Piano Society
Free Classical Keyboard Recordings
It is currently Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:00 am

All times are UTC - 1 hour




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 50 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:33 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:18 pm
Posts: 1037
musical-md wrote:
Thanks lady & gentlemen for your comments. (Warning: If you don't find discussing interpretation interesting, this post will likely be boring and too long.) Thus far, the vote regarding the ritardando prior to the transition back to the A material is 3:2 against. I will now explain my concept, though I will also admit that I may have the magnitude "wrong." First I claim total ignorance of how Rachmaninoff played it, but frankly think that that should only be a minor consideration (sorry David :( ). If we have a "holy grail" performance, then everyone might seek to do it the same. Second, I never studied these 3 preludes before so am learning them without any coaching from an artist-prof. But even when I was, beyond catching some missing voicing or phrasing issues, largely I was free to interpret as I saw fit. Many a great teacher (definitely Rosina Lhevinne) was known to say something to the effect of, "If you can substantiate your reason, then I will acknowledge your interpretation," or something similar. Ok, here we go:

So that we're on the same page, my score, published by Schirmer, is in fact a reproduction of the First Edition published in Moscow that one can see on IMSLP at http://imslp.org/wiki/10_Preludes,_Op.23_(Rachmaninoff,_Sergei).
1. On Page four, 3rd line, 1st bar, 3rd beat, there is "dim. e rit" Observe that there is no dashed line to indicate how far this extends.
2. Two beats later, (pg.4, 3rd line, 2nd bar, beat 1), is a dynamic of ppp and a base line that goes: D--F#,Bb,-G,-D--F#,Bb,-G,-D--.
3. At this last D, above the measure and extending almost half way above the next measure (a lot of text!) is "poco a poco accelerando e cresc. al Tempo I"
This now is the first critical component to my interpretation: I observed that I have heard this last two measures of music earlier. It is present in bars 5 to 1st beat and a half of bar 7 in a slightly different fashion, and then again a bit more differently on the last line of page 2, starting 3rd beat of measure 1 (i.e., 2.5 measures before start of B music). Analytically, these two earlier passages serve as a repose on the dominant just prior to something new happening! Note in particular that in measure 7, the new music begins on the 2nd half of beat 2 (marked p). I thought (and this is the part you will find brilliant or pointless) our passage in question should be the same, in that the dominant repose is the end of something, prior to the start of new music.
4. Returning to the bar discussed in #3 above, we can now see clearly that the dominant repose doesn't end until 1 and 1/2 beats into the measure, and that the new music (8th note dropping down to dotted quarter note) starts on 2nd half of beat 2, just as it had in bar 7!
5. Then the eureka moment for me (2nd critical component): looking at all that text above the bar that already extends almost halfway over the next bar, I concluded that such a positioning was considered the best manner of publishing the text, but that the intent was for it to correspond to the start of the "new music" begining with 2nd half of beat two! If the text had been aligned to indicate the start of same, it would have extended all the way to the end of the following measure.
6. Consequently, I carry the ritardando to the end of the dominant repose, and begin the poco a poco accelerando with the "new music."

Now, you may not like this interpretation (and it may not be what the Rach does), but I think (I hope) you will conclude that it is a legitimate conclusion (based upon analysis). Having said all that, I do acknowledge again that the magnitude of my performace may not yet be correct. In particular, I took the bar and a half prior to the "dim e rit" too slowly, which only complicated this passage in question. That is something I will definitely be working on; that is, to arrive with a faster tempo so that I can keep the same contour of ritardando, but not the same magnitude of ritardando. If no one else plays it that way, I'm actually happy! I endevor to find the basis of my interpretation in the score itself (even if the composer didn't realize it was there!). Now let me say that, having your critiques, really helps me refine my interpretation, and I am grateful to be a part of PS and have your disperate input. As mentioned before, we have almost a virtual masterclass for ourselves here. :D

