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 Post subject: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:25 pm 
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One of my New Year's resolutions is to re-record my woefully inadequate set of Chopin Mazurkas, now that I have new strings, a new recorder, and have learnt a thing or two since joining PS. So here is the first batch, the four Op.6 Mazurkas.

Chopin - Mazurka Op. 6 No.1 in F Sharp Minor (3:07)
Chopin - Mazurka Op. 6 No.2 in C Sharp Minor (2:27)
Chopin - Mazurka Op. 6 No.3 in E Major (1:59)
Chopin - Mazurka Op. 6 No.4 in E Flat Minor (0:58)

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:10 am 
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did you change all the 88 strings of your piano?
I never saw something like that! Are they better now? I changed only one which broke last year.

the mazurkas are okay. I wish the slow ones (nos. 1, 2 and 4) were played livelier, mainly no. 2. On the contrary, the third one, the fast one, came out good! It is not rushed yet lively!

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:39 am 
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Thanks Felipe. I am glad they are ok. I very much opted for a broader and more relaxed approach than in my earlier recordings which were generally rather hectic and breathless. I don't believe this makes them any less lively, but opinions may differ on that, as they always do.

Yes I had all the strings replaced, as well as the pins. They were old and tired, resulting in a flat sound and tuning problems. Their stability is far from optimal yet (but that is to be expected, it's a phase than can last up to a year) but the sound is much clearer and more vibrant.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:47 pm 
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Location: Boston
Happy New Year, Chris!

Only the F#m may have been too relaxed. That's OK, Rubinstein's 2nd recording of the Mazurkas in the 60s were also "relaxed." As far as interpretation goes, the more we mature, the poet overtakes the demon within us as it did Horowitz. I liked the other three too, as the style fit the pieces very well.

The piano sounds like it has new life and vibrancy across all registers since the restoration. Good balance of tone/timbre. Besides reverb, are you using different mics?... The sonic signature is more rounded, warmer, and less etched than I remember... Whatever it is, it sounds much better.

It's been a while... I haven't had the opportunity to practice, nor chime during this past year. I am going to have to lessen my hours as 55 hrs a week is way too much. :P

Great recording, are you going to do the entire set of Mazurkas?

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:10 am 
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Thanks for that George (and good to see you back). I do indeed plan to re-record all of the Mazurkas as I cannot condone most of my earlier recordings. I expect they will invariably be broader and more detailed than before.
I now have a Tascam DR-2d recorder, which delivers a much clearer sound. Also a new recording position, which I am not sure is optimal yet. But I seem to have no taste for endless experimenting with the position. Just want to get on with recording :)

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:15 pm 
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Posts: 302
Location: New York City
Hello Chris,

The planning behind these well thought out interpretations is evident throughout. There is much to be admired and taken seriously. While there is still room for greater pianistic fluency in a few measures, the thoughtful layout of musical ideas is pervasive throughout with the technique to back up all the intent.

Chopin - Mazurka Op. 6 No.1 in F Sharp Minor (3:07)
Beautiful shifts in dynamics, accents that are never harsh and loyally convey the Mazurka dance sytle. Well paced templo, melody both sincere and forthright, gorgeous sonority in the chords, needs to develop a bit more fluency.  

Chopin - Mazurka Op. 6 No.2 in C Sharp Minor (2:27)
Wonderful character, both joyful, dreamy, carefree, and exotic, most of the trills and embellishments glow, exotic colorful use of modes, timing  authentic, very well perceived in mood and temperment, crisp rhythms.

Chopin - Mazurka Op. 6 No.3 in E Major (1:59)
The opening trills with the attached intervals masterfully played. Coordination between the hands, the interplay of melody and the use of color is extremely defines an interpretation worthy of Bravissimos. What a beautiful interpretation and what wonderful subtlety in the ending. Congratulations!

Chopin - Mazurka Op. 6 No.4 in E Flat Minor (0:58)
You present the melody in a very interesting manner as though explaining a happening of great interest. In fact, you did this in all four Mazurkas. Thank you so much for posting these inspiring interpretations. You make me want to study more Mazurkas.

Have a happy and a healthy New Year with all good things.

Kaila Rochelle

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:08 am 
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Thanks for the positive feedback Kaila :) And a great Yew year to you too. It is very motivating to get some critical acclaim. Seems like my interpretations may finally reach beyond 'ok' or 'not too bad'. A good start to my planned redoing of all the Mazurkas.

I'm sure fluency could be improved, things don't always go as smoothly as we'd like. If there are any specific places where you noticed this, I'd be grateful to know. We don't always hear our own shortcomings sufficiently well.

I've always played the Chopin Mazurkas - even more so than the WTC and KDF, to which I came much later, they are like 'daily bread' to me. Yet I feel like I am only just beginning to understand them a bit. Talk about slow learning :D

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:41 am 
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techneut wrote:
I'm sure fluency could be improved, things don't always go as smoothly as we'd like. If there are any specific places where you noticed this, I'd be grateful to know. We don't always hear our own shortcomings sufficiently well.

Hi Chris,

I was referring to Chopin - Mazurka Op. 6 No.1 in F Sharp Minor (3:07) measure 9 in the Scherzando section
and Chopin - Mazurka Op. 6 No.2 in C Sharp Minor (2:27) 3rd section up to the a tempo

These are still very wonderful performances. Perhaps these sections need just a bit more self assurance.

Kaila Rochelle

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:47 am 
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Thanks for checking up Kaila. I see your point in the no.1, that came out a bit unconvincing there. Yet a little more preparation would have helped.
Not sure what you mean in the no.2, expect maybe I play some dotted rhythms where none are indicated ?
Anyway I think maybe I will redo all these... listening back I don't seem to like them half as much as you do.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:04 pm 
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Hello Chris,

Your are very intuitive about the Mazurkas. It will be interesting to hear how your interpretations develop.

Kaila

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:00 am 
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musicrecovery wrote:
Your are very intuitive about the Mazurkas. It will be interesting to hear how your interpretations develop.

Haha yes, intuition is my middle name. I am unaffected by the great performing traditions (insofar as I even am aware of them) and tend to go my own merry way :D

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:04 pm 
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Hello!

Very nice reading of these mazurkas. They have sentimental value to me as they were the first set of their genre from Chopin for me to study.

Overall, I would I would have to say that for my taste I do enjoy very much your clear voicing and phrasing of these mazurkas. I think you have more room to be a bit more flexible with the tempo - more use of rubato (which would make it even clearer to hear it's "mazurka-like" differential from its cousin waltz. One must always remember that at one point people were actually dancing to these works which were naturally a bit herky-jerky in character. ;)

Bravo!

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:50 pm 
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Thank you Luke !
You're right, more freedom is in order. I well know it, and have every good intention but somehow it always turns out rather more inhibited than I had hoped. Too much Bach, I guess :lol: OTOH I would not want to dawdle and wallow like some do in Chopin.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:19 am 
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Hello Chris,

Nice selection of lesser-played mazurkas. I think you did a nice job, as usual, however I'd expect a more poetry in the renditions. Here's a pianist I like to listen to see new horizons:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZItBrjyy0PY

He was a student of Liszt, Mikuli, and personal friend of Brahms and Anton Rubinstein. Immersed into 19th century pianism.

Also, you'd benefit in exploring the una corda possibilities.

Best,
Alexandre


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Mazurkas Op.6
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:31 pm 
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Thank you Alexandre. I think these are a big improvement on my earlier complete cycle but I agree there could be yet more poetry and freedom. I'll have to get to grips with that before continuing my re-recording project :!:
Maybe playing so much Bach tends to make me a little too strict and level-headed :roll:

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