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 Post subject: Frederic Chiu
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:26 pm 
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Last night I attended a concert by Frederic Chiu. It was different from the concerts I usually attend at large concert halls in that this one was held at the Steinway Piano Store nearby where I live. The room is small, approximately only 50 people were in attendance, and the concert was free! I was fortunate to sit between two handsome PS members, Brian and Alexander, and we must have been 10 feet from the piano. And boy did that piano sing – and whisper – and hum – and roar!

His program was as follows:

1. Chopin – Six Etudes from Opus 25 and 10

2. Debussy – Cloches a travers les feuilles – from Images II

3. Ravel – Une barque sur l’ocean – from Miroirs

4. Prokofiev/Chiu – Three pieces from Lt. Kije – 1. Romance, 2. Kije’s wedding, 3. Troika

5. Prokofiev – Toccata Op. 11

6. Beethoven/Liszt – Symphony No. 5

I will just say that the Chopin, Debussy, and Ravel were exquisitely played. And I have never seen such busy feet! They were constantly dancing on all three pedals, and I wish you could have heard the variations of tones and colors he could produce. But the next pieces, the Prokofiev, really blew me away. He arranged the piano transcriptions himself and it sounded great. I really loved it. Also, the next Prokofiev piece, the Toccata which is highly percussive and exciting.

After a short break, Chiu played Liszt’s piano transcription of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony – all four movements. Wow - what can I say – it’s a whole symphony on a piano! Chiu said that he is currently learning all 9 Beethoven/Liszt symphonies. Mind-boggling! He is a personable, easy-going man and I forgot to mention this before, but he sits on a chair at the piano, not a bench. Supposedly, he likes to sit a little lower like Gould did. And I also noticed that he wasn’t sitting forward in the chair, but all the way back so that his back was touching the back (sorry for all the backs :wink: ) He is a smaller man and I can’t help but wonder if this position would benefit me, so I’ll be trying out some chairs later today – see if any of them turn me into a better pianist! (haha – I know, fat chance.)

Anyway, the intimate setting was a pleasant change and Chiu is a fantastic pianist. If you are ever given the chance to see him perform, I encourage you to do so. But he also has 20 CD’s for sale, as well.

@Brian and Alexander - feel free to add anything here if you wish.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Frederic Chiu
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:08 pm 
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Posts: 1167
Location: Piemonte, Italy
pianolady wrote:
Last night I attended a concert by Frederic Chiu.


Thank you for the review, never seen him playing in Italy.

I used to dislike Chiu as a pianist but after listening to his complete Prokofiev I've changed my mind about him. He must be an interesting man also, if I judge from his masterclasses videos on YT. Btw, how do you pronounce 'Chiu'?

pianolady wrote:
I can’t help but wonder if this position would benefit me, so I’ll be trying out some chairs later today – see if any of them turn me into a better pianist! (haha – I know, fat chance.)


I advocate a rocking chair (because eventually turns you into a pianist that rocks). I bought one to replace an ordinary chair I previously used and I feel I am a better pianist by then. (I know you won't believe me but I am completely serious -OK the last part is a hype :lol:, but the chair is very confortable indeed).

pianolady wrote:
@Brian and Alexander - feel free to add anything here if you wish.


Yes, please.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:13 pm 
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All I've heard of Chiu is the complete set of Prokofiev sonatas... I must say they're a little dry (as far as pedaling) and WAY too fast for my taste. I wouldn't mind seeing him (perform) live sometime though. I did meet him while I was in texas this summer!

I like to sit lower too. in fact, when I perform I always adjust the bench all the way down. I find it's a lot easier to produce a warm tone, but I think it helps with being able to have a better variety of tone colour in general. also, my leggiero is a lot easier with a low bench too!

before I chopped the bottom halves of my piano bench off ( :P ) I used to practice with a metal folding chair. I still keep one of those in the trunk of my car too in case I'm at a university or something in a practice room where there wouldn't be an adjustable bench...

Oh and btw I'm pretty sure "Chiu" is pronounced like "Chew"

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 Post subject: Re: Frederic Chiu
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:14 pm 
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alf wrote:
Btw, how do you pronounce 'Chiu'?.

like 'chew'.

And really, Alfonso, you have this rocking chair at your piano? I suppose it may help in situations like remember when we were talking about leaning into the keys to get a bigger, fuller sound? Except with my luck, because it's a rocking chair, I'd lean in too much and bonk my head on the top of the piano. I saw a pianist do this once (bonk his head on the piano) - so funny - I was laughing for days.

btw - do you sit all the way back on your chair?

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:51 pm 
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Location: Piemonte, Italy
Thank you both for telling me how to pronounce Chiu.

Austin, you're right about the Sonatas, IMO they're not especially convincing (plus, in the Sonatas the competition is very very tough and one can probably find better interpretations elsewhere), but in the transcription sets and in the smaller works I like Chiu a lot. It's a sort of 'steel and glass' way of playing that works very well in much of Prokofiev's piano music.

Monica, yes I bought that chair and use it (the rocking chair that makes you rock was a joke though). The PS Ellan chair happens to be a rocking chair but actually it is very stable and you can only lean backward (something you do on purpose, no chance it happens while playing), therefore no danger of bumping your head against the top of the piano! Of course an ordinary rocking chair couldn't do at all as a piano bench, you need something firm for that. I suspect you would 'gain' more weight by sitting higher than lower, but the seating position is definitely something radical to change after years of a different habit.

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"A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking" - Anonymous

Alfonso Bertazzi, amateur pianist.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:27 am 
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I saw Chiu present that exact program in a similar situation more than a year ago. It was the first concert played on a New York Steinway D which had been shipped down to this hall after being purchased by the school. It was phenomenal, but the Ravel was far and away the highlight...I've never heard such a variety of colors come out of an instrument...it was utterly mesmerizing. And his Kijé transcription is the work of genius. The Beethoven of course was a tremendous physical feat, and I think he even added some touches to the finale.

I have known Chiu's playing ever since the 93 Cliburn competition, and I've tried to keep up with his career and have most of his recordings. I was able to thank him and tell him his influence, and this created an interesting/awkward moment. When I told him I had many of his recordings, he asked, "Really, which ones do you have?" So I named the Prokofiev set and a couple others, and he asked, "Which others do you have?" So I named off as many of his recordings as I could think of/remember and then included, "And some broadcasts," which produced a smirk. It was strange; he had this look of interest as of a child through the whole thing. But it was such an intimate location for a recital and not many people, and every artist has a narcissist gene when you dig down deep.

It was a cool event, and I like Chiu and his playing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:21 am 
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Thanks for that report, Monica. Chiu has his video of Prokofiev's "Suggestion diabolique" on YouTube. I must say, it's probably the best performance I've ever heard/seen. I'm impressed by his playing.

David

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:17 am 
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LUCKY!!! :shock:

Chiu is one of my favorite pianists by far, if only because of his magnificent Prokofiev interpretations. I have his complete recordings of Prokofiev's works for solo piano, and they have formed the basis for my own personal interpretations. He plays with so brilliantly... Making perfect use of that mechanical, percussive, "perverted-ness" that is Prokofiev. I've only heard a few other recordings of his outside of Prokofiev though, but I've loved them all. I really must look further into his works!!!

Can't believe you got a chance to see such an amazing sounding program. That's just EPIC. :shock:

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