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 Post subject: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:06 pm 
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Of course I know this as part of Grieg's music to Ibsen's Peer Gynt, where it is sung by Solveig, when Peer finally returns to Norway and to her, the bride he had abducted on her wedding day. What I have never heard is the piano version, which I know because Peters published a trancription, along with a version on Solvejg's song (there are two different piano versions of the latter, by the way).

I have played this for a number of years, though much slower than now (orchestral versions tend to be slow, lasting from 4' to 5'30" minutes): at 3'50", it is rather fast, but any slower it is just too much for the piano's sustainiing power.

Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song (3:51)

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:25 am 
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I did not know this one. Being very familiar with the Peer Gynt suites (it was one of the first classical works I got hooked on) and having all the Peters Grieg albums (and played most of it) this really surprises me. You play it pretty well, and I don't find the tempo too fast. This first couple of measures are rather a shock, your piano sounds quite awful up there. But soon as it's an octave lower, it is no longer a problem. Where did you find this one ? Is it a transcription
by Grieg himself, who reworked many of his songs and orchestral pieces for piano solo ? It's not in any of my books.

Interesting about the two versions of Solvejg's Song. I know only one, which I hope to record one day. Tell more !

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:30 pm 
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It comes from my earstwhile piano teacher. She has (I suppose she still does) a Peters album with Solvejg's Song and this one, which is a transcription by another hand (I mention it in the tags): Walter Niemann, of whom I know nothing. I have a copy, which I hang on to for dear life, as it does not seem to be available elsewhere.

Do you mean the piano sounds bad because it sounds bad or because it is out of tune? I must say each time I record I cringe when I hear the piano I have. I hope soon we do move house and I can finally get something better. I am also hoping to start some work for a music school and maybe then they might let me use one of their pianos.

One version of Solvejg's Song is to be found in Grieg's transcription of Peer Gynt suite No. 2, while the other is in his second series of Piano Pieces After His Own Songs op 52. I had chucked the copy I had that was coupled with the Cradle Song after I had obtained op 52. What was my horror when I realised that it was something else! What was my relief when I realised the one I knew was there, all the time, in the Peer Gynt album and I had never bothered to look!

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Richard Willmer
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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:48 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
It comes from my earstwhile piano teacher. She has (I suppose she still does) a Peters album with Solvejg's Song and this one, which is a transcription by another hand (I mention it in the tags): Walter Niemann, of whom I know nothing. I have a copy, which I hang on to for dear life, as it does not seem to be available elsewhere.
Ah, Niemann, a well-known name. he transcribed a lot of stuff, mostly for Peters I think.

richard66 wrote:
Do you mean the piano sounds bad because it sounds bad or because it is out of tune?
I don't think it is out of tune. It's just the sound of the high register in the first few bars that made me cringe a bit. After that, the sound is quite passable. But I sure hope you'll get access to a better instrument.

richard66 wrote:
One version of Solvejg's Song is to be found in Grieg's transcription of Peer Gynt suite No. 2, while the other is in his second series of Piano Pieces After His Own Songs op 52. I had chucked the copy I had that was coupled with the Cradle Song after I had obtained op 52. What was my horror when I realised that it was something else! What was my relief when I realised the one I knew was there, all the time, in the Peer Gynt album and I had never bothered to look!
Checked my books and you're right, there are two versions, which in fact I've played both without realizing they were different :oops: The difference is very small though, the op.52 version just a little more fleshed out.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:33 pm 
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The playing is pretty alright, but the section from 2:02 - 2:08 is slightly confusing with regards to rhythm, perhaps slightly more accented strong beats can give the listener some clue as to where the beat is. The second time you played it was somewhat better however.

It sounds more like a march than a cradle song though. :S Also think you could slow down slightly more towards the end to give more finality to the piece.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:26 pm 
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Affinity wrote:
The playing is pretty alright, but the section from 2:02 - 2:08 is slightly confusing with regards to rhythm, perhaps slightly more accented strong beats can give the listener some clue as to where the beat is. The second time you played it was somewhat better however.

It sounds more like a march than a cradle song though. :S Also think you could slow down slightly more towards the end to give more finality to the piece.


Thank you!

For the passage you mention, when it is repeated I play it slightly faster. The socre bears the indication "animato".

There is no ritardando at the end and I am not sure I have ever heard any. I am not sure it would work somehow.

