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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:47 am 
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This sonata has been discussed in this very forum!

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3183

Thnak you for that link. It is indeed that sonata.

You are right about "largo": it is not like "lento" or "adagio", which are indeed speed indications, but then it cannot be too fast. Largo means wide, broad (think of "Largo al Factotum"), and it would be hard to think of something broad which is too fast. I did listen to a snippet of that recording and yes, it is a shade faster but still within the definition of largo.

I feel that a contrast is be called for between the repeated sections within A and B (that is, from the 4th beat of bar 4 to the 3rd beat of bar six and from the 4th beat of bar six to the 3rd beat of bar 8 and mirror passages in B). It seems that the contrasts I make are never the ones that are expected.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:47 pm 
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jim_24601 wrote:
Yevgeny Sudbin plays it on his Scarlatti album (track 11). In the notes he says only that it "lacks a K number since it does not appear in Kirkpatrick's catalogues" and that he hears in it "the bitter wail of a gypsy lament".

Nobody could accuse Sudbin of a lack of imagination :D
Bitter wail of a gypsy lament, hehe.... I for one can't hear any of that in this chaste, demure, and rather clumsy rococo minuet. I do wonder if Sudbin is talking about another Sonata. I also wonder what evidence there is for attributing this to Scarlatti. It could be juvenilia of course.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:13 pm 
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A minuet in 4/4?

I have always wondered about this attribution, but I do believe those in the know know better than I, or at least ought to, though I have now and then given visa advice to travel agencies, for example. :D

Do I have bad taste? I rather like this little sonata and have been playing it off and on since last century.

It seems most pieces I choose is branded as unimaginative or derivative. I very often feel this way about some of the pieces I see posted (and here I name no names), but I put that down to personal taste (or lack of it) and never bring that up in discussions. Very often I refrain even from reviewing, but I suppose we are all different: look at our differring opinions on Bortkiewicz!

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:47 pm 
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That's interesting that such an obscure piece of music has been discussed twice here. I like this piece too - it's one of those that you can just sit down and play when you're feeling moody and want to drift away somewhere....

And you're right - we should not make disparaging remarks about a certain piece that a member has chosen to record. I've taken issue with that sort of thing before too.

So now, Richard, I guess we'll have to hold up on this one until you can make a new recording with the ornaments timed better, okay?

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:56 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
A minuet in 4/4?

:oops:
It sounds like a minuet though :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:29 pm 
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it does, in matter of fact.

I practised it today with shorter trills. What I need and what I really struggle to do is to relax completely knowing there is a recorder back there somewhere. It is getting better, though. I only needed six takes for this little piece and the heart did not get caught in my front teeth so often.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:45 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
it does, in matter of fact.

I'm glad it's not just me :)
As for appreciation, I did not want imply this is a bad piece. Just that it seems a bit clumsy in places, and light years away from Scarlatti as we know and love him.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:52 pm 
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Hi Richard,

Quote:
I was always under the impression that ornaments up to the time of Beethoven were not "decorative" notes, but an integral part of the melody.


In 17th century Italy ornaments were known as effetti, that is a notational device to add expression to the music. But aside from that, here is another concept about ornamentation, although I learned about it so long ago I cannot recall the source. The Baroque harpsichord (in a way not unlike the modern piano--the former depending on quills plucking strings and the latter felt hammers doing likewise) was essentially a percussive instrument. Thus, it could not sustain sound like a violin, french horn, bassoon, etc. The modern day piano has pedals which assist in sustaining somewhat, of course, but the rate of tone decay is still far faster than a violin string being bowed. Thus the theory: Ornaments were meant as a clever device to prolong sound in a musical line. Bach was stubborn and fastidious in often writing out his ornaments rather than using mordent signs, for example, welcomed and accepted by his peers. But still, it could be that he (or Scarlatti in this instance) were not considering those ornaments as being part of melodies, but rather prolonging sound through the elaboration of a trill, turn, etc. Therefore, if a case can be made for that, you could eliminate an ornament too difficult to execute well on the modern piano without doing any violence to the melody at all. Just a thought.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:05 am 
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richard66 wrote:
Do I have bad taste? I rather like this little sonata and have been playing it off and on since last century.

It seems most pieces I choose is branded as unimaginative or derivative. I very often feel this way about some of the pieces I see posted (and here I name no names), but I put that down to personal taste (or lack of it) and never bring that up in discussions. Very often I refrain even from reviewing, but I suppose we are all different: look at our differring opinions on Bortkiewicz!


