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 Post subject: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:20 pm 
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We already have two excellent complete Kinderszenen cycles on the site. But this would not stop me from doing one too, because I love this music as much as everybody else. I think these will feel at home in the distinguished company of those by Daniel Hoehr and Joe Renouf.
Now, let the nitpicking begin :mrgreen:

Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 1: Von fremden Ländern und Menschen (1:52)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 2: Kuriose Geschichte (1:24)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 3: Hasche-Mann (0:42)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 4: Bittendes Kind (1:05)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 5: Glückes genug (1:19)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 6: Wichtige Begenbenheit (1:11)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 7: Träumerei (2:53)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 8: Am Kamin (1:09)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 9: Ritter vom Steckenpferd (0:53)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 10: Fast zu ernst (2:03)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 11: Fürchtenmachen (2:10)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 12: Kind im Einschlummern (1:49)
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15 - 13: Der Dichter Spricht (1:52)

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:55 am 
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The thing about your recordings is not so much to find anything to be critical about, but to find the time in which to listen to them before you post a new one. Do you sleep now and then? :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:08 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
The thing about your recordings is not so much to find anything to be critical about, but to find the time in which to listen to them before you post a new one. Do you sleep now and then? :shock:

Not enough by half...

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:19 pm 
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Just listened to the first of these. It's really beautifully played! I'll try to listen to more later on.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:35 pm 
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There seems a naming issue with Nos. 8 and 9: they are inverted.

I am at present listening and so far I like what I hear. Your tempi are always relaxed. In No. 3 I have heard the accented note more forcefully brought out, but this only goes to show that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:30 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
There seems a naming issue with Nos. 8 and 9: they are inverted.

Ah yes they are. I have fixed that.

richard66 wrote:
I am at present listening and so far I like what I hear. Your tempi are always relaxed. In No. 3 I have heard the accented note more forcefully brought out, but this only goes to show that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Yes, I listened to Horowitz and did not like his outlandish accents on the first notes, drowning out everything else. So I decided to skin my cat in a more humane manner :lol:
Relaxed tempi are important. No need for frenetics (is that a word ?) here. In repertoire like this, Wilhelm Kempff is my man, he always sounded so natural, relaxed, and luminous.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:54 pm 
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You have hit the nail there! I was thinking precisely of Horowitz's version, where he plays the stressed notes with a hammer.

A very funny thing: I do not know why, but I always imagine that "Fast zu ernst" ought to be much faster than in really is and I cannot understand why.

EDIT: the little girl has just applauded your version with great enthusiasm.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:40 am 
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Very nicely played, Chris. Well thought out and executed without any eccentricities. The hardest thing to do is to be simple, and you've managed to project an honest sense of purity of style. What's next now?... Kreisleriana! :P

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:49 am 
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Hi Chris,

I have some time to sit down and listen and have made some notes for your Kinderszenen piece by piece:

1. Great phrasing, I kind of wish the form was AB as it kind of drags on as I hear it, ABABA
2. I like the tempo you have chosen, the harmony seems to march along, giving the piece a jovial evocation.
3. This piece really flashes, sounds like a dance tune. Don’t know what Hasche-Mann means but its sounds like a ballroom tune. I would have liked the runs a little slower, that is, for more emphasis, but otherwise I liked it.
4. I like the rubato choices you made in this piece. It is a moody short piece and I think your phrasing reinforced that well.
5. This piece reminds me of Chopin’s prelude no. 5 I like the way the parts connected, though there could have been more space between the sections IMO.
6. I think you played this piece well, though I don’t really care for it. There is a lot of clashing chords. I guess the point Schumann wanted to make with this piece is that musical idiosyncrasy can exist :)
7. I like the approach you have taken to this piece that seems to be quite well-known of the composer. I think in the dynamics and tempo you have created a type of mood of an explorer discovering a new place or a man fondly remembering memories of his childhood.
8. I think your phrasing could be better in this piece. Anything to make it more interesting. To me it is like Traumerei, in fact I hear parts of the previous in this, but, in conclusion it’s a lesser knock-off IMO.
9. I like this number. And I think the separation of sections was convincing, good contrasting of the B to the A.
10. This piece has a certain lilting feel to it that is appealing. I think this could be my favorite in the set aside from Traumerei.
11. I liked the contrast between the a tempo section and the accel. section. It is a nice piece in a set that is mostly full of pieces that have one and only one tempo, though granted they are complex melodically and harmonically.
12. There were parts in this piece that I think you interpreted well. the treble notes seemed to fly above the chordal bass in the main theme, which I think brought out the composers idea well.
13. A great end to this set. this piece seems to prefigure Richard Strauss, in the way it is layed out. In particular, I think you voiced the ornamentation well, giving them the right amount of subtlety and shaping so that they do no draw extra attention to themselves.

