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 Post subject: Reverie: Debussy
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:13 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:33 pm
Posts: 20
Hello all,

Again, recently recorded this popular piece with my H2 Zoom recorder. I was/am hesitant in auditioning this for the site, a) since I'm not hearing the dynamic contrasts as much as I would like...possibly this could be due to the settings on the recorder or something. (and b) there are a lot of renditions of this work already listed. Anyway, any helpful comments would be nice, but compared to the other recordings I hear others here submit, I wish my dynamics changes can be heard better...! :?

Thanks, all!

~Vcp

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 Post subject: Re: Reverie: Debussy
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:23 am 
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Hehe, I was planning to record this one too, never mind that there's already a handful of recordings on the site. It's one if these pieces that are much more popular that their quality warrants.

This is not a bad recordings but it is marred by missing notes (two in the first couple of bars, you should really have restarted), some annoying little slips and misplaced accents, and some careless pedal usage. On the seconds page I thought things got rather bullish. This is a reverie with passion, sure, but it should not sound like Rachmaninov. The reprise was much better done, good job on that tricky section with the melody in the middle.

With a bit more polish and a gentler touch (but without dropping notes of course) this will be good. Do listen out for weak, missing, or too forcefully played notes, and treat them as errors. The piano sounds a little sour in the treble, does it need a tuning ? The dynamics, though maybe they could be a little better, are not my main concern here.

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 Post subject: Re: Reverie: Debussy
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:17 pm 
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Location: New York City
Hi Vcp,

This sounds like it is coming along well. My only suggeston is that you keep some of the tempos a bit more under control. There is bit too much rushing at times, perhaps.

Kaila

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 Post subject: Re: Reverie: Debussy
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:11 pm 
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Location: Connecticut, USA
I agree with the others that this one is coming along nicely, though IMHO it could use a fair amount more work in places. The rather unpleasant, tinny quality of the sound doesn't help (are you using an upright?) nor does the out-of-tune piano.

The first thing to consider is the tempo marking of "Andante sans lenteur." Yes, it is a reverie, but it sounds a tad sluggish to me, at least at the beginning (you do seem to pick it up a bit later). I'd say the principal things to work on are the dynamics, the overall balance, and the pedal usage.

One dynamics example is around measures 19-20 where the primary theme reemerges in chords. Note that this begins pianissimo and then proceeds through a crescendo to forte (at least in my score). I see no problem with changing a score's dynamic levels when one has planned out an alternative. But here, the phrase has nowhere to go dynamically and thus ends up sounding rather wooden and unshaped to my ears. In other words, you've learned the notes well, so now is the time to really work toward planning how you want the music to sound in your head. This is perhaps nowhere more important than in French music, which is IMO principally about orchestration and sound.

The pedalling in general sounds uneven and muddy to me. Again, it might be a good idea to work out exactly where you want to pedal, in accordance with the harmonic changes, if you haven't already. This sometimes affects the balance too. If pedalling is uneven, a melodic line that you could otherwise make sing can get lost in the fog as it sometimes seems to in this performance, particularly in the left hand.

The few slips are fairly few and far between and don't really bother me personally, though you might want to reflect on whether they're a habit. Rhythm is generally good, though there are a few places it could be more exact. One example is near the end when you have those accompanimental figures at the top; there seems like a bit too much hesitation here.

Anyway, I think if you focus more on the details of the performance, this could end up sounding quite good.

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 Post subject: Re: Reverie: Debussy
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:27 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:10 pm
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Location: Allison Park, PA, USA
Thanks for posting this recording. This little gem has been a favorite of mine ever since I first played it while studying the John Thompson Modern Method for the Piano back with my first piano teacher.

Overall, the impression I have of the music is good. I think this is a fairly solid recording where you did some nice things. Of course, there is always room for improvement :)

I liked your ending (from 3’23” to the end) particularly. As others have said, I think you could review your tempos throughout the piece as there were places where I felt you let the tempo get away from you. The other key thing to work on, in my opinion, is the evenness of touch throughout. There were some notes that stuck out a bit overmuch, although that could also be a result of the instrument you were playing for this recording.
Thanks again for sharing. Now I feel like going to play something French myself!

-Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Reverie: Debussy
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:33 pm
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Thanks to everyone's replies! Having played this piece many times, it's nice to get constructive criticism on it at this time...yet I'm not sure the recorder or the instrument I'm playing on does it justice!

1) I'm playing on a Young Chang PG-150, the smallest grand...and I know the sound is off; the treble is out of tune and some notes are sticking out. And I agree, the overall sound of the piano is a bit off putting. Must call my technician... :!:

Anyway, in response to the comments:
For one, I just have to say that the score I'm using is published by "Belwin Inc." from Rockville Centre, Long Island, NY, at 40 cents. My former teacher was in her late 90s when she gave me this edition, so maybe some of the "little slips" are mistaken, as I've heard some note differences from my score (i.e. m.67, 68 (LH), m. 42 (RH) ...) Also, in listening to the other recordings of this piece already on the site, I do think I am going a bit faster than others, but again, there are opinions on that.
To jlr43: As you wrote,
Quote:
The first thing to consider is the tempo marking of "Andante sans lenteur."
, My edition says "Andantino sognando" ...and I've always learned that Andante is like a walking tempo, and so, Andantino would be faster than walking tempo (but not running!!) and sognando just means 'dreamily'. I just think there needs to be motion, which you and I agree.

Quote:
One dynamics example is around measures 19-20 where the primary theme reemerges in chords. Note that this begins pianissimo and then proceeds through a crescendo to forte (at least in my score). I see no problem with changing a score's dynamic levels when one has planned out an alternative. But here, the phrase has nowhere to go dynamically and thus ends up sounding rather wooden and unshaped to my ears. In other words, you've learned the notes well, so now is the time to really work toward planning how you want the music to sound in your head. This is perhaps nowhere more important than in French music, which is IMO principally about orchestration and sound.

I think that that phrase starts from m. 19, cres. and then decres., then starts out softly at m.22 and then cres. up to m. 27 (the loudest notes in the phrase), with a subito piano to cres. to the same chords again in m. 29. But, are you saying that using those dynamics, it sounds 'wooden and unshapen'? I know that Debussy was very clear in his dyanmic markings... Perhaps the editor of my edition did something wrong? Not sure what you're saying there...

Quote:
On the seconds page I thought things got rather bullish. This is a reverie with passion, sure, but it should not sound like Rachmaninov.

I know it shouldn't sound like Rachmaninoff, yet the phrase leads to a forte. I have compared my version to the other renditions, and I think my 'forte' is weak compared to them. I don't really have a booming bass at the moment, either.

Also, I agree the pedaling can be clearer. I'm actually doing the sustain pedal with my left foot at the moment (due to personal reasons), so I'll work on not making it so muddy sounding in places.
And, at the end, with the accompanimental figures at the top (aka the opening bars upside down), I am actually playing them with the RH, and taking the liberty of taking time.

But again, thanks all for your comments. I will work on the details and try to make a more polished recording. Will wait until my technician comes by again-that should help!

~Vcp

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 Post subject: Re: Reverie: Debussy
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:50 am 
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Location: Illinois
Concerning the usage of "andantino" as a tempo marking, this has been a topic of debate for ages and ages. Depending how a composer views the term "Andante", "andantino" can be either slower or faster!!! Because Debussy used the marking "andantino sans lenteur", I would vote that he was considering it to be on the slow side. I say this because he has qualified it with the "sans lenteur" which means either "without slowness" or "without delay" i.e. it still has movement. Consider that we would hardly say in English "a fast walking pace that is not slow", but we could say "a slow walking pace that is not too slow."

Even if you determine that the initial tempo that you set in very beginning is right, then consider keeping that pace very regular without speeding up, that will give it some of the breadth that a Reverie would indicate without it feeling rushed.

Scott

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