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 Post subject: Chopin - Mazurkasr Op.17 and Op.24
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:16 am 
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And now for something completely different ... some Chopin Mazurkas ! :wink:
Always listening to my critics, I tried hard to apply more expression in terms of rubato and dynamics and hope they are a bit better because of that. Not quite flawless but the slips and inaudible notes seem to be getting fewer with each installment.

Mazurka Op.17 No.1
Mazurka Op.17 No.2
Mazurka Op.17 No.3
Mazurka Op.17 No.4

Mazurka Op.24 No.1
Mazurka Op.24 No.2
Mazurka Op.24 No.3
Mazurka Op.24 No.4

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:06 am 
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I listened to them right through and I think you did a good job and some parts of these mazurkas are rather tricky (thinking about the ornaments and short fast quite runs). Much harder to execute well than it sounds. Not many wrong notes even though I heard some here and there but I feel that overall, there are fewer mistakes than in previous recordings. So a good mark overall from my side :).

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:59 pm 
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First of all, I think you did a great job with your expression and interpretation on all of these. You were in a
good ' mazurka zone' when you recorded them.
Just a couple spots to point out: On 17/1 - It may be your score, but on the second measure RH you play a g-flat. I have a g-natural. You do it twice so that's why I am thinking it is your score. I like a g-natural because when that particular measure comes back at bar 18, I do have a g-flat and it adds a slightly different feel.
17/2 and 3- all good
17/4 - what a moody piece, isn't it? Most of your runs were good. On the A-maj. section I would like to hear you bring out the second voice more - the d,c# b on the second measure, as well as tighten up the rhythm. It was better later on.
All Op. 24 pieces were good. Good ornaments on 24/2

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:16 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
First of all, I think you did a great job with your expression and interpretation on all of these. You were in a good ' mazurka zone' when you recorded them.

Good to hear they seem to be getting a little better in that repect. Now the critics can concentrate more on the wrong notes :lol:

pianolady wrote:
Just a couple spots to point out: On 17/1 - It may be your score, but on the second measure RH you play a g-flat. I have a g-natural. You do it twice so that's why I am thinking it is your score. I like a g-natural because when that particular measure comes back at bar 18, I do have a g-flat and it adds a slightly different feel.

Interesting. Will check tonight but if I play g flat this is probably so in my Peters score. Incidentally, the CD sheetmusic has g natural in both bars. Indeed, a bit more variation playing first g than g flat.

pianolady wrote:
17/4 - what a moody piece, isn't it? Most of your runs were good.

Most were passable, except one that is fumbled. Trying to sound like Roberto Carnevale here... but obviously light years removed from that. Ah well, one can only try... Indeed that middle voice in the middle section is not very well defined.

These trills in 24-2 ... even after so many years I fail to play then as real trills (assuming this is what Chopin meant) so I've settled for simple Bach-style ornaments. So that at least they don't bog down the jaunty rhythm of the piece. Perhaps with a light action more could be done here.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:45 am 
Really great Mazurkas, I was never into the style until recently and especially after listening through your two sets I really want to start studying them! Just so happens my 19th century music history class was talking yesterday and apparently when Chopin played his Mazurkas, he stretched the second beat so much that he basically added another beat to the bar.

I really enjoyed your performances, just a couple general things that I would suggest: 1) when you had a dotted eighth note and a sixteenth note, I really wanted the 16th note to pull towards the down-beat and it felt kind of held back to me a lot of the time. 2) I noticed a few times where the phrase was too broken up for my liking by either rubato or articulation. I also think you could have used more dynamic contrast in the higher volumes, i.e. 24/4, where the FFs and Fs didn't sound that big, although you probably don't want them to be bombastic. I think to me it sounded like you were doing the dynamics in the left hand but not in the right hand...

great playing!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:41 am 
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Thanks Jeff, glad you enjoyed them. I'll keep in mind what you said about te dotted eights, always good to make them a bit snappier. Dynamics are a constant source of attention. Problem is that the recording levels out much of the dynamic contrasts - even if we don't seem to understand why that happens, but I hear a similar thing in others' recordings too. There is never the huge contrast you hear in professional recordings. Having said that, one could always do more. Working on it.....

