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 Post subject: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:48 pm 
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It's Mazurka Time! (for the last time)

I have now completed my project of recording all of Chopin's mazurkas. I'm not totally sure how long it took me; I know the very first recording I submitted to Piano Society was a mazurka, but I had not decided to learn/record them all until somewhere after I had gotten through approximately ten of them. If I had to guess, I'd say it took me a couple years. And I'm very glad I did the mazurkas, because I feel like it helped me to understand Chopin better. Not that I can play him any better, but just that I sort of can feel and relate to his moods better...if that makes sense...

I recorded the two op. 63 mazurkas last week and did the last two posthumous mazurkas this morning. I would have completed it all sooner, but I had to order yet another Mazurka book because I could not find these two little remaining mazurkas anywhere - the second one in B-flat major, and the other one in A-flat major. Now I have four Chopin mazurka books! (Don't know what I'll do with all of them... :roll: )

So anyway, here are my last four recordings.

Chopin - Mazurka in B Major, Op. 63, no. 1
Chopin - Mazurka in C-sharp minor, Op. 63, no. 3
Chopin - Mazurka Op. Posth. in B-flat Major, no. 2
Chopin - Mazurka Op. Posth. in A-flat Major


Goodbye Chopin Mazurkas. It was fun playing you - I had a nice time!! :D :( :)

Image

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:31 am 
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Hi Monica! Congratulations on completing the set of Mazurkas. As laborious as it may have been to learn all of them, it's an excellent example of the labor of love. One may wonder why you chose to embark on your journey through the Mazurkas, and not the Waltzes, Preludes, or Nocturnes?... The Mazurkas are a less abstract entity to comprehend than his other formal music. It's clear to me, especially in the last several recordings, you've discovered the intrinsic value within these gems. The directness of the music speaks to a part of Chopin's life that he clearly longed for throughout his life when he was in Paris. For me, it sounds like a musical home away from home; his musical diary. I think you connect with the music in this way very effectively, both rhythmically and stylistically.

I seriously suggest you pop open a bottle of fine champagne to celebrate your accomplishment! It doesn't happen very often that someone completes an entire set of genre works. Cheers!

Now that summer is over, it's nice to be back again on PS! :D

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"Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition." ~Riccardo Muti


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:57 pm 
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Thank you George! :D I chose the Mazurkas because I prefer working on shorter pieces. Plus, although many of the mazurkas are hard for me to play, I didn't consider them impossible like I do certain pieces from some of the other genres. Good idea - I'll pop open a bottle of champagne and celebrate by myself (nobody else cares :( ) (but that's okay because I get a little sick after one or two glasses Image :lol: ). And I'm glad you're back on PS. I may not be here much longer, but in the meantime it warms my heart to 'see' a friendly face.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:07 pm 
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My heartiest congratulations! :D Your playing is beautiful (as usual :) ). This is a great accomplishment, and you've been at it a long time! I'm a little sad to hear you may not be here much longer, though. :(

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:15 pm 
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Location: Germany
Pianolady wrote:
Quote:
I may not be here much longer


Why that? :shock: :?: I´m very busy at this moment because of my job, but I will listen to your and Chris´ new recordings at the weekend.
Have my sincere congratulations to your complete set. It´s a great achievement! And, of course, I clink glasses with you, skoal!Image

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:16 am 
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Pianolady wrote:
Quote:
I may not be here much longer
I can't take any of the glory away from the Mazurkas, but the celebration seems bittersweet to think that after 5,878 posts, you might not be gracing the forum much longer. Your amazing level of feedback, honesty, advice, support, humor, and knowledge is an irreplaceable resource and presence that will truly be missed. Deservedly, you have my highest praise and appreciation for all your wonderful advice and inspiration... - George

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:36 am 
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Congratulations to a job well done. At last we have a CS that isn't riddled with wrong and missed notes and swathed in pedal like mine (I plan to start re-recording it in the not too distant future).

Not sure what it is this time that makes you want to leave, but do reconsider. I don't think I can - or want to - hold the fort on my own. (even apart from the fact that I'm seriously considering moving house and may well have a stretch of busy and chaotic times ahead). In the end of course it is your decision, not to be influenced by me or anyone else.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Thank you George, Sarah, Andreas, and Chris. I've been trying to put together some words this morning that will explain things, but can't seem to get my act together. I'll try again later or else tomorrow. But I just want you all to know that I very much appreciate what you have said. :D Also, this is only the second time in five years that I have considered leaving. And Chris, it's really the same old thing....I think you know what I mean...

