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 Post subject: for those who might be curious (Chopin 25/7 live)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:53 pm 
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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. :lol: 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. :lol:

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. :lol: Maybe I will do general again some day...

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:15 am 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
better than I can do. Doesn't the opening sound somewhat like a few passages from his first ballade?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:47 am 
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Hey Terez,

I'm too tired to nitpick right now, but since you reminded me that I have played this piece, I will do so tomorrow. Listening as I type, and in general your playing sounds nice. But man...that audience noise is really annoying! Where did they have the microphone? Right next to someone who coughs and moves around all the time?

Yes, there are those pauses (deer-in-the-headlights :lol:). But I'll get more into this tomorrow.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:40 am 
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Nice to hear you at last Terez, even if it sounds like played in front of a crackling wood fire with people coughing and sneezing all around it. There are many beautiful things here but also some embarrassing moments which you know about. It is clear that you haved lived with this piece a long time. I don't find it too slow but there are some moments where you slow down too ostentatiously to err on the safe side. Errors there are few that I could hear. I'm not a Chopin expert so will leave more detailed feedback to others. But I'm sure you can do this beautifully and perfectly in the right circumstances.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:07 am 
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techneut wrote:
It is clear that you haved lived with this piece a long time.

My mom probably played it when she was pregnant with me. :lol: And lots of other Chopin...but this was always one of her favorites. Mine too, since it was one of the first Chopin things I could play, even though I had to go really slow through the second page.

Chris wrote:
I'm sure you can do this beautifully and perfectly in the right circumstances.

Maybe I will one day. :D And I'm not really embarrassed about the 'embarrassing' moments. Considering how I usually do when I play in front of people, that was nothing. :lol: Also, I have the excuse that I had a tooth pulled the other day, and now I have a dry socket, so I was both under the influence of narcotic pain medication and in serious pain...so I'm happy with how it turned out, enough that I think I'll be a little bit less nervous the next time I play in front of people (so long as I'm fairly comfortable with the piece/s).

I was actually thinking about all the coughers the whole time I was playing. They were loud even in my ears up on the stage. But to answer Monica's question, I think they put the microphones on stands that are about 7' tall, in the second row from the stage. Most people don't sit on the first two rows, but lots of people do sit right behind it.

@Juuf - yeah, I can see how you would compare the beginnings of this etude and the 1st ballade, if for no other reason than that they're both monophonic (though the ballade is in octaves) and they have a similar sort of wandering introductory feel to them (almost like recitative). I think I like the introduction to the ballade better, though, because it's so harmonically interesting. The introduction of the 25/7 etude just sort of hangs around the idea of the V-9 chord. The ballade intro starts out with with a N6 chord, and though it does eventually make it to the V7 that generally follows the N6 at the end of the intro, there are some interesting things in between that really remove the N6 from its usual function, not completely, but in a way that makes its function counterintuitive.

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:54 pm 
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Ok, now I followed along with the score, and I'll say it again - you did a really fine job here. The only nitpicks I have are:

1. The run at bar 22. I think it started a bit late. Also, I think it could go faster.

2. Same with the run at bar 24. I guess I just like these two runs to rumble boldly up the keys with no slowing.

3. Good job with the 'big' run at 27!

4. bar 42 - in my score (Paderewski Edition) the first four LH notes are straight 16ths, not dotted.

That's it. Thanks for letting us listen.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:00 pm 
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mmmmm .... did I mention I'm listening with no pants on??

in any case, very very nice ....sexy and yummy. such a fluid rubato... congrats

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Thanks for listening, guys. Image (There's no proper love-showing emotes here so I went and stole one.) And Nathan, everyone knows you're too lazy to have pants on at this hour. :wink:

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:11 pm 
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and now that I've wifi in house .... i'll never have to wear pants again!!! Mwahaha *evil laugh* :twisted:

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the one, the only ... Nathan Coleman
"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:19 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
No wonder Nate has four kids...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 2:13 am 
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Okay, now for an on-topic comment... :lol:

