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A Mostly Scriabin Set (w/ Wagner)

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by aryobrand, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yes, your meanderings have been very helpful. I think some of this stuff is actually starting to sink in, now. :lol:

    My problem is that I'm afraid that if I do go out and get all these mics and preamp, I will go nuts trying to get it all 'just right'. You don't know me, but I get quite preoccupied when I have a new toy to play with. Plus, I have made a lot of recordings, and if I do get a great sound with new equipment, then I'll be unhappy with all my old recordings and will want to re-do them. Still...I'm somewhat intrigued by all this, so who knows....

    btw - do you like your page and do all the links work? My computer has been acting up, so you should check.

    But I told you to channel Chopin. And then Granados next, ok? :lol:
     
  2. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    I just got through checking all the links and they all work perfectly. I did notice a couple things, the font on the first paragraph of the bio appears different than the other paragraphs, maybe it's the spacing or kerning or something - I'm not sure if it's supposed to be or not. Also there are <endif> tags in the page in a couple of places that I'm not sure what they are. Everything else looks absolutely GREAT :D

    Now I'll just have to fill out my page with more recordings :lol: Hopefully, no one will mind . . .

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand

    P.S: How come the quotes don't indent in white on my postings here in the forum like everyone else's? What am I doing wrong? I click the quote button then start typing below it. . . :?
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I believe Terez's comment was directed against me, not you. It seems a peculiar way of pointing out my habit to pass fast and furious judgement. I do acknowledge the sentiment but would however prefer to be called an opinionated bastard than an asshole (which is the equivalent of "klootzak' if not a literal translation).

    Don't worry about my reaction, I said it was a knee-jerk one. I have sensitive knees :wink:
    Nothing wrong with presenting yourself in an unusual way.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I don’t know what the heck is going on. For some unknown reason, when I copied and pasted your bio onto the new page I was making for you, the fonts were different in the first paragraph from all the rest of the paragraph. I tried numerous times and various ways of copying/pasting – finally having to paste in one paragraph at a time and even then the fonts were different. So I chose a font that I thought looked similar in all paragraphs (I could not get everything to have the same - don't ask me why).

    I do most of my editing and work here in Firefox, so yes – I tried doing all of this in Explorer and the same thing happened, plus I saw those weird <endif> thingys scattered about. So I said, ‘forget this’ and went back to Firefox, thinking that maybe you wouldn’t be able to tell that the fonts are different. I’m sorry – like I said before—I don’t know why my computer is doing these things. I’m going to go make a big pot of coffee and then I’ll try all of this again.
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I have seen that you sometimes paste information into the CMS directly from Microsoft Word or another application. This can give you all sort of weird problems like different fonts and strange application-specific tags that we can't be sure how the CMS will react on. Even pasting directly from a webpage can cause problems.

    What I have taken to doing is, when I've copied some text from the screen, first paste it into a simple text editor that does not recognize fonts and formatting. Then copy the text from there and paste that into the CMS. This definitely gets rid of al hidden stuff and formatting, and really works much better. Worst thing that can happen is that you'll need to re-enter a few paragraph breaks. Any simple oldfashioned text editor will do - Notepad, Textpad, NoteTab, you name them. But NOT Microsoft Word or its half-smart dimwit Wordpad offspring.
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ok - everything is fixed.

    Michael, when you are ready to add more recordings, can you do me a favor and put up a few at a time - maybe something like under 4 pieces? Also - your tags were good except for the title. We use just the composer's last name followed by a space, then a dash, then another space. I'd be grateful if you can remember to do this. But don't worry if you forget, because I check them anyway.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    one more thing - your quote function should work now. Try it.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I am intrigued by the Wagner piece. Whose transcription is this ? Not Liszt's as far as I can see, and it's not likely to be by Wagner himself, AFAIK there's only some insignificant juvenilia he wrote for piano. It is well played, if a bit hesitant in places. It could do with a bit more glowing ardour and a bit more judicious pedal usage - there is some blurring here and there. I thought there was an unfortunate slip just before the end but could be wrong as I do not know the piece.

    Nor being an expert on (or even great fan of) Scriabin I sampled only the of these. They sound mostly solid and competent but rather flat in terms of dynamics and rubato. The Mazurka Op. 25 no.2 is rather untidy, I heard many extra notes (like in the appoggiatura in bar 3 and similar, which you persistently repeat) and fumbled rhythms. Admittedly, 2-against-3 in one hand is pretty difficult so I can't blame you too much for that.

