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 Post subject: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:29 am 
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Here are four of Szymanowski's mazurkas, from my August concert (it's taken me this long to summon up the courage to listen to the recording; I actually played six mazurkas, but two of them didn't come out so well). It's been a fascinating process, exploring this set of mazurkas: most of the Szymanowski I've played before has been the violin and piano pieces, written earlier in his career, and in quite a different style.

As always, constructive comments are very welcome. I hope to perform more pieces from this set in future years (although I don't think I'd want to do all twenty in a row, it's just too much to take in all at once).

Szymanowski - Mazurka, op. 50 no. 3 "Moderato"
Szymanowski - Mazurka, op. 50 no. 10 "Allegramente, vivace, con brio"
Szymanowski - Mazurka, op. 50 no. 13 "Moderato"
Szymanowski - Mazurka, op. 50 no. 15 "Allegretto dolce"

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:08 am 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Alexander,
I find nothing to critique about your playing; it is excellent: musical, integrated, nuanced, expressive. The pieces themselves, however, I find too similar in content to make me feel that I have heard four mazurkas. The language is most distinctive, but the stories told with same so similar that I feel I 've had four courses of the same entre.
Your submissions are always most welcome. Thank you!

Best,
Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:06 am 
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Oh yay, it's mazurka time again! :D Except, these are really wild mazurkas!! (in a good way). Actually, I'm not sure I would guess they are mazurkas if I didn't already know. And I don't know anything about Szymanowksi, but these must be his unique harmonies... It's interesting music, and I think you played these pieces wonderfully!! They are on the site.

p.s. Thank you, Alexander, for making correct tags! :D The only thing I had to add were the tempo markings for each piece. Usually, if there is no real name, then there is a tempo for the name or else a key.

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:28 pm 
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Brilliant! Played with superb musical understand and technique. Very enjoyable and deserves a "tweet" for sure!

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:52 am 
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Yes, absolute first-class playing, and great sound. From your name I would guess you have some Polish ancentry, and it sounds like this music is in your blood.

This set of Mazurkas is an endlessly fascinating journey, but also a difficult one. I don't agree with Eddy that these all sound similar. I guess one needs to get used to this music to really appreciate it and hear all the fine details. I'll be looking forward to more recordings of this set from you. My own projected cycle seems to have stalled long ago, as often happens when I hit an obstacle that is too high (in this case the middle section of no.8 that I have doubt of ever mastering).

I thought I heard some rhythmic issues in one of these, maybe it was artistic freedom, but would have to check with score to be sure.

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:52 am 
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musical-md wrote:
...The pieces themselves, however, I find too similar in content to make me feel that I have heard four mazurkas...

I partly agree with this. (Of course if I agreed entirely then I wouldn't be playing these pieces!) Possibly they're in the class of music that's more interesting to play than to listen to. And certainly the one time I heard all twenty performed as a set, it was a bit too much to take in. But I hope that number ten stands out as distinctly different from the other three that I offered here. And as for the rest, it takes a while to get used to the harmonic language, but it does grow on you after a while ;-)

In the concert I didn't play them consecutively: there were Bach preludes and fugues in between.

pianolady wrote:
p.s. Thank you, Alexander, for making correct tags! :D The only thing I had to add were the tempo markings for each piece. Usually, if there is no real name, then there is a tempo for the name or else a key.

In my own mind, "mazurka" was quite sufficient as a real name, so it didn't occur to me to add tempo indication. But now that I bother to check, I notice that the other Szymanowski mazurkas on this site have tempos attached, so I should have been consistent. Thanks for fixing that up.

techneut wrote:
From your name I would guess you have some Polish ancentry, and it sounds like this music is in your blood.

This set of Mazurkas is an endlessly fascinating journey, but also a difficult one...My own projected cycle seems to have stalled long ago, as often happens when I hit an obstacle that is too high (in this case the middle section of no.8 that I have doubt of ever mastering).

I thought I heard some rhythmic issues in one of these, maybe it was artistic freedom, but would have to check with score to be sure.


Very diplomatically put! There's a fine line between "artistic freedom" and blind panic in the heat of performance. I did find these pieces significantly harder to memorise than the Bach fugues.

