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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:35 pm 
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Thanks Andreas, that is quite a list of issues you have compiled there. You're probably right in most or all of these (as usual :roll: ) but I have already decided to leave well enough alone and move on. One could polish any given piece for a lifetime and still not be able to please everybody. And I have no illusion to be able to play any piece perfectly.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:31 pm 
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A competent performance, in particular if put together in a short time, and nice to hear you play some Beethoven! I listened to the revised version.

Like many other here I played this in my youth. Your take on the 1st mov is so different from mine that I am not certain what you want to project, but that may be because of my inability to adapt. Some of the things you do I find very unorthodox, eg the non legato of the melody in m19-22 - yes it means greater clarity but the line and phrasing is lost. And some of the rubatos breaks the pace. The part I liked best was the development, here I felt you really think this is important music - with Beethoven, if you lose that feeling all you are left with are scales and chords. Your 2nd mov is better in that respect, though to me it comes across as too harsh and aggressive, my view of this is much more tender and intimate, with sustained p and pp and strong attention to phrasing. In the very first phrase your accents on the 3rd beats sound a bit corny. The 3rd mov I liked best! Good job and nice energy throughout, with playfulness only a hair's breadth from getting serious and nasty! To hold that tempo is much harder than it looks. The few slips did not disturb me at all. My only gripe would be in place like m87 and 95 where the LH melody is drowned by the RH runs, you can get a very nice effect by highlighting how the melody jumps between registers - like children playing tag.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:00 pm 
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troglodyte wrote:
A competent performance, in particular if put together in a short time, and nice to hear you play some Beethoven! I listened to the revised version.

Not such a short time, all in all it took me the best part of two days with all the re-recording and postprocessing. And I had been practicing it for a while (actually, ever since Mark Budd posted a sonata we didn't have yet, and I realized there were some more to fill in).

troglodyte wrote:
Like many other here I played this in my youth. Your take on the 1st mov is so different from mine that I am not certain what you want to project, but that may be because of my inability to adapt. Some of the things you do I find very unorthodox, eg the non legato of the melody in m19-22 - yes it means greater clarity but the line and phrasing is lost. And some of the rubatos breaks the pace. The part I liked best was the development, here I felt you really think this is important music - with Beethoven, if you lose that feeling all you are left with are scales and chords. Your 2nd mov is better in that respect, though to me it comes across as too harsh and aggressive, my view of this is much more tender and intimate, with sustained p and pp and strong attention to phrasing. In the very first phrase your accents on the 3rd beats sound a bit corny. The 3rd mov I liked best! Good job and nice energy throughout, with playfulness only a hair's breadth from getting serious and nasty! To hold that tempo is much harder than it looks. The few slips did not disturb me at all. My only gripe would be in place like m87 and 95 where the LH melody is drowned by the RH runs, you can get a very nice effect by highlighting how the melody jumps between registers - like children playing tag.

Yes... sigh... there will always be something to improve, unless one is a master pianist. And it's clear that everybody has their ideas about Beethoven. I take an instinctive approach like always, not too much bothered by how it should be played. At least it's deemed competent :)

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:18 pm 
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There are always things to improve even for a master pianist! And Beethoven wouldn't be so great if he did not inspire us to think and take a stand, and the fact that we can take different stands is interesting! You are completely right not to bother too much about convention. Your take is an interesting contribution, far beyond "competent"! Sorry if I came across in the wrong way.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:32 pm 
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troglodyte wrote:
There are always things to improve even for a master pianist! And Beethoven wouldn't be so great if he did not inspire us to think and take a stand, and the fact that we can take different stands is interesting! You are completely right not to bother too much about convention. Your take is an interesting contribution, far beyond "competent"! Sorry if I came across in the wrong way.

Nope - I guess I just took it the wrong way, having convinced myself I was done with this sonata for the time being. Belated thanks for your reply BTW.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:16 pm 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
but I have already decided to leave well enough alone and move on.


