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 Post subject: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:06 pm 
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Of course I know this as part of Grieg's music to Ibsen's Peer Gynt, where it is sung by Solveig, when Peer finally returns to Norway and to her, the bride he had abducted on her wedding day. What I have never heard is the piano version, which I know because Peters published a trancription, along with a version on Solvejg's song (there are two different piano versions of the latter, by the way).

I have played this for a number of years, though much slower than now (orchestral versions tend to be slow, lasting from 4' to 5'30" minutes): at 3'50", it is rather fast, but any slower it is just too much for the piano's sustainiing power.

Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song (3:51)

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:25 am 
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I did not know this one. Being very familiar with the Peer Gynt suites (it was one of the first classical works I got hooked on) and having all the Peters Grieg albums (and played most of it) this really surprises me. You play it pretty well, and I don't find the tempo too fast. This first couple of measures are rather a shock, your piano sounds quite awful up there. But soon as it's an octave lower, it is no longer a problem. Where did you find this one ? Is it a transcription
by Grieg himself, who reworked many of his songs and orchestral pieces for piano solo ? It's not in any of my books.

Interesting about the two versions of Solvejg's Song. I know only one, which I hope to record one day. Tell more !

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:30 pm 
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It comes from my earstwhile piano teacher. She has (I suppose she still does) a Peters album with Solvejg's Song and this one, which is a transcription by another hand (I mention it in the tags): Walter Niemann, of whom I know nothing. I have a copy, which I hang on to for dear life, as it does not seem to be available elsewhere.

Do you mean the piano sounds bad because it sounds bad or because it is out of tune? I must say each time I record I cringe when I hear the piano I have. I hope soon we do move house and I can finally get something better. I am also hoping to start some work for a music school and maybe then they might let me use one of their pianos.

One version of Solvejg's Song is to be found in Grieg's transcription of Peer Gynt suite No. 2, while the other is in his second series of Piano Pieces After His Own Songs op 52. I had chucked the copy I had that was coupled with the Cradle Song after I had obtained op 52. What was my horror when I realised that it was something else! What was my relief when I realised the one I knew was there, all the time, in the Peer Gynt album and I had never bothered to look!

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:48 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
It comes from my earstwhile piano teacher. She has (I suppose she still does) a Peters album with Solvejg's Song and this one, which is a transcription by another hand (I mention it in the tags): Walter Niemann, of whom I know nothing. I have a copy, which I hang on to for dear life, as it does not seem to be available elsewhere.
Ah, Niemann, a well-known name. he transcribed a lot of stuff, mostly for Peters I think.

richard66 wrote:
Do you mean the piano sounds bad because it sounds bad or because it is out of tune?
I don't think it is out of tune. It's just the sound of the high register in the first few bars that made me cringe a bit. After that, the sound is quite passable. But I sure hope you'll get access to a better instrument.

richard66 wrote:
One version of Solvejg's Song is to be found in Grieg's transcription of Peer Gynt suite No. 2, while the other is in his second series of Piano Pieces After His Own Songs op 52. I had chucked the copy I had that was coupled with the Cradle Song after I had obtained op 52. What was my horror when I realised that it was something else! What was my relief when I realised the one I knew was there, all the time, in the Peer Gynt album and I had never bothered to look!
Checked my books and you're right, there are two versions, which in fact I've played both without realizing they were different :oops: The difference is very small though, the op.52 version just a little more fleshed out.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:33 pm 
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The playing is pretty alright, but the section from 2:02 - 2:08 is slightly confusing with regards to rhythm, perhaps slightly more accented strong beats can give the listener some clue as to where the beat is. The second time you played it was somewhat better however.

It sounds more like a march than a cradle song though. :S Also think you could slow down slightly more towards the end to give more finality to the piece.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:26 pm 
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Affinity wrote:
The playing is pretty alright, but the section from 2:02 - 2:08 is slightly confusing with regards to rhythm, perhaps slightly more accented strong beats can give the listener some clue as to where the beat is. The second time you played it was somewhat better however.

