N Lugansky wrote:
I need feedback from a different perspective other than my teachers. Recording quality is decent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLwghghQ_xY
Please keep in mind I have only been playing for a year and half.
You have a very good sound and expressive potential, and obviously a knack for piano technique as well (which is something I definitely lack). I think that if you keep working at it, you will become very good indeed. You are at somewhat of a disadvantage in comparison to most pros who begin in early childhood, but you might just have the potential to overcome that obstacle. Does Lugansky teach? Perhaps one day he will take you as a student.
I love Chopin, but I am less interested in his waltzes (for the most part - a few are very nice) than any other genre of his music, so I will only comment on the etude, which I have played. I have a couple of live recordings of it, but both of them are pretty horrible (I hate playing live), so I'll spare you.
In general you played it very nicely. The second page could be a lot smoother, and one thing that might help to think about is making the runs more continuous. Just because Chopin split them up into groups of different note values does not mean that the difference should be all that perceptible. I would suggest thinking of the runs in mms. 22, 24, as being just like the ones in mms. 27 and 52 - the difference is that he has sort of written an accelerando into the run. It takes a bit of rubato to pull off smoothly, keeping the pulse, but Chopin's music is often designed this way. I'm sure you have heard of the Chopin rubato from an academic standpoint: in theory, the pulse should always be kept with the accompaniment hand (in this case, the RH, though it's usually the LH) while the melodic hand is free to fluctuate at will, though the precise rhythms he wrote should still be perceptible. Does that make sense? The run in m. 26 also has written-in ritenuto (or tenuto) and accelerando, but it should be just as smooth as the runs in mms. 27 and 52 in its own way. It begins in the same way as 27 and 52, but ends more like 22 and 24. The main difference is that you are building to Chopin's trademark pre-climax there (with a cadence in E-flat of all things, and then an unprepared modulation to B major!), and a bit of broadening (not too much) is called for (which almost cancels out the accelerando effect), while the accelerandos (accelerandi?) in 22 and 24 are in the tension-building area, so they should probably be a tad bit more frantic.
So, that's it for the technical difficulties in this piece. The rest is all musical. As I said, for the most part you seem to have a natural ability for expression, but there are a few nitpicks.
The most difficult part of this etude for any pianist (even surpassing the technique) is keeping the accompaniment under the radar; that is probably the specific technical difficulty of this etude that Chopin intended: two melodic voices contend in counterpoint with each other, while the RH must handle both melody and accompaniment. In some places you do it quite nicely - it's better before the technical difficulties than after - but it's something that could use more work. Especially in 24-27, be careful not to bang it out with the rest. Those top melody notes should still be clear, singing over even the LH, but the accompaniment should be just as much under the radar as ever.
In the next section, the accompaniment figure also is too loud in places. This section is more delicate than the rest, though, so it's more difficult to keep it low. Also, the odd sforzando at m. 33 - was that anything to do with being nervous, or do you really feel it that way? I don't feel it that way, and while I generally respect creative touches, this one strikes me as crude, and it seems to have caused you to flub the rhythm in the LH. If it helps, it specifically strikes me as the sort of thing that Lugansky would never
Keep in mind that 42 is marked pianissimo....and besides a few little slips, some of which were obviously stumbles and some of which were obviously memorization slips (like on page 2), that's all I can think of to criticize. Nice job! I would highly recommend recording a few things to submit to PS so that you can become a real member. They require 3 mp3s of acceptable sound quality, and if you are playing pieces that already have multiple recordings on the site, the performance standards are fairly high, but I think you can swing it with little problem.