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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:12 am 
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Hi Kaila,

I'm glad you liked this piece and my performance. And the fact that it was a new discovery for you makes it all the better. Yes, the piece exudes much charm, and sort of has that fin de cycle sound. Between the two though, I've always leaned more toward the Borodin impression, which is a more sensual waltz in my opinion. But still, they're both very tuneful and interesting character pieces. Thanks for listening!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:17 pm 
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I enjoyed the range and sensitivity of your playing in this piece! You also seem to capture the atmosphere of Ravel very well through your overall interpretation - something I greatly enjoy listening to, since I personally have a difficult time interpreting atmospheric French music. ;)

The piano did sound a bit out of tune to me, but I think it well could be exaggerated by Ravel's expressive use of dissonance. When I worked on Ravel's Sonatine last year, I didn't notice my piano being out of tune unless I was playing that particular composition. :? Probably a rather unorthodox theory... :D

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:57 pm 
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Hi Sarah

I'm glad you enjoyed this Ravel piece, and thanks so much for that compliment! On interpreting, I've always had a knack in finding just the right style for French and Russian repertoire pieces. But I hardly ever play the Germanic piano literature, as I'm not very good at it. While there are pianists here who play everything and anything, and I admire them for that, some of us prefer to specialize more in order to do what we do best. It all depends on the person I think.

It could be that the piano was a bit out of tune that day, but it was a long time ago, so I can't be sure. But I've even gotten the "out of tune" comments the day after the piano has been tuned. My theory is that because Baldwin dampers less of the treble scale than Steinway, more strings are available to emit sympathetic vibrations which can increase the mass of overtones present possibly causing inharmonicities. My other theory is the analog recording process itself. On a tape deck the tape had to travel through the recording heads. And when rewinding tape, maybe it didn't always travel to the other spool and wind itself there as tightly, meaning that when it flowed forward again by the heads, perhaps it was at a minutely faster velocity which could change pitch ever so slightly and momentarily. A tiny dip in the electrical current slowing the tape speed could also change pitch very slightly. But to a keen ear, maybe such differences can be detected by the listener. Andrew and I tested the entire treble scale, and apart from a few unisons being slightly off, the scale was in tune. It's quite mysterious.

Thanks again, Sarah, for listening.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:22 pm 
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Hi David,
that´s a marvellous rendition, very sensitively and expressively played. I think, this piece is full of fineness and sublety, as far I could discover in the score, you do all these nice little details very well and convincing. And the tuning of the piano doesn´t matter anything IMO (it´s not as bad as some said here before). What counts is the great musicality of this rendition, so for me it´s a pure pleasure to listen to it.
I didn´t know that piece before, so thank you for posting it and making meet it to me.
(Sorry, that I´m replying quite late, but I had a lot of work the last days.)

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:55 am 
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Hi Andreas,

I think that both Ravel and Chabrier wrote in a very refined manner, which is why Ravel captures the Chabrier idiom so very effectively. This is an important characteristic of much French piano music I think, so is likewise found in the music of Debussy and Faure too. When I first undertook "A la maniere de... Chabrier", I was recording the complete Ravel character pieces and didn't quite know what to expect from this little known piece. But as I got more deeply into practicing it, I was struck by its high potential and charming beauty, so played it with considerable care in order to really capture its spirit as best I could. Thanks for listening.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:03 pm 
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Rachfan wrote:
Quote:
I think that both Ravel and Chabrier wrote in a very refined manner, which is why Ravel captures the Chabrier idiom so very effectively.


I believe that, though I´m not a true specialist concerning french music. I just have played some preludes and four hands pieces by Debussy and "Jeux d´eaux" by Ravel f.ex. and some other pieces by Debussy/Ravel, but I never have played Chabrier until know. So I don´t know too much about his style.
So, what would you say are the features of his typical style?

Quote:
This is an important characteristic of much French piano music I think, so is likewise found in the music of Debussy and Faure too.

Yes, I also think, that most french composers, f.ex. all of impressionism and the "groupe des six", are very refined and subtle. French music has something subtle and intellectual, it´s not so emotional in a romantic sense like many german music is.

F.ex. Debussys preludes are very subtle and inventive and the fact, that he wrote the title below the pieces shows a certain modesty, a manner, not to impose the own ideas on his listeners.