It sounds more like a march than a cradle song though. :S Also think you could slow down slightly more towards the end to give more finality to the piece.


Thank you!

For the passage you mention, when it is repeated I play it slightly faster. The socre bears the indication "animato".

There is no ritardando at the end and I am not sure I have ever heard any. I am not sure it would work somehow.

As I mentioned above, it is played faster than the orchestral version and perhaps faster than the metronome marking, which is cortchet = 72, butr any slower it will not work. The melody simply dies out in the first bars; that is why I speeded up a little.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:32 pm 
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techneut wrote:
richard66 wrote:
It comes from my earstwhile piano teacher. She has (I suppose she still does) a Peters album with Solvejg's Song and this one, which is a transcription by another hand (I mention it in the tags): Walter Niemann, of whom I know nothing. I have a copy, which I hang on to for dear life, as it does not seem to be available elsewhere.
Ah, Niemann, a well-known name. he transcribed a lot of stuff, mostly for Peters I think.

richard66 wrote:
Do you mean the piano sounds bad because it sounds bad or because it is out of tune?
I don't think it is out of tune. It's just the sound of the high register in the first few bars that made me cringe a bit. After that, the sound is quite passable. But I sure hope you'll get access to a better instrument.

richard66 wrote:
One version of Solvejg's Song is to be found in Grieg's transcription of Peer Gynt suite No. 2, while the other is in his second series of Piano Pieces After His Own Songs op 52. I had chucked the copy I had that was coupled with the Cradle Song after I had obtained op 52. What was my horror when I realised that it was something else! What was my relief when I realised the one I knew was there, all the time, in the Peer Gynt album and I had never bothered to look!
Checked my books and you're right, there are two versions, which in fact I've played both without realizing they were different :oops: The difference is very small though, the op.52 version just a little more fleshed out.

Not much to do if it is the piano. I might stop recording for a while; not because I am offended in any way, but it seems a waste of time while I still have this piano on my hands. Good that I did not buy it! Did I tell you the trouble I had with Bortkiewicz (The Butterfly)? It was a feat to subdue the right hand (the melody is on the left). Then I had access to a Steinway 1/4 and I tried it. Magic! The melody sang while the right hand was very discrete.

I noticed right away the difference, because I could not play the op 52, while the other one I could, as it is the one I was familiar with.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:31 am 
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Hi Richard,

I just listened to this transcription. Had never heard it before. I don't have the score, but it sounds convincing to me. Nice playing!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:06 am 
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Thank you, David.

It seems only two people in the world have the score, but so much the better than one can listen without worrying: "is this right?" Did you ever hear of the great pianist (I forget his name) who noticed sitting in the first row a lady with all the scores on her lap. After the concert was over he commented on that, saying he had never felt so nervous in his life.

My father also tells me that, when he was still in school, a violinist came to play for them and one of the pupils, who had liked a particular number, asked him to play it again. The violinist refused, saying that by playing a second time any differences (errors, flubs or simply a different tempo) would become immediately apparent.

It is a pity about the sound of the piano, but still I do not agree with Chris that the first bars sound terrirble: I find the piano sounds horrible throughout.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:42 pm 
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That's weird....I posted something here ten minutes ago, but it's gone...

Anyway, what I said Richard, is that I have not had a chance to listen to your recording yet. But I did download it onto my phone while on the train this morning, so maybe I will get a moment sometime today to listen. In the meantime, I just wanted to say that if your piano has unbalanced keys, and/or some keys are stiff or sticky, you may be causing permanent damage to your hands. Be careful!

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:43 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
That's weird....I posted something here ten minutes ago, but it's gone...

Not. You posted that in your Chopin thread.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:06 pm 
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techneut wrote:
pianolady wrote:
That's weird....I posted something here ten minutes ago, but it's gone...

Not. You posted that in your Chopin thread.


