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 Post subject: Two Chopin Etudes
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:21 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 3:32 pm
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Location: Connecticut, USA
My performances of two Chopin etudes, Op. 10, No. 11, the "Rolled-Chord" or "Arpeggio," and the celebrated "Ocean," Op. 25, No. 12. These are two of my personal favorites musically among the etudes and fit my hand relatively well compared with some others. Op. 10, No. 11, I especially love and seems not to be played nearly often enough except as part of the set; for me, it is a beautiful melody even by Chopin standards.

Comments welcome. Thanks for listening.

Joe

Chopin - Etude Op.10 No.11 (2:24)
Chopin - Etude Op.25 No.12 (2:49)

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 Post subject: Re: Two Chopin Etudes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:55 pm 
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Location: Uppsala, Sweden
Wow, 25:12 is a beast. I tried it myself some time ago but gave up, I just couldn't sustain articulation at speed. And in a way I think that may be your problem too. In the runs some notes stick out and some are barely heard. No one plays these runs completely even (except Pollini, who is kind of boring in this one) but executing them musically rather than just the way they fit the hands is hard. Incidentally we had a midi-edited contribution of this a while ago where every single note was heard clearly, and the impression was quite weird.

One suggestion is to practice exclusively in pianissimo for a sustained time. That way you hear better what is happening and run less risk of tensing up. It worked to some extent for me (though perhaps I shouldn't be talking since I never quite made it). Anyway, just getting trough this at speed is an accomplishment. Of course it is always risky to do well known virtuoso pieces since comparisons are inevitable.

I agree 10:11 is very nice and underplayed, I think you do it very well and bring out the melody beautifully.

Joachim


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 Post subject: Re: Two Chopin Etudes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:13 pm 
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Thanks very much for listening, Joachim, and for your comments. I do disagree with your take on 25-12, however.

I don't really think articulation and runs are the point of this piece. Rather, it's bringing out and shaping the melody that occurs on the first note of each bar (which should stick out, if that's what you're referring to). The squalls in the right hand that follow are more of an orchestrative accompanying effect. So while I would agree that a few of them could be optimally clearer, it's really written as more of a harmonic wash in the manner of, say, a Liszt piece in the Annees, where I would argue that you actually don't want too much articulation.

But anyway, thanks as usual for listening and for your compliments on 10-11.

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: Two Chopin Etudes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:22 pm 
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For sure the melody should stick out! And you do that fine! I was referring to notes within the runs. The idea of orchestral accompaniment I think is valid and useful, but there is a danger of both rhythmic distractions and irregular voicing effects poking out too often.


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 Post subject: Re: Two Chopin Etudes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:50 pm 
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Thanks for responding! Nice to find someone who's got real opinions about things and is willing to continue an argument :) Or a discussion really, since IMO there is definitely merit in what what you're saying, but I guess what you're focusing on here as a listener seems a bit strange to me (at least my interpretation of what you're saying, which of course could be wrong).

One thing I forgot to mention before is that as you know from studying the piece, each measure is pedalled for its duration, which makes either articulation or rhythmic delineation within the bar next to impossible. But I think that's ok, because it makes perfect sense in terms of Chopin's writing and his metronome marking of 80 for the half note with the accents on the top of the phrase (in which each four-note grouping is therefore not called out as such). Really the piece is more in "one" than in "four" since the melody is really the essential feature and what unifies the structure of each bar. So perhaps what I'm saying is it seems you may have been a bit too tough on yourself when you played the piece :P I just listened to a different recording (Michael Ponti's) and mine back to back, and granted, his was more fluid than mine, but his also wasn't particularly articulated at all and seemed to have a similar overall type of sound. So I guess I'm not reallly hearing the rhythmic distractions or irregular voicing effects or at least I would have to have a clearer idea of what you mean.

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 Post subject: Re: Two Chopin Etudes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:11 pm 
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Probably I used the wrong word. "articulation" is not really what I meant, and as you say impossible anyway (unless you do a midi-edit). And I do agree that the piece is "in one", and that the four-note groupings are next to irrelevant. But it still is important to do the runs reasonably even. If a spurious note sounds louder than some other it affects both the voicing (by calling attention to that note within the chord) and rhythm (by calling attention to the place in the run).


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 Post subject: Re: Two Chopin Etudes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:23 pm 
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Quote:
If a spurious note sounds louder than some other it affects both the voicing (by calling attention to that note within the chord) and rhythm (by calling attention to the place in the run).


Fair enough. While I'm not sure I hear that in listening back -- or at least not as a problem (there are always going to be a few odd notes that aren't even when something is recorded unedited) -- I agree with what you're saying in essence. Some examples would be helpful, but I realize you may not remember or have the time to relisten.

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: Two Chopin Etudes
PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:45 am 
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Very good work on both of these. I don't care for the excessive rubato in op.10 no.11 but that's probably what old school pianists did also. I always found this one exceedingly difficult even though I don't have particularly small hands.

These are on the site. Next time please remember to tag the mp3's, as you usually do perfectly.

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 Post subject: Re: Two Chopin Etudes
PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:01 pm 
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Chris, thanks very much for listening and commenting and for putting these on the site. And sorry abut the tags. I knew there was something I forgot :)

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 Post subject: Re: Two Chopin Etudes
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:14 pm
Posts: 531
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Those are both quite a feat. The best that I could ever do with 25:12 was to get through two pages before my arms petered out. I know, I would get too tense, but I never figured out how to break that tension. For me, if I ever were to play it it would have to be in 3 installments. :wink:

I think that you have done a fine job on both of these monsters.

Scott


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