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 Post subject: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:58 pm 
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Some eyebrows were raised when I mentioned my likes and dislikes not too long ago, but as all rules have theirexeptions, I have recorded this today. Any comments are welcome.

EDIT: There is a NEWER version lower down in this post!

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


Last edited by richard66 on Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:11 pm 
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Hi Richard.
This is a simple work that should not IMHO be made into a baroque edifice. You keep it simple, and I like that. Your voicing is very good, however, probably due to the dimensions of your piano, there is very rapid decay of the melody that causes every long note to essentially stop sounding. The only three ways around this is to play a bigger piano and let the melody determine the volume of all else, voice the melody even more distinctly, or try scooting the tempo along, again being fixated on the decaying sound of the melody long notes. More importantly, you've fattened up a few bars with extra 8th notes (?!). Listen around 24-26 seconds and again around 35-36 seconds. Was this a splicing augmentation? Anyway, due to this last point you should re-record this.

Eddy


Edit: spelling

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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


Last edited by musical-md on Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:40 pm 
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Hmm....Richard...I think it is illegal to play Chopin after you've claimed to not like his solo piano music... But I'm very glad you did! :)

Anyway, tempo-wise I think this is good. You do play it very straight-forward, which normally I like. Maybe in this instance there could be just little more softness, some slight rubato, etc. But Eddy is right about the extra 8th notes in those spots.

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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
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 Post subject: Re: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:39 pm 
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Good job, Richard. Your performace was well conceived. The melody maintined a nice contour and flow and the evenness of your accompinment brought out the subtle harmonic changes. I can only parrot the others about the extra eight notes.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:34 pm 
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First I would like to thank you all for your positive remarks. Most welcome!

Indeed, I at one point I re-recorded this because it seemed to me there were too many notes. I listened to the newer one and I thought that one was correct, but it seems it was not. Thank you, Eddy, for calling my attention to it. I have redone it another time, hopefully without extra notes.

I must say, Eddy, that when I play at what seems to me a comfortable speed I hear it and the fact notes are not held properly does make it sound excutiatingly slow. I listened to other versions of the Prelude on the site and, while mine will never win the Granx Prix, itr was not much slower than some.

I quite like this prelude. With the rain there has been here today I toyed with the idea of doing the Raindrop Prelude with the window open! :D

Here is the re-recording:

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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: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:24 am 
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Hi Richard,

I thought I'd offer a few comments here, as you had invited feedback. I like the way you bring out the variable voicing in the LH, emphasizing the note that changes within each group of four eighth notes. Change is the opposite of monotony, and I think you've done well to highlight the changes at every turn. If you had a better instrument available, I believe you would have been able to soften the LH chords considerably. The best technique is to play the chords not on the keys, but inside the keys, thereby reducing depth of key dip along with the velocity of the hammers striking the chords thus producing softer tones. But I'm well aware of the limitations of your piano and its tendency to not sound notes.

As you know the character of this prelude is a lament. To realize that, Chopin based the entire piece on the "sigh motif". The first one encountered is in full measure 1 and measure 2, that is, in the RH the C at the fourth beat of measure 1 and the B on the downbeat in measure 2. So the sigh is C to B. As you look through the score, the sighs are ubiquitous! Here is the technique: Always shape the tone so that the upper note (the inhale) is louder and more prominent, while the second note (exhale) of the sigh is is more diminished and gentle. A paradox, or a collision of truths: Where the exhales tend to land on the downbeats, our standard performance "rules" tell us that the downbeat must be the strongest beat of a measure--but... not in this piece! The piece has to be played is if there were virtually no downbeats, as they are always quieter than the 4th (weakest) beat of preceding measure, the inhale. So the sighs go: DEE-dee, DEE-dee. (I apologize for my [non]singing voice. :lol:) In the execution that has implications too for balancing the LH. That is, on those quieter exhales, the LH chords cannot drown out that second half of the sigh. The LH is accompaniment only, so must be subservient in the balancing of the hands. Otherwise the sighs will be destroyed.

