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 Post subject: Elliott Carter - Piano Sonata
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:20 pm 
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Hello, I'm new here, but to start things off, I thought I'd link to a youtube video I uploaded recently of the Carter Sonata. It doesn't get performed much, but is in my opinion one of the most beuatiful sonatas of the last century. It was a live recording, so you'll have to excuse a few missed notes. It's the first time I've performed it, and I think it could benifit from a few more tries to get used to playing it under tension!

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p ... 581E4AF8EF

You'll also have to excuse that I had to split it into parts to fit on youtube. They don't like clips over 10 mins. The sound quality isn't great, but in any case I hope you enjoy it!


Carter- Piano Sonata, I: Maestoso- Legato scorrevole

Carter - Piano Sonata, II: Andante - Allegro - Andante

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Last edited by JohnAnderson on Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:07 pm 
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Hi John,

good to see you here. I took a break in my hard working on the second of the Moments musicaux from Schubert for listening to part 1 of your interpretation of Carter's sonata. I did not know this work and was a little anxious about this music which I thought reserved to educated people, there is a so long way from Schubert to Carter... I was wrong. You made it accessible. It's quite demanding for the listener (for the player too, I guess) but it is rewarding for the attention. Great performance anyway. I did not detect the slips. :P

The large reverberation works good with this work. (Did you record that wih your mics ?)


Last edited by Didier on Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:33 pm 
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Welcome to PS, John. I cannot comment on this video because I never heard this before. I am sure there will be a handful of pianists with useful commentary. Yet, I know that linking YouTube videos does not really qualify as a submission. I hope you have the mp3s to this recording?

Anyways, thanks for sharing and I hope you become a regular contributor / critiquer on this website.

-JG

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:05 pm 
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Thank you JG, I didn't realize that. I'll upload the mp3s now. Meanwhile, thanks Didier, I'm happy you found it listenable. I do realize that it can take some time to digest. I knew the piece for a year before I decided that I might want to learn it. But it is very logical and rewarding I feel. And I'm happy if it's true I have contibuted to its appreciation at all.

A friend of mine has an Edirol 4 channel, and we used just the in-built mics to record it, way back in the hall, which accounts for the large reverb. Considering that, I thought it didn't turn out so bad. I had hoped to use mine, but one of the capsules actually broke, due to a short screw having mistakenly been used to hold it. But the manufacturer was extremely helpful and had them picked up and repaired within a couple weeks and back to me at no cost, so it worked out very well. I'm happy it didn't happen before a more important project, so it all worked out for the best. Actually, my friend has some old Neumann mics, and we were planning on trying to do some 4 channel experiments, but one of his preamps blew too, so after all that effort, all we had was built-in mics. Delicate things! Anyway, I'll let you get back to Schubert. You know, for what it's worth, Carter likes to compare his music to Mozart...

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:05 am 
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One of my theory professors just finished writing an article on this sonata that he'll be submitting to some or another journal (can't remember which). He did a seminar on Carter this past spring, and he recommended to me a recording by Ann Schein (who performed the sonata at my school - I hope I am remembering this correctly)) that I haven't yet had a chance to listen to. But I'm told that it's the kind of recording that makes you delete all other recordings of the piece. :lol:

I will have a listen at yours later - I'm internet-deprived so I have to download here in the cafeteria and then listen in my room where there is no internet. :cry:

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:10 am 
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Hi John,

To be honest, I'm not much of a Carter fan. That notwithstanding, your performance of the sonata is a tour de force. If anything were to persuade me to be more receptive to this music, it would be this rendition. Bravo!

