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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 7:38 pm 
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Hi George,

Thanks for the compliments! "Taking the bull by the horns" is a good analogy. To me it felt like grappling with a titanic force of nature! :lol: This is a piece where I doubt you can ever declare victory. In the dark struggle with the piece you must eke out a draw and plan to re-engage it another day. You're quite right about the Scriabin influence. Catoire was also influenced by Tchaikovsky, Faure and Wagner. Stylistically I find late romanticism, impressionism and expressionism in his music.

To finish up Op. 12 I'm pulling together No. 3, the "Nocturne". Typical of Catoire, he's inserted some challenges there as well. Thanks for listening!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 11:37 am 
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I can't imagine what the source of your fears on adequate technique might be, David. I was reading the comments while listening and I honestly think you are being a little harsh on yourself. I heard a professional performance. You sound very sure about your stylistic choices and risks taken - essentially in such music. If there are things above your level, you surely know how to hide them. To me, the flow is right and natural and you say what you want to say as usual, in a very musical manner.


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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 3:55 pm 
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Hi Pantelis,

I'm glad you had a moment to listen to this Catoire etude and enjoyed it! I very much appreciate your thoughts on my playing too. Yes, I can achieve a musical intention, but I've never been great with faster tempi with intricate figurations. I don't know if it's because I don't read the notes fast enough, or lack coordination, or lack dexterity in my hands. I have read that this has everything to do with the nervous system and muscle motor response, which varies by person. For example, those Scarlatti pieces you play so beautifully? I wouldn't dare to touch one of them! So usually I confine my efforts to the lyrical side of the repertoire where I feel much more secure. It's only when I find a "must play" piece, feel adventurous, and become determined, do I have a chance of succeeding with it. I'm glad this etude worked as well as it did, although in the future I need to revisit it to smooth some things out, add some nuances, and do more with the dynamics. But at least I have it working in a respectable way at the moment. Thanks again for your reassurances about this performance. It means a lot to me.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 8:39 pm 
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I very much second Pantelis' comment. The only substantial difference between amateurs and professionals should be in quantity, not in quality (I'm loosely quoting a great pianist's remark, can't remember whom, maybe Hofmann): a smaller working repertoire, an inferior mechanism, less stamina, but certainly not less musicality and artistic consciousness. There's not a single moment in that etude that you don't solve musically and in that sense you own, presumably not a shining mechanism, but by all means a very good technique.

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Hi Alfonso,

Thanks for your thought-provoking response! I believe that what you mention is very probably true. I can tell you that I'm definitely my own worst critic. To an extent that's a very good attribute, as it causes me to listen carefully to myself as I play. But the danger lies in being overly critical. After all, we're all mortals! Back in the 1960s when I was a teenager, I recall my first teacher saying that despite any technical difficulties, I always knew how to put a piece over to an audience. Probably I should be thankful for that particular attribute, which is certainly essential to artistic performance. It might be that I "sweat the small stuff too much" as they say. Come to think of it, I recall in Arthur Rubinstein's autobiography, "My Early Years", his mentioning that while a young student could probably play a certain passage with her left foot, he could execute it with only the utmost effort. Goes to show that even the most successful professionals have those same kinds of concerns sometimes. (That's why I don't watch child prodigies on YouTube!) After all is said and done, you have to believe in yourself. I need to remind myself of that occasionally. Thanks again for your thoughts.

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Last edited by Rachfan on Mon May 10, 2010 4:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 3:53 am 
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Thank you gentlemen, for sharing your profound thinking about being an artist. This topic always addresses me very much.

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 4:40 am 
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Hi Hye-Jin,

I'm glad you found that dialog of interest. I too believe that it's a fascinating topic. Also I suspect that many pianists think about the fine line between the touring artist and the accomplished amateur relative to command of technique, which is the means to attain artistry in order to effectively communicate one's interpretation and musical intents to an audience.

In playing a good deal of Catoire's music to date, I always first sit down away from the piano to analyze any given score as one should. But I've also concluded that Catoire is a deep thinker and that most of his inspiration lies well-hidden below the surface. To find Catoire, one will not discover him through his musical notation or the sketchy biographical facts that we know; rather one must search for him between the lines of his music. That's where his greatness is to be found. For that reason I now play his music more by instinct than by logic, and I find by doing so that the technique of pianism mostly takes care of itself.

Thanks for stopping by this thread to comment.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 5:37 pm 
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Hi David,
that´s an impressive performance of a demanding piece. From my view it´s no problem, that there are some little imperfections here and there, because you play it very virtuosly, expressively and with a first class musicality, like the great old pianists also have done. If we listen to Fischer, Rubinstein, Horrowitz and others, we find exact the same phenomenon.
A great performance of first rate for me!

I have edited your little page-turn on the pen-ultimate page and I have put some of the post-processing to it, which I usually add also to my recordings. May be you like it. If not, it´s no problem, of course. It´s just a friendly meant option and your recording is also excellent like it is.

Btw, have you recorded op. 12, no. 3 yet? Somehow it´s missing on my hard-disc. I have looked on my hard-disc and found the numbers 1, 2 and 4 of op. 12 by Catoire performed by you until now.

