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Favourite Piece outta these by chopin (the ones included of course)
Polonaise (Heroic) Opus 53 10%  10%  [ 2 ]
Ballade No. 1 in G minor 30%  30%  [ 6 ]
Ballade No. 4 in F Minor 30%  30%  [ 6 ]
Ballade No. 3 in Ab Major 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
Fantasy in F Minor 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
1st Scherzo 10%  10%  [ 2 ]
2nd Scherzo 10%  10%  [ 2 ]
2nd Impromptu Op. 36 in F Sharp Major (I'm not sure many of you will have listened to this much, it is beautiful though) 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Fantasy Impromptu 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 20
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 12:00 pm 
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I watched Lang Lang first, and I agree that his tempo is about perfect - actually, his "Chopin rubato" is almost perfect, too. Since you've read so much about Chopin, I'm sure you've come across the idea of the Chopin rubato - it is one of the most talked about misinterpretations of Chopin's music. Keep the tempo steady with one hand, feel free to use rubato with the other, don't over-exaggerate ritards and such - very much unlike the free rubato common in his time and throughout the remainder of the Romantic period. You should be able to waltz to his waltzes, and so on. That is one of the first nitpicks I usually have with any performance of Chopin, taking too much liberty with the tempo. And just about everyone does it. It seems counter-intuitive not to.


Yes, you’re right – Lang Lang’s rubato is perfect. Better than Rubinstein, who I feel at times drags and pushes the beat too much. I really don’t like rubato so much, but I'm saying that because I only notice it in players who exaggerate it. Sometimes I hear someone trying too hard with rubato and I think, “stop messing around so much and play the damn thing.”
But players like Lang Lang are so subtle (in this piece) that you hardly notice it, but it is there. I think that is how Chopin preferred it.

Overall tempo is another tricky subject. Actually, very subjective. In my own playing, I will play a particular piece very differently on certain days depending on my mood. I know fast means fast, but many other tempo markings aren’t so clear. And I read that Chopin once taught a student how to play a certain piece, and she went home to practice it that way. When she came for her next lesson, he was in a different mood and said that the piece should go another way.



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That being said, I do feel like Lang Lang's melodies were understated, and one issue of his performance brings up another question - what are your dynamic markings at measure 62-65? In Mikuli, I have fz/p at the beginning of 62, with a diminuendo beginning in the end of 63 and ending with a crescendo in the second part of 65. In Scholtz, I have no dynamic markings in 62, but the diminuendo is marked in the same place, but without a duration specified, with a p in the beginning of 65 (same crescendo in the later part of the measure).

In the Schirmer edition (editor: Joseffy) I have the exact same markings as your Mikuli. In the Paderewski edition I have only dolciss. At the end of 62 and a dim at the end of 63, and no marking at 65.


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Also, Lang Lang did seem to pretty much ignore the con forza in measure 52.

He must have learned from the Paderewski edition. :wink: But did you hear how he played the LH d-flat an octave lower at measures 46 and 49? I’ve never heard other players do that before, but it sounds nice.

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 2:09 am 
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Lang Lang’s rubato is perfect. Better than Rubinstein, who I feel at times drags and pushes the beat too much.

Ashkenazy does the same thing. And he makes me wonder, because there are times when he uses the Chopin rubato perfectly, keeping the tempo with one hand and using rubato in the other. Why can't he do that all the time?
Quote:
But players like Lang Lang are so subtle (in this piece) that you hardly notice it, but it is there. I think that is how Chopin preferred it.

Oh, I noticed Lang's rubato - he's just skilled enough to keep the tempo and express himself at the same time. (I just wish he had brought out the melodies more!)

I think the reason why Chopin preferred it that way (or at least the main reason) is that, if you are listening to a piece that you have never heard before, and the pianist is taking a lot of liberties with the tempo, then the rhythm isn't communicated to you, at all. The rhythm is meaningless, except to the person playing and to those familiar with the piece. So much of the beauty of Chopin is in its fluidity, and if you allow both hands to wander together, then you destroy that fluidity. You have the beauty of what Chopin wrote in your head, but you aren't communicating it to your listeners.
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Schirmer edition (editor: Joseffy)

My mom has always played from the Joseffy edition (she mainly uses the Chopin Album, which is Joseffy, iirc) but I think Schirmer has some Mikuli publications, too. Or maybe that was Edwin Hughes? I don't remember...
Quote:
But did you hear how he played the LH d-flat an octave lower at measures 46 and 49? I’ve never heard other players do that before, but it sounds nice.

