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.
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.