Considering the situation, I think you did very well. Better than I would have. :wink: I do think the school is going to have to do something about the racket... either they hired some professional coughers or there was a sudden and severe outbreak of swine flu. :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 3:17 am 
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I can't complain about the coughers, really. General recital class is very mock-formal, and all of the students are pretty apathetic about it (though we are appreciative of good performances, and have been known to hoot and holler for really good ones, even before noon). But last general recital, there was a guy playing this Ysaye violin sonata, and after the Bach quote at the beginning I missed fighting back a laugh. I couldn't help it - it was a funny way to start a piece, and I'd never heard it before. So that guy's recording has me laughing on it, from the back row. It was an awesome performance, though - he was the concertmaster up until this year (he's finished his ensemble requirements, I think). I might see if I can get that recording...

Today was the last day of my Baroque music history class, and my prof reserved the auditorium for our class so we could perform for each other (very informal thing, but we invited non class members so there were about 50 people there). There was some excellent singing and organ playing, a Handel aria that my poor friend David had to accompany on the piano (from a horrible transcription, as usual). I played the courante from the Bach e minor partita. I played it really fast too, and I am still drugged up and I had been up all night on top of it, so I screwed up quite a few things. :lol: But that thankfully wasn't recorded. It wasn't all that bad, but it will be better when I do my recital in the fall.

And this morning I played on our old Steinway. It was a good piano for that piece, though. I don't like playing Chopin on it - I had to play that etude on it last week in the piano-only recital class, and I hated it. So I got all prima donna when they asked me to play for general and told them I only would if they brought out the new Steinway. 8)

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 11:10 am 
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I have looked forward to this moment for ages! :lol:

Great playing Theresa, and I do mean it. I listened to it a few times and it's clear you play with sensitivity and imagination. The only apparent (small) flub is unimportant and gets usually unnoticed to the average listener. Believe me that a performance like that is considered virtually perfect to most of an audience. Nathan's pants reminded me of a thing I read on Hough's blog about stage fright. A strategy to fight it, told Hough by Pascal Nemirowski, is to imagine the entire audience naked. Or even only the male fraction of the audience, in your case, this could lead to a CFNM interesting situation which surely empowers you as a performer. :lol:

AFA details are concerned, I don't like the turn at ms 21, because it sounds a bit hysterical (ugly tone); I missed the accent on LH Fx at ms 22; I woundn't slow down at the end of the LH run at ms 24; at ms 25 the accent should be on the trill main note; at ms 34 the RH G# is a 32nd; as Monica's already said, the rhythm issue at ms 42; I don't like the slowdown in the LH run at ms 51; lastly, I'd do more crescendo in the ms 57-58 LH passage. That's all. Happy to see you play so well.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 7:26 pm 
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alf wrote:
I have looked forward to this moment for ages! :lol:

Great playing Theresa, and I do mean it.

:oops: Thank you Alfie. 8)

Alfie wrote:
Nathan's pants reminded me of a thing I read on Hough's blog about stage fright. A strategy to fight it, told Hough by Pascal Nemirowski, is to imagine the entire audience naked. Or even only the male fraction of the audience, in your case, this could lead to a CFNM interesting situation which surely empowers you as a performer. :lol:

Yeah, I had several people on another (non-musical) message board tell me the same thing, before I had to play. It doesn't work for me. :cry:

Alfie wrote:
AFA details are concerned, I don't like the turn at ms 21, because it sounds a bit hysterical (ugly tone); I missed the accent on LH Fx at ms 22; I wouldn't slow down at the end of the LH run at ms 24; at ms 25 the accent should be on the trill main note; at ms 34 the RH G# is a 32nd; as Monica's already said, the rhythm issue at ms 42; I don't like the slowdown in the LH run at ms 51; lastly, I'd do more crescendo in the ms 57-58 LH passage.

Yeah, most of these things fall in the "other nitpicks" category that I mentioned in post one, except for the slowing-down runs, which I already addressed specifically. Seriously, I could nitpick this recording for days - I just didn't want to bore you guys, lol...oh, and I meant to mention to Monica earlier that the run that appears to start late in m. 22 actually started on time - it was just inaudible on the first note (as you said, no accent...no note at all!) but I didn't want to nitpick the nitpickers. :D

Thanks for listening, Alf. Image

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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