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 Post subject: Debussy and Liszt
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:29 am
Posts: 56
Location: UK
Hello,

I have been a member of this forum for a few years but have been rather inactive for a long time, so I thought I'd upload some recent recordings; they're not perfect but I don't think I can do any better at the moment in terms of accuracy. Apologies for posting the Liszt Liebestraume no. 3 (I'm sure it's very popular!) but I've been working so hard to learn it that I had to do it. Any feedback at all will be very welcome.

Thank you.


Attachments:
File comment: Liszt - Liebestraume No. 3 in Ab
Liszt - Liebestraume No 3 in Ab.mp3 [2.83 MiB]
Downloaded 122 times
File comment: Debussy - Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum from Children's Corner
Debussy - Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum.mp3 [1.46 MiB]
Downloaded 116 times
File comment: Debussy - Danseuses de Delphes from Preludes, Book I
Debussy - Danseuses de Delphes.mp3 [1.81 MiB]
Downloaded 113 times
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 Post subject: Re: Debussy and Liszt
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:06 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:07 pm
Posts: 686
Location: Carbondale, IL
Hi Chopinesque,

I didn't catch your real name, it isn't Chopin is it? :)

I had a listen to your Danseuses de Delphes recording. I do like your stylized playing. To my ears you use rubato liberally here and I think for this piece by Debussy it is appropriate 8) . This piece feels dreamy to me and I got that feeling from your playing so that is a compliment.

One thing I noticed was the bitrate clocked in at 80 kbps and I believe the minimum is 128 and the maximum is 192 for the site. Also, their could be greater contrast between the soft and loud in my opinion.

I listened to your Liebstraum recording and I sensed a sour note at :31 I dont have the score and realize this piece is challenging to pull off well, so I think your effort is for the most part worthy of praise. I imagine it took many hours of practice to get this piece in this shape. Another this is at 1:12 the upward run is totally dry, maybe I'm used to pedal here but there seemed to be a lack of flow there. The virtuosic playing at the turn of two minutes was quite enjoyable to hear!

About Dr. Parnassum, I think you play it well, maybe less pedal, but that's my personal taste.. :P

Overall sounds good,

Look forward to more of your recordings,

Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy and Liszt
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9564
Location: Netherlands
Good that you've taken the plunge Chopinesque :)

A promising debut. You seem a capable and conscientious pianist, and you can surely get these pieces right with some more effort. But please do something about the audible page turns... that is a real turn-off in a recording. Use photocopies, or cut out the page turns during post processing. The piano sound is not ideal but IMO acceptable for the site. At least it's not a digital, right ?

I was curious after Dr Gradus ad Parnassum because I've recently recorded this too. Such a deceptive piece ! It is actually
very difficult to render this smoothly and avoiding dryness (as per Debussy's explicit instructions) and yet avoiding
pedal blurring. This is where I failed too. You miss a number of the 16th notes, and sometimes you play them faster suddenly. Apart from evenness you need to work on controlled dynamics and judicious pedalling (there are serious blurrings at 1:30 and 2:00). It's a very good etude really.

Danseuses is generally well done, but it seems a bit literal, I did not hear much rubato and dynamic changes. It's not an easy piece in that respect, it must not sound stiff but also not too free. Delicate balancing... Also work on the evenness of your chords. Some notes were not (clearly) audible. I though I heard one or two misreadings but I could be wrong, listening without score.

I won't comment on the Liebestraum, it's not a piece I much care for. I'm sure some others will give feedback. All I would
say is that it needs a lot more work.

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy and Liszt
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:29 am
Posts: 56
Location: UK
Thank you for your feedback, Riley and Chris. It's really appreciated.

Yes, Dr Gradus does sound rather uneven in places now that I've listened again; I can certaily work on that (oh, and those violent page turns - I can't believe I didn't notice them!). I haven't been playing Dr Gradus for very long - it seemed an easy choice that sounds impressive but it is in fact rather tricky to deliver an accurate performance. I had no idea about the bitrate so I'll have to look into that: I just went with the default settings; I hate fiddling with technology because I work in IT and music is supposed to be fun :-)

I'm not sure I can do much to improve Danseuses and the Liebestraum 3 at this stage given my limitations - I always end up making some mistake or other, so I'll probably have to park them and perhaps come back to them at a later date. In terms of dynamic contrasts, I will see what I can do but it's risky for me to play pp or ppp (I tend to get inaudible notes, particularly if I try hard to play softly, and If I don't try I just play everything mf by default!). It's also possible that the lack of contrast has been made worse by the recording - ah, excuses!