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:49 pm 
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Hi Andreas,

I'm not familiar with all of Chabrier's piano works, but have heard his "Bouree fantasque", "Valses", and the "Idylle" from the Picturesque Pieces. He was a romantic composer and his music is always melodic, spontaneous, very expressive, and containing interesting percussive rhythmic moments too. He also offers exquisite turns of phrase, sometimes into new tonal centers or beautiful garden patches. Sometimes his sound is high energy, but at other times he gives us the contrast of lithe lyricism. Although his piano oeuvre is not nearly as extensive as Ravel's and Debussy's, he definitely was an influence on them as well as "Les Six" whom you mentioned. The style of Poulenc, a member of that group, shows a strong influence from Chabier's "Idylle" for example. I've not yet played a Chabrier work except through Ravel, but in addition to being a composer, he was also a fine pianist, thus knew how to write very well for the instrument, making his piano pieces accessible. Another French composer that I want to look into at some point is Chaminade, a contemporary of Chabrier.

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:35 am 
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I'm afraid that all I know of Chabrier is his superlative Espan(~)a as arranged for two pianos. As they say, the best "Spanish" music is written by the French. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:27 am 
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Hi Eddy,

That "Espana" has gotten around. It was originally a piano solo, but then morphed into the duo-piano piece and then into an orchestral ballet arrangement. Reminds me of Ravel's "Ma Mere L'oye" but in a different order. Ravel produced the piano duet first, next came his friend Charlot's transcription for solo piano, followed by Ravel's orchestration of the suite. I believe that Ravel's "La Valse" exists as a piano solo, duo-piano piece, and an orchestrated version too.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:15 am 
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I love Chabrier. He has such an irresistible joie de vivre and Gallic charm and wit. I've many times considered preparing his Pieces Pittoresques, which I am very fond of, for recording but there were always other priorities. Maybe one day yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:59 am 
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Very French and very stylish. The sound together with the playing easily compose the image of the pianist next door practising in some old Parisian building.
Once again you have managed to create a full artistic concept, David.


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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Hi Chris,

I agree with your assessment of Chabrier's music. He always displayed a wonderful originality too, and could write in many forms--for piano, orchestra and even opera. I wish that he could have produced a more robust solo piano literature, but his life was cut short by disease in 1894 at age 53. Nevertheless, the piano pieces he did leave to us are enticing indeed.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:02 pm 
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Hi Pantelis,

I've always viewed myself as a miniaturist when it comes to the piano literature, but I don't consider miniaturist to be a pejorative term. It's not to say that I don't do a big piece now and then. But I've never really taken an interest in long sets of variations or long cycles as found in Schumann and Brahms, for example. Ever since I can remember, I've had a life long love for the genre of the character piece. I always try to understand the "program" of a piece, and once I have a concept, then I try to give it my all. I put myself right into the piece in terms of effort, but at the same time respecting the composer's intent and directions. (Well... maybe I take a little liberty now and then. :) ) This is the difference, I believe, between truly bringing a score to life versus simply "rattling it off". I'm delighted that my rendition of this Ravel piece conjured that imagery for you. For another listener, it might have been a different image, but what it means more generally is that my playing was somehow evocative. I take that as a high compliment, Pantelis. Thank you!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:56 pm 
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Hi David,
thank you for your interesting explanations concerning Chabrier and exchange of thoughts, David. I didn´t know, that he had an influence on members of the groupe des six, but it´s well possible, of course.
I think, Eric Satie was like a musical mentor for this groupe, without being a real member of it (members were Poulenc - as you have mentioned - Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Germaine Tailleferre). From the stylistic point of view they all are quite different and there is no real aesthetical common concept of that groupe. They just abandoned from the impressionism of a Debussy and Ravel and they partly turned towards some kind of entertaining music of their time like Jazz-,Varieté- and Circus-music.
I´m preparing the sonata for clarinet and piano by Poulenc at that moment and I think, there are also some neoclassical elements in it.

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 Post subject: Re: Ravel, A la maniere de... Chabrier
PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:38 pm 
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Hi Andreas,

Yes, you're right about Les Six. This was a group of individualists to be sure! Of all of them, I think that Poulenc was perhaps the one most influenced by Chabrier. When I hear Chabrier's "Bourree fantasque", I can easily hear Poulenc at the same time. Poulenc has many different moods and moments in his composing as you well know. He can be charming, witty, sarcastic, pensive, matter-of-fact, romantic, urbane, ironic, nostalgic and more--very expressive to say the least. And in the larger scope of styles, you're right. He can display neoclassicism and in short order neo-romanticism too. He was eclectic and versatile, which is why he is probably one of the standouts of the Six. Hopefully you can post his sonata for clarinet and piano here. I'm sure many would love to hear it, I know I would. Today we don't hear much of Chabrier, but I believe that in his time he was a very prominent presence in 19th century French music circles.

David

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