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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:34 pm 
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mwyman1 wrote:
As a side note, and sorry in advance for my soapbox here, I've always been a bit annoyed with the characterization of "overplayed". Perhaps well-intended, to me it communicates a bit of narcissism and essentially nothing else. And talk about an overused expression (irony intended)!! I can't help but roll my eyes every time I read a review or hear a commentator address something as "overplayed". This is stating the obvious, IMHO. Just a pet peeve of mine. :twisted:

I see. Everybody has their pet peeve... mine is being called narcissistic. But not to worry, I've heard worse.

The numbers then. We have currently ten recordings of this piece on the site. All are good, I believe, and a couple may be very good. So much for this piece seldom being played well by amateurs. We must have heard, and declined, at least a dozen more over the years. It' just one of these pieces, along with preludes 4, 6, 20, the first part of the Mondschein, and Bach 's first prelude, that everybody seems to submit for their first audition. Hence my perception
of overplayed, for what it's worth.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:06 am 
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I was just being honest about how I felt about your post. No big deal my friend. But I did feel it was narcissistic. That doesn't mean I think you're a narcicist, just a comment about how I perceived your comments as dismissive and presumptive (concluding my version is so unlikely to be worthy that it's not even worth listening to). As an Admin of this site, you saying something is "overplayed" as a reason not to even give it a listen is a bit offensive. I didn't see that criteria in the instructions. I apologize if I misunderstood.

Listening to music is time consuming, and you certainly don't have to waste your time on my submission. You've got too many recordings of 'Raindrop' - got it. The value of this site to me, which I feel is considerable, is the feedback - NOT the posting. I'm not trying to demean any of the wonderful recordings posted here, which is a great incentive for members to keep working at their pieces. I get it and it's cool.

So now I've made an enemy out of 1/3 of the admins of this site - great, I'm going to be ripped to shreds now!! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:57 am 
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Hi,

Although Richard had mistaken the "Raindrop" Prelude for a nocturne, it gave me pause for a thought. The Prelude No. 15 is the longest of the preludes. It's in A-B-A form, and A and A1 are very lyrical and tranquil. And although Part B has some bombast (the thunderstorm), there are some nocturnes that likewise have a dramatic change in the middle part. I have always thought of it as a depiction of a rainy day, but it could as easily be a rainy night. So... had Chopin slapped a nocturne title on this piece, he would have easily gotten away with it! :lol:

David

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:51 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
Although Richard had mistaken the "Raindrop" Prelude for a nocturne, it gave me pause for a thought. ... I have always thought of it as a depiction of a rainy day, but it could as easily be a rainy night.
Well, the story goes (can't remember where I read it) that it was a rainy winter night, when Chopin was staying in Mallorca at the house of a friend (George Sand), and stayed behind when his host and other guests went out to paint the (somewhat distant) town red, and a veritable deluge interrupted their return. They did eventually make it home, soaked to their skins, their taxi having broken down, to find Chopin at the piano, playing (this piece, composed that evening) as if in a trance, convinced his friends had been killed by this freak natural disaster. But it's probably just hype; apparently most of the piece had already been composed before he even arrived in Mallorca,
Quote:
So... had Chopin slapped a nocturne title on this piece, he would have easily gotten away with it! :lol:
Except for the small matter that it doesn't have the usual distinguishing features of a nocturne. The dreamy tune is there, right enough, but one generally expects a barcarolle-like accompaniment in 6/8 or some other triplety rhythm.


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:39 am 
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Welcome to PS! I agree with all that has been said about the music, so I won't repeat it here. Don't sweat not having an acoustic piano. Long before I had an acoustic piano of my own, I made many recordings using a Roland A-90EX keyboard when I was in school. I plugged the analog output jacks into a tape deck, then later a CD recorder. It gives very good results. You should get a better sound than what you're getting now. A couple of hints:

1. DON'T plug the recorder in the "headphone jack." The output/input impedences are different - like on the order of 32 ohms vs 50,000 ohms. It's a mismatch. The voltage levels are different too. That's why your sound is boomy, noisy, etc. You're also getting noise and interference from the headphone amp. Use the TRS (balanced) 1/4" analog output jacks and plug that into the analog inputs on your recorder.