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:23 am 
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I have listened now to all your 4 Mazurkas with score. They are excellently played, a note-perfect and dynamically very expressive performance. So, for me these are recordings, which you could publish on a CD!
The only suggestion of improvement, I could give to you - but that´s only a matter of personal taste, of course - is to make a bit more rubato here and there, especially in op. 63, no. 3 this could be a nice thing, and in KKIVb no. 4 (=op. posth. a-flat major) you could play a bit more "around" (voicing respective little rubati) with that change of f and f flat in the bars 47-51. These are only some of my ideas of interpretation, if I would play the pieces. (In my Henle-edition these posthumus Mazurkas are only numbered as KKIVb no. 1 and 4, so it wasn´t easy for me to find them with your posth.-numbers, KK=K. Kobylanska: Chopin, Thematisch-Bibliographisches Werkverzeichnis, München, 1979.)
These are very inspiring recordings, Monica. I have listened with my good speakers and the sound-quality is really good. I think, I should come back to Chopin as soon as possible myself. At this time I´m still working on WTC II, this evening I will make some takes of prelude and fugue d-sharp-minor and see, if they are good enough to be posted here.

Please, reconsider if you really want to leave PS! You are one of the best pianists and "valuablest treasures" (I think, another fitting american colloquial word would be "You are a true doll", in my dictionary "doll" is translated as "nice and helpful person", german: netter, hilfsbereiter Mensch) we have here!

I think, there is something like a more or less little crisis on PS now. I know, that two of our site-administrators - you and Chris - both are quite frustrated about the one or other thing, you want to leave. I also was quite frustrated, btw, because there was so little feedback on the four hands pieces of Chris and me and our new recordings of Franz Streuffs "Late Intermezzi". But for me this is no reason to leave PS, of course.
May be we should talk about one or the other of these things - may be in an extra thread in the audition room, because only few members look into the general forum -, also with other members, who are interested in this site. I think, usually that helps or at least some things could be cleared. Probably, if we always "stomach" the things we are angry about, we become ill, and at last this could be the end of this nice forum. (That would be a pity, IMO!)

I also suggest, that we retake our little four hands project (or was it six hands?) during my "autumn-holidays" (which will start in two weeks) which we interupted because of our little dispute because of the Einaudi-music, which I consider as terminated, isn´t it? What do you think?

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:04 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
I think, there is something like a more or less little crisis on PS now. I know, that two of our site-administrators - you and Chris - both are quite frustrated about the one or other thing, you want to leave. I also was quite frustrated, btw, because there was so little feedback on the four hands pieces of Chris and me and our new recordings of Franz Streuffs "Late Intermezzi". But for me this is no reason to leave PS, of course.

I'm not so much frustrated as losing interest. While the quantity of good quality submissions is much better than in the past, the forum is not a shadow of what is used to be, and I keep up with it out of habit more than anything else. It's only a handful of regulars such as yourself and David that keep some life into it, and actually bother commenting on recordings. Most of the erstwhile members have either left or are lurking.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:28 pm 
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Ohhh, where do I start...? Well, I guess I am just going to be frank/ lay it all out and let the chips fall where they may. Except I have no time today to write out all I want to say( I'm only 'lurking' right now - haha). But I do have A LOT!! to say and it's going to involve everybody here, so I'll compose something as soon as I can - maybe tonight. Thanks, Andreas, for the critique on my mazurkas. That's what I've been wishing for. I know how confusing it is to find them - seems they are numbered differently in every book!

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:01 pm 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
I'm not so much frustrated as losing interest.


Me, too, I have much interest in this forum and I´m still of the opinion, that it is a great and unique establishment. It seems to be the only place on the internet, where pianists from all over the world can "come together" and "talk" about their recordings. That´s indeed something which is worthwhile to be kept up. It´s only, that the work in my job has definitively increased and sometimes during the week I have no time either to comment or to record something. But that changes from time to time, depending how much papers to correct respective preparations I have to make for my lessons.
I also think, that this forum has lost some of its former "life" respecitve "liveliness", because comments generally and especially such, which really try for a factual critique have much decreased. So I share this opinion respective frustration with you. But I don´t think, we can change it, it has to come from people themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:34 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Ohhh, where do I start...? Well, I guess I am just going to be frank/ lay it all out and let the chips fall where they may. Except I have no time today to write out all I want to say( I'm only 'lurking' right now - haha). But I do have A LOT!! to say and it's going to involve everybody here, so I'll compose something as soon as I can - maybe tonight.

Exciting prospect. I can see the tabloid headlines already...

Quote:
In Her Own Words
THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT PIANO SOCIETY
Site Admin Speaks Out At Last

Could be a nice addendum to Raymond's book :P

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:54 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
Me, too, I have much interest in this forum and I´m still of the opinion, that it is a great and unique establishment. It seems to be the only place on the internet, where pianists from all over the world can "come together" and "talk" about their recordings.