David

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:17 pm 
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Hello, and thanks for the comments/big compliments! I didn't know about Ann Schein before - it's good to know because there aren't very many recordings of Carter that I know about. I found an excerpt of it at www.msrcd.com/1321/1321.html and it seems very well controlled, but perhaps to my taste too staccato. Personally it bothers me when long legato lines are broken this way, I suppose with the intention of added clarity, but some of the sense of phrasing is lost. Oppens and Aimard tend both to do this with all their Carter performances, and for me it is a great shame, since first of all it seems technically more difficult to play everything so staccato and to my ears at least nothing is gained by doing so, and the music becomes more and more homogenious and less personal. Of course it is another thing where there are staccatos! But in the Carter score, the lines are almost always marked with legato phrases, usually dividing an otherwise avalanche of little fast notes into groups of 3 and 5, giving them more rhytmic organization and sense. There is a great DVD about Carter in which he is coaching Oppens before she peforms his piano concerto, and and what he says there gives me more confidence in my choice of touch. Anyway, that is all I could tell from the 15 seconds provided on that site! Perhaps I'll buy the CD to add to my collection. So far, I particularly enjoy Lawson's recording if you have a chance to listen to that, even if, as is always the case, there is more that can be done with the piece.

I'd be very interested to read that paper on the sonata. I try occasionally to do analyses myself, and one of my projects is to write one on this sonata.

Thanks again David, I'm extremely pleased if I can do a fellow American composer the service! Have you ever watched a video of him? He's a really sweet old man - turned 100 this last year, and wrote a new piano concerto to celebrate! I only know an excerpt, but sounds like a new clarity in his style. I'd love to see a new sonata from him now...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:48 pm 
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Hello John and welcome to Piano Society.

We usually request that prospective members submit at least three recordings for evaluation when seeking to become a PS member. However, since these two files (two sonata parts) are very long, this meets the requirement.

Please submit your bio and photo, and we will add you as a member. You can stick it right here in this thread or email it to one of us administrators.

Couple more things: We also require that files be under 200 kpbs. Your pieces here are 320 kpbs, which makes the files huge and takes us more time to process.

And here is just a little tip about your playing of this music: I am like David in that this in not my favorite kind of music. But you obviously play it well, and I always think that one should not mention that there may be a few slips here and there because people like me would not notice them anyway! :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:07 pm 
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Thank you for the invitation pianolady, I promise to add more recordings soon to make up for the missing 2. Would you like me to delete those files I posted and reupload them at under 200kbps? I'm sorry, I uploaded in a hurry without reading your guidelines.

As for the slip-ups, they are there, and they sound plenty apparent to me. I'm going to work on a studio version of the recording in a couple months, so maybe we can fix them, for my own sake at least :wink:

As for my bio, here goes:

JOHN ANDERSON studies with Bruno Mezzena at the Accademia Musicale Pescarese. He began his musical education with Phyllis Olsen at the age of four in his hometown, Lawrence, Kansas, (USA), and continued to study privately with her until university. He graduated from Hertford College, Oxford, in 2004 with a First in music, and in 2005 served as artistic director to the first Oxford International Music Festival. He recieved a diploma with perfect marks from the Academy of Pescara, and is finishing his final year specializing in 20th Century music there.

He has performed in the USA, Italy, Switzerland, UK, and in Russia. Concerti include Saint-Saens’ Rhapsodie d'Auvergne, Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (with the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra and Juan Francisco LaManna conducting), and the Schumann Concerto in A minor with Hertford College Orchestra. His interests also include composition, analysis, and conducting. He was a jury member of the 2009 international singing competition "Putevka k zvezdam" in Moscow.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:43 pm 
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JohnAnderson wrote:
Thank you for the invitation pianolady, I promise to add more recordings soon to make up for the missing 2. Would you like me to delete those files I posted and reupload them at under 200kbps? I'm sorry, I uploaded in a hurry without reading your guidelines.


No, that's okay - I already have them on my computer so I'll go with these.

I will have your page and recordings up sometime today or tomorrow. In the meantime, please feel free to listen to some of our other members and offer up a few critiques or comments. That is the best way of getting comfortable around here.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:22 pm 
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Hi John,

First, welcome to Piano Society! You'll find this to be a wonderful, useful, informative and friendly website.

I'll be sure to check out the Carter video. Thanks for mentioning that.

