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Catoire, Quatre Morceaux, Op. 12, No. 4, Etude-fantastique

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Rachfan, May 7, 2010.

  1. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you gentlemen, for sharing your profound thinking about being an artist. This topic always addresses me very much.
     
  2. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Hye-Jin,

    I'm glad you found that dialog of interest. I too believe that it's a fascinating topic. Also I suspect that many pianists think about the fine line between the touring artist and the accomplished amateur relative to command of technique, which is the means to attain artistry in order to effectively communicate one's interpretation and musical intents to an audience.

    In playing a good deal of Catoire's music to date, I always first sit down away from the piano to analyze any given score as one should. But I've also concluded that Catoire is a deep thinker and that most of his inspiration lies well-hidden below the surface. To find Catoire, one will not discover him through his musical notation or the sketchy biographical facts that we know; rather one must search for him between the lines of his music. That's where his greatness is to be found. For that reason I now play his music more by instinct than by logic, and I find by doing so that the technique of pianism mostly takes care of itself.

    Thanks for stopping by this thread to comment.

    David
     
  3. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi David,
    that´s an impressive performance of a demanding piece. From my view it´s no problem, that there are some little imperfections here and there, because you play it very virtuosly, expressively and with a first class musicality, like the great old pianists also have done. If we listen to Fischer, Rubinstein, Horrowitz and others, we find exact the same phenomenon.
    A great performance of first rate for me!

    I have edited your little page-turn on the pen-ultimate page and I have put some of the post-processing to it, which I usually add also to my recordings. May be you like it. If not, it´s no problem, of course. It´s just a friendly meant option and your recording is also excellent like it is.

    Btw, have you recorded op. 12, no. 3 yet? Somehow it´s missing on my hard-disc. I have looked on my hard-disc and found the numbers 1, 2 and 4 of op. 12 by Catoire performed by you until now.
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andreas,

    Thank you so much for your comments on my playing! I really appreciate those coming from you, as I so much enjoy hearing your recordings and videos. I agree with your viewpoint. If one can convincingly communicate the composer's intent to the listener through musicianship and musicality, that is the final test of a performance or recording. In the total scheme of things, the occasional minor error is not so important. In today's world of the flawless CD, we become used to perfection, but really need to think of "the greats" in live performance you mentioned. And you're right--I can recall some fluffs in Horowitz's Moscow recital as an example, or Richter's "klinkers" in his stunning recording of "Pictures at an Exhibition", but those performances were nothing less than sensational. All of us should be inspired by their example and work toward that same aim.

    I'm working on No. 3, the "Nocturne" now. :lol: The second half of this nocturne is very treacherous to play, so it's taking me longer than I had presumed it would. It's a lovely piece though. I won't be able to play it nearly as well as Hamelin, but I believe I can still do a creditable rendition for the members here.

    Thanks for taking time to give that option for the edited recording. I listened to them both a few times to compare. To be honest, I think I still prefer the purity of sound in the original overall. I didn't much mind the page turn in the climax as it was fast, the crashing chord is still resonating, and then that very small delay just before the descending short cadenza there adds to the drama. It's almost like taking a quick breath to steel yourself for the effort demanded by that cadenza. You're certainly welcome to leave your edited version here though if you'd like, as others might want to hear it too.

    I'm really glad that you liked my rendition, especially given the reservations I had about even undertaking the piece. :)

    Your friend, David
     
  5. lisztzsil

    lisztzsil New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello David,

    Congratulations on tackling this amazing étude! For six weeks of work it's quite an accomplishment. I didn't know Catoire, thanks for the introduction on his music. Keep up the great work!

    There are so many great uknown russian composers...
    Bortkiewicz, for instance, is one of those forgotten Russian composers. I can see that PS fortunatly has a number of his compositions, but none of his op.15 études, for instance, which are amazing. One day I'd like to record no.8 for the site:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNc-P3s_HSo

    Best,
    Alexandre
     
  6. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Alexandre,

    Thanks for your kind words! Yes, it is an amazing etude. Unlike Chopin who preferred to feature a particular element of technique in an etude, Catoire included very diverse problems of technique in this Etude-fantastique. For that reason it was a tall challenge for me, but I'm glad I persevered and recorded it.

    On the 6 weeks learning time, it's quite hard to estimate, as I was practicing another piece in conjunction with the etude, thus splitting my time between the two. Toward the end, I was actually making better progress on the etude, so temporarily dropped the companion piece to focus on the etude alone. So I can't be too precise in the matter given the time allocations. The 6 weeks might be fairly accurate, but I'd feel safe using 7 weeks as the outermost estimate. I can tell you that when I practice, I am always focused, concentrating deeply, and efficient in my approaches. Because my practice time is limited, I try hard not to waste a moment of it. I was very inspired by this piece, determined to conquer it, and loved practicing it. So I surprised myself once it was ready to record. I'll probably revisit it sometime in the future, as there are some other things I'd like to try with it. No piece is ever truly finished.

    I contributed most of the Bortkiewicz recordings here at Piano Society. I had good intentions of continuing on, but became fascinated with Catoire, so have been surveying that repertoire more recently. I will be revisiting Bortkiewicz for sure, and may eventually get to a few of the etudes. Yes, the Op. 15, No. 8 is so incredibly beautiful, isn't it? The Diaz video is good, but you might like the Koji Attwood video even more, plus he performs three other etudes in addition to No. 8. Link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui5RxiKKhRo

    Thanks again for listening to my recording.

