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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:22 pm 
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I cannot help but agreeing with Joe here and this is exacly what I am saying in another discussion. It seems that recordings no longer reflect reality. After all, if someone is not capable to play piece A or B throughout that is no problem: it can be recorded in pieces, even over several days and no need to bother with errors, because they can all be cut out and musical plastic surgery will solve any problems.

Anyway, I notice there is some diagreement as to the number of errors. I seem to remember the same thing when my last recording was submitted and I am convinced there is some transmission problem that makes those who download hear things which those who submit do not hear, because they are listening not to the files on the server, but to the ones they have on their own computers.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:55 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
I cannot help but agreeing with Joe here and this is exacly what I am saying in another discussion. It seems that recordings no longer reflect reality. After all, if someone is not capable to play piece A or B throughout that is no problem: it can be recorded in pieces, even over several days and no need to bother with errors, because they can all be cut out and musical plastic surgery will solve any problems.

Oh but that is such golden bullshit. It does not happen like that, nobody here does piecemeal recordings and splices bits and pieces together afterwards. Such donkey work I would not want to undertake, life is too short. What happens (at least in my case) is that when I slip, which is wont to happen every page or so, I back up a bar or so, repeat until it's ok and then play on. If I have to repeat too often I abandon the track as it's clearly not sufficiently practiced. Afterwards the wrong bits are cut out. I practice my utmost to record with as few mistakes as possible, and not need more than a could of small cuts per recording. Very occasionally I use a part from another take but try to avoid that. Now do these few cuts invalidate the performance, even if you can't hear them ? What does it matter that I've not played straight through perfectly ? Would the music be better or more valid if I'd left the flubs in ? Etc.. etc.....

richard66 wrote:
Anyway, I notice there is some disgreement as to the number of errors. I seem to remember the same thing when my last recording was submitted and I am convinced there is some transmission problem that makes those who download hear things which those who submit do not hear, because they are listening not to the files on the server, but to the ones they have on their own computers.
Of course, the aliens invade the data stream and insert errors :roll: The problem IMO is that many submitters hear what they want to hear. It takes practice and courage to listen objectively to your own recording, in the same critical way you'd listen to someone else's. It still amazes me when sometimes people simply do not hear their own flubs (or maybe don't want to hear) even if they're pointed out.

Oh dear, and I was not going to be drawn in a discussion. Famous last words :lol: Not that discussions help any. There are too strong opinions here.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:27 pm 
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You do get worked up... As they say in English, if the caps fits, put it on! :lol:

You, of course, talk for yourself, hoping no one has strange ideas and I would not put it beyond some people (I am not aware of anyone doing it on the site, so I am not hinting at anybody). After all, have there not been submiters who, uncapable of playing up to speed, have not been reluctant to speed the recording?

I suppose recordings can be done as you say, but I would find this very distracting and, at least in my case, amounts to stuttering and is, by no stretch of the imagination, a performance. They can be a recording, but of something that really did not take place and of something that very likely could not!

I had reams of recordings just as you say yours start life as, but most of them, I am glad to say, have been ditched by the notorious computer technician and I have no intention to start doctoring my recordings, which is one reason I have not submitted for some time. Maybe others feels as I do, that I cannot say.

As for flubs... and not wanting to hear... Speaking for myself at least, I am very much aware of them and am very conscious of when they happen. The recording I mentioned was one of many done over many months and that had been discarded exacly because of these flaws. Why would I suddenly have been satisfied with one recording when so many previous ones had been discarded? Would any pianist worth his salt and who is aware of these flaws, submit?

Now, have you ever known that you made an error, such as hitting two keys, then listened repeatedly and failed to hear anything wrong? This happens too and you cannot say that it is not wanting to hear, because you know you muddled it.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:41 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
You do get worked up... As they say in English, if the caps fits, put it on! :lol:
I sure do. Because if you were to be right, there is no place for (most of) my recordings here or anywhere else. I'd like to think that they have some merit despite containing some cuts.

richard66 wrote:
You, of course, talk for yourself, hoping no one has strange ideas and I would not put it beyond some people (I am not aware of anyone doing it on the site, so I am not hinting at anybody). After all, have there not been submiters who, uncapable of playing up to speed, have not been reluctant to speed the recording?
I don't know of any such here. There have been some that submitted midi recordings, and were found out quickly.

richard66 wrote:
I suppose recordings can be done as you say, but I would find this very distracting and, at least in my case, amounts to stuttering and is, by no stretch of the imagination, a performance. They can be a recording, but of something that really did not take place and of something that very likely could not!
Exactly. A recording is not the equivalent of a performance. In a live performance, one forgives the odd flub. In a recording, one does not. Or do you buy only live recordings ?

richard66 wrote:
I had reams of recordings just as you say yours start life as, but most of them, I am glad to say, have been ditched by the notorious computer technician and I have no intention to start doctoring my recordings, which is one reason I have not submitted for some time. Maybe others feels as I do, that I cannot say.