For having read this far :) I offer anyone wishing to learn this work a few "procedural technique" ideas for consideration:
In bar 1 play with LH, the octaves on G--Bb,D-Bb-G. Play EVERYTHING else with the RH!
In bar 14, play the rapid A,C,D thusly: A: LH octave + RH; C: Sacrifice middle-C and play single note in LH and RH; D: Play octave with RH and single note with LH. (This is a very Brahmsian way of playing this texture).
In Eb major fanfare of bar 17, RH 4th beat (octave starting on black key) sacrifice the G, as it was just sounded and is way too risky for any appreciable difference. In the three following similar passages (next 3 measures), don't delete any notes (no need to) and play full octaves in the RH (add the "missing notes")
In bar 21, beats" &-a-4" play the G of the bass clef with the RH; you can also add a G in the RH (same as just played) to play with the low Eb of the LH.
In bar 24, play full octaves in both hands (add notes one octave lower than written to the LH, and keep the full RH octave through the end of the measure, and down-beat of the next measure.

Thanks for reading.

Edit: Changed the salutation and score having just seen Monica's post


I do not want to sound boorish, Eddy, but music is music, not philosphy. Do you not agree that if one needs to give an extensive explaination why one plays this way and not that, only then to be appreciated, there must be something wrong? Can you imagine if every pianist had to read out a ten-minute speech before each concert in order to be "understood"? I am of the school that if the way one plays does not cut ice without having a tretease attached to it, it must be bunk.

_________________
Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:56 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:11 am
Posts: 243
Location: Adelaide, Australia
richard66 wrote:
I do not want to sound boorish, Eddy, but music is music, not philosphy...

I don't want to sound boorish either ;-) but musicians should have reasons for doing what they do. I'm sure Eddy hoped that we'd appreciate the music on its own first, but he was ready to supply a reason why he departed from the traditional interpretation. There are many good performers who base their interpretations on solid analysis. Thinkers like Heinrich Schenker, Charles Rosen and many others have a lot to offer to practising musicians.

_________________
Alexander Hanysz, http://hanysz.net


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:11 am
Posts: 243
Location: Adelaide, Australia
musical-md wrote:
I agree with you entirely that "chromatically rising lines suggest forward momentum." That is, in fact, precisely where I begin the upward climb again, so I don't understand the point you're making.

Okay, I admit that I didn't explain myself clearly. You begin the upward climb with the E flat in the middle of bar 52. At the beginning of the bar you're still slowing down. But the D at the beginning of the bar should be your cue to start moving forward again, in my opinion. The phrasing in this piece always lines up with the barlines; it feels unnatural to make the middle of a bar sound like the start of a new section.

_________________
Alexander Hanysz, http://hanysz.net


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
hanysz wrote:
musical-md wrote:
I agree with you entirely that "chromatically rising lines suggest forward momentum." That is, in fact, precisely where I begin the upward climb again, so I don't understand the point you're making.

Okay, I admit that I didn't explain myself clearly. You begin the upward climb with the E flat in the middle of bar 52. At the beginning of the bar you're still slowing down. But the D at the beginning of the bar should be your cue to start moving forward again, in my opinion. The phrasing in this piece always lines up with the barlines; it feels unnatural to make the middle of a bar sound like the start of a new section.

This is exactly the kernel of my point, Alexander, however, I see the D as the end, not the beginning, just as in measure 7; the phrasing there is clearly not with the bar line. Don't you think that it might be possible that the poco a poco accelerando is positioned with the barline only because the text is so long that it is already halfway into the next bar, instead of being where the next musical idea is (the first chromatic upwards step)? BTW, I see the first two "phrases" (bars 1 and 2) as elided together: the end of the first is serving as the start of the second; but in bar 7 the phrase is allowed to end and then comes the next musical idea. This I see happening exactly the same in bar 52. It the very crux of my interpretation, which I quickly admit may have been a bit too much as executed. (In the Eb major fanfare section, the 4th beat octave scale passages clearly resolve repeatedly across the barline too.) Anyway, I hope you'll give me this much: "It is well considered." :|

I'm curious if you, as a professional, do any of the "procedural technique" (or resource management) aspects that I listed for the first part of the piece? Also, there are some interpretive aspects that are also not usual (I think) in my performances of #4 and 6 that no one has mentioned yet. Certainly those works are less iconic than this one, but I wonder if you might give a listen to those, especially if they are in your rep?

