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Brahms Klavierstucke Op. 118

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by DLGoodman, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. DLGoodman

    DLGoodman New Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Here is a complete set of the pieces. The site is missing some, and there is no complete set.
    I believe it is important to hear them together as a single work - they flow from one to the other in mood and key in a way that is missing if one listens to them separately. This is one of Brahm's last compositions, and death was very much on his mind and in this music. While the Ballade is upbeat and hopeful, the overall tone is very serious and reflective. I was coached on this piece by the late David Epstein, MIT Professor and conductor of the orchestra. David was very knowledgeable about Brahms and had a theory about the integral relationship between the pulse throughout all six pieces. (Such a theory would certainly make sense for an MIT professor.) When listening to the recordings, see if you can determine these relationships, which I tried to maintain.

    In this post I will upload a file of the complete concert recording, played in one session. This is important in order to maintain the integrity of the whole, and to hear the rhythmic and harmonic relationship.

    In a separate posting I will upload each piece individually.

    Brahms - Op.118, Complete recording
    Brahms - Op.118 no.1, Intermezzo in A minor
    Brahms - Op.118 no.2, Intermezzo in A major
    Brahms - Op.118 no.3, Ballade in G minor
    Brahms - Op.118 no.4, Intermezzo in F minor
    Brahms - Op.118 no.5, Romance in F major
    Brahms - Op.118 no.6, Intermezzo in E-flat minor
     
  2. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thoroughly enjoyable posting, DL. I thought there were some really beautiful moments in #2, but the Ballade to me really was the best of the set. I've always loved #5, reminds me of 2nd mvt in his first piano concerto. Brahms surely had the knack of created this quiet melodies that sound like silence ... so beautiful. Anyway, IMHO I thought your andante was a little fast.

    But completely enjoyed listening to this whole set with my morning coffee. Very, very nice.

    FYI, for future reference, you can attach multiple files to one post ... less clutter that way. Just be sure to upload in reverse order you want them to appear.
     
  3. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I see that you managed to get back to the forum again and submit the recordings you mentioned in the email to me. Great!

    The recordings are up on the site. Both as a complete set and every movement individually. Sorry if I took too much liberty in merging your different recordings into your initial post.

    It is a fantastic achievement Daniel and I have let in run 3 times now and get more and more impressed. I am far too unexperienced to comment each recording in detail but overall, I believe you have a very understanding of the music you play and there is no doubt of your technical skills. I hear hardly any weak moments. I guess you have played this set for quite some time as it sounds very mature and carefully interpreted. Congratulations!
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Indeed a great achievent to perform this entire set live. You are very competent and obviously know and understand this music intimately. A couple of slips can and will usually happen, and they seldom distract. For a live recording, we should not be as critical as for a 'studio' recording, but I know this set well too, so please allow me some comments.

    I thought the first one was rather too tame, neither Allegro or molto appassionato. But it's a difficult piece, and I can understand you being a bit cautious. The famous no.2 is beautifully done, even your bit of improvisation in the middle :wink: I regret your breakneck tempo in the Ballade, it makes for more misses than necessary, and both clarity and weight suffer. I believe many pianists take this one much too fast. In the no.4 I wondered about the uneven attack in the middle section. I like your chorale-like approach of no.5 and the suggestion of bird song in the lively middle section. The no.6 is played with real gravitas, shame you lost the groove a bit in the tumultuous middle section. On the other hand, it is great that you can just play thought moments like this with a poker face.

    All in all, very good Brahms playing, even if I sometimes wished for a bit more weight and sonority.

    But I am unsure about this 'pulse relationship thing' and do not see the point of offering these in one track. We normally only do this for sets with many small items.
     
  5. DLGoodman

    DLGoodman New Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Brahms Op. 118 Klavierstucke

    Robert and Chris -
    Thank you for your kind words about the set. I defer to your judgment and to the Society's norms with respect to posting the pieces separately.

