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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:56 am 
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Hi Chris,

Although I don't memorize well now, I made that effort on the very first page turn of this sonata. I memorized the measure, was anticipatory, freed one hand in time, missed not a note in the measure, altered the rhythm not at all, turned the page quietly... and still got complaints. Possibly my microphones are more sensitive than others. It proves that you cannot please all of them all of the time. So I give up on that approach!

I do, though, stand by my principles regarding editing. I've given this more thought and have decided on a different strategy. That is, I'll record trifles and short pieces that do not exceed four pages which I can spread out on the music desk, and let it go at that. Longer works I can post elsewhere. I'm hoping this will work for everyone here.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:41 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
Although I don't memorize well now, I made that effort on the very first page turn of this sonata. I memorized the measure, was anticipatory, freed one hand in time, missed not a note in the measure, altered the rhythm not at all, turned the page quietly... and still got complaints. Possibly my microphones are more sensitive than others. It proves that you cannot please all of them all of the time. So I give up on that approach!

I do believe the 'complaints' pertain to the really obtrusive page turns, of which I remember a few in some of your recordings. We don't complain about the ones that are discreetly done, even if you can hear them. It's not as if we are listening out for them, just that some rather poke you in the eye, er, ear. I do believe that such a moment can spoil the listening pleasure.

Rachfan wrote:
I do, though, stand by my principles regarding editing.

Those principles are fine, I respect them and have no trouble with a couple of slips. But consider this analogy. You probably would not have your face botox'ed and your brows lifted any more than I would. We just accept that it may not be as perfect as we'd like. But suppose you developed a dirty great big wart on the tip of your nose, one that caught people's eyes and make them wince, would you not have it removed ? I can't put my case any clearer than that, your honor.

Rachfan wrote:
I've given this more thought and have decided on a different strategy. That is, I'll record trifles and short pieces that do not exceed four pages which I can spread out on the music desk, and let it go at that. Longer works I can post elsewhere. I'm hoping this will work for everyone here.

I would not want you to stop posting longer works here just because of this, that would be a loss.
Note that you can be creative with photocopies. With longer works I print them a bit smaller, cut the white margins off the pages, sellotape them together, and fold them harmonica-wise. If your music stand allows for 4 pages, you can then have a six-page piece with only one page turn - and you have a choice of where to make it. This idea has worked well for me on occasion.

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:00 pm 
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Quote:
But suppose you developed a dirty great big wart on the tip of your nose, one that caught people's eyes and make them wince, would you not have it removed ?


A vivid and apt analogy...let's hope it doesn't gross Monica out if she reads it :lol:

Anyway, from my limited perspective, I wouldn't worry a bloody crap about slips (thought I'd use my own ribald expression :lol: ) if the playing is generally good. Cortot and Sofronitsky, heck, even Rachmaninoff if you listen carefully, made their share of mistakes, but the playing is so free, orchestral, controlled, etc., that it doesn't detract in the least from the performance. On the other hand, IMHO any time there is such a taint as a wrong note on playing such as Kissin's or Argerich's, it tends to be eminently noticeable since their sound is generally so notey, crude, and ugly.

As I had remarked earlier, I rather enjoyed this performance and any slips were hardly noticeable to me. Regarding the page turns thing, I do believe people should have their music memorized to solve all these problems, especially in romantic music, but I understand and respect David's age-related argument and know that this late Russian stuff can be a bitch in this regard.

Just more of my two cents...I can never resist an interesting discussion :P

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:27 pm 
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jlr43 wrote:
A vivid and apt analogy...let's hope it doesn't gross Monica out if she reads it :lol:
It did. Image

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:37 pm 
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Hi Chris,

Sometimes removing a page turn on Audacity is difficult to impossible. The tolerance of the cutting function is not fine enough, and it sometimes takes a fringe of the music with it creating a nasty "cut". Frankly, I don't know which is worse. :(

I can probably try half of your suggestion on getting more pages on the music desk. Most of the forgotten music I play comes from the IMSLP. The PDFs, which are already reduced to 8 1/2 X 11 inch format which is already hard to read, not to mention that some were not in pristine shape to start with. Normal focal length of reading glasses is 16". When you sit at the piano, the focal length is more like 25 or 26" even with the music desk pulled forward, quite similar to sitting at a PC. So I actually use my PC glasses instead. Sometimes on those printouts, the ledger lines are so compressed (including the downloaded original, not just the printout), that I've had to get a magnifying glass to decipher it, as I dread misreads of notes. So for me that would rule out reducing the size of the printouts even more. What I can try though is your trick of cutting off the margins of the sheets. With that I might be able to jam five pages on the desk or six with a page turn. Thanks for that.

