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 Post subject: Two recordings
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:38 pm 
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The first two recordings on my newly stringed (strung ?) Gaveau. I am curious what you think of the sound. I did not change anything in the recording setup. The Bach is a re-recording, I hope it's ok. This Prelude has cost me much sweat, as many of the WTC preludes do. I am unlikely to get it any better than this

Of Cesar Cui we don't hear much, even though he left a sizable oeuvre. I love his set of Op.64 Preludes and will record a couple more, if maybe not all.
This opening Prelude is simple but truly maestoso. I can identify with someone like Cui who allegedly had more talent for criticizing other's music than for writing his own :wink:

Bach - BWV 875 - Das Wolhtemperierte Clavier II - Prelude and Fugue No.6 in D minor (3:43)
Cui - 25 Preludes Op.64 - 1: Allegro meastoso (1:47)

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 Post subject: Re: Two recordings
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 2:52 am 
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techneut wrote:
The first two recordings on my newly stringed (strung ?) Gaveau. I am curious what you think of the sound. I did not change anything in the recording setup.

The word is 'strung'...and the piano sounds great, though it's a bit more wooden-sounding than I usually like my pianos. A couple of the strings sound a bit tinny but perhaps that is because they are new?

Chris wrote:
The Bach is a re-recording, I hope it's ok. This Prelude has cost me much sweat, as many of the WTC preludes do. I am unlikely to get it any better than this

It's not bad in terms of technique, besides a few little things. One thing I noticed is that it's sometimes obvious when a voice changes hands. Also, I dislike those slow mordents, but that is probably because I am accustomed to listening to GG play this one. :lol: I love that prelude, much more than the fugue in this set. I for some reason liked this fugue more than the book I d-minor fugue on first listen. I think I was just attracted to the chromaticism. Amazing how a couple of listens changed my perception of the book I fugue; it's now one of my favorites of all Bach's keyboard fugues.

Chris wrote:
I can identify with someone like Cui who allegedly had more talent for criticizing other's music than for writing his own :wink:

That was enough to make me click for some reason. I was thoroughly bored from the beginning though.

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 Post subject: Re: Two recordings
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:45 am 
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Hi Chris,

Too early to judge on the Gaveau. The new strings have to stretch more around the tuning pins, hitch pins, and bridge pins. It'll take a few more tunings for that contouring process of the strings to really take hold. When I first got my Baldwin back, the strings sounded, well, too stringy. Also the new hammers play a role in that. They need to "groove in" to produce a more solid sound. Now I find that the Baldwin's sound is more focused and coherent. But the revisions had to settle to attain that. This could take less than a year, as you devote a lot of time to the piano, putting it through a workout as you develop much new repertoire. Another variable to keep in mind is that despite the revised components, the soundboard is the soundboard. For a hypothetical example, in the low bass there might be a somewhat dull note or two where you were hoping for a noticeable improvement in timbre with the replacement strings and hammers--yet... it doesn't sound much different now. Again, it might simply be a function of the properties of the soundboard in that part of the scale. I will say that the Gaveau definitely sounds more vibrant now, which is a positive sign. It needs some time to settle.

I just listened to the Cui prelude twice (never heard it previously). You played it with confidence and verve. So the performance is very good in my opinion, not knowing the score. As I think about the composition itself, despite a couple of beautiful key modulations, Cui's idiom struck me as often being superficial and banal in concept and content. Again, it's not your playing, but rather the composing. That banality reminds me of some of Mendelssohn's Songs without Words, where he tends to be simplistic and not very daring or innovative. I'll be curious to hear a couple more of these Cui preludes. So far he doesn't seem like a Blumenfeld or Liadov. But I want to try to be open minded and not judge unfairly based on this one composition alone.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Two recordings
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:27 pm 
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I have only a small remark on the WTC prelude. Your left hand lines are a little over-stated (particularly in the middle section), probably competing with the right hand melody and sometimes overtaking it. I have struggled with this prelude myself, that's why I dare the comment.

So, you have a Gaveau. Sorry but all this time I hadn't noticed. I am deeply touched here, my mother had a Gaveau. In fact, I still have it. It's an upright, really old and despite its rather neglected condition, its sound remains unbelievably deep and sweet. Of course your piano is a grand and understandably different from an upright but still, a Gaveau. I am sure that if I heard it or played it live, I could find a relation with my mind's referenced Gaveau sound.


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 Post subject: Re: Two recordings
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:15 pm 
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wiser_guy wrote:
I have only a small remark on the WTC prelude. Your left hand lines are a little over-stated (particularly in the middle section), probably competing with the right hand melody and sometimes overtaking it. I have struggled with this prelude myself, that's why I dare the comment.