Oh, that's even weirder! I'm getting confused....

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:06 pm 
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Hi Richard,

Yes, I do recall that story about the lady in the front row with the score open in her lap. It was years ago though, so like you I can't remember who the artist was. Aside from that incident, there are also many concert goers who have found themselves sitting next to score gazers and find all the page turning to be a real annoyance. It's worse than the occasional rustling of programs, because it's on-going.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:37 pm 
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Rachfan wrote:
there are also many concert goers who have found themselves sitting next to score gazers and find all the page turning to be a real annoyance. It's worse than the occasional rustling of programs, because it's on-going.
Quite so. The least they could do is learn how to turn pages silently.

Rustling noises don't always come from just the audience, though. The other week I was in the orchestra for a performance of Elgar's "Dream of Gerontius". Choir members normally remain seated during long sections when the orchestra plays on its own or the soloists are singing, and then stand just before they have something to sing. They are often well trained so that the standing up and sitting down (the state change from seated to standing and back) is as inaudible as possible, and on this occasion they were pretty good at that.

But as soon as they were standing there was an incessant annoying rustle as if sweeties or cough drops were being unwrapped. The cause was that their scores had been bound with identical-looking paper covers, probably for visual reasons, perhaps to disguise the fact that they were using different editions, and regrettably the paper used was of a type particularly prone to rustling whenever anyone's grip changed.

Luckily during the rehearsal break several people made representations to the conductor and there was great joy all round when he instructed the choir to rip off the tissue paper.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:18 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Do you mean the piano sounds bad because it sounds bad or because it is out of tune?
I think it is out of tune, but that's clearly not the only thing wrong with it. In the circumstances you are doing an amazing job of keeping some passages as quiet as you do (The Butterfly being, as you say, a case in point).

A good voicing could pay dividends in terms of less frustration, but your reluctance to spend money on the old groaner is understandable since it would be wasted if (as you hope) you will soon leave it behind. But what if it doesn't happen as soon as you hope?


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:38 pm 
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Well, you see: it is not mine and any investment on it benefits solely the piano shop from whom I rent it. The thing is that I must pay transport charges and having it taken away now and a new one brought in only to have it moved in two months does not seem sensible, as it would also involve tuning the new one twice.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:58 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
That's weird....I posted something here ten minutes ago, but it's gone...

Anyway, what I said Richard, is that I have not had a chance to listen to your recording yet. But I did download it onto my phone while on the train this morning, so maybe I will get a moment sometime today to listen. In the meantime, I just wanted to say that if your piano has unbalanced keys, and/or some keys are stiff or sticky, you may be causing permanent damage to your hands. Be careful!


Oh, there is no problem with the keys. It is the sound which is appalling and the piano that is as sensitive as a rhinoceros after anaesthesia. The tuner almost made my sign a document exempting him from all responsibility! In the end he achieved a miracle, but even a miracle was not enough.

I thought I might ask the music school with whom I now work, but there there would a a great amount of noise, what with other instruments playing and a doorbell that is louder than a steeple on Sunday. Imagine half-way through this lullaby a big RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:41 pm 
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Ok, Richard, I have listened to your recording. It's a pretty piece, however, besides your piano being out of tune a little, I heard a lot of background hiss. Granted, I was running on a treadmill just now during my lunch hour while I was listening, but even with the noise from the machine I still heard the hiss. On every note that comes down, a splash of hiss comes with it. I don't understand why it's always just me who hears it, though. Is there any chance of changing your recording gear?

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:12 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
On every note that comes down, a splash of hiss comes with it. I don't understand why it's always just me who hears it, though.
Now you mention it, I hear it too, if I turn the volume up enough. But I don't hear a splash on every note, just on some, like on many of the downbeats. Could it be pedal-related swish which just sounds a bit like hiss?
Quote:
Is there any chance of changing your recording gear?
:wink: Inasmuch as the piano itself is part of the recording setup, I'm sure Richard would be delighted to change it!

