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 Post subject: At Last
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 5:44 am 
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At last, got the piano tuned and had a productive recording day yesterday. Recorded 26 tracks in total. Sorry for spamming.... do not feel obliged to listen to them all. But any comments appreciated.

I did not plan on recording the two variation sets yet, but decided on the spur to give it a go. They came out not too bad except I fly squarely off the rails in the Liadov Presto finale. More warty than the rest though, and should be considered work-in-progress really.

Changed recording position once again, lid open, Edirol on a bench about one metre from the narrow end of the grand. Seems to sound more natural than earlier recordings though a problem here is that some very short and soft notes are not being caught by the mics.

Bach - Italian Concerto BWV 971
Bach - Prelude and Fugue in C sharp major, BVW 848, from WTC book I
Bach - Prelude and Fugue in F minor, BVW 857, from WTC book I
Bach - Prelude and Fugue in A major, BVW 864, from WTC book I
Bach - Prelude and Fugue in B major, BVW 892, from WTC book II
Brahms - Intermezzo Op.117 No.1
Brahms - Intermezzo Op.117 No.2
Brahms - Intermezzo Op.117 No.3
Chopin - Mazurka Op.41 No.1 in C sharp major
Chopin - Mazurka Op.41 No.2 in E minor
Chopin - Mazurka Op.41 No.3 in B major
Chopin - Mazurka Op.41 No.4 in A flat major
Chopin - Mazurka Op.56 No.1 in B major
Chopin - Mazurka Op.56 No.2 in C major
Chopin - Mazurka Op.56 No.3 in C minor
Chopin - Mazurka Op.59 No.1 in A minor
Chopin - Mazurka Op.59 No.2 in A flat major
Chopin - Mazurka Op.59 No.3 in F sharp minor
Chopin - Variations brillantes Op.12
Liadov - Mazurka Op.10 No.3
Liadov - Mazurka Op.11 No.3
Liadov - Mazurka Op.15 No.1
Liadov - Prelude Op.11 No.1
Liadov - Prelude Op.57 No.1
Liadov - Variations on a Polish Theme Op.51
Mozart - Allegro in G minor KV312/590d

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:14 am 
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Ok, I thought already, that there was a recording swell overdue from your side, considering your usual recording output. But THAT AMOUNT! :shock:

Up to now I listened to Bach WTC1 and Brahms, but will listen and try to give more or less qualified or useful or useless comments later on to the other pieces too.

Bach WTC1 f minor: prelude: confident playing, the only thing I don't like so much are your trills. I would prefer a calmer slower style, my old teacher prefers to play such trills as 32th, so that it is synchronized with the other notes. Fugue: pretty fast but theme comes out really well, also in left hand, GREAT! You phrase with right hand some passages, what sounds very well (such things are like the salt in the soup, shows that you don't play "only" the right notes but give phrasing), but you don't do that on same passages with left hand. Ok, ok, I know, I should not demand things I never could realize myself. Netherveless, if you don't know nothing else to improve on that fugue, this would be a possibility...

Bach WTC1 a major: prelude: congratulation, very well done, I like it much! fugue: bit too fast because the 16th runs did got a bit blurred. Some bars sound to me that you took sustain pedal to cover those crazy difficult parts...You did not rush, you can keep rhythm very well even in those complex situations, but in the 16th notes you lost confidence soundwise. For my taste, there is no need to play that fugue so fast, not only from the performance side, but too from the listener side.

Bach WTC1 c sharp major prelude: I think this prelude eludes to change voices according to the melody switch between right and left hand at least in the first half of the prelude. Could be played calmer too, a bit more evenly. Could have a bit more "bite", also faster, if possible. The fugue sounds very good to me! Did you had the score coded as d flat major (only 5 flats instead 7 sharps)? There is such score. Up to now I played only the prelude as it is on the site already, coded as c sharp since I did not knew about the easier d flat score. Not possible to play from score with 7 sharps for me, I need to play it from memory.

Brahms intermezzi: First, I like that 117/1 intermezzo much, and played it myself too. A very special piece, because the melody is not played with the right hand pinky, it is the inner voice of the 3 voiced right hand. I could imagine to voice the melody phrases more, and beginning and end considerably softer. And more dynamic changes for this highly romantic piece between the different parts. It is (for me) a lullaby, from the finest sort. Otherwise well played, also the other 2 intermezzi, probably more difficult? Have not had a look at the score. Netherveless, very good playing - not too fast, but also not too slow.

Overall, Brahms and Bach very well! It makes pleasure to listen to that pieces!

And your recording Edirol position seems to be very good as well. All recordings have some noise, but no need to put micros and mixer and the other stuff in the room, so that is the little disadvantage an Edirol has. Nevertheless good recording quality too!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:47 am 
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Thanks Olaf, as usual you are right in your observations. I am not too pleased about the c# prelude either, the shifting balance between LH and RH did not come out as well as I wanted. Yes I play the 7 sharps edition, the 5 flats is for wimps :wink: But I must confess it is hardgoing and some places in the fugue are still very precarious with all these double sharps.

