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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:44 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Then of course, if on a modern grand we can make more noise than on a 19th century instrument, there seems no reason why we shouldn't :lol:

True. But like you referred to before, maybe earlier composers would not have marked ff or fff if their pianos could go that loud.

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:49 pm 
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What did I see the other day, that in some countries it is forbidden by law to play fff in concerts?

I am not sure I would care to go deaf just because Schubert wrote ff when ff in modern notation would be f. Anyway, has anyone defined what ff is? I am yet to see indications such as fff = 100Bb on a score. Then of course, it depends how big the room is, if it is full or empty. In the warehouse where I last tried out a piano p became ff.

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:12 pm 
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This is an interesting turn of the thread: interpretatin of dynamic indications across centuries. I have found it to be far more interesting to consider the difference in the psychological perception of speed (tempo) across the centuries. Consider that for most of human history the fastest velocity a human could experience was on horseback. Then, the "mind-blowing" train! Consider what it takes to now make a 21st century human (in industrialized modern contries) to think a thing is fast. We speak or bullet-trains and mega Hertz and giga Hertz tera Hertz frequencies, and we know the speed of light, and of escape velocity and "plain-old" supersonic flight. And then there is the rapidity that our minds have grown accustomed to with images on TV and movies, etc. Then a musician sees a score that says "Presto," like in the C minor prelude of Bach's WTK Bk.1, and what do we do? We bring our "warp-speed" 21st century mentality to a work of a time when horseback was the fastest human experience. Food for thought?

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:01 pm 
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Indeed, Eddy, indeed. Maybe this is why I feel so at unease leastening to pieces I know that I simply cannot follow because of speed and all the lovely harmonies that get lost when one goes over them so fast that wrong notes could be played in their place and no one notices.

The analogy with dynamics is the same. Would Schubert ever have considered that ff is so loud his ears would buzz afterwards? Could he even consider such a level of noise to be possible or even desirable?

And then consider an ff that is not actually loud, but intense. An ff that is not really much louder than mf but is somehow stronger. I remember when I took lessons this is what the teacher spoke about. She also used to say that before any crescendo you need to decrease volume, so that you seem to grow much louder than you actually do. Like this:

mp < ff

played

mp - p < f

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:21 pm 
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All that comparisons between historical instruments and pianos of today concerning the loudness respective dynamic range is nice and well, but all these prescriptions like ff and fff etc. are relative, so for me it´s just a matter of feeling and taste, of course. In every case from my view Monica plays the Coda much too silent, even for a modern grand-piano...

And really, it generally is musically incompetent to consider this Impromptu as an "etude" (in the sense of a finger excercise), because it definitively is an Impromptu and no etude, so it can´t be meant by Schubert as such. (That´s very simple, isn´t it?!)

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:57 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
... And really, it generally is musically incompetent to consider this Impromptu as an "etude" (in the sense of a finger excercise), because it definitively is an Impromptu and no etude, so it can´t be meant by Schubert as such. (That´s very simple, isn´t it?!)

Andreas, I couldn't disagree more! First let me make clear that I never said it was "an exercise," rather "an Etude". An exercise is not a study, it is simply an exercise. Also, since it was my admittedly controversial idea to begin with, I will say that under no uncertain terms am I musically incompetent - I have had too much professional training to allow for that. I won't even begin to justify that scale work is found in Uber-abundance in etudes (of both kinds: the less artistic (Kohler, Czerny, etc.) and the more artistic (Chopin, Henselt, Liszt, etc.)). So I will address other items:

1. the climbing triplet figure of bars 3-4: Well, if anyone had first studied exercises nos. 3 and 4 of the 3rd section (Exercises based upon the Chromatic Scale) of "The Complete School of Technique for the Piano" by Isidor Philipp, they already would have mastered these type passages.
2. A similar study to that indicated above is found in Pischna's 60 Technical Studies at exercise no 18.
3. The Impromptu bears great resemblence to Moscheles Op. 70 (24 Studies for the Piano) No.1
4. The Impromptu bears great resemblence to Moszkowski, Op.72 (15 Etudes de Virtuosite) No.6
5. MacDowell's Twelve Virtuoso Studies Op.46, has etude no. 11 titled "Impromptu" and has frequent RH work that is not too dissimilar from the Schubert.
6. While we're at it, look at the enormous similarity of the 3rd Impromptu with Czerny Op.299, No. 27!

I wonder if your opinion of "Etude" is a very lowly form that struggles to be musically respectable. I don't share that view. I assure you that I am not on a crusade to "retitle" the 2nd Impromptu as an etude, however, I very much did intend to bring to the discussion a justified view that I believe has bearing on the performance of the work. In fact, this is precisely the sort of thing that one might hear at a masterclass.
Respectfully,
Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:00 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
... She also used to say that before any crescendo you need to decrease volume, so that you seem to grow much louder than you actually do.


Absolutely (maybe not any and every, but certainly many). This is a standard "trick of the trade."

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:18 pm 
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Hello Monica,

I just started working on the entire Op.90 set--what a gorgeous music (of course, as most of Schubert) and such a pleasure to play!

I listen to your recording and enjoyed it. If I may take a liberty to give you a couple of little suggestions. First, I'd lighten up the beginning even more and instead of "working with fingers" treat it more as "caressing". I'd also paid very special attention to harmonic fillings in LH (B flat on the second bit, followed by the chords). Very often they stick out, covering interaction of the melodic line of the bass (pay more attention to that one, instead), and "creek flow" in the RH. I think such a simple thing will give you much more control, as subconsciously it won't take your attention (and mine, as a listener) to it.

