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 Post subject: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:01 am 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
I present the following for your consideration. Not perfect, but hopefully suitable. Comments welcome. I made a very big difference in the engineering, and I hope you will find the sound nicely improved from my recent Rachmaninov contributions.

Piano: Baldwin SF-10 (7') with lid entirely closed
Mics: Shure KSM-141, matched pair in cardiod setting, in A-B config 8' away on stereo bar
A-D converter: Degidesign MBox2
Recording SW: Pro Tools LE
EQ: Mild bump on bass and decrease on treble EQ
Reverb: Preset Small-Room setting

Oh, and the edition I'm playing from :wink: is Alfred Masterworks Edition, edited by Maurice Hinson


Scriabin - Nocturne for Left Hand Alone, Op.9, No.2

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:52 pm 
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I should know this piece but shamefully don't. It's really quite beautiful and it seems to me you have played it well. The sound is good but I have a minor caveat i.e. that (a bit like Rachfan's piano) the bass is a lovely full rounded sound but the treble is a bit tinkly and thin. I notice it's also a Baldwin.

I did notice at 2.17 a slight loss of fluency in the upper passagework (I know from experience how hard these types of passage can be in l.h. only pieces, due to the awkwardness of the hand being where it's not supposed to be on the keyboard. My teacher said it is acceptable and beneficial when playing such pieces to have the piano stool slightly rotated clockwise to facilitate access).


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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:02 pm 
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I studied this piece when I had a RH thumb affliction last year or so. It's not terribly hard but the passage work is pretty devilish.
I'm no Scriabin expert but it is well played with nary a flaw I could detect. The sound is good but gets quite metallic in the forte passages, as if the strings are buzzing and mic is right on top of it. This is a bit of a drawback to an otherwise fine recording.

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:03 pm 
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Hi Eddy,

I had a listen to your recording, nice work! At times I felt I wouldn't have thought it was for the left hand alone, so you have achieved a type of smoothness for this type of playing that works in your favor.

About what Andrew said that the bass is rounded but the treble tinkly and thin. I believe this is do to your EQ settings more than your actual piano, as you wrote in your technical information. I personally can't hear the buzzing strings, but i realize I was listening more for the music than the audio aspect of the recording.

Sounds nice,

~Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:40 am 
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Hi Eddy,

I've listened to this etude for LH twice and am quite impressed by it. (Listened with my brand new Sony MDR-7506 Professional headphones that arrived just today.) I think you play it very convincingly. You have fine agility in the LH, phrase superbly as the music unfolds, bring in the drama with well controlled dynamics, and play the long line in this piece. It's a very beautiful composition. Excellent playing! I should have played this piece by now... but like everyone here, there is so much music I want to play! :)

I didn't happen to notice any strings buzzing. Because of its ubiquity, I think most pianists are steeped in the Steinway sound. For some, Baldwin might be more of an acquired taste. The Steinway sound is like a robust burgundy, while Baldwin's sound is more like a fine champagne. Both pianos are excellent, but quite different and each has their adherents.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:16 am 
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Hey folks thanks for the replies thus far. Doesn't anybody think this file is to quiet? I'm listening to it now and can hardly hear it!. I will remaster the file without the decreased volume on the master that I added.

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"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: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:02 am 
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Hi Eddy,

I think you're right. Playing it as I listen here, my speaker volume knob is about at the 2 o'clock position. Usually the "just right" position is at high noon. So I overcompensated for the lower volume. I would increase amplitude somewhat without overdoing it. Once you do that, for future I would look at the input level on your recorder and reset it. It might take some trial and error to get that input level exactly right, but once you find the spot, you won't have to fiddle with it again. If you have peak LED bars on the recorder, that will simplify the task by keeping the bars within green, not red limits.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 5:58 am 
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Hi Eddy

Not a piece I'm very familiar with (have never played it myself though I think I heard Sofronitsky (?) on it some time ago), but what a treasure! Scriabin always seems to present such incredible contrasts of passion and intimacy.

Overall, I think you play this very convincingly. It sounds more finished to my ears than the Rachmaninoff, and it certainly must be no mean feat with your left hand having to do all the work :shock: Some very well-thought-out dynamic contrasts and rubati. A few of the faster runs and trills perhaps sound slightly awkward to me, and the pedalling a bit lush, but I know how difficult that must be with the balance in only one hand. Also a few places where I could see what you trying to do rubatowise but it sounded slightly more like a rhythmic pause or hiccup to me, but that's all pretty minor and I know we have our different opinions about that. The overall effect was quite solid to my ears for what you were attempting to do.

