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 Post subject: Chopin Mazurka Op.59 No.2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:05 pm 
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Finally, here is a recording. The quality is awful, as I taped myself with a cassette player, and then played it back with a microphone connected to my son’s computer. Then we burned it onto on a CD and then transferred it to my computer. There’s a lot of hiss and various noises, but I think you can still hear the piano. :) (Can’t wait to get a digital recorder).

Anyway, I’ve been working on this Mazurka for about a week or two. Ignore the missed notes and the tempo is slower than I would like it to be, but I’m not able to pull it off at a quicker tempo, yet. I plan to keep practicing this piece and maybe can record it properly when I get a new recorder. Until then, any comments you have on my playing are appreciated. (please be nice!)

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Last edited by pianolady on Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:45 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
I enjoyed it. a few slip-ups now and then. a little fluctuation with the tempo. but not too bad. To tell you the truth I like the "noise" it reminds me of the old recordings of Rubenstein and Paderewski!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:34 am 
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I rather enjoyed that. The most notable quality is the bel canto. There was no ugliness, the melody was clear and even (excepting a few snags, that's O.K.). Another thing I liked was the absesnce of irrational pathos. You didn't show the common flaw of vassilating the tempo back and forth every other bar in the pursuit of "feeling". I can tell you use the metronome or at least count the beats while you practice. You show discipline and a willingness to obey the score. Your playing is lucid. Also you didn't pedal through the whole thing, a piece is better underpedalled than with too much pedal.

I did notice that you played this mazurka as a waltz. That's not a bad thing, but there is a certain rhythmic quirk that makes the mazurkas unique. What could it be?


Pete


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 5:55 am 
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Congratulations to your first recorded performance at piano society. As juufa72 said, this really sounds like an old recording ;).

What you need to do with this mazurka is to simply practise more. The tempo must go up quite a bit and the end is not as steady as the rest of the piece. I am not sure if you usually learn pieces by heart but this one should not be that hard to memorize (heard you flip the score to page 3 ;)). Another thing I would work on is the actual interpretation which I believe in a Chopin Mazurka must involve the use of rubato. Chopin marked his early mazurkas with rubato but stopped that as he understood how wrong this term was interpretated. Still, he did not want people to stop using it but not only where it was marked (a lot stories of his own use of it as you might have read). Actually, this is still a subject for discussions and even the jury at the Chopin contest argue about this. However, there are some tips from Chopin in his score and in this Mazurka, it is the appoggiaturas on which you can rest on a bit. Not really "on" but just before as to build a tension which is to be released at the appoggiatura. Also, at the descending runs in bar 43-44 and at the end, you should play them clearly ritardendo while actually in 21-22, it should be accelerando. Then we have the large chords in left hand in bar 34-35 where I can hear that you arpeggiate the first but not the second? Do you grip that? Then you have a wide grip for a woman.

Anyway, just my few cents and I know this mature mazurka of Chopin is quite a lot more difficult than it sounds and is a pretty brave task to master. Good luck in your further practise and I hope you soon buy better recording equipment so we can put you up the site. I look forward to hear your interpretation if Chopin's first Ballade for example!

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 10:11 am 
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Good to have your debut on PianoSociety ! Yes we'll be nice, and not bitch about the crackle-and-pop recording... That will be history once you've joined the Edirol User Group :lol:

I agree with what the others said already. A faithful and respectful performance with all the (mostly) right notes in place, a good basis to work on. Some tips:

It needs to be more flowing, which I guess will be easier once you can speed up a little. Try to think in phrases (as indicated by the slurs) instead of in bars. Between the phrases, a short 'luftpause' can be applied, as a singer needs to breathe, but within the phrases, notes should be more connected, if necessary with the pedal. There must be rather more freedom with the tempo, which means some judicous rubato in the right moments (e.g. between phrases). Take your time over important moments, like the forte restatement of the theme in bar 23. It could be the recording, but I did not hear any dynamics, crescendos and accents go by unnoticed. Try to exaggerate them (even if that feels strange to start with) so that we can hear them in the recording.

As Pete remarked already, that little bounce and lilt on the second beat, which you do very faithfully, is more of a Waltz characteristic and should be avoided here. What you can do is accent the second beat of most bars. That should come natural, as all of the 'important' notes fall on the second beat anyway (this is the Mazurka thing, an accent on either the 2nd or 3rd beat, depending on the type).

Incidentally, this is one of the Mazurkas I have been working on for awhile and which I plan to record in a couple of weeks (when the tuner has been).

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:26 pm 
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Thank you, thank you, thank you, Everybody. I should tell you that it took me all day to do this. The more times I recorded it, the worse it got. Between posting photos, (which, by the way, where is everybody else?) and recording, I've wasted probably two whole days. No, I take that back. This recording time was not wasted because of all the wonderful feedback.


Quote:
It could be the recording, but I did not hear any dynamics, crescendos and accents go by unnoticed. Try to exaggerate them (even if that feels strange to start with) so that we can hear them in the recording.


Yes, Techneut, you are right, but I can honestly blame the recorder. I don't know why a cassette doesn't pick up dynamics.