2. DON'T record the keyboard with mics unless you have excellent reproduction speakers. Most of us don't. You'll pick up noise from room, longer audio chain, poorer living room acoustics, more expensive, limited frequency response, etc.

3. Certain Romantic music, like Chopin Nocturnes, Tempest Sonata are not keyboard friendly. The action is not conducive for it. Once you invest in an acoustic piano, you'll never go back. There are many piano deals out there.

Good Luck!

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Last edited by 88man on Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:00 am 
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Quote:
I was just being honest about how I felt about your post. No big deal my friend. But I did feel it was narcissistic. That doesn't mean I think you're a narcicist, just a comment about how I perceived your comments as dismissive and presumptive


As one who has gotten his hackles up in the past :wink: (and hopefully ruffled some fur in turn :P ), I just can't resist responding when there's an amusing digression.

Since the thread has now unexpectedly shifted to the topic of pet peeves, let me say what two of mine are: people who don't read carefully and/or present illogical arguments that are not based on at least some evidence. Before you direct your narcissism radar at others, you may want to ask yourself the following questions: (1) Is there any way a reasonable person could conclude that using the word "overplayed" is inherently associated with a narcissistic personality or even a narcissistic remark? (2) As a corollary to (1), is it reasonable to conclude that an admin is now an enemy simply because he may have said something slightly sarcastic; (3) Have I bothered to listen to myself critically before posting these recordings?

So anyway, enough sermonizing from me and back to the original topic of your playing. It isn't that there aren't some good things here. Both the Nocturne and Prelude are sensitively phrased in some places, if somewhat tentative and forced in others. However, besides that there are a number of dropped notes (in the prelude more so), unseemly tempo hesitations, pedal blurs, and passages that sound jerky, hesitant, and inadequately worked out. This is especially evident to me in the Nocturne filigree, which needs to shimmer; instead, you often slow down and completely bring the tempo to a halt, presumably to make things easier for yourself. These do sound within your reach if you go back to basics and look at them more self-reflectively.

However, the Beethoven, I'm sorry to say, is a complete mess. I just don't think there is a nicer way to put this. We're all, or mostly, amateurs here and I don't think anyone would expect anything close to perfection, particularly on a difficult movement like this. But when there are gross unevennesses, tempo strugglings, and awkward pedal usage in nearly every measure, it's a different matter. Frankly, this piece just sounds way beyond your current technical ability. It makes me shudder to hear that you're planning on playing the Chopin 12th prelude, which though shorter, is IMO 20 times more physically difficult than this.

Rest assured, this is not a gratuitous ripping of your playing to shreds, only an unequivocal assessment.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:40 am 
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Hi rainer

Right you are. The accompaniment would disqualify the "Raindrop" as a nocturne. And thanks for reminding me of the story of Chopin composing it at Majorca. I read that tale years ago, probably in Huneker's book on Chopin, but had forgotten it.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:02 am 
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Quote:
Well, the story goes (can't remember where I read it) that it was a rainy winter night, when Chopin was staying in Mallorca at the house of a friend (George Sand), and stayed behind when his host and other guests went out to paint the (somewhat distant) town red, and a veritable deluge interrupted their return. They did eventually make it home, soaked to their skins, their taxi having broken down, to find Chopin at the piano, playing (this piece, composed that evening) as if in a trance, convinced his friends had been killed by this freak natural disaster


Rainer - nice story thank you for sharing the background on this!

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And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he, Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see. - Dr. Suess


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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:07 am 
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Quote:
1. DON'T plug the recorder in the "headphone jack." The output/input impedences are different - like on the order of 32 ohms vs 50,000 ohms. It's a mismatch. That's why your sound is boomy, noisy, etc. You're also getting noise and interference from the headphone amp. Use the TRS (balanced) 1/4" analog output jacks and plug that into the analog inputs on your recorder.