Yes, I'd hate not to be able to post longer pieces here. I'll see what I can do.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:42 pm 
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Hi Joe,

Thanks for your understanding.

Ah, Cortot, Sofronitsky and Rachmaninoff and others too.... The reason that their slips don't matter is because they knew how to play in the grand manner of the Golden Era of the piano. That style of playing is what I've always aspired to, even if only to get a tiny bit closer to it.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:43 pm 
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Hi Monica,

That was graphic indeed! :lol:

David

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:01 pm 
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Rachfan wrote:
Sometimes removing a page turn on Audacity is difficult to impossible. The tolerance of the cutting function is not fine enough, and it sometimes takes a fringe of the music with it creating a nasty "cut". Frankly, I don't know which is worse. :(

Sure, a cut can't always be done without a scar. I'd rather have the scar than the bleeding gash, though :D
I don't quite get your point about the tolerance of the cutting function. If you stretch the waveform horizintally (I assume Audacity can do that, I think all editors can), cutting can be done extremely precisely.

Rachfan wrote:
I can probably try half of your suggestion on getting more pages on the music desk. Most of the forgotten music I play comes from the IMSLP. The PDFs, which are already reduced to 8 1/2 X 11 inch format which is already hard to read, not to mention that some were not in pristine shape to start with. Normal focal length of reading glasses is 16". When you sit at the piano, the focal length is more like 25 or 26" even with the music desk pulled forward, quite similar to sitting at a PC. So I actually use my PC glasses instead. Sometimes on those printouts, the ledger lines are so compressed (including the downloaded original, not just the printout), that I've had to get a magnifying glass to decipher it, as I dread misreads of notes. So for me that would rule out reducing the size of the printouts even more. What I can try though is your trick of cutting off the margins of the sheets. With that I might be able to jam five pages on the desk or six with a page turn. Thanks for that.

Indeed reducing the size if not ideal, especially with a complicated score. But even 90% will help a bit. Especially if you (get someone to) make a music stand like I did, see
http://pianosociety.com/new/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3316&p=31330&sid=800cc0ed0b26543af94d86a9b31c08fd#p31330

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:07 am 
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Hi Chris,

I'll check Audacity to see about expanding the wave form. Yes, I've seen before that extra long music desk you have there. My problem with that (I notice it with even just four pages displayed), there's a limit to how far I can see well over to the far right. I there we six pages on the desk extended out even farther, I doubt I could see pages 5 and 6 well enough for them to be of much use. Aging is a terrible thing... but it sure beats the alternative. :lol:

David

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:13 am 
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I must admit the outermost pages don't read all that comfortably. I tend to shift the whole wad around a little bit, which I can do with my long straight music desk.

Maybe us sight readers should invest in a MusicPad Pro. They're still quite expensive though.

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:12 pm 
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I also think the new recording is an improvement. I can hear a few infelicities but I don't find them important as they are more than compensated for by the overall feel and sweep of the interpretation. There are some moments of genuine beauty, in particular the lyrical section and subsequent build-up from approximately 60% of the way through. There is definitely more than a hint of old-school pianism about the recording; I think the full piano sound and the use of left-before-right both contribute. I'm a little bothered about the timbre of the very upper treble; it doesn't sound right and that would be my only real quibble.

Rachfan wrote:
I'll check Audacity to see about expanding the wave form.


You can expand it for ease of editing: both horizontally (i.e. time-wise) and vertically. In the version I have: for horizontal expansion there is a +magnifying glass icon (as well as a -magnifying glass icon for contracting) at the top of the screen. Also there is a magnifying glass icon which when activated gives you the option of left mouse click to expand horizontally or right mouse click to contract. Hovering the cursor over the y-axis display gives you the same mouse click options for vertical expansion or contraction (though it's likely to be best to do the clicking with the mouse at the 0.00 y-axis position, or you will probably expand the wrong part).