I'm surprised its owners have the nerve to charge him rent for something so bad he'd be only too pleased to have someone take a sledgehammer to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:50 pm 
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Yes, I would love to, but at the moment I have to figure out how we are going to pay for next months food bill.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:54 pm 
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rainer wrote:
pianolady wrote:
On every note that comes down, a splash of hiss comes with it. I don't understand why it's always just me who hears it, though.
Now you mention it, I hear it too, if I turn the volume up enough. But I don't hear a splash on every note, just on some, like on many of the downbeats. Could it be pedal-related swish which just sounds a bit like hiss?
Quote:
Is there any chance of changing your recording gear?
:wink: Inasmuch as the piano itself is part of the recording setup, I'm sure Richard would be delighted to change it!

I'm surprised its owners have the nerve to charge him rent for something so bad he'd be only too pleased to have someone take a sledgehammer to it.


No, Rainer: it is the editing and I hear it too. The souind editor removes the hiss between the notes, leaving it on the notes themselves. At times I think it best not to remove the hiss.

They were willing to sell it to me, considering the first year of rent as part payment and not chargins transport. That is how much they wanted to see the back of it. Why did I take it? because in the flat where I lived before it was the only one that could negotiate the stairs, as bringing in through the terrace would have required major egineering works.

I just hope they do not decide to give it to me, rather than forking out (I paid for its removal when I rented it) to take it. I raher think that the transport cost is higher than its value.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:43 pm 
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This one is up.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:12 pm 
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techneut wrote:
This one is up.


Really? I thought the piano sound had made that impossible, Thank you, then!

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:27 am 
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Its IMO only the first couple of bars that are really bad. Otherwise it's an acceptable recording. It helps that it is a piece we did not have before.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:14 pm 
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I will see if I can use one of the music school's grand pianos, though their best one is off-limits for now. The only problem is... It is a music school with little boys learning the violin, Russian tenors being coached (funny that one should have come in the very day I was introducing a Russian soprano to the director!) and a doorbell that can be heard over a fff! No recording will survive that!

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:23 pm 
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You'll have to book for the night then ! And hope nobody rings ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:52 am 
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Hi Richard,
I'm trying to catch up here - sorry for the late post.
I had to listen to this on lower volume than usual because of sleeping children in the house (ironic because it's a cradle song) and thought it was fine. (There's something slightly funky at the beginning but that's already been noted.)

I can see why you don't like the piano, though. This is probably a really stupid suggestion, but have you tried playing an entire piece una corda? The sound will be different - who knows, maybe better?? Of course, finding repertoire for which that's appropriate is challenging, but there are pieces in which it's used heavily.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:07 am 
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Hello Richard,

You did a very good job with the echoing of the phrases at a softer dynaic level. It was highly effective.
The character of the piece throughout was solid.

Thanks for sharing.
Kaila Rochelle

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:25 am 
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StuKautsch wrote:
Hi Richard,
I'm trying to catch up here - sorry for the late post.
I had to listen to this on lower volume than usual because of sleeping children in the house (ironic because it's a cradle song) and thought it was fine. (There's something slightly funky at the beginning but that's already been noted.)

I can see why you don't like the piano, though. This is probably a really stupid suggestion, but have you tried playing an entire piece una corda? The sound will be different - who knows, maybe better?? Of course, finding repertoire for which that's appropriate is challenging, but there are pieces in which it's used heavily.


Thank you, Stewart. Funny about sleeping children. Yesterday my daughter wanted to take a nap half-way through the ballet she was watching (composer Valerij Gavrilin (1939-1999). Asked if she would like me to play the piano for her she said, "Yes!" so I practised one of my later pieces, by a certain living composer (I am not giving my secrets away! :) and it was not Ismagilov, either!) and she was aleep in 2 minutes - and your children wake up with 19th century cradle songs! :shock:

Technically I cannot play "una corda", because I must be the only member who does not have a grand (or 1/4) piano and, as you know, on uprights all the action does is bring the hammers closer to the strings.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:27 am 
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musicrecovery wrote:
Hello Richard,

You did a very good job with the echoing of the phrases at a softer dynaic level. It was highly effective.
The character of the piece throughout was solid.

