Your performance had a deep emotional component that I feel shows maturity.
thanks a lot, Kaila!
As far as training your pinky, if you keep your wrist flexible and rotate it so that the arm weight is distributed
while keeping your thumbs extremely relaxed and your elbows unlocked, you should have no problems.
I remember I did this in the past!
some years ago I was totally crazy about piano technique. I'd read a lot of things and test them. I tried this one on a table!
I enjoyed hearing your rendition of this ballade. In my opinion it's a fully creditable performance. My favorite in the set is No. 4. Do you think you might play that one at some point?
My favorite one is No. 2. and the No. 1 was one of the first Brahms pieces I listened to, so it's somewhat magical to me too.
Sometimes I think of studying the other three ballades and recording them, but sometimes I think I should focus on pieces I already play! I don't have much time, and I have lots of things I'd like to record! hehe
In reflecting on Brahms, I think he was quite different from Chopin, Liszt and Schumann. While the latter three often brought fervent ardor to their music, Brahms seldom wore his heart on his sleeve. His was a cooler brand of romanticism I think--more objective, more mature, perhaps even including a tinge of classicism too.
sure! that's why the rubato in Brahms is much more restricted, almost like that one in Beethoven. the exception is the Opus 76, with some pieces which seem very romantic.
but I read in a recent study that Brahms loved the playing of the violinist Joachim, who would abuse on rubato. it's also true that Brahms had a very free way of playing (lots of liberties regarding tempo fluctuations) and Clara Schumann edited his manuscripts and removed lots of the tempo changings, because she liked to play his music in a more strict way.
so maybe there are some reasons for playing Brahms sentimentally, though I really don't like it this way.
Maybe it's because he thought orchestrally in writing for the piano, and so often he wrote figuration going outside of the octave which is more awkward and challenging for the pianist.
I think Brahms writes more orchestrally in the beginning, in the sonatas and the ballades. it's not that evident in his variations, and his late pieces are much more pianistically written (Op 76 for instance). the exception, of course, is the final Rhapsody Op. 119.
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.