    I will listen again to the set and then respond to your comments. I will also point out the pulse relationships that I was thinking about. Either this (or my nervousness during concerts) may have been responsible for playing the pieces outside their normal range of tempi. (Especially if I'm taking things too fast!)

    The set was performed in 2002. One of my friends asked to hear some of my older recordings, and I thought others would like to hear them as well. I have a few more sets which I'll upload over the next few months.

    Best regards
    Dan
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Re: Brahms Op. 118 Klavierstucke

    In case there is a special reason for listening to as set in one go, as seems to be the case here, I think we should mention that on the page, and recomend that people create a play list if they want to pursue that. Seems to me a better idea than providing a separate track with all pieces joined, just for that reason. In many cases, the pieces in a set/cycle have some relationship. and we would waste a lot of disk space if we'd have to supply them separately (as most people prefer) as well as in one track (as some people prefer). The exception, as said, is for sets with many very short items (for example, Bartok's 'For Children').
     
  7. Michael_B

    Michael_B New Member

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    Daniel,

    I have listened to only my favourite one so far... that being the final intermezzo in E flat minor.

    It's a good job overall and there were some nice moments here and there. However, if I were to put a critical hat on, the overall sound is quite dry and seems to be crying out for more sustain pedal, a lighter touch in general, and specifically a less heavy LH, e.g. the triplet 32nd notes at the end of measures 12/13/14/15 (and again at 32/33/34/35, the last of which it is essential to catch with the pedal so as to form the bass of the first half of following measure, if not it sounds very empty 'down below').

    There are also some wild tempo variations, e.g. bar 27 (when the bass goes back into sextuplets) where you suddenly speed up quite a lot. I know this is a Romantic piece, but the contrast between that and bars 23 and 24, where you slow down a great deal for the (tricky) descending chromatic figure, seems a little strange to my ears. Sorry to sound so negative, but it is a piece I have played and heard many times over the years, so perhaps I just have my own ideas of how it generally should sound, though of course everyone has specific interpretative ideas on any piece of music.

    Apart from the obvious memory slips (end of bar 47 and at 53/54 where you seem to depart from the text quite a lot), according to the Henle Urtext edition that I use for this piece, there appears to be a misreading at the beginning of measure 14 (and where this passages returns at 34) in the RH. It should be a C natural and not C flat, so as to have the G flat major 'lydian' appoggiatura thirds (C-Ab to Bb-Gb). This might be an edition issue[1], though there are no comments referring to this measure at the back of the Henle book, and the only recording I have (within the Katchen 6 CD set) indeed features a C natural at this point.

    I hope you read this criticism in the constructive spirit in which it is meant, and certainly well done on the achievement of performing the whole opus in a concert setting.

    Kind regards,

    Michael B.
    [1] http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/compos ... r118_6.pdf
    This other edition also has it as C natural in bars 14 & 34
     
  8. DLGoodman

    DLGoodman New Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Op 118 N0. 6 Andante needs more line and less bass

    Michael -
    Thank you for your comments about the Brahms Intermezzo.
    The recording was made in 2002, just before our twins were born, and I just listened to it for the first time in several years.
    I agree with you - there is too much bass and the lines are not sufficiently sustained.
    My edition (Peter's Urtext) agrees with yours - the C-flat in m14 and in the repetition is a misreading, although I can see why I thought it should be so.

    Finding the right amount of sustain pedal is a balancing act - between blurring the figures and proving a nice sustained line.

    In a few months I will get to play this same piano in another concert and will pay attention to this issue - I think this piano is stronger in the bass than my smaller Steinway at home.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the set.

    Regards
    Dan Goodman
     
  9. DLGoodman

    DLGoodman New Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    picture for bio

    Chris -
    Here is a picture to add on my bio page.
    Thanks very much.
    Dan
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Re: picture for bio

    It is done. I hope you don't mind I have made it a bit smaller ;-)
     

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