If only it were that. For most pianists, with the exception of the regulars, PS is little more than a free podium and hosting service. They step in with a new bunch of recordings, the admins spend some of their free time to evaluate, tag and upload them, and update the site (sometimes considerable time, when new pages must be created and research must be done), the artist gets his/her applause, bows and thanks the audience, and leaves the premises, not to be seen back until there's something else they want published. A boring and predictable dance, that is one aspect of PS that I find increasingly dismaying. Despite Monica's frequent plea to give something back, hardly one of them ever does so.

musicusblau wrote:
That´s indeed something which is worthwhile to be kept up. It´s only, that the work in my job has definitively increased and sometimes during the week I have no time either to comment or to record something. But that changes from time to time, depending how much papers to correct respective preparations I have to make for my lessons.

Anyway you're one of those few people to add real value, both in recordings and in feedback and general discussion. I just wish more of the regulars had stayed on.

musicusblau wrote:
I also think, that this forum has lost some of its former "life" respecitve "liveliness", because comments generally and especially such, which really try for a factual critique have much decreased. So I share this opinion respective frustration with you. But I don´t think, we can change it, it has to come from people themselves.

Indeed. We seem to have fallen below a certain critical mass. Dunno how many times I have seen people write "I'm back" or "I haven't been here much lately, but I promise to spend more time on the forum", but mostly that is loose talk. We also miss the silly banter that was part of PS life in the past (although I must admit never having taken much part in that myself).

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Mazurkas (COMPLETE) Yay!!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:10 pm 
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Ok, well, I guess "Hear ye, hear ye!" As Chris clearly referred to, here is the REAL TRUTH. But this is all from my perspective and like what Andreas said - saying and getting everything out in the open may be a good idea in order to avoid having a stomach ache.

I started typing earlier this morning and before I knew it had written out three full pages of all my gripes about certain members and stuff like that. Now I am chickening out and taking out most of what I wrote. Basically all I want to say is that what Chris says here,
Techneut wrote:
If only it were that. For most pianists, with the exception of the regulars, PS is little more than a free podium and hosting service. They step in with a new bunch of recordings, the admins spend some of their free time to evaluate, tag and upload them, and update the site (sometimes considerable time, when new pages must be created and research must be done), the artist gets his/her applause, bows and thanks the audience, and leaves the premises, not to be seen back until there's something else they want published. A boring and predictable dance, that is one aspect of PS that I find increasingly dismaying. Despite Monica's frequent plea to give something back, hardly one of them ever does so.

is what bugs me a lot too. I really do not want to deal with any of these types of members anymore. I wish there was a way for us to put a stop to it - maybe something like that all members must actually put in some time listening AND critiquing other members' recordings if they want their own recordings to go up onto the site. And this includes our 'regulars' too. Why can't we do this? It's not like we are hurting for recordings. We already have TONS of great recordings!

And now on an even more personal and yes, a very selfish level, I'll add this: Bittersweet. George nailed it on the head with this word. That's exactly how I feel about completing my mazurka project. Yes, I am so glad that I did learn and record all of them. To me, it was a nice journey - I learned a lot of new pieces which I had not played before and while I was taking lessons, my teacher was helping me to improve my technique. Prior to my taking lessons, I received feedback on the forum which helped me a lot too. But for the past several months, no one has offered to critique my mazurkas even though I have in the past put in considerable time critiquing other members' mazurkas. So this of course saddens me.

And it's not just my mazurkas, it's a lot of my recordings. There are those many members who visit the forum only when they have new recordings to submit, and then there are regular members who take time to listen/comment but only on new or relatively newer people. Sure, these regular members send me private messages/emails asking me to help them contact a member, or do something for their book, or change their bio page, or ask my opinion about their hour-long video, or ask me to put up their jokes, or replace their Schubert or Chopin recording for about the 20th time, and on and on, and I do all they ask for without complaining. Well, now I guess I am complaining. Don't you think it might be nice to help me once in a while? I am very insecure about my playing! Heck, I hang around here with a bunch of really great players, so can you blame me? I just feel like everybody's secretary. Like, who cares if I practice and practice, trying to grow as a musician like everybody else. As long as I do all the grunt work.

So, that's about it. I don't want to leave PS and really! really!! want to keep our little 'family' together. But if member participation does not become even just a little bit more balanced, then I don't know what else to do. PS has become a sad place for me. Do you think we can bring it back to the fun/entertaining/helpful place it once was?

*********************

@Andreas - Yes, I'd be interested in doing another collaborative recording with you.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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