Cannons buried in flowers
October 19, 2015 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Young pianists from around the world have gathered in Warsaw for the 17th International Chopin Competition, which is now in the second day of its final round, streaming live beginning in half an hour. Today, Eric Lu, Szymon Nehring, and Georgijs Osokins will enter the octagon Warsaw Philharmonic to interpret the piano concerto in E minor, op. 11.

The 78 participants have been brutally whittled down to ten finalists:
Seong-Jin Cho, the reputed favorite, playing the Nocturne in C minor, op. 48 no. 1
Aljoša Jurinić's interpretation of the Ballade in F minor op. 52
Aimi Kobayashi having a ball with the Scherzo in C sharp minor, op. 39
Eric Lu (who is 17 years old, by the way) making the Etude in F major, op. 10 no. 8 look like Chopsticks
Kate Liu tearing up the Sonata in B minor, op. 58
Szymon Nehring repping Poland with the Polonaise in F sharp minor, op. 44
Georgijs Osokins calming things down with the lovely Berceuse in D flat major, op. 57
Charles Richard-Hamelin zurking around with the Mazurka in B minor, op. 33 no. 4
Dmitry Shishkin making short work of the Etude in A minor, op. 10 no. 2
Tony Yang (also 17!) bringing us home with the Barcarolle in F sharp major, op. 60
posted by theodolite (10 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Just now beginning...thanks for the link!
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:09 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've only know about this competition for 20 minutes but suddenly I have feelings about it. Also if you're having a bad day, Aimi Kobayashi's video is just delightful.

It's only held every 5 years (since '55). The competition itself started in 1927. It wasn't held in 1942 due to the occupation of Poland, which, knowing Chopin and Poland's history is just. . . .well there's gotta be a literary term for that besides heart wrenching irony.

Sometimes the jury will confer and decide no one is worthy of the first place prize.

There was a big controversy in 1980 over how one of the competitors played the piano. (Or politics?)

In an interview one of the competitors this year, Szymon Nehring, said the crux is playing with feeling while not showing too much emotion.

The finalists are given the choice of 2 pieces: Concerto in E minor, Op. 11 or in F minor, Op. 21. Of the 10 finalists this year, 9 chose the same piece (I didn't catch which one).

. . . .This is going to be like the Olympics, isn't it, where I'm openly weeping and yelling about someone's win/loss/performance. . . a person I've only known about for a day.
posted by barchan at 9:20 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also if someone could please enlighten us poor cultureless bubs on how a piano jury actually judges I'd be most grateful.
posted by barchan at 9:22 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fact: the chorus of held-in coughs at the end of each movement was composed by John Cage
posted by theodolite at 9:31 AM on October 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

I just love how the conductor repeatedly looks at Lu and gives this encouraging smile and is all "Hey, I'm here taking care of you, you awesome kid, I've GOT YOUR BACK."

I should totally be working right now, I just meant to listen not watch .
posted by barchan at 9:37 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

this music should not sound effortless, it's uncanny
posted by thelonius at 11:31 AM on October 19, 2015

I've never heard of Georgijs Osokins (playing right now), but I'd vote for him. Holy cow.
posted by pmbuko at 11:32 AM on October 19, 2015

Also if someone could please enlighten us poor cultureless bubs on how a piano jury actually judges I'd be most grateful.

one of the judges discusses this
posted by thelonius at 11:39 AM on October 19, 2015

That's Garrick Ohlsson, whose talk/demonstration posted earlier this year is a 100% pro-click if you're reading this thread and haven't seen it yet
posted by theodolite at 11:48 AM on October 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

I really enjoyed this. winner just announced, not whom i would have chosen based on what I heard, but I'm no Chopinist and art is subjective that way.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:06 PM on October 20, 2015

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