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 Post subject: Tempo variation
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:44 am
Posts: 10
Hi Society members:

I am teaching myself Chopin's "Raindrops" prelude. I listen to recordings available online, (Horowitz, Rubenstein, Piano Society members, etc.), to guide me in my interpretation. Horowitz is my favorite.

As I am getting close to mastering this piece and "making it my own" I would like your opinion on the following.

I tend to pick up the tempo when I get to the C#m section. I think I change by 10% - 20%. When the D flat section returns, I tend to slow down, back to the original tempo, maybe even a bit slower.

Is this an acceptable interpretation?

Thanks...gotta go now and work on measures 59 - 75 .......

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"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art." F. Chopin


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 Post subject: Re: Tempo variation
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8519
Hello Mike,

I think the middle section of the "Raindrop" should remain the same tempo as the outer sections. Also, I don't like the outer sections to drag. Just my opinion, though....

Welcome to Piano Society! :)

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject: Re: Tempo variation
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:44 am
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Thanks for the reply Monica. I really enjoy your playing.

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"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art." F. Chopin


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 Post subject: Re: Tempo variation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Hi Mike,
At least two editors agree with your interpretation:
Debussy, who edited the Durand edition. See http://petrucci.mus.auth.gr/imglnks/usimg/f/fd/IMSLP63317-PMLP02344-Chopin-Op28edDebussy.pdf
and
Raoul Pugno, editor of the Vienna Universal Edition at http://erato.uvt.nl/files/imglnks/usimg/8/83/IMSLP00485-Chopin_-_Preludes__Op_28.pdf.
At least you know that some editors think your way.

Good luck!
Eddy

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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


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 Post subject: Re: Tempo variation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:44 am
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Thanks for the affirmation Dr. Eddy. I think, as Monica said, it is a matter of one's own interpretation of the music. I'm glad to know that some tempo latitude within a piece does exist.

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"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art." F. Chopin


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 Post subject: Re: Tempo variation
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:21 pm 
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mike2aces wrote:
Thanks for the reply Monica. I really enjoy your playing.

Thank you! :)

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Tempo variation
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:48 pm
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Location: U.S.A.
Hi mike,

I've played this prelude so know it well.

First, let me say that I think the most prevalent error in playing No. 15 is taking too fast a tempo in Part A and its later reprise. The faster it goes, the less the sostenuto effect to the ear. Also a more restrained tempo there brings out through the ostinato figuration the sense of a gentle rain falling on a gloomy day.

As for Part B, Chopin himself gives no indication by using a tempo marking per se, nor does he place a direction there such as piu mosso or agitato. We all need to take note of that fact. In the Paderewski Edition, there is nothing written in the editorial board's commentary concerning measure 28 at the start of Part B, and their comments through measure 75 concern themselves with notational details only. Part B, of course, is more like a heavy squall in comparison to the opening gentle rain. It starts sotto voce but soon builds in tension and bombast with the crashing chords and octaves at the height of the storm. This in itself is an aural departure from the subdued and lyrical Part A, thereby creating its own drama.

Having said that, some pianists do pick up the pace there. My own opinion is that if you choose to do so, it probably should not be a radical departure from Part A, but could certainly be enough of an increase in tempo so as to be noticeable and assist in the change of mood there, but not so much as to sever the connection to Part A and its reprise. Those thunderheads developed out of the very same clouds earlier producing the gentle rain. Had Chopin wanted an audacious change there, he certainly would have called for it. Thus, you'll need to meld your interpretation to take your desired liberty there, but also to serve the composer above all else.

That's my 2 cents. :)

David

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