    The Op.57 pair is better played but they seem disappointingly literal to be. I do not find that burning and delirious intensity that one needs to hear in mature Scriabin. Not that any of this would ever make me like these two grinding utterances... I fairly detest them and think I'd sooner listen to Schoenberg. The loss is probably mine :( You play them well but I believe much more can be made out of them and they (as do the Mazurkas) need a deeper Russian sonority.

    All said, welcome to PS with these recordings. They're good even if there is some room for improvement.
     
  9. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    How dare you criticize perfection!!! :evil: Everything I do is PERFECT, PERFECT, PERFECT!!! You're just too stupid to be able to appreciate excellent music, you klootzak!!!

    :wink:

    Please tell me that you KNOW I'm kidding. One good knee-jerk reaction deserves another. :lol: ...even if mine was artificial.

    Seriously though, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Those are exactly the types of comments that I love. Compliments are nice, sometimes can be wonderful to hear, but in the end they offer nothing with which one can improve their art. I'll take your comments separately as follows:

    Surprise!!! The piece was written by Wagner in 1861 and dedicated to Countess Anna von Pourtales, I have about ten pieces written by Wagner for solo piano that I could never consider "juvenilia", hopefully I'll be able to find a good recording of at least one other of his works for solo piano. Sometimes when I'm recording I merely hit stop, then record again; leaving me at the end of a few days with a HUGE number of files on my Edirol that are all named R_0902514.mp3 or some such. I'm still going through them trying to figure out which one's are good enough to post, so you can look forward to more piano music written by Wagner in the future.

    According to the foreword of one book I have, Wagner actually wrote five piano sonatas, numerous smaller works dedicated to individuals, a Fantasia, and a Polonaise for four hands. I should have a recording of one of his piano sonatas which I intend to post here as soon as I can find it, and am currently working on the 20-page Fantasia. The Fantasia sounds like a miniature opera for solo piano, complete with recitativo and all - and TOTALLY Wagner. I don't have four hands so I can't play the Polonaise. :wink:

    Darn! You found it! There is indeed an unfortunate slip right near the end on measure 76, where my big thick fingers hung on an adjacent note for a split second. I actually wanted to re-record it just for that slip, but my situation at present is wierd to say the least - sometimes I can't even get to a piano for days at a time which drives me even more insane.

    As for the hesitations, those are all as written, unless you're referring to something else. I agree with you about the hesitations and that is my main critique against the composition - too many stops and pauses, but I wanted to make sure that I was playing it according to the composer's direction. Can you tell me where exactly you think there are hesitations, so I can know if they're my addition or Wagner's direction? I've relistened to it and can't find any (in this piece). I think pianolady mentioned that the score is available on some site. Also you'll be able to post the score for others to work with and analyze, after I finally convince you to set up a dedicated page for Wagner (Rameau as well!)

    Also, sometimes Wagner's instructions on the page make one have to ponder them to get what Wagner means, e.g. on the Sonata appears "etwas zoegernd" = "somewhat hesitatingly", or "nach und nach wachsende Bewegung" = "gradually increasing agitation", or a classic one "von hier an sehr allmaelich etwas bewegter im Vortag und Zeitmass" = "from here on gradually play with a bit more expressive motion and rhythm". One of my favourites is from a Waltz he wrote in 1854, which declares "So lustig wie moeglich, doch mit leidenschaftlichen Anstand" = "As joyous as possible, yet with passionate propriety!" :lol: Indeed Wagner was still conducting an opera even though he was writing a piano solo.

    As for the pedaling, almost all of the pedal was Wagner's direction. I tend to agree that many times Wagner might have written more pedal lifts, but he didn't and sometimes when I've thought about why he chose to write as he did, the response is usually that it conveys some type of environs or effect, and that it's up to me as a pianist to alter the touch so that it doesn't become overwhelming and conveys the proper effect. This particular piece was inspired by him watching two black swans that had their residence upon the pond outside his window at the Prussian Embassy when he stayed with Countess von Pourtales in Paris. However, there is an odd thing that I did on measure 19-20 where the pedal lifts just a slight second too late making the chord blend in a wierd way with the next one, but I liked the neat effect it had so left it that way, even though on that point Wagner has no pedal indicator. Is this what you mean or is it just too much pedal in general? Wait until you hear some of the pedal directions in the Sonata!!!