    David
     
  7. lisztzsil

    lisztzsil New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello David,

    I'm glad you did most of the Bortkiewicz on PS. I will listen to them soon.

    >Yes, the Op. 15, No. 8 is so incredibly beautiful, isn't it?
    Yes, the "wedding étude"

    >The Diaz video is good, but you might like the Koji Attwood video even more, plus he >performs three other etudes in addition to No. 8. Link:

    I think Attwood does an excellent job in spite of a few misreadings and rushing over some of the cantabiles. Although the video by this Dias guy has many mistakes, somehow I relate more to it :wink:

    All the Op.15 études are amazing. Katsaris has recorded a full Bortkiewicz album, which has contributes a lot to preserving his memory.

    Best,
    Alexandre Dias
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Alexandre,

    I was lucky to get the Stephen Coombs recording of many of Bortkiewicz's works on Hyperion. Unfortunately, the Katsaris recording is no longer available, although Cyrprien Katsaris lists some of them on his website for those who wish to listen. The few people who play and record Bortkiewicz today are probably the first since Hugo Van Dalen, the Dutch pianist and close friend of Bortkiewicz, who championed the composer's piano works during the 1950s. Since then there have been decades of neglect of this gorgeous music. Maybe the tide is turning now.

    David
     
  9. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Can't say I care much for this music per se, which to my ears sounds emotionally shallow and structurally and pianistically derivative. However, as Chris said, I think you make a convincing case for it. Nicely orchestrated with a wide dynamic palette. I particularly liked the wavelike crescendo effects and the sweet sonority of the final chord. Well done!
     
  10. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi jlr,

    Thanks for listening! This etude is a devilish piece to play in many respects, so I really appreciate your kind compliments. Doing those "wave" crescendos and diminuendos (sometimes we refer to that aspect as "dynamic contour") is usually fairly easy for me; however, because of the very busy figuration where it's required, I found it much more difficult to execute it as well in this piece. If I were to return to this piece in the future, I would try to do even more with the dynamics. I'm pleased you found my performance convincing. That alone makes having learned the piece worthwhile, as it's a joy for me to play and raise awareness of Catoire's music.

    David
     
  11. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Rachfan wrote:
    I second that. That´s the right aim!

    Ah, very good, so I´m curious on your next recording.

    No problem you prefer your own original, of course. Such matters are always only of personal taste. Could also be, that I cut off a bit too much between that chord and the descending cadenza. That´s what I thought while re-listening to my edited version today.

    All the best,
    your friend,
    Andreas
     
  12. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks for your additional remarks. I'm glad that you're OK with my wanting to stick with my original recording. You're very understanding, and I appreciate and value that! :)

    Your friend,
    David
     
  13. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    Alexandre, do you talk a lot with Gustavo, my cousin? I ask you this, because once he came to my house and played a ultra-romantic piece by a Russian composer, and it was Bortkiewicz!
    I didn't know him at that time.
    In fact, I still don't know. hehe
     
  14. lisztzsil

    lisztzsil New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Felipe, yes. He was introduced to Bortkiewicz the same way I was: through our teacher, Neusa França (which in turn was introduced to his music through her teacher, Magda Tagliaferro). He studied Op.15 No.1 and No.10, and I studied No.8.

    Best,
    Alexandre
     
  15. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    David,
    It's my turn to congratulate you for this great achievement ! I don't go to PS as often as I would like, and until today I never took time to listen any Catoire piece. You give me the desire to go forward in the discovery of this composer. Thanks !
     
  16. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Francois,

    Thanks for listening as well as for your kind comment! Here at Piano Society, if you visit Composers and then Catoire, you'll find many recordings there, as I've completed the sets for Op. 17, 24, and have nearly finished with Op. 12. The composing idiom is a little different between all of the opus numbers, so there is true variety there, yet they are all unmistakably Catoire. If you have time to listen to some of these pieces, I believe you'll enjoy them. Thanks again for your comments.

    David
     
  17. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    A late reply on my behalf, but I wanted to register my appreciation. You've done a lot to promote Catoire's music; thanks to you and Koji [Atwood] I've heard a lot of Catoire (and Bortkiewicz) which I would almost certainly have not heard otherwise. I've had a look at this piece and suspect it's probably quite hard to keep the 5 v 2 going coherently and consistently, to say nothing of the way melody notes occur just off beat at certain points. I look forward to more!
     
  18. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi andrew,

    I appreciate your listening. And thanks for your observations on the score. Yes, there are many technical points there requiring constant attention. Any polyrhythms are one of the hallmarks of Catoire's idiom. I often say that Catoire and Bortkiewicz taught me how to play the piano, and in many too ways including the nettlesome polyrhythms. I've certainly had a lot of fun and enjoyment with these pieces.

    Once I finish Op. 12, I'm not quite sure what I'll tackle next--still looking at possibilities. That's the wonderful thing about the vast piano repertoire, we're never at a loss for new pieces to play!

    Thanks again!

    David
     
  19. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    David, I think you should be looking into some Medtner for a next project. If you enjoy the combination of lush sonorities and nettlesome polyrhytms, Medtner's the man for you.
     
  20. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Ha! I think you just read my mind. I'm at an odd juncture in the Catoire repertoire, as Opp. 12, 17 and 24 are my favorites, and I'm just one piece away from completing those. And I'm feeling a need to take a break and do something else in the repertoire at the moment, thus mulling over other possibilities. There is indeed a Medtner piece that has sparked my interest, and, once I finish up with Catoire's "Nocturne", I might well move to Medtner, but I can't disclose the title yet, in order to keep folks wondering. :lol:

    David
     

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