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 Post subject: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:04 am 
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this was my first PS submition, almost 3 years ago!!

I decided to re-record it because my new recording setting is much better!
I also hope to be able to deliver a slightly better interpretation. Though this piece is REALLY DIFFICULT to play well. In my opinion, of course.


Brahms - Ballade Op. 10, No. 1

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Felipe Sarro


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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:30 am 
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Ok, Felipe, this is replaced. I don't know the piece that well so I can't say much. Really this is probably the second time I have ever listened to it all the way through; the first time being your original recording. :)

I do hear something a little odd in the background, though. Almost sounds like your washing machine or dryer is on somewhere in your home? Or maybe your puppy is nearby and breathing hard....?

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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:51 am 
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hm...

I can't listen to these odd sounds, but in fact my grandpa wasn't too silent when I was recording. I remember I was a little upset. Since I can't hear these sounds in the recording, I forgot them. But they remain. :?

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Felipe Sarro


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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:58 am 
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Nothing Brahms wrote is ever easy to play well. This is an adequate performance with all the notes in their proper place. Though I do have some minor niggles, some of which may be personal:

- It's rather bass heavy. Maybe your recording setup ?
- It's a bit slow and ponderous.
- It's a bit rhythmically flabby in places. Too much rubato IMO doesn't work in this fiery piece.
- I may be getting deaf, but I don't hear some of the top notes (this already in the second chord). Time for pinky excercises ?
- You could be a bit more careful with the pedal. I heard at least one ugly blur.

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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:49 pm 
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hi, Chris!

I don't like 99% of the recordings of this piece, which I find too fast and breathless, with little drama. Even so, when I heard my recording, I found out that I should've speeded up in the middle of the middle section. but I don't think there is much rubato here.

yes, there is one or two bars where I don't lift the pedal. I may have done it in the wrong way (so it blurred), but the intention was to add sound in a special passage: the climax of the piece.

thanks for listening!

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Felipe Sarro


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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:08 pm 
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Wha, 99%. You must have listened to at least 100 recordings then :D
So I'd expect you to know exactly what you want and what you don't. These Ballades sure are hard pieces to bring off convincingly.

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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:37 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Wha, 99%. You must have listened to at least 100 recordings then :D

and my recording is inside this 99%. hehe

yeah, they are super hard.

in fact, I find the first and the forth super hard to play convincingly. numbers 2 and 3 are a bit easier, I think (though far more difficult technically).

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Felipe Sarro


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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:45 pm 
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Hi Felipe, I remember that you submitted this piece on AR :D
I agree with Chris on many points, but I cannot hear only one or two weak notes for which the right pinky is responsible and think this is tolerable. You said you don't like too fast tempo for this piece, but also at a slower tempo you shoud keep the whole piece exciting. When I listened to this recording, I was sometimes a bit distracted when you play(?) the breaks. But this is certainly a hard piece and I cannot dare to play something like this, since I have stuffed-chords-fright :?
BTW is there anybody who can explain me how I can train pinkies?
And I don't hear any strange sound, even though I used a very good headphone for listening :roll:

Edit: Have you listened to the Gould's rendition, Felipe? If I remember correctly, he doesn't play this not too fast, but very convincingly.

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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:45 pm 
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hi, Hye Jin!

no, I haven't listened to Gould! I didn't know Gould recorded this piece!

you said you get distracted during the breaks. probably you mean the first 1'50 minute.
well... I like that! hehe
there is contrasting between those sections, as if they were describing different (parallel) scenes.

I didn't sing those top notes, but I can hear them. If I'd sing those notes, I miss the choral effect of the first section.

I think we have too different views of this piece, or maybe mine is too idiosyncratic.
what I think is really missing in my recording is that the passage between 2'05 and 2'38 should be faster.

I'll take a look at Gould. thanks!

