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Bach Italian Concerto

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by hzemel, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. hzemel

    hzemel New Member

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    Well, here goes. This is my first attempt at recording myself. The recording is done with my recently purchased Zoom H2 recorder on my 5'8" Baldwin grand. This is basically a live performance since I don't know how to edit the recordings.

    I see that there are many recordings of the Bach Italian Concerto at the society, but this is what I had ready at the time of joining the forum. I will be relearning some less commonly recorded works this summer that are in my repertoire.

    Bach Italian Concerto

    First Movement
    Andante
    Presto
     
  2. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Helene, nice to hear you playing for the first time :D
    I listened to all three movements and I liked your second movement a lot! It's really beautifully played. But I have some reservations about the fast outer movements. They still could be improved. Some ueven runs, not so smooth trills, heavy and laborius touches... although they appear just on some spots, they still hinder the musical flow.
    About the recording quality you had better use the "auto gain" function, which helps you to get the ideal level (it's on the H4 and I'm sure H2 has that, too). The recording level is too low. And you could make experiments with location of the recorder. I suppose from my experience with H4 that H2 could achieve much more than this.
     
  3. hzemel

    hzemel New Member

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    Hi Hye-Jin - Thanks for the critique. There is an auto gain function on the H2 recorder. I'll have to experiment with it.

    I got very used to playing with my eyes glued to the music over the past 30 years. This won't work with the Italian Concerto fast movements. I found myself tensing up when playing by memory which probably caused the uneveness.
     
  4. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Helene,
    I have played and recorded the Italian Concerto for PS, too, and there is a most beautiful and elaborated version by Alfonso on this site, btw. Your version in summary is not the worst, but I have the following ideas of improvements:
    1) to the 1st movement: the tempo could be more even, sometimes you run away or slow down, this kind of rubato shouldn´t be done too much in Bachs music and there are rhythmical imprecisions. A technical probelem is, that your touch seems to be too ponderous, which could be the reason also for the rhythmical and tempo-related uneveness. At some places there is too much pedal.
    2) to the 2nd movement: the thirds are not ideally together at the beginning, otherwise it´s played nicely.
    3) to the 3rd movement: in the runs there is rhythmical and tempo-related unpreciseness here and there and too much pedal (One should not use pedal in Bachs music while playing runs of seconds!). The touch is too ponderous, too. (May be you press too much while playing.) So, here are the same problems like in the first movement. The tempo in summary is too slow here.

    You should increase your recording level, I had to put my volume on 60 :shock: , normally I listen with 30 to my and other recordings of PS! There are several audio editing programs, for free download f.ex. there is "Audacity" or I personally use "Wave Lab", which is not free. With such programs you can increase your recording level by normalization function f.ex. and cut out your slips from another take and much more useful things.
    I hope you take my advices not as a personal critique, but just as what they are meant to be (see above, please).
     
  5. hzemel

    hzemel New Member

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    Thanks Andreas. I haven't played for a teacher for over 30 years, so thanks for the reminder that I was playing too harshly. I wasn't entirely happy with the 1st and 3rd movements myself (you don't actually hear yourself until you listen to a recording), but I was anxious to submit something to the forum so I would be more than just a lurker and then move on to something else. I also had not been practicing too much until recently. I am finding the piano society a motivator. I discovered 3 major sonatas which had been standards in my repertoire for which no complete recording exists in the piano society archives. I just started looking at one of them, a Beethoven sonata, tonight. I think that everyone will enjoy this more than the Bach.

    Thanks for the information on the editing programs. This is something that I need to learn if I am to be serious about making good recordings. This would have definitely been beneficial to a few spots in the Bach. I definitely need to do some experimentation with volume, distance from the mike, etc.
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Helene,
    I am Monica - we've not spoken before but I wanted to introduce myself to you. I just listened to your 2nd movement (because that's the only one I've played) and think you played it very nicely. Your trills are good! You already know the problems regarding the sound quality and all that - you will find a lot of helpful recording information on our forum. And in your next time around, you may want to keep your dog in another room. At least that's what I think I heard in the background.

    Yeah - nobody here likes Bach that much! ( :lol: - just joking) (really just my dumb joke...)
     
  7. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    We will lynch you anyway.
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    uh oh! Then I better start running....
     
  9. hzemel

    hzemel New Member

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    Hi Monica - Nice to meet you too. I listened to a few of your Spanish pieces. Very well done. I love that music. It always puts me in a good mood. I've done a few of the Albeniz Iberia and a few of the Spanish Dances of Granados. I had a chance to see and hear, many years ago, Alicia de la Rocha at Carnegie Hall and also more recently at a master class that I attended a few summers ago.

    I have a lot to learn about making recordings, but I see that there are a lot of helpful people on this forum. I just downloaded the Audacity editing program. I just have to learn how to use it. :) I have a piano student who may be able to help me with this. He does sound mixing for popular artists and even did something for one of Beyonce's albums.

    You have good hearing. I do have a dog. Most of the time she is quiet when she is around me. She would create more of a ruckus if I put her away. I don't remember her barking during the 2nd movement, but then, again, I was busy playing.
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    It was not your dog's barking I heard; only the sound of it walking around and panting. I do have good hearing and background noises easily distract and annoy me - sorry, no offense to your dog. :)
     
  11. hzemel

    hzemel New Member

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    Wow! That's pretty acute hearing, Monica. I listened again to the 2nd movement and I don't hear it and I have a good set of earphones for the computer.
     