I too found the recording too distant and had to turn the volume way up on the computer speakers and even my Mac itself (which I rarely need to do), and it was still pretty quiet. Could it be partly that you played with the lid entirely closed as you say in your opening statement?

Anyway I very much enjoyed this. Perhaps even more so with my late Friday night inebriation :P

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 5:50 pm 
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Sounded lovely and nicely played, Eddy. It's on the site.

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:09 am 
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Monica, thank you for uploading to the web. I'm away right now for CME and visits with family in Florida. Right now am sitting on the beach at the Ritz in Key Biscayne with a nearly full moon shining on the water. Man this is hard! ;)

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"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: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:43 am 
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musical-md wrote:
Monica, thank you for uploading to the web. I'm away right now for CME and visits with family in Florida. Right now am sitting on the beach at the Ritz in Key Biscayne with a nearly full moon shining on the water. Man this is hard! ;)

You're welcome! Save me some margaritas; I'm going to be down in that area in a couple weeks. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:59 pm 
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Hello, Eddy,

I listened to this yesterday evening. It is a new piece to me, though you have been talking about it for some time. I for one think your microphone setup is much better. The piece sounds well-played to my ears.

I notice you have read my post about the editions. Good! If I had it I could have followed it...

A problem with a sore on my middle finger of the right hand (dermatitis) made briefly wonder if I should also take up this repertoire! :) But then I am also liable to these on my right hand... :?

Keep up the good work!

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He is doing his best."
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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:52 pm 
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Very nice, Eddy. It is not a piece I'm familiar with, and if you hadn't said, I should not have realised it was played with the LH alone.

I do agree that the recording is a little bit on the quiet side. I usually just use the "normalise" effect in Audacity to bump the max level up to 0dB or a bit under.


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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:26 pm 
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Eddy, I didn't know this piece, either, and the listening to your performance was a true enjoyment. To me the sound is not so satisfying. Since you seem to have a good recording-set, you probably have to make further experiments :wink:
A question: What did your RH do during the recordng? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:54 pm 
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hyenal wrote:
A question: What did your RH do during the recordng? :)

That raises food for an interesting new discussion. What can you do with the RH while playing a LH piece ?
Possible options:

- turn pages
- scratch head
- fiddle with the recorder knobs
- smoke a cigarette
- arouse yourself
- cheat
- conduct

The possibilities are endless.....

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:07 pm 
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techneut wrote:
hyenal wrote:
A question: What did your RH do during the recordng? :)

That raises food for an interesting new discussion. What can you do with the RH while playing a LH piece ?
Possible options:

- turn pages
- scratch head
- fiddle with the recorder knobs
- smoke a cigarette
- arouse yourself
- cheat
- conduct

The possibilities are endless.....


When playing in public, take an incoming call on your mobile/cell phone from a carefully planted audience member, thus making it adequately clear to the audience (who may not have noticed it is l.h. only) that you are ONLY USING ONE HAND!


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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:38 am 
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Hi Eddy,

You did a fine interpretation of this piece. It seems to me, that the recapitulation demonstrates your ideal vision of how to present the soaring melodic line while keeping the inner notes at an appropriate degree of shading that makes them  relevent and important but none the less secondary. The recapitulation sounds very secure and the impression that two hands are being used is absolutely stellar.

The middle part is climactic and dramatic. It works.

I feel the opening could be a bit more secure and the shading between the inner notes and the melody could be just a tad more pronounced.

Thank you for playing this wonderful piece in a bold and extroverted manner.

Kaila Rochelle

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:45 am 
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Location: Germany
andrew wrote:
techneut wrote:
hyenal wrote:
A question: What did your RH do during the recordng? :)

That raises food for an interesting new discussion. What can you do with the RH while playing a LH piece ?
Possible options:

- turn pages
- scratch head
- fiddle with the recorder knobs
- smoke a cigarette
- arouse yourself
- cheat
- conduct

The possibilities are endless.....


When playing in public, take an incoming call on your mobile/cell phone from a carefully planted audience member, thus making it adequately clear to the audience (who may not have noticed it is l.h. only) that you are ONLY USING ONE HAND!