Thanks for sharing.
Kaila Rochelle


Thank you, Kaila. It took practice that, as I did not want to use the soft pedal, as it changes the quality of the sound.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:59 am 
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Richard, I had a discussion with Monica abut this one's sound quality, and feel like I've been rash to put this up. As Monica noted, if someone dips into PS randomly and finds this, the first couple of bars could make them run away or at least get a wrong impression of the standard quality here.
Can't you record this on a decent piano, or maybe get this thing tuned ?

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:20 pm 
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I suppose so, but it will take some time. Meanwhile I take it you will be removing it.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:00 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
I suppose so, but it will take some time. Meanwhile I take it you will be removing it.

Well hmmm... I'd feel a bit rotten about removing it. Maybe we can just cut off the first few bars ? :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:38 pm 
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That is no problem. If you remember I myself expressed surprise at your including it, so you do not need to fell overripe or whatever it is. Monica once removed the Arietta and she is still alive, though with tendonitis (though she did make up some excuse not to meet me in person! :D). Or you can use these supermodern editing programmes: you cut out the first four bars, get the next four, put them an octave higher and there we are! :!:

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:24 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Monica once removed the Arietta and she is still alive, though with tendonitis (though she did make up some excuse not to meet me in person! :D).


:lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:51 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Monica once removed the Arietta

Which I had probably put up there to start with. Guess who's the boss around here :P

So, I'm afraid we'll scratch the Solvejg for now. Rest assured it is not your playing this time.
Actually, did you never consider a digital ? Not that I like them much but they might sound better than your upright.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:39 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Actually, did you never consider a digital ? Not that I like them much but they might sound better than your upright.

That's a good idea! I don't care much for digitals either, but I forgot to say this earlier....Richard, what bothered me most was your recording setup. With a digital you can get a totally hiss-free recording. But the digital piano does have to be good one, or else it sounds to thin and tinkly.

I bet you can find a good used digital maybe on Ebay or something like that.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:40 pm 
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I cannot say the idea of digital fills me with any enthusiasm. I once had something similar and I passed it on. Somehow I feEL better not playing than using something electronic.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:16 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
I cannot say the idea of digital fills me with any enthusiasm. I once had something similar and I passed it on. Somehow I feEL better not playing than using something electronic.

I sympathize with that. Even though a digital would save so much money on tuning, and remove the anxiety about sour notes, I don't think I would want to play on one.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:24 pm 
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Yes, I have a digital and also a grand. When my kids are still sleeping, I have the option of going downstairs to practice on my digital, but I hardly ever do that because I'd rather wait until I can get on my grand. It's like there is no life in a digital, it doesn't draw me. Whereas, the grand is like a living thing that I attempt (on almost a daily basis) to coax into submitting wondrous sounds and emotions. Is that weird...? :)

p.s. Richard, see Andrew's note in the General forum about translating Spanish.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:57 pm 
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You do not worry about sour notes, but you do about the electricity failing, which does happen now and then.

I shall have to invent a scheme to get hold of a real piano. I would buy one with the money I eventually will get, but first I have to convince my wife that it is best to invest 30,000.00 on a good (even if used) grand than buying a house on the never-never plan and make the last payment at 85 and dying next day of old age, having seen the value of the house become less than that of the morgage, as has happened not to long! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:55 am 
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Hmm. I'm sure you can get a decent used grand for an awful lot less than 30k (true for whichever of €/£/$ you mean). I am in any case not at all convinced that a grand is a terribly wise investment unless you can also afford a house big enough to put it in, and I don't just mean that there is enough floor space for it. Unless you have the (spatial) volume and the acoustic that can actually take the sound the piano will produce, which implies high ceilings and a room large enough to seat at least (say) ten guests in reasonable comfort whom you might entertain before or after dinner with your playing, there is simply no point and I would say you are better off with an upright. You don't want the piano (lid down, protective cover and decorative tablecloth in place) to have to double as a sideboard from which the buffet is to be served.

