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A couple of recordings

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by robert, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Recorded a couple of pieces yesterday with my newly bought Edirol R-09. Pretty much the same thing that Chris uses and I think the sound quality is pretty good and the use is very easy.

    Bach 2-part Inventions
    Invention no.1 in C major
    Invention no.4 in D minor
    Invention no.8 in F major

    Ravel - Prelude
    Prelude (1913)

    Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Op.16 no.2
    II. Sommarsång

    Rachmaninov - Prelude
    Prelude in C-sharp minor

    Not very revolutionary set of pieces but for perhaps the Swedish composer Peterson-Berger. A bit unsteady here and the well, kind of lost it a bit at the repeating A-part at the Rach. Will probably re-record that.

    Well, any comments?
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I cannot open any of the files. When I click on a piece, I get the message:

    The page cannot be displayed
    The page you are looking for is currently unavailable. The Web site might be experiencing technical difficulties

    Robert, Techneut, is it my computer or the site?
     
  3. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Obamanation, unfortunately...
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    Obamanation, unfortunately...
    this is what I get:

    " The page cannot be displayed
    The page you are looking for is currently unavailable. The Web site might be experiencing technical difficulties, or you may need to adjust your browser settings. "

    :cry:
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    :lol: Definititely not your computer pianolady ! Wonky as it may be.
    A dot was missing in each of the links, I've corrected that. Enjoy listening !
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not bad, considering you just sat down and recorded after a long time of not playing much ! I bet you have played all these for a long time. I have some observations:

    In the Ravel Prelude you take some liberties with the score. I recommend you re-read bars 3 and 6, 12, and 23. In bars 11 and 13 you play more like a 5/8 rhythm instead of 3/4. The rallentandi and p/pp markings should be observed more. In general there could be more impressionistic wonder. It's all a bit too literal and workmanlike now.

    Peterson-Berger: Nice to make that acqaintance, I did not know either the name or the music. A charming piece, sort of Mendelssohn/Schumann in spring mode. I think I heard 2 or 3 wrong notes bit otherwise it sounds good. A bit more poetry and contrast could make it even more attractive. How about the complete set ?

    Rachmaninov : A solid performance, but you need more drama here, the climax is a bit underpowered. The chordal sections are a bit sloppy, and more can be made of the closing bars if you allow them more time.

    Last but not least: Bach !
    There are note-perfect and solidly played, but all three are much too slow to my taste. IMO it is important to make these inventions dance a bit, so as not to make them sound like student excercises. At a slowish tempo that gets all the more difficult. You may want to take note of the 'historic' way to play trills and mordents, as laid down by Bach in his Clavierbuchlein for WF Bach. That long LH trill halfway down nr. 4 is a bit problematic, I am always in doubt whether to keep trilling or not - have now decided it sounds better if you don't. It could be different on a harpsichord. In the famous nr. 8 there is some ill synchronization beteen the hands (quite tricky is this little toccata).

    As an impromptu recording these are pretty impressive. But they could be much better with some careful preparation.
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I kind of liked your tempo on the Bach pieces. That's about the way I play them too. And about that left hand trill in No. 4. Your playing is fine, but Techneut is right in that maybe it sounds better on a harpsichord. I wish Bach didn't put it in. Oh well, he’s the boss.

    The Peterson-Berger piece is nice. Never heard it before. Thanks for introducing it to us.

    I remember the first time I read through the Rachmaninoff and at bar 45 where the double lines begin, I thought, “how am I going to get another set of hands? Did this just turn into a duet?” Dumb, I know. But I was young and stupid. The only comment I have on this prelude is the chords on the first page, right hand. I like a little more emphasis on the top note. I hear too much of the middle note. Still, nice job on all pieces.

    This Edirol R-09 that you and Techneut use, I looked it up in a catalog. Here in the U.S. it costs $400.00. It looks like a very small machine. Do you place in under your piano, next to your piano, across the room? And does it pick up other noises in the house if people are not quiet?
     
