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 Post subject: Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:02 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:10 pm
Posts: 57
Location: Allison Park, PA, USA
Hi friends,

Still working on finding the best way to take advantage of my software (CoolEdit Pro) to produce a decent recording. It's rough to always record live, there are moments that make me wince. Having said that, I did try a single cut in this recording to try to correct a slip. Hope it is not too ugly to listen to.

Dave
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chopin-53-harrison.mp3 [9.8 MiB]
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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
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Hi David,
This is another piece I was once obsessed with. I never could play it nearly well enough for our site so I never bothered. Kudos to you for going for it! :)
However (sorry, now I have be the baddy), we can't take your recording. I think you play some parts very well, but there are quite a few slips and misses especially toward the end. Maybe fatigue started to set in..? But the biggest problem is that edit you made. It's super-jarring and actually made me jump! Sorry again....

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:45 pm
Posts: 377
Location: New Jersey, USA
Yeah, the edit is pretty weird. You should try a "studio" recording of this sometime, though - I really like your interpretation ideas. Getting to do multiple takes relieves some of the pressure, although in the case of this piece it might also wear you out.
Very abrupt end of track. If this is a live recording, I'd put a couple of beats of applause in as a cue to the listener. Else, another beat of silence.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:10 pm
Posts: 57
Location: Allison Park, PA, USA
Hi Monica,

Yes, i know the edit was "less than ideal," which is why I mentioned it right off. Right, some places DO make we wince.

Stu,

Thanks for listening. A studio recording someday would be fun. Live recording presents it's own set of unique challenges.
A couple of months before performing the first submitted version, I was invited to perform live on my local classical radio station. The following recording is from that performance. There are still at least two notes out of place on this one if you listen carefully, but I did not try to edit any corrections into this one.

As always, I welcome feedback. Thanks everyone!


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chopin-53-harrison.mp3 [9.87 MiB]
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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
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Huh yes, that edit is an amateur butcher's job if ever I heard one :P Like a bleeding chunk from an entirely different recording being transplanted without anaesthetic. Urk.

Your performance has many nice moments, and I admire the clean double scales (something I could never do). But there are also far too much wonks all over the places. You will know where they all are, surely.

I have some fundamental points of critique. First, the chromatic runs at the start are unclear and (I think) missing notes. Second, you rush the two upward runs towards the end into oblivion. Many pianists do something similar, and I always hate it. I read somewhere that any performance that starts and ends well is ok, people don't give a damn about what happens in between. I think it may have been Beecham who said this :)

Lastly your dotted figures are sometimes inconsistent and lazy. I believe that (especially) in a polonaise, the rhythms should be short and snappy.

The radio version sounds rather woolly and has at least as many flubs if not more. Neither version is fit for the site, alas.

But I believe with some more work you can create something real good here. You have all the equipment.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:10 pm
Posts: 57
Location: Allison Park, PA, USA
Hi Chris,

Your observations are spot on, thanks. Yep, you are right about the lazy dotted rhythms. Shame on me! Regarding the upward runs at the end, i was influenced by several of the performances of the piece that i enjoyed as a young lad. Never thought about how someone might be irritated by this practice. Certainly some of the "big names" have adopted this as a standard. Guess my name is not big enough to get away with it, lol. :wink:

This piece really did need more work before performance, but the radio spot was a promotion for a benefit concert for a local charity, and i learned the polonaise in basically one weekend while attending a church retreat, so there was rather higher than usual anxiety about playing live for the first performance. Perhaps undeserved, i received very positive feedback from the piece (at the benefit concert two days later), so i added it to a program i was playing in September as the closing number, in place of the G-minor Ballade, which had been planned as the finale. This is the complete history of the two recordings.

One thing i learned from the radio experience - i do not want to record in that particular studio again. Didn't care for the piano and less than sparkling quality to the recording. Partially my performance, but i think a good deal also had to do with the setup.

As to the edit from the first submission, you're exactly right - the correction was a from a cut that i took on another piano (as i did not have access to the original instrument in the local Steinway Hall). Although they offered recording/editing courses when i was in school, i never took advantage. Guess i figured there would always be someone else to handle the technical jobs, and i would always just worry about playing. Boy was i wrong!

Will seriously working out/rerecording this piece once i finish up a couple of other projects this fall. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:46 pm 
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cmudave1125 wrote:
Regarding the upward runs at the end, i was influenced by several of the performances of the piece that i enjoyed as a young lad. Never thought about how someone might be irritated by this practice. Certainly some of the "big names" have adopted this as a standard. Guess my name is not big enough to get away with it, lol. :wink:

This may be just personal taste, I'm sure many people like such Cziffra-esque flashes of lightning. I can tolerate them when perfectly executed, but here it seems to me the ends are frayed (it goes by too fast to be really sure though).

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:50 pm 
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Location: Edinburgh, UK
I've listened to the first recording.

Putting the very obvious edit aside - it's a shame it was that particular pair of post-scale chords that needed replacing, otherwise you could have copied them from elsewhere in the piece!

It sounds like it would be worthwhile to do a studio recording, as a lot of what's wrong are peripheral scruffinesses. There seems to be a tendency to fluffed acciaccature and ornaments (understandable as the ones with the pinky are tiresome).

The double handed scales are pretty good!

The octaves should in an ideal world be lighter, but you're not doing badly with them - in only a couple of places was there a hint of breakdown and the rhythmic aspect was strong throughout.

techneut wrote:
cmudave1125 wrote:
Regarding the upward runs at the end, i was influenced by several of the performances of the piece that i enjoyed as a young lad. Never thought about how someone might be irritated by this practice. Certainly some of the "big names" have adopted this as a standard. Guess my name is not big enough to get away with it, lol. :wink:

This may be just personal taste, I'm sure many people like such Cziffra-esque flashes of lightning. I can tolerate them when perfectly executed, but here it seems to me the ends are frayed (it goes by too fast to be really sure though).


In the diminished arpeggio figures I think you can get away with the distortion, but to do so you have imo to hold the low diminished quaver chord for a bit more than the half-beat in order to make it convincing. In the recording it just sounds like you've arrived too soon and it's disruptive to the ear. Plus I don't think all the arpeggio is sounding in the recording.

Anyway, niggling aside, I think this has a lot of potential. Thanks for the upload.


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:10 pm
Posts: 57
Location: Allison Park, PA, USA
Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the listen and the feedback! About the chords that needed to be replaced - yes I was sick about it. Was one of those cases where the brain and hands both seemed to freeze up at the same instant and I ended up playing *not* the right chords. Hate it when that happens. Aside from that, the piece just needed more practice before performance.

Lighter octaves would have been good, yes. I will also have to remember about holding the diminished chords in the finale, thanks!

Current major projects are Pictures and a "warhorse" Romantic concerto. After that I had planned to work on Estampes, which I keep putting off in favor of pieces that I had to play for specific concerts. Think I'll definitely get to it this time - that may be a good time to pull the Polonaise out again as a good contrasting piece. I'll have to work hard to bring the piece up to where it deserves though. I have at various times allowed the pressure of having to acquire and play large amounts of repertoire for specific engagements to diminish the level of performance I would accept. Time to raise my game - it will only help me to be a better pianist, and my listeners will benefit from a higher level of performance.

Thanks again!

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