As for flubs... and not wanting to hear... Speaking for myself at least, I am very much aware of them and am very conscious of when they happen. The recording I mentioned was one of many done over many months and that had been discarded exacly because of these flaws. Why would I suddenly have been satisfied with one recording when so many previous ones had been discarded? Would any pianist worth his salt and who is aware of these flaws, submit?
Not sure what point you are trying to make. But if you can't bring yourself to "doctor" your recordings, and on the other hand feel you can't submit recordings with flaws, then I don't see you submitting anything any time soon...


richard66 wrote:
Now, have you ever known that you made an error, such as hitting two keys, then listened repeatedly and failed to hear anything wrong? This happens too and you cannot say that it is not wanting to hear, because you know you muddled it.
You mean you *know* but can't *hear* ? That seems like a strange way to go about it. It happens that I think everything was ok during recording. and when listening back I became painfully aware of some little flaw. In most cases, that is reason for a re-recording.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:05 pm 
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Well, you need not be, because my remarks were in general. An opinion, as it were, and were not meant for anyone in particular, principally as I was not really aware of which your recording techniques are.

My point is, what should a musicians aiim at? Delivering a good performance that can then be recorded or recording because such a performance cannot be delivered? When I joined I hoped to be driven to do the former, exactly because when I play I do just what you say you do when recording: I miss a not, stop, restrart from a couple of bars before, then make a mistake further on, stop, start again, ad nauseam. Is this a pleasure to listen to? Is it a pleasure to do? I call that stuttering and a very bad habit it is too and, at least in my case, it risks ruining any joy I have at playing. When I joined, I hoped I could find the stength I needed to cut this once for all, not to mask my inadequacy in recordings.

I have many live performances of works. I normally have to edit them, but only to remove coughs and applause. Are they flawed? Maybe, but I really do not sit through them with score in hand and, even if I were aware of any mistakes, I do not listen to any one recording often enough for this to become an issue.

I did once doctor a recording at a time and I had one comment to the sense that the whole piece was absolutely square and that not once "did you come up for a beath of air". All very flattering it was, considering that counting is not my forte and that I tend to add to long a puase now and then. Too bad that this reflected not my playing, but my editing capacity.

As for your last point, I do agree. How many "fine" performances I hace ditched, because tempo varied or the cat meowed (I do not have a cat, by the way) or I was aware f two keys being depressed at the same time.

Anyway, it seems Heather has resubmitted and that it has been accepted.

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:31 am 
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I haven't resubmitted this one yet. I think my recording of no. 1 is the only one up.


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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:00 am 
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There is a link to it, if you look at your first post, and the attachment is no longer there.

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:16 am 
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The main thing that strikes me in this piece is that in the opening and similar sections, the playing is somewhat violent. I can't prepare a piece until I figure out its character. It's very important to me. "Aufschwung" as the title is usually translated as "soaring" in the editions; however in prose I believe it's more understood as lifting up or rising (although I could be wrong). The rising could be the initial effort to soaring I suppose. But Schumann's imagery seems far removed from Rachmaninoff or Vaugn Williams in that regard. And yes, I do get it that Schumann was Romantic Age, not Late Romantic. But the image of birds soaring doesn't change because a musical style has evolved. Living near the ocean I see birds including eagles and gulls soaring frequently. They climb high in the sky where they can spread and hold their wings nearly stationary and glide like kites on the upper air currents. It's beautiful, calm, peaceful and there is no frenetic beating of wings involved except if they must regain altitude with momentary help from their wings. This Schumann piece suggests to me a bird battling through a very heavy wind storm--except birds instinctively avoid that as it's very dangerous. They usually roost until the storm has passed. So much for ornithology. But I think you see the problem with characterizing the piece.