As I mentioned above, it is played faster than the orchestral version and perhaps faster than the metronome marking, which is cortchet = 72, butr any slower it will not work. The melody simply dies out in the first bars; that is why I speeded up a little.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:32 pm 
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techneut wrote:
richard66 wrote:
It comes from my earstwhile piano teacher. She has (I suppose she still does) a Peters album with Solvejg's Song and this one, which is a transcription by another hand (I mention it in the tags): Walter Niemann, of whom I know nothing. I have a copy, which I hang on to for dear life, as it does not seem to be available elsewhere.
Ah, Niemann, a well-known name. he transcribed a lot of stuff, mostly for Peters I think.

richard66 wrote:
Do you mean the piano sounds bad because it sounds bad or because it is out of tune?
I don't think it is out of tune. It's just the sound of the high register in the first few bars that made me cringe a bit. After that, the sound is quite passable. But I sure hope you'll get access to a better instrument.

richard66 wrote:
One version of Solvejg's Song is to be found in Grieg's transcription of Peer Gynt suite No. 2, while the other is in his second series of Piano Pieces After His Own Songs op 52. I had chucked the copy I had that was coupled with the Cradle Song after I had obtained op 52. What was my horror when I realised that it was something else! What was my relief when I realised the one I knew was there, all the time, in the Peer Gynt album and I had never bothered to look!
Checked my books and you're right, there are two versions, which in fact I've played both without realizing they were different :oops: The difference is very small though, the op.52 version just a little more fleshed out.

Not much to do if it is the piano. I might stop recording for a while; not because I am offended in any way, but it seems a waste of time while I still have this piano on my hands. Good that I did not buy it! Did I tell you the trouble I had with Bortkiewicz (The Butterfly)? It was a feat to subdue the right hand (the melody is on the left). Then I had access to a Steinway 1/4 and I tried it. Magic! The melody sang while the right hand was very discrete.

I noticed right away the difference, because I could not play the op 52, while the other one I could, as it is the one I was familiar with.

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:31 am 
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Hi Richard,

I just listened to this transcription. Had never heard it before. I don't have the score, but it sounds convincing to me. Nice playing!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:06 am 
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Thank you, David.

It seems only two people in the world have the score, but so much the better than one can listen without worrying: "is this right?" Did you ever hear of the great pianist (I forget his name) who noticed sitting in the first row a lady with all the scores on her lap. After the concert was over he commented on that, saying he had never felt so nervous in his life.

My father also tells me that, when he was still in school, a violinist came to play for them and one of the pupils, who had liked a particular number, asked him to play it again. The violinist refused, saying that by playing a second time any differences (errors, flubs or simply a different tempo) would become immediately apparent.

It is a pity about the sound of the piano, but still I do not agree with Chris that the first bars sound terrirble: I find the piano sounds horrible throughout.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:42 pm 
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That's weird....I posted something here ten minutes ago, but it's gone...

Anyway, what I said Richard, is that I have not had a chance to listen to your recording yet. But I did download it onto my phone while on the train this morning, so maybe I will get a moment sometime today to listen. In the meantime, I just wanted to say that if your piano has unbalanced keys, and/or some keys are stiff or sticky, you may be causing permanent damage to your hands. Be careful!

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:43 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
That's weird....I posted something here ten minutes ago, but it's gone...

Not. You posted that in your Chopin thread.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:06 pm 
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techneut wrote:
pianolady wrote:
That's weird....I posted something here ten minutes ago, but it's gone...

Not. You posted that in your Chopin thread.


Oh, that's even weirder! I'm getting confused....

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:06 pm 
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Hi Richard,

Yes, I do recall that story about the lady in the front row with the score open in her lap. It was years ago though, so like you I can't remember who the artist was. Aside from that incident, there are also many concert goers who have found themselves sitting next to score gazers and find all the page turning to be a real annoyance. It's worse than the occasional rustling of programs, because it's on-going.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:37 pm 
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Rachfan wrote:
there are also many concert goers who have found themselves sitting next to score gazers and find all the page turning to be a real annoyance. It's worse than the occasional rustling of programs, because it's on-going.
Quite so. The least they could do is learn how to turn pages silently.

Rustling noises don't always come from just the audience, though. The other week I was in the orchestra for a performance of Elgar's "Dream of Gerontius". Choir members normally remain seated during long sections when the orchestra plays on its own or the soloists are singing, and then stand just before they have something to sing. They are often well trained so that the standing up and sitting down (the state change from seated to standing and back) is as inaudible as possible, and on this occasion they were pretty good at that.

But as soon as they were standing there was an incessant annoying rustle as if sweeties or cough drops were being unwrapped. The cause was that their scores had been bound with identical-looking paper covers, probably for visual reasons, perhaps to disguise the fact that they were using different editions, and regrettably the paper used was of a type particularly prone to rustling whenever anyone's grip changed.

Luckily during the rehearsal break several people made representations to the conductor and there was great joy all round when he instructed the choir to rip off the tissue paper.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:18 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Do you mean the piano sounds bad because it sounds bad or because it is out of tune?
I think it is out of tune, but that's clearly not the only thing wrong with it. In the circumstances you are doing an amazing job of keeping some passages as quiet as you do (The Butterfly being, as you say, a case in point).

A good voicing could pay dividends in terms of less frustration, but your reluctance to spend money on the old groaner is understandable since it would be wasted if (as you hope) you will soon leave it behind. But what if it doesn't happen as soon as you hope?


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