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Chaconne!

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by troglodyte, May 1, 2015.

  1. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I'll continue to contribute some Swedish music. Here is one of the most famous (among Swedish pianists) 20th-century pieces: Gunnar de Frumerie's Chaconne op.8 from 1932. I played it in my youth and now that I come back to it it is much more difficult than I remember. Either my standards have gone up or my technique has gone down.

    A chaconne is usually a dance in 3/4, but in this one there are no dance-like qualities. Despite being in major it is quite dark and stern. The simple chorale-like theme is developed in a set of variations of varying noise and beauty, becoming more and more difficult to recognize. To remind you it comes back at the end in full force.

    Abut the composer: Gunnar de Frumerie (1908 - 1987) studied piano in Stockholm and Vienna, and under Alfred Cortot in Paris. He taught the piano at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm, from 1945 to 1974. His compositions covers a wide area, often involving piano but not predominantly for piano solo. In Sweden he is best know for his songs. Although not noted for his theatre work, he did write an opera, Singoalla (1940).

    Joachim

    de Frumerie - Chaconne opus 8
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I just love it when people stick their neck out to present unknown 20th century music. Too many people don't look further than Chopin, Rachmaninov or Scriabin. I've always liked what I heard from de Frumerie, he seems to me like an original thinker who wrote what is possibly the most idiomatic and exciting Swedish piano music. This is a great piece, the stark and powerful theme handled with utter conviction and economy. And it seems to me a great interpretation too. Really well done, I can't think of anything to criticize. If there were any imperfections I did not hear them (but I did not know the piece).

    I have a thing with stern and somewhat gloomy music. This is one for my bucket list, even though that bucket is too damn full as it is already. Have you ever played anything by Niels Viggo Bentzon ? He's Danish, not Swedish, but the music is quite similar. I love his Toccata and Passacaglia, both big-boned, noisy and magnificent works.

    Will you be considering more Frumerie works ? This to determine whether we should create a composer page. Of course he deserves one, but I am lazy...
     
  3. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks Chris, I'm glad you like it! Currently I have no immediate plans on more Frumerie but one never knows. The final variation in this one gave me lots of trouble with rapid sequences of parallel octave jumps in both hands. I don't want to splice inside noisy parts so I just did ten takes of it and then chose the best, where misses are minimal at the expense of a perhaps excessive rubato. Doing ten takes is OK, after all I love to play, but then listening closely to all of them to determine the best was really boring.

    I hadn't heard of Bentzon, I should check this out.
     
  4. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Of course I don't know the piece at all, but this is very good. I particularly like the control over sonorities, particularly the dark, foreboding ones. The piece itself strikes me as convincingly written. Thanks for this, very interesting!
     
  5. pianolady

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

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    Interesting piece and sounded well played! It's on the site.
     
  6. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks Andrew and Monica! I appreciate your comments.

    Joachim
     

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