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 Post subject: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:02 pm 
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Recorded at the crack of dawn this morning. Hope it's okay....

Chopin - Impromptu No. 1, Op. 29 in A-flat Major


Also, I needed to redo this mazurka so I've tacked it onto this thread.

Chopin - Mazurka Op. 7, no. 1 in B-flat Major

Comments appreciated! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:04 am 
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Yay, I have always loved this impromptu! It's not very easy either; quite a bit of it is awkward. Overall your playing is very nice. I don't have my headphones right now so I probably need to listen again later for better sound quality (and I'll have a listen at the mazurka then too), but if I had to criticize one thing I'd say it comes off as a little bit too deliberate most of this time, as opposed to the whimsical character in A. I think that part of that is your piano, though. I've noticed over the years listening that your piano has a very wooden sound, what Chopin might call 'too insistent' (which was his opinion of Erard pianos and the general German style of building them, hence his preference for the Pleyel). But I think part of it is also a matter of touch (some might say tempo, but I think that is only a small part of it). Of course, after years of playing on one piano, it's bound to affect your playing pretty profoundly.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:44 pm 
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Thank you for listening/commenting, Theresa. I didn't know that my piano sounded woody; that's a new one of me. I always work so hard in trying to produce the best sound I can with what I've got (piano, recorder, editing programs) and thought I had things sounding okay. But now my crummy playing is enhanced by my piano, or my crummy piano is enhanced by my playing - either way I am saddened...

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:08 pm 
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@ the impromptu: I liked the whirling and lyrical elements you brought out in the piece. About your piano sounding wooden, I think it could be a function of the reverb, as if you played this piece on the same piano in a concert hall (or even adjusted this same recording to concert hall in an editor) it might sound a little spacier, in a way, otherwordly.

I guess it depends on what a listener likes to hear: closeness of the piano or a piano farther away like its in a much larger space. I think in this piece, that is, this recording, the closeness is ok because the shifting gravity of the melody communicates almost a different reality, while the closeness of the piano reflects that this is imagined and not in fact real. For some reason this piece reminds me of Schumann's Op.21 Noveletten no. 4. They both have lyrical parts to them, so that's probably it.

@ the mazurka: I don't remember if I heard your first version but this remake sounds good. I like the contrast in dynamics of the grace notes and the notes they immediately follow. Another lyrical piece. I think I hear tuplets and if so, they must have been hard to play. Especially at tempo for this piece. Maybe make the B section a little slower to contrast the quick A section even more.

Riley

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"I play Bach gladly... but I do not recognize him (as some do) a great genius."
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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:26 pm 
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Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
pianolady wrote:
Thank you for listening/commenting, Theresa. I didn't know that my piano sounded woody; that's a new one of me. I always work so hard in trying to produce the best sound I can with what I've got (piano, recorder, editing programs) and thought I had things sounding okay. But now my crummy playing is enhanced by my piano, or my crummy piano is enhanced by my playing - either way I am saddened...

:lol: No dear, my playing is 'crummy'. Not yours. :wink: I am probably just picky on piano sound cause I get to play on a Steinway a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:04 am 
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(Dang, I accidentally closed the tab and lost everything I had just written.) :evil:

First, I thought that both performances were lovely. I have always adored that Mazurka for Chopin's writing that "wrong" note at the end of the main theme.

Your performance of the Impromptu does it justice. You do a beautiful job of conveying that swirling, twirling, waltz-like outer sections.

The middle section I believe would do better with a more relaxed, less insistent tempo. The marking is "sostenuto" in each of the editions on IMSLP (unfortunately I don't have an urtext or even the Paderewski ed. available). Here is what the Dolmetsch dictionary has to say about "sostenuto": (1.)(Italian) used alone as an tempo indicator, sostenuto means the same as andante cantabile" (4.) "(a passage) played in a cantabile style". It is thus a tempo indication. In fact it is placed in the "tempo" position above the system in all but one edition on IMSLP (granted all four could represent variations on the same source.) Also, if you compare it with no. 3, which also begins with a perpetuo moto triplet section, its middle section is also a more lyrical section marked "Sostenuto". In the posthumous Fantasy-Impromptu, the "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" section is marked "Moderato Cantibile."

