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 Post subject: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:42 pm 
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A bit of Spanish color in these dank days before Christmas. This atmospheric piece by Joaquin Rodrigo, "In the shadow of the Crimson Tower", is named after the Torre Bermeja on the Playa de la Barrosa in the Province of Cadiz. For some reason I had allways thought this was the famous bell tower of Sevilla :roll:

Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja (5:37)

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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:40 pm 
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techneut wrote:
A bit of Spanish color in these dank days before Christmas.
Very nice. It sounds pretty difficult, so the few fumbles are excused. You make it sound so characteristically Spanish.
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named after the Torre Bermeja on the Playa de la Barrosa in the Province of Cadiz.
Indirectly, presumably, because it sounds very similar to Albéniz's similarly named piece, Op 92 No 12.
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For some reason I had always thought this was the famous bell tower of Sevilla.
Yes, well, the title sounds so grandiose. I was reading Stanley Yates' article about Leyenda, where he refers to it while mentioning Albéniz's powers of musical description and romantic invention, which "extended well beyond the realities of his life and his actual experiences":
Quote:
Albéniz could hardly have visited for himself the "tower" that inspired the title of one of his best-known piano works. If he had, he would hardly have been inspired to capture the experience in music. An amusing description of the "Torre bermeja" is provided by American author James Michener, who visited the "Vermillion Tower" on the strength of having heard Albéniz's piano work. Fully expecting to find a "splendid Moorish monument" he instead found "a pair of square, dumpy things...a squat tower built of ugly brick in the worst possible proportions, as far removed in spirit from the music of Albéniz as one could imagine." No doubt, Albéniz too had been captivated by the evocative words, "Torre bermeja," which was enough to inspire him to the composition of a piece of music that described something deriving only from his powerful romantic imagination.


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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:16 am 
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Chris,
You've successfully extended your championship of Rodrigo. I like Rodrigo but was not aware of much of his piano music.
Why do the Spanish composers rely so heavily on repeated notes? They must have all had good actions at their disposal. You must have one, too, in addition to fast fingers.

Also, thanks to Rainer for that story about Michener's visit to the tower. That was great!

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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:30 am 
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rainer wrote:
Very nice. It sounds pretty difficult, so the few fumbles are excused. You make it sound so characteristically Spanish.

Thanks. I think the only 'fumbles' are in the arpeggio sections with the repeated notes, which I find very difficult indeed.

rainer wrote:
Indirectly, presumably, because it sounds very similar to Albéniz's similarly named piece, Op 92 No 12.

I had never heard that piece, but now that I have it does not sound similar to me except for a certain guitar-ish quality you find in many Spanish pieces.
Except for Iberia, Albeniz's music always rather sounds like picture postcard music. Rodrigo is much more his own man, darker, more original and uncompromising. Glad to hear this sounds Spanish.

Pictures of the Torre Bermeja indeed look not very grandiose. It makes you wonder whether it inspired Rodrigo directly. Perhaps there's a legend around it or something. Rodrigo does not seem the man to model this piece after one of Albeniz.

StuKautsch wrote:
You've successfully extended your championship of Rodrigo.

Championship, hehe :) I so far only recorded the Danzas de Espana and those are not good recordings, I badly need to redo them.

StuKautsch wrote:
I like Rodrigo but was not aware of much of his piano music.

He wrote quite some but he was not typical piano composer like Albeniz, Grandos, or Turina. I'm starting to consider Rodrigo as one of the most interesting and original composers, together with Falla.

StuKautsch wrote:
Why do the Spanish composers rely so heavily on repeated notes? They must have all had good actions at their disposal. You must have one, too, in addition to fast fingers.
Since the revision, the action of my Gaveau is better than it was. But I'm still having troubles with these repeated notes. Fast fingers are no substitute for technique.....

