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 Post subject: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:04 pm 
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The other day in another thread, PJF draw our attention once again to the site of Claudio Colombo where so many recordings are hosted for free.

Am I alone in finding this site rather suspect ? First, I can not find ANY information on the artist anywhere. Second, such a staggering body of recorded repertoire, which such digital precision, is totally improbable, it seems to beat even that of Jenö Jandó. I am no stranger to bulk recording :lol: so I know one can only strike a balance between quantity and quality. What is presented here is just impossible from one pianist. And still he has time to operate a website, and bike around the world taking photos :?

I listened to some of his Shostakovich op.87 items (of course he has a complete set of those, next to the complete WTC and all the Scarlatti Sonatas) and while they do not sound like midi, sound quite good actually, they do not sound natural either with their eerie clockwork precision without even a hint of termpo flexibility.

Your opinons ? Am I being suspicious again ? I just tend to get like that when one person produces so much music.... But it is an immensely useful site all the same.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:38 pm 
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You're totally right, IMHO, Chris. I wasn't familiar with this site, so I chose a Liszt-Beethoven (which first of all, all 9 symphony transcriptions perfectly played? c'mon). The 9th finale, I listened to, which was very pleasant btw, but NOT ONE MISTAKE the whole time. Ok, maybe conceivable, but when the recitative came up, not one hint of interpretation was heard. and I think in the 1st statement of the main theme, there were a few moments of crescendo after the initial attack.

My second choice was the precipitato from Prokofiev's 7th sonata. I just discovered this amazing piece and he played it really fast, which was fine. but again NOT ONE misstep. and there're some ridiculous jumps on the last two pages. Again, no change at all in tempo.

So, my guess is, really good midi files converted to mp3 by a talented and imaginative sound technician.

*The preceding has been Nathan's two cents. Spend them wisely, he saved for years*

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:00 pm 
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Yeah... I listened a bit... and I think he's fake.

At first, I thought I had proof that it was really him recording them, because i though I noticed a mistake in a piece he recorded by Satie (the 2nd dried up embryo), in which he badly performed the first chord... but then he does it again... exactly the same, with the same timing and such, when the song repeats itself in the second half.

It certianly does seem fake.

Although, to be honest... before I knew who Hamelin was, when I bought his recordings of Scriabin's complete piano sonatas, I thought he was fake as well :oops:

I thought that they were simply too perfect for one man to pull off... but now I know who he his, and I've heard other recordings, and seen youtube videos...

Who knows? Maybe this guy is real!

But... I still think he's faking it. :evil:

... Actually... I just download his recording of Scriabin's prelude in D Minor, op. 11...
He's not really playing that! It is fake, fake, fake!!! There was no emotion at all, and the playing was so very linear... it was all in perfectly straight tempo... it actually hurt to listen to. And there were no mistakes at all... and the dynamics, all seemed preprogramed... and the ending was definatly faked, the way he played the ending chords was very programmed, not very realistic.

See how quickly I can change my mind over a simple little prelude?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:59 pm 
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I can detect some little rhythmic inequities here and there in his playing that sound very human, otherwise, to my ear, these are obviously digitized renditions. Such an output for one human, with 100% note-precision, is something which would gain such notoriety, that any pianist who achieved it would be known far and wide. According to Google, this is not the case.

Anyway, I still enjoyed listening to the thousands of pieces on his site (almost 1/4 through). It's an excellent reference and Mr. Colombo should keep doing whatever it is he's doing.

He should join this site and give us a clue as to his work. There's nothing wrong in making fine MIDI-recordings just be darn sure there's no misrepresentation a la "you-know-who".

Quote:
So, my guess is, really good midi files converted to mp3 by a talented and imaginative sound technician.


Yes, a very talented technician, indeed!

IMHO,
Pete


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:05 pm 
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Yes, definitely fake, no way around that. It does not seem to matter which piece you listen to, they are all the same. Rattled off with mechanical precision, no human sould would play pieces like that. You'd have to be a Hamelin calibre pianist to pull of all nine Liszt-Beethove symphonies without one flaw. Colombo is slpaaing it on a bit to thich suggesting that he has played all this himself. Or perhaps he did, with some other definition of 'play'.

Still, an extremely useful site which I would not want to miss now that I know it. At least you can hear all the notes of a piece, if not how to perform it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:39 pm 
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Still, an extremely useful site which I would not want to miss now that I know it. At least you can hear all the notes of a piece, if not how to perform it.


Yeah, at least it gives you a jumping off point for a little known piece.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:40 pm 
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Why don't we just ask Setrak for his two cents?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:57 pm 
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juufa72 wrote:
Why don't we just ask Setrak for his two cents?

