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 Post subject: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:13 am 
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Luiz de Freitas Branco was one of the most important musical figures in Portugal during the first half of the 20th century. I'm not sure what else he wrote for piano, if anything, but I find this Sonatina rather cute. The third movement has some unexpectedly tricky moments and is overall not easy with its hand crossings. I think this is the first Portuguese composer on the site but likely not important enough to justify a separate page.

Freitas Branco - Sonatina - 1: Allegro moderato (0:48)
Freitas Branco - Sonatina - 2: Andante (0:56)
Freitas Branco - Sonatina - 3: Rondo - Allegretto (1:47)

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:20 am 
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The pieces are somewhat slight, but still enjoyable. The last movement is rather nice; I appreciated the clarity of your passagework here.

techneut wrote:
I think this is the first Portuguese composer on the site but likely not important enough to justify a separate page.


I'm a little surprised there is no da Motta (not that I'm especially familiar with his works).


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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:49 am 
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Thanks for checking this out !

andrew wrote:
The pieces are somewhat slight, but still enjoyable. The last movement is rather nice; I appreciated the clarity of your passagework here.
My sentiment exactly. It's not great music, but nice and fresh with e certain innocent charm. I had to work bloody hard on the central turbulent passage in the last mvt, and still it would not come off without one or two imperfections.

andrew wrote:
I'm a little surprised there is no da Motta (not that I'm especially familiar with his works).
Certainly a famous name but I've not heard any of his music. I think he was not a terribily original composer, more important as a pedagogue and arranger/transcriber. His few piano pieces on IMSLP don't look very appealing to me (though it's a bit unfair to judge from score alone).

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:26 am 
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techneut wrote:
andrew wrote:
I'm a little surprised there is no da Motta (not that I'm especially familiar with his works).
Certainly a famous name but I've not heard any of his music. I think he was not a terribily original composer, more important as a pedagogue and arranger/transcriber. His few piano pieces on IMSLP don't look very appealing to me (though it's a bit unfair to judge from score alone).


I've only really listened to the piano concerto (plus a salon piece). It's pleasantly entertaining, though I suspect it's the sort of concerto written by someone who is a primarily a pianist rather than a concerto written by a composer, if that makes any sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:00 pm 
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I've never heard of this composer; the music sounds a little like Bartok to me. They all seems easy to play except that middle section of no. 3 does indeed sound like a finger-twister. Also, the sound clipped at the end.

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:21 pm 
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Chris,
I agree with Monica on the similarity to Bartok. I always used the Microcosmos in my teaching and these pieces could serve equally at the right stage. The first was most interesting to me as it seemed to be a ride on the ferris wheel of tonality. I too have never heard of this composer.

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:52 am 
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Hi Chris,

I had never heard these pieces of Branco before. His music has a fresh, outdoors sound to it. I think you played them all very convincingly. That third movement sounds quite tricky!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:43 am 
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Hi Chris,

I had a chance to listen to all three of your recordings. They sound nice, I haven't heard of Freitas Branco till now, and these pieces are interesting. Is this the complete set? The first has an extremely fast harmonic rhythm-and for such a short piece.. :shock: The second was a nice piece starting and ending on c and the third did sound quite hard, a "bucking" branco if I may say so :lol: , though I don't think you got bucked too bad ! For criticism, I have to echo what Monica said, the ending was played very forte. Perhaps this was in the score? I do not know, anyway it didn't take away from the overall piece. These sonatinas are short in duration but don't sound too repetitious which is nice.

Thanks for the introduction,

~Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:49 am 
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Thanks all for the feedback. A pleasant surprise, as I'd half expected nobody would appreciate this little ditty.
I know the final chord clips, it must be because I fiddled with the input level which is probably higher than I used before
(I need to use a higher level for organ recording and then remember to set it back correctly). I think I'll just re-record this chord and tack it on. Surely that is not cheating is it !?
There's one bar in the Rondo that I find quite impossible to play up to speed, even after immense practice. I tried to let the RH help out but it made things even harder. So I fumble my way through it best as I can. It's probably my lack of technique.


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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:31 am 
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I'd play it either 5, 4, 52, 41; 5, 4, 31, 52 with the r.h. taking the Bb and A, or I'd gliss the l.h. thumb from Bb to A and use the thumb again on the G#. I'd suggest the latter is harder to control precisely (and won't work for the end of the bar).


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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:35 am 
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andrew wrote:
I'd play it either 5, 4, 52, 41; 5, 4, 31, 52 with the r.h. taking the Bb and A,

I tried that but it opened up a whole new can or worms for me.
andrew wrote:
or I'd gliss the l.h. thumb from Bb to A and use the thumb again on the G#. I'd suggest the latter is harder to control precisely (and won't work for the end of the bar).

That is what I do but indeed it is very difficult unless in slow tempo. The end of the bar is no problem because there's only a two-note chord following this time.

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:48 am 
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Ok, perhaps taking only the fourth of each group of semiquavers as a right hand sixth? (I'd use 543, then 12 for the sixth here). That seems a lot easier - don't know why I didn't think of it before.


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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:36 pm 
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Yes possibly - though that does not look easier to me (being away from the piano). Anyway in the end I decided this lone note wasn't worth all the aggro, and my slopping over it wasn't going to make a big difference.

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:07 pm 
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Given the difficulty, you might consider inverting the voices in the LH so that the "inner" 16th-note runs occur an octove lower.

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:13 pm 
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Hi Chris. I'm not sure why you thought we'd not appreciate the piece. It is a nice little sonatina and a good performance you gave it. Thank you for introducing us to Freitas Branco.