I did notice a difference, but I was thinking that he just accented them strongly - I didn't realize he played them an octave lower (probably would have realized if I had played this piece any time recently, which, sadly, I haven't).

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 3:14 am 
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I think the reason why Chopin preferred it that way (or at least the main reason) is that, if you are listening to a piece that you have never heard before, and the pianist is taking a lot of liberties with the tempo, then the rhythm isn't communicated to you, at all. The rhythm is meaningless, except to the person playing and to those familiar with the piece. So much of the beauty of Chopin is in its fluidity, and if you allow both hands to wander together, then you destroy that fluidity. You have the beauty of what Chopin wrote in your head, but you aren't communicating it to your listeners.


I may not be following this right, but I never thought of rhythm as something to be communicated. Too me, it's harmony first, melody second. Rhythm would have to fall under tempo in a way, like if the piece makes me nervous or relaxed. If you have never heard the piece, how would you know if the rhythm is correct. Chopin's music is so full of tiny little nuances regarding rhythm like dotted notes, grace notes, turns, 9 notes against four/50 notes against 8, etc. and on top of that you have rubato. Just like fingerprints, two pianists will not have the same way of playing a piece no matter what the rhythm is. Does that makes sense? I'm real tired right now.

Quote:
but I think Schirmer has some Mikuli publications, too. Or maybe that was Edwin Hughes? I don't remember...

Yes, I have other Schirmer books that are edited by Mikuli.



Quote:
I did notice a difference, but I was thinking that he just accented them strongly

I wish I could find that 8va in written music, because I'm liking it more and more and want to have something on paper to prove I'm not just copying Lang Lang.

It just occurred to me that we should have all this under a separate thread. Oh well, I guess if other members had anything to say about this nocturne they would have joined in the conversation.

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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


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 6:31 am 
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I may not be following this right, but I never thought of rhythm as something to be communicated. Too me, it's harmony first, melody second. Rhythm would have to fall under tempo in a way, like if the piece makes me nervous or relaxed. If you have never heard the piece, how would you know if the rhythm is correct. Chopin's music is so full of tiny little nuances regarding rhythm like dotted notes, grace notes, turns, 9 notes against four/50 notes against 8, etc. and on top of that you have rubato. Just like fingerprints, two pianists will not have the same way of playing a piece no matter what the rhythm is. Does that makes sense? I'm real tired right now.

Yes, I know what you're saying, and yes, tempo is (obviously) the root of it. You're talking about the melodic stuff that Chopin likely just improvised in the first place, and this is the stuff that you're allowed to tamper with when you're playing, as you said. But without a strict tempo, the melodic line itself (no matter what you do to it) becomes meaningless. Syncopations are meaningless if they aren't wrapped around a tempo. Melody is both tone and rhythm, after all. But you (perhaps inadvertently) left out two of the most essential aspects of Chopin's work - the phrase, and the line, both of which fall apart without tempo. And the fact that you wouldn't know if the rhythm is correct or not, having never heard the piece before, was sort of my point.

And of course, there are times when rubato just isn't allowed, at all. Have you ever played the 25/1 Etude? Both hands work together for pretty much the entirety of the piece, and there's just not a whole lot of room for rubato. Six against six for the majority of it, but he introduces four against six in the development which, at that speed, creates a bit of a ... vibration in the flutter that was already present, because rhythmically, the elements contend with each other a bit more. Where before the beat was evenly divided into six, here it is eight, and not quite evenly. Quite a bit more vibration (for lack of a better word at the moment - I'm tired too!) with the rare instances of five against six. The particular places where he uses those fives against sixes, harmonically, is genius.
Quote:
It just occurred to me that we should have all this under a separate thread. Oh well, I guess if other members had anything to say about this nocturne they would have joined in the conversation.

I don't suppose it matters that we hijacked a thread that was all about Chopin in the first place, anyway. :) But perhaps simply no one noticed that we were having such a lovely discussion in this thread...