88man - THANK YOU so much for the technology tips. I think I made a mistake when purchasing my Kawai CN23. It actually doesn't have line in/out jacks, only two headphone jacks. Reading on the Kawai site the very next model "up" from mine has those Jacks! :( I wonder if I can trade up with the dealer? (Wishful thinking probably.)

Given this constraint, what would you recommend is the next best thing?

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:39 am 
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Well hello Joseph, nice to meet you! I've actually listened to a lot of your recordings on this site and have a great respect for your work, sincerely. I love that you recorded all 24 Chopin Preludes as well, and have listened to them all. This really sux that my first communication with you has to be so testy. :(

Quote:
As one who has gotten his hackles up in the past (and hopefully ruffled some fur in turn ), I just can't resist responding when there's an amusing digression.


Yes, fair enough I probably did overreact. I've read a lot of postings here lately, and I think for some reason some of the responses by this particular admin (whom I also very much respect and have listened to a lot of his music here) have rubbed me the wrong way.

Quote:
However, besides that there are a number of dropped notes (in the prelude more so), unseemly tempo hesitations, pedal blurs, and passages that sound jerky, hesitant, and inadequately worked out.


Did you by any chance notate where these dropped notes in the prelude are? With my headphones, anyway, I can only hear one. Also, I would be interested in more information on the pedal blurs you refer to (such as where you feel the pedal was inappropriately used).

Quote:
instead, you often slow down and completely bring the tempo to a halt, presumably to make things easier for yourself.


Huh? Please tell me all of these places where I "often" slow down and come to a halt to make things easier? Perhaps you can explain why my tempo changes are inappropriate in these pieces, but not in your Prelude No 12 http://server3.pianosociety.com/protected/chopin-28-12-renouf.mp3?

Quote:
It makes me shudder to hear that you're planning on playing the Chopin 12th prelude, which though shorter, is IMO 20 times more physically difficult than this.


Ouch. Why did you use this particular language? Constructive criticism doesn't require this. I know I'm not as great a player as you, but truthfully this statement was very demotivating for me coming from someone such as yourself. I've been working for many months methodically and slowly building up my No 12, and in particular working on my form to keep my fingers relaxed and flexible, yet strong, so they won't tire by the end of the song. I've attached my last recording of a series where I've been slowly increasing tempo. I may as well take all my medicine at once here today! :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:55 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
And thanks for reminding me of the story of Chopin composing it at Majorca. I read that tale years ago, probably in Huneker's book on Chopin, but had forgotten it.
Where, I believe, he composed the Scherzo in C# Minor, Op.39.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:04 am 
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mwyman1 wrote:
Huh? Please tell me all of these places where I "often" slow down and come to a halt to make things easier? Perhaps you can explain why my tempo changes are inappropriate in these pieces, but not in your Prelude No 12 http://server3.pianosociety.com/protect ... renouf.mp3?
@ Joe: Based on the principle of analogy, I think he's got a logical argument. Oh boy.

@ Matthew: Now that is not fair using our own music against us; please don't do this with me. :|


Edit: Oops. I meant Matthew not Mark :mrgreen:

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Last edited by musical-md on Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:43 am 
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Quote:
Did you by any chance notate where these dropped notes in the prelude are? With my headphones, anyway, I can only hear one. Also, I would be interested in more information on the pedal blurs you refer to (such as where you feel the pedal was inappropriately used).


Since you seem to want it, here is a more specific critique on your prelude:

1. Right in the opening measure, the third of F and D-flat doesn't sound in the left hand (this is what I am using "dropped" to mean, not "missed" or wrong, but weak or nonexistent). Then there is noticeable asynchronicity going into the second measure. The repeating A accompaniment seems weak in general. Then for the brief filigree run in measure 5 I don't hear the initial note after the first repeated note. For the reprise in measure 6, there is some rather noticeable and awkward hand asynchronicity.

