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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:36 pm 
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OK, I've also had a look at the Ginastera score, and I think your speed at the beginning, and at each of the a Tempo positions, is not too slow, it's more or less at the metronome speed 138 indicated. But of course you do slow down considerably when it gets difficult, for example in the passage beginning at bar 11.

It all sounds quite impressive, but when looking at the score there are some inaccuracies, mostly of rhythm.
The bar number references I give are based on counting the first complete bar as bar 1, and therefore the first 4 notes of the piece constitute bar 0.

In bar 4, the first note in the LH is one quaver (8th note) late, but the equivalent places in bars 44 and 66 are OK.
Bar 9 is a quasi 3/4 bar, but you are playing it as if it were a 9/8 bar, in other words you are playing this bar at 2/3 speed.
Bar 10: I think you are cutting this bar short by a quaver at the end because it sounds as though the separation between this chord and the first chord in bar 11 is the same as that between the two chords in in bar 11, but observe that there should be 3 rests between the first two and only two between the other two.

Overall in the section from bar 11, you are playing this as though the RH were just in 6/8 but time-shifted by two quavers relative to the actual bar-lines. You are accenting all the isolated short chords, and the first of every group of three identical short chords, and each of the long chords. The effect is to lose the sense of the music being written to be off-beat. Although I'm not familiar with this style, I suspect the intention is that the off-beat nature should be highlighted and become apparent to the listener (otherwise why would he write it like that?), and therefore accents should be placed as follows:

In each of bars 11 to 16, emphasize the first note in the LH, where the RH has a rest, because you need a downbeat reference.
In bars 11, 13, and 15, also emphasize the LH 4th notes where the RH has rests. Keep the RH chords light because they are not on the main beats.
In bars 12, 14, and 16, emphasize the 3rd of the A-B-D chords because it falls on the half bar. This should be stronger than the G-A-C chord.
In bar 17, emphasize the two A-B-D chords more than the other two.

Give similar treatment to bars 19 onwards.

In bars 35 and 37, you are playing the last chord as a crotchet (quarter note) instead of as a quaver (thus technically making these 7/8 bars). You get the rhythm right in bar 33, so copy it to bars 35 and 37. Again, I think emphasizing the basic 2-pulse of the 6/8 would help, e.g. in bar 35 emphasize the chords with the D on top, and then aim for the beginning of the next bar.

Bars 37 and 38 (and the last two chords of bar 36) seem to have E E E E F E D on top of the chords instead of the printed G G G G A G F (as though you were playing this bit in treble clef down an octave), this is probably what Eddy meant.

In bar 77 there is a Poco rit marked, but you seem to be starting the rit 2 bars early. I think the bar 75/76 echo of bars 73/74 should still be in strict tempo.

Finally, having observed the a Tempo marked in bar 79 (which is the 3rd last bar of the piece), should not bar 80 (which is all rest) also be in strict tempo? You seem to be holding this bar for approximately twice its length, before delivering the final note.


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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:08 pm 
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Exactly what I was thinking, but couldn't put into words. Thanks Rainer. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:00 pm 
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Well, that leaves the Mendelsohn for the rest of us. I'm not acquainted with the piece, but I got the score and followed along. My notes, modest in comparison to rainer, follow. (BTW, the score I was using did not have measure numbers.)

I can't help but think that the opening 32d's would be more convincing if the first of every quad was consistently accented.

In the 13th measure of the first Andante, the top f# does not sound, which appreciably changes the melody (from descending to ascending).

At 1:46 there's a wrong note (an A chord at is repeated at the end of a measure instead of going to the B# augmented).

Just before the second "Con moto agitato" marking (second page in my score), there are several dropped notes.

In the action that follows, the left hand broken octaves totally drown out anything the right hand is trying to do. This part of the recording is not ready for "prime time".

In the second Andante section (page 4 in my score), the sudden increase in tempo about 10 measures in made me uncomfortable. Does not seem to be a good reason for it, and it's very subito.

The third Con moto agitato section starts off better than the first two - lots of consistent but not glaring accents to help the listener, but it does not last to the end of the section, and the listener is aware that the tempo slows down due to the technical difficulty of the passage.

Finally, the composer's markings at the end of the "movement" make it clear that what follows is part and parcel of what we've just heard. I do not think it should be performed separately. Whether it should be recorded separately is up to the moderators, but to me it's all one piece.

