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Addinsell Warsaw Concerto (arr Geehl)

Discussion in 'Works in Progress' started by andrew, May 4, 2014.

  1. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Informal recital last night. I'd consider placing this in the main audition room, but it was my first ever public outing for the piece, there are a few sloppinesses and I hope it will be better later this year! (to be fair I've not been working on it for long). I could have played it more cautiously but I think one should endeavour to give expansive, committed performances of such material.

    Your thoughts would be welcomed, especially David's - I have a residual memory that he's played the piece.

    https://soundcloud.com/andrew-wright-35 ... to/s-rTrzI
     
  2. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member

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    Bravo Andrew! I must have heard this piece when I was young, and the title sounded familiar, but I do not remember it.

    I liked it enough to look for a copy of the movie in Netflix and my county library system (under both titles - "Dangerous Moonlight" and "Suicide Squadron"), but came up empty. Quel dommage.

    Good luck in your further adventures with this piece!
     
  3. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks - I may take this to a masterclass this summer for a bit of lighter entertainment! It's certainly a crowd-pleaser. It wouldn't surprise me if the movie's on Youtube. I have seen it on TV (pianist, uncredited, being Louis Kentner), when I was much younger, can't say I remember very much about it though.
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andrew,

    I enjoyed hearing your "Warsaw Concerto". I recall that back in the 1950s on Sunday afternoons both this piece and its cousin, the "Cornish Rhapsody" by Hubert Bath used to get a lot of play. These days they seem to be relatively unknown, which is unfortunate.

    Just a few thoughts:

    Whenever you have undulating passage work in the left hand, which occurs frequently in this piece, be sure to balance the hands so as to keep the passage work one dynamic lower than the right hand melody (or opposite if the melody is in the bass). In these moments the right hand is often occupied with chordal progressions calling for the top notes to bring out the melody, unless other voice-leading demands dictate otherwise. It's always a better outcome if the accompaniment is made quieter rather then making the melody line louder. In the latter case the accompaniment will want to compete and challenge again. In the former, the quieter accompaniment will automatically and naturally allow the melody to soar. (Yes, I know that I have to follow this same advice at times.)

    You observed the plethora of tempo changes very well.

    I found that all the runs in the LH passage work were best started on the 5th finger. Is that how you approach them there as well? On the fifth line down, middle measure, I redistributed that F natural at the top of the run with the RH.

    You played the dynamic changes very well and on page 6 on those tremolos, you seem to be getting relaxed wrist rotation on them, especially where the music is so quiet there.

    On page 8, at the "Ped similis" I actually penciled them in to free myself to watch the other goings on there.

    On page 14 I get a kick out of Geehl's notation. In line 5, first measure there, he already has marked ff along with sforzando accents, but also wants martellato--meaning hammered! I couldn't carry that instruction out as the result would likely be unmusical. Maybe marcato would have been sufficient.

    In the last two pages he gives ossias (not to mention some very small ones earlier). As you know, sometimes these are simplifications--but other times they offer a very different approach to a passage. In this case they are meant to assist pianists with smaller hands which is a good thing, but obviously not applicable to everyone.

    In general I believe that you have the feel of this wonderful music. At this point I would isolate the spots that are difficult to execute and give them intensive therapy. That should fix the mechanics. Once you blend them back into your playing, I think it will improve the entire flow of the long line.

    This is a difficult piece to play. Keep up the good work!

    David
     
  5. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi, David, thanks for your detailed notes.

    I think I broadly have quite good balance between the melody and the left hand work (the Moderato is probably the most successful in this respect) but it is occasionally let down. The lh is also a little sketchy at times. It's interesting that you've mentioned voicing the chords - I'll go back and listen to the very original piano/orchestra recording tonight and make a point of noting what Kentner does.

    I do indeed begin almost all the lh passagework on 5; in the instance you mention where the passagework intersects with the rh chord I play the D, F, and D with the rh.

    Good idea about the ped simili; really it's pedalling by the minim, but still worth making it explicitly clear. I was a bit distressed by my awful pedal change at the joins of pp7/8 - I noticed it as I was performing and grimaced inwardly!

    Thanks for drawing my attention to the martellato; I think marcato is probably enough, but I guess he's trying to draw attention to the echoing of melodic fragment in the quasi-Rachmaninov figuration.

    I've not played Geehl's alternate chromatic octave scale at the end - it seems different people do different things here, but the Kentner recording I mentioned above he definitely does it as an alternate octave quasi-arpeggio figuration which I've tried to mimic.

    Thanks again for commenting. I had rather limited time to get this ready in the first place and thus focussed somewhat more on style and emotional impact than absolute note accuracy but now have a further three months to think about and practice it further, so I'm optimistic it will be more polished by then.
     
  6. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Andrew,

    Thank you for this. It takes me back to my childhood. This was an absolutely BIG piece in the 1950's and early '60's that is gone. Of course it never was a real concerto. It was simply cinematic schmaltz, but sometimes life needs a little schmaltz (and I'm not even Jewish). I think that you performed it admirably, with vigor and fire. I have nothing to add to the critique that David made. I loved it then, I still love it, and I am glad that you recorded this wonderful performance.

    Scott.
    .
     
  7. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks! Looking back on the performance, it was ok for live, but I'm not sure I'd want to submit it as a finished recording. Certainly the spirit is there. Sadly I've not got round to taking it to the intended masterclass - in some ways I wish I had - so it's currently in my increasingly large 'to do' pile!
     

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