Now, that is cruel :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:25 pm 
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Mr. Colombo could learn a bit from Mr. Felice. :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:03 pm 
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Out of interest, I listened to Signore Colombo's rendition of Albéniz's El corpus en Sevilla. This is definitely not a live pianist :cry:. I purchased the sheet music to this piece during a visit to the Albéniz Museum in Campredon (his birthplace) in the Pyrenees last summer, whilst touring the area by motorcycle with my wife. It is still very much a work-in-progress, (there is a substantial section about 80% through which is quite horrendous to read/learn in terms of accidentals[1]), but I'll get there in the end!

-Michael B.
[1] And this from someone who plays Ludus Tonalis for relaxation ;)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:17 pm 
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techneut wrote:
juufa72 wrote:
Why don't we just ask Setrak for his two cents?

Now, that is cruel :lol:



Takes one to know one :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:28 am 
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juufa72 wrote:
techneut wrote:
juufa72 wrote:
Why don't we just ask Setrak for his two cents?

Now, that is cruel :lol:



Takes one to know one :wink:


Oh dear...

I feel as if though I missed something...

I remember him as a pianist on this site a while ago... but I just checked and he has since disappeared... I still have 3 recordings of his on my ipod, two rachmaninoff moments musical, and a concert etude (which I think was just a midi file converted to mp3).

Did I miss something in the between period?
Anybody care to fill me in?
Or does it not concern me?

... Should I just go hide in the corner again? :shock:

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"This is death! This is death as this emanation of the female which leads to unification ... death and love ... this is the abyss." This is not music", said [Sabaneev] to him, "this is something else..." - "This is the Mysterium," he said softly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:36 am 
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demonic_advent wrote:
I remember him as a pianist on this site a while ago... but I just checked and he has since disappeared... I still have 3 recordings of his on my ipod, two rachmaninoff moments musical, and a concert etude (which I think was just a midi file converted to mp3).

Did I miss something in the between period?
Anybody care to fill me in?
Or does it not concern me?

... Should I just go hide in the corner again? :shock:



More than likely the mp3s on your iPod are not of Setrak. He stole a lot of recordings, if not all of them, and claimed them as his own rendition. Basically he is a fake and took someone else's credit.


Now, the drama with Joe Felice a while back ago I do not have a clear understanding. His submissions were also flawless! If my memory serves correct, he chose to no longer be a part of the society just because? But the top dogs of the forum will tell us.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:47 am 
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Actually...

When I was listening to a recording of one of the moment musical in E Minor (No. 4), I had another recording of it by some woman I found online... and I noticed that they both sniffeled at the same time at the beginning of the recordings... and the recording's sounded remarkeably similar.

But I supposed I simply dismissed it.

Hmmm... good to know that his recording's were faked.

Also... I hapened to find his website a few minutes ago, where they talked about how famous he is in his home country... do they not know yet? Does he play any of his own music, or is it all faked?

Idk... just mildly interested in the scandals of pianosociety.

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"This is death! This is death as this emanation of the female which leads to unification ... death and love ... this is the abyss." This is not music", said [Sabaneev] to him, "this is something else..." - "This is the Mysterium," he said softly.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:49 am 
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Scandals of the Piano Society would make for a good title of a movie or book!


They were all faked. I doubt his compositions were of his own creation.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:20 am 
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I just compared some recordings...

Setrak's "recordings" of Rach's moments musical were in fact ripped off from Lisitsa Valentina. They are exactly the same...

well... I suppose that's just another for the record books.

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"This is death! This is death as this emanation of the female which leads to unification ... death and love ... this is the abyss." This is not music", said [Sabaneev] to him, "this is something else..." - "This is the Mysterium," he said softly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:44 am 
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Michael_B wrote:
Out of interest, I listened to Signore Colombo's rendition of Albéniz's El corpus en Sevilla. This is definitely not a live pianist :cry:. I purchased the sheet music to this piece during a visit to the Albéniz Museum in Campredon (his birthplace) in the Pyrenees last summer, whilst touring the area by motorcycle with my wife. It is still very much a work-in-progress, (there is a substantial section about 80% through which is quite horrendous to read/learn in terms of accidentals[1]), but I'll get there in the end!

I happened to pick that one too, and it is sheerly impossible to rattle off that piece like he does. This is one bastard of a piece that few pianists can bring off. Even Hamelin is in awe of it, describing that particular section as pure hell. I grit my teeth on Iberia every now and then but this one is the main stumbling stone and will probably always be.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 3:46 pm 
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juufa72 wrote:
Scandals of the Piano Society would make for a good title of a movie or book!