_________________
Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:18 pm
Posts: 1037
hanysz wrote:
richard66 wrote:
I do not want to sound boorish, Eddy, but music is music, not philosphy...

I don't want to sound boorish either ;-) but musicians should have reasons for doing what they do. I'm sure Eddy hoped that we'd appreciate the music on its own first, but he was ready to supply a reason why he departed from the traditional interpretation. There are many good performers who base their interpretations on solid analysis. Thinkers like Heinrich Schenker, Charles Rosen and many others have a lot to offer to practising musicians.


But the reason must be obvious, if not, the idea is not good. It is like a joke: if one does not laugh outright, but need to read a book beforehand, is it a good one?

_________________
Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 12:11 am
Posts: 681
Location: Edinburgh, UK
Hi Eddy, nice to hear your interpretation. Of course, with a piece as well known as this, quirks are likely to ruffle feathers.

A few thoughts:

mm. 7,8: I assume this is a conscious rubato. I'm not sure about it and think it slightly disrupts the alla marcia aspect.

from m 17: I'm less sure this is rubato and not a safety measure, but I don't like the slowing down in the r.h. octave semiquavers.

Un poco meno mosso: you could do more to bring out the "big tune" with better voicing of the r.h.

The rit.: Beautifully done in the first bar, but don't continue the rit through the next two. To my mind, that would be perfect!

I also caught a few interesting agogic accents in the performance, which I certainly don't mind, though some people are prone to complain about them.

I don't have a problem with you explaining interpretative ideas; on the contrary it shows that you've thought deeply about the piece (more deeply than I have, for sure, which makes me slightly loth to present a critique based on my rather superficial views of it)!

Thanks for an interestingly individual performance, which I enjoyed despite my reservations.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Hi Andrew,
Thanks for listening and commenting; I really appreciate it! Regarding the rit in 7-8, it (though very subtle IMO) it is an attempt to acknowledge with reduced energy (both volume and speed) the diminuendo in bar 8 just as pretty much everybody does for the dim in bar 34. I didn't detect that I was slowing down my octaves in 17-20; I certainly do not want to. Regarding the B section voicing, honestly, I can't hear how you could think that the melody is not "front and center." I listened to it again and can't find much room to make it more prominent in the mileu. Maybe something got lost in the transmission somehow. Then "the rit." :) Well I don't need to speak anymore to it, :wink: I just need to be more convincing (hopefully) in my future rendition. I remain convinced from my analysis that the dim e rit should continue to the poco a poco accelerando ..., and that the question reduces to, "Where does that apply? At the begining of bar 52 or the beginning of the chromatic climb?"

I think playing iconic works is an interesting proposition; opinions are understandably quite engrained (that's why they're icons after all). For instance, take the 3rd Chopin Scherzo, Op.39 for example: everybody (?) accelerates the descending cascading ripples that answer each phrase in the chorale section (Meno mosso), but there is nothing in the score to suggest this practice. So four measures are played slower (relatively) and two are played faster (relatively), and this vascilation repeats several times with the tempo alternating depending solely on which music one is playing. I try to find a happy medium between the two.