Quote:
Also, at the descending runs in bar 43-44 and at the end, you should play them clearly ritardendo while actually in 21-22, it should be accelerando. Then we have the large chords in left hand in bar 34-35 where I can hear that you arpeggiate the first but not the second? Do you grip that? Then you have a wide grip for a woman.

Yes, Robert, I see what you mean about the descending runs. That probably would sound nice.
I think it was the bad recorder that made it sound like I hit the second big chord. I can barely reach a nineth, and that time I just got it over there so fast that it sounded like I gripped it.

As to the reports about the Mazurka style: Wow, I had no idea I wasn't playing it right, and was instead playing it like a waltz. I'm still unclear on what you mean, though. I'll get out my CD's and listen to the professionals. Seems I have a lot to learn as far as Mazurkas go. (Hurry up and record your version, Techneut.)

I'm working on a waltz, now. I hope I'm not playing it like a mazurka. :lol: Anyway, let me know if anyone wants to learn how make their recording sound like an old record. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:51 pm 
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Quote:
Yes, Techneut, you are right, but I can honestly blame the recorder. I don't know why a cassette doesn't pick up dynamics.

I thought so. Mind you it will not be so much different with the Edirol. When recording, you must exaggerate, all the pros say so (yes yes of course I have spoken to them all :wink: )

Quote:
I think it was the bad recorder that made it sound like I hit the second big chord. I can barely reach a nineth, and that time I just got it over there so fast that it sounded like I gripped it.

It sounded to me like you just left out the low C. At least I did not hear that note.

Quote:
(Hurry up and record your version, Techneut.)

I stubbornly refuse to be hurried 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:56 pm 
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Quote:
I stubbornly refuse to be hurried


You artists are all alike. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:34 pm 
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Quote:
You artists are all alike. :lol:

I'll take that as a compliment :D
Nice photos by the way !

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Chris Breemer


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 6:58 pm 
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Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:44 am 
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I enjoyed listening to your debut here! Your melody line is in dynamic apart from the accompainement, your rhythm and your playing in general is really solide.

Some observations however what could be maybe improved:
You could try out how it sounds if you voice the melody bows more clearly both in dynamics and (a bit) rhythm. A listener needs a certain amount of exxageration, because if we give 80% during playing, the listener reaches only 60%. So show that the piano can whisper and cry (an exxageration too...). As I was sitting in the first row in a theatre I thought how badly exxagerate the actor, cries all the time with big gestics and mimics. In the middle of the theatre it is however just right. Seems to be the same with piano playing and recording. To me it sounds like an upright piano, if that is the case, then you surely have a more difficult task to get the dynamics out of that machine compared to a grand piano. However it is worth the effort.

Same for the already mentioned rubato. Maybe on that mazurka the emphasis on the second beat stands out even better, if the second beat comes slightyl earlier as regular, and the third beat slightly later.

Keep on with your recordngs! You said, a waltz comes next, which waltz?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:44 am 
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Hi Mindenblues, Yes, I have listened to others play this mazurka and think I understand what everybody means about stressing the second or third beats. I'm still practicing this, and it's getting better ( I think). I will get an Edirol one of these days, and then I will record it again.

I'm playing on my Yamaha C2 grand. Maybe its the weird quality that makes it sound like an upright? I'll be interested in seeing how you think my piano sounds when I get that Edirol.

I'm working on the Waltz in E-minor Op. post. How is your 1st Ballade going?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:11 pm 
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Quote:
I'm playing on my Yamaha C2 grand. Maybe its the weird quality that makes it sound like an upright? I'll be interested in seeing how you think my piano sounds when I get that Edirol.

I'm working on the Waltz in E-minor Op. post. How is your 1st Ballade going?


I can't discern a Yamaha grand from an upright! :oops:
Yes, I am looking forward to your Edirol recording, also to your e-minor waltz!

The 1st Ballade...
Working since months on that, have the Presto con fuoco part as well as the first pages memorized, but still elaborate on the middle part. My main goal is to have it ready for playing from memory in February next year, since there is a long weekend with our choir, an opportunity to play. I expect that I need that long time.
It is the most demanding and longest piece I ever worked on, so I need lots of patience for that.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:52 am 
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johnmar78 wrote:
Piano lady, not a bad playing. As Robert have mentioned, the tempo from 2minutes to 2.30 miutes is not quite steady, especially, when you hit the lh lower bass note but not quick enough to come back in 3/4 beat as previously. From 2.30 minute-3 minutes the tempo was much slower than when you started.

Basically, this need to be more polished. Are you good at memorizing it???
All my recordings(I will upload mine, soon as i worked it out how too?) I simply can not record with scores on. How long do you practice each day???


The best time to do recording(1 or 3 takes) is when you feels like it (both physically and emotinally)and in a spirit of the moment. Just I did last night. I did op9no1 and no 2 nocturene and op66 wthin 3 takes each. Sometimes, more you focus on mistakes more you will make. So just focus on the music and forget about that recorer is on......

Have a happy playing....


John



I fogot to add that Chopins 3/4 was not meant to be a dance peice but rather using its mazurka ideas, so it should be much faster.....(when you are ready).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:30 pm 
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Thanks for the comments, johnmar78. I know I have a lot more work to do on this. I hope to play it much better by the time I get a digital recorder, which could be in a couple weeks or a couple months. :(


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