The LH 16ths in the A major would not come out right whatever I tried (sometimes they do but not this time). It would be wise to take it slower but I like the lively fugues fast, and one must be prepared to take some risks in life ! There's always the good old pedal :wink:

Indeed in the F major the voicing is not yet optimal. This is one very difficult fugue, as are the others, some of the most demanding of the entire WTC. I am already glad to have gotten them off without too many horrible accidents.

I am delighted to hear it is a pleasurable listen - this is what counts, never mind all the flaws. Indeed this way of recording seems to produce the best sound so far, together with the Cooledit reverb (Light Concert Hall) and I think I'll stick to this setup from now on.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:03 am 
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Bach Italian concerto: Wow, next heavy weigth. This concerto alone would give me food for months, and for you it is something among the other 25 pieces, unbelievable, really ...

Well, 1st movement: lively, fresh, and very good articulation in both hands. The very good overall impression is a bit dimmed (only a bit) because there are long trills over several bars in right hand which one can hear only in the beginning of the trill. The trills got somehow lost after some quarter notes.

2nd movement: Nice and calm played, and you never lost the groove regardless whether there are 16th or 32th or 64th notes. Have you swallowed a metronome, or what?

3rd movement: labeled with Presto and, that is how you played it. How can you learn that in that short time?

Regarding trills on all movements: it sounds to me so as if you would have deep respect before trills, also with right hand. During the trills the left hand accompaignement suffers so as if you would put all concentration in the trills and nothing else. This is the main thing technique wise what is worthful to improve, just my opinion - in order to get the trills more effortless, long and evenly if necessary.

Thank you for sharing that Bach concerto!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:21 am 
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Quote:
Well, 1st movement: lively, fresh, and very good articulation in both hands. The very good overall impression is a bit dimmed (only a bit) because there are long trills over several bars in right hand which one can hear only in the beginning of the trill. The trills got somehow lost after some quarter notes.

This is done out of necessity : otherwise I can not do the page turn which is right in the middle ! And I was too lazy to copy it all on a4 sheets and tape them together as I sometimes do. Pretty weak, uh ? Must be wonderful to have something memorized...

Quote:
2nd movement: Nice and calm played, and you never lost the groove regardless whether there are 16th or 32th or 64th notes. Have you swallowed a metronome, or what?

Yep. One of these Seiko thingy's. I tried a wooden Wittner once but it gave me stomach pain for days. :lol:

Quote:
3rd movement: labeled with Presto and, that is how you played it. How can you learn that in that short time?

I can't. Have played this for many many years, and been polishing it for at least 3 months now - as most of the other pieces recorded here.

Quote:
Regarding trills on all movements: it sounds to me so as if you would have deep respect before trills, also with right hand. During the trills the left hand accompaignement suffers so as if you would put all concentration in the trills and nothing else. This is the main thing technique wise what is worthful to improve, just my opinion - in order to get the trills more effortless, long and evenly if necessary.

Yeah, so true. I do blame it partly on the instrument though. It's just never going to be easy.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:33 am 
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Hi Techneut,
Mazurka 59/2 - You know I listened to this one first. I liked your tempo. I've been practicing this one a lot and this is my tempo too. I heard a few slips but that's probably because you recorded a hundred pieces in one day. The things I'm wondering about are:
1. A missed base note on the first beat of measure 8 and again in measure 27, the third beat. Maybe this was just plain old missed or is this in your edition?
2. Measure 55 - my score says right hand eighth notes E natural to G, then quarter note F. I think you played E-G-E.
3. The passage from meaures 81 -88 may have missed several notes, which is hard with all the accidentals everywhere.
4. meaures 91-93, my score shows a slur marking the phrase from the C in 91 to the A-flat in 93. You broke the phrase on this first beat of 93.
5. Measure 105 - you played a B-flat on the last note - my score shows a B-natural.
6. I see you played the the last 2 bars slightly detached. With the reverb on the recording it sounds good.

I hope I'm not nitpicking too much. Maybe these things I pointed out are issues of different editions?
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed your playing this. Gives me motivation to keep working on it myself.
I'll listen to some of your other pieces later.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 11:34 am 
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Quote:
Quote:
Well, 1st movement: lively, fresh, and very good articulation in both hands. The very good overall impression is a bit dimmed (only a bit) because there are long trills over several bars in right hand which one can hear only in the beginning of the trill. The trills got somehow lost after some quarter notes.

This is done out of necessity : otherwise I can not do the page turn which is right in the middle ! And I was too lazy to copy it all on a4 sheets and tape them together as I sometimes do. Pretty weak, uh ? Must be wonderful to have something memorized...


Hmmm, there are 2 XXL-trills short behind each other, every trill over 3 bars, but I think you never trilled that long.

Quote:
Quote:
Have you swallowed a metronome, or what?