A big piano and a big house (or at least a house with at least one big room) are not things you can trade off against each other - they go together. I'm sure you know that fine well and were just joking. Besides, you need to budget for other potential expenses. What if your daughter turns out to be highly musical and is drawn to a non-piano expensive instrument? She might in due course require a top notch instrument costing 20k or more. There is a good reason why uprights were invented, and it's not only down to floor space. They are perfectly adequate for most domestic situations and quite a lot of them actually have a rather nice sound.

Although I have regular access to two modest-size grands (both (is it allowed to say "unfortunately"?) Steinways), one of them about 120 years old, the other nearly new, I actually prefer the sound of my own piano, even though it is "only" an upright, and only 40 inches tall (but overstrung). It's an Everett which my (late) parents bought new in Kansas City in 1953 (supplied by the Jenkins Music Co if that means anything to anyone) and which (due to my dad's job) has endured quite a few international house moves in its time. I like it so much that any other piano somehow feels and sounds inferior. I don't know whether that is simply down to "what I'm used to" or I was just lucky to have grown up with such a nice instrument. For a few years (about 15 years ago) I had to put up with a cheap upright (£600 - roughly 10 times the cost of a tuning), which was all I could afford. It was definitely inferior (though perhaps not quite as bad as your old groaner). Luckily circumstances (which also had their unfortunate sides) reunited me with the old faithful I grew up with.

So my recommendation for when you part company with the old groaner would be: Don't get a digital, and (unless you have money to burn, which seems unlikely for someone who has mentioned worrying about next month's food bill) don't get a grand. Get a decent upright, but accept that you may have to try a few, and that they won't sound the same in your home as in the shop, so make sure you negotiate terms which let you change your mind as often as you like.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:03 pm 
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rainer wrote:
Hmm. I'm sure you can get a decent used grand for an awful lot less than 30k (true for whichever of €/£/$ you mean). I am in any case not at all convinced that a grand is a terribly wise investment unless you can also afford a house big enough to put it in, and I don't just mean that there is enough floor space for it. Unless you have the (spatial) volume and the acoustic that can actually take the sound the piano will produce, which implies high ceilings and a room large enough to seat at least (say) ten guests in reasonable comfort whom you might entertain before or after dinner with your playing, there is simply no point and I would say you are better off with an upright.


Well, my piano is not in a large room with high ceilings but I think it sounds fine. No matter how good an upright is, you will never get a sound as full as a grand. But of course if you don't have the money, then investing in a 'very good' upright is most practical.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:16 pm 
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The big room is a factor and is a reason why I would settle for a 1/3 (the next size up from the baby grand). Another consideration is technical: some pieces simply cannot be played on an upright: has anyone tried Albéniz's Leyenda on an upright? It is mechanically impossible! The same goes for Liszt's Consolations (about the only Liszt I have attempted), which seems impossible without the sustaining pedal.

Before I had a Baldwin upright, that cost me Ca. 2,000.00 (bucks) and, when I moved I had to sell it and I fetched something like 600.00. To have it sent to me would have cost more than the original value of the piano, let alone its sale value! Was it good?, Why, yes, thought it was very very loud and my ears would buzz after a practice session.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:39 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
The big room is a factor and is a reason why I would settle for a 1/3 (the next size up from the baby grand). Another consideration is technical: some pieces simply cannot be played on an upright: has anyone tried Albéniz's Leyenda on an upright? It is mechanically impossible! The same goes for Liszt's Consolations (about the only Liszt I have attempted), which seems impossible without the sustaining pedal.

You must mean the sostenuto pedal. Doesn't every piano have a sustain pedal? Whenever I play the 3rd (I think) Consolation I use the sostenuto pedal (the middle pedal).