This is the first time I have heard this set, thanks for the introduction. I now have a new-found respect/appreciation of Schumann!

~Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:37 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
EDIT: the little girl has just applauded your version with great enthusiasm.

Good to hear ! :D
It's great when kids can appreciate classical music. I wish mine could.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:41 pm 
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88man wrote:
Very nicely played, Chris. Well thought out and executed without any eccentricities. The hardest thing to do is to be simple, and you've managed to project an honest sense of purity of style. What's next now?... Kreisleriana! :P

Thanks George !
I have no real Schumann plans for the near future except for maybe redoing the Waldszenen and maybe tossing off the Jugendalbum on a rainy afternoon :)
Much as I love the Kreisleriana I'd probably sooner go for the underrated Novelletten, even though they're even more bloody hard work.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:53 pm 
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pianoman342 wrote:
This is the first time I have heard this set, thanks for the introduction. I now have a new-found respect/appreciation of Schumann!

Thanks for your detailed feedback Riley, nice to know about the things that went well ! Good to have introduced somebody to this landmark cycle, the home turf of giants like Horowitz and Argerich (though I do not care too much for their interpretations of it).

I agree about no.8, that could have done with a little more preparation, I may well redo this one as it is quite tricky with its interlocking chords.
I'm less enthousiastic about no.10 than you are, and in fact had some trouble getting this halfway decent. I suppose it should be treated like a chorale, with all these short phrases separated by fermatas. Though I dearly love chorales, I don't seem to really connect with this one.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:48 pm 
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Hi Chris,
phew, I have had success to download all files now (in spite of a very bad internet connection) and I will give a detailed comment as soon as it is possible for me (also from the technically view concerning the internet connection, which seems to be really a matter of luck these days). But I´m really curious on these recordings (because I have played them all, too, as I told you).

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:49 pm 
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No. 1: nicely played, one could bring out a bit more the melody line, but that´s a matter of taste. You always ignore the first ritardando, the second you play each time in different ways, which is a possibility. I usually play the ritardando only up to the fermata, in every case the upbeat to the continuation of the melody should be again a tempo (you don´t do that the first time).l
No. 2: also nicely played, to play the quarter after the dotted rhythm always staccato is an interesting interpretation, though I don´t think, Schumann has intended that, because he never has written a staccato point here, so that from a severe view these quarters always should be played in the normal length of a quarter. The first piano after the thin double “strich” should be very soft and an audible dynamical difference to what is played before.
No. 3: that´s indeed a nice version, may be the accents could be played out a bit more, so that the whole piece sounds more exciting, like a real hunt.
No. 4: the second and the third time there is nearly no contrast between the p and the pp, the first time is much better. Apart from that a nice version.
No. 5: nicely played, but there could be more conscious voicing (in the repeat I thought to hear a bit of that) concerning the motif-dialogues between soprano and tenor.
No. 6: dynamically that´s not played “important” enough: it should be more forte and decisive.
No. 7: you seem to have fallen in love with the sixth-chords here: you play one in bar 11 and 15 each on the third beat instead of a quart-sixth-chord. There are nice moments in it, but in summary it could be more dreamy and I miss conscious voicing respective interpretation of the motif-playings, which are extremely important and beautiful in that piece IMHO.
No. 8: that´s a quite nice version, you play it narratively like it should be, the accents could be played out a bit more.
No. 9: here the vocing is extremely important, from bar 1-4 the melody has to be underlined, from bar 5-8 the tenor voice. From bar 9-15 f.ex. the first time the melody in the soprano (which I don´t hear enough hear in your version) during the repeat one could underline more the bass voice, from bar 16-end the tenor voice is the important one!
No. 10: I have not the two last bars on the audio-file, but that could also be from my bad download possibilities here on the camping. I really like your tempo here a lot and you bring out that serious character very well! Most pianists play these phrases with more dramatic, rubato and expression, but I think, that´s a quite “philosophical” piece, I do a bit more expression here, but this quite emotionless interpretation seems convincing to me.
No. 11: this piece also could endure more voicing. Very important are the chromatic progressions, which express the fear respective uncertainity. The fast passages could be more pp and they should sound very scurrying (fliting) (like something or someone indefinable , which (who) causes fear. In every case the melody has to bring out much more at some places.
No. 12: nicely played, in the last chord there is to few of the third (it sounds nearly like a hollow quint.
No. 13: for me that´s the most demanding and important piece of the whole Kinderszenen cycle (and for me it´s one of the most important piece at all!). It should be very poetic and philosophical in a certain way. I think, you haven´t yet reached that character too much. The contrast between p and pp has to be very evident. In bar 3 and 6 you should play out the thin notes more expressively, especially in bar 6, which is played much too metronomically. That piece is like a dream of a child who searches for the eternal truth and feeling of security. So the upgoing motifs in bar 9, 10 and 11, 12 are like philosophical questions, questions to God for me. But all has to be played very simple and spontaneously like in a dream (because it´s a child who just “imitates” the great poet respective philosopher). The ritardandi could be all played out more intensively. The free cadenza part in bar 12 should be played more freely with more rubati. The ritardando in the last 7 bars should become slower and slower continually and the sounds should disappear more and more like a dream, which is going out more and more out of consciousness.
For me Alfred Cortot has caught the character of this piece in a nearly ideal way (as a possibility, of course) during his master class in 1953 in Paris. Fortunately I have found that extract on YouTube (I have it on a DVD at home):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNUNNNNj_Qw

