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 Post subject: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:01 am 
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I made a new video over the weekend. The piece is Liszt's transcription of Schubert's "Der Müller und der Bach" (The Miller and the Brook). It's from Schubert's set of pieces based on poems and titled "Die Schone Müllerin" or simply, "Müllerlieder". Somehow this piece grabbed me the very first time I heard it and I knew I had to learn it. I think it is perhaps one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever played!

The subject of the piece grabbed me too. Here is a condensed version of the story: Müllerlieder is about a miller, merrily wandering through the countryside until he comes to a brook and is drawn along its path. The brook leads to a mill, whose coziness leads the miller to seek work there. He then offers thanks to the brook for helping him to find work for his hands and work for his heart -- in the form of the mill owner's beautiful daughter. After a short time, the miller falls deeper and deeper in love with the miller's daughter. He expresses frustration that at the end of the day, he cannot distinguish himself enough to gain special notice from her. He dares not wonder if she loves him too, and tries to learn his fortune by asking the inarticulate brook. He also lacks the nerve to express his feelings to her directly, and impatiently yearns to send signs to her through equally inarticulate nature. He puzzles at her indifference to his morning greeting and even talks to the flowers, hoping they will convey his message of love. He begins to live and die by over-interpreted and misinterpreted signs from the girl, from two simple words: Yes, she loves me; No, she loves me not. In one instance, the miller has a tender moment sitting next to her by the brook, and then feels ecstatic joy that the girl belongs to him.

Trouble comes in the form of jealousy and perceived betrayal when a virile, manly hunter from the wilds of nature enters the picture.. The miller tries to delude himself into thinking that the hunter poses no threat but falls into stages of anger, jealousy alternating with pride, dejection and bitter disillusionment as the miller's daughter begins flirting with the hunter.

In the end the miller resigns himself to being unwanted by the miller's daughter (and all without breathing a word to her in conversation!). He speaks to the withered flowers, hoping to find redemption with the coming of spring and a hope of remorse from the fickle girl. Then he talks with the brook, lamenting that flowers, full moon and angels alike mirror his gloom at being broken-hearted. The brook tries to console him but to no avail. Finally, the miller commits suicide by drowning himself. The brook sings a lullaby, offering the miller rest, solace and a vision of the infinite in the sleep of death.

*******************
--Sorry to be so long-winded...I just love this piece and wanted any listener to know it's meaning.
Here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUk5o_T ... fVnX5BuRtg

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:31 pm 
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I'll be darned - that's a good video. I'll leave comments here instead of there because I don't have a YT ID.

Musically, I enjoyed it, though I'll admit I never heard the work before. What grabbed me, of course, is that it's a real YouTube video with the shots of the moving water, etc., instead of simply watching a pianist play or just a photo of Liszt. Were those your video clips of the water?

It's a good idea to incorporate the images of you playing the piece; it provides a "ground" for the viewer/listener.

Is this the first that you've done in this style? (Alternating video of yourself with video of other things.)

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:43 am 
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Thank you, Stu. I have made several other videos where I inserted images, but they were just still-shots. This is the first time I tried actual moving videos. I got the videos from a royalty-free video website that I found. But I'm just a self-taught video editor. I have a fancy program in which there are still many things on it that I don't understand, but I like playing around and trying out new features. I think it's boring to just see the pianist playing too, unless the camera angle changes. Also, I don't like to see myself so I try to find ways of hiding. Taking up space with photos or other videos is helpful.
Thanks, again! :)

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:08 pm 
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Hi Monica,

this is nicely played. It might be better if the song line would be more upfront and with more intonations. At some times piano accompaniment notes and song notes are at the same level, which should not be in my opinion. I know that it is difficult to achieve. Did you listen to the version from Kissin also on Youtube ? It is to me like I would hear the words.

Well, I would like to play this piece and would be happy to get it as good as you did.

Didier


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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:23 am 
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Hi Didier. Thank you for listening!

Yes, in fact I listened to Kissin many times! And really, I thought I brought out the melody notes just fine. That is something I always strive for. Maybe I am too close to this piece...I dunno.... Can you please tell me where you think I am not bringing out the melody?

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:02 pm 
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Monica, I enjoyed listening to your video, this is some fine playing here and learning of this tale, thanks for sharing! And it is quite a story, if not a turn morose :P

The little clips of a river were a very nice touch, I was not expecting them, because I don't think you've ever done something like this in your videos. Now you have me curious, are these clips you have taken? Is it a river near where you live?

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:06 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Can you please tell me where you think I am not bringing out the melody?


You are requiring from me some analytical listening that I am not used to. :oops:

At 17" on the youtube video the higher note from the accompaniment is a bit too loud with respect to the simultaneous note of the song. There are some other similar passages.

When I was working on such transcriptions, I was telling the German words "in my interior" (without speaking, don't know how to say that in English) and trying that my playing of the song line reflected them. If you did not do that and you have some basic knowledge of German language, you should try. Then you would certainly not put an accent on the last word of the fourth verse at 43" :

Wo ein treues Herze
In Liebe vergeht,
Da welken die Lilien
Auf jedem Beet.

(Where a true heart
Wastes away in love,
There wilt the lilies
In every bed;
)

I would expect from the words possibly a slight increase of the sound at the second verse, then a decrease up to the end of the fourth verse.

(I love so much Fritz Wunderlich in this lied.)