I honest feel that this recording could use some more work - particularly the section with the broken octavest in the LH.

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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:25 pm 
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My goodness! You people do demolish this poor pianist! No wonder he (or maybe it is a she?) seems to have picked up and gone: there are times I feel like doing the same and I am sure others share my view but cannot be bothered to say so. All I read here is note for note criticism of the recordings but not a single review of the performances that lie behind these recordings. Has anyone actually listened to the music without first cheching wrong or missing notes, pauses not observed or dynamic marks not followed? Is it not possible just to listen without having the score at hand? It is like going up to Botticelli's Birth of Venus and examining every single paintbrush stoke without ever stepping back to see what the picture is actually about.

What I would like to know is: is there any merit in the performances and is it therefore a pity that mistakes were made and is then worth recording again or are these performances devoid of fancy and therefore, no matter how note-perfect, have no merit?

I am convinced that there is a direct relationship between membership and submissions to the Society and the way recordings (and not perfortmances) are reviewed.

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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:53 pm 
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I sympathize with this to a degree, even despite I have been guilty of note-picking (but that was usually with people who do the same to me :) ).

It's s difficult subject though. Lately I feel that getting the notes (or at least most of them) right is only the first step in reaching any level of artisticity.
Having said that, I'm a fine one to talk as most or many of my recordings are not note-perfect, and probably not artistic either. I've never minded people
picking my recordings apart but I can imagine for a newcomer it could be disparaging. But should artistic criteria be judged first, even if there are too many technical flaws ? I really don't know. If a person has something worthwhile to say, maybe.

In hindsight and from own experience, I would say that early praise can be quite damaging, and that blunt critique (as long as it's to the point) is what makes you a better artist. I would not have submitted so many dubious recordings, and be a better pianist now, had people be more specific with me. I believe that anyone who despairs of criticism is not going to progress sufficiently and perhaps does not have the making of a good musician. Then again, everybody needs and deserves some praise and encouragement now and then. So.... I dunno really. The subject remains as elusive as that of using rubato :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:25 pm 
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Richard,
I think you might feel differently if we were each judging eachother's reproductions of the Boticelli. Some might be smaller or larger than the original, but we (and I believe you) would be quite critical about the subject's form, proportions and colors, etc. If the hand was not delicate enough or the eyes not symmetrical or crossed, the arm too fat, etc. etc. etc. critique would be delivered without restraint. I wouldn't care about the stroke stuff (up, down, tappered, blunt), which is analgous to the more pure "technique" aspects of playing, like the shape of the hand, the shape of the fingers, the independence of the finger movements, the movement of the wrists, etc. all of which we are mostly blind to. To just get all the notes is not sufficient and sometimes isn't even necessay for a legitimate submission. We are very accepting of some few marred wrong notes in an otherwise accomplished performance of a challenging work, but if elementary or intermediate pieces are marred (notes) or distorted (rhythm, meter, proportions) or a more difficult work is persistently marred demonstrating that it is beyond the capability of the performer, shouldn't we be honest (vis a vis Chris's statement)? This is art after all, and more to the point, it is a performing art. Performance is what every moment is about. When a player can finally manage a work so authoritively that there is no distraction from their playing, then the artistry begins!

We have many here who want to play but have never trained. They are necessarily limited to works of easy access, but they may not have permission to pretend that marred or stumbled works are "good." Instead they should step back and develop more ability, or step down their aspirations in the literature.

Sincerely

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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: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:39 pm 
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Richard,
Probably I went overboard. This was the first time that I had obtained a score to a piece with which I'm unfamiliar and followed along. It gave me plenty to say and I forgot to say something positive as well.
I would not have nitpicked as much if I felt that the recording was ready to be posted; I do not. However, I should have pointed out what I felt was the bottom line, which is:
-- more certain rhythm, which can be helped by consistent accents at the beginning of the 32nd note groupings; and
-- better balance in the passages with the broken octaves in the LH, so the listener can at least judge whether anything interesting is happening in the RH.

Perhaps it is just being played too fast?? We have a decent recording of this piece on the site which is at least 10% slower, and I don't think the listener suffers. Particularly with crisp rhythms and good balance between the hands.

