Re: Martha Argerich: New York CH 1981
- From: Steve Emerson <emersn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 12:03:58 -0700
In article <4bc83d1a$1$22939$e4fe514c@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
"HvT" <hvtuijl@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Charles Milton Ling wrote:
On 15.04.2010 13:10, HvT wrote:
A faded souvenir of one of the greatest recitals I have ever been
fortunate enough to have heard in the hall. Here is the Chopin G
minor Ballade of one's dreams:
Why did she study with Askenase? He's the man of the Mozartian Chopin
I was fortunate enough to hear Askenase a few times (strongest
impression: Schubert waltzes). While I cannot purport to know
anything about teaching geniuses, I do feel that he had much to pass
Greetings to all,
Indeed, he had. On the other hand, he's as unlike MA as possible in
matters of interpreting Chopin. I have never heard Askenaze play one
violent or wild note, let alone a whole piece. MA is (or was?) the
personification of wildness. Askenaze must have shuddered while hearing
her play. And MA must have felt completely misunderstood.
I'm not sure about all that. Wildness vs. obvious control -- yes, they
do diverge greatly on that dimension. And Askenase's Chopin may be
Mozart-like in some ways.
But I don't think Askenase skews particularly toward mellifluousness, or
toward "pleasantness." The discordance in Chopin comes right to the fore
when Askenase plays. He can be bleak, stringent. He's not interested in
a beautiful tone.
Even his Mozart isn't terribly pretty. You'd never confuse it with Alica
In the Mazurkas and Preludes and assorted other Chopin, Argerich
emphasizes some related aspects. She's a little more tone-oriented, but
she's certainly not shy about discordance. Of course, when she plays a
Scherzo or Ballade, the Liszt-like approach is what you get, in contrast
But I don't see an across-the-board opposition here.
Incidentally, I listened to the Youtube Argerich g minor Ballade a few
weeks ago and again yesterday, and I can't say it is the performance of
my dreams. It has many things to recommend it, but when she gets all
worked up in the later measures, some things get undesirably obscured.
There's a vital phrase and a set of lush answering notes that first
occurs around Bars 81-87 (on the 4th of 14 pages). It gets repeated,
this time "sempre F" rather than "sempre PP" but with largely the same
note values -- around Bars 183 and following (10th of the 14 pages).
La Martha plays the first instance beautifully. In the second instance,
she's so fast that the articulation is iffy. The answering notes (which,
to be sure, are of briefer value here) -- are near-hysterical. The
result is that this little section doesn't come across at all as the
mirror-image of the first one. Which I think is how it should.
Accordingly the work gets simpler, less complex, and follows more of a
standard trajectory from calm to violence.
A lot of pianists play the section starting at Bar 183 in a similar
manner. Some even play the earlier instance this way. Generally, the
result is something that doesn't work right. (Malcuzynski is an
exception; the mood in his is different all the way through.)
Interestingly, most of the really great performers of Ballades (Cortot,
Rubinstein, Moravec, even Horowitz in the 1968 version) have a firm
grasp of the recurrence in question.
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