    The appoggiatura was something that I thought I had cleaned up but I missed a few (measures 3, 11, 27, 67, 75, 91, and also 98 ). I noticed that all of them are the same melodic figure (a grace chord rather than a simple grace note), except the extra grace note on the second note of the first-beat triplet in 98. I'll definitely keep working on this, thanks for pointing that out. You should have heard it before :oops: , I admit that's a bad habit I picked up from jazz-improv (along with jazz fingering-which Czerny helps eliminate), but I am making tremendous effort to not add extra grace notes, fills, or cadenzas (cadenzi?).

    The 2-against-3 is actually 2-against-3-against-4 (measures 18, 22, 82, 86) if you include the mano sinistro, so I'm not sure where you see a fumbled rhythm. Is it the dotted eighth to sixteenth that you're hearing or perhaps the trill on the first m.g. triplet in the 2-against-3? I've noticed that I still hadn't eliminated the abrupt tempo change into measures 7, 15, 31, 71, 79, and 95 - so that could be what you're hearing as well. I first learned this part wrong and have been trying to relearn this correctly. Approaching the figure in three from the chordal ascension in two threw me off at first. This was one that I had earmarked to re-record at a later date, for the tempo change.

    Actually I'm the most disappointed myself with Op.57 Nr.1 - Desir!!! Due to lack of delirious intensity and a few hesitations with some of his "three-and-a-half-handed" Rachmaninov chords.

    On the other hand, Op.57 Nr. 2 - Caresse dansee I'm the most pleased with. With a lot of music, I tend to take an almost French Impressionist approach to their performance. If a song is called Caresse dansee - Dancing caress, then I must be able to envisage a dancing caress when hearing it. IMNHO (In my never humble opinion), assuming that all later Scriabin should have a burning and delirious intensity is underestimating the widely expressive genius of Scriabin. Granted some of his pieces "Ver la Flamme", "Poeme Satanique", "Poeme tragique" MUST be burning with delirious intensity, but you shouldn't forget Chopin's early influence on Scriabin's compositions. There was an ephemeral delicacy to many of his later works as well.

    If you have time can you listen to Op.45 Nr.1 "Feuillet d'album", Op.49 Nr.3 "Reverie", Op.51 Nr. 4 "Danse languide", and Op.56 Nr.3 "Nuances" and let me know what you think? Try to keep in mind the title of the morcel when listening to it and let me know your opinion whether "Reverie" captures a reverie, "Danse languide" can be danced to languidly, and if "Nuances" infers subtle nuances of colour within the tonality. All together that's only 4 minutes and 32 seconds. Although I do understand your dislike of Scriabin's music, so if that translates to four-and-a-half minutes of thumb-screws than "There is no law beyond do what thou wilt.", but I would be curious to have your opinions. There's nothing better than honest criticism to help one improve their performances.

    Apologies for the discomfort and thanks in advance should you choose to listen. If you do, I'll even listen to a Schoenberg song for you, or at least Satie; my two least favourite composers. Don't worry Monica (if you're reading this), I adore Chopin's Ballades, and Granandos' Goyescas is IMNHO one of the greatest pieces ever written.

    The one comment I'm a bit unsure about is your suggestion that they "need a deeper Russian sonority". Are you refering to adding more bass from the left channel into the recording, or an adjustment to my playing technique? I'm not sure what you mean. Can you clarify this? Thanks.

    Thanks for your consideration. I agree that there is always room for improvement, and like I said in my initial post I'm personally disatisfied with all of the pieces. Achieving perfection seems to be a continuous goal to journey towards. :)

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand

    PS: Monica, the page is absolutely beautiful. :D Thanks.
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Waaa !?

    You befouled, vitiated poltroon. You blighted, malodorous, mephitic recreant. You are a festering boil on the ass of all humanity. You have all the backbone of a jellyfish. You moribific, feculent simpleton. Would that I could change my species, just so that I might not be associated with you. The stupendous, confounding magnitude of your insipidness astonishes me.