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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:28 pm 
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Richard, for you to complain about the way we judge recordings is a little disturbing - to me, anyway. I know we've talked about this before, but have you not become a better pianist from all the critiquing you've received? I know I have!! And I know you have too! Does the fact that I (and others) have put in hours reviewing your recordings and then you doing the good work of improving your playing not mean anything? I think it's everything! Where else can you get this kind of honesty and multiple opinions without actually showing your face (yes, you can go to another forum, but our forum is the toughest and best because we are careful in selecting recordings)? Do you know how much you'd have to pay to have a master teacher help you? But the help here is FREE!!! I'm pretty sure I've said this a few times before too, but I have heard from members who don't submit new recordings anymore because they did not get 'enough' critique to help them improve. Doesn't that say a lot!! It just seems we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't.

I wish the original poster here would come back and respond.....

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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:54 pm 
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I would echo Monica's wish that jgautreaux would come back. I do hope we haven't frightened him/her away and that the criticisms were taken as they were intended: helpful rather than "demolishing".

Richard, I don't quite understand why you draw a distinction between recording and performance. They are the same thing, unless you are referring to things like the MP3/M4A misunderstanding we've had here, or input levels being set too high or low, or hiss or creaky benches or ticking clocks or loud page turns, or not following conventions on file naming, ID3 tagging, bit rate, amount of silence, etc.

What you mean, I think, is that a performance can be judged in two dimensions, namely on the one hand whether it is "right or wrong" (in terms of simple mistakes such as wrong notes, incorrect rhythm, not following indicated dynamics, etc.) and on the other hand whether it is "good or bad" (in terms of general musicality and ability to express what one thinks the piece is trying to say, which is what Eddy called "artistry" and which is related to the performer's talent), and that these two dimensions are essentially orthogonal (independent), so that a performance isn't necessarily always either "good and right" or "bad and wrong", but that in principle it can also be "good and wrong" (very musical but full of mistakes) or "bad and right" (note perfect but unmusical). I agree to an extent, but don't let's forget that a "good and wrong" performance, if it is wrong enough, is also unsatisfactory no matter how good it is (just how unsatisfactory is a question of extent).

It's true that when we point out "wrongnesses" in a performance, we are not saying much about its "goodness", though I sometimes do try to say a few words in that direction, but I admit I'm not very good at that, and if the list of mistakes is long and wordy, it can overshadow any praise which might be present, and as Chris points out, praise can be harmful. Besides, we're not here to judge people's musicality, but the suitability of performances for hosting here. We should aim for both "good" and "right", but perfection being elusive, especially to amateur performers (which nearly all of us are), departures from that ideal, in either or both those two dimensions, almost necessarily need to be tolerated, provided they are not too great.


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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:22 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Richard, for you to complain about the way we judge recordings is a little disturbing - to me, anyway. I know we've talked about this before, but have you not become a better pianist from all the critiquing you've received? I know I have!! And I know you have too! Does the fact that I (and others) have put in hours reviewing your recordings and then you doing the good work of improving your playing not mean anything? I think it's everything! Where else can you get this kind of honesty and multiple opinions without actually showing your face (yes, you can go to another forum, but our forum is the toughest and best because we are careful in selecting recordings)? Do you know how much you'd have to pay to have a master teacher help you? But the help here is FREE!!! I'm pretty sure I've said this a few times before too, but I have heard from members who don't submit new recordings anymore because they did not get 'enough' critique to help them improve. Doesn't that say a lot!! It just seems we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't.

Although I see both sides of the coin, I have to concur 100% with this.
All the same, some of the critiques, however useful, do seem a little too finicky and technical especially to newcomers. It should not scare people away, but I can sort of understand that it does some.

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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:28 pm 
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rainer wrote:
Besides, we're not here to judge people's musicality, but the suitability of performances for hosting here.

I most strongly disagree. Of course we're here to judge people's musicality. Unmusical performances, however note perfect they may be, are not suitable for the site.

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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:19 pm 
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techneut wrote:
rainer wrote:
Besides, we're not here to judge people's musicality, but the suitability of performances for hosting here.
I most strongly disagree. Of course we're here to judge people's musicality. Unmusical performances, however note perfect they may be, are not suitable for the site.
Sorry if I was unclear. Of course unmusical performances are unsuitable, I took that as given. I was drawing a distinction between musicality of the performance and that of the performer, and was saying that we are judging the product, not the person. This is not a talent contest.