David

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:02 pm 
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Ok, John - Your page and the two recordings are up. Please check if everything is alright. And remember, we like active participation on our forum! :)

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:49 pm 
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Hi, thanks a lot, that looks great! Happy to be a member. I'll try to offer some advice every now and then, although I feel a bit uncomfortable offering my views to people gratuitously without being personally asked first... But I suppose that is one of the expectations of posting here.
I'm going to make a studio recording of the Carter when I have time in the next couple months. Will it be then possible to replace the current recordings? I also wondered if it was possible to get Carter his own page on the site - how is that done, is it copied from wikipedia or does a member have to write it himself? I could try to help put one together eventually when I have more time if it would be a help.
Thanks again for the inclusion!
John

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:37 pm 
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JohnAnderson wrote:
Hi, thanks a lot, that looks great! Happy to be a member. I'll try to offer some advice every now and then, although I feel a bit uncomfortable offering my views to people gratuitously without being personally asked first... But I suppose that is one of the expectations of posting here.


Exactly! :)

About the Carter page - we typically put newer or less-known composers into the 'various composers' category. If more than a few pieces by that composer actually get submitted onto the site, then we make a separate page for the composer. If you plan on recording more pieces by Carter, I will gladly make a page for him - but you will be asked to provide the information. :wink:

Ah, heck - I guess I could make a page for him now, but I still need you to supply the bio.

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:14 am 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
pianolady wrote:
About the Carter page - we typically put newer or less-known composers into the 'various composers' category. If more than a few pieces by that composer actually get submitted onto the site, then we make a separate page for the composer.


...considering there are lots of "one hit wonders" with their separate pages :roll:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:38 pm 
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Hi again, I tried finding a bio in a press release or something, since I don't want to give you anything that might be subject to copyright issues, but couldn't. If necessary I could try to rewrite something in my own words. But if it works for you, I found one that I particularly liked on the Naxos site. I suppose you should credit them if you think you can use it. The URL is http://www.naxos.com/composerinfo/Ellio ... /25710.htm

Here it is:

Quote:
CARTER, ELLIOTT BIOGRAPHY
(b 1908 )

Although a very few composers have just about managed to keep going into their tenth decades, it is hard to think of a precedent for the inexhaustible creativity of the American master Elliott Carter as he approaches his centenary. But then as a New York schoolboy after the First World War he did have the good fortune to grow up during a particularly adventurous phase in the city’s cultural history. Personally encouraged by that awesome American pioneer Charles Ives, and early excited by the modernist masterpieces of Scriabin, Stravinsky, Berg and Varèse which Koussevitzky and Stokowski were then promoting, Carter retains to this day a notion of modernism as a breaking away from convention, a continuing quest for new modes of sound and expression.

It was, however, to take him many years to sort out the implications of those tumultuous first impressions. After studying with Holst for a few months at Harvard in 1932, he submitted to three years of strict instruction in Paris under the neo-classically inclined Nadia Boulanger – only to find that the New Deal United States to which he returned in 1935 favoured a more populist reaching out to the masses in the manner of his friend Copland. For a time Carter emulated his example in such approachable works as the Symphony No 1 (1942) and Holiday Overture (1944) [Naxos 8.559151], but by the mid-1940s it was evident that the neat forms of neo-classicism and the simplicities of populism were too restrictive to contain his more modernistic aspirations.

With the appearance of his majestic Piano Sonata (1946), he embarked upon a radical redefining of every aspect of his compositional technique from the most basic elements of rhythm and pitch to the ‘time-sweep’ of entire musical forms. However, unlike some of the more doctrinaire figures of the newly resurgent avantgarde after the Second World War, such as Stockhausen, Carter never regarded technical innovation as an end in itself, but as a means to capture – with a ‘focussed freedom’ – the teeming simultaneities and changefulness of modern life.

This, he found, was not easily done: ‘Each new piece is a crisis in my life,’ he once remarked. But the result was a slowly appearing succession of vastly detailed masterpieces from the epic String Quartet No 1 (1951) by way of the grandiose Variations for Orchestra (1956) and coruscating Double Concerto (1961) to the tumultuous Concerto for Orchestra (1969) and kaleidoscopic A Symphony of Three Orchestras (1976), which established his international reputation. The reward for this heroic middle period has been the increasing ease and spontaneity of his composing in more recent decades, enabling him to complete not only the largest orchestral project of his life Symphonia (1992-6) in his late eighties and his first opera What Next? (1998) at the age of ninety, but a dazzling array of further pieces – an Indian Summer that has now lasted over a quarter of a century.


