I had to play for general recital class the other day. Well, I didn't have to, but I've turned down the offer before, and I didn't feel like I should this time since I am
a piano major. Anyway, we have recital class each week on Tuesday mornings for about an hour, and usually it's just playing in front of the piano faculty and other piano majors, which is no big deal really (about 20 people). But once a month we have general recital class, and our weekly departmental recital classes are essentially an audition to play for general, in front of all the music majors, which is I think around 400 people if everyone shows up (a surprising number of people don't
show up, considering that you have to go to 4 extra recitals for missing general).
Anyway, so I've never played in front of that many people before, and I was really scared. I thought it would turn out horrible, but it wasn't all that bad, really, and they record general recital class for us so I figured I'd post it here. It's not good enough that I want to put it in the audition room, and I don't have two other pieces anyway, but I figured since I've made nearly 1000 posts here without recording anything that I would post it on general for the friends that I've made here.
I wish I could get in this hall, with that Steinway, with some recording equipment in the middle of the night when there aren't hundreds of people there to dampen the acoustics, make tons of shuffling and coughing noises, and make me nervous.
It's a really nice piano, but the bottom 3-4 octaves can get REALLY loud, which makes this piece somewhat difficult to play on it - it's really hard to find that perfect touch for the left hand notes.
Since I critique everyone else's Chopin, here's my own critique of mine:
When I'm not so nervous, I usually play it a touch faster. Not much, though. I always play stuff under tempo for juries and such, because I'm a wimp like that.
In the opening cadenza, I learned this from an edition that has quarter notes for the B# and the C# right before it. I see that Henle has 8th notes, though.
I had a few deer-in-the-headlights moments due to being really nervous. The first one is the worst, at m. 5. I sat there looking at that G# in the LH on beat 3, thinking, "Is that my note? OMG IS THAT MY NOTE???" and I finally just played it, lol. It was sort of the same thing on the downbeat of m. 7, though I recovered a bit more quickly for that one. I did it again on the downbeat of 19 (it was the RH notes I blanked out on that time). Then again in m. 26, on that last LH 32nd note before the 3rd beat.
I didn't keep the pulse as well as I would have liked through the first 8 measures, and that becomes a bit obvious at m. 9 when I go a tempo
again. I'm working on that - it's hard to keep a pulse and be expressive at the same time, but I can do it a bit better when I'm not so nervous.
In m. 12, I don't play the melody in the right hand correctly. That's a reading error I recently picked up on, and I haven't broken the habit of playing it incorrectly yet (Henle has double-dotted eighth and 32nd, Mikuli has dotted eighth and 16th, but either way I played it wrong).
There are some balance issues with the voices, and most often, it's my middle notes (non-melody accompaniment notes) being too loud. First really noticeable example is on the 2nd beat of m. 18 (not sure why I played the RH so loud there). It was arguably too loud in a few places before that. In m. 21, the middle notes are too loud on the first two beats, and in all of 23-24. Would like to bring out the RH melody more in 23. In m. 37 and the pickup to it, my left hand could have been louder, and the RH accompaniment notes not so much. I also lost the Bs in the RH in ms. 43-44, until the pickup. Downbeat of m. 46, RH accompaniment notes too loud. There arguably too loud in the next couple of measures as well, but definitely in ms. 49-50. Would like to bring out the RH more on the pickup to 57, and the top notes a bit more in general through 63-64. Would like for the LH notes to be more in 60-61, maybe the RH less.
I don't usually slow down so much on the runs of the 2nd page of the etude, but I think I was just too nervous to try to play them really fast.
In m. 29, that bottom B in the LH didn't come out, and I usually play the LH softer through this passage (and would like for it to be softer) but I think that inaudible made me nervous about playing it too soft. I also played the RH melody rhythm incorrectly in ms. 33-34, on the 3rd beats of both measures. Would like for the RH accompaniment notes to be less through that whole passage.
There are some other nitpicks I could make, but that's the gist of it.
Maybe I will do general again some day...