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 7:35 am 
Yes i noticed this conversation! I am just about to pick up this piece, and it is because you two kind of drew my attention to it a little more, to the extent that i started listening to more recordings. So you have effectively inspired another person into playing it! ;)


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 12:08 pm 
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Welcome back, Steele. Glad you are going to pick up this nocturne. Don’t hesitate to offer up any more insights or feelings about it.

Now, had to go back and read the past few posts because I forgot what I said.

Quote:
Ashkenazy does the same thing. And he makes me wonder, because there are times when he uses the Chopin rubato perfectly, keeping the tempo with one hand and using rubato in the other. Why can't he do that all the time?

I don’t know why, but that makes me laugh. I suppose the master players have good days and bad days too. Or…and this is sort of way out there…maybe their playing a certain piece at a certain time went a certain way that they didn’t expect, and they just went with the flow. What I mean is: there are times when I’m practicing something very hard, trying to get it to flow right, and then one day I go into some other realm while playing, and my hands unexpectedly play the line, page, section, etc…perfectly. But my brain is so surprised that my hands did it, that it ruins it by bringing me back and the ‘automatic pilot’ effect stops. Could this be why his rubato changes drastically - he's on 'automatic pilot' at times?

Quote:
Have you ever played the 25/1 Etude? Both hands work together for pretty much the entirety of the piece, and there's just not a whole lot of room for rubato. Six against six for the majority of it, but he introduces four against six in the development which, at that speed, creates a bit of a ... vibration in the flutter that was already present, because rhythmically, the elements contend with each other a bit more. Where before the beat was evenly divided into six, here it is eight, and not quite evenly. Quite a bit more vibration (for lack of a better word at the moment - I'm tired too!) with the rare instances of five against six. The particular places where he uses those fives against sixes, harmonically, is genius


I love this Etude. It is especially magical. I never thought about how you describe when he changes it to 5 against six or 4 against 6 making it a fluttery sound. To be honest, and again, it’s because I don’t know much regarding analyzing music, but I don’t hear a flutter in those passages. I’m more into the way the LH is singing in those top notes in like a secondary melody. I love that. And as far as Etudes go, this goes along with what you talked about earlier regarding Chopin’s use of phrasing and lines. (yes, very, very important), I also love the Op. 10/3. In my book, though, there is no phrase marking over what I hear as a complete sentence (from beginning measure to bar 5). There are little slurs, but I wonder because Chopin wrote long phrase markings in most other etudes. Oh, well…someday I dig into this one again.

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 5:34 pm 
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Could this be why his rubato changes drastically - he's on 'automatic pilot' at times?

I imagine it's rather because he believes that he's being sparing with rubato, by using it only sometimes (affecting both hands).
Quote:
I love this Etude. It is especially magical. I never thought about how you describe when he changes it to 5 against six or 4 against 6 making it a fluttery sound. To be honest, and again, it’s because I don’t know much regarding analyzing music, but I don’t hear a flutter in those passages. I’m more into the way the LH is singing in those top notes in like a secondary melody. I love that.

Yes, I love that, too...but whether or not you hear the increased tension in those fives against sixes, it's there.
Quote:
And as far as Etudes go, this goes along with what you talked about earlier regarding Chopin’s use of phrasing and lines. (yes, very, very important), I also love the Op. 10/3. In my book, though, there is no phrase marking over what I hear as a complete sentence (from beginning measure to bar 5). There are little slurs, but I wonder because Chopin wrote long phrase markings in most other etudes. Oh, well…someday I dig into this one again.

The 10/3 was my first Etude (since I learned the easy bits when I was small). I have never heard a recording of it that makes me happy.

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 12:38 am 
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The 10/3 was my first Etude (since I learned the easy bits when I was small). I have never heard a recording of it that makes me happy.


Maybe this can be the next little project. But I first have to finish the 27/2. I've been practicing it so much that I hear it in my sleep, now. At least it's a nocturne. :wink:

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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


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 6:44 am 
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I've been practicing it so much that I hear it in my sleep, now. At least it's a nocturne. :wink:

My high school piano teacher used to tell me, emphatically, that nocturnes were not lullabys. She said they were luv songs. ;)

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:25 am 
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My high school piano teacher used to tell me, emphatically, that nocturnes were not lullabys. She said they were luv songs.


She's right. :)

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano


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