Yes it's a pesky little devil this one. I spent so much work on it and am still not wholly satisfied with it. I do try to make the most of the interplay between left and right. The LH should not be subordinate to the RH here, they're fully equal partners. So whatever I do here is intentional. A lighter instrument would help of course...

wiser_guy wrote:
So, you have a Gaveau. Sorry but all this time I hadn't noticed. I am deeply touched here, my mother had a Gaveau. In fact, I still have it. It's an upright, really old and despite its rather neglected condition, its sound remains unbelievably deep and sweet. Of course your piano is a grand and understandably different from an upright but still, a Gaveau. I am sure that if I heard it or played it live, I could find a relation with my mind's referenced Gaveau sound.

There is something about this sound allright. With all respect to other, better, instruments, I keep getting back to it. When I first got the replacement Grotrian, I thought like, WOW, this is IT.... But after a while all I wanted was my Gaveau back. How silly is that !

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 Post subject: Re: Two recordings
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:44 am 
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Hi Chris,

I just listened to the Bach P & F. Very fine playing indeed! I wish I could manage those intricate ornaments in Baroque music as well and seamlessly as you. Marvelous!

I think the revised Gaveau is a natural for Baroque music. I once read that the French piano makers designed their instruments with the French piano literature in mind starting with Couperin, while also taking into account the traditional French school of pianism. That school placed much emphasis on articulation of fingers thereby producing the metaphorical "string of pearls" in shaping phrases and lines, as you know. The revered French pedagogues come to mind--Marmontel, Adam, Diemer, and Long to name a few. The revised Gaveau testifies to that with its warm, vibrant and clean sound--just a bit of fuzziness yet owing to the new hammers. As you play the piano over the coming months, it will only get better still as it settles, as I mentioned earlier.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Two recordings
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:21 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
I just listened to the Bach P & F. Very fine playing indeed! I wish I could manage those intricate ornaments in Baroque music as well and seamlessly as you. Marvelous!

Thank you ! I was creative in the fugue and added all these ornaments for no other reason that they sound good in those places. Not all of them come of perfectly though. There's always one or two that fall short. Damn. I hate Baroque music :x

Rachfan wrote:
I think the revised Gaveau is a natural for Baroque music. I once read that the French piano makers designed their instruments with the French piano literature in mind starting with Couperin, while also taking into account the traditional French school of pianism. That school placed much emphasis on articulation of fingers thereby producing the metaphorical "string of pearls" in shaping phrases and lines, as you know. The revered French pedagogues come to mind--Marmontel, Adam, Diemer, and Long to name a few. The revised Gaveau testifies to that with its warm, vibrant and clean sound--just a bit of fuzziness yet owing to the new hammers. As you play the piano over the coming months, it will only get better still as it settles, as I mentioned earlier.

Thanks for your valued advice. Yes I'm sure things will change a bit the coming months. hopefully for the better. I believe the additional work on the action has paid off, ity seems to play smoother, but whether it (or my fingers) will ever allow a true 'jeu perlé we'll have to see.
Actually there are no new hammers this time - that was done some years ago, about the time I joined PS. But he's done something on them to make the playing lighter.

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 Post subject: Re: Two recordings
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:37 pm 
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Very nice, rich sound on the Gaveau! I do like the "stringier" tone. I listened to the Cui piece - interesting, though not exactly my cup of tea; I did enjoy the introduction to a composer I haven't listened to previously, though. :D I think it'd do better with stronger RH pinkie voicing and a backing off on the thick-chorded LH (which is hard to do). Maybe shaping the phrases a little more and emphasizing the climax might help the piece come across better, too.

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 Post subject: Re: Two recordings
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:48 am 
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sarah wrote:
Very nice, rich sound on the Gaveau! I do like the "stringier" tone. I listened to the Cui piece - interesting, though not exactly my cup of tea; I did enjoy the introduction to a composer I haven't listened to previously, though. :D I think it'd do better with stronger RH pinkie voicing and a backing off on the thick-chorded LH (which is hard to do). Maybe shaping the phrases a little more and emphasizing the climax might help the piece come across better, too.

Thanks Sarah, good point on that. I may have been a bit to eager to record this one quickly.

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 Post subject: Re: Two recordings
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:58 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
Cui's idiom struck me as often being superficial and banal in concept and content. Again, it's not your playing, but rather the composing. That banality reminds me of some of Mendelssohn's Songs without Words, where he tends to be simplistic and not very daring or innovative.

An interesting comparison, David. It made me think about why I like (most of) these Cui preludes but am not a great fan of (most of) the Mendelssohn songs. I think the difference is that Cui, a man of limited talents and (I think) no pianist himself, is working hard to give his very best in this diverse set, whereas Mendelssohn, him with the prodigious talent and keyboard facility, is often on autopilot while churning out keyboard music. I always have a sympathy for lesser composers who rise above themselves despite their limitations. And strange as it is, these Cui preludes I'm currently working on are stuck in my mind like few tunes before. Maybe because they are so simple and, yes maybe, banal. Good tunes, actually, you can tell Cui was a prolific composer of songs. The preludes seem to be more 'singable' than most of Mendelssohn's songs.

Anyway, I've ranted quite enough about YANC (yet another neglected composer). Back to work now :D

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