Actually, I quite like the piece. I think people are perfectly entitled to express negative opinions about whatever music, but if you like the piece, by all means play it. I firmly believe it's far better that people play pieces they believe in than pieces other people believe in.

I think a little more shaping of phrases would benefit the playing considerably; in particular I think more attention to the left hand in the second part would be helpful (especially from beat 3 in bar 12 onwards where the l.h. seems to me to have more musical interest).

Regarding the ornaments, if I were you I would write them out in full and be 100% clear about what you are doing there. The reason I suspect Henle has fully-written out baroque ornaments in Bach is probably because there has been an incredible amount of research into baroque ornamentation, and what is printed there is likely to be the product of considerable scholarly effort. I certainly have Bach scores where the ornaments are not fully written out. This is not exactly my area of expertise however, so I'd defer to others more knowledgable. David's comments on ornamentation as a form of sound sustain on a harpsichord sounds very plausible.


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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:14 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
Bach was stubborn and fastidious in often writing out his ornaments rather than using mordent signs

David, is this view based upon urtext editions? I have seen music of Bach by lesser publishing houses that wreck havoc on the score, even changing the key (e.g. of the d# minor fugue of the WTC 1), but never really thought that his manuscripts did so. You can inform me in PM if you prefer.
Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:44 am 
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Hi Eddy,

Not being much of a Bach pianist (an understatement), the editions I have on hand are nearly all edited, although the Edition Wood shows the ornaments fully written out. As for his preferring to fully write out his ornaments, it seems to me that I read that years ago in a book about Bach, maybe Kirkpatrick or possibly an article in the old Piano Quarterly or Clavier.

BUT I did find something tonight in the Harvard Dictionary of Music by Willi Apel, second edition, which always offers scholarly articles, and in this case a passage which supports that notion concerning Bach. Here it is:

"Between 1650 and 1750 the practice of writing ornaments in notes was frowned on as detrimental to the visual clarity of the melodic line. J. S. Bach, for instance, was severely criticized by at least one contemporary musician on the ground that 'He writes down in actual notes the ornaments and embellishments that performers are accustomed to supply instinctively, a habit which not only sacrifices the harmonic beauty of his music but also makes the melody totally indistinct.'" (J. A. Scheibe, in Der Critische Musicus, May 14, 1737.)

As for mordents, Arthur Rubinstein once said that mordent charts in books often conflicted with one another on how to execute them, and when he would discuss them with other artist friends, there would always be disagreements. He found the whole subject frustrating. Perhaps that was the case even in Bach's day, which might have been why he was intent on writing them out in small notes.

I'm also aware that during the Baroque (and I imagine, Rococo) periods, it was often routine for keyboardists to improvise their own ornaments. That is still permissible today, and, in fact, Chris has mentioned improvising some in his own recordings. I seem to recall that Andreas has done so as well.

I hope this helps.

David

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Last edited by Rachfan on Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:49 am 
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David is right about the primary function of ornaments being to prolong a note and even later conposers, like Mozart, used them to sustain a melody (or even to fill in the harmony - think of the so-called Alberti bass).

Bach wrote out his ornaments part of the time, when he knew exacly what he wanted and where (the same as with Beethoven: knowing the common practice of ommitting repeats, he writes the repeat out in full when he really wants it). Just look at the slow movement of the Italian Concerto. others he used a whole series of symbols, each one with a different interpretation. If you take Henle's edition of the Inventions and Sinfonias you will find the music with the symbols and in the preface a guide on how each symbol should be interpreted, in this case, 13 different symbols, each with its own name: mordant, double-mordant, etc. The 5th Sinfonia is published twice: once in a copy of Bach's original, without ornaments, and a copy of a copy made by one of the sons, where there are all those symbols being used on the melodies. I remember I used to play that one with all the ornaments!

Scarlatti was not so sophisticated, of course, but since Bach was simply writing-down what was common practice, I would not consider it too amiss to use some of that ornamentation in his music.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:07 pm 
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Hi Richard,

You mentioned the Italian Concerto. In that same article mentioned above, it gave an excerpt of the concerto showing the mordant symbols followed by the same passage in full notation. It was both interesting and amusing to behold.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:50 pm 
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I must say I usually write the ornaments out to make life easier. I shall do this with the trills in the Scarlatti.

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 Post subject: Re: Scarlatti
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:44 pm 
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Here is the Scarlatti redone. I shortened the trills and turned them into... turns!


Tomatoes, anyone?

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