Finally! I can become the star I deserve to be!! :lol: :roll:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:23 pm 
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PJF wrote:
Anyway, I still enjoyed listening to the thousands of pieces on his site (almost 1/4 through). It's an excellent reference and Mr. Colombo should keep doing whatever it is he's doing.

He should join this site and give us a clue as to his work. There's nothing wrong in making fine MIDI-recordings just be darn sure there's no misrepresentation a la "you-know-who".

I absolutely agree. The recordings are fine, it is the fact that he claims to have performed them all that nags at me. And that there is absolutely no info to be found about his persona - as if he does not even exist....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:41 pm 
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This is one bastard of a piece that few pianists can bring off.

Indeed. This young pianist (a bit of googling shows him to be a student at the San Sebastian Conservatory) does a pretty good job for the most part I reckon, though not quite firmly on the rails everywhere... that said, I'd certainly be happy with such a performance :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UQ8iISLAdY


-Michael B.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:20 pm 
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All those who believe in psychokinesis, please raise my hand.


I'm trying. Is it working?!? :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:57 am 
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Nothing yet... you'll have to think harder! :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:23 pm 
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During the past weekend I exchanged some emails with Claudio Colombo. I invited him to join the thread but he hedged by pleading his poor English. So, FYI (and with his blessing) I'll shortly report here what he told me about his recording procedures.

The music he records is performed by him, not MIDI-sequenced or, worse, stolen from other pianists (in spite of some of you evoking Setrak). Claudio told me he plays the piece on his digital piano, at a convenient speed (how much he slows down depends on the difficulty of the music, but he is a very good reader and long accustomed with most of the music he decides to record). In case of mistakes he remakes the recording as to the portion of music affected by the error(s). A slightly different procedure is employed when he records duos, since a metronome is needed to synchronize the additional track. He's a piano teacher and the recordings also serve educational purpose for his pupils. That's it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:02 am 
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Maybe we should have this site in both English and in Italian :wink: Then he has no excuses!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 7:06 am 
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Alf:
plays the piece on his digital piano digital piano, at a convenient speed

Playing into some form of MIDI sequencer/recorder, and presumably then speeds up the pulse rate of the MID-playback device? This is of course a form of MIDI-sequencing and thus is a sort of 'faked performance,' as instead of entering the notes/chords via a computer keyboard/mouse, they are entered using a keyboard controller. Therefore it is not live piano-playing, as any competent pianist could produce astounding recordings the most difficult repertoire using this method. The results of such an exercise are not readily comparable to that of a live player, as is immediately apparent to any listener familiar with renditions of the same material by pianists able to play live at the written tempo. I am sure Signore Colombo is a good pianist, teacher and all-round very nice chap, but to use the word perform, in the context of repertoire (recorded at 'comfortable' speeds and then brought to tempo by artificial means), is not one bereft of ambiguity.


In case of mistakes he remakes the recording as to the portion of music affected by the error(s)

It is well known that many/most classical studio recordings are edited in this fashion (one good version cobbled together out of a variety of 'takes'), so this has been accepted practice for many years (since the technology has made it possible and practically undetectable.) It is very rare that a pianist's performance might be made up many thousands of individual notes and chords edited together, which would be the extreme example (but a comparable one) to that of entering information into a MIDI-sequencer at a reduced tempo for later reproduction sped up by electronic means. On a specific note, I wouldn't think it unreasonable to discover that a recording here (of a substantial and perhaps obviously sectional work) was in fact the result of various takes then edited together using appropriate software. In my view that would still be valid as the recording was essentially 'live.'

-Michael B.

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Last edited by Michael_B on Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:05 am 
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The allusion with Setrak was a bit unfortunate. It is very clear that Colombo's tracks are not ripped - no pianist worth his/her salt would play so flat and mechanically.

The 'convenient speed' thing bothers me, I agree with Michael that this procedure does not warrant the term performance. As study objects, they are fine of course. Note that there is very good speed-adjustment software available, the format does not even have to be MIDI. The result is almost undetectable, I think.

I still find the sheer number of his recordings hard to get my head around though. I mean, all Scarlatti's sonatas, Alkan's complete op.31 preludes, the complete Bach WTC and Goldberg, all the Beethoven-Liszt symphonies, the complete Shostakovich Op.87, the complete Bartok For Children and Mikrokosmos, concerti, orchestra and chamber music transcriptions, 4-hand and two-piano repertoire... :shock: Give me a break. It seems impossible for one person to play and record all this and much more, even with the indicated procedures. If there's anything he has not recorded yet, I am sure he is working on it. But maybe the man is superhuman, never sleeps, and has unlimited time besides his teaching, biking, and web-selling activities.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:32 am 
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Hmmm... just to play devil's advocate for a minute...