  7. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Well I am still young and stupid, because I don't think I've yet figured out what that whole split systems is about...course I've never studied the piece, save for playing through it once or twice and it's not even fresh in my memory what exactly goes on there...can someone enlighten me?

    As for the playing I only listened to the Rach and the Peterson-Berger which I really enjoyed. Just based on the one listen (being unfamiliar with the stylistic intentions of the composer and all) I would think I'd've preferred some rubato to be steadier(?), I'm not sure if that's the right turn, it wasn't completely elasticy I thought at times, a little sudden. Would love to hear more of those works!

    Jeff.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Actually I use the R-1, the older model. It was close to 500 euros last year, which is about the same in dollars I believe. After some experimenting I now place it on a bench right next to me, and keep the lid of the grand closed. Seems to sound best and is easy to operate. If you go and buy one too maybe we'll get group discount ;-)

    I noticed some hiss in Robert's recording as well as in Arensky's. Not sure where that would come from, I never had that as far as I can hear. But yes it will pick up other noises. We have a washing machine in the room next door and when it's centrifugeing you'll hear it rumble in the background. I had to use cut-and-paste to get rid of that on one occasion. It must be sort of quiet to record. I now also switch off my computer which is about 1.2 m from the piano.
     
  9. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I will ty to give feedback for all of your comments on one post ;). Sorry about the dot!

    First the Edirol. This was the very first recording with it and I will probably manage it better soon. The hiss and the continuous noice is probably because of it. It clipped several times during the Rach prelude for instance and I put it underneath for the first recording. Will try another position next time. Perhaps some distance away from it as from a listeners perspective.

    Overall, I have played all of them, but for the Rach prelude, a long time or rather, learned them a long time ago. I actually had a recital including the Sommarsång when I was 11 (perhaps 12). And Chris know that I have not played much as he know what I have been doing ;). Unfortunately, I have not really played much the last 1 1/2 year or so. Will try to change that when the autumn arrives in Sweden and the garden and outide house work close down.

    Bach
    I made them deliberately slow. Like to play them like that as I want the melodies to come out better and the mood of the pieces fits better. I got a plan with them and will probably record the entire set one day. They did not come out quite as I wanted them to and I perhaps got a bit too careful when I made the recording. I tend to get a bit stressed when I know I am recording something and become a bit too safe if you understand what I mean. Trying to not play a single key wrong (which I do not think I did).
    For no.1, I made a tempo mistake in the end. Stupid mistake and the magic did not really get there.
    No.4, I do like to trill them all the way through and it is actually a bit tricky as you need to find the steady 32:th beat and keep it all the way through. I used to have a much faster version of this one and perhaps do that some day. But this will probably be the last recording I replace of these three.
    No.8. Not very happy about it. As Chris said, lot of bad syncings between the hands and this is actually an invention that could be played faster.

    Ravel
    I am not sure what you mean by taking liberties with the score Chris. I play the keys exactly as in my score. If this is wrong, my score is wrong but I doubt it as I got it from a teacher who enjoys Ravel a lot and have studied in Paris. I got the version which is adjusted for left/right hand. About rhythm, it is marked d`un rythme libre for a reason isn't it?

    Peterson-Berger
    This is actually not so good and I believe I knew this better than I did when I recorded it. Tried to look at the sore and play it along but as I cannot sight read very well, this was rather confusing so I played it from memory with a couple of bad fingerings here and there. It is from bad fingering you hear the mistakes. Not happy with it and it will be re-recorded for sure after some study of the score.
    About recording the whole set, not impossible but I have never played a single piece of the others. Not too difficult though.