Re the "impossible" bar ... I would probably take the A only with the RH and leave the Bb and the G# with the LH thumb. It might not work at speed, but I'd be tempted to try crossing finger over finger and use 4 3 4 (31) for the first group in the RH. Then again, I have been known to adopt fingerings that would give any piano teacher an aneurysm :)


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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:20 pm 
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jim_24601 wrote:
Hi Chris. I'm not sure why you thought we'd not appreciate the piece. It is a nice little sonatina and a good performance you gave it. Thank you for introducing us to Freitas Branco.

I have sometimes thought in this forum that most people were only interested mainstream composers, viz. Chopin, Bach, Rach, and Scriabin, , and little inclined to comment on something different. Recently it seems to be much better though. I'd like to think I am doing my bit to bend peoples' ears towards unusual or obscure repertoire (as indeed some others do, more so than in the past).

jim_24601 wrote:
Re the "impossible" bar ... I would probably take the A only with the RH and leave the Bb and the G# with the LH thumb. It might not work at speed, but I'd be tempted to try crossing finger over finger and use 4 3 4 (31) for the first group in the RH.

I guess there could many many ingenuous solutions to this bar from hell. But as you say many might not work at speed. If it was a recurring pattern then it would require drastic measures, but as it's just a lone bar I found it easier to BS through it than to torture myself :)

jim_24601 wrote:
Then again, I have been known to adopt fingerings that would give any piano teacher an aneurysm :)

That's quite alright. I find myself developing some real strange fingerings now and then which nonetheless feel entirely comfortable. And I remember a former teacher saying she used some "stupid" fingerings here and there. Whatever works for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:43 pm 
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techneut wrote:
I have sometimes thought in this forum that most people were only interested mainstream composers, viz. Chopin, Bach, Rach, and Scriabin, , and little inclined to comment on something different. Recently it seems to be much better though. I'd like to think I am doing my bit to bend peoples' ears towards unusual or obscure repertoire (as indeed some others do, more so than in the past).
Well, I am always pleased to hear something new, although I can't say that I will always be able to muster intelligent comments on it. Perhaps there is a certain reluctance to comment on a piece one doesn't know.

Quote:
I guess there could many many ingenuous solutions to this bar from hell. But as you say many might not work at speed. If it was a recurring pattern then it would require drastic measures, but as it's just a lone bar I found it easier to BS through it than to torture myself :)
:) In a place like this it's probably mainly down to what works for you.

Quote:
That's quite alright. I find myself developing some real strange fingerings now and then which nonetheless feel entirely comfortable. And I remember a former teacher saying she used some "stupid" fingerings here and there. Whatever works for you.
I think, fortunately, that most teachers these days have moved on from the Victorian classical rulers-across-the-backs-of-the-hands technique and adopted the pragmatic modern approach of "do what works, as long as you don't injure yourself" :)


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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:17 pm 
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Really a nice and interesting sonatina with interesting harmonical moments.
To 1st mv.: all is played very well here, I think.
To 2nd mv.: also nicely played. May be you could think about the staccato forming of the repeating notes from bar 5 on. It seems not to be consequent, but may be that´s intentional.
To 3rd mv.: nice lively movement and I like the moment when comes the a-major chord after all these long runnings. Here you should pay much more attention to the staccato-prescriptions IMHO. Figures like f.ex. in bar 1-4 (uppervoice) should be played consequently with the staccato-eigth at the end through the whole piece. At the beginning you still play them clearly, but later the articulation becomes more and more wrong respective unclear.
Here I also have used the score from imslp to follow your recordings, btw: http://imslp.org/wiki/Sonatina_(Freitas ... %C3%ADs_de)

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 7:08 pm 
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I finally got a chance to listen to these. I like them. They are full of vitality. A rather sunny Iberian sound.

I'm not sure that I would think of them as "slight". The movements (particularly 1 and 2) are indeed brief, but they are complete and concise. As such, they would make excellent student pieces -- and students need well conceived performances like this to listen to. (Good performances of many of the intermediate and early advance level pieces are not always easy to come by. I'm always recommending recordings on this site to my students.) Obviously, that last movement is going to be for a much more advanced student than required for the first two. As I followed the score the first time I noticed that "horror story" moment from which you shared the "impossible measure" as soon as a scrolled onto that page.

The only thing that you might want to consider is in the second movement. First, the staccatos seem to be a bit short and cliped for the character. I wonder if more the "classical" meaning of staccato (half of the value - eighth note eighth rest) might be called for since he does have them under a slur and should they be more consistent throughout.

The other thing is in measure 11, the C on beat 3 is still part of the accompaniment and the following 8th note Ab begins the new phrase. You might want to try differentiating the sound so the the melody does not sound as if it is C Ab...

Great job.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 7:33 pm 
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Thanks Andreas and Scott. I'm sure there are little things to improve - aren't there always !
I would spend more time on it if it was Bach... but now that I managed to get the final mvt halfway decent, this will have to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:06 pm 
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Great to hear this little piece! So much harmonic action. Good playing! Reminds me a little bit of a composer I used to play for Eurythmy classes, Leopold van der Pals. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Luiz de Freitas Branco - Sonatina
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:07 am 
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Bornfield wrote:
Great to hear this little piece! So much harmonic action. Good playing! Reminds me a little bit of a composer I used to play for Eurythmy classes, Leopold van der Pals. Thanks!

Thanks Jeremiah !
This little piece is getting more acclaim here than I'd hoped for. Somehow I had half expected nobody to like it (as occasionally, and understandably, happens with my strange choice of repertoire).
I'd never heard about Leopold van der Pals. An interesting and prolific composer !

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