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Bach-Brahms - Chaconne, study for the left hand

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Mar 29, 2009.

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  1. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Good work on this Brahms study of Bach's Chaconne. I say that for several reasons.

    1. Most of us pianists do not have a left hand that is quite as versatile as the right hand. (I believe even virtuosi complain about it--everything is relative.) The fact is, in the piano literature far more often than not the left hand part is easier to execute than that of the right hand. Consequently the left hand, habitually playing its accompaniments, does not get challenged to quite the same extent as the right. So you had good courage even taking on this piece for left hand.

    2. Even though it is a transcription of a stringed instrument piece, there is accompaniment there along with the melody in the piece's original form. Thus on piano, the left hand has to cope with melody and accompaniment within the hand, which takes finesse. You were able to distinguish those roles well for the listener in my opinion.

    3. Brahms, if it crossed his mind, would sometimes write passage work as absolutely awkwardly as he could imagine it. :lol: You got through it all quite well.

    4. Yes, there were a few audible slips, but nonetheless this is a 13 page piece (in the International Music Company edition anyway). So in the scheme of things, they are minor and unimportant. Plus you know me, I refuse to edit recordings anyway.

    Like any piece, one could make a lifelong study of this study, as we never actually "finish" a piece, because new insights will always be lying dormant awaiting later discovery. But you've certainly got this piece fully playable and reasonably polished, and you put it across to the listener in a convincing way. A very creditable performance!

    David
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks for the feedback David. I am glad to hear that it is convincng, even if not perfect.

    Not to mention that most people, like me, are right-handed. Doing anything at all with the LH alone is more difficult.

    Of course, quite well is not quite good enough :lol:
    Actually this piece is not so terribly hard as it may sound (provided you do not have small hands). Except for the wide arpeggios in the middle, these are excruciating. It is hard to resist the temptation to left the RH help out :wink:

    I am not structually against editing but would like to not have to do it. But in a long piece like this, silly things will happen and I needed to restart quite often here.
     
  3. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Chris, editing accidents apart, I found your Bach-Brahms rather disappointing. But I see that it has been well received, so mine will be sort of a minority report. :lol:

    What chiefly puzzles me in your recording is that this Chaconne is both an etude and a music masterpiece, by botching the hardest parts you provide a bad service to both the sides. There are only a few bars really difficult and just one section that requires stamina, and technically you are still short on it. Moreover, there are many spots overpedaled (the runs, especially and other parts where you blurs pure melodic lines) - Brahms clearly indicated the pedal. And despite the many edits, there are still several wrong or missing notes, even in the quieter sections.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks for the feedback Alf.
    I am well aware of all the flaws, I hear those as well as the next guy even when I play them myself.
    As I wrote from start, this is a work in progress. As nothing less than perfect will do for you, I do wonder why you bothered listening to it at all :?:
     
  5. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Chris,
    have my sincere congratulations to this great achievement. Wow, that´s an interesting and fantasy-like piece (in some points it remembers me of the chromatic fantasy, which I have played a long time ago). And it was completely new for me, so have many thanks for sharing it with us.

    O.k., there are some too much slips in it IMO. But as you mentioned it´s a work in progress and you surely know where they are. So, I think, it´s not necessary to point them all out here. :wink: If I would record this piece I´m sure, I would do nearly the same numbers of slips as you do the first time, but then I would re-record the passages, in which are the slips and cut the improved passages in. Of course, so the whole recording would take more time and in every case your recording is more honest than mine would be. (If I would play the piece in a live recital I would have to practise much more to get out all the slips. I very often have played in concerts and recitals and will do in future, I think. I have to admit, that I have to practise much more for a recital than for a recording, because in the recording I have the possibility to make inaudible cuts and I have to admit, I like these technical possibilities very much and I enjoy them, because of the nice results and the editing is a true pleasure for me!)

    About the pedaling: I think, this is a romantic transcription and in the score I found on imslp.org there are many signs of pedal in it. So, in many cases you use the right pedaling, I think. The only passages I find the pedal a bit disturbing are the 32nd-runs on the fourth page and the trill at the end. In all other cases, I think, it´s more or less a matter of taste.
    I think we shouldn´t measure a Bach-Brahms-transcription with the same imaginations of pedaling we would put on a real Bach-piece. (I´m quite sure, Brahms would have used much more pedal than Bach. :wink: :lol: )
    But also this is a matter of taste: if you listen to Daniel Barenboims last complete-recording of WTC you find so much pedal in it. It comes the pedalization of your recording here quite near.

    I think in our modern times there are not more too many "absolute rules resp. prescriptions" of interpretation. (O.k., a few rested: we shouldn´t play a Chopin-piece completely without pedal or a Bach-piece while holding the right pedal all the time down, for to mention only a few spot on examples. :lol: )

    There are some nice musical moments in it: f.ex. the forte-passages are quite powerful and there are some nice places of voicing.
    In other passages the voicing could have been worked a bit more out respective it could have been developed some more creative ideas of voicing.
    But that´s a high demand in a pure left-hand-piece, I think. I have to admit, that I have no experience with only left-hand-pieces until now.

    Overall I enjoyed your recording. It was very interesting.
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks Andreas for the feedback. I knew there were some positive things to say about it too *poking out tongue to Alf*. I think the majestic forte passages came out quite well.

    But this is not such a 'honest' recording - there must be at least a dozen cuts. I had been playing the piece since I had my thumb problem, but had not really prepared the recording otherwise. For sure I misuse the pedal to mask the deficiences of the runs. I think after some more practice I can do a better job with less cuts and more consistency. I feel this transcription to be more adequate and sympathetic than the bloated Busoni contraption.
     
  7. Mr Duffy

    Mr Duffy New Member

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    i would be very happy if the Audition Room be considered as a place for evaluation and critical feedback, even of recordings not intended for submission to the main site. btw, this may encourage me to upload something sooner or later... :D the purpose of a forum can change, only imho this should be stated clearly in the guidelines.. either way Chris, i see no point in complaining about serious feedback, even if it sounds a bit hard... :)

    concerning the file names, as this is a serious website and a useful resource to many students, a univocal solution must be found... the most obvious to me being the traditional standard (author-transcriber), and linking the transcription on the original composition's page... in this way, if i were looking for transcriptions of Bach's Chaconne, i would get to know Brahms' as well as Busoni's and Siloti's...
    ciao, Mr Duffy
     
  8. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Techneut wrote:
    Just let me add, that I didn´t want to poke out my tongue at anyone here. I just have written my sincere opinion about your performance. :wink: I just generally think, that in most performances there is not only all negative, but there are also always positive aspects. (Exceptions confirm the rule.)
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Nah, that was me being flippant :lol:
     
  10. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Andreas, now your high praise makes me feel guilty. :lol:


    It's a bit wimpish to hide behind that. I don't seek perfection in my listenings (if such a thing, perfection, exists), I simply rejoice when a fellow pianist finds their way in a piece, and the music is served in earnest. But I have an even more interesting question for you. As you perfectly knew what was wrong with your half-baked recording, why you bothered submitting it and asking for comments? :wink:
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Alf, I really do not care any longer for this particular discussion, if I ever did.

    By all means, have the last word.
     
  12. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    You're so cute when you pout. :p
     
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