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 Post subject: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:27 pm 
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I have attempted Gershwin's Prelude No. 2. I hope it is not too bad, but to be quite frank, after recording it I felt like giving up playing for good and taking up a vow of silence at a Trapist monastery.

Maybe it would be a good idea after all.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:46 pm 
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Now Richard, don't give up playing. You are doing a fine job. Pianists are true multi-taskers -- we must navigate 88 keys with 10 fingers, play melody or multiple melodies, harmony, and bass -- each with their own rhythms -- sometimes in the same hand while paying attention to dynamics, articulations, tempi, while using the pedals with your feet and chewing gum, standing on your head, and doing a cartwheel. If you accompany a singer, you also have to listen to them and try to read their minds to know when they will decide not to pay attention to anything that is on the page, including (and believe me, that is quite often :twisted:

You have a good concept of this Gershwin prelude. This one, to me, is evocative of a scene where I'm looking across the Hudson river from Jersey at the New York skyline when all of the lights are on in the buildings and there is enough moonlight to make out the shapes of the buildings. You know that there is something going on there, but the mystery is "what".

Your tempo is good. (I have a tendency to play it slower, but that is against Gershwin's directions). He does indicate "little rubato" ("poco rubato") but he does not say "no rubato" ("senza rubato"), therefore there are some moments that can have a little more rhytmic flexibility (not a lot -- think saxophone player in smokey dive jazz bar just before closing), particularly in measure 7 and similar spots where he has the tenuto lines above the 3rd and 7th eighth notes. Also, be careful of the 3 against 2 quarter notes -- that is somewhat of a written rubato and gives a good contrast to the even 8th notes. If you need some ideas about practicing 3 against 2, let me know.

In the three final measures, the RH quarters are misplaced, they are comming an 8th note late (I think).

The other thing to think about are the grace notes. Again, think of that saxophone doing a "slide" into the notes. You are playing them correctly, but they need to be more intentional, because if they are not played with conviction, it can sound like a finger slip. You need to make sure that your listener knows that that is how you meant it.

Keep up the good work and don't give up.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:40 am 
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I'm sorry, Richard, but it's not quite ready for the site. It's getting there, though. Here's where I see the problems: I'm not crazy about the long pause between the first and section sections, and a little rhythm is off in the middle section too...I can't be specific because I'm not looking at the score right now - a couple notes are coming in a bit too late. It you need help, I can point it out to you later. Also, the grace notes in the final section - there's too much pedal which makes them sound too muddied up.

Now, get back to your piano and practice! :) (I mean that in a nice way....)

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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:34 pm 
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Hi Richard,

Thanks for the fun that I had got by listening to this prelude ! :)

I processed your file for taming the background noise, removing pedal noises and reparing slight clipping (one can ear it at 2'11" and 3'05" on the left channel as a short noise). You might record with a bit smaller gain for avoiding such clipping.


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:03 pm 
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Thank you for your support, Scott! What does get me and badly is that I know this prelude backwards and play it by heart, as I have been playing it for over 20 years! But put me with a microphone in the vicinity... I go back to being a beginner without the benefit of beginner's luck and it is no longer a performance, but a session of Chinese water torture without the water.

Actually I like it slower. I find that at this speed I cannot bring out any of the expression I am used to. I believe I am with Bernstein on this one, though he takes unforgiveable liberties in the middle section, but how expressive it is! I have listened to both versions present on the site and neither of them inspires me. In fact I am still looking for a convinicing version of these preludes.

I am apt to get muddled up with triplets. I normally divide them in six (ONE two THREE four FIVE six against ONE two three FOUR five six), but it is not always practical. I was suggested another method by a fellow member but it did not really work for me. Which methods do you use?

Why have you only recorded the 3rd prelude, Monica? I would like to hear you playing this one. Maybe that will be the satisfying version I am looking for.

Thank you, Didier, for your editing. Practising today I was noticing just how noisy my honkie-tonkie is: I could hear the keys click, the hammers lift, the pedal being depressed and lifted... My thumbs are double-jointed (I can bend them backwards 90 degrees) and I believe one of them clicked while I was playing! Oh mine... Just as well I do not hum alomng, like GG. And I place the Mp3 recorder some yards away from the piano and microphone sensibility is set at low. The clipping noise was caused by my scissors cutting the recording! :D

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:00 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Thank you for your support, Scott! What does get me and badly is that I know this prelude backwards and play it by heart, as I have been playing it for over 20 years! But put me with a microphone in the vicinity... I go back to being a beginner without the benefit of beginner's luck and it is no longer a performance, but a session of Chinese water torture without the water.


I know what you mean. I will run through a piece just fine and then turn the recorder on and you would think that I am doing a lousy job of sight-reading. Part of it for me is that I start thinking about the spot(s) that are a little more problematic that I don't want to screw up and need to re-record. Of course, then I screw up the easy parts and have to re-record.

richard66 wrote:
I am apt to get muddled up with triplets. I normally divide them in six (ONE two THREE four FIVE six against ONE two three FOUR five six), but it is not always practical. I was suggested another method by a fellow member but it did not really work for me. Which methods do you use?