Idil Biret did the complete recordings of all the piano works of Brahms, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff...
And all 9 of the Beethoven-Liszt symphony transcriptions... among numerous other works.

However... the difference would be that Idil plays like a human. Sometimes, her recordings aren't perfect. (Ex. Rachmaninoff's Humoresque... unbearably slow, especially when compared to Rachmaninoff's recordings of the piece. And his 3rd piano concerto... the cadenza was played like molasses.)

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"This is death! This is death as this emanation of the female which leads to unification ... death and love ... this is the abyss." This is not music", said [Sabaneev] to him, "this is something else..." - "This is the Mysterium," he said softly.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Michael_B wrote:
Playing into some form of MIDI sequencer/recorder, and presumably then speeds up the pulse rate of the MID-playback device? This is of course a form of MIDI-sequencing and thus is a sort of 'faked performance,' as instead of entering the notes/chords via a computer keyboard/mouse, they are entered using a keyboard controller. Therefore it is not live piano-playing, as any competent pianist could produce astounding recordings the most difficult repertoire using this method.


Having a down-to-earth mindset, I don't bother too much about the way things are done, I usually look at the results. What are the results in Colombo's case, compared to the aim he's set himself? A website with a wealth of music offered for free (note that you have to pay only for the hires MP3's, so you pay for the audio quality, not for the music per se). He doesn't go around claiming that he is a great pianist with the hugest repertoire after Sviatoslav Richter. He is in fact very low profile under this respect. He seems to tell you: do you like the way the music I record is played? Download it and be happy! Don't? Leave it there, buy a CD instead or perform it yourself.

Michael_B wrote:
The results of such an exercise are not readily comparable to that of a live player, as is immediately apparent to any listener familiar with renditions of the same material by pianists able to play live at the written tempo.


So what? Recording artists are inherently assessed on their recordings, as recitalists are judged by their live performances. We are speaking of two partially different crafts (and let me add that in my dictionary "pianist" means someone who can play live), not directly comparable.

Michael_B wrote:
It is well known that many/most classical studio recordings are edited in this fashion (one good version cobbled together out of a variety of 'takes'), so this has been accepted practice for many years (since the technology has made it possible and practically undetectable.) It is very rare that a pianist's performance might be made up many thousands of individual notes and chords edited together, which would be the extreme example (but a comparable one) to that of entering information into a MIDI-sequencer at a reduced tempo for later reproduction sped up by electronic means. On a specific note, I wouldn't think it unreasonable to discover that a recording here (of a substantial and perhaps obviously sectional work) was in fact the result of various takes then edited together using appropriate software. In my view that would still be valid as the recording was essentially 'live.'


It's so difficult to draw the line when the use of technology comes to being unfair!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:55 am 
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Hi alf,

Having a down-to-earth mindset, I don't bother too much about the way things are done, I usually look at the results.

With respect, I'm not sure that is being "down-to-earth" as such, and frankly it is not an attitude that I would much admire from, for example, the International Olympics Committee ;). Of course the methods by which results are achieved are not to be overlooked in any creative (or indeed sporting) activity.

do you like the way the music I record is played? Download it and be happy!

The answer is no, but I suppose I can't really see the point of it either. It seems like a monumental waste of time and effort; perhaps he was a data-entry clerk in a previous job, or something that started as an experimental hobby then became an obssession. Why bother spending thousands of hours producing what are ultimately fairly mediocre representations of the composers' musical efforts, in spite of (or perhaps due to) the recourse to technological wizardry, rather than sticking to repertoire that one is technically capable of playing at the indicated tempo, and maybe even introduce a little personal interpretation and feeling?

OK, these files are free for the most part, so but is a lot of other material on the internet these days. Free sites like here provide hobbyists and artists the chance to interact with others and even to promote themselves, but the material provided is assumed, on trust and by evaluation, to have some kind of artistic integrity.

Don't? Leave it there, buy a CD instead or perform it yourself.

I could not agree more. That of course doesn't stop me having an opinion about it :). Paying for the output of a real artist (either a CD or buying a ticket to a live recital), or indeed learning and performing the music oneself, are certainly more admirable options than downloading computer-generated representations, if indeed we wish the arts to continue with some kind of valid manner.


It's so difficult to draw the line when the use of technology comes to being unfair!

Indeed. Artist input in real time is still pretty much a pre-requisite, and is of course essential for live performance. Most editing done in recording studios is to get "the best of the best" rather than trying to compensate for basic deficiencies (such as not being able to play the notes at the desired tempo.) Even those who retreated exclusively into the recording studio (e.g. Gould) had shown for many years their live performing abilities. I suppose the most notable example of a 'recording-only' artist would be the (in)famous Joyce Hatto ;)

Best regards,

-Michael B.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:34 pm 
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Michael_B wrote:
With respect, I'm not sure that is being "down-to-earth" as such, and frankly it is not an attitude that I would much admire from, for example, the International Olympics Committee ;). Of course the methods by which results are achieved are not to be overlooked in any creative (or indeed sporting) activity.