    Rachmaninov
    A-part is rather well, the B-part good enough even though I miss here and there but that is not really audible as you accent the first key in each triplet (one mistake is obvious though). But the repeating A-part is not good. Wrong notes, hesitations and loss of tempo in the large chord section (don't you just love these eight key chords!). Play it from memory and have not really studied (not even read it actually) the score here.
    But as you point out, there should be more distinct changes in dynamics but also, this is kind of my way of playing. Will re-record this for sure as I have not really learnt it properly yet. Pianolady, you are right about the top key of right hand is not accented well enough. I have heard that before when I played it.
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    You can avoid clipping by using the level display. In record standby mode, press the 'Display' button, strike some ffff chords and adjust the input volume so that the level display does not run off the screen.

    Hehe, blame it on the score.. Thought I'd heard them all :wink:

    No, it's just what I believe are some reading errors, unless perhaps your score is different from mine (I have the Durand, which I think is the 'Urtext' for Ravel).

    Specifically: In bar 3 you play the last 2 RH quarter notes as eights. In bar 6, the two low RH notes should (according to Durand) be d and then d#, you play d twice.

    In bar 11 and 13 you play the first quarter notes as an eight, creating a 5/8 bar. And in bar 23 you leave out the c in the RH. These were the 'liberties' I meant. Not sure know what problem I had with bar 12... there's nothing wrong with it :oops:

    The last 2 bars are neither pp nor 'Tres lent' and there should certainly be no accents in there, especially not on the last chord. Accenting the last note or chord in a phrase is a bad habit of mine too, a continuous point of attention during lessons.
     
  11. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh yes I do. You are right.
    No I do not. I definitely play first d and the d#.
    I agree in bar 11 but not in bar 13. Perhaps not a pure 4:th but it is something in between a 4:th and an 8:th
    Yes I do. A pure mistake.
    It feel like I play the entire piece as p but for in a couple of instances so the difference does not show much but I have the bad habit of accenting the top key but for in the Rach prelude where I really should do so ;).

    Must thank you for your careful listening and your sensitive ear. I have never heard a "professional" recording of it and it has been a huge time gap since anyone (I mean with knowledge about the piece) heard me play the prelude.

    Back to the piano but you will have to wait at least to sunday evening before I put up a cleaned version.
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well if it's definitely then there's no point in argueing about it :wink:
    I rest my case.
     
  13. Anonymous

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    Prelude in C-sharp minor

    When I think of Rachmaninov I think big and heroic sounding pieces. I don’t know what you wanted to portray thought the piece, so I will tell you how I think I would play this piece.

    The first page (13- 14 bars “lento”) First of it says to play Lento (slow) and I found it a bit to fast for my taste. I think playing it just a tiny bit slower would cause the way you play to sound more dramatic and heroic! Which is what you want in an Rachmaninov piece. Also I thought this part a bit mechanical for my taste, and I agree with Robert in that the top keys are shrivelled out by the harshness of the middle notes.

    But I think if you work just work a little bit more on this piece you will sound great! it’s the little things that make a big difference.
     
  14. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Replaced the Invention no.1 and no.4 with far more personal interpretations. Perhaps not as technical correct but I chosed to put in my heart in it to see what came out.

    Got a LOT better sound quality this time. Moved the Edirol about 5 meters away from me.
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    These sound near perfect to me, Robert. Only a tiny little slip off the keys at the very end of No. 1 at 1:08. If only these Edirol machines could do some editing magic. :wink:
    And yes, keep putting your heart into your music. That's what makes everyone's playing special.

    p.s. the sound is good on my computer.
     
  16. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you pianolady. Yes there is a little slip there and another in the 4:th Invention near the end...or I rather miss a key in the last trill. However, ornaments in Bach are interpreted very differently between pianists and can be done so as little proof exist on how Bach intended them to be played. (Unless if you check this site out:
    http://www.iment.com/maida/familytree/h ... tation.htm)
    So it is possible that people will believe I intended to play it that way ;).
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    The sound is much nicer now (I found it a bit metallic in the first recordings) and so is the interpretation. Both inventions are much more fluent and dance-like, and especially the nr.4 is considerably faster than before, if I remember well. To me this is a huge improvement :D

    It's just the ornaments that I'm still not convinced about. As you say it can't be known how Bach played them, but it seems clear from his famous ornaments table that the trillo should start on the upper note. Isn't that what most performers do, or is there another school of interpretation ?
    Actually, you play some the trillos as mordents, others as inverted mordents. What edition are you using ?