Another reason why I probably won't play the complete cycle is that I can't reach all the tenths, and in some pieces ( such as number 8 ) they do seem to be integral to the texture. I nearly backed out of doing number 10, but it turned out to be worth the effort in the end.

The other generally neglected Szymanowksi work that I'd like to get stuck into if I ever feel brave enough is the second set of studies, opus 33. I found a CD of Mikhail Rudy making them sound far too easy...

I believe my family name is Ukrainian. I don't have much direct contact with that culture now, but perhaps there are some unconscious leanings in that direction.

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:39 pm 
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hanysz wrote:
Very diplomatically put! There's a fine line between "artistic freedom" and blind panic in the heat of performance. I did find these pieces significantly harder to memorise than the Bach fugues.
I can well imagine that. They are very complex indeed. I never heard any sign of panic, though. If you had any, it is masked very well.

hanysz wrote:
I believe my family name is Ukrainian.
There we have it, then. Szymanowski was born in what is now Ukraine.

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:58 pm 
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hanysz wrote:
In the concert I didn't play them consecutively: there were Bach preludes and fugues in between.
Smart programing! Where's the A. Hanysz cycle of the WTC for PS? :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:46 pm 
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Hi Alexander,

I had a listen to your recordings of the Szymanowski Mazurkas. I have never heard them before and so I can't compare your recordings to another performer, but the music seems very demanding of a performer, like that of Ive's Concord Sonatas.

You wrote:

Quote:
I did find these pieces significantly harder to memorise than the Bach fugues.


This says a lot because If I am correct in saying so most good pianists struggle to memorise the Bach Fugues. So if these pieces are harder than the Bach Fugues.. they must require impeccable technique and great recall from a performer :lol:

Enjoyed listening to these and look forward to more,

Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:48 pm 
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pianoman342 wrote:
I had a listen to your recordings of the Szymanowski Mazurkas. I have never heard them before and so I can't compare your recordings to another performer, but the music seems very demanding of a performer, like that of Ive's Concord Sonatas.

Did Ive compose more than one Concord Sonata ? :P

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:55 am 
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musical-md wrote:
Where's the A. Hanysz cycle of the WTC for PS? :wink:

Hopefully on its way, but it may take another ten years. By the end of this year, if things go according to plan, I will have played each piece in public once. Then I just need to learn to play them well...

pianoman342 wrote:
I had a listen to your recordings of the Szymanowski Mazurkas. I have never heard them before and so I can't compare your recordings to another performer, but the music seems very demanding of a performer, like that of Ive's Concord Sonatas.

Thanks for listening! The music is demanding on an intellectual level--it takes time to get used to the harmonic language and to have it feel natural--but for the most part the mazurkas are not too difficult in terms of piano technique (although there are a couple of exceptions). The Concord sonata is difficult both intellectually and physically--it's much harder than playing these mazurkas. (Szymanowksi did write some truly difficult music though; look for the Masques and the Métopes.)

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:35 am 
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Hi Alexander,

Mazurkas aren't my favorite genre... but when I saw Szymanowski's name I listened to all of them. These pieces are very beautiful indeed. Szymanowski gives them almost an improvisatory quality, yet never strays or drifts too far from his thematic material, thereby managing to keep his musical ideas in focus for the listener. You're a wonderful artist, and I believe these performances are masterful.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:55 am 
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techneut wrote:
pianoman342 wrote:
I had a listen to your recordings of the Szymanowski Mazurkas. I have never heard them before and so I can't compare your recordings to another performer, but the music seems very demanding of a performer, like that of Ive's Concord Sonatas.

Did Ive compose more than one Concord Sonata ? :P

Yep. :wink:
The Concord, Massachusetts Sonata
The Concord, California Sonata
The Concorde Jet Sonata
The Concord Grapes Sonata
...

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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: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:57 am 
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techneut wrote:
pianoman342 wrote:
I had a listen to your recordings of the Szymanowski Mazurkas. I have never heard them before and so I can't compare your recordings to another performer, but the music seems very demanding of a performer, like that of Ive's Concord Sonatas.

Did Ive compose more than one Concord Sonata ? :P

I don't know, did Youve? :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: Szymanowski: four mazurkas
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:55 am 
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Hehe :)

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