Anyway, a more relaxed tempo will allow you to play those detached bass notes (I think that he is somewhat thinking of the light sound of pizzacato bass viols and not necessarily "marcato") with greater ease and less fuss.

One other thing, each edition marked the passage between the turn that begins with the 3 Bb's and the longer sixteenth note fioratura with a rit. or ritenuto. I would like to hear more relaxation in the tempo which I believe would give even greater impact to the fioratura.

Over all, a job well done -- particularly late at night.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:48 am 
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Monica,
I have to admit that I don't know these works (I'm not big into the "dance" works of Chopin, shameful I know) but I do like very much your performances here, especially the Mazurka. It had a very nice character to it. You did a fine job of voicing. If anything, maybe a little more rubato where appropriate to give it some increased ebb and flow. (Man, you're a recording queen!)

Regards,
Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:44 pm 
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Thanks for listening/commenting Riley, Scott, and Eddy. I really like this little mazurka because of its quirkiness, and my interpretation here is pretty well set now – I can’t play it any other way. But Scott, what you said about the Impromptu, specifically the middle section is very interesting. I’m too embarrassed to say what edition I was reading from, but I don’t recall seeing ‘sostenuto’ written there. But that doesn’t mean much, because I miss a lot of markings – my former teacher used to point them all out to me and I was a little shocked at myself for not seeing ‘everything’. Anyway, as I was playing/recording this piece, a little voice in my head was telling me that this middle section should go a bit calmer and I should have taken heed. Thanks for pointing this out to me – especially if ‘sostenuto’ is actually in my score, then I made a big boo-boo and will need to re-record at least the middle section.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:06 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Anyway, as I was playing/recording this piece, a little voice in my head was telling me that this middle section should go a bit calmer and I should have taken heed.


Always heed those little voices in your head. Schumann did and you see where it got him. :twisted:

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:39 am 
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RSPIll wrote:
pianolady wrote:
Anyway, as I was playing/recording this piece, a little voice in my head was telling me that this middle section should go a bit calmer and I should have taken heed.


Always heed those little voices in your head. Schumann did and you see where it got him. :twisted:

Scott


Yeah, in a loony bin with twisted fingers. Good thing my little voices are not as pernicious. I usually hear things like, "there's ice cold beer and left-over pizza in the refrigerator..." :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:11 pm 
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Well here it comes, my first comment on PS.
I am used to give my replies rather by talking, so I will need to practice writing.
Hope I don´t use the wrong words and end up saying something terrible and mean :shock:

I find the Mazurka nicely played, very straight and in line.
My opinion is you could be more free with using the pedal, just generally more.

Since I have not listend to the Impromptu I cannot say anything there jet.


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am 
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Thank you for listening to my mazurka, Julian. You did just fine with your writing; nothing terrible or mean. :)
Don't worry, we are fairly tolerant regarding language difficulties. Unless you say something very funny - then we will probably tease you. :P :)

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:26 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Don't worry, we are fairly tolerant regarding language difficulties. Unless you say something very funny - then we will probably tease you. :P :)


And most of those difficulties are from those of us for whom English is our only language. Heck, I live in a town that can't speak English and they don't have any other language to fall back on. :roll:

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:12 pm 
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Pig Latin? :P

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin - Impromptu No. 1
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:35 pm 
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Hi Monica, it seems that you've played these pieces for a long time... haven't you? Everything seems to fall into your hands so nicely. And I liked the vividness of these performances a lot. One thing I could say, to be critical in a constructive way :wink:, is that in the impromptu I sometimes hear disconnections of phrasing between two bars, which could be bound in a phrasing, and get from it the impression of a slight hurriedness. But I didn't play it myself, so that was really my two cents (or one cent? :lol: ).

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