2. In the entrance of theme B (measure 9), there is an unpleasant pedal blur in the lefthand against the melodic subject.

3. Measure 14, the G-flat doesn't sound, particularly unfortunate since this is the climax of the phrase. Also the lefthand around this point sound a bit weak and uneven. The three note ornament in 15 is too slow in relation to your overall tempo so it sounds a bit clumsy to my ears.

4. IMO you overemphasize the second reprise to the main theme, banging that E-flat a bit.

5. Is it just me or is there an edit cut in the repeated notes right before the transition to the C-sharp minor section? One of the notes sounds as though it fades out for a split second.

6. In the middle section, it gets suddenly quite a bit slower in relation to the tempo you started out with, which isn't called for IMO. I also find it rhythmically monotonous and think the accompaniment is too loud with not enough legato and singing of the melody in the lefthand

7. It gets even more lugubriously slow when the righthand melody comes back and around 61-62 (I counted so the measure number might not be accurate, since my score doesn't have numbers), I am hearing weak notes in the bass (though your melody is better here).

8. The end suffers from rhythmic monotony again and I'm not sure you're hearing the climaxes of all these delicious phrases. The very last measure seems rather abrupt -- not enough ritenuto for a sense of release and finality.

As a general comment, I find the rhythm rather jerky and inconsistent in the outer sections and overly careful and not varied enough in the middle section. Given the tempo changes between sections, too, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to review your playing with a metronome even in this case.

Quote:
Huh? Please tell me all of these places where I "often" slow down and come to a halt to make things easier?


Sure, I'd be glad to. Right before the chromatic filigree in measure 16 for one, There are incidentally also many notes in this passage itself that are simply not there (don't sound). Then you also slow down grotesquely in measure 23 (the variation on 16). There's also a lot of slowing down on the last page for the coda, which you accentuate by waiting a very long time in between the low E and the accompaniment. Of course I can't prove that you're doing this to make it easier for yourself. Just how it sounds to me when one breaks the fluidity of the line to hit a low note.

Quote:
Ouch. Why did you use this particular language? Constructive criticism doesn't require this. I know I'm not as great a player as you, but truthfully this statement was very demotivating for me coming from someone such as yourself. I've been working for many months methodically and slowly building up my No 12, and in particular working on my form to keep my fingers relaxed and flexible, yet strong, so they won't tire by the end of the song. I've attached my last recording of a series where I've been slowly increasing tempo. I may as well take all my medicine at once here today!


I don't see how this is not constructive. I think it's more constructive to be honest and tell someone that the piece sounds too difficult for them (admittedly only my opinion) than for them to continue to struggle at it and waste their time. Normally, I would just let someone labor under a delusion and not comment on a performance where I didn't have more positive to say, but your rather passive-aggressive responses to earlier commenters annoyed me, so why not stir up a little trouble? :twisted: :P This passive-aggressiveness, I believe, is demonstrated by your even bringing up my performance of Prelude 12, since this is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. But please feel free to tear my performance of this or anything else apart. I really couldn't care less. Passive-aggressiveness is another of my pet peeves btw, since it is often accompanied by delusional logic. But then, I'm sure you'd deny that you were being passive-aggressive anyway (much as Chris denies being narcissistic :mrgreen: ), so I guess it's my own flawed perception and probably a moot point.

Regarding your performance, upon hearing it, I stand by my statement. IMHO this sounds to me as though it will never be ready given your present technical level. Besides being way under tempo at this point, the notes just simply aren't clear in practically every measure -- they sound smudged. This is a Presto, not an Andante, and if you're struggling to play the notes clearly at this tempo, I just don't see how you're going to be able to bring it up much more. My advice would be to start with something easier that you can control better, like a Clementi sonatina.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:20 am 
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Quote:
@ Joe: Based on the principle of analogy, I think he's got a logical argument. Oh boy.