Best wishes,
Eddy

_________________
Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


Last edited by musical-md on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:30 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
richard66 wrote:
musical-md wrote:
Thanks lady & gentlemen for your comments. (Warning: If you don't find discussing interpretation interesting, this post will likely be boring and too long.) Thus far, the vote regarding the ritardando prior to the transition back to the A material is 3:2 against. I will now explain my concept, though I will also admit that I may have the magnitude "wrong." First I claim total ignorance of how Rachmaninoff played it, but frankly think that that should only be a minor consideration (sorry David :( ). If we have a "holy grail" performance, then everyone might seek to do it the same. Second, I never studied these 3 preludes before so am learning them without any coaching from an artist-prof. But even when I was, beyond catching some missing voicing or phrasing issues, largely I was free to interpret as I saw fit. Many a great teacher (definitely Rosina Lhevinne) was known to say something to the effect of, "If you can substantiate your reason, then I will acknowledge your interpretation," or something similar. Ok, here we go:

So that we're on the same page, my score, published by Schirmer, is in fact a reproduction of the First Edition published in Moscow that one can see on IMSLP at http://imslp.org/wiki/10_Preludes,_Op.23_(Rachmaninoff,_Sergei).
1. On Page four, 3rd line, 1st bar, 3rd beat, there is "dim. e rit" Observe that there is no dashed line to indicate how far this extends.
2. Two beats later, (pg.4, 3rd line, 2nd bar, beat 1), is a dynamic of ppp and a base line that goes: D--F#,Bb,-G,-D--F#,Bb,-G,-D--.
3. At this last D, above the measure and extending almost half way above the next measure (a lot of text!) is "poco a poco accelerando e cresc. al Tempo I"
This now is the first critical component to my interpretation: I observed that I have heard this last two measures of music earlier. It is present in bars 5 to 1st beat and a half of bar 7 in a slightly different fashion, and then again a bit more differently on the last line of page 2, starting 3rd beat of measure 1 (i.e., 2.5 measures before start of B music). Analytically, these two earlier passages serve as a repose on the dominant just prior to something new happening! Note in particular that in measure 7, the new music begins on the 2nd half of beat 2 (marked p). I thought (and this is the part you will find brilliant or pointless) our passage in question should be the same, in that the dominant repose is the end of something, prior to the start of new music.
4. Returning to the bar discussed in #3 above, we can now see clearly that the dominant repose doesn't end until 1 and 1/2 beats into the measure, and that the new music (8th note dropping down to dotted quarter note) starts on 2nd half of beat 2, just as it had in bar 7!
5. Then the eureka moment for me (2nd critical component): looking at all that text above the bar that already extends almost halfway over the next bar, I concluded that such a positioning was considered the best manner of publishing the text, but that the intent was for it to correspond to the start of the "new music" begining with 2nd half of beat two! If the text had been aligned to indicate the start of same, it would have extended all the way to the end of the following measure.
6. Consequently, I carry the ritardando to the end of the dominant repose, and begin the poco a poco accelerando with the "new music."

Now, you may not like this interpretation (and it may not be what the Rach does), but I think (I hope) you will conclude that it is a legitimate conclusion (based upon analysis). Having said all that, I do acknowledge again that the magnitude of my performace may not yet be correct. In particular, I took the bar and a half prior to the "dim e rit" too slowly, which only complicated this passage in question. That is something I will definitely be working on; that is, to arrive with a faster tempo so that I can keep the same contour of ritardando, but not the same magnitude of ritardando. If no one else plays it that way, I'm actually happy! I endevor to find the basis of my interpretation in the score itself (even if the composer didn't realize it was there!). Now let me say that, having your critiques, really helps me refine my interpretation, and I am grateful to be a part of PS and have your disperate input. As mentioned before, we have almost a virtual masterclass for ourselves here. :D

