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 Post subject: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:38 am 
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Here is, after two hours of recording yesterday and five minutes today, fighting against all ambient noise and and incredible tendency to rush on my part, another of the Bashkir composer Timur Ismagilov's 24 preludes: No. 15 in D flat major. Needless to say this one comes from today's session. :)


Ismagilov - 24 Preludes, No. 15 in D flat major

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Last edited by richard66 on Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:17 am 
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Nobody else has commented yet, so you're stuck with me again. :roll:

This is another leg in the dream journey of the hot air balloon, but I reckon this particular dream could do with moving forward a little more. You're playing at about 60 bpm which is quite a bit down on the marked 75. Admittedly, the composer himself is playing below tempo too (approximately 69). One would think that a composer's own rendition would be a pretty definitive indication of how he believes it "should go", which is why I'm surprised that his written tempo differs significantly from the one he plays at. *Shrug*

Still, perhaps if you were to play it a bit faster, not necessarily at the full 75, the urge to rush which you mentioned would be easier to resist. :)

There is, I think, almost too much of a dead-pan quality about your accompanying left hand quavers, in that the weight they carry is a little too equal. They feel more like individual notes and less like groups. Don't misunderstand me, I think it's great that you are not giving undue emphasis to the first note of every group (be it of 2, 4, or 8 notes), but it would be better if you could somehow focus less on individual notes and more on the wider picture, giving shape to the groups. But you need to do this without resorting to rubato (which I think would be seriously out of place here) or to over-accenting. I'm not sure how exactly you would achieve this, perhaps just thinking about it is enough, and playing it a bit faster will help.

On the technical side, there is of course one especially difficult spot in this piece and I bet you know exactly where it is and what I'm going to say about it. The tripletized second half of bar 7 (0:28) where you have to play 3 melody notes against 4 in the accompaniment. I can tell that you worked hard at this and indeed it is almost right, but not quite. You seem to be focusing on keeping the accompanying rhythm rock-steady, and you have succeeded in this; the quadlets are quite steady, but the triplets are somewhat distorted. Now you need to delegate control of the quadlet rhythm to the left hand so that it "thinks for itself", which of course it can't but what I mean is that you push control down into a quasi subconscious part of your mind, so the accompaniment plays "automatically", leaving the conscious part free to concentrate on the melody line, which also wants to be rock-steady.

Ideally you want to "feel" the triplets rather than place them mathematically, but as a preliminary exercise, the mathematical subdivision can be helpful, if you're not quite sure where exactly the notes should fit. The placement of the 2nd triplet should come one third of the way through the gap between the 2nd and 3rd quadlets, and the 3rd triplet should come two thirds of the way through the gap between the 3rd and 4th quadlets. A slightly less technical way of saying this is to place the 2nd triplet "just after" the 2nd quadlet, and the 3rd triplet "just before" the 4th quadlet. Your triplets are in the right gaps, but not quite in the right place within them. As best I can make out, your 2nd triplet is about two thirds of the way through its gap (it is "just before" the 3rd quadlet), and the 3rd triplet is in a compromise position more or less halfway between the 3rd and 4th quadlet. I hope that's useful.

It also helps to practice playing just that group in a loop, hands separately then together, to get the rhythm settled so it becomes almost automatic. Unfortunately, in the piece it only happens once, and it's more difficult to play just one cycle of the loop out of context. Again, it will probably be easier a little faster.

There is a small rhythmic misreading in bar 11 (0:44) which you play as 3+3+2 where 3+2+3 is written.


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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:33 pm 
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Hi, Richard!

I didn't know this piece before, but it seems to me that you play it nice (can't say much about the rhythmic things mentioned... =\)

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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:40 am 
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There seems very little interest in anything that is not Chopin or Tchaikovsky. :cry: Or maybe there is very little interest for anything that is Willmer! :D

I thank you both for your comments.

The tendency to rush actually had me start at that speed and end up with a piece that lasted 1' (as opposed to the composer's 1'20"). I chose this speed because I felt the melody could breathe better, but that is not to say that in a further attermpt the melody will breathe even at double-speed. Remember that rush is not a positive quality, while fast is. A piece that is rushed does not even need to be fast, while a fast piece can sound tranquil.