No, this would be a logical fallacy, a "weak analogy": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_analogy

It is never possible to draw a deduction (in your words "logical argument") directly from an analogy until an argument is pursued further by other means. An analogy is rather an example of inductive reasoning, simply an observation (an opining, not a syllogism) that there is a relationship between two things (which may be true or false upon further observation). It may of course be the starting point on which one bases a gathering of actual evidence for a deduction. Anyway, there really isn't such a necessary relationship here since these are two entirely different pieces (nocturne and prelude) with entirely different characters. That is, what might be inappropriate slowing in one piece might be quite appropriate in another.

On that note, I never said that slowing down or speeding up was never kosher. Like most things in life, it's a matter of degree. A little rushing and slowing here and there (which I would fully agree with as criticism of my playing of that prelude btw) is not the same thing as almost grinding to a halt and sounding as though one doesn't know the music and is finding the notes (once again, just my opinion of what I heard). But the larger issue is why someone would even bring up my playing here. I never said anything about it or compared it to anyone's. It's a completely irrelevant issue on this thread.

Anyway, I'm by no means trying to start a fight, but as you know, I always enjoy a little controversial discussion :P

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Last edited by jlr43 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:23 am 
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Hi Matthew,

You are much better than I am, but I have tinkered with the Raindrop quite a bit. Here's where I noticed some missing or weak notes or other things that grabbed my attention:
*My edition is the Schirmer collection of Chopin preludes, nocturnes, and waltzes.

Measure 1: You're missing an a-flat on the and of beat 4.
Measure 14: The and of beat 1 (f in the treble, g-flat in the bass) is very weak.
Measure 29: On beat 2 the bass is very hesitant/almost inaudible.
Measures 43 and 59: Perhaps this is a taste judgement, but your ritards were a little too much for me.
Measure 68: Do you play all four 8th note g-sharps in the bass during the first two beats? I thought I heard the third and fourth 8th notes but couldn't tell if you played the first two.
Measures 73 and 74: The second 8th note in beat 1 is obscured by the bass. The rhythm is defined by the pulsing 8th notes and I don't think you should leave a single one unattended.
Measure 80: Something is off in the first two beats. It sounds as if you forget the descending line of f to d-flat to a-flat and had to rush to catch up because you remembered it at the last second. You play d-flat almost inaudibly, then hesitate, then come crashing down on a-flat.
Measures 80-81: Right at the bar line, my score is marked slentando. Consider working in a gradual slowing down instead of a sudden ritard on beat 3 of measure 81.
Measure 81: The b-flat in the treble sounded off to me. It might be just a touch too loud. Or it could have been something else, like my cheap headphones or the nasty echo from your keyboard, in which case you played it fine.

I know the right hand runs are difficult, but your retard was a bit too much for me in those sections as well. Also, for the third run in measure 79, my edition is marked as having the pedal down for the entire run, which you didn't do. I think this is likely editorial difference, though. Would someone that feels confident in their edition check pedaling for the three runs, please?

Last, I'm noticing what I think are smudged thirds in the left hand where both notes in the third aren't quite played simultaneously. Or perhaps the thirds are fine, but it's the right and left hand combined that are just a teensy bit off. The first beat of measure 2, 6, etc sound smudged. This is something I still have trouble with, and you just have to be extra careful that you get a crisp and clear sound. I can recommend a few pieces that I think would help with clarity if you'd like.

I think you're off to a good start with the raindrop. You seem to be fairly secure in the technical aspects, as I think the few little slips that I heard are just that: rare slips and easily fixable. I think you need to work more on your rhythm and pacing, as I didn't like a lot of your retards and you seem to have a few other issues. Keep up the good work and I think you'll have a very presentable piece :)

Best regards,
David

PS- I know boys will be boys, but I think that it's a good time to calm down a little when the college guy is reduced to rolling his eyes :P


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