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 Post subject: Sonata op. 1 Alban Berg
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:11 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:36 pm
Posts: 39
Hi,

I am terrible with technology, after trying to learn how to use Audiacity, I came up with this. Hope it actually worked.

Alban Berg Piano Sonata. I usually do the repetition and personally think its necesary, but this recording is from an exam, so I cut the repetition. Its aso the first time I play it in public, after working on it for about two months, so its quite dirty on occasion. I was also a bit pissed at the guy operating the equipment, because he didnt calibrate his equipment right, so in the FFFF marcatissimo sections, he turns the volume down (probably was getting saturated) and you lose the development and big crescendo, and in the case of the pppp, he turns it up again, so it all sounds on the same dynamic level, when that wasnt the case live.

Here at my school, all our exams are public and recorded with profesional equipment. The good side of that, is that I have recordings of every exam I have played while I've been here. The bad side, is that the repertoire played in exams is repertoire which you have only been working on for 6-8 weeks at the most, its the first time you ever play it in public and you're being graded and judged, which tends to detract from the performance (at least in my case). So I'm not at my best in any of those recordings.

Hope I managed to extract the track right. I'll post something else in a week or so.

Thanks,

Ahmed

Berg - Op.1, Piano Sonata


Last edited by DemhaOdnanref on Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:35 am
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Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
I'm not familiar with this music at all, but your playing is beautiful. :) Your legato and dynamic control are really excellent, and it sounds like a great instrument, too.

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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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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 9:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:36 pm
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Thank you.

This sonata is one of my favorite works, I hope to polish it and play it quite often in the future.

I've heard it played many times in versions I don't like at all. It seems most musicians see the word Berg on the score and inmediately think of Webern, and Schoenberg and the serialism that followed. They turn off their hearts and play "typewriter Berg". Its a favorite in conservatories among composer-pianists, since the counterpoint and structure are very interesting to analize. But when you look at the score, you see very very long lines, all kinds of indications that go beyond the pragmatic and objective, and that refer to a deeper meaning of character and expresion. Amazing that this was a student piece of Berg (it was his graduation piece)

When I play this music, I want to lose myself. I think I still don't have the ability to completely let go of myself when I play. I try to take risks, but its still kind of crude.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 4:43 am 
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Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
Quote:
I've heard it played many times in versions I don't like at all. It seems most musicians see the word Berg on the score and inmediately think of Webern, and Schoenberg and the serialism that followed. They turn off their hearts and play "typewriter Berg".

Which you certainly didn't do. I'm not familiar with this sort of music because my familiarity with advanced harmony comes from its usages in the jazz of the mid 20th century, and even that is mostly an aural familiarity.
Quote:
Its a favorite in conservatories among composer-pianists, since the counterpoint and structure are very interesting to analize.

I'm very sad about the fact that the teacher of 20th Century Harmony at my school is a complete and total (insert contemptuous and derogatory word here) that believes music is purely math, and that the notion that emotions can be expressed through music is a delusion. I'm dreading attempting to take his class again - I already dropped it once due to sheer anger at the man - I'd much rather learn it from our jazz prof. So, I remain to be primarily obsessed with Chopin, and probably will remain so for the rest of my days, even if I do develop an appreciation beyond what I currently have for more contemporary music.

But even without that appreciation, I can appreciate the pure musicianship that you play with. Very well done.

_________________
"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 08, 2007 7:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
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I have only heard this Sonata once or twice before, it is not an easy work to grasp and one that I still have not been able to warm to. But I can recognize it is an important and rewarding work. It sounds to me like you have thoroughly mastered bothe the idiom and the technique (studied this with Aimard perhaps ?). There seem to be some minuscule slips here and there but nothing to be embarrassed of. The piano sounds rather metallic in the forte passages, as if there is little felt on the hammers. Still acceptable sound quality though.

My respect to everyone who manages a dense and difficult work like this so well. Great job !
What other contemporary(-ish) repertoire do you play ?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:33 pm 
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There are quite a few slips :P. Its still crude, since its the first public performance.

With Aimard I worked only chamber music with my quartet, although his recording of it at the Carnegie Hall recital is very very good.

My absolute favorite version of this work is by Radu Lupu, although the only version I have heard was taken with a hand-held recorder, since he never recorded it comercially, that Im aware of. The version by Glen Gould is also very nice, although quite different than any other. Radu's version is great musically, although there are quite a few slips everywhere, perhaps that is why he never recorded it comercially?

In my experience, this sonata has many "molto accelerando" and "molto crescendo" and "molto everything....", so it is necesary to take a lot of risks when doing it so the idea works, otherwise, youll hit all the notes, but it will sound boring, like so many other 20th century works.

In regards to the recording quality, the microphones were too close to the piano, and the hall was a big one, so I had to play on occasion overly bright so the sound would fill the hall. This sounds well from 20 yards away, but not when the microphone is stuck right on top of the strings.

In regards to contemporary repertoire, I have some Ligeti and Takemitsu and Lutoslawski, as well as some Schnittke chamber music. Unless you want to count PRokovief, shostakovich and Martinu as contemporary? I was a pianist at some contemporary music festivals, so I have played quite a lot of it, although its usually to forget most of it the next day.

Thanks for the comments!

Ahmed


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:27 pm
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Location: Sweden
This is a very good performance of this musically difficult sonata and you handle it very well. I especially like that you do not romanticize it and keep the tempo steady. It is absolutely good enough for the site and I have just put it up. Bravo!

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