The Olympics Committee?! Oh come on, then pianists like Sofronitsky, François, and I suspect more than a few other ones, should have been banned for doping. After all, indeed pianists ought to be treated like sportpersons, that's why records are called that way. :lol: Sorry, with as much respect, I think that your analogy doesn't work.

Michael_B wrote:
The answer is no, but I suppose I can't really see the point of it either. It seems like a monumental waste of time and effort; perhaps he was a data-entry clerk in a previous job, or something that started as an experimental hobby then became an obssession. Why bother spending thousands of hours producing what are ultimately fairly mediocre representations of the composers' musical efforts, in spite of (or perhaps due to) the recourse to technological wizardry, rather than sticking to repertoire that one is technically capable of playing at the indicated tempo, and maybe even introduce a little personal interpretation and feeling?


That's my view too, but I believe everyone is entitled to do whatever he or she likes according to the harm principle (oh boys, I'm quoting Mill against a Brit), and I don't see any harm in Colombo's conduct.

Michael_B wrote:
OK, these files are free for the most part, so but is a lot of other material on the internet these days. Free sites like here provide hobbyists and artists the chance to interact with others and even to promote themselves, but the material provided is assumed, on trust and by evaluation, to have some kind of artistic integrity.


I don't think so. On PS we have at least 2 examples of (more or less heavily) MIDI sequenced music. John Grant's Well Tempered Clavier is one of the finest interpretations I know and I know a couple of dozens ("interpretation" and not "performance" to stick to your judicious remark). Teppei Yamada-Scriba conceives his musical ideas out of thin air and then renderes them on his disklavier. Are they cheating? Again, I don't think so. They state what they try to achieve and the way they do it. You can just decide if you take it or leave it.

Michael_B wrote:
I could not agree more. That of course doesn't stop me having an opinion about it :). Paying for the output of a real artist (either a CD or buying a ticket to a live recital), or indeed learning and performing the music oneself, are certainly more admirable options than downloading computer-generated representations, if indeed we wish the arts to continue with some kind of valid manner.


What about art design? Objects are manufactured by machines, designed with CAD or, better, VR systems and just the concept, which is of course the best part and the one that makes an item unique, pertains to a human being (for now :wink:).

Michael_B wrote:
Even those who retreated exclusively into the recording studio (e.g. Gould) had shown for many years their live performing abilities.


You won't really appreciate GG's late recordings only on the basis that he formerly proved to be a great live performer, will you? No, don't tell, I'm afraid of what I may hear. :P

Michael_B wrote:
I suppose the most notable example of a 'recording-only' artist would be the (in)famous Joyce Hatto ;)


Quite unfair of you. Joyce Hatto was not at all a recording artist, but a fraud perpetrated by a man, as someone jokingly said, who mistook his wife for a Hatto. So I have to dismiss it as not relevant here. :wink:

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Alf:
with as much respect, I think that your analogy doesn't work.

I know, that's why it was accompanied by a ;). We Brits call it 'irony' :)
However, the overall idea that "only results" count is still a doubful one to my mind.


On PS we have at least 2 examples of (more or less heavily) MIDI sequenced music

It is well explained on the PS site how Mr Teppei Yamada-Scriba composes and records his music, and how Mr Grant engages in less or more ex post facto editing of his playing. This agrees with a policy of disclosure and integrity. As far as I can see (and I have a reasonable reading knowledge of Italian), nowhere on Mr Colombo's site does it state that these "recordings" are MIDI-input and then sped up. And to describe the payable 192kbs mp3 files as "CD audio quality" is stretching the truth quite a bit as well.


You won't really appreciate GG's late recordings only on the basis that he formerly proved to be a great live performer, will you?

Not really the point I was making. The aim of that example is that Gould was indeed capable of performing live, but renounced from playing in public for reasons other than not being able to play the pieces concerned and having to record them in slow motion and speed them up afterwards.

the (in)famous Joyce Hatto ;)

Quite unfair of you.

Again, I plead guilty to irony (and/or perhaps even sarcasm :))


Michael

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Michael_B wrote:
Alf:
with as much respect, I think that your analogy doesn't work.

