just bad business. You may be an exception. In that case go back to the 1st sentence.

3. I know almost nothing about Steve Jobs or the IPhone/pad and I don't see the connection.  For the most part Steve exploited the minimally exceptional  - that's unkind. I certainly hope that the typical classical music consumer is not as shallow as Steve's consumer. Himself and the Apple business model have been criticized many times and from various directions. The fact he payed no attention makes him an immoral callous asshole not a Robin Hood.  He removed money from The Idiot. He did not cure cancer. I use a phone to keep in touch with people - not make a statement. I go to concert because I am interested in the performance, not because I want to be seen.

4. You think she's that self adsorbed ?? Could be. But in any case, no "us" no concert hall, no orchestra, no money fro her. She'll have to do street corners. Do notice that the hall etc exists because "us" use it even when she's not there. The money made from her public wouldn't cover lights.

5. Not impossible. Not important, not relevant to the question we are debating here. 

6. True.

7. It matters to some performers and based on my personal experiences it matters to most performers. I knew/know one or two. or three...

8. You think she's that thick skinned ?? Could be...

9. Again : personal stuff. Not relevant. Though there is always a tiny possibility the critic knows what he's talking about and you don't. Won't you want to improve ?

10. Agreed. Listen only to the ones who seem to know what they're talking about. 

11. And that's no good.

 

Now : where were we ? 

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5 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

People who think that the music is "there on the page" and that "the composer would have written that if they wanted that" completely misunderstand what music on the page is.  It's a symbol for the live performance.  For some composers (like Bach) it could be considered a very rough outline.  Some composers (like Beethoven late in his life) will often write detailed instructions for phrasing and articulation.  But it is a symbol for a live performance, not a symbol for an ideal version in the head of a composer.

An important fact of my musical life so far is that composers enjoy interpretation.  Composers enjoy when the music comes out differently from how they hear it in their head.  I have worked with dozens of composers at this point, some students, some very very famous, I have yet to come across a nitpicker, oftentimes, when you ask composers a specific question about articulation or phrasing, they'll say, "I don't know" or "Play it how you like."  I'm sure the nitpickers are out there, but I completely reject the notion of composers rolling in their graves about this or that.  Especially the 18th and 17th Century composers who took a completely practical, utilitarian view of their music.

That's why they labored to put all those funny little symbols and numbers (like telling me which finger to use) in the score, right?  Glad to know that I can now ignore all that crap.  ^_^;):lol:

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1 minute ago, Bill Merkel said:

The rule is or at least has been for all instruments use music for sonatas and don't for concertos.  If somebody uses the music for a concerto it's usually (or has been...) because they're afraid they didn't know the music well enough to avoid memory slips

They might know the music well enough and have memory slips. Or you think Richter didn't know the music well enough ? 

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2 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

Richter was the exception.  He was so talented he could know and forget at the same time.  Which Richter are you talking about?

Sviatoslav. 

Quite a few performers ( conductors included ) had recall problems in later years and needed the assurance of a score. I would not make too much of it.

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