In measure 16 you have the ornamental turn in the RH going to the G. The turn need not be hurried nor too metronomic. What is more urgent there is the stretto, or sense of tension in the lament. So you can take some liberty there to better express the anguish.

In measure 17, you can play the first group of four slower than the tempo (another liberty) to emphasize the drama element, then resume tempo in the next group paying attention to the blending of the two sequential groups. In the second group of four as well as the following two eighths in 18, you can use pedal there so that the sound is not too dry. Yes, there are some neighboring tones there plus chord changes in the bass. To manage that, each eighth must be separately pedaled for clarity there.

In measure 23, in the LH the note to voice in the bass chord is the A# at the bottom. Actually the voice leading is from the E in the last chord in the LH in 22 down to the A# in 23. Voice both.

The last suggestion I'd make is for the performance overall: Just let it breathe more to allow the nuances to bloom. That doesn't mean to abandon meter and tempo, but to also allow more rubato where it will be effective. If its too metronomic, the character will seem pressing and persistent rather than melancholy and tearful.

I hope this helps.

The piece is coming along nicely. Good work!

David

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Last edited by Rachfan on Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:10 am, edited 8 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:56 am 
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Hi Richard,

I had a listen to your 2nd take. The notes sound correct, but there seems to be a lack in nuance and melodic shaping of the piece. I think David has a lot of good feedback. I haven't heard of the sigh motif, but I'm privy to believe it will transform the piece from having the relatively shallow emotional depth of 10ft to having the considerable depth of a 100ft. Maybe my figurative comparison is out of place. But I think you have done good work on this challenging piece.

~Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:51 pm 
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Rachfan wrote:
So the sighs go: DEE-dee, DEE-dee.

I believe they go C-B, C-B ... :wink:

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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: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:35 pm 
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Hi Eddy

:D Yes, except I was trying to demonstrate the emphasis and the deemphasis more than the notes.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:58 am 
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Just playing with 'ya Dave.

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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: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:03 am 
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I just listened to your second version. There is now a different rhythm glitch at 0:30. Also the loud LH octaves at 1:07 - sounds to me like you caught another key in there - some kind of smudge in the sound. But keep at it, Richard. It's almost there. Although, I do wish you would hold back a little and make the overall feel of the piece more melancholic.

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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: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:07 am 
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Hi Eddy,

Yup, I know. :lol: :lol:

David

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 Post subject: Re: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:26 pm 
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David very often reminds me of things I leant and seem to have forgotten. The sigh motive is one I was told about ahen I still had a teacher, though it was mainly associated with the recurrence of the theme after the "storm" in the middle! I have tried this approach to the whole piece and I must say the results were pleasing, though when I recorded I made a bit of a mess in the "stormy" part, hitting two keys at the same time, so I shall need to record again. Oh well, it all helps to build confidence!

Monica, was it a smudge or the recording peaked? I think it was the latter. I did reduce the amplification in the file I sent, but it cuts there, just where you mention. I am at a loss what to do: the microphones are about as far from the piano as I can get them (assuming they must be parallell to the keyboard) and the in volume is as low as it will go.

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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: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:01 pm 
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To me, it sounded like you missed the key a little bit. I don't remember thinking that there was anything wrong with the actual sound-quality or volume. But my speakers at work are not that good, so I'd have to listen again when I'm at home to know for sure. Maybe someone else can listen on better speakers and let you know before I am able to (won't have a chance until late tonight or tomorrow).

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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: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:15 pm 
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In any case I believe it can be played better, so a new recording is to be made sooner or later.

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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: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:05 pm 
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A good performance, Richard. I too know the frustration of trying to get a beautiful sound out of an old upright that has seen better days :)

I tend to agree with the other commenters. Technically it's good, aside a couple of rhythm slips and whatever happened in that lower octave--it does sound like you split a note there, which is easy to do, although it might have been a recording glitch. The thing that detracts from it as a performance is that it's a bit too metronomic. Others have given you better advice than I could on that score, so I won't insult you by going over it again. I look forward to hearing your revised take.


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 Post subject: Re: Richard, eat your words!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:47 am 
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It is in the making.

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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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