I've played a good amount of Schumann, but have not studied this piece. I've heard others play it. And I don't even know if I could do it justice. If I were to take it up, I think I would not altogether abandon all drama in those sections, but I would avoid a harsh or violent sound and see if there might be a way--even though the tempo is very fast--to make the sound more lyrical.

It's obviously a difficult piece, and I commend you for efforts to master it. What about putting it aside for a week or two? You might find upon taking it up again that there is some added improvement in getting all the notes, for example. Just a thought.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:33 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
But the image of birds soaring doesn't change because a musical style has evolved. Living near the ocean I see birds including eagles and gulls soaring frequently. They climb high in the sky where they can spread and hold their wings nearly stationary and glide like kites on the upper air currents. It's beautiful, calm, peaceful and there is no frenetic beating of wings involved except if they must regain altitude with momentary help from their wings. This Schumann piece suggests to me a bird battling through a very heavy wind storm--except birds instinctively avoid that as it's very dangerous. They usually roost until the storm has passed. So much for ornithology. But I think you see the problem with characterizing the piece.


As much as I like the image of the birds, I don't think ornithology is very helpful here. The translation "soaring" doesn't really hit the nail on its proverbial head either. "Aufschwung" suggests something like rising energy rather than a bird's struggle against the wind. Schumann also added the titles after the composition was finished and so they reflect his own characterisation of the pieces rather than "programmes". It is, of course, a matter of personal interpretaion but I think the music itself is very clear here, even if we ignore the title, which is gives a vague idea but not anything specific. In my opinion, "Aufschwung" is a fine example of Schumann's two characters the "wild" Florestan and the "mild" Eusebius, and expression of two totally different temperaments.

I think that the present recording nicely juxtaposes those two contrasting temperaments but I also agree that some "Florestan" parts are a bit too violent and aggressive.


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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:40 am 
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The first time I saw this piece, in very bad printed edition (many accidentals were missing) I was struck how familiar it sounded. Then I bought a copy of Schumann's songs, which included Diechterliebe. There! the piano part of the fisrt song sounds just like Aufschwung! so much so that for I time I thought my bad edition was no more than a transcription or simplification of the song.

Does this give any ideas?

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Last edited by richard66 on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:18 pm 
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Hi Richard,

That's quite interesting. We would need to see which was published first, the piece or the song. Either way there is plenty of sturm and drang present there.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:28 pm 
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Hi Daniel,

Yes, I had considered that too. A volcano came to mind--big blasts followed by beautiful streams of lava. But it's doubtful that Schumann ever witnessed such an event. Maybe something more fitting would be a very gusty hailstorm. It's true that Florestan and Eusebius usually show themselves, either singly or together, within a piece. Precisely what Schumann had in mind will always be a mystery. If this piece were Mendelssohn's, we'd understand it immediately. Other than three or four pieces in the Songs without Words, his publisher choose the titles for purposes of selling sheet music.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:10 pm 
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Hi David,

Rachfan wrote:
Precisely what Schumann had in mind will always be a mystery. If this piece were Mendelssohn's, we'd understand it immediately.


If Schumann had anything particular in mind at all. Maybe he didn't. "Aufschwung" is at the same time clear and unprecise. It is clear on an emotional level. Rising energy, exuberance, relentless optimism... On the other hand it doesn't express any precise image like the sea birds or the volcanic eruption. And I think this is the beauty of it -- the language of the music is very precise but the word which is used to describe it is quite vague. And this is where the pianist comes in :-)

Cheers

Daniel


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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:24 am 
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Hi Daniel,

Those are all very good points.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Schumann -Fantasiestucke Op. 12 no. 2 "Aufschwung"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:48 am 
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What an interesting discussion. To me this is a very physical piece. The beginning is like the violent push of a rocket engine against the ground when it takes off. The middle section is looser and freer, still with the feeling of something swinging upward.

I had not thought of Florestan and Eusebius both being responsible for the same piece at once, but that's an interesting idea.

I plan to visit the Steinway maybe this week to re record this and do a recording of Grillen, no. 4. The M & H is out of the question until the Feb. tuning, alas.

Probably the harshest moments in the set are the first theme of Aufschwung and the very end of In the Night. I don't play everything harshly. That said, I do need to work on taking the edge off my forte when it's not appropriate.


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