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Beethoven Sonata No. 19, Op. 49 #1, mvmt 1

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Jessica, May 13, 2009.

  1. Jessica

    Jessica New Member

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    I would like some feedback regarding my interpretation of this piece. The other day, I heard someone play this on the radio WAY faster and louder than I do. I went on Youtube and found that most artists do play it much faster than I do. I would have liked to use more subtle dynamic shades for this recording, but I'm still getting over the nerves that come with recording, and I was mainly focused on getting all of the notes right. My teacher and I feel that this seems to be the right tempo because to us, this movement is a very contemplative, almost bitter-sweet mood, and if I go too fast, it kind of takes away from that feeling. What do you all think?

    P. S. You have a great community here, and I've enjoyed lerking around for quite a while.
     
  2. pianolady

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

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    Hello Jessica,

    I can give you some comments, because I have recorded this piece for the site.

    And sorry - but I feel you play this way too slowly. It really drags at this slow tempo. You can still be contemplative at a faster tempo, but IMO it's all in the phrasing, which you need to work on more. Several of your phrases have no shape or are broken, such as the one at bar 7. Also, you should not slow down on the grace notes at bar 13.

    Couple more things - there is not enough of a trill at bar 32, and you shouldn't slow down at bar 78.

    You make read errors at bar 97, 99, and 101. The first LH note is a C not an A. Also, you played some extra notes at the very end.

    I am not a professional player, but I've been around long enough to know the common ways of playing certain pieces. You have a nice start to this piece. Just pay more attention to the phrasing and get your tempo up a bit, and you will have a nicer rendition.
     
  3. timmyab

    timmyab New Member

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    This takes me back to when I started learning piano.I think you show a lot of promise and the bits with the alberti bass are very pleasing.Have you been playing a lot of Mozart?
    I think the tempo does need increasing but more importantly to begin with, you need to get the tempo even.I would strongly recommend that you use a metronome for this purpose.They are very annoying things to use but will quickly show you where you are going wrong, most notably bar 14.It may be an idea to play this bar without the grace notes for a while to get a feel for the timing, then add the grace notes later.
    The shakes on bar 33 also need work.According to my edition they should start on the main note and end with a turn and I think this is how most people play them.
    Good use of dynamics at bar 50 but don't forget to come back down again on bar 52.
    Best wishes.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I like your firm and yet subtle touch, your dunamics, and your clear enunciation. You seem to have thought about matters of articulation and phrasing, which is a good thing even if I don't quite agree with everything you do. In addition to the very valid points already raised, I noticed that your attack is often uneven, when you have two-note chords in the LH for example, the notes don't always sound together. Likewise, the LH and RH do not always chime in together (though this could be your playing style, some pianists do that, but IMO for no good reason). Lastly, not sure how long you've been playing this but I think it would need some more time to mature and grow on you.

    If you can take into account all the remarks made here, you will before long be able to turn in a very nice recording of this piece.
     
  5. Jessica

    Jessica New Member

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    Thank you all so very much!! All of your suggestions are helpful. Getting the tempo up actually didn't take too much time. It's all the other subtlties, particularly the phrasing, that take time to get used to. This recording was actually made several months ago. I've lived with this piece for about a year and a half now, and I've been playing for about four and a half years. It seems to take forever to finally "grow into" a piece, and even then, I still seem to find different takes on some. I never used to like to use a metronome, but nowadays I find it necessary, particularly for difficult passages where I have to slow way down, and then speed up, and like you say, to give the whole piece a tied-together sense of timing. I have a real problem with notes dropping out or sounding unevenly sometimes, particularly in the LH. Again, thanks for the comments. In the future if I record this piece again, should I start a new thread, or just add to this one?
     
  6. camaysar

    camaysar New Member

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    Hi Jessica,

    Others have commented well on many important considerations. I just would like to make a few other remarks. First, and most important, you have a charming way with this piece. Your touch is lovely, if uneven, and we can hear the intelligence behind the music.

    Make a special study of ornaments (turns, grace notes, etc). Sometimes you lift your hands before an ornament, as in m. 8, when it should be connected. Learn how to begin and end ornaments, and how to fit them in to the melody, and time flow. This demands careful study.

    You make some "anticipatory" accents, that is, you stress the note before the one that should be stressed (last 8th note of m. 3 in the repeat). It's kind of like a "pre-accent". Just wait til you arrive at the right note.

    Try to connect the long lines and make them legato, as in m. 27 and 28, where you lift your hands on each beat. Don't lift your hand before the grace notes in m. 8. This falls under the category of learning about ornamentation generally.

    When you begin to use more pedal in the octaves in m. 50, new life is suddenly given to your performance. Please begin to use more pedal right away. It sounds a bit dry now. But be careful not to blur (too much). Your foot should be fairly active yet sensitive in this piece. The pedaling is subtle... and takes, again, careful study

    Find the melody in m. 72 and after. Show us where it is.

    Believe it or not, your tempo does not bother me. I am sure some advanced, quirky pianists (maybe who have a reputation already, so they can get away with it!) have taken a similar tempo. You seem comfortable with it musically. But as mentioned here already, most would move it along a bit more. Andante is a walk.

    techneut's comment that you need time to mature is right on. Maybe a modest dose of scales and finger exercises for evenness of touch. My best advice to help your maturation is to listen to other pianists, and more Beethoven and classical period piano solos of a similar nature (Andantes, for example).

    In your playing, I hear a musician trying to come out, so keep at it! (not only this piece, of course!)

    James
     

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