  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well, you made me think that perhaps I had imagined everything, so I just listened again. But nope, still heard your dog. The first time is right at the beginning - at 0:04. Then it's more pronounced at between 0:28 - 0:36, also between 0:43 - 0:52. Then we're good for awhile until near the end. Here comes doggie again at 5:05 - 5:22.

    At least you know now that your recorder is pretty sensitive. And now that I just listened to this second movement again - I want to play it again myself. I really love it! When I come home from kickboxing class I'm going straight to my piano! (although that might make for an interesting Bach Italian Concerto interpretation. I'll record it in case I inadvertently throw in some karate chops and kicks...:lol: ) (Terez would love that! :p :lol: )
     
  13. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I do like interesting interpretations...within certain boundaries of good taste. :mrgreen:
     
  14. hzemel

    hzemel New Member

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    I'll listen again to those spots. The spots at 0:04 and 5:22 may have just been me walking from turning on the recorder and then walking back to turn off the recorder. Not sure about the 0:28 spot. It could have been the dog settling down next to the piano. She enjoys listening to good music. I can tell that she is actively listening. I put her away when I teach. She'll be quiet when a student is playing a nice Chopin piece or something like the Moonlight Sonata 1st movement. She'll start barking as soon as the student stops.

    I may re-record the 2nd movement as the volume is too low, but not today because it is close to 100 degrees :( in New York and I don't want to turn off the air conditioners. I'll have to learn how to edit out that space between starting and ending the piece and turning on and off the recorder.
     
  15. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hzemel wrote:
    That´s the easiest exercise you can do with "Audacity", you just have to be audacious enough to mark the passage you want to cut off, then just delete it with the delelte-button on your computer. :wink: (Not so easy is f.ex. replacing a passage with a mistake by a right passage from another take, but also this can be learned, it just needs a bit experience to get it well.)

    After having read all the really funny jokes about the non-Bach-liking forum-members and dogs in the background of recordings, I seem to be the typical PS-member: I´m an only-Beethoven-lover (that must have been the reason, why I have recorded the complete WTC I) and I hate dogs in the background of recordings (that´s why I have two cats)! :lol:

    So, the conclusion seems to be, that we all would like to listen to a Beethoven-Sonata by you, if you promise to replace your dog by a decent cat! :lol: :wink:(Now seriously, nothing against your dog, if it can´t be heard in your recordings, and a Beethoven-Sonata is very welcome, of course. :) )
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    :lol: Funny, Andreas! And now that you said that, we will be seeing a 'complete Beethoven sonata' list from you too, right? :p

    One more thing - whatever you do, don't get a bird! I think we have a couple recordings with birds in the background. Of course, nothing you can do about the ones outside, or the chipmunks either, for that matter. Those little critters are cute but they're even louder than birds. I'm always at war with them because they sit right outside my window where I record and chirp/squeak very loudly. Obviously they are purposely trying to wreck my recordings! :lol:
     
  17. hzemel

    hzemel New Member

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    Taking out the before and after should be an easy exercise to start learning editing. I have an adult piano student who may be able to help me with the splicing. Not being able to do this was frustrating with the Bach 1st and 3rd movements.

    As to the Beethoven, I just started reviewing the Les Adieux Sonata. I noticed that only the 2nd movement was recorded by the society. This should keep me pretty busy for a while. :)
     
  18. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh, I nearly started to learn that sonata, too! But since I have never played it before and the pieces on the top of my list (Lyadov, Mozart and Scriabin) have the priority, I believe that you will be the first one who recorded the whole sonata for PS, unless someone beats you with a live recording of all the three movements (I belong to those who prefers a complete recording set :wink:, too).
    BTW I recently bought me the second volume of Beethoven sonatas of Henle (hard cover) just for 25 Euro! It's a bargain, isn't it? :D
     
  19. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Pianolady wrote:
    If I may continue with it in my next life, I don´t mind. :wink:

    Pianolady wrote:
    Right, I really don´t want to have a bird. (German: einen Vogel haben, english: to have a bird is colloquial and means to have bats in the belfry.) :lol: I know some musicians, who had a bird (I mean a real one), they both were teachers, one had a Beo and the other a parrot. I probably wouldn´t feel too happy with that, because I´m also a non-bird-noise-recording-lover (and I´m also an audacious-new-compounds-lover; I hope, I don´t hurt all rules of English grammar here)!

    Pianolady wrote:
    So, you should only record Messiaen in future for to have the ideal background for his music, at least because of the birds (I don´t think, he has also eternalised chipmunks in his compositions). :lol:

    Hyenal wrote:
    My Henle book of Beethovens sonatas, book II, is over 30 years old, it cost 22 DM then. That´s a bargain from view of today! :wink:
     
  20. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok. :)

    I think I do have a couple bats in my belfry! (but they only come out night. ) :arrow: (sorry, that's a really dumb joke - I'm just very bored today!)

    Your English is better than my German, so you're good. Not quite sure what you mean by a 'new compounds' though.

    I've never played nor heard any Messiaen! Did he write nice piano music?


    I bought Dover edition both volumes of the Beethoven sonatas about three or four years ago and paid $16.95 for each book. Not sure how that converts to Euros.
     

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