[Note: I've attempted to place written examples below, or wherever it shows up when I attempt to upload it. I couldn't get a picture to work so I attached a <PDF> (I know part of the problem but don't have time to work it out right now.]

The sub-division principle is good. The trick first is to get all of those numbers to fit into two beats in this case. Along with the sub-division, but that doesn't require as many syllables to get into the alloted time is "Not Difficult". This phrase said in fairly natural speach rhythm is helpful. The triplets fall on the syllables "Not" "Di-" and "Cult". The eigths on "Not" and "Fi-". It is similar to counting "One - Three Four Five - "

And additional problem occurs when spreading across two beats. One way to solve that is to thy thinking two beats to the measure instead of four starting a measure or so before the cross rhythm, then you won't be thinking as hard about the second beat of the pattern (but it will be there).

A third problem here is that there is a rest on the first beat of the cross rhythm. I will often start by playing a note there (usually the first note repeated) to that I have a tactile sense of that first beat.

If you think about it, this pattern is equivalent to a measure of 3/4 time fit into the space of those two beats. If it were all written as a melody line, the rhythm would be "quarter eighth eighth quarter" If written for two hand, the R.H. would be "quarter quarter quarter" and the left hand would be 2 dotted quarter notes.

Another way that might help is to turn the triplet quarters momentarily into two sets of 8th triplets. In the example I use "C" and "D" the "C"s represent the actual R.H. notes, the "D"s are spacers in the R.H. Practice this, putting stress on the "C" then work at removing the "D" and finally the first "C" that is a rest.

I hope that this helps a little or even makes some sense.

Scott
Attachment:
cross rhythms.pdf [57.82 KiB]
Downloaded 108 times


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:38 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Why have you only recorded the 3rd prelude, Monica? I would like to hear you playing this one. Maybe that will be the satisfying version I am looking for.


I'm hesitant because I can't reach all those LH wide stretches. I envy you for obviously having no problem with them.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:18 am 
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Well no Monica: there is a particular passage (3rd beat, bar ten: bass clef G sharp and B sharp) where I divide the interval: the G with my left and the B with my right. I can do this in the recapitulation but not when the A section repeats in octaves: if you listen I play the interval with an arpeggio. I also divide the 3 first bars between the hands to keep a better legato, to make sure they are played well and that reliance on the pedal can be reduced to a minumum.

Those are very good suggestions, Scott. Some seem familiar at first sight, but I shall study them later on and see how they work. The funny thing is I have problems mostly when the triplets are on the left hand, though if I get a piece that has triplets throughout (yes, there is one out there!) the problem seems to vanish.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:31 am 
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I won't go into details as some other already did that. There are some problem spots here and there, but overall this is coming along nicely. The outer parts are quite confidently (if still a little stiffly) played. The middle section is still unconvincing, going through the notes without any feeling of lazy swing. This surely is a LOT better than your earlier effort.

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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:59 pm 
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Ah well, some fine day...

I am happy things look better. I wonder how much of my stiffness is due to the fact I am on best behaviour. I certainly under normal conditions do not need so much time to trundle through this.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:40 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Those are very good suggestions, Scott. Some seem familiar at first sight, but I shall study them later on and see how they work. The funny thing is I have problems mostly when the triplets are on the left hand, though if I get a piece that has triplets throughout (yes, there is one out there!) the problem seems to vanish.


I know what you mean. After a point, the brain just separates into two parts and you don't have to think so hard (and get a headache). I also found this true with Chopin's "Fantasy Imprompty" with its 4 against 3. I had tried all of the logical ways (sub-division, "Pass the Hot Butter Please"... Finally, I worked the R.H. so I didn't need to think about the patterns. Then I put it with the L.H. playing only on the beats. Then I just let the L.H. rip and simply played the R.H. without giving any attention to the L.H. It seemed to work.

Oh, well, such is the life of a pianist.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:46 pm 
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In the end you can hear where the notes should be. If you know the second beat comes between the 2nd and 3rd note of a triplet all you really need is to make sure the triplet is played divided into three parts of equal lenghth. In my case that is the hard part!

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:10 pm 
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Last edited by musical-md on Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:11 pm 
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RSPIii wrote:
I know what you mean. After a point, the brain just separates into two parts and you don't have to think so hard (and get a headache). I also found this true with Chopin's "Fantasy Imprompty" with its 4 against 3. I had tried all of the logical ways (sub-division, "Pass the Hot Butter Please"... Finally, I worked the R.H. so I didn't need to think about the patterns. Then I put it with the L.H. playing only on the beats. Then I just let the L.H. rip and simply played the R.H. without giving any attention to the L.H. It seemed to work.


Ah sesquitertia. Don't you love the sound of that word?

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Gershwin Prelude No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:22 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
Ah sesquitertia. Don't you love the sound of that word?


Sounds fatal. Is there a cure?

Scott


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