I know, that's why it was accompanied by a ;). We Brits call it 'irony' :)


Yes, I heard about it. :lol:

Quote:
As far as I can see (and I have a reasonable reading knowledge of Italian), nowhere on Mr Colombo's site does it state that these "recordings" are MIDI-input and then sped up. And to describe the payable 192kbs mp3 files as "CD audio quality" is stretching the truth quite a bit as well.


I agree on both points.

Quote:
Not really the point I was making. The aim of that example is that Gould was indeed capable of performing live, but renounced from playing in public for reasons other than not being able to play the pieces concerned and having to record them in slow motion and speed them up afterwards.


Yet (as a sidenote) some critics used to doubt he could still play after his concert drop-out.

Quote:
Again, I plead guilty to irony (and/or perhaps even sarcasm :))


Don't indulge in it! :P

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Don't indulge in it! :P

It is difficult to fight against such deep-rooted cultural predispositions, but I'll try to do my best in future! :oops:

Kind regards,

Michael.

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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:09 pm 
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Annnnd… hello from the world of the future! Or at least from the world of posting on an old topic after a couple of years have gone by.

I just purchased Colombo's recording of the Nutcracker ballet, and was partway through when the sheer lack of affect started to make me wonder what was going on. I had the impression, as have several here, that I was listening to a well-groomed midi file in which no artistic decisions had been made, and no feeling had been expended. The piano sounds electronic too, though it's certainly not bad as such things go.

So I was pleased to find out what was actually going on from the group here. It's really an "uncanny valley" recording, with nothing wrong with any part of it, but an off-putting mechanical nature. I hear there's a program you can apply to midi files to make them seem more like natural performances — maybe that's what's needed here. I wonder if I'd have used up my last emusic download of the month for it if I'd known what I'd be getting, but it's too late for that now!

I don't suppose Chris Breemer would feel like recording this ballet? I'd gladly replace the recording I just paid for with his rendition, and no questions asked.

Kip Williams


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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:39 pm 
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Hello Kip,

That is a topic bump indeed :!: None of these posters are still here, except me. It was an interesting discussion though.

Did you not sample some of Colombo's recordings before buying then ? It would turn any music lover off, I think, unless you only want to hear how all the notes sound. He's good at putting them all neatly in a row ;-)

Hehe, no, I have no plans for recording the Nutcracker suite, much as I love the ballet. Not sure what exactly Colombo is playing,
I guess someone's transcriptions of selected items ? AFAIK there is no version by the composer.

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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:38 am 
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techneut wrote:
Hello Kip,

That is a topic bump indeed :!: None of these posters are still here, except me. It was an interesting discussion though.

Did you not sample some of Colombo's recordings before buying then ? It would turn any music lover off, I think, unless you only want to hear how all the notes sound. He's good at putting them all neatly in a row ;-)

Hehe, no, I have no plans for recording the Nutcracker suite, much as I love the ballet. Not sure what exactly Colombo is playing,
I guess someone's transcriptions of selected items ? AFAIK there is no version by the composer.


"AFAIK"???? :?: :?: :?: :?


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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:13 am 
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RSPIll wrote:
"AFAIK"???? :?: :?: :?: :?

Yeah I know.... All that I know is that I don't know much :)
Good to see you back Scott.

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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:30 pm 
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I think Scott is wondering what AFIAK means, which is an acronym for As Far As I Know.

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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:34 pm 
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Ah right, I did not know that. I just like to toss around acronyms :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:15 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
I think Scott is wondering what AFIAK means, which is an acronym for As Far As I Know.


Thanx for translating, Monica.


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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:39 pm 
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I listened to a couple of recordings from this site (selections from the Liapunov etudes, which I know well). This cannot be a real pianist playing. There is almost no expression or nuance, a total lack of rubato, and (in no. 5, which I have learnt) either there are a significant number of misreadings, or I've learnt the piece quite badly! Profoundly unmusical. Btw the website says the Nutcracker is the Taneyev transcription (I'd assumed it might be the Pletnev).


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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:31 pm 
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Interesting, did not know Taneyev transcribed the whole ballet for two hands. The composer and Pletnev both took selected items only, one rather simplified and the rather too self-consciously virtuosic. It's difficult to gauge from Colombo's bloodless snippets but the Taneyev version looks a tour the force. I wonder how that would sound in real capable hands. But complete reductions are a labor of love that not many pianists take on. All these quasi-orchestral tremolos must be real tiring and no fun to practice.

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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:18 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Interesting, did not know Taneyev transcribed the whole ballet for two hands. The composer and Pletnev both took selected items only, one rather simplified and the rather too self-consciously virtuosic. It's difficult to gauge from Colombo's bloodless snippets but the Taneyev version looks a tour the force. I wonder how that would sound in real capable hands. But complete reductions are a labor of love that not many pianists take on. All these quasi-orchestral tremolos must be real tiring and no fun to practice.


