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 Post subject: Videos: Two Chopin mazurkas and some other junk
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:37 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:44 pm
Posts: 38
Location: San Jose, CA
You can click here to download them directly (click on the cameras a few time and you'll get what you want, the audio/video quality is slightly better), or see them on Google video here:

Chopin: Mazurka No. 43 in G Minor, Op. 67, No. 2
Chopin: Mazurka No. 44 in C Major, Op. 67, No. 3

For many years, I played in jazz/pop ensembles throughout middle and high school, and consequently I learned how to improvise pretty well. Here are a couple of videos of some improvised pieces I played earlier tonight:

Improvisation in C Minor
Improvisation in Eb Major

I have to apologize for this last one -- the camera ran out of batteries while I was recording it, but I liked where it was going so I figured I'd save it anyway.

While these "pieces" don't constitute any kind of fantastic music (mostly they're just a bunch of scales and arpeggios), my piano teacher said I should start recording some of the stuff I improvise and try to work them into more well-formed compositions so that I can record them and make a "debut." While I would like to focus on composition someday, I'd rather work right now upon building up my technique so that I can play some of the pieces I've always wanted to. As I mentioned a little while back, I've only been studying classical stuff for maybe a year or so, so I still have a long way to go.

Last but not least, just for fun, here's an excerpt of a Liszt etude I'm working on right now:

Liszt - Paganini Etude No. 2 in Eb Major (intro only)

I cut it off at that point because it becomes a little hard to listen to after that. :D I'll keep working on it...

Right now, I'm working with my piano teacher on Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 (Pathetique), Liszt's Trancendental Etude No. 10 (bars 17-19 are friggin killing me, but I'm getting through it) and Paganini Etude No. 2, and Chopin's Revolutionary Etude (I'm pretty much done with it, just needs a little polishing), Nocturne No. 3 and various waltzes. The mazurkas I taught myself for fun, but I'll probably ask my teacher for some input the next time I see her.

If you have any comments, please share them. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
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Location: Netherlands
You've come to the right place... Mazurkas are quite the craze around here recently :wink:
These are good. I have not really got anything to comment except perhaps they sound rather flat as far as dynamics go. Could be the instrument or the recording, but could also be your playing. I had a problem with the sound fading in and out, and did not even hear all of it.

Fantasic improvisations ! Can't believe you are just doing that on the spot. Your spidery fingers and unique hand position seem to make for a pretty good technique.

Speaking of technique - you only play classical for a year and are taking on Liszt Etudes :shock:

_________________
Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
Chris Breemer


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 3:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:34 pm
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Glad to have someone of such great potential here! You have a naturally good technique, tres suplesse. Only one year of classical? Keep it up, you can go far! Your playing mechanism is very flexible, that's a rare asset among pianists. Perhaps a little strengthening of the hands' interossei muscles could be useful in 'arch' development and articulation, but go easy; if anything ever feels straining or sore, have an extra day of rest. Never play through pain.

Pete


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 4:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
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Wow. Nice job on the mazurkas. Can't find anything to niggle about.

Jazz pieces - It was like sitting in a dark, underground club, at a small round table, martini in one hand, cigarette in the other (except I don't smoke) listening to an artist at the keyboard. Very nice.

Techneut's right about your "spidery" fingers. Your fingers are very long.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:38 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
welcome to the society. Please stay with us and we would like to hear more of your recordings.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:59 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:44 pm
Posts: 38
Location: San Jose, CA
Hey, thanks for all the nice comments! :D

Quote:
These are good. I have not really got anything to comment except perhaps they sound rather flat as far as dynamics go. Could be the instrument or the recording, but could also be your playing.


It's probably a combination of all those you've mentioned -- the camera's not great and for now, this POS keyboard is my excuse for everything, but I also realize I've got work to do.

Quote:
Fantasic improvisations ! Can't believe you are just doing that on the spot.


Yeah, I can seriously do that for hours -- it's not even a challenge, there are some scales and patterns I've invented for myself over the years that I just put together -- but this type of playing, for me, is not nearly as satisfying as being able to play a piece written by someone else with any amount of finesse and beauty, such as the Chopin mazurkas. That's why lately I've turned to classical and romantic stuff, as the challenges and the learning experiences make playing the instrument at least interesting (if not force my body to curl up into the fetal position, weeping sadly into my pillows...).

Quote:
Speaking of technique - you only play classical for a year and are taking on Liszt Etudes :shock:


Maybe not the wisest choice, but I figure if I think I can handle them, they're at least worth a shot. I certainly don't focus on them and don't take on anything I know I couldn't play very well (for example, I wouldn't touch Mazeppa or Feux Follets from his transcendental etudes, but I can handle the nameless No. 10 fairly well, with the exception of few bars here and there that I'm still working on). I just kinda work at them in my spare time for the challenge. I don't get really pissed off when I can't play them well as I know they take a long time to learn and I have a lot of technique to develop before then, but when I find that somehow I can suddenly play certain difficult passages with ease, it reminds me that I'm making progress and makes me feel good about my playing. After all, they call these pieces "etudes," you're supposed to learn something from them, right? :lol:

Quote:
Perhaps a little strengthening of the hands' interossei muscles could be useful in 'arch' development and articulation


Can you tell me more about what that means? (I had to look up interossei muscles on wikipedia, haha). Sometimes my teacher tells me that I need to stand my hands up a bit more ("make an arch"), but I find myself only doing it for certain pieces (like Chopin's black key etude). My left hand is a lot weaker than my right hand, for sure. I never seem to have problems mastering new passages of music with my right hand, but I have problems with certain arpeggios and chords and so forth with my left hand. My teacher is working with me on solving most of these problems. Learning Chopin's revolutionary etude taught me a lot about how to use my left hand, although I'll be damned if I still can't play that piece without making a mistake or two.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:34 pm
Posts: 1278
You know, I think I was wrong in suggesting any change to your technique, toki.

You already possess the correct technique. If you feel something is technically under used (left hand as you mentioned), do what you do best; search for and identify the problem, then improvise a musical solution!

Especially in the Eb major improv., your fluidity is astonishing. Note this very carefully: That ease of motion you have when improvising is the correct answer. No matter what you play; be it Chopin's Etudes or Bach's WTK be it Jazz or Ragtime, the moral is the same. The music is what it is and the best way to do it is the correct way; this way cannot be imposed. It must be discovered! When one improvises, one seeks discovery and seeking discovery is always the correct way. But I think you know that already. Cziffra knew it.

Good work, man!
Pierre


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