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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:19 pm 
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I hear a few infelicities (and indeed a page turn) but nothing fatal, though I'm not following with score. What an infuriating recording: there are some genuinely poetic touches (and I don't find it over-pedalled) but the piano??!!

I know we've discussed this in the past and even conducted a test regarding the tuning, but this configuration of your piano has surpassed previous incarnations! I know this shouldn't be an issue when talking about music-making, but it honestly sounds almost honky-tonk: I'd forgotten about this issue and was almost speechless when it started. Which is a shame, because it would sound terrific on a better instrument. I'm going to shut up now, for fear that you think I don't like your playing.


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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:35 pm 
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Posts: 1985
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Hi Andrew,

Please bear in mind that this is a 1986 recording with the 1984 Baldwin and analog recording equipment which in its day was considered to be good. I've gotten very positive remarks on the Baldwin since it was rebuilt in the 2007. Since that rebuild, the only complaints I got were tuning issues, as the new strings took over a year to reach stability (not to mention the climate issues here). From your comment, I took it that you thought the piano was worse now than in the 1980s. I think it's a large improvement. Since you and I did that scale test, I haven't had any bad criticisms on the piano per se. I just wanted to clarify that in defense of the piano. Yes, I know you're not dissatisfied with my playing, so not to worry.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:38 pm 
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No, your current piano is a definite improvement on this '80s piano!


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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:43 pm 
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Hi Chris,

I've always thought that Collard is tops. l'm just surprised that he hasn't risen to even greater stature over the years. His playing of the French and Russian romantic music is very hard to beat. I don't know how widely he tours. If it's limited, that might explain it, although he has been prolific in issuing recordings. The Rachmaninoff Etudes Tableau recording he released many years ago is still extraordinary.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:57 pm 
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Hi Monica,

Yes, your "rule" is fine with me. I'm sure I'm now a different pianist is some ways than when I was in my 40s. But in this case, I thought the playing was fairly good, especially where nobody had ever posted this particular Faure barcarolle previously. I doubt it will do any harm in the archive. Thanks for putting it up.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Location: Germany
Hi David,
this is a very good and for my feeling congenial interpretion. Bravo, I´m enthused. I couldn´t discover wrong notes and I have listened with score. And if there a few, it doesn´t matter anything, because the interpretation is full of adequate and authentic feeling. All your expression and dynamic does convince me overall. You really seem to be somehow congenial to the late romantic style (which I find in some way rather complicated, isn´t it?!). So, for me this is an excellent recording. I didn´t hear any hiss and the pedal is used in an optimal way. The two page turns may be are a bit unprofessional from a recording-technical point of view (of today), but they disturb your subtle and fine playing in any way.
I have enjoyed your performance a lot! Yes, it´s a performance of "good old school" and that´s exactly what it makes so unique and valuable (especially in times of today)!

With best regards
Andreas

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:40 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
The two page turns may be are a bit unprofessional from a recording-technical point of view (of today), but they disturb your subtle and fine playing in any way.
Yes that's what I thought :P

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:57 am
Posts: 302
Location: New York City
Hi David,

Your interpretation has a really nice ambiance and free spirit with ocassional overtones
of something more stark. This piece is gorgeous. Perhaps the tempo is a tiny bit uneven
after the opening section, but it is really beautifully played. I think the piano needs to be
tuned. Your technique is very relaxed all the way through producing a beautiful tone.
The mood is perfect throughout.

Thanks for sharing,
Kaila

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:07 am 
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Posts: 1985
Location: U.S.A.
Hi Andreas,

Thanks for listening! And I appreciate your being enthused by my playing of this piece.

Yes, the late romantic piano literature is my favorite of all time. It's been a pleasure to play the music of severa these composers, some not as well known as others. I believe that the late romantics, carrying on the traditions of the earlier romantic composers, wisely ignored the modernists, composed extraordinary music, and conclusively proved that the possibilities of romanticism had not been exhausted, and supposedly leaving that genre bankrupt. Not at all! I am disappointed, however, by today's neo-romantics. I continue to seek out these composers to see if I can be inspired to play their piano music. Not much luck so far. :(

Back to Faure... I remember when I prepared this barcarolle and first played it for my teacher at the time, I told him to trust me that I had the correct notes. Because Faure's tonal centers shift very often, thereby affecting accidentals, I tried hard to avoid note reading errors. I also, at the end of my learning process, listened to Collard play it to see if any different notes jarred my ears, but his rendition didn't reveal any. There might have been a very few finger slips in my recording which were unintentional.

On the pedaling, I believe I did a pretty good job in that department overall. I'm glad it struck you the same way. Analog recording back then was different. I'm thinking that the third mic behind the two stereo mics (used to capture ambient sound) might have created the "swimming" sound that Monica mentioned.

Page turns--when I've tried to fix those, my edits are even worse!

