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 Post subject: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:51 pm 
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Two more preludes from Cesar Cui's set of 25 Preludes Op.64. A much-maligned and underrated composer, hardly ever one of his many works is ever heard. Maybe history is just, and maybe it's cruel. IMO at least this set of preludes deserves wider recognition.

Cui - 25 Preludes Op.64 - 7: Allegro non troppo (1:41)
Cui - 25 Preludes Op.64 - 12: Allegretto (2:47)

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Twp Preludes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:40 am 
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I liked the first one because it reminded me a little of a Granados impromptu that I've played - but just for a couple measures. The second piece was okay until about the last quarter where I think it started going on for a tad too long. Your playing is good, as usual, although maybe it could be more graceful here; it sounds a little heavy-handed. These are okay but don't really spark interest in listening to anymore Cui. Also, I really don't like the photo we have of him on the home page!!

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Twp Preludes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:32 am 
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Chris, I too like the first one, very much in fact. I'm trying to make a connection of it to something that I think (?) is Brahms -- but can't put my finger on it. :? Maybe someone else can help me here? The 2nd one doesn't do much for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:24 am 
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Thanks for the comments.
pianolady wrote:
I liked the first one because it reminded me a little of a Granados impromptu that I've played - but just for a couple measures. The second piece was okay until about the last quarter where I think it started going on for a tad too long. Your playing is good, as usual, although maybe it could be more graceful here; it sounds a little heavy-handed. These are okay but don't really spark interest in listening to anymore Cui. Also, I really don't like the photo we have of him on the home page!!

Yeah if only he would look like Granados and his music sound like Granados .... that would help would it not :P

musical-md wrote:
Chris, I too like the first one, very much in fact. I'm trying to make a connection of it to something that I think (?) is Brahms -- but can't put my finger on it. Maybe someone else can help me here? The 2nd one doesn't do much for me.

Indeed the octave passages are a bit Brahmsian.
The second one is actually one of my favorites of the set.

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:30 pm 
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<deleted: response no longer relevant>

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Last edited by musical-md on Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:54 am 
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Hi Chris,

I really enjoyed both preludes. Sometimes Cui's melodic lines, instead of sounding inevitable here, take unexpected twists and turns, as do the accompanying harmonies. Cui's earliest attempts at writing for the piano seem a bit awkward and banal to me, but these two preludes show more musical sophistication in my opinion. Both seem to me to be fine compositions.

I don't have the scores here, but I believe that you played both pieces exceptionally well, as both were completely convincing. Will you be playing more of these preludes?

It's good too to have more lesser-known Russian music on the site.

Thanks for posting these recordings.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:03 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
I really enjoyed both preludes. Sometimes Cui's melodic lines, instead of sounding inevitable here, take unexpected twists and turns, as do the accompanying harmonies. Cui's earliest attempts at writing for the piano seem a bit awkward and banal to me, but these two preludes show more musical sophistication in my opinion. Both seem to me to be fine compositions.

I don't have the scores here, but I believe that you played both pieces exceptionally well, as both were completely convincing. Will you be playing more of these preludes?

Thanks for the appreciation David ! Though it is clear that Cui was not a pianist (he writes some strange things sometimes) I finf thes preludes to sound totally pianistic, and very Russian (amazing, considering Cui was of Lithuanian-French heritage).
I have a handful more of these preludes on the roster. So far I don't intend to do the CS (quite a novelty for me ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:56 pm 
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These sound nice. For criticism, a little bit more rubato on the Allegro non troppo. The 2nd piece is one I would like to practice, I hear a little of Tchaikovsky in the left hand.

Too bad that he is underappreciated, though perhaps you are changing that :)

~Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:49 am 
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pianoman342 wrote:
Too bad that he is underappreciated, though perhaps you are changing that :)

More likely the people changing that would be Jeffrey Biegel and Margaret Fingerhut through whose excellent recordings on Youtube I got to know these preludes.
Yes, the second of these does have echoes of Tchaikovsky.

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:24 pm 
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Having listened to these and other pieces by Cui I wonder how he can be considered a "nationalist" to be mentioned in the same breath as Rimsky-Korsakov and Balakirev. Of course I know he was a member of the Mighty Handful and all that, but even his origins are non-Russian and his music to me sounds anything but Russian. Tchaikovsky, who was reviled by the Mighty as been sold-out to Western decadence or whatever, is more of a nationalist that Cui.

The first of these two I found a bit nondescript, though I did enjoy listening to the second one and this is a welcome addition to the site.