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 8:12 pm 
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Hi Andreas,

Thank you so much for your comments on my playing! I really appreciate those coming from you, as I so much enjoy hearing your recordings and videos. I agree with your viewpoint. If one can convincingly communicate the composer's intent to the listener through musicianship and musicality, that is the final test of a performance or recording. In the total scheme of things, the occasional minor error is not so important. In today's world of the flawless CD, we become used to perfection, but really need to think of "the greats" in live performance you mentioned. And you're right--I can recall some fluffs in Horowitz's Moscow recital as an example, or Richter's "klinkers" in his stunning recording of "Pictures at an Exhibition", but those performances were nothing less than sensational. All of us should be inspired by their example and work toward that same aim.

I'm working on No. 3, the "Nocturne" now. :lol: The second half of this nocturne is very treacherous to play, so it's taking me longer than I had presumed it would. It's a lovely piece though. I won't be able to play it nearly as well as Hamelin, but I believe I can still do a creditable rendition for the members here.

Thanks for taking time to give that option for the edited recording. I listened to them both a few times to compare. To be honest, I think I still prefer the purity of sound in the original overall. I didn't much mind the page turn in the climax as it was fast, the crashing chord is still resonating, and then that very small delay just before the descending short cadenza there adds to the drama. It's almost like taking a quick breath to steel yourself for the effort demanded by that cadenza. You're certainly welcome to leave your edited version here though if you'd like, as others might want to hear it too.

I'm really glad that you liked my rendition, especially given the reservations I had about even undertaking the piece. :)

Your friend, David

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 4:35 am 
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Posts: 218
Location: Brazil
Hello David,

Congratulations on tackling this amazing étude! For six weeks of work it's quite an accomplishment. I didn't know Catoire, thanks for the introduction on his music. Keep up the great work!

There are so many great uknown russian composers...
Bortkiewicz, for instance, is one of those forgotten Russian composers. I can see that PS fortunatly has a number of his compositions, but none of his op.15 études, for instance, which are amazing. One day I'd like to record no.8 for the site:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNc-P3s_HSo

Best,
Alexandre


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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 6:21 am 
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Hi Alexandre,

Thanks for your kind words! Yes, it is an amazing etude. Unlike Chopin who preferred to feature a particular element of technique in an etude, Catoire included very diverse problems of technique in this Etude-fantastique. For that reason it was a tall challenge for me, but I'm glad I persevered and recorded it.

On the 6 weeks learning time, it's quite hard to estimate, as I was practicing another piece in conjunction with the etude, thus splitting my time between the two. Toward the end, I was actually making better progress on the etude, so temporarily dropped the companion piece to focus on the etude alone. So I can't be too precise in the matter given the time allocations. The 6 weeks might be fairly accurate, but I'd feel safe using 7 weeks as the outermost estimate. I can tell you that when I practice, I am always focused, concentrating deeply, and efficient in my approaches. Because my practice time is limited, I try hard not to waste a moment of it. I was very inspired by this piece, determined to conquer it, and loved practicing it. So I surprised myself once it was ready to record. I'll probably revisit it sometime in the future, as there are some other things I'd like to try with it. No piece is ever truly finished.

I contributed most of the Bortkiewicz recordings here at Piano Society. I had good intentions of continuing on, but became fascinated with Catoire, so have been surveying that repertoire more recently. I will be revisiting Bortkiewicz for sure, and may eventually get to a few of the etudes. Yes, the Op. 15, No. 8 is so incredibly beautiful, isn't it? The Diaz video is good, but you might like the Koji Attwood video even more, plus he performs three other etudes in addition to No. 8. Link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui5RxiKKhRo

Thanks again for listening to my recording.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 1:26 pm 
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Location: Brazil
Hello David,

I'm glad you did most of the Bortkiewicz on PS. I will listen to them soon.

>Yes, the Op. 15, No. 8 is so incredibly beautiful, isn't it?
Yes, the "wedding étude"

>The Diaz video is good, but you might like the Koji Attwood video even more, plus he >performs three other etudes in addition to No. 8. Link:

I think Attwood does an excellent job in spite of a few misreadings and rushing over some of the cantabiles. Although the video by this Dias guy has many mistakes, somehow I relate more to it :wink:

All the Op.15 études are amazing. Katsaris has recorded a full Bortkiewicz album, which has contributes a lot to preserving his memory.

Best,
Alexandre Dias


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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 11:29 pm 
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Hi Alexandre,

I was lucky to get the Stephen Coombs recording of many of Bortkiewicz's works on Hyperion. Unfortunately, the Katsaris recording is no longer available, although Cyrprien Katsaris lists some of them on his website for those who wish to listen. The few people who play and record Bortkiewicz today are probably the first since Hugo Van Dalen, the Dutch pianist and close friend of Bortkiewicz, who championed the composer's piano works during the 1950s. Since then there have been decades of neglect of this gorgeous music. Maybe the tide is turning now.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 12:34 am 
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Can't say I care much for this music per se, which to my ears sounds emotionally shallow and structurally and pianistically derivative. However, as Chris said, I think you make a convincing case for it. Nicely orchestrated with a wide dynamic palette. I particularly liked the wavelike crescendo effects and the sweet sonority of the final chord. Well done!

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 Post subject: Re: Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique
PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 3:10 am 
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Hi jlr,

Thanks for listening! This etude is a devilish piece to play in many respects, so I really appreciate your kind compliments. Doing those "wave" crescendos and diminuendos (sometimes we refer to that aspect as "dynamic contour") is usually fairly easy for me; however, because of the very busy figuration where it's required, I found it much more difficult to execute it as well in this piece. If I were to return to this piece in the future, I would try to do even more with the dynamics. I'm pleased you found my performance convincing. That alone makes having learned the piece worthwhile, as it's a joy for me to play and raise awareness of Catoire's music.

David

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