That one lonely triplet is a bit of a nuissance! I find the way Ismagilov changes the note-values can lead to errors: not necessarily reading errors, but errors in playing, because one tends to repeat a previous pattern and, with this music, it does not really matter to the ear where the notes fall, so not even that wrong note feel alerts one to this.

I find that the composer is a bit careless about his markings. I am practising one where the melody comes in in (say) bar 5, but it is only on bar 8, where a that he mentions that it should be marked. And what came before not? Then, listening to him, I hear he marks the melody from bar 5!

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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:22 pm 
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That's an interesting little piece, Richard. Sounded confidently-played; I did not look at a score so I can't offer anything real useful here though.

Also, I thought of you when I zoomed though the train station in your neck of the woods last week. See? :)


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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:20 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
That's an interesting little piece, Richard. Sounded confidently-played; I did not look at a score so I can't offer anything real useful here though.


Thank you, Monica! Have you listened to the other one I posted? It on the main site.

pianolady wrote:
Also, I thought of you when I zoomed though the train station in your neck of the woods last week. See? :)


You should have warned me: I could have gone there to wave to you! As it is a closed station you must have stayed there for at least an hour, did you not? A BIG wave it could have been!

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:10 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Thank you, Monica! Have you listened to the other one I posted? It on the main site.

Did I? I don't know now. I thought I had.

richard66 wrote:
You should have warned me: I could have gone there to wave to you! As it is a closed station you must have stayed there for at least an hour, did you not? A BIG wave it could have been!


I'm not sure what you mean about being a closed station. I saw daylight the whole time going through the station. At least I think so.... It wasn't not underground or inside a tunnel.
I do know that the train I was on made only a few stops and they were only for a 1 or 2 minutes in duration. I remember seeing the city go by and then when I saw that we were going through the train station, I snapped this photo. Would have been very fun had I seen you standing there!!

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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:16 pm 
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Ah, I see... You did not go through the main station, but though a secondar one! The main one is closed in the sense that the tracks are one way, that is, the train, in order to go out must reverse.

There is another by the same composer that I placed while you were away.

I have replaced this one with a new recording. Can you imagine there were 9 takes today and in all but the last one the end was faster than the start, no matter at what speed I began. Incredible! The little girl was having fun, saying, "No, no yet!" I must say she sat very silently while I recorded.

Do you notice any reverbation? I moved the recorder further away and it seems to me to have added a concert-hall effect. Also the channels are almost equal here, so I did not need to tamper with the amplification of the left one.

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:59 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
I have replaced this one with a new recording.
Wow, I'm impressed. This is much better. The dreaded triplet is really rather smooth now. The piece has more shape and a sense of where it's going, with a definite feeling of two in a bar. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to go up on site as it is now. BUT (there always has to be a but):

The speed is a HUGE step up from what it was, and the question is whether YOU are happy with this speed. I estimate it's now faster than 75 by about the same factor as it was slower than 75 before. It tells a completely different story now. Is that the story you want it to tell? Bearing in mind that the speed has probably helped sort out that triplet, and may have discouraged your rushing, do you dare pulling it back to a compromise speed now? I think it would be worth trying, if you have the time and inclination. To prevent the triplet disintegrating, be careful not to slow down by too much all at once. Just practise it a tiny bit slower each time.
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Can you imagine there were 9 takes today and in all but the last one the end was faster than the start, no matter at what speed I began.
How do you know? Did you measure the speed with the metronome you swore you would never get? :)
Quote:
Do you notice any reverbation? I moved the recorder further away and it seems to me to have added a concert-hall effect. Also the channels are almost equal here, so I did not need to tamper with the amplification of the left one.
I don't know about a reverb effect, I'm only listening on cheap computer speakers, but it sounds fine, I'd say better than before, and anything which is going to eliminate the need to tamper has to be a good thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:14 am 
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Well, this sounds technically accurate now, though I would imagine that such a beguiling piece would have a more nuanced and beguiling tone. The more or less constant dynamics also fits the comfortable aimless atmosphere of the piece quite nicely, I think... One can play this many ways!