I must be mad: so many issues still, and I have an exam this Saturday. I'll be playing these pieces as well as 2 Czerny studies from the Art of Finger Dexterity, Clementi's Sonata in Bb (op 24. no. 2) and Lotus Land by Cyril Scott. I have also recorded these but they all contain some annoying mistakes that I can't tolerate in recordings, particularly the Clementi - it's just so deceptive because it's in fact rather difficult to play well. I've played my exam choices to a couple of teachers and they said that there are some problems but it's good enough to pass the ALCM; it's not licentiate level so it doesn't need to be the "finished product". Unless something goes terribly wrong... best not think of nerves! I did my DipLCM 2 years ago and it was a truly awful experience - I was so tense that performing felt really weird, almost surreal, and I was never quite sure I was going to make it to the end. If I pass this one I don't think I'll be taking any more exams for many years to come. I am talking a lot now after not posting anything for months - apologies; it must be the nerves.

Thanks for your support.

Susana


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 Post subject: Re: Debussy and Liszt
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8506
Oh, Susana, oh don't you cry for me...(sorry, couldn't resist)(part of an American folk song). Anyway, I really am sorry, I don't have time to listen to your recordings. But good luck on your exams. And it is hard to play pp and ppp. Especially when recording!

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy and Liszt
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9564
Location: Netherlands
Chopinesque wrote:
Yes, Dr Gradus does sound rather uneven in places now that I've listened again; I can certaily work on that (oh, and those violent page turns - I can't believe I didn't notice them!). I haven't been playing Dr Gradus for very long - it seemed an easy choice that sounds impressive but it is in fact rather tricky to deliver an accurate performance.
Yes, it's easy to underestimate the Gradus. I've been playing it forever and still am tricked by it. Nothing is ever an easy choice, if you want to do it right...

Chopinesque wrote:
I had no idea about the bitrate so I'll have to look into that: I just went with the default settings; I hate fiddling with technology because I work in IT and music is supposed to be fun :-)
Hehe, I can relate to that :D

Chopinesque wrote:
I'm not sure I can do much to improve Danseuses and the Liebestraum 3 at this stage given my limitations - I always end up making some mistake or other, so I'll probably have to park them and perhaps come back to them at a later date. In terms of dynamic contrasts, I will see what I can do but it's risky for me to play pp or ppp (I tend to get inaudible notes, particularly if I try hard to play softly, and If I don't try I just play everything mf by default!). It's also possible that the lack of contrast has been made worse by the recording - ah, excuses!
That is the default, alas, even if you managed your precious dynamics, a non-professional recording and mastering will largely flatten them out. Something I think frustrates all of us here.
But sure you can improve on the Danseuses. The Liszt is of course bit more tricky.

Chopinesque wrote:
I must be mad: so many issues still, and I have an exam this Saturday. I'll be playing these pieces as well as 2 Czerny studies from the Art of Finger Dexterity, Clementi's Sonata in Bb (op 24. no. 2) and Lotus Land by Cyril Scott.
That's quite a program. Good luck with it, and should you make a mistake, just pretend it was written that way :D

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy and Liszt
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:55 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:48 pm
Posts: 2000
Location: U.S.A.
Hi Chopinesque,

Of the three pieces I'm most familiar with "Danseuses de Delphes" and also recorded it a number of years ago (although I've never posted it here). This dance is to sound dignified, yet the motions must be languid too, so a bit of a paradox. From an analytical standpoint, the three objectives of this piece are to sustain the melody in the dotted rhythms, playing the detached chords surrounding the melodic line so as to receive less emphasis than the embedded melody, and to play the major seconds so as to resonate. I believe you achieved all that well.

Your tempo sounds about right. I think I played it even a hair slower. In the chords you voice the tops containing the melody well. You also execute the often required portato touch nicely too. In the last measure of page one where the RH chords have staccato marks but not under phrase marks thus appearing to be true staccato, traditionally they are also played portato.

Dynamics in any piece are all relative to the internal context of that particular piece. So, for example, f in a Mozart sonata might be quite different from f in a Scriabin sonata. And in Debussy, f in "Danseuses" might even be different from f in "La Cathedrale engolutie". Given that contextual element, I believe that in the third measure to the end, you play that f disproportionally to the other dynamics. It seems jarring. I would tone it down a tad.

I believe your pedaling was judicious at all times.

In my opinion whatever needs polishing here is minimal. Nice playing!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy and Liszt
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:29 am
Posts: 56
Location: UK
Hello Rachfan,

Thank you very much for your kind comments.

Yes, I see what you mean about that forte chord ... I do make it sound like one of those Haydn comical endings (to let people know the piece has ended in case they've fallen asleep during the performance!).


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 Post subject: Re: Debussy and Liszt
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:48 pm
Posts: 2000
Location: U.S.A.
Hi Chopinesque,

Ah yes, the Surprise Symphony! :lol:

David

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"Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities." David April


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