It's possible that the distinction I wanted to draw is a little artificial, since you would expect the two to correlate well. It is unlikely, after all, that an unmusical person will give a very musical performance, but that doesn't mean that every performance by a very musical person will reflect this.


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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:39 pm 
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techneut wrote:
All the same, some of the critiques, however useful, do seem a little too finicky and technical especially to newcomers.
You're probably right, and I'm more guilty of this than most. But often it's technical aspects where most of the help is needed. What should I do? Be less specific? Point out only some of the mistakes? Or just shut up and go away?


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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:02 pm 
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We are all in the end saying the same thing, even if we seem to disagree. Let me see if I can make that clear:

To Eddy: When does a wrong note disturb or when is Venus' arm too fat? If I examine her arm from too close it will never become clear if it is or not. Only when I step back will I see. Being a painter (or was) and having made two exhibitions, I can tell you that at times I became so engrossed in a small detail and made it so perfect that it was a marvel to see until I stepped back, only to realise that no matter how perfect it was, it just did not fit! Has the opposite happened too? Why, yes!

To Chris: Empty praise is damaging. Saying that something is good just to please will only encourage someone who is not good to continue on the same lines but will ennervate someone who is only too aware of his shortcomings. Since you mention me, it reminds me of my first piano lesson, when I was told, "this is all very well, but it is obvious you learn to play by yourself." I took that as a compliment on the lines of: "You do that quite well for someone who has no technique, but if you wish to learn you will play many times better than that." More than 20 years have passed since that day, but when you criticised my first recording I was aware that you saw merit there, a merit that was marred by a technique that had deteriorated and that you believed could be recovered.

To Monica: you have improved even in the short period in which I have been a member and, as I prefer to listen to the whole rather than the notes that make it up, I have only now and then been able to offer you comments about lack of tranquility or little dynamic contrast (this one I remember saying that it sounded convincing, though)!

To Rainer: A performance and a recording are not the same thing, not as I see it. I can perfectly well record a whole sonata by bits and pieces, some today, some tomorrow, and then glue them together. Is that a performance? Can it ever be, even if not a single note is wrong, not a single rit ignored? For me the performance is the way the musician interprets the work. If on Monday a chord is smashed it does not folow that the musician is not capable: it means something went wrong on Monday. Of course if this pianist then submits the work with the smashed chord he might be highly musical, but has no judgement. Look at David (April), who does not edit. If he feels the overall result is good, he leaves whatever errors crept in just where they are. If, on the other hand, the result is bad... He starts again! We should be able to judge if a recording has artistic merit and then, and only then, point out the flaws. A great teacher is not necessarily scarce with praise, but he will praise what is good and then attack pitilessly what he sees as wrong. When taking lessons I was a times told to stopm because it was not worth continuing, but at the same time I was complimented on bringing out an inner voice and then being told that the same technique should be used for a similar passage where the inner voice was not so clear. What should you do? I believe you should first offer an overall review: is it expressive? Is the pianist tranquil? Is he too agitated? Is his technque up to the challenge? Is it musical? Than yes, by all means, point out any errorrs that you detect, because at this jucture, he knows where he stands as far as the interpretation goes and can concentrate on polishing the mistakes or deciding to rehaul the piece.

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
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 Post subject: Re: Audition- Mozart C minor Sonata First movement
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:56 pm 
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Rainer: I think your approach is needed. It is like the teacher right next to the student who needs all the details brought to their attention. Only after repeated experiences like this does the student learn to be more particular to detail. In general, the level of critique detail is inverse to the skill and musicality of the performer/performance. At a Master Class the instruction is about the big picture aspects, and not about notes and rhythm (which are long assumed)
Chris: I agree with you. What good is anything if it isn't musical?
Richard: ability and technique are necessary but not sufficient. It is difficult to discuss transcendental aspects (musicality, meaning, interpretation, formal cohesion, proportions, etc.) when the basics have not been overcome (if not mastered).

jgautreaux: What do you think of all this? BTW, I think that Mozart requires essentially a perfect performance due to its crystaline and pure form.

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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


Last edited by musical-md on Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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