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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:57 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
There seems very little interest in anything that is not Chopin or Tchaikovsky. :cry: Or maybe there is very little interest for anything that is Willmer! :D
Well as you know I am all for exploring works of lesser-known or even minor composers. Having listened to several of Ismagilov's preludes on YT I have to say I find them rather drab as a whole, there is a certain sameness about them and a lack of melodic charm. Some have more interest and ambition, like no.1, but most are slowish and ruminative. This one sounds rather perfunctory to me - though it's well-played, maybe it needs a bit more flamboyance ? I'm not sure Ismagilov is a name that will still be remembered some years from now.

While on the subject of Russian preludes - there are a lot of them - I have my eyes on some of Lera Auerbach's preludes. While some of these are bleak and ruminative too, there is some truly stunning writing with gestures larger than life. I haven't studied them seriously as yet but intend to.

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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:20 pm 
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rainer wrote:
The speed is a HUGE step up from what it was, and the question is whether YOU are happy with this speed. I estimate it's now faster than 75 by about the same factor as it was slower than 75 before. It tells a completely different story now. Is that the story you want it to tell? Bearing in mind that the speed has probably helped sort out that triplet, and may have discouraged your rushing, do you dare pulling it back to a compromise speed now? I think it would be worth trying, if you have the time and inclination. To prevent the triplet disintegrating, be careful not to slow down by too much all at once. Just practise it a tiny bit slower each time.


It is faster, but I rather like it the way it is now and will let well alone. As for the triplet, it was easier to get it right slower, much slower and, if you read what I wrote once more, you will see I mention it rushed no matter at what speed I began!

rainer wrote:
How do you know? Did you measure the speed with the metronome you swore you would never get? :)


:shock: Can you not tell when something gets faster without having resort to a metronome? To me it was immediately obvious, even without counting. And no, I have not got a metronome in the meanwhile.

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:21 pm 
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Affinity wrote:
Well, this sounds technically accurate now, though I would imagine that such a beguiling piece would have a more nuanced and beguiling tone. The more or less constant dynamics also fits the comfortable aimless atmosphere of the piece quite nicely, I think... One can play this many ways!


Thank you!

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


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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:30 pm 
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techneut wrote:
richard66 wrote:
There seems very little interest in anything that is not Chopin or Tchaikovsky. :cry: Or maybe there is very little interest for anything that is Willmer! :D
Well as you know I am all for exploring works of lesser-known or even minor composers. Having listened to several of Ismagilov's preludes on YT I have to say I find them rather drab as a whole, there is a certain sameness about them and a lack of melodic charm. Some have more interest and ambition, like no.1, but most are slowish and ruminative. This one sounds rather perfunctory to me - though it's well-played, maybe it needs a bit more flamboyance ? I'm not sure Ismagilov is a name that will still be remembered some years from now.

While on the subject of Russian preludes - there are a lot of them - I have my eyes on some of Lera Auerbach's preludes. While some of these are bleak and ruminative too, there is some truly stunning writing with gestures larger than life. I haven't studied them seriously as yet but intend to.


You know, I am taking a wine-tasting course and one of the most important lessons is that my personal taste should never get into the way of the examination of wine. Even if the bubbles in Champagne make my nose tickle (which they do not!) and I come across some that has none, I should still be able to judge the quality of the wine and should be able to say this champagne is a dud, because it ought to have bubbles and not to say it is wonderful, because it pleases me.

No1 is the best of the set, in my opinion, so we agree there.

I shall look into this name, Auerbach. German origin, however.