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:33 pm 
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Thanks for the detailed reply Andreas. I knew there would be things to improve here, not having quite reached up to Cortot's level yet :)
I think these are very small nits being picked... but you're good at that :lol: I'm aghast at the two read errors in the Traumerei - I've always played it like that :oops: Doesn't sound bad though does it !
The only thing I don't agree with is that no.6 is not 'wichtig' enough. I would not want to do this one any other way.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:18 am 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
I think these are very small nits being picked... but you're good at that :lol:


I know, I know. :P But I´m as good in that as you are. :D :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:48 pm 
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Hi Chris,

These performances sound excellent! I listened to #s 1,2,3, and 6 because these are ones that I have performed in the past.

On #1, you do a great job bringing out the melodic line while keeping the lower voices subdued. My only suggestion here would be to try to keep the upper notes in the right hand from sounding accented at times, especially the last note in the cadences.

#2: Fantastic, nothing to criticize here! Great sense of character.

#3: Great liveliness and precision. I remember when I was learning this, it took me months to play this without it sounding like kids running around and tripping over everything in sight.

#6: You convey a very nice ceremonial quality in this piece. The only suggestion I have would be aim for more clarity in the left hand in the B section,


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 Post subject: Re: Schumann - Kinderszenen
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:12 am 
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In-Flight Piano wrote:
These performances sound excellent! I listened to #s 1,2,3, and 6 because these are ones that I have performed in the past.

Thanks for that !

In-Flight Piano wrote:
On #1, you do a great job bringing out the melodic line while keeping the lower voices subdued. My only suggestion here would be to try to keep the upper notes in the right hand from sounding accented at times, especially the last note in the cadences.

Now that you mention it, I realize I've still not quite kicked my habit of accenting the last note in a phrase. This will be a point of attention if I ever redo this set (not sure if I will).

In-Flight Piano wrote:
#2: Fantastic, nothing to criticize here! Great sense of character.

:D

In-Flight Piano wrote:
#3: Great liveliness and precision. I remember when I was learning this, it took me months to play this without it sounding like kids running around and tripping over everything in sight.

Indeed this one is not easy at all. Took me quite a while to get recorded satisfactorily.

In-Flight Piano wrote:
#6: You convey a very nice ceremonial quality in this piece. The only suggestion I have would be aim for more clarity in the left hand in the B section,
I guess you mean use less pedal, because otherwise I think all is clearly articulated here.

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