Very, very nice! This piece is like a song without words, don't you think so? It's very much a cantilena. You do a fine job in maintaining legato in the phrasing, including connecting the octaves. Although the bass is mostly background, there are occasional points of interest there, which you bring out to give it its due. In the rise and fall of a phrase you linger a bit at the top, which is what I do too. I also like the way you handle single notes melodic lines as counterpoint against the moving LH lines. Over on page 3, third line down, starting with the second measure there, there is that inner melodic line which can be devilish to etch, but you succeed with it. In the cadenza you play it without damper pedal except for the last measure, which I believe is the right decision. I do likewise.
If I were asked for suggestions, I'd have three:
At the opening, I'd have the first two 16th notes in the bass come up out of nowhere at pp as indicated. It's hard to do. Baldwins have a firm action and you really have to mentally intend a very soft sound for the fingers to execute it that way.
Over on page two, here's one that's debatable. At the fourth line down, second measure, in the RH I would play the chord at forte. Yes, I know it's a phrase ending, but it's also a downbeat. Plus the voice leading there is the F# from the prior measure to the G on the downbeat making it the crest of the wave there. As for the LH there, I'd play it mf, to keep it more unobtrusive. This is a climax, giving the piece (against the "rules") two climaxes, which some feel is a detriment. I say far from it! It's a wonderful splash of emotion there. The other climax is over on the last page, third line, first measure, third beat. There's also a subclimax back on page two, five lines down, first measure, third beat.
The only other suggestion is this: Baldwins have a faster tone decay than Steinways, so tend to be more forgiving of the pedal in my opinion, which is a plus in playing passage work in general. Pedaling this piece is challenging though with the continuous passing and neighboring tones, but you do work for clarity throughout. Still, I think there are instances where you could spill more overtones with half-pedal releases.
I guess that's it. This is a truly fine rendition in my opinion.
On recording sound, I do like this better because the sound is not so "stringy". What is different in the setups between Nos. 4 and 6?
Thanks for your compliments and suggestions. Yes, my SF-10 in the room is like managing a bull in a china cabinet! I have reverted to practicing with the entire piano closed! I have always liked practicing on a heavy action because it makes playing other pianos (often Steinways) seem like all you do is think it and it happens. But recording in an intimate setting is very hard, as you well know. Yes I agree that I could start the work even softer. Regarding the phrasing difference that you mention, I would respond thusly: did you note that the phrase in question is a sequence, and that what is good for the first is good (IMO) for the second and vice versa? Just as I want to end
the prior phrase on the beat, I do so with this one and I don't think I can bring myself to end it louder. Having said that, maybe if I raise the whole level of the phrase so that I can still come back at the end but end louder than I did, then it provides a nice contrast to start the climb from a softer level
Pedaling this piece is challenging though with the continuous passing and neighboring tones, but you do work for clarity throughout. Still, I think there are instances where you could spill more overtones with half-pedal releases.
Yep. It's very hard. With such a large piano in an intimate setting, I feel like I'm looking at art with my nose on the canvas! For this recording I wasn't very scientific: I changed several parameters at once
. The location of the mics went closer to the base, and I changed the Reverb to a medium general preset (from small) and adjusted the EQ by pumping the bass a bit and lowering the treble. Truth be known (as mentioned in other responses) the piano is too bright for it's current setting anyway. I'm struggling with whether to find a talented technician that can voice it down, or start all over with a new set of hammers ($$$
as was suggtested by the Steinway Artist that I purchased the instrument from).
I really appreciate your reply, Thanks.