    Sorry to be such a nitpicker :wink:
     
  18. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Great that you found time for playing and recording again!

    So far I listened only to the Bachs and Rach.

    Bach:
    Solid playing, 1 and 4 are not too slow for my taste, 8 sounds a bit tenacious, that is my first impression. In invention 8 it is so that the melody switches between right and left hand. The melody comes out well in the right hand, but not so in the left hand. You could try to take the right hand more back in those bars at which the left hand has the melody. It sounds not to me that it is only a matter of your Edirol placement.
    In invention 1 I would not play the left hand that staccato here and there, but that is more a matter of taste.

    Rach:
    To be honest, I do not like much your recording. Since you said that you will rerecord it anyhow, let me tell some things what could be improved without too much effort. In the first A part it would be nice if the melody (right hand pinky) stands better out regarding the pp !! played notes with other right hand and left hand fingers, with a proper melody bow.
    The middle part is labeled "agitato". In my opinion this is a high romantic piece, and Rachmaninoff himself let no doubt that he meant it to play accordingly (I have 3 recordings of Rach plays Rach 3/2, if you don't have, pmail me, it sounds interesting). That means, playing with lots of passion. So let it sound more agitato, both from speed and volume (with increasing intensity, so that it explodes before the A-part comes again with force.

    The fulminant second a-part - you wrote yourself that you recognized the wrong notes here, you are right, you should work on that.

    Somewhere near the end a chord sounds as if beeing played twice as if you would have put the piece together from two takes and forgot to remove the additional chord. But I can be wrong, have listened only once to your recording.

    Don't treat this as offend, I played and recorded this piece too, it is on my homepage. I decided for myself too, to not let it get to the PianoSociety recordings in this fashion, because
    a) there is a VERY good live recording already there, and I know my take will never be that good and
    b) in my take there are flaws too, like the alternating chords coming before the second A-part did not come very well.
    So don't throw paper balls on me for that comments on Rach, I have to polish on that piece too.
     
  19. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I hope it is a consistant state :).

    So far I listened only to the Bachs and Rach.
    No it is not only a matter of Edirol ;). Much more of weak playing. I will re-record it soon again but have a better plan for it. I am very aware of the staccato playing in no.1 and it was not unplanned. A matter of taste as you say.

    Well, I should be old enough to take an honest answer and I agree more or less to everything you have to say about it. Not very good and there is already a very good competing version up. Also, I prefer an honest answer so really, I did not get upset at all so do not worry about that.

    The middle part is what troubles me most with this prelude. Not because it is difficult to play, rather I am not really sure how to play it. I try to accent and legato first key of each triplet while playing short p[/p] staccatos for key 2, 3. But I accent the first key to little and play 2,3 too loud and un-staccato. I have a rather untuned Schimmel at work and by some reason, I play this part better on this. Feels easier but I do not why. Anyway, you suggest a good plan and I will try it out.

    The repeating A-part is as I have already said not at all good. I must not have so many wrong notes there. But I do not understand what you mean by that same chord played twice in the end. It is a single take so nothing copied/paste there but I am not really famous for my careful score reading so I will check again.
     
  20. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yepp a lot better actually. Did put some Reverb at it with Audacity. Did that last time as well after running it through a FFT-filter. I think the noice (but from clips) originated from the filter and was amplified with the reverb.

    About the ornaments and score versions. Well, for no.1, I use some kind of school collection book with a lot different scores in it. Perhaps not very reliable. For no.4, I use Czerny's. But, not 100% I play like it.
     

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