For having read this far :) I offer anyone wishing to learn this work a few "procedural technique" ideas for consideration:
In bar 1 play with LH, the octaves on G--Bb,D-Bb-G. Play EVERYTHING else with the RH!
In bar 14, play the rapid A,C,D thusly: A: LH octave + RH; C: Sacrifice middle-C and play single note in LH and RH; D: Play octave with RH and single note with LH. (This is a very Brahmsian way of playing this texture).
In Eb major fanfare of bar 17, RH 4th beat (octave starting on black key) sacrifice the G, as it was just sounded and is way too risky for any appreciable difference. In the three following similar passages (next 3 measures), don't delete any notes (no need to) and play full octaves in the RH (add the "missing notes")
In bar 21, beats" &-a-4" play the G of the bass clef with the RH; you can also add a G in the RH (same as just played) to play with the low Eb of the LH.
In bar 24, play full octaves in both hands (add notes one octave lower than written to the LH, and keep the full RH octave through the end of the measure, and down-beat of the next measure.

Thanks for reading.

Edit: Changed the salutation and score having just seen Monica's post


I do not want to sound boorish, Eddy, but music is music, not philosphy. Do you not agree that if one needs to give an extensive explaination why one plays this way and not that, only then to be appreciated, there must be something wrong? Can you imagine if every pianist had to read out a ten-minute speech before each concert in order to be "understood"? I am of the school that if the way one plays does not cut ice without having a tretease attached to it, it must be bunk.

Richard,
I appreciate your sentiment and there is some stregnth to your logic. But I really feel like I'm sitting in a beautiful intimate salon filled with all of us (that participate) in upholstered chairs and we take turns going to the piano to play for eachother and then can engage in sharing ideas. Having just performed the work, I hear you say, "Eddy, since we're among friends here I just want to ask you why in the world did you played it that way?" "Well, Richard let me tell you what I see when I examine the score ..." And like good opinionated (all musicians) and accomplished individuals we argue about it over coffee, wine or beer. Hopefully, we gain a bit from eachother for all the interaction; I know I have. BTW, music, as an art, is subject to aesthetics, a branch of philosophy. My approach to music is admittedly intellectual, but that is not to say it is bereft of emotion. :)

_________________
Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:13 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:11 am
Posts: 243
Location: Adelaide, Australia
musical-md wrote:
Anyway, I hope you'll give me this much: "It is well considered." :|

Absolutely. I have no problem with your general approach and attitude here.

musical-md wrote:
I'm curious if you, as a professional, do any of the "procedural technique" (or resource management) aspects that I listed for the first part of the piece? Also, there are some interpretive aspects that are also not usual (I think) in my performances of #4 and 6 that no one has mentioned yet. Certainly those works are less iconic than this one, but I wonder if you might give a listen to those, especially if they are in your rep?

They are the sort of changes that I might suggest to a student if they're not comfortable playing it exactly as written. But Rachmaninoff was a good enough pianist that we should at least hesitate before departing from his suggestions, even if the difference isn't audible. Essentially you're trying to reduce the amount of jumping around involved in playing this piece. But if you're capable of doing it, it's exhilarating to jump all over the place! Regarding the "missing notes" of the RH octaves: I believe Rachmaninoff's intention was to create a more legato feel there; you'll notice that his own performance uses less pedal than most modern performances.

I don't know numbers 4 and 6 so well, but I'll see if I can make time to listen to them over the next few days.

_________________
Alexander Hanysz, http://hanysz.net


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 12:11 am
Posts: 681
Location: Edinburgh, UK
musical-md wrote:
Hi Andrew,
Thanks for listening and commenting; I really appreciate it! ... Regarding the B section voicing, honestly, I can't hear how you could think that the melody is not "front and center." I listened to it again and can't find much room to make it more prominent in the mileu. Maybe something got lost in the transmission somehow. Then "the rit." :) Well I don't need to speak anymore to it, :wink: I just need to be more convincing (hopefully) in my future rendition. I remain convinced from my analysis that the dim e rit should continue to the poco a poco accelerando ..., and that the question reduces to, "Where does that apply? At the begining of bar 52 or the beginning of the chromatic climb?"