Of course it is a year out of date, because he has now reached his centenary! I'm adding a photo as well, which is available for press, so I imagine also for purposes like this, but you should include the copyright

Quote:
© 2003 Jeffrey Herman


Or you can choose another from this site:
http://www.carter100.com/press.html

There are some great photos there, one with Stravinsky, Bernstein, and Cage. If I remember right his piano concerto was a birthday present for Stravinsky, who really liked it. Now that's a difficult piece!

Let me know if this doesn't work and I'll see what else I can do!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:33 pm 
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I listened to the first Carter Sonata movement some days ago but forgot to comment. Whether this is one of the most beautiful Sonataos of the past century is open for discussion... there are a great many that would qualify for that title. But I have no doubt that, once you get into the idiom, there is much to enjoy here.

I can't honestly say that I understand or even like this music, but I must admit it sounds much more coherent and pleasing than many other contemporary pieces. I'd rather hear Carter than Boulez or Stockhausen. And I think I can recognize that your playing is of great finesse and you are in total sympathy with this music. I admire anyone who can play modern music like this - even if I don't like the music itself.

So, welcome to PS, and great that you bring in some new and unusual repertoire. We need that.
What else are you planning to record for us ?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:41 pm 
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Hello and thank you for the warm welcome! I can sypathize with what you say. The Carter gradually grew on me until I decided I wanted to actually make the effort of learning it, but yes, it takes time to learn to appreciate it, like all things. There are several moments of absolutely beautiful lyricism that I think most captured me at first. And then it really makes sense as a piece. I would expect Beethoven to write something similar if he had been born in 1908.

I'm doing a diploma in modern music, and so have been recently concentrating on a lot of "new and unusual" repertoire, even if by now it's not so new after all. I'm hoping to make studio recordings of a lot of it in the coming months, but what order I tackle things I haven't decided yet. At some point I want to do the Carter properly, then I've been working on the Ives 1st sonata (1909), which is not very well known but a lot of fun and extremely advanced for it's time. And at some point the Debussy Images, Prokofiev 8th, Schoenberg Op. 11 (also 1909, which makes for an interesting comparison!), Berg sonata, Webern Op. 27, Dallapiccola Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera, and maybe the Barber sonata to round out the Americans. Plus maybe some Ligeti... Then I might start taking back some Beethoven and Schubert...

You know, I don't really understand the Boulez very well either, but I'm starting to feel an attraction towards it. But that's a seriously big project!

In any case, even if you didn't like it so much after all, I'm happy to have sympathetic ears willing to give it a try, thanks again.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:37 pm 
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Oh, please - not Boulez again! (I don't care for him, either)

About the Carter bio - unfortunately, we need one written in your own words.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:09 pm 
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Ah, ok. That's too bad because it won't be as good as that other one..! I still don't really understand internet copyright problems! I'll see if I can find time in the next days. I'm going to Moscow soon, and so it's a bit busy getting ready, but at I'll be able to do it when I get back in mid-September if not before. I need to reread some of my Carter books first!

Regarding Boulez, I think the man was a genius, and so there must be something to his music. It occured to me that that must be what they listen to on Mars... And surely it would open a new world of musical possibilities to me, which can only be a good thing. But I think you're right, it's not very personal music. Still, it's interesting, and probably worth learning (at least to me). Have you read his articles and analyses? They are often hard to beat.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:28 pm 
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I've listened to it. And I just don't get it. :cry: I have come to like some crazy 20th century music, but things like this just sound like random noise to me. I even listened to the whole thing...

But your playing was quite nice. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:04 am 
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Thanks Terez for at least giving it a try. For what it's worth, it was a little beyond me the first time I listened to it also, but eventually I started to follow. In terms of professional CDs, I'd suggest Peter Lawson's (comes also with Ives, Sessions, Barber). My guess is that if you were to take a listen to it about every 2 or 3 months, within a year you would really like it. It's actually not random at all, and his concerto and Night Fantasies make it look like baby's music! In any case, thanks for listening.

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