Best, M


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 Post subject: I see a little difference comparing a Schubert-etude with a
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:38 am 
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musicusblau wrote:
And really, it generally is musically incompetent to consider this Impromptu as an "etude" (in the sense of a finger excercise), because it definitively is an Impromptu and no etude, so it can´t be meant by Schubert as such. (That´s very simple, isn´t it?!)

If we're going to keep flogging this dead horse, then let me point out that in the other thread Andreas said:
musicusblau wrote:
But let me say, I see a little difference of expression comparing a Chopin-etude with a Czerny-etude f.ex. :wink:
(the 13th post in the thread; I'm not sure how to make a link to a specific post).

I agree with this comment. And I think it reinforces the point that others are trying to make: that it's no good trying to be dogmatic about what this word "etude" means.

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:40 am 
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STOP THE PRESSES! STOP THE PRESSES! Ooo, I think I found some very interesting goodies on the Impromptu No. 2 "etude" issue.

From John Gillespie's Five Centuries of Keyboard Music, c. 1965 by Wadsworth Publishing (available as a Dover Reprint), page 204, "Impromptu Op.90, No.2, in E-Flat Major is like a study piece." [emphasis added] But much better than that is what follows.

From Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 3rd edition (the only one I have in my house), s.v. Impromptu: "... two sets of pieces by Schubert known as impromptus -- op.90, Nos. 1 to 4, and op.142 Nos. 1 to 4, mostly variations -- were, the first certainly and the second propbably, not so titled by him. The autograph of the first exists. It has no date, and no title to either of the pieces, the word 'Impromptu' having been added by the publishers, the Haslingers, one of whom also took upon himself to change the key of the third piece from Gb to G...." [emphasis added] Fascinating! I wonder if any on PS have a subscription to the on-line Grove's, or perhaps another more recent edition in their home?

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Last edited by musical-md on Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:19 am 
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musical-md wrote:
This is an interesting turn of the thread: interpretatin of dynamic indications across centuries. I have found it to be far more interesting to consider the difference in the psychological perception of speed (tempo) across the centuries.


That's interesting, Eddy. I have known and understood the idea about earlier pianos not being capable of playing as loud as present-day pianos, but I never thought about how our perception of playing fast has changed over time. I think I will use that next time I submit something that is supposed to be fast, but I am unable to play it super-fast. I'll just say "but I'm playing it as fast as people played it back in the day," or something like that. Will you let me get away with that excuse? :)

@Marik: Hello Marik,
Thank you for listening and for the suggestions. As I practiced this piece, there were times when I was relaxed and not nervous about anything, and then I could play the opening section more 'caressingly'. My problem is that I get nervous when I'm recording - even easy pieces, and then I am usually tense. Regarding the B section - I understand what you're saying about bringing out the melodic line in the LH more. I have this thing for low bass notes - I love them! But I am sorry, I don't understand what "creek flow" is.

@Eddy - very interesting again about the etude thing! I think I have access to Grove's online through my son's school. I'll look into it tomorrow - I dead tired right now. Regarding the 'etude' issue: I can only say that for me, practicing all the triplets was 'good work'. Meaning, it's something I had not encountered in other pieces I had worked on recently, and so I think it will help me to not only get this piece better when I practice it again, but it surely will help when I come to another piece with a thousand triplets. To me, that makes op. 90/2 an 'etude'.

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:50 am 
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pianolady wrote:
I think I will use that next time I submit something that is supposed to be fast, but I am unable to play it super-fast. I'll just say "but I'm playing it as fast as people played it back in the day," or something like that. Will you let me get away with that excuse? :)


In fact, in many cases I think people used to play faster but on modern pianos, with a heavier action and a richer tone quality, we ought to go slower. So yes, it's a good excuse!

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:29 am 
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True, Eddy, Tobias Haslinger, their first publisher, not only changed op 90/3 from Gb to G but from CC to C (time signatures) ! I remember actually seeing a reprint of this edition. I have a comment to that efect in my edition, published by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. It also mentions the first edition was undated, unsigned and untitled. There are manuscript copies, one of No 1 and one of Nos 3 and 4 that call them Improptus, but No 2 is left in the cold.

And they started life as op 87, not 90.

My edition also calls attention to the extreme vagueness of Schubert's notation of accidentals and dynamics.

In the end we are not playing Schubert: we are endlessly repeating an accepted interpretation of Schubert. Will you dare to deviate and be accused of not respecting what people believe were Schubert's wishes? :evil:

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:42 pm 
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Quote:
Will you dare to deviate and be accused of not respecting what people believe were Schubert's wishes?

Absolutely! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert - Op. 90, no.2 (last time, I promise)
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:55 pm 
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pianolady wrote:

@Marik: Hello Marik,
Thank you for listening and for the suggestions. As I practiced this piece, there were times when I was relaxed and not nervous about anything, and then I could play the opening section more 'caressingly'. My problem is that I get nervous when I'm recording - even easy pieces, and then I am usually tense.


Yeah, tell me that... My heart sinks and hands get cold when I see microphones and have to play. That's why I never record at home--only live... when there is no choice :mrgreen: .

Quote:
Regarding the B section - I understand what you're saying about bringing out the melodic line in the LH more. I have this thing for low bass notes - I love them! But I am sorry, I don't understand what "creek flow" is.



Sorry, I was not clear enough. I meant B-flat played with thumb in LH in the beginning. It is just a harmonic filling, but often sticks out and gets on the way of the melody. By the "creek flow" I mean RH filigree.

Best, M


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