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Alkan Preludes Op. 31 1ere Suite

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by felipesarro, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    It was a pleasure to listen to these. I must admit having never heard any of the, not even the supposedly famous no.8 :oops: But I followed along with the old Schlesinger score from Hawley's invaluable website (anyone needs the login information, let me know ! ) which is probably the same as the IMSLP one.

    It is obvious you have a special thing with this music, and your interpretations are in very good taste. Alkan surely needs that conviction ! Pity that some high notes on your piano are a bit off. And there is a definite rumble in many of these recordings as Alf already noted.

    Here are some things I picked up(on) along the way :

    No.1 - The inner notes coul be brought out a bit more still, and try not to play the A in bar 2 as an appoggiatura. I think this one would sound dreadfully boring on organ, and I'm going off the idea of trying.

    No.2 - Very nicely played but the leggiero and scherzando sections don't seem very accurate to me. I suppose they are very tricky and could have done with some more practice.

    No.3 - I don't get why you play staccato notes just before the D.C marks. The double notes don't always come off clean, and I suspect that some notes are left out to accomodate for the near-impossible 4-voice writing. This would be much easier on organ (though whether it would sound convincing, I'm not sure).

    No.4 - Lovely played. Only the LH thirds and fourths are not always well together.

    No.5 - A great rendition, full of spirit, fervour, and enthousiasm. Some strange-sounding solutions to the jump problems on the second line. Again, organ would be easier, but maybe not sound as well. Impressive playing.

    No.6 - Nice rubato and atmosphere, very jewish indeed.

    No.7 - Yes this sounds a bit exhausting. Schumann can be like that too and it gets real tiring. You cope best as can with the sixths but I can understand they don't all succeed. A brave job.

    No.8 - What an amazing, echt-Alkan piece. So much atmosphere with such simple means ! Do you play a wrong top note in bar 8 ? Or is your score different ? The central climax is very effective (perhas a bit too much of a good thing).

    No.9 - Confused now. In the Schlesinger score this one's called Un petit Rien and it is a different piece. But you follow the Billaudot score I guess ? Not sure which of the 2 is original. This could almost be by Mozart. Well played especially the rit. at the end.

    All told, splendid job though there's some room for improvement.

    Makes me want to start on the Esquisses again. Are you planning on these ? I thin Alf mentioned he has plans with these.
     
  2. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    I always loved Alkan, but I started loving the preludes only this year, and much more after deciding to record them.

    Oh, you got it. Yes, in fact I left some three notes unplayed.

    It's interested that you said that, because I know beans about Jewish music, though I'm circumcised
    hehehehe
    But Alkan was Jewish, so probably this was the original intention.

    No no. No wrong top note. This is a mistake in your and IMSLP's edition.
    I had to re-record it after discovering that. These 'different notes' sound more beautiful than the repetitive edition in IMSLP :wink:

    Most pieces are out of order in this edition. But Billaudot's order follow a logical key sequence. 'Un petit rien' is part of the 2nd Book, not the 1st one, because of its key F major. I've already recorded it, but I need to re-record.

    No, I do not intend to record any esquisse. The competition is only between you and Alfonso. hehehe
    I intend to record the first 3 mvts of the Symphony (for the only reason that I do not have time to practice for the 4th one) and some never recorded etudes and transcriptions.

    I appreciate all your comments!
    Thanks a lot!
     
  3. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I have eventually sorted out those Preludes according to Mustonen's CD. I don't have the Billaudot Edition, but a pdf of an old (?) Lienau. Now the key sequence is clear to me (odd but interesting - could Alkan have possibly conceived something less ingenious?). What I don't understand yet is why Lienau rearranged the order of the pieces.

    Competition? Chris could easily record all the 48's in the time I need to order the score... :eek:
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Wot ho :shock: Gimme a break ! There are some fiendish items in there !
    But if I were to record any Alkan, this cycle would probably be it. Or perhaps Le Tambour bat aux Champs or the Sonatina. The latter is really too hard already, despite its innocuous title.
     
  5. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    The small inconvenience of a CS... :lol:
     
  6. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    Oh, I love the Sonatina, and it's so rarely well played.
    I never read it, but I find it stupidly difficult! Plenty of stamina for the first and fourth mvts. hehe

    Le Tambour bat aux Champs is very nice. I read it already, but I never played it satisfactorily. It would be nice to listen to other recording of it instead of Ronald Smith's or Lewenthal's.
    It is coupled with Capriccio Alla Soldatesca.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    It sure is, for a Sonatina. You can watch Hamelin tearing though the finale on youtube at light speed, actually (shock :shock: ) hitting the odd clonker. Not very nice at all. He rather tramples the music into the ground.

    That Capriccio is good too, if rather less sophisticated than Le Tambour. One can imagine a division of soldiers marching up to the battlefield, all geared up and singing battle songs at the top of their voice.
     
  8. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    That's what I don't like about Hamelin's Alkan.
    He is the ONLY pianist who can make justice to his Quasi-faust...
    but there's much color, polyphony and nuances in Alkan's music that Hamelin simply don't pay attention to.

    There's much good reviews about his recordings, but they consider only the technical point of view.
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I don't think that is true. Give some credit to seasoned reviewers like those of Gramophone. They are just as concerned, if not more, about the musical value.

    I think simply his recordings are far better than his videoed live performances where he tends to let rip. When I heard the Allegretto Barbaresca from his CD I was bowled over (no, wasn't the first time I heard it). It had everything. Yet, the youtube video is quite appalling.
     
  10. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    Ok, the reviewers are also worried about musical value, but... Alkan is so rarely played that Hamelin may sound good. However when you sit down at the piano and try to play his music, then you realize it's much more passionate, richer and warmer than you thought it was.

    I find Hamelin's live Quasi-faust much more passionate than his studio recording.
    But I really don't like any of his Concertos (at Hyperion, at Music Arts or his live recordings).

    In fact... I am too daring to speak down on Hamelin... it's almost like speaking down on Martha Argerich. hehehe
    But that's the way I feel and understand music. I really don't like him. hehe
     
  11. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I listened to Amazon.com mp3's samples and this is not true. Total timings are 1:58 (Martin) and 1:53 (Mustonen), but OK, track timings can be deceptive. So, I played together the snippets and found out that they travel at the same speed, with the big difference that Martin uses a lot of pedal while Mustonen displays a staggering articulation. Technically he wins hands down.
     
  12. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    oh, sorry.
    probably I've mixed up.

    I think it's the Fugue which Martin plays a bit faster than Mustonen.
     

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