I relistened to the B section, and you're right. The projection of the melody is a lot better than I had first thought. Re the rit, your initial point a few posts above, about the duration of the rit and lack of dashed line is pertinent. I would personally view the rit and the dim as pertaining only to the half-bar they are above (the dim lasting as far as the ppp but only that far), but there is clearly an ambiguity over the rit and thus it is open to interpretation. As are semantic arguments over differences between ritenuto and ritardando :wink:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:18 pm
Posts: 1037
I appreciate your sentiment and there is some stregnth to your logic. But I really feel like I'm sitting in a beautiful intimate salon filled with all of us (that participate) in upholstered chairs and we take turns going to the piano to play for eachother and then can engage in sharing ideas. Having just performed the work, I hear you say, "Eddy, since we're among friends here I just want to ask you why in the world did you played it that way?" "Well, Richard let me tell you what I see when I examine the score ..." And like good opinionated (all musicians) and accomplished individuals we argue about it over coffee, wine or beer. Hopefully, we gain a bit from eachother for all the interaction; I know I have. BTW, music, as an art, is subject to aesthetics, a branch of philosophy. My approach to music is admittedly intellectual, but that is not to say it is bereft of emotion. :)[/quote]

Indeed, if this is, as you say, among friends and you are trying to reach a consensus on how to perform these pieces before people who do not know you and maybe do not even care for you (the general public, that is), it is valid, but I feel that your friends should say, "Eddy! What a bright idea that was!" for you to know your interpretation is to be released to the world.

I speak as one wo has had his interpretations classified as bunk at times, even by members of PS. :D

_________________
Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


Last edited by richard66 on Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:59 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:11 am
Posts: 243
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Richard, there's no need for you to quote 1000+ words of text each time you reply to something.

_________________
Alexander Hanysz, http://hanysz.net


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:18 pm
Posts: 1037
I did not mean to. I pressed the wrong button.

_________________
Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:48 pm
Posts: 1959
Location: U.S.A.
Quote:
As are semantic arguments over differences between ritenuto and ritardando :wink:
-- Andrew

This item has perplexed me for years--ritardando meaning a gradual slackening in speed while ritenuto calls for immediately holding back the speed. I suspect that there have been times when composers, perhaps through sheer carelessness, have written "rit." in their scores for either or both, as there is no rule engraved in stone that a rit. shall always signify ritardando, while ritenuto shall always be spelled out in full to avoid any confusion. Few pianists will be inclined to do a detailed analysis every time they routinely encounter a rit. in a score to make a judgment call as to the justification of one or the other. They will likely rely more on performance practices. As a result, my sense is that an ambiguity has enveloped the two terms making them interchangeable equivalents in the minds of many pianists. Thus one school holds to differentiation, while another school sees them as synonymous. Language changes over time, and musical terms might not be immune from that phenomenon. Seems like a detail, but then again when it comes to interpretation....

I don't wish to hijack Eddy's thread (again :lol: ), but wanted to share that thought briefly.

David

_________________
"Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities." David April


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:01 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:11 am
Posts: 243
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Rachfan wrote:
This item has perplexed me for years--ritardando meaning a gradual slackening in speed while ritenuto calls for immediately holding back the speed.

The sudden/gradual distinction is the traditional English translation of the terms, but it's not the literal Italian meaning, and I think it's just plain wrong.

Ritardando=slow down; ritenuto=hold (check an Italian dictionary).

The difference is that if a passage is getting calmer, then it's natural to slow down, so it's called ritardando; if you're slowing down to create tension, i.e. holding back the natural momentum of the flow, then it's called ritenuto. Most of the time you should be able to tell for yourself whether it's calm or tense, so it's OK for the composer to write "rit" and let the performer work it out. Whether you slow gradually or suddenly is an entirely different matter, nothing to do with which word is used.

(Bonus question: what does allegro mean? And how about andante? ;-)

_________________
Alexander Hanysz, http://hanysz.net


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 50 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 1 hour


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group