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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:42 pm 
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Hi Andrew,

I'm glad you found improvement in the re-recording. I agree with all your comments, which I appreciate. Probably the "full piano sound" resulted from the lid being fully open this time. Previously, I had been using only the singer prop to partially open the lid. I think on the "left before right", that I do it occasionally for effect, but not consistently throughout the piece.

Your comment on the treble timbre is interesting. Actually I'm going a long with an experiment on the piano. The Ronsen Wursen hammers are about three years old now, and are grooved and somewhat bright. The tech has been brushing out the grooves after tunings to get rid of the metalic residue from the strings which helps, but he's very conservative and will voice hammers only when there is no other alternative. Voicing on this piano has been very slight. There is a new "method" that tuners are trying now. What he did was to insert three business cards over to the left side of the piano case where the soft pedal mechanism is at rest. The three cards force the soft pedal mechanism to the right about the width of a typical groove on an tenor hammer and hold it in place there. This brings the hammers into contact with ungrooved wurzen wool on the heads of the hammers. After time goes by and that portion eventually becomes grooved, then one or two cards are removed to reposition the hammers such that new felt is again available with which to strike the strings. So what is essentially happening in the long process is that the piano is almost voicing itself by allowing the hammers to progressively receive access to unused wool on the hammers. After the cycle is completed, the technician then files and shapes all of the hamnmers to restart the cycle.

You're used to a more positive, but now brighter treble. I could remove the cards to reposition the original hammer grooves back to the "start" position to restore the previous sound. But where the new position grooving has not taken place yet, I think I should give them more time to groove, at which point the brightness will start to make itself apparent again over time.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:43 am 
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Hi David,

I listened twice to your interpretation of the Medtner Sonata Elegia. I appreciate the "heads up" regarding the opening two measures.

I hear snippets of Chopin like phrases, with short ideas winding their way throughout.
The harmonies are interesting and the piece has many references to Russian romanticism in terms of style.

You bring out so much in this piece. There is a great deal of sensitivity and beauty in the melodic lines and sequences.
It seems as though you use your arm weight in such a way as to bring out the richness of the chords. The is dynamic shading subtle and beautiful.
The piece sounds like it is always going somewhere. You give a rich and powerful performance.

Thank you for introducing me to a piece I haven't heard.

Kaila Rochelle

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:33 am 
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Hi Kaila,

Thanks so much for listening to the sonata (twice!). I really appreciate it, especially your very kind observations on my playing. Although this unusual, one-movement sonata is still in sonata-allegro form, by its nature and intent, it's very episodic, almost segmented, as you noticed. The challenge, I think, is to tie it all together, meaning concentrating on the long lines, the musical intent and execution, and bringing a direction and sweep to the experience so as to put it across to the listener. And there's a lot to put across there!

On the arm weight aspect, I must give all credit to Nancy Oliva, my first piano teacher of 10 years. One of her professors at the New England Conservatory of Music was Albion Metcalf, a student of Tobias Matthay (1858-1945), a guru of the principles of arm weight at the piano. From a young age I received training in that aspect of execution. And I've never forgotten it and always try to employ arm weight appropriately, as when expressing rich chords. In our day there have been assertions that the sole determinant of tone and volume is the acceleration of the hammer--period--and that the same result can be achieve playing a key with a pencil or the tip of an umbrella rather than arm weight. The scientists with their measuring devices have proven that point, but only when speaking of a single key and the sound produced by it. Despite the intrinsically percussive nature of the piano, the instrument's magic is hardly ever limited to a single note. Instead, musicality has everything to do with creating the illusion of legato phrasing by connecting sequential tones and shaping the richness of the overtones in the chords with arm weight and the pedal. That far exceeds poking a key with a pencil or umbrella. It's all about creating a sense of lyricism and nuance and, at times, power. So I brush those arguments aside and continue to believe in arm weight. :)

Again, I'm so glad you enjoyed hearing this marvelous piece.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Medtner, Sonata-Elegia, Op 11 No. 2 (Re-Recorded 10/16/10)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:53 pm 
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Hi David,

Proper use of arm weight is essential to producing a beautiful tone. You were taught very well from the start!

Kaila

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