Yes, sigh, I already have feared, that I will have done the work of listening and commenting in detail in vain, when I have seen, that these even were you re-recordings. :( But it´s o.k., of course.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:01 am 
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Having thoughout about it today, I feel that your first movement retake was less spontaneous, perhaps because you were specifically attempting to incorporate the suggestions/corrections leading from the feedback. If I'm going to be honest I'm with Andreas in that I preferred the first take of the first movement. I must reiterate that the third movement is clearly better second time round.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:06 am 
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musicusblau wrote:
Yes, sigh, I already have feared, that I will have done the work of listening and commenting in detail in vain, when I have seen, that these even were you re-recordings. :( But it´s o.k., of course.

Sorry to have wasted your time :) I should maybe have waited for your comments. But I'm sure when I try to fix these issues as well, something else will be wrong again, and before we know this would be going the way of the Arietta. Perfection in all details, spontaneity, sturm-und-drang, and an interpretation that is individual and yet pleases everybody... I'm not sure all of this is possible for a mortal soul. I think nostalgically of the time that all I aspired was to hit the right notes...................

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:12 am 
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techneut wrote:
an interpretation that is individual and yet pleases everybody...
by definition doesn't exist.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:10 am 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
Sorry to have wasted your time :) I should maybe have waited for your comments.


It wasn´t a waste of time to listen to your recording, of course, just the opposite, it was interesting and inspiring. :) With "in vain" I just meant, that my tips in detail will not be realized any more. And of course, you couldn´t know, when I will write my comment, though I had promised to write one. So it just was "dumm gelaufen" (as we say in german, I think translated in English it´s "shit happens"), and that´s really no problem! :D

Quote:
I think nostalgically of the time that all I aspired was to hit the right notes


To hit the right notes (or at least to try it) is what we all can do (more or less, myself counting definitively to "less", if you regard my little read errors in the Bach-pieces and probably also my part of "Vysehrad" :oops: , but don´t tell it anyone, please :wink: ), for me personally that´s not the main issue (though it´s not totally unimportant). 8)

andrew wrote:
techneut wrote:
an interpretation that is individual and yet pleases everybody...
by definition doesn't exist.

I agree to that! It´s probably impossible to reach this aim.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:17 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
andrew wrote:
techneut wrote:
an interpretation that is individual and yet pleases everybody...
by definition doesn't exist.

I agree to that! It´s probably impossible to reach this aim.


It most definitely is. However, it is what people seem to expect ! Because they all like you to play it their way, yet they also want you to be individual, i.e. do it your own way. It seems a bit of a conundrum. Especially seeing how opinions can differ about one and the same piece, e.g. what one perceives as lovely and lilting, another finds harsh and aggressive. Hmmmmm.... sometimes you just don't know what to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:33 am 
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Because they all like you to play it their way, yet they also want you to be individual, i.e. do it your own way. It seems a bit of a conundrum.



Personally, as a listener I don't care whether someone plays a piece my way; I just want them to convince me of their way. One might think of a performance as an argument of sorts -- a form of inductive reasoning in which one infers, on the basis of an examination of the piece's elements, what may have been the composer's message and conveys an interpretation of that message to an audience in an attempt to persuade, similarly to how an essayist persuades a readership by taking a position. There may of course be technical issues that hinder the message from being appreciated in its best light (just as there may be chinks in a writer's argument). In a Chopin nocturne, for example, I think we can say that legato cantabile playing against an undulating well-balanced left hand is a must given the genre's inherent nature. However, how the right hand is sculpted and sung is a completely individual matter, as is the rhythm (e.g., rubato), the highlighting of lefthand counterpoints, etc. Over the years, I've probably heard 10 or so thoroughly convincing (to me) performances of the famous op. 9, no. 2 nocturne, each completely individual with respect to dynamics, phrasing, rhythm, touch, etc. (Cortot, Rachmaninoff, and Sofronitsky come to mind). I may have my favorite (in this case I think it's Rachmaninoff), but each one I think is fabulous in its own right. Of course the "basic notion" of the nocturne is there in all of them, but besides that each interpretation is so distinctive that I couldn't imagine anyone else playing it that way.

Anyway, I'm not sure the statement above is really a conundrum. It seems like more of a simple nonsequitur. Because of course, if someone really does want you to play it "their way," then they by definition don't want to hear an individual and unique conception; rather, they want you to produce a carbon copy of their idea, probably to flatter themselves that this idea is the only right one. I must say I find that viewpoint rather parochial and unreflective. Just as one should first thoroughly understand an author's argument before agreeing or disagreeing with it, one should carefully listen to a musical performance and reflect on whether the artist has a convincing conception that works for them.

