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 Post subject: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:38 pm 
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The last of my long and over-productive weekend spent on some unfamiliar repertoire, and to get some stuff off my over-crowded music stand.
Miklos Rozsa was to become famous as composer of epic film scores like the Ben Hur. These early Bagatelles (1932) are redolent of Bartok and Kodaly in folksy mood. I find much to enjoy in them. No.3 is perhaps a bit bland, but nos. 2 and 5 are exquisite, and the others are vigorous and bouncy. Fun stuff to play - and hopefully to listen to.

Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12 - 1: Kleiner Marsch (1:30)
Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12 - 2: Novellette (2:48)
Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12 - 3: Valse Lente (2:21)
Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12 - 4: Ungarisch (1:40)
Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12 - 5: Canzone (1:30)
Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12 - 6: Capricietto (2:34)

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:33 pm 
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There! You have got there too!

I would not say they are redolent of Bartok or Kodaly, two composers whom he hardly knew, having met the former only once in his life, when already in his American exile, while the latter he only knew by name. Rozsa's musical education did not even take place in Hungary, having moved to Leipzig to study music, then going immediately after graduating to Paris, London and finally Holywood. Better to say the similarities stem from their common Hungarian roots. Rozsa, in younger years, would spend all the time he could on the family estate in northen Hungary, where he collected the songs of the villagers, some of which he used in his North Hungarian Peasant Songs and Dances and in his Variations on a Hungarian Peasant song. It was an idiom that, having made his own, he would never abandon, even though he left his homelabd when he was 24, returning only once for a brief visit in 1975. His hungarianness is evident even in pieces he wrote much later in life, such as the vilin concerto, written for Heifetz.

Two of these Bagatelles made their way into his Hungarian Serenade, though in a different form.

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:39 pm 
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I should perhaps have said the music shows its Hungarian roots as vividly as similar works by Bartok and Kodaly.
Anyway thanks Richard, for suggesting Rozsa to me, a composer I had not previously considered. I really love these colorful pieces.

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:57 pm 
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You are welcome!

When the year started I had not a single piece by him,either recording or score now I have four different versions of his violin concerto!

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:10 pm 
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I'm another Rozsa fan, or rather my wife is another Rozsa fan and I listen to his stuff whenever she puts it on.
This is fun, and a very good recording job, too, Chris.
I do want to alert you to the dead link, however - if you click on his picture on the front page you're taken to a blank page. Clicking on his name in the composer list has the same effect. This is probably a work in progress but I thought it best to point it out just in case.

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:49 pm 
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Thanks Stu.
Yes I know, I'll need to create a page and the links to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:25 pm 
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These are good little pieces, except, as you say, number three.

This time I followed with score and I notice there are many more dynamic contrasts in the score than come though. Is this the way you wanted it?

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:59 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
This time I followed with score and I notice there are many more dynamic contrasts in the score than come though. Is this the way you wanted it?
Of course not. It's just how it turns out. I may not have observed all of them and also, non-professional recording does flatten out dynamics, as is often observed here.

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:31 pm 
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I suppose I am very sensitive to dynamics these days, as I have been trying my best to observe them (sometnig that before I could not do) and maybe I imagine there to be greater difference between p and f that there actually is.

You seem to have a pretty good setup for recordings, as I remember. Certainly it is my dream to have something similar to yours!

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:30 am 
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I thought these were very good. Lots of colour to them. Thanks for the upload!


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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:38 am 
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richard66 wrote:
I suppose I am very sensitive to dynamics these days, as I have been trying my best to observe them (sometnig that before I could not do) and maybe I imagine there to be greater difference between p and f that there actually is.
Maybe. There could always be more, of course.

richard66 wrote:
You seem to have a pretty good setup for recordings, as I remember. Certainly it is my dream to have something similar to yours!
A decent recorder like Edirol R-9, Zoom H4 or Tascam DR-1 will get you a ways. Though recording an upright s probably more challenging than a grand. You may
want to try removing the front boards to get a full sound.

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:43 am 
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andrew wrote:
I thought these were very good. Lots of colour to them. Thanks for the upload!
Thanks Andrew. I gather that to mean they are at least adequately played ? Yes they are good, except no.3 which is a bit uninspired, yet has a certain sinuous charm. It is here that I seem to hear Rosza the future film composer, rather than in the other pieces which evoke Bartok's For Children and Ten Easy Pieces more than anything else.

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:05 pm 
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techneut wrote:
andrew wrote:
I thought these were very good. Lots of colour to them. Thanks for the upload!
Thanks Andrew. I gather that to mean they are at least adequately played ? Yes they are good, except no.3 which is a bit uninspired, yet has a certain sinuous charm. It is here that I seem to hear Rosza the future film composer, rather than in the other pieces which evoke Bartok's For Children and Ten Easy Pieces more than anything else.


I must say I prefer Rozsa the Hungarian rather than Rozsa the Hollywood star and I am happy to note there is no lack of that either!

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 Post subject: Re: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:16 pm 
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techneut wrote:
richard66 wrote:
You seem to have a pretty good setup for recordings, as I remember. Certainly it is my dream to have something similar to yours!
A decent recorder like Edirol R-9, Zoom H4 or Tascam DR-1 will get you a ways. Though recording an upright s probably more challenging than a grand. You may want to try removing the front boards to get a full sound.


This piano has quite a good sound, actually, and is probably just as good as some lesser grands out there.

What I did, starting from a suggestion of Alexander's (who seems not to be around too much of late) I turned the piano away from the wall, so that I have my back to the wall and the back of the piano faces the room and, whenever I record, the recorder. I then open the lid part-way (I use a wooden divider that I found in an upmarket wine case). To make it easier for me, I place the scores on the top of the keyboard lid (and use an architect's ruler to keep them from falling behind), so that there is nothing to get in the way of the hands.

This is good for the piano, as it keeps it from any humidity there might come from the wall.

Having a large living-room and high ceilings makes reverbation not so necessary.

The only thing I notice is a tendency for the right channel to be louder, so that I need to reduce it a bit to obtain balance.

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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: Rozsa - Bagatellen Op.12
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:47 am 
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Location: Edinburgh, UK
techneut wrote:
andrew wrote:
I thought these were very good. Lots of colour to them. Thanks for the upload!
Thanks Andrew. I gather that to mean they are at least adequately played ?


Oh, absolutely - better than adequately! I thought your playing demonstrated an affinity for the music.


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