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:09 am 
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richard66 wrote:
Another consideration is technical: some pieces simply cannot be played on an upright: has anyone tried Albéniz's Leyenda on an upright? It is mechanically impossible! The same goes for Liszt's Consolations (about the only Liszt I have attempted), which seems impossible without the sustaining pedal.
You're quite right that some pieces do require the selective sustain pedal, and what the middle pedal on most uprights does instead (simply lifting the dampers on the bottom few octaves) is a very poor substitute for that, and if such pieces are going to form a major part of your intended repertoire, then of course that will have a bearing on your decision whether you really must spend the extra money on a grand or whether you can get by with a decent upright. I could have done with a sost ped in some Barber songs I accompanied recently, but frankly I come across this requirement so rarely that it doesn't much bother me not having one at home.

I don't understand why you particularly mention Leyenda, though. As far as I can see it is perfectly well playable on an upright. The huge jumps are a horror no matter what type of instrument you play it on, but I can't see where in it a sost ped would be especially desirable, let alone necessary. Could you be more specific about exactly which sections you consider mechanically impossible?


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:44 am 
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No, Monica, only grands have the sostenuto pedal. Others have a middle pedal, but it only places a stip of felt between the hammers and the strings. Its only use is when you feel like reading something at 3am, because otherwise it alters the feel of the keys. You mention the very same Consolation I was thinking of and I am now practising pieces that obvioulsy ask for it too. I am trying to do with finger legato, but it makes it all that more difficult, as in one, for example, there on the RH is a suspension (4-3) within a chord being played with 1,2 and 5, which is the main melody), with the LF playing a counter melody whereas with the sustenuto pedal I would play with the RH the mailn melody and the suspension, leaving the rest for the LH - which is the way it is written out.

You misunderstand me, Rainer: in the Leyenda the pedal is not an issue, the issue are the repeated middle-register d's, which alternate between the hands. The hammers on an upright to not return to position fast enough, resulting in many of the d's being dropped out. That was already a problem with my old Baldwin, but on the one I have now it is impossible. The leaps never bothered me too much, except that landing ff on a black key with a finger 3/4 of the way off and skidding might cause injury.

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:16 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
No, Monica, only grands have the sostenuto pedal.
Despite their common linguistic root, sostenuto and sustain pedals are not the same thing. Not all pianos have a sostenuto pedal (and apparently not all which do are grands) but all pianos do have a sustain pedal, that's the one on the right, also called the damper pedal.
Quote:
You misunderstand me, Rainer: in the Leyenda the pedal is not an issue, the issue are the repeated middle-register d's, which alternate between the hands. The hammers on an upright to not return to position fast enough, resulting in many of the d's being dropped out.
I see what you mean. Luckily it's not really a problem on my piano; the keys are able to repeat as fast as I can play them. Maybe I'm not (trying to) play them fast enough. :?
Quote:
The leaps never bothered me too much.
Really? Wow! I reckon the piece is pretty well impossible to play as written if you also want it fast. All the way through the fast sections, the left hand simply plods along playing on semiquaver beats 1,3,5,7,9,11, and its occasional octave jumps are basically going to govern what your maximum speed is going to be. Meanwhile the right hand mostly plays on 2,4,6,8,10,12. But where the leaps come, the right hand plays its loud chords on beat 1, but still has to play on the neighbouring beats 12 and 2. It therefore has to play on three consecutive semiquaver beats, with a jump of up to two octaves both between the first and second and between the second and third.