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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Hi Chirs,
I enjoyed your performance of this piece, an unknown one to me. I think you did a fine job of bringing out the evocation of the Spanish themes. Yes there were some faults of execution, but not so much that it spoiled it. In works that have fast repeated notes, successful execution is dependent upon a fine technique for same and a finely-regulated action. Sometimes the first can overcome the second, but not always. Good job and thanks for the hard work and posting. Merry Christmas!

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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:12 pm 
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Hello Chris,
Thank you for letting us discovering this beautiful piece. I knew little Rodrigo out of 'Concierto de Aranjuez' and 'Fantasia para un gentilhombre' - I used to play the latter with a guitarist. Up to now I tended to consider him as a minor, past-oriented composer, as compared to the great Spanish composers you quote. However this piece is really nice and poetical. Not the same level as Iberia, e.g. in terms of harmony, but quite a nice and original character. I like especially the bell ringing at the end, with an incredible, strongly evocative cluster...
I tried to find the score (but it is not apparently available, probably because too recent). However, I found Rodrigo own rendition, which is maybe more precious:

http://www.deezer.com/fr/album/6019196

Regarding yours, I think it is very good. Maybe the following aspects could be considered, in case you'd like to make it even better:
- the general tempo could be a little quicker and less 'elastic'. I mean there is rubato, of course, but, as in Albeniz, it can be seen as a 'collage' of dance parts, each part being quite constant in tempo to give its full dance effect;
- there should be more 'sound layers', in terms of dynamics and sonority, with more pedal in some places;
- there is an overall dryness - maybe a matter of room sound: perhaps you could add a little reverberation.

But yet, it is a very nice version, which deserves IMO to be uploaded.

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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:06 pm 
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Thanks Eddy and Francois. I am quite satisfied with this recording were it not for some of these effing repeated notes which slipped away from me. I should maybe redo this piece as well, try to get them right. Bah, one gets so terribly critical about everything that is not perfect (and something somewhere always isn't....) Listening back is hardly any fun anymore.

Francois, that is a real treat, Rodrigo playing, thanks for that. I read on Wikipedia he was a virtuoso pianist (amazing how blindness does not prevent people from being so, can you even begin to imagine ?) but I'd never heard him. He is very good indeed. Past-oriented maybe, but also very modern and radical,
just listen to the Preludio al Gallo Mananero where he gives Ginastera a run for his money.

I wonder if I did something wrong with the reverb, the first bars indeed sound a bit dry. As for the tempi and rubato, I don't think I want to change that. yes those bell chords are incredible, only Spanish composers can do that (Mompou the bell-boy comes to mind).

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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:11 am 
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Hi Chris,

I was unfamiliar with this piece, but enjoyed it immediately. In some moments those repeated-note sections sound akin to a toccata! They require precision playing for sure. Fine pianism! There are moments that Rodrigo uses bitonality, as in the coda for example. Yet the superimposing of two different tonalities are not overly jarring to the ear (at least mine). His use of parallel chords is interesting--one doesn't hear that device often. Overall I believe the piece takes on a rhapsodic character. As with so many other Spanish works, this one is very colorful. I read that Rodrigo composed it to the memory of Ricardo Vines (with the ~ over the n). When this goes into the archive, that should probably be noted in the listing. Thanks for posting this recording.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:54 pm 
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I've never heard this before. It's nice - very similar to Albeniz' "El Puerto". Played nicely too.

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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:31 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
I've never heard this before. It's nice - very similar to Albeniz' "El Puerto". Played nicely too.

Thanks. I fall to hear any similarity to El Puerto though. Rodrigo's harmonic language is much more modern and adventurous than Albeniz', his writing more linear and angular.

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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:30 am 
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El Puerto (come to think of it, also Evocacion) of Albeniz's Iberia and Bermeja both end with a descending perfect 5th. Kind of a quirky ending, but maybe it was a running joke between these spanish composers? :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Rodrigo - A l`ombre de Torre Bermeja
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:06 pm 
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You are right, Riley. Both pieces have the spiky sections and pretty sections and then end exactly the same way. Doesn't take much imagination to get that.... :roll:

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