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:52 am 
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17/1: Sounds very good to me, I think you captured the risoluto mood very well. Also dynamicwise, there are accents and softer passages. Maybe on the e flat major section something more could happen towards soft (dolce marking!), but overall I like it much! In the sheetmusicarchive score there are 8th notes in the LH every second bar of the e flat major section, does your score did not include them? You did not play them, but that are obvious notes, I can't imagine that you would have missed them according to your score -I have to check my Henle Urtext at home for that too!

17/2: I like your phrasing of the melody on that, also in the combination with the looser rhythm! Both parts with trioles in rh (at the end and in 1st half) sound uncertain to me, the 16th notes in the middle part you play here and there almost as 8th notes, and the stretto part could come more forceful. Beside that, it is really audible that you do more on expression compared to former Mazurka takes from you!

17/3: Strange composition, but you really do something regarding expression. There are places at which you do just the opposite (compared with sheetmusicarchive score) regarding crescendo/decrescendo but I think that is absolutely ok. It is told that Chopin never played a piece twice in the same manner, and as long as it sounds musically convincing (what it does!) it can't be wrong.

17/4: Beautiful! You play it in the tone color area of the piano where it has the most capabilities to change the timbre, from mellow to bright. Don't say your Edirol would not capture that faithfully! One can hear it! Also, most of the rh runs came very well, only one was a bit fumbled, but the expression is there. Yes, it sounds way Carnevale inspired. Great!

Some comments to the other Mazurkas later.

techneut wrote:
There is never the huge contrast you hear in professional recordings.


Sorry, can't resist commenting that. If you would replace the word "recordings" with "playing" I would agree with you :lol: Not that I feel better in that area, I know that it is a live long endeavor to explore the dynamics!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:21 am 
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Thanks Olaf. I appreciate the good tips you give and am glad that some expression is finally making its way into my recordings :wink:

The 'missing eights' I probably do play, but insufficiently audible.

Yes I must sharper define dotted rhythms (and have been told so already by my teacher).

The 17.3 is indeed a very unsatisfying thing to play and I never quite know what to make of it. It is hard because LH has accents on the 1st beat, but RH on the third (but sometimes on the second :o ), giving it a strange limping gait. It is one of my least favoutite Mazurkas. But if I want to do them all, I should not complain.

In the 17.4 I could only bring out the sotto voce (at the start and end) by using the una corda pedal. I guess that is allowed even though Chopin did not write it.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:44 am 
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techneut wrote:
In the 17.4 I could only bring out the sotto voce (at the start and end) by using the una corda pedal. I guess that is allowed even though Chopin did not write it.


I never understand why many pianists (also in other former discussions) almost excuse themself for using the una corda pedal. The few times I watched good professionals I have seen they used the una corda pedal pretty often. Why not? It is a great tool to change the tone color. Everyone takes the liberty to push the sostenuto pedal if that is written or not in the score. Why not same liberty for the una corda pedal? One can play loud and soft without una corda pedal, and loud and soft with una corda pedal. But the great thing is that the una corda pedal changes the timbre (not necessarily the volume, only a bit) - and playing in different timbres is what makes the thing interesting.

Sorry for coming off topic..

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:17 pm 
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24/1: Very good in my opinion, maybe some rare left notes are missing here and there. But beside that, you play with good dynamics, the melody line comes out very good!

24/2: There also much to praise, articulation, voicing is really very good. The ritenuto is also very tasteful. Also the part with melody in lh sounds sweet to me. It is always the danger if the lh is taken back much, that some notes don't come anymore. There are some bars where the last quarter in lh don't sound. Maye the parts were forte and piano change fast - the contrasts could come even stronger. The overall mood comes very well however!

24/3: Notewise there seem to be only here and there some lh notes missing. Anyhow I think however one could do a bit more regarding expression ("dolcissimo", and the number of expression markings Chopin wrote is really impressive, almost on every second note there is something).

24/4: Strange piece, and surely not the easiest one. Always the last mazurka of an opus seems to be the most difficult to play. Considering that, you did well here too. That crazy 32th accents could come even sharper, if possible. In the coda and in general for the soft parts with melody in rh you could take more care for the lh notes, that they come even if beeing very soft.

In general I think you did a great job on that bunch of Mazurkas. Can't stress enough the fast output you have, and my deep respect for that. Beside that your expression has really improved, and that is what counts even more than the quantity, because it raises the quality. Great achievement!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:24 pm 
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Well thanks again ! All this nagging about expression seems to help :P

I think inaudible notes are now my main problem but it is already getting better too since my first recordings. Maybe one day I will yet produce an absolutely spit-polish perfect recording :lol:

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