Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Least common denominators

Here is a fascinating article, accessible to a non-specialist audience, by pianist and scholar Anatole Leikin on the evolution and institutionalization of performance styles. In this case, Leikin is describing the Russian piano tradition, but it certainly resembles the pattern found elsewhere. The kicker here is his description of the 13th Tchaikovsky Competition, in which a number of "brilliant pianists...stood out as the most fascinating and original artistic personalities" were all eliminated in the first round to leave the competition to less interesting pianists who are more closely compliant with the official style.

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