Yep. One of these Seiko thingy's. I tried a wooden Wittner once but it gave me stomach pain for days. :lol:


Ah, that's the secret. I need something stronger. Some years later, if I need my first heart pace maker, I hope there are some for rhythmic idiots to give extra electro shocks, what can be adjusted according the necessary BPMs ...

Quote:
Quote:
3rd movement: labeled with Presto and, that is how you played it. How can you learn that in that short time?

I can't. Have played this for many many years, and been polishing it for at least 3 months now - as most of the other pieces recorded here.


Don't believe a word. This you say always, that you played the pieces since decades. According to that you must have played all that stuff already in the Kindergarten...

Quote:
Quote:
Regarding trills on all movements: it sounds to me so as if you would have deep respect before trills, also with right hand. During the trills the left hand accompaignement suffers so as if you would put all concentration in the trills and nothing else. This is the main thing technique wise what is worthful to improve, just my opinion - in order to get the trills more effortless, long and evenly if necessary.

Yeah, so true. I do blame it partly on the instrument though. It's just never going to be easy.


Maybe slower until it gets easy? However, trills on a heavy action is surely difficultier than on easy going actions.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 12:07 pm 
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Yo pianolady,
Looks like you've spotted most or all of the slips, and indeed there are some missing bass notes (could also be they were too wimpy to be picked up by the not overly sensitive Edirol mics).
I noticed all of this when listening back but I thought it was not bad enough to warrant a re-recording. Tell me if I'm being a lazy sod :D

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 12:17 pm 
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Quote:
Tell me if I'm being a lazy sod


:lol: :lol: You weren't that lazy yesterday. I'm halfway through the mazurkas right now and thinking that you must have been drinking a lot of coffee during all of that recording. That, and sometimes the devil was inside you. :twisted:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 12:23 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
pianolady wrote:
That, and sometimes the devil was inside you. :twisted:



Paganini lives!! :shock:

So how much did you sell your soul for? Muahaha!


On a serious note. I like the recordings. Too bad I can't pick them apart like you have mine. I think it is because you have good musician's ears. I just hear the music but I do not listen. :x


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:41 pm 
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You weren't that lazy yesterday. I'm halfway through the mazurkas right now and thinking that you must have been drinking a lot of coffee during all of that recording. That, and sometimes the devil was inside you. :twisted:

No coffee or anything. Actually I did not even leave the room for about 4 hours, and only got up to switch the Edirol off and on and change music. Seems like I was in a total trance. Yeah probably possessed by the devil, that would explain. Hehehe :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:43 pm 
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Just listened to the Chopin Mazurkas. The order in my Henle Urtext is other, your 41/1 is here 41/4, 41/2 is 41/1 and so on, only if someone is wondering.

The overall impression is that you play them rhytmically confident, and with a tempo what seems just right. The only passages what are really not very well in my opinion are in 56/1 the leggiero parts, here there are plenty of right hand notes missing.

Regarding dynamics, to me it sounds as if you play between mf and f more or less all the way. You phrase the melodies, yes, but I think you could make something more with the melodies if you would take back the overall volume on appropriate places for instance. On 59/1 there is a passage sotto voce, but I heard barely a piano, really. I don't think it is worthful to point of some weak notes or slips or wrong notes. At least there are no really distracting slips - but regarding dynamics you could give it a try to do more on Chopin, especially on the soft side of the dynamic range.

Your playing style fits very well with Bach, and I feel in your Bach recordings that you love Bach. On Chopin however, you could dig a bit deeper to bring out more of the amazing melodies or the surprising harmony switches and the sound poetry Chopin is famous for. This critique shall not overshadow your strong achievements in your recordings, both quantity AND quality wise!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:57 pm 
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Yes I am only just learning to play with more dynamic contrasts. It's still not enough, as you know the recording takes away much of it unless one really exaggerates. Also I have a problem playing really pianissimo because of the rather heavy/slow action. Hehe. I can always blame my old rickety instrument - no such luxury for you Olaf !

But - I think I (sub)consciously play Chopin's more gentle pieces (Mazurkas, Waltzes, Nocturnes) with less drama than more extrovert works. Compare with the Variations or the Polonaise, I think one should hear a difference.

Strange the Opp.41 are in different order. I would assume Henle is right and Peters is wrong. Be interesting to see how it is in the Paderewski.

Thanks again for all the comments.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:18 pm 
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Just listened to the Variations brillantes - Wow. Good job. I bet this is a killer piece. I've never tackled it myself, but it reminds me of the Andante Spianato/Grande Polonaise of which I'm very good at massacring. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:32 am 
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Quote:
Just listened to the Variations brillantes - Wow. Good job. I bet this is a killer piece. I've never tackled it myself, but it reminds me of the Andante Spianato/Grande Polonaise of which I'm very good at massacring. :)

It has its moments, yes - especially the scherzando variation is real tricky. Overall it's not too bad though.

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