    Gah, I do feel better now :lol:

    Well it seems Wagner did write more, and better, piano music than I was aware of. I toyed with a sonata in a previous life, it was pretty insipid and for some reason I have always thought this was the extent of his output. Learning all the time.

    What I meant with hesitations was that sometimes I felt your fingers were groping for the right chord. If so, this is a sign of insufficient preparation. But I may well be wrong about it.

    You probably have a point about Scriabin. There's probably more to him than I think. I can't find the Op.57 pair very 'impressionist' though. They seem to lack that particular sonority. But I should not judge these pieces as their harmonic language irritates the heck out of me. I often have the same with Messiaen. Must be that I have a particular DNA strain missing.

    Hard to define Russian sonority... It's just a feeling I have that Russian music should hardly ever sound lightweight. One generally plays more expansive, passionate, deeper in the keys, and with more pedal, than in some other repertoire. I appreciate that this may not apply to all of Scriabin.
     
  11. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    What I meant by impressionist is the following: In many French impressionist works, the melody (if there is one) is not important AT ALL (or only secondarily). Just as in impressionist painting the focus is upon the play of light and its contrasts, sometimes the composition is more concerned with setting up a scenario, feeling, or impression. Whenever a piece, such as a poeme by Scriabin has a title, I realize that at least a little thought had to have gone into finding the right title. Therefore it's very important for me to try to convey the title of the piece through my performance of the piece itself. A version of, say for example, Ravel's "Jeux d'eau" that did NOT bring up an image of water, or of Debussy's "Jardin sur le pluie" that did not transport me into a garden wet with rain, would IMNHO have failed as a performance. In other words, I better see fireworks during "Feux d'artifice"!!! :lol:

    Is it Scriabin that grates on your nerves or just dissonance in general? If you're a fan of Jazz music, do you have the same effect with Thelonius Monk? What I guess I'm trying to ask is: Is it only particular pieces/composers with dissonance that you dislike, or do you hate seventh chords? :lol:

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand
     
  12. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    I was thinking about this comment the other day after I had downloaded some more Scriabin scores, and wondered if this means that you're planning on recording some Scriabin. If so, and I hope this is the case, I came across one of his works that's a bit obscure that just SCREAMS Chopin. Since you're such a Chopin-ite? (Chopin-ian? :? Chopin-ierre) you should check out his "Egoroff Variations". IMSLP has the score. I'm not sure if you've already got something chosen or not. Let me know if you're taking requests (since he wrote a lot in various styles). I'm sure someone here could help you find a piece, . . . or you could just download all of his music, study it all, master each song, and then choose. 8)

    :twisted: At least until you get tired of all of my novels :!: Don't worry, once I start my actual move I'll have less free time and will be busy, busy, busy. Perhaps even too busy to even practice. :cry: I'm still only packing and am already sick of boxes and tape. UGH!!

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand
     
  13. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    the handyman's secret weapon: duct tape!
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Chopin-lover, I guess is the word (wish I was his lover – j/k – sort of :wink: ). I’ll check out that piece you mentioned. I really like when someone recommends a piece to me that they think I’d like. Then if it is true and I learn it, I always think of that person when I play the piece. Makes it personal, in a way.

    Yeah – moving is a pain. Good way to get rid of a lot of junk, though.
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Interesting questions !

    I dearly love Scriabin's early work, in particular the op.11 preludes and the early sonatas. But as his opus numbers increase I am quickly losing him. It's not dissonance, I have no problems with that per se, and I love many a piece of music that is much more dissonant and abrasive than even the most advanced Scriabin. There's just something about Scriabin's 'mature' tonal language that I intensely dislike and it is the same feeling I have with much of Messiaen. I've never analyzed it but I guess it may be the 7th chords indeed, plus the the obsessiveness with which he uses them. Yes it does grate on my nerves. But I will hardly ever say that I do not like a composer full stop. Even Schoenberg and Webern have written beautiful things before they became entangled in the arid intellectual rut that is called dodecaphonism.

    About jazz - it's so vast and diverse an area (as is 'classical') that I would not categorically say I'm a fan of it. I love many forms of jazz while I detest others, like dixieland or avant-garde saxophone jazz. I used to dabble with some Oscar Peterson pieces long ago and now regret I sold the book. I should probably check out Thelonious Monk as I confess never having heard him play :oops:
     

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