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2011年7月22日 (金)

天地真理42 To be modest, have to be harmonious

I would like to add one footnote.
I cannot confidently say yes to the question whether the moderate rubato with less deformation,
which is found in Tsujii's and Amachi's music,
is valuable by itself.
I think the moderate rubato with less deformation is not enough to make music tasty and attractive.

Excellence of Tsujii's and Amachi's music is found in their harmonious sounds and exquisite nuances
which are understated but capture people's hearts.
Paradoxically, attractive sounds and nuances are needed for the music with moderate rubato with less deformation.
In other words, moderate rubato with less deformation maximizes the beauty of the attractive sounds and nuances.

Charm of the sound itself, in Amachi's case, comes from her voice quality and vocalism.
Her voice can sound musically and sweetly even without accompaniment.
And in case with accompaniment, her voice harmonizes especially with the sounds of strings and woodwinds.
I sometimes feel her songs not to be a voice with accompaniments, but to be an ensemble of voice, that is one of the instrument, and accompanied instruments.
I guess that the reason is that her voice resonates well with her body like Stradivarius,
and her voice sequences, which consist of portamento, voice growth and vibrato,
have the similar phrasing of strings and woodwinds.
When she manages this kind of voice sequences, we can easily understand that excessively-dramatic deformation detracts its excellence.

In Tsujii's case, charm of his sound comes not only from his favorite piano and tuning,
but also from the way he hits the notes.
Horowitz could highlight the melody line that he thought the most charming among the complicated sound clusters.
He could make the selected sounds sing throughout the hall,
and make the other sounds waft like delicate flavor or faint background that surrounds the lead character.
He could make the sound of right hand stand out against that of left hand.
Furthermore, he could make one sound of right hand (by little finger or other one finger) stand out against the other sounds of right and left hand.
This was particularly effective in the complicated music with a pile of sounds like Schumann's, Scriabin's and Rachmaninoff's.
This means not only the excellence of his technique, but also his favorable attitude to make such clear sound.
Almost half of the reason that I like his music is in this viewpoint.
And Tsujii can do almost the same way.
I would say, nowadays, he has the best taste and technique in this viewpoint.
His beautiful sounds, that is often pointed out, depend on this characteristic,
along with his excellent touches to each note.
Naturally, the reason that I recognized him as a pianist who succeeds Horowitz
was that I found this characteristic in many phrases of his performances.

With respect to nuances, Amachi uses portamento, choking (bending in guitar technique), short appoggiatura and rubato in her singing.
And they express the heart of herself.
Tsujii uses rubatos and the change of sound volume and quality to make exquisite nuances.
But it must be remembered that his rhythm is quite excellent.

I sometimes feel unattractive with the rhythms in key phrases that are played by mechanically excellent pianists.
I think the excellence of rhythm appears in how to play dotted notes.
I should not say "excellence" but "preference".

When we use a dotted note, the sound of one in length is divided into two sounds with the ratio of 0.75:0.25, according to the musical score rule.
But if you play as it is, it will be a little dull.
It should be played with the ratio of 0.8:0.2, or 0.85:0.15 for crisp rhythm.
I sometimes hear that some pianists play in an opposite way.
This type of pianist tends to play other rhythm dully.
It means, for example, dull staccato and dull rubato, etc.

I have read a book that introduced Horowitz.
It was written that Horowitz has "excellent rhythm", and introduced his Pathetic Sonata for example.
I was absolutely enchanted by his rhythm in it.
This is a beginning part of the first movement of Beethoven's Pathetic Sonata.

 

 

(The full playing is here.)
I do not discuss here whether this performance is suitable for Beethoven or not.
At least, you can find the "excellent rhythm" in it.

This may be a little too extreme,
but I can find almost the same excellence of rhythm in Tsujii's music.
Such sense of rhythm is found not only in the rhythmic finale,
but also in slow rubatos and singing of melodies.
I think excellent rhythm is necessary for charming rubatos and nuances.
Because a rubato is the fluctuation of tempo, fine rhythm fluctuations determine the charming rubatos.
And nuances consist not only of the produce of sound, the change of pitch and articulation,
but also of the timing of phrase start and sound change.
As I admired Amachi's rhythm in the previous article,
excellent rhythm is involved in the elegant, natural, resonate nuances.

People who knows Horowitz think that Tsujii is a quite different type of pianist.
But surprisingly, I feel some common fascinations from each other.
And I think they relate to Amachi's in the basics, too.

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辻井伸行」カテゴリの記事

コメント

Shin-san: Thank you for writing in English! I again enjoy reading this article very much. I hope your other readers will be able to read it as well.

I agree with your thesis that moderate rubato alone is not enough - I certainly did not imply that. I do find it annoying when people use excessive rubato (Lang-Lang, for example) for expressiveness. I agree that harmony, especially rhythmic, is very important. I think that's why Tsujii-san does well in assembly music; his concerto performances in the U.S. and U.K. are lauded, and it seems that next year he will be performing mostly concertos in Europe. Last April I saw him perform Schumann's Quintet with the Takacs Quartet, and I consider that one of his best performances.

Many people in the United States see a similarity between the playing of Tsujii and Horowitz, such as in their performances of Chopin's "Raindrop" and the concerto No. 1. They often cite the sincerity and phrasing as a commonality in the playing of the two.

Thanks again for your excellent analysis about Tsujii-san's piano playing. By the way, I play the piano just enough to read music, and yesterday I looked at the score for Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1. It is 95 pages of notes that can only be played by virtuosos. I am in awe with how Tsujii can assemble all of that music in his head, and THEN ALSO synchronize it with an orchestra so perfectly.

Liu-san
Thank you for your appreciation.

As to "Pictures at an Exhibition", no one can rival Horowitz.
Most of all, his arrangement is so pianistic and demonic, and his performance is , too.
Apart form Horowitz, I enjoyed Nobu's.
I never felt it was less dense or less colorful, as Hentaimiyake-san said.
Every Promenades are very beautiful.
I think he added a nice taste to Gnomus, Tuileries, and Ballet des poussins dans leurs coques.
It is true that he tends to be too careful and the tempo tends to be a little slow in studio recordings.
I watched his live "Pictures at an Exhibition" on TV.
It was vivid with a feeling of tension.
To be honest, it will be his challenge to express ominousness and pessimism.
Thank you.

Shin-son,
You may be interested to know that one American music critic wrote that Nobu's performance of "Pictures" in Boston this past April "had everything one could want." I was there at the concert and it was the second time that I heard him play the Mussorgsky in person. Both times he received thunderous applause and bravos (and always a standing ovation from the American audience. :-)

Right now, I am a little concerned that Tsujii-san is trying to be a composer more than a pianist. There are people in the States who would prefer that he concentrates on classical piano music, although I personally enjoy some of his compositions.

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