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01-08-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 9363
Reply to: 9363
William Kapell legacy and patting behavior.
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People like to talk about William Kapell but at always make me confused. I did not know Kapell, I heard his recordings, and they did very little to me. The one album that I felt was “keeper” was Kapell’s “Pictures…” from 1951. It was not end of the world but good. Anyhow, I never cared about Kapell…

A few weeks back a local guy asked me what I felt about Kapell and I felt that I do not even know who it was. He informed me that “it is time for me to discover William Kapell”. A few days back he brought a pile of CD with a half does of Kapell’s best selections. I spans the last 3-4 days littering William Kapell and I have to tell you that the more I list him the more I do not like him. Kapell has this strange quality of “doubts” when/where to hit the keys. When he plays I do not feel in him a confidence that his play is a declarative statement but rather it is some sort of “patting of musicality” – I find it amusing for sort experience but very annoying in the long run.

In the end, playing a lot of William Kapell this week I realized that I do not like him.

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
01-08-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,148
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 2
Post ID: 9366
Reply to: 9363
Cult Figures
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Well, Kapell is another of those "cult figures", whose legacies seem to take on lives of their own.  Once the worshiping of them becomes a self-sustaining industry it becomes difficult to have reasonable discussions about them anymore.
 
I have not listened to Kapell via my present system.  I will put an LP out where  I can see it and then wait for good electricity.  I wonder how his timing will fare with good AC.  I think I have him on RCA Red Seal, so that's good.

Of all the weird-timing pianists, I love the way Hofmann makes me suspend my anticipation in order to hear the way he himself unfolds a piece in his own, unique "time".  I don't remember Kapell this way, but then I haven't listened to his playing for some time.

Best regards,
Paul S
01-11-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,148
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 3
Post ID: 9386
Reply to: 9366
Keeping in Touch With the Inner James Dean
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I listened today to RCA LM2588, 1962, which turned out to be a rarity: a not-so-well-engineered shaded dog.  This album is re-dubs of studio recordings made from 1944 - 1953  (right before Kapell's death).  Serge Koussevitzky conducts the BSO for  Khachaturian's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; Fritz Reiner conducts the Robin Hood Dell Orchestra for Rachmaninoff's 18th variation from Rhapsody on a Theme of Pagannini; Kapell solos on Albeniz's Evocation and Listz's Mephisto Waltz.

All of these works can serve to show off pianism, per se; lots of fast, wide runs and difficult bridges.  But I have to say that Kapell doesn't really seem to me to fall into the showiness.  I find his timing to be very poetic, and his dynamics are also wide enough without being there just to be there.  He certainly hits all the notes cleanly and his expression does not seem to get swamped by technical concerns.  I find all of the works to be musically interesting and the conductors and the orchestras do well enough.

It took me a while to hear what Romy was talking about with respect to touch, because K's notes are pretty incisive.  Still, there is something going on that sounds like he sort of pokes at the keys and lets them fly away rather than pressing them all the way down.  He generally hits hard enough to get good register, and his two-footed pedaling works to keep things sounding clean rather than re-bound-y or too string-y, albeit his Steinway (?) did sound somewhat like a small Bosendorfer in that regard.

Taking everything into consideration, I have to say he's "good", all right; but it was hard to hear things the same once I noticed the "poking" thing.

Overall, I would dub Kapell the James Dean of pianists.

Paul S
01-11-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 9387
Reply to: 9386
William Kapell Interview (3 parts)
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"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
08-15-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Axel
South Africa
Posts 80
Joined on 07-18-2009

Post #: 5
Post ID: 11407
Reply to: 9387
Most interesting...
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and THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS.

Axel

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