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:20 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Having listened to these and other pieces by Cui I wonder how he can be considered a "nationalist" to be mentioned in the same breath as Rimsky-Korsakov and Balakirev. Of course I know he was a member of the Mighty Handful and all that, but even his origins are non-Russian and his music to me sounds anything but Russian. Tchaikovsky, who was reviled by the Mighty as been sold-out to Western decadence or whatever, is more of a nationalist that Cui.

I don't know whether Cui wrote 'nationalistic' (whatever that term implies) works. But piano music can sounds Russian even if not nationalistic. It's something about the harmonies, rhythms, and figurations - Liadov has it too, as do many Russians. An innate feeling for the piano. I rate Cui's piano music higher than that of Rimsky, Borodin, or even Moussorgsky, in terms of being pianistic (even though Cui clearly was no pianist, he could write down the most impossible things). Even Balakirev, whose piano music is outstanding and highly regarded in Russia, if not played as often as it should, is not usually 'nationalistic'. Most of Tchaikovsky's piano music is not 'nationalistic' either. But again, I'm not sure what that term really means.

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Twp Preludes
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:37 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
I'm trying to make a connection of it to something that I think (?) is Brahms -- but can't put my finger on it. :?


I felt there were tinges of Brahms also. Perhaps it's the general texture which is quite dense in places. There was a passage in the first piece (about half way in) which vaguely reminded me of the second Brahms concerto.

I didn't expect much of these pieces, so it's nice to say that I found them rather more appealing than I had imagined.


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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Twp Preludes
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:32 pm 
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andrew wrote:
I felt there were tinges of Brahms also. Perhaps it's the general texture which is quite dense in places. There was a passage in the first piece (about half way in) which vaguely reminded me of the second Brahms concerto.
Yes I know which bit you mean, and what it reminds you of. Quite tricky, although I imagine the corresponding passage in the Brahms concerto to be infinitely more difficult.

andrew wrote:
I didn't expect much of these pieces, so it's nice to say that I found them rather more appealing than I had imagined.

Good :D One should keep an open mind and give lesser composers the benefit of the doubt. They often may surprise you.

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:24 pm 
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techneut wrote:
richard66 wrote:
Having listened to these and other pieces by Cui I wonder how he can be considered a "nationalist" to be mentioned in the same breath as Rimsky-Korsakov and Balakirev. Of course I know he was a member of the Mighty Handful and all that, but even his origins are non-Russian and his music to me sounds anything but Russian. Tchaikovsky, who was reviled by the Mighty as been sold-out to Western decadence or whatever, is more of a nationalist that Cui.

I don't know whether Cui wrote 'nationalistic' (whatever that term implies) works. But piano music can sounds Russian even if not nationalistic. It's something about the harmonies, rhythms, and figurations - Liadov has it too, as do many Russians. An innate feeling for the piano. I rate Cui's piano music higher than that of Rimsky, Borodin, or even Moussorgsky, in terms of being pianistic (even though Cui clearly was no pianist, he could write down the most impossible things). Even Balakirev, whose piano music is outstanding and highly regarded in Russia, if not played as often as it should, is not usually 'nationalistic'. Most of Tchaikovsky's piano music is not 'nationalistic' either. But again, I'm not sure what that term really means.


We mean the same thing: I mean by nationalistic (a term I am not too fond of) the ideals of the Mightly Handful and in Cui I definitively do not hear any of that! Tchaikovsky I find quite Russian, but, either in subject matter or even in his music. If you take the piano music, look at the Album for the Young: the last piece, In Church, borrows from Russian Orthodox chant. If you look at his symphonies, take his first two ones or The Snow Maiden (Yes, I mean his op. 12) you will see the same. Of course, this seems to be something all Russians have, even the very first composers of instrumental music, like Bortnjanskij and Khandorshkin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZtBLfZrOIE

Does this not remind you of Tchaikovsky, and yet it was written when Haydn was alive and went unpublished till some years before this recording was made!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlluQpsU ... re=related

This one actually reminds me of a song by Chopin!

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 Post subject: Re: Cui - Two Preludes
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:14 pm 
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Wow, that Khandorshkin piece sounds in the beginning almost as if it should have been written 50 years later. It has such a "romantic" sense about it. It wasn't until towards the middle that I began to truely hear the Classical period articulations and phrasings.

Those are both interesting pieces and I do hear a bit of "Russian" in both of them.

Scott


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