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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:06 pm 
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Thank you, Riley! Yes, this is the first time I inserted videos in my video. I happen live just a few steps away from a nice meandering river, but leaves were not on the trees and bushes yet when I made the video (now they are...) and I wanted more greenery so I got the videos from a royalty-free web site.

Thank you for analytically listening, Didier! I am a little relieved to know that it's not a whole section where I'm not bringing out the melody, only certain notes. But now I have to ask you to go a little further. I understand what you're talking about but I'm not sure which notes. When you say at 17"....can you tell me what word or part of a word falls on this note? I'm not sure which one you mean. Also for the other spots? Can you please tell me the word, as well as the note you think should be brought up or brought down? I'm performing this piece in a few weeks and it would mean a lot if you could help me. Please? :) :)


I also listened several times to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau' s recording of this piece.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:14 pm 
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It is rather at 16" (Herze).
Same at 39" where the accompaniment note and the song note played together sound like a chord (Auf jedem Beet.)
At 2'30", the accompaniment (I guess, it is that) sounds like a grace note in the song line (Ein Sternlein, ein neues,).

These are minor details. The dynamics are more important for making the song line alive. For instance, in the second verse In Liebe vergeht, I would put a stronger accent on Liebe.


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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:44 pm 
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Thank you, Didier. To me, those notes sound like they are coming out fine, but again....I am not a very objective listener. Anyway, I will certainly consider what you said.

Now I am going OT-- Didier (and anyone else reading this), do you have a Dampp Chaser on your piano? My piano tuner/technician has talked me into getting one, but I'm still not 100% sure.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:51 am 
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Hi Monica,

This tragic story and the music have a remarkable poignancy, and you bring it out very well for the listener. Schubert was a transitional composer, of course, and Die Schone Mullerin was composed later in his life in 1823. So while retaining the classical discipline, the nature of the music pointed toward romanticism too. It seems as though Liszt in his transcription for solo piano was very respectful of Schubert's idiom and was conservative in his approach. I think you played this piece from the set very well, especially in your manner of expression. And I liked your video with the river scenes too!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 3:28 am 
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Hi David!
Thank you for listening/watching. I agree with you in that Liszt was respectful of Schubert's composition. However, Liszt did add one extra verse at the end of the piece. Guess he just couldn't help himself. I does sound very nice, though. I really love this piece! :)

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 12:35 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Thank you, Didier. To me, those notes sound like they are coming out fine, but again....I am not a very objective listener.
That's exactly it. You're a biased listener; you know what to listen for, and you hear what you want to hear.
It sounds fine to me too: if I know what to listen for, I'll hear it, and will subconsciously filter out the accompaniment.
Nevertheless, Didier has a point. An unbiased listener (who does not know the tune) will tend to interpret the top notes as the melody, and as such can misinterpret what you play. To counteract that tendency, you probably need to exaggerate whatever you do when you try to bring out the melody against an accompaniment that's higher. The difficulty, then, lies in intuitively knowing not to overdo, nor to underdo, that exaggeration.

It's all very nice, but I think it would help to retain the listener's interest more if the first section (up to the change of key) were not quite as slow. You play it even slower than Kissin, and his is pretty slow as they go. I prefer Lisitsa's speed.
Quote:
Now I am going OT-- Didier (and anyone else reading this), do you have a Dampp Chaser on your piano? My piano tuner/technician has talked me into getting one, but I'm still not 100% sure.
This question might get more attention if you asked it in the General or The Piano forums than hidden away here.

I don't have one, but then, where I live, the humidity doesn't generally fluctuate wildly.
Personally, I think it's hopeless to try to maintain a tightly controlled micro-climate inside a piano, especially a grand that's more open to the room than an upright is (when we lived in Hong Kong, someone rigged up a couple of lightbulbs inside our upright to keep the edge off the dampness during the humid season).
My feeling is that it's better to keep the average humidity of the whole room in reasonable limits than just inside the instrument. If dryness is a problem, low-tech solutions can be quite effective: you can hang water containers onto your radiators, and the water gradually evaporates. Or maybe have plenty of pot plants that need regular watering. If high humidity is the problem, there are plenty of room dehumidifiers on the market.


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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 2:39 pm 
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Thank you for listening, Rainer! I appreciate these kinds of comments because I think I may be performing this piece in 3 weeks, so I’m still practicing it. I’ll pay extra attention to the melody notes mostly in the beginning section…that’s where it’s the trickiest. Regarding my tempo in the first section…. It may be a bit slow, but I like it that way. However, I admit that I was feeling a little moody when I recorded it. These days when I’m playing it I’m not taking it quite as slow.

The Dampp Chaser – I’ve asked so many people for their opinions that I’ve forgotten whom I have asked! You’re right – the Piano forum would be a better place – I may start a thread over there. Because really, I just can’t make up my mind! My piano tuner/technician is very adamant about me needing one, but then somebody else tells me that I don’t need one. My house runs on the dry side during winter months and humid in the summer. Of course the heat and air-conditioning regulate that a lot, but I’m not sure if the ‘piano’ room is stable enough.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Schubert-Liszt "Der Müller und der Bach" VIDEO
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:01 pm 
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What an excellent video - very nicely done. I thought your melodic line was fine, but I'd have to actively compare with the score to be sure. Comparing it to VL is a bit invidious: the audio in her video has probably been edited and reinserted (talking of which, I thought her piano sounded slightly odd/muffled).


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