I actually amused myself at the option "cheat" at most, so I find Andrew's option for public performances very proper :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:53 am 
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andrew wrote:
When playing in public, take an incoming call on your mobile/cell phone from a carefully planted audience member, thus making it adequately clear to the audience (who may not have noticed it is l.h. only) that you are ONLY USING ONE HAND!

That would be a gimmick worthy of Igudesman and Joo :D It's probably done by someone before, or else it should.

But if the audience is so thick they have not noticed it before, they probably won't notice it after, and just be annoyed because they think you are leaving stuff out to take the call.

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:41 pm 
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Jokes apart, I did notice Berezovsky in one video keeping the extra hand on the piano top.

A good gimmick would be to play the 1st part of a concert with both hands and then, during the interval, to suffer an accident. An anouncer comes and says that the pianist has injured his right arm. Doctors have come and put a cast on, but mever mind, the concert will goi on, albeit with a slight change of programme...

Again, not joking, I remember my mother telling me she had gone to see Nicanor Zabaleta once and at one point there was a blackout. He did not even miss a beat, but went on playing as if nothing had happened.

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He is doing his best."
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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:24 pm 
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Quote:
Jokes apart, I did notice Berezovsky in one video keeping the extra hand on the piano top.

I saw the same thing! He was playing a Godowsky's transcription of one of the Chopin etudes, right?

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:04 am 
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hyenal wrote:
Quote:
Jokes apart, I did notice Berezovsky in one video keeping the extra hand on the piano top.

I saw the same thing! He was playing a Godowsky's transcription of one of the Chopin etudes, right?


Yes, I've seen this too. I've been led to believe that you should keep the right hand stationary on your right leg, out of the way of the audience view of the left. I assume he's doing it to make it abundantly clear it's a one hand piece, but I'm sure it must obscure the view of the keyboard to some extent.


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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:27 am 
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andrew wrote:
I should know this piece but shamefully don't. It's really quite beautiful and it seems to me you have played it well. The sound is good but I have a minor caveat i.e. that (a bit like Rachfan's piano) the bass is a lovely full rounded sound but the treble is a bit tinkly and thin. I notice it's also a Baldwin.

I did notice at 2.17 a slight loss of fluency in the upper passagework (I know from experience how hard these types of passage can be in l.h. only pieces, due to the awkwardness of the hand being where it's not supposed to be on the keyboard. My teacher said it is acceptable and beneficial when playing such pieces to have the piano stool slightly rotated clockwise to facilitate access).

Hi Andrew,
Thanks for listening. Yes, there was a blip in the fioritura work. Interestingly, about your teacher's comment, I actually trained very specifically to do the opposite. That is, when playing with both hands at one extreme of the keyboard, I trained to turn my shoulders slightly in the opposite direction! You will note that when playing at an extreme side with both hands, it is the inner arm/hand that really has it difficult; rotating in the opposite direction (clockwise for bass work and conter-clockwise for treble work) actually eases the burden a bit on the "inner" arm.

Regarding the sound quality, I am approaching more of what I am after for the recording; once I get it "right" then I'll likely re-record my recent submissions with better executions.

BTW, that Thalberg was very nice!

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"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: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:37 am 
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jlr43 wrote:
Hi Eddy

Not a piece I'm very familiar with (have never played it myself though I think I heard Sofronitsky (?) on it some time ago), but what a treasure! Scriabin always seems to present such incredible contrasts of passion and intimacy.

Overall, I think you play this very convincingly. It sounds more finished to my ears than the Rachmaninoff, and it certainly must be no mean feat with your left hand having to do all the work :shock: Some very well-thought-out dynamic contrasts and rubati. A few of the faster runs and trills perhaps sound slightly awkward to me, and the pedalling a bit lush, but I know how difficult that must be with the balance in only one hand. Also a few places where I could see what you trying to do rubatowise but it sounded slightly more like a rhythmic pause or hiccup to me, but that's all pretty minor and I know we have our different opinions about that. The overall effect was quite solid to my ears for what you were attempting to do.

I too found the recording too distant and had to turn the volume way up on the computer speakers and even my Mac itself (which I rarely need to do), and it was still pretty quiet. Could it be partly that you played with the lid entirely closed as you say in your opening statement?