[Yes, it´s a performance of "good old school" and that´s exactly what it makes so unique and valuable (especially in times of today)!]

I've given this some thought lately. Today there seems to be a fixation with correct notes. Of course, we all want the notes to be played correctly. But that seems to have been elevated to an art form, and has become the #1 priority of younger pianists (the recent Cliburn Competition being a good illustration). The old school great pianists like Serkin, Horowitz, Cortot, Rubinstein and Richter valued correct notes, but they also took big risks which often succeeded, but sometimes with the dropping of a note or two. Individuality and personality were integral of those performances. Today so much playing sounds like plain vanilla. Pianists often sound alike. My theory: 1) There is now a worship of the correct notes over all other elements of musicality and artistry. 2) The rise of the urtext edition has obliterated imaginative playing. Today pianists all buy and read from the same urtexts. In the 1900s there were many editions available which varied in terms of quality of editing. Some were more heavily edited than others, and the editing skills stretched from one end of the spectrum to the other. Not everyone was a Rafael Joseffy in editing Liszt, or Emil von Sauer in editing Brahms, or those who did the Paderewski Chopin editions. There were many editions to choose from then, and as a result, pianists sounded differently when they played. And going beyond that, pianists also allowed themselves to take a liberty in their interpretations now and then. Nowadays, it seems the urtext is the urtext--despite the fact that not one urtext edition has yet to be proven and pronounced flawless. I don't believe that making note perfection the highest priority and giving ourselves over to the urtexts does much for individuality in the performing art. I'm not advocating that we use poor editions; rather, that we know the good editions from the not so good. Otherwise, I cannot bring myself to believe that these existing trends will reverse already declining audience numbers and/or impel young people to attend piano recitals. Safe, plain vanilla renditions that don't highlight the emotional content of the music are boring.

Kind regards,

David

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Last edited by Rachfan on Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:44 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:30 am 
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Hi Kaila,

I enjoyed reading your observations. Had I stayed with the piece a little longer, I think I could have ironed out those few wrinkles you mention. Back in the 1980s I had a lot of expenses, so the frequency of piano tuning suffered. Nowadays, the piano is tuned quarterly which seems to work out really well.

Thanks again.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:34 am 
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Posts: 258
Isn't the goal to play all the correct notes AND to have a well-thought-through, deeply felt interpretation?
I don't see those two as opposed in any way. Nothing about playing the right notes gets in the way of carrying off a good interpretation.
(If anything, *wrong* notes are an impediment to good interpretation as they are distracting to the performer.)


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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:53 am 
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Hi hreichgott,

I have no objection to correct notes. Accuracy has it's place in pianism. The problem is that so much attention goes into that one aspect such that the emotional content is lost which leads to boredom for the audience. Playing becomes mechanical rather than artful. I think the most recent Cliburn Competition was a sad commentary in that respect. For the most part, they all sounded alike. Of course, this trend is a boon to competition jurors. They can make easy eliminations based on a minor finger slip. How well the contestants know that, so cater to it.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:09 am 
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Location: Connecticut, USA
Quote:
I think the most recent Cliburn Competition was a sad commentary in that respect. For the most part, they all sounded alike. Of course, this trend is a boon to competition jurors. They can make easy eliminations based on a minor finger slip. How well the contestants know that, so cater to it.


Agree with you absolutely. That competition was indeed a sad commentary on the state of piano playing, even more so than in the past IMO. To take an example, one would of course have to impressed by Kholodenko getting up there and tossing off the Liszt Transcendentals, but on the other hand I don't think I've ever heard such vapid playing in my life, no grandeur or sense of theatricality, no risk taking. Those are pieces where somebody could miss bucketfuls of notes and I wouldn't care a whit if it had something to say -- a sense of majesty, a fire, or just plain Lisztian outrage. As it is, the contestants certainly got most of the notes, but everything else they did was just one big fat mistake after another to my ears.

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:19 am 
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Hi Joe,

Yes! You put it all so well. There was colorless playing, nothing rising to a magisterial level, and a lack of big romantic surges in the romantic piano literature being presented. But... some did well playing the correct notes. Perhaps in four years hence, there will be a rebirth of stylish playing. But you're right--given the trend and pattern of the last three Cliburn competitions, it might not become a reality.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Faure, 6th Barcarolle, Op. 70 in E flat
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:49 pm 
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Location: Carbondale, IL
Hi David,

I had a listen to your interpretation of this rhapsodic Barcarolle. I enjoyed your performance a great deal. I haven't heard this piece before and the only barcarolle I've know is the famous one by Offenbach. I think you've managed to surmount some considerable challenges in this piece. The grace notes and frequent modulations. I like the tempo you have chosen here and the ending was a nice conclusion to this dreamlike piece. Like some other members have stated the sound quality could be better, but all in all, I'd say for the far greater part, you've done a fine job here!

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