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 Post subject: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:08 pm 
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"Vysehrad", the first movement of Bedrich Smetanas "Ma Vlast", arranged by Bedrich Semtana himself for piano four hands, performed by Chris Breemer (Secondo) and me (Primo).

Chris has visited me from wednesday to saturday last week and we have recorded "Vysehrad" as main project and the Mozart as a sort of encore. I think, for "Vysehrad" we have practised both much more as on the Mozart (see the corresponding post, if you like).

I´m happy to have such a good and competent four hands partner in Chris! Though there might be a couple of little imperfections in this recording (it´s really quite demanding, much more than the Mozart IMO), I think, it has quite nice musical moments. However, we both like this work very much. And I personally think, there is no better way to become a deep connection with a symphonic work than to play it yourself on piano!

Here is the mp3-file:
Smetana - Ma Vlast - 1: Vysehrad (13:54)

Here is the link to our video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8x_--oy ... ature=plcp

The mp3-file above is exact the audio-track of the video above.

Comments are appreciated!

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:50 pm 
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Oh, sorry, I have forgotten to change the filename and ID, have realized it right now after having uploaded the file. :shock: Hope you will not kill me now.

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Gentlemen,
I don't know this work but enjoyed very much listening to your performance of it. I think you did an excellent job of it. I agree that to play it is th best means of knowing it, apart, of course, from conducting it after thorough score study.

Regards,
Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:58 pm 
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Musical_md wrote:
Quote:
I don't know this work but enjoyed very much listening to your performance of it. I think you did an excellent job of it.


Thank you very much, Eddy! :D It´s absolutey worthwhile to listen also to the original, it´s a wonderful work.

Quote:
I agree that to play it is th best means of knowing it, apart, of course, from conducting it after thorough score study.


I agree, conducting might be still a closer experience to the music, but unfortunately only a very small amount of people has the chance to get it.

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:17 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
Oh, sorry, I have forgotten to change the filename and ID, have realized it right now after having uploaded the file. :shock: Hope you will not kill me now.
Not this time. But don't let it happen again :mrgreen:

I think this came out rather well with no bugs to speak of. Some sync issues, maybe too little dynamics, and tempi in the climax could have been brisker. But there is a limit to what you can achieve in one day, even though having practiced one's own part extensively. It was a pleasure to do this together, and not so exhausting as last year with the Moldau. Inevitably, a piano reduction can't begin to approach the opulent colors of the original. To me, Ma Vlast is one of the pinnacles of the orchestral repertoire. Although I do prefer playing original 4-hand music, I have not ruled out the idea of completing this great cycle. Come to think of it, there is no rule saying that we can only play together twice a year :idea:

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:20 am 
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@Techneut:
I agree to all what you said to our recording. Yes, may be we can also find some time in winter (though in winter we usually drive to Switzerland) or at a longer weekend between to play a third time together. :idea: :)

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:37 pm 
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It's been a long time since I listened to the complete orchestral suite, so I'm not familiar with this movement, but it certainly sounds good! The keyboard looks a bit crowded at times, especially around 11 mins in where I'm quite impressed that you both kept control of what you were doing. Bass tremolandi can be hard enough to keep quiet as it is without extra hands appearing!


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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:51 am 
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andrew wrote:
It's been a long time since I listened to the complete orchestral suite, so I'm not familiar with this movement, but it certainly sounds good! The keyboard looks a bit crowded at times, especially around 11 mins in where I'm quite impressed that you both kept control of what you were doing. Bass tremolandi can be hard enough to keep quiet as it is without extra hands appearing!

Thanks Andrew. Indeed the tremolandi are a special challenge here, as in any reduction of an orchestra piece with long, slow, and soft string writing.

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:43 pm 
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Andrew wrote:
Quote:
It's been a long time since I listened to the complete orchestral suite, so I'm not familiar with this movement, but it certainly sounds good! The keyboard looks a bit crowded at times, especially around 11 mins in where I'm quite impressed that you both kept control of what you were doing. Bass tremolandi can be hard enough to keep quiet as it is without extra hands appearing!