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:12 pm 
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Joe, I think that's a fine statement you made on interpretation, but I partially take exception to your saying
jlr43 wrote:
.... a completely individual matter, as is the rhythm (e.g., rubato),
Theses are not the same. I agree that rubato is largely an individual affair, but not rhythm. I realize that we have been down this road before (I think) so I won't press the point but to observe that rhythm is mathematical, defined and given by the composer, the particulars of rubato are not, and rubato affects the tempo, not the rhythm therein. As an example of what I'm trying to say, when a conductor directs a ritardando followed by an accelerando, even sudden ones, the individual members of the string section will still play their parts together if they each observe the written rhythm.

Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:09 pm 
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Quote:
Theses are not the same. I agree that rubato is largely an individual affair, but not rhythm.


Agreed, good point. I should have said "interesting sense of rhythm" perhaps.

Quote:
I realize that we have been down this road before (I think) so I won't press the point but to observe that rhythm is mathematical, defined and given by the composer, the particulars of rubato are not, and rubato affects the tempo, not the rhythm therein.


I would, however, still take issue with this point. Scientifically, there are really only two basic elements that the pianist is controlling: force and duration. Rhythm and tempo are of course subcategories of duration and are thus inextricably linked. That is, because there is really only the one element that one is controlling, what one does to tempo must by definition also affect the rhythm. Consider again the repeating bass-note chords in the Chopin E Minor Prelude. If one applies rubato to that figure, what one is doing in essence is to "steal" time from one portion of the figure and ideally, according to the definition of rubato, make it up elsewhere. So what does stealing time really mean? One might, for example, speed up slightly at one point in the measure and then slow down later on in the measure so that ideally no net time in the measure is lost. However, in addition, during that slight speeding up, effectively what one is actually doing is to lower the value of the eighth notes in question more toward a faster rhythmic grouping such as 16ths, and then vice versa for slowing down, thereby affecting the duration of the rhythmic eighth-note groupings to regain the net, overall effect of tempo. One might think of the rhythm as the nitty-gritty note groupings (i.e., the details) that comprise the whole. The rhythm, the details, fit into the the overall time (tempo, same word). What one does to the whole must in some way affect some of its constituent parts, and vice versa. Just as cutting or adding a piece to a pie affects the conception of the whole pie, so too does manipulating details, in this case, rhythmic elements affect the tempo (i.e., literally the overall time or duration as delineated above).

The difference between rhythm and tempo, in other words, constitute a semantic distinction that illustrate different facets of the listener's perception related to just one element: duration. When rubato is well applied, one wants to have the perception that (1) the rhythm is not affected (which is not possible) and (2) the overall tempo is not affected (this is mathematically not really possible for a non-machine, human being). To sum up, at any given time that a musician is not playing mathematically (which besides being boring is strictly impossible anyway), one is affecting only the one factor, duration, and by definition, therefore, both of its subcategories rhythm and tempo.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Joe your argument is a good one.
Quote:
Scientifically, there are really only two basic elements that the pianist is controlling: force and duration.

However, it is best suited in trying to explain this magic of music to those who have no capacity to understand it from an artistic (i.e. musical) point of view. Yours is perfectly suited to explaining this concept (even using the visual aid of a wave file) to the floundering engineering major who is required to take a Music Appreciation class. The difference I would explore is the very difference between the physics of music and the psychology of music. I would offer that your approach, since admittedly scientific, does not answer using musical arguments. Since you are a man that appreciates logic, I shall try a logical musical argument:

Hypothesis: Rubato affects rhythm.
1. If rhythm is affected by rubato, then the rhythm is necessarily changed.
2. If the rhythm is changed, then it's notation is necessarily changed.
3. To change the notation of the rhythm is not allowed by the canon of performance practice.
4. Rubato is nonetheless realized in music.
Conclusion: Rubato does not affect rhythm.

Or from Performance (as I introduced above)
A conductor only manages tempo (from your duration point of view), yet the orchestra maintains ensemble. The easiest (Occam's Razor) explanation for this reality is that there has been no change in the rhythm of the individual parts. Otherwise, is to believe an enormous amount of coincidences that have a probality approaching zero.

Food for thought,
Eddy

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