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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:37 am 
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richard66 wrote:
It is faster, but I rather like it the way it is now and will let well alone.
That's fine, I was just mindful that you mentioned earlier that you liked the slower speed.
Quote:
As for the triplet, it was easier to get it right slower, much slower
Quite so. If you play the triplet much slower, it is easy to get right by mathematical subdivision. If you play it much faster, it' s easy to just slip into the right rhythm by magic. But there is a zone between fast and slow where it's just more difficult to master. Then it helps to approach it from one side or the other. Either play it slowly and gradually speed it up until it's faster than you want, or play it quickly and gradually slow it down until it's slower than you want, the aim being to get it "safe" not only at, but with a reasonable margin on both sides of your target speed.
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and, if you read what I wrote once more, you will see I mention it rushed no matter at what speed I began!
I did see that, but I imagined that you would eventually hit a high enough starting speed from which it would simply not be possible to get any faster.
Also, I didn't quite understand what you meant by rushing not being a "positive quality", unlike fast speed which is. If all you meant was that rushing (unintentional speeding up) is a bad habit, that's fine, but what confused me was the implication that fast speed is a good habit - surely that is only the case when a piece is meant to be fast. What am I missing here?
Quote:
rainer wrote:
How do you know? Did you measure the speed with the metronome you swore you would never get? :)
:shock: Can you not tell when something gets faster without having resort to a metronome? To me it was immediately obvious, even without counting.
I was making a joke. But as a matter of fact, the answer is no. One often does not notice "immediately" (that is to say while playing) when the speed is gradually creeping up, because if one did, one should immediately be able to do correct it. Of course if you get to the end and then go back to the beginning to play it again, you do notice straight away that the speed is no longer the same, but by then it's too late.
Quote:
And no, I have not got a metronome in the meanwhile.
That's a pity, because rushing is one of the problems it will help to fix. As you have demonstrated, it is possible to get by without one, but it's more difficult. I don't understand why you are so opposed to them, it's as if you believed there to be some sort of shameful stigma attached to admitting to need one.


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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:57 pm 
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By rushing I mean not as much actual speed by that sensation that something is being played too fast. Maybe breathless would be a better term.

Were I to use a metronome I would become paralysed. Either I would not concentrate on the music, because I am worried with the ticks or I would simply filter it out. Anyway, a metronome only goes click click: it does not go 1 and 2 and 3, which can be more helpful. Then, supposing I managed to use it, what would happen once the metronome is off? It is a habit I simply was not taught, even though the teacher had one, which I remember her use once, when checking a metronoe marking, only to say: "too fast!"

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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:33 pm 
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Coming to this piece for the first time, it seems perfectly reasonable playing (the piano sound isn't very subtle, but you can only play the instrument the in front of you). The piece seems to have a certain child-like quality: a simple melody over an ostinato accompaniment which moves harmonically up and down by semitones (except at the very end).


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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:26 am 
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This sounded much better to me, Richard. It's on the site.

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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:59 am 
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andrew wrote:
Coming to this piece for the first time, it seems perfectly reasonable playing (the piano sound isn't very subtle, but you can only play the instrument the in front of you). The piece seems to have a certain child-like quality: a simple melody over an ostinato accompaniment which moves harmonically up and down by semitones (except at the very end).


Thank you!

Ah, the old groaner! I want to tiurn this one in and get a new one as soon as we move, the thing is, e have been about to move house for 2 years now!

You sum it perfectly and this is the way I feel this piece: no pretences nor big gestures, long enough to establish a mood but short enough not to become monotonous. Aimless is a word that was used, but aimless denotes something that is lost and goes from here to there, without direction. I would call it static, because it goes nowhere and is not meant to, the way Satie's Gymnopédies do. There is just a desire to please; nothing else.

I do wonder, however, what the composer thinks! :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:03 am 
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pianolady wrote:
This sounded much better to me, Richard. It's on the site.


It seems all there, Monica, thank you!

About that station, it is the main one after all, but the the old days trains stayed there for a long time, because they had to put another engine at the head of the train. The fast trains thay have now have an engine on both ends, so it is only the time it takes for the driver to go from the head to the tail.

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 Post subject: Re: Ismagilov prelude No 15
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:09 pm 
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That makes sense. And those trains were so nice! Fast and quiet!! The food okay but the coffee service was very funny. I asked for a cup of coffee and I got this teeny little cup that was more like a shot glass and it was only about 1/4 of it was filled with coffee. That was it! :lol: :lol: cracks me up thinking about that....

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