How do you play it? I think there are basically four ways:
1) By playing the whole piece slowly enough that your right hand can play its three consecutive semiquaver beats in time. Like this there is no way it will be so fast that the piano's mechanical repeatability will be anywhere near challenged (not even on your old groaner). But this will probably be rather too pedestrian for most people's taste.
2) By not playing 3 consecutive semiquavers at all. The right hand doesn't play 10,12,1,2,4 but only 10,12,2,4 as elsewhere, playing the loud chord on 2. The consequence of this is that you get a "ricochet" effect because the LH and RH chords are consecutive instead of simultaneous, they are a semiquaver apart. The recording on site does it this way. While it's not what's written, it's reasonably effective.
3) By judiciously omitting, or subtly shifting the timing of, the right hand's beats 12 or 2 or both.
4) By pragmatically abandoning all attempts to play in time, and inserting gaps between 12 and 1 and/or between 1 and 2 to give yourself time for the leaps. Unfortunately this rather disturbs the overall perpetuum mobile effect.


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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:07 pm 
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You forgot one more idea on how to land those leaps correctly, which is to have a friend standing nearby and ready to push down the notes at the right time. :idea: :P

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 Post subject: Re: Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:55 pm 
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rainer wrote:
richard66 wrote:
No, Monica, only grands have the sostenuto pedal.
Despite their common linguistic root, sostenuto and sustain pedals are not the same thing. Not all pianos have a sostenuto pedal (and apparently not all which do are grands) but all pianos do have a sustain pedal, that's the one on the right, also called the damper pedal.
Quote:
You misunderstand me, Rainer: in the Leyenda the pedal is not an issue, the issue are the repeated middle-register d's, which alternate between the hands. The hammers on an upright to not return to position fast enough, resulting in many of the d's being dropped out.
I see what you mean. Luckily it's not really a problem on my piano; the keys are able to repeat as fast as I can play them. Maybe I'm not (trying to) play them fast enough. :?
Quote:
The leaps never bothered me too much.
Really? Wow! I reckon the piece is pretty well impossible to play as written if you also want it fast. All the way through the fast sections, the left hand simply plods along playing on semiquaver beats 1,3,5,7,9,11, and its occasional octave jumps are basically going to govern what your maximum speed is going to be. Meanwhile the right hand mostly plays on 2,4,6,8,10,12. But where the leaps come, the right hand plays its loud chords on beat 1, but still has to play on the neighbouring beats 12 and 2. It therefore has to play on three consecutive semiquaver beats, with a jump of up to two octaves both between the first and second and between the second and third.

How do you play it? I think there are basically four ways:
1) By playing the whole piece slowly enough that your right hand can play its three consecutive semiquaver beats in time. Like this there is no way it will be so fast that the piano's mechanical repeatability will be anywhere near challenged (not even on your old groaner). But this will probably be rather too pedestrian for most people's taste.
2) By not playing 3 consecutive semiquavers at all. The right hand doesn't play 10,12,1,2,4 but only 10,12,2,4 as elsewhere, playing the loud chord on 2. The consequence of this is that you get a "ricochet" effect because the LH and RH chords are consecutive instead of simultaneous, they are a semiquaver apart. The recording on site does it this way. While it's not what's written, it's reasonably effective.
3) By judiciously omitting, or subtly shifting the timing of, the right hand's beats 12 or 2 or both.
4) By pragmatically abandoning all attempts to play in time, and inserting gaps between 12 and 1 and/or between 1 and 2 to give yourself time for the leaps. Unfortunately this rather disturbs the overall perpetuum mobile effect.


You know, it has been so long that I have played it (I try now and then, but all those missing d's get me and I stop immediately). that I cannot remember what I do. Considering the mechanical problem stated above, it must be option 1.

Of course I call the left pedal the damper (or loud) pedal and the middle one therefore becomes sustain (which in Italian becomes sostenuto), a silly name really, as it means nothing, while the left pedal is the soft one, or una corda, if one has a grand. On an upright of course "una corda is a non-existent effect and no more that can be achieved by the fingers alone. Another effect impossible on an upright is the half-key, where a pressed key is released only part-way before being pressed again. I was taught that for Schubert's Improptu in c. I do it, but am aware that it does not work.

The sotenuto pedal is (if I am not mistaken) a creation of Steinway's. The pianos that have it are those built from the lated 19th centurry onwards.

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