PS: I'm leaving PS for a while. I'll be on the beach for the rest of the month! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:50 pm 
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felipesarro wrote:
PS: I'm leaving PS for a while. I'll be on the beach for the rest of the month! :D

*Green with envy*

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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:53 pm 
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hyenal wrote:
BTW is there anybody who can explain me how I can train pinkies?

well... I train pinkies the same way I train other muscles. is the "grabbing" thing again.
the first thing my actual teacher made me do was to play a Czerny exercise (with lots of chords) in a "grabbing" way. this is for finger strength. (I remember my hands would heat while playing it. It was a kind of "weight lifting" for piano). there was also that thing about playing more than one chord with only one arm movement. if I find this Czerny, I can send it to you by e-mail.

and then, after practicing it for one month, he wanted me to play Brahms Ballade Op. 118 no. 3, which is all about grabbing. hehe

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Felipe Sarro


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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:15 am 
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hyenal wrote:
BTW is there anybody who can explain me how I can train pinkies?


First make sure you are pronating your forearm correctly. When pianists get worried about their fifth finger they tend to lean the hand towards that side to "help out" the weak finger. It's exactly the wrong thing to do. By rotating your arm in the opposite direction, you allow space for the little finger muscles to come into play. (Many people don't realise that the pinky has its own dedicated muscles!)

For a quick anatomy lesson see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronation and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothenar

I've found some of the Brahms exercises useful for practising this sort of thing. (Also the Dohnanyi exercises if you can bear them!) And Chopin's opus 10 number 2 played very slowly (much less than half speed).

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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1 (now 5th finger stuff)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:11 pm 
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The 5th finger was one of the very first things I had to learn to train when I began lessons with my first pianist-teacher (A. Schutte, a pupil of J. Lhevinne). I was required to learn to relax the hand so that the 5th finger's metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint [the knucle that is prominent when you make a fist to punch somebody located between the hand and the fingers] did not sink downward when playing the 5th finger. Then I had to learn to swing the 5th finger from that MCP joint without sinking the MCP joint. The early efforts of this are most tenuous in the untrained hand; you will feel that you have all the strength of a little song bird. SLOWLY, after repeated small incremental steps, you begin to move it AND maintain the proper shape. Try just holding your hand in a 5-finger position on C major, and just play the 5th finger with a dedicated simple swing stroke, maintaining shape of the hand AND the finger (don't let any finger knuckles buckle backwards). Then you just need A LOT of practice! The exercises by A. Schmitt and then I. Philipp (Exercises for the Independence of the Fingers) are the best for this purpose. Regarding the Schmitt, use a modulating scheme for each exercise, e.g.: C major [1234543213531], C minor [same fingering], A-Flat 7 in first inversion (C, Db, Eb, F, Gb, F, Eb, Db, C, Eb, Gb, Eb, C), up a half-step to Db major, ..., etc. (Practice hands seperate with the one hand doing the finger exercises while the other accompanies with simple triad harmony; then switch.) Do the first part (without the held notes/fingers) before trying the second part with held single notes, held double notes, etc. If you do this with patience and great attention, you will develop tremendously (at least it happens when we are young).
<I'm going to paste this as a new post under technique.>

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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:34 pm 
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Somehow I missed the new posts on this thread.... :oops: Sorry and thank you very much, guys! I'm really lucky to have you here. But I need some time to understand these complicated english anatomic terms. However surely I'll take time to comprehend the exercises you described and to try them on the piano. Eddy, it's a very good idea to create a new thread on another forum.

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Hye-Jin Lee
"The love for music. The respect for the composer. The desire to express something that reaches and moves the listener." (Montserrat Caballé about her main motivation for becoming a singer)


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 Post subject: Re: Brahms - Ballade Op. 10 no. 1
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:08 am 
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Hello Felipe,

Nice job on this Ballade! I like your sfz in the second part. One should take conscious liberties, as often as necessary. I also think the tempo is correct. I just regret your piano is a little out of tune.

Best,
Alexandre


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