Thank you for your encouraging comment, Andrew. Indeed, there are several places the hands are very close together and we had to think about, where we have to be off the way of the other in right time or where we have to leave out a note, for that the other could play his part properly. But that´s always a certain problem of playing four hands.

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:28 am 
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Hi Andreas and Chris,

As I watched/listened to the video, the thing that most impressed me was the thorough musicianship on both your parts as collaborators. And it was all to good effect in the performance. I enjoyed listening!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:17 pm 
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Thank you very much, dear David, for your kind comment!

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:36 pm 
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Rachfan wrote:
As I watched/listened to the video, the thing that most impressed me was the thorough musicianship on both your parts as collaborators. And it was all to good effect in the performance. I enjoyed listening!

Thanks David ! Glad you enjoyed it. Did you know the original ?

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:44 pm 
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Hi Chris,

I've heard Ma Vlast in the orchestral version several times, but not for quite awhile. The tone poem that sticks mostly in my mind is the emblematic Die Moldau, which you and Andreas did first. I imagine that playing a piano transcription of the orchestral version of Vysehrad or the other tone poems is actually more difficult. For the listener sometimes piano timbre is intrinsically different from the orchestral sound. Also, Smetana, working from the conductor's score, had to arrange it to make his transcription pianistic, musical and recognizable to capture the spirit of it. And not to mention the coordination required for playing four hands. But you both had the musicianship to meet the challenges and to produce a fine performance and recording of it.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:34 am 
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Hi Andreas,

I have not heard of "Vysehrad" before, wonderful music, and your's and Chris's performance was accomplished. I like how two players share the huge piano-range-sweeping arpeggios at the beginning. A lot of cool parts like at 5:10 when you two each play one hand each together, it gives the illusion of one player playing, the piano slide at 8:27 made me think I was going to be hearing some Jazz! The broken chords were nice and the the tremolando by Chris at 9:20 reminded me of a piece where that technique is used by Liszt! The conclusion was well don and the high five at the end was very classy! It must take some teamwork to play such a long piece for four hands! I don't have much to say in the way of criticism, the big thing about duet playing it seems is for both players to be in sync and I think you two were able to achieve that in this performance.

Nice playing,

Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Thank you Riley ! This piece surely calls for good coordination, both alternating (arpeggios) and unisono. Though not all is perfect, I think we did pretty well there.

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 9:35 am 
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Pianoman342 wrote:
Quote:
It must take some teamwork to play such a long piece for four hands! I don't have much to say in the way of criticism, the big thing about duet playing it seems is for both players to be in sync and I think you two were able to achieve that in this performance.


Thank you for your encouraging words and detailed comment, Riley. (And sorry for my late answer, I´m quite busy at this moment.) Indeed, the duet playing requires a lot of coordination and I agree to Chris, that we are not perfect in that, but for having practised and recorded just one day together this piece we probably are not too bad. I like to play with Chris and I appreciate his ability to play long demanding pieces (and a lot of them) and it doesn´t matter for me, if there is a chord not so exactly together here and there. (I think, that has something of the good old school of pianism, the old ones also were not always perfect, but had a very good overview and a big repertoire of all epoques and styles). For to reach highest perfection on synchronisation you need to practise together many days (weeks, months, years) continually. Would be so nice, if Chris and me would be neighbours! :)

@techneut:
Btw, Chris, don´t you want to put the mp3-file on the site?! I just saw, that it still has not a link to the main-site.

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 9:52 am 
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musicusblau wrote:
Btw, Chris, don´t you want to put the mp3-file on the site?! I just saw, that it still has not a link to the main-site.

Yes I keep forgetting, sorry, being busy with other things. In fact I never even put the Moldau on the site either :oops: But I'll take care of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 4:49 pm 
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Quote:
In fact I never even put the Moldau on the site either :oops: But I'll take care of it.


I have sent you the link for the mp3-file on rapidshare in a pm.

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 5:01 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
Would be so nice, if Chris and me would be neighbours! :)

Ah yes, a musical neighbor, wouldn't that be great instead of the halfwit builder blokes that pass for neighbors here !

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 Post subject: Re: Smetana: "Vysehrad" four hands with Chris!
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 6:10 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
I have sent you the link for the mp3-file on rapidshare in a pm.

Thanks ! Both are on the site now.

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