Brahms Klavierstucke Op. 119 (No.1-3)

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Brahms Klavierstucke Op. 119 (No.1-3)

Postby dubya » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:44 pm

Happy New Year all!

I trust everyone had a very safe and enjoyable holiday season, though I guess reality is back for most of us (be that work/school) ;)

Anyway thanks to an ever-evolving music situation I was finally able to figure out how to convert the video files I attempted to submit a couple of weeks ago into mp3 form.

Here's a recent take (November) of part of a program I am working on for upcoming concerts/competitions. I would love to know what you think, and I enjoy listening to your brilliant music as well. I apologize for the piano sound/tuning on these - I had limited time/opportunity to get these recorded, and they are originally from a video camera (and on non-concert pianos).

(An interesting side-note I would like to share is that I actually had to take almost 3 (2006-8) years off from piano entirely... from the last recordings you heard already posted on my profile on the main site). The last two years I made a comeback from zero ability to play at all (due to tendinitis, carpal tunnel, and pinched nerves in both arms). I entered the masters program at the conservatory in Rotterdam (Netherlands) and tried my best to work my way back. This represents some of my latest work from "the comeback"....

Best wishes!

You can find on the outside only what you possess on the inside.

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Re: Brahms Klavierstucke Op. 119 (No.1-3)

Postby hanysz » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:49 am

First of all, congratulations on finding your way back after tendonitis etc--I bet it feels great to be playing again.

It's hard to give detailed feedback on these recordings, because of the sound quality. There are things I would like to hear done differently, but I can't tell whether it's your playing or the condition of the piano or the recording. I'd love to hear another recording of you playing them in better circumstances--these are some of my favourite pieces.

My impression of number 1 is that it needs finer control of voicing--a clearer distinction between melody and "accompaniment" (although nothing in Brahms is purely accompaniment--there is always meaning to every note--yet for the music to be intelligible some notes must be softer than others). For example, in bar 5, I want to know that the first note is sustained and belongs to a different voice than the other notes. In this recording it's not clear, for whatever reason.

In number 2 I don't get the feeling of "dolce"--but as I say, it could be just the recording. You need to make sure the repeated notes are softer than the main beats; it sounds a bit like the bar lines are in the wrong place. I confess that I didn't listen to the whole of number 2 or 3 as the sound quality was just too painful, sorry.

For number 3, the non legato articulation came as a shock to me! I'm used to hearing it done much more smoothly. I guess it's a legitimate interpretation of the "leggiero" instruction--possibly you could make it work. Certainly it's nice to hear a different approach. But at the moment it sounds a little noisy: you've got the "giocoso" part, but it needs more "grazioso". The parts where the melody is in the alto voice came out very clearly--good work here.

Sorry to sound so critical overall--but this may be useful to you if you're going to present these pieces in competition. And it's possible that you're doing beautiful expressive things with tone quality but we just can't hear them on this recording.

Are you planning to do the fourth piece of the set? I guess you need to be very sure that you're recovered from your injuries before you launch into that one!

dubya wrote:...the last recordings you heard already posted on my profile on the main site...

As a new member of the site, I (probably) haven't heard those recordings--and I don't know how to find them based on your forum profile!

Anyway, thanks for posting the Brahms, it's always a pleasure to spend time thinking about such great music; don't let my little grumbles discourage you! I'll look forward to hearing the next version.

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Re: Brahms Klavierstucke Op. 119 (No.1-3)

Postby techneut » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:12 pm

Yo Luke ! I never knew you were having these physical problems for years :shock:
By the sound these, you seem to have mostly overcome that. Just don't overdo it now... go easy on the Liszt and Chopin etudes, and stay clear of Islamey for a while yet :D
This is solid and dependable Brahms playing, with hardly a note out of place. That is already an achievement ! Brahms' music is so infinitely subtle that it's almost impossible to play.... As Alexander pointed out, there are things than can be improved.

Personally I'd wish for a bit more more charm, dynamic shading and subtle rubato, e.g. in the Viennese-style trio of no.2 but also elsewhere where things proceed a bit doggedly. Try to bring out more of that Brahmsian wistful twilight atmosphere. You'd need a better piano and recording setup of course. Due to the poor sound, we can't alas put these up on the site. I hope you keep working on these, as the groundwork is solidly laid.
Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
Chris Breemer

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