Verdi-Thalberg Fantasy on La Traviata

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Re: Verdi-Thalberg Fantasy on La Traviata

Postby andrew » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:27 am

Interesting comments.

jlr43 wrote:1. A couple of the more contrapuntal passages seemed as though they could be slightly crisper/more even, notably near the beginning.

Completely agreed; there is one note in particular on which my arrival is noticeably less than clean.

jlr43 wrote:2. The trills in that one part were nice and clear, but seemed a bit prominent against the bass, which seems to be carrying the tune more in that one place. It goes without saying that such passages (which seem to appear a lot in Liszt too) can be a bitch to sustain, so this is pretty picky.

That passage is a nightmare! A full page of linked trills, and whilst you are trying to pay attention to keeping them clean, connected and quiet, the left hand is jumping all over the keyboard, playing accompaniment and a separate thumb melody which must be voiced and put into focus above the accompanimental harmonies - the resultant chords often have to be broken as they reach in excess of two octaves in size. When all's said and done, I think my trills are too loud.

jlr43 wrote:3. There were one or two places nearer the end (where it breaks out a bit) where you seem to slightly struggle with the tempo, though maybe some retention was intended.

I think I'm ok here - I did detect a slight mannerism in the big alternate chordal section (from 7.14) where I've taken a little extra time at the end of bars, but that was subconscious rather than a conscious problem. I think my tempo is pretty even on the second last page (passage with hands playing together, but chordal leaps going on all over the place, from 7.48) which is very difficult.

jlr43 wrote:4. Regarding the sound, I think it's nicely balanced overall, but to my ears it seems just a tad brittle in the upper registers. Could be my speakers though, which tend to sound that way.

Again, I agree with you re the upper register. My teacher felt the same way when I sent him the recording. The piano was tuned on the morning of both days which I was recording on it, and my feeling at the time was that the upper treble was vey bright, so I suspect that the mic setup has captured the sound a little too accurately! There is stlil scope for manipulating the sound at the editing stage by playing around with the balance of the various mics.

jlr43 wrote:These are very nitpicky things, though. One thing I'm very impressed by is your dynamics and sense of balance. Regarding the piece, I think you make it about as interesting as anybody could. It seems rather meandering to me, very much in the manner of Thalberg's solo works, not lighting a candle to those by Liszt or Rachmaninov. Speaking of which, since you're a transcriptions guy, do you plan to do any of the Rachmaninoff? IMHO those are the very greatest of all transcriptions, great creations in themselves. Given your impressive chordal technique I'd be curious to hear your performance of the Liebesfreud :)

Thanks. I think it's better than, for example, Thalberg's sonata. It's perhaps rather episodic by dint of moving from one theme to another and not having any specific structure. Of course that is the nature of many paraphrases of the day. I've not thought about much Rachmaninoff - not least because these transcriptions have generally been part of a larger entity as I've been doing recitals based purely on ones from opera; also I've been spending a lot of time trying to find good transcriptions by composers who are forgotten or semi-forgotten.

Thanks again for listening and for your perceptive comments.

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