I don't think the Taneyev is obstructively difficult, certainly not compared to some transcriptions. However, I must agree that complete reductions aren't the most attractive thing to take on - the Wagner-Klindworth entire Ring cycle springs to mind! I quite like the Pletnev tbh; had half-learnt it a while back but then put it aside.


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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:13 am 
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Interesting thoughts...

As an adult-beginner I had a few teachers but I was very unlucky
and things went not too well, so I have been left learning it on my own.

One of these teachers really gave me the jibbers one day...
because this teacher produced CD’s of their own music
and after a lesson I was shown their music-production-room.

I was stunned. It looked like a 25th-century-technical-operation-theatre
with lots of computers and this teacher actually collected on these computers
the tones of many different instruments and put them together
tone-by-tone as if they were played, but they were not played,
it was all technically put together through the computers.

For example, certain repeats were only put on the computer once
and repeated exactly as they were first computed, as and when they came along...

That was so sad and really gave me the jibbers and my innocence about musicians faded instantly... :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:08 pm 
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Hy everyone.

My self-presentation is not needed, I suppose: I am the subject of this thread.

This is the exact text, word by word, of my e-mail message sent to Alfonso Bertazzi at 23.04 04/01/2008:

***

Ciao Alfonso. Sì, mi ricordo di te. Ricordo che abbiamo dialogato piacevolmente sul ng, ma non rammento il tema della discussione. Ho sempre letto con molto interesse i tuoi post, ma apprendo ora da te che non partecipi più alla vita del gruppo. Io stesso mi sono limitato a un paio di interventi negli ultimi due anni, per il resto leggiucchio rarissimamente, ma proprio non ho tempo.

Ho appena letto la discussione che mi hai segnalato. Interessante. Non è la prima, sui vari forum che si occupano di musica classica: i toni sono sempre gli stessi. E mai nessuno che si decida ad aprire il suo programma di posta per scrivermi e chiedermi "come faccio". Il "come faccio" secondo me per un musicista, o quantomeno un conoscitore della musica non superficiale, dovrebbe essere ovvio. E infatti tu l'hai capito perfettamente. Altri pianisti l'hanno capito, mi hanno scritto per chiedere conferma, e siamo diventati amici, seppure in forma elettronica.

Per essere più precisi: prendo un pezzo, lo leggo a velocità ridotta, lo rileggo a velocità di esecuzione, o quasi (dipende dalla difficoltà). Durante questa fase definisco i criteri d'interpretazione. Quindi registro. A velocità ridotta, certamente. Quanto ridotta dipende sempre dalla difficoltà tecnica (ho una discreta facilità di lettura, e questo aiuta molto, e quasi sempre conosco già da molti anni i pezzi che sto per incidere, anche se non li ho mai studiati in maniera ortodossa, o magari li ho solo fatti studiare ai miei allievi). Per la registrazione uso Sonar. Cerco di buttarmi il più possibile, ma NON correggo gli errori in Sonar. Se il passaggio non è perfetto mi fermo, cancello da dove ci sono problemi, riprovo il passaggio e poi riprendo la registrazione facendo partire il midi da un po' prima, a volte parecchio prima. Non uso Gigastudio se non per le registrazioni con altri strumenti che non siano a tastiera La tecnica, velocità a parte (e non sempre), non è diversa da quella del montaggio audio nelle sale di incisione tradizionali. Recentemente ho visto un filmato di Glenn Gould che registrava Bach cucendo, ricucendo, ripetendo, smontando e rimontando. Il risultato è fantastico, musicalmente parlando. A me non è mai passato per l'anticamera del cervello di smontare la mia lavatrice per vedere come fa, senza mani, a lavare così bene. Mi interessa che il bucato sia pulito.

Il concetto del bucato, trasferito al mio lavoro, è questo: non me ne importa niente delle mie mani (a maggior ragione trovo imbarazzante che se ne preoccupi qualcun altro), di quanto sia considerato bravo o maldestro, leale o disonesto, mi interessa che quella musica venga conosciuta da tanta gente, potenzialmente da tutti. Non il suo esecutore, ma la musica. So per certo che ci sono tantissimi studenti che si servono di alcune mie registrazioni per trarre suggerimenti. I miei stessi allievi sono fra questi (così non mi telefonano a orari impossibili per chiedermi come si realizza un abbellimento, perché se lo erano dimenticato). Ho anche registrato apposta, su richiesta, dei pezzi che dovevano essere eseguiti a breve ad un esame, o a un saggio, e dei quali non c'erano incisioni disponibili (con il maestro in tournée, o al mare...). I partecipanti a quel forum non hanno nemmeno pensato di andare a vedere la mia home page in italiano, quindi non sanno che sono un insegnante. Poco male.