Anyway I very much enjoyed this. Perhaps even more so with my late Friday night inebriation :P

Joe

Hi Joe,
Thanks for listening. I appreciate your overall approval and do admit that I need to continue to master the "faster runs and trills." The recording volume was too low because I dumbly lowered it: to about
-4.5dB. I won't do that again. Closing the lid on the piano has reduced the "metalic shine" in the sound that was objectionable to me. Beyond that, I don't wish to go much further because I actually prefer a piano with a brighter treble sound.
Thanks again.

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"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: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:40 am 
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musicrecovery wrote:
Hi Eddy,

You did a fine interpretation of this piece. It seems to me, that the recapitulation demonstrates your ideal vision of how to present the soaring melodic line while keeping the inner notes at an appropriate degree of shading that makes them  relevent and important but none the less secondary. The recapitulation sounds very secure and the impression that two hands are being used is absolutely stellar.

The middle part is climactic and dramatic. It works.

I feel the opening could be a bit more secure and the shading between the inner notes and the melody could be just a tad more pronounced.

Thank you for playing this wonderful piece in a bold and extroverted manner.

Kaila Rochelle

Hi Kaila!
Thanks for listening and commenting. In short, I appreciate your critique entirely. Thanks for the encouragement.
Eddy

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"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: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:55 am 
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richard66 wrote:
Hello, Eddy,

I listened to this yesterday evening. It is a new piece to me, though you have been talking about it for some time. I for one think your microphone setup is much better. The piece sounds well-played to my ears.

I notice you have read my post about the editions. Good! If I had it I could have followed it...

A problem with a sore on my middle finger of the right hand (dermatitis) made briefly wonder if I should also take up this repertoire! :) But then I am also liable to these on my right hand... :?

Keep up the good work!

Hi Richard,
Thank you for your supportive words. If you've got any issue with your RH, this is the perfect time to take up this stuff! The associated Prelude (Op.9, No.1) is less demanding athletically but equally difficult for voicing. I highly recommend it. The score may be downloaded at http://imslp.org/wiki/Prelude_and_Nocturne_for_the_Left_Hand,_Op.9_(Scriabin,_Aleksandr).
When I was young (no point saying younger any more :? ) I trained with H. Berens Training for the Left Hand, Op. 89, a set of 46 Exercises and 25 Studies. There are some nice LH studies there. Check them out at http://imslp.org/wiki/Die_Pflege_der_linken_Hand,_Op.89_(Berens,_Hermann).

Eddy

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"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: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:00 am 
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@ Jim and Hye-Jin: Thanks for your supportive words! I'm glad you liked it. You ought to try this piece sometime!
To settle the mystery, 8) while I played with my LH, I simultaneoulsy created a charcol drawing of my first born son with my RH! :wink:

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"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: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:32 am 
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musical-md wrote:
@ Jim and Hye-Jin: Thanks for your supportive words! I'm glad you liked it. You ought to try this piece sometime!
To settle the mystery, 8) while I played with my LH, I simultaneoulsy created a charcol drawing of my first born son with my RH! :wink:


From life?

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:04 am 
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Monica or Chris,
Attached is a file of my Scriabin Nocturne with the soft volume fixed. I would appreciate it if you would replace the first with this one. I can now hear it from my laptop speakers. :D

Thanks,
Eddy

Scriabin - Nocturne for LH Alone, Op. 9, No. 2 (5:32)

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:09 am 
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Done !

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 Post subject: Re: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:40 pm 
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Thank you.

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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: Scriabin Nocturne for LH alone, Op. 9, No. 2
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:17 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:45 pm
Posts: 2815
Location: Germany
Hi Eddy,
if you really have played all this only with the left hand and, of course, as a honest person you have done that, that´s a great achievement! I have followed with score and I think, it´s nearly perfectly played.
I remember when I was 15 I have had my right arm in cast for two weeks and I have tried some pieces only for the left hand (I also had played around then a bit in Ravels famous concerto), but this piece I didn´t know until now.
So, thank you very much for having posted this quite virtouso gem! I think there are some quite bulky arpeggios in it, which for my quite small hand would be very difficult to play, but you have mastered them greatly.
I also have recognized the typical sound of a Baldwin, it really remembers me very much of the recordings of David. I think, the sound-quality is high and professional, a true enjoyment to listen to!

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