Ti ringrazio molto per la "soffiata", ma credo che non interverrò in quella discussione. Il mio inglese è pessimo, fra l'altro, e non riuscirei a spiegare convenientemente che secondo me un musicista non è un circense, e che un esecutore deve essere al servizio del compositore, e non della propria fama. Peraltro i loro sospetti si basano sugli indizi sbagliati: nelle esecuzioni solistiche ovviamente non uso il metronomo (nei duo e negli ensemble sì, altrimenti sfido chiunque ad andare a tempo con un partner che non si vede; chi ci ha provato, non faccio nomi, ha combinato disastri), quindi se dicono che suono perfettamente a tempo mi fanno un complimento: uno scarto nell'agogica a velocità ridotta si amplifica accelerando. In realtà nelle mie registrazioni gli scarti li sento eccome, e qualche volta sono palesemente eccessivi. La prova che baro sulla velocità si trova facilmente ascoltando la dinamica dei trilli: io ho una grandissima facilità nell'esecuzione degli abbellimenti, ma certe volte sembro una macchina da cucire... neanche ABM poteva tanto, benché spaccasse le noci col mignolo, con nonchalance, per stupire i commensali. C'è una lunga serie di trilli nella parte finale della Grande Fuga op.133 di LvB che sembra l'allarme dell'ascensore del mio condominio. Il rilievo dell'infallibilità tecnica, beh, è ridicolo: chi è che lascia degli errori nelle registrazioni in studio?

Conosci quell'aneddoto raccontato in più di un'occasione da Piero Rattalino... di quella ragazza molto raccomandata che arrivò a incidere un disco, nonostante non fosse proprio un pianista fenomenale. Dopo aver ascoltato il laboriosissimo montaggio della sua registrazione con un tecnico del suono, lei disse: "Bene, no?" E l'altro: "Le piacerebbe saper suonare così, vero signorina?".

Comunque, per concludere, c'è un pianista di cui non ricordo il nome e di cui credevo di avere conservato un link (ma mi sbagliavo) ad un sito approntato da lui, che adopera esattamente il mio sistema. Lo ha dichiarato nel sito spiegando per filo e per segno cosa fa e perché lo fa. Spiega anche che suonare a una velocità diversa da quella definitiva è molto difficile perché bisogna tradurre al volo il significato musicale di quello che si sta eseguendo proiettandolo sull'esecuzione "ufficiale". E' vero che non è facile, richiede una lunga esperienza, ma è certamente più difficile suonare tutto alla velocità giusta. Insomma, non mi sembrava il caso di spiegarlo, sa tanto di excusatio non petita, e comunque lo capiamo in dodici. Peraltro dai demo avevo ricavato una ben modesta impressione (non ha per esempio risolto la grana del timing del pedale di risonanza, e non ha capito che i movimenti dei salti vanno rallentati esattamente come tutto il resto).

Ciao, e ancora grazie.

Claudio

***

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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:26 pm 
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Thanks for explaining Claudio. My Italian is a bit rusty, but Google translate gives me a fair idea of what you are saying.

Playing this ENORMOUS chunk of repertoire, even at convenient speeds, still seems superhuman. I think you should be making clear on your website how exactly you achieve this. The text 'Performed by Claudio Colombo on a Yamaha digital piano' does not reflect the truth IMO.

Next, we can debate what the point is in creating 'demonstration' recordings of pieces that have been recorded by many fine pianists...

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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:55 pm 
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Chris, on my website I wrote precisely "All the tracks performed by Claudio Colombo, on Yamaha digital pianos". It is very clear. To perform does not mean recording live. All people native speaker of English I know confirmed me that, when I did launch my website.

Here I put my live recordings: http://www.claudiocolombo.net/acustiche.htm. And in that page I wrote clearly: "Live" audio recordings by Claudio Colombo, 1985-1989, and 2008. If you want, I can upload some of this files on "Piano Society".

Otherwise, the "speed up" method is used only in some cases, and not because lacks of my technical skills, but because I prefer working on a "projection", from a musical perspective, to editing and/or cutting, and because the keyboard of a digital piano does have mechanical limits. I'd rather recording on my Bechstein acoustic piano, but I don't have a recording studio.

I am a teacher, not a concert performer (my last public recital was in 1988), and I am not searching for personal glory. Only respect for my work, as much as I respect yours.

Claudio

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 Post subject: Re: Claudio Colombo
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:50 pm 
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I did not know you also had 'real' recordings. You certainly have my respect for that. They sound well-played, at least from a technical point of view, but really dated in sound.

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