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Chopin - Ballade F minor op. 52

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by verqueue, May 21, 2015.

  1. verqueue

    verqueue New Member

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    I know this my performance isn't perfect, but I could use your help. It's been only a few months I'm playing this Ballade. It's one of these pieces which are hard to learn and understand without a guidance. And of course it needs more time to mature.

    I'm not sure which way I should go further with my interpretation and other aspects. It doesn't fit the standards of this page, but I really want to improve it.


    So, any comments, advices are very welcomed!
     
  2. kawai_cs

    kawai_cs New Member

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    O my gosh, you are one good pianist! Amateur?:shock:
    Playing Chopin's music means to me, just to name few, fine touch, beautiful tone, subtlety, elegance and passion. All on top of effortless technique.
    What can I say - you are doing fine job here, I am sure you can play this up to high expectations - just give it time and work. By the time you are beyond technique in this piece, when you can play it effortlessly you will know what story you want to tell here. But actually I think you already know that and it just needs some more time and work so you solidly "have it in your fingers" (as my teacher used to say) and can concentrate on interpretation only. I am sure I need not write it because you know it yourself.
    After having done so much hard work you need encouragement and you are definitely getting it here! I enjoyed your playing and keep going.
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    You are fully up to the piece, no doubt about it. It is a matter of polishing, but above all, IMO, of trying to relax even in the face of great turbulence. I hear a lot of tension, impatience and nervousness. It's understandable, who would not be a bit tense recording this iconic work. If you can rise above that, all things are possible. Hopefully you one day get the chance to record this on a nice grand with decent recording gear. That could well inspire you to great heights. The impatience, which I commented on in a previous recording, you just have to grow out of... unless you do it on purpose to convey a sense of urgency.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    It is a common misunderstanding that we only accept or consider 'perfect' performances. I'd say the required accuracy is inversely proportional to the length and difficulty of the piece, with less leeway the more well-known and often-recorded the piece is. Considering the length and difficulty of this
    Ballade you are doing very fine already. I am actually more bothered by the clangorous sound than by any imperfections in the playing.
     
  5. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    In all a fine and compelling performance. Would I hear you play this live I would applaud enthusiastically!

    Since you explicitly asked for ideas, here are my observations, they are very much subjective.

    In the very opening, the tenutos on the first beat are sometimes too much, breaking the dignified flow. Try playing strictly in time, then add shades of rubato.

    The part at 4' could go a bit slower and project more intimacy.

    The part after 5' usually goes a bit faster. I kind of liked your tempo though - it brings details out more clearly.

    Around 6' there is a truly magical moment when Chopin tries an alternate harmony with the opening theme - only to discard it. This is a turning point of the work, the music is not quite the same afterwards. You play this a bit perfunctorily and I feel you could make much more of it.

    The chord progressions at and after 9'05'' I think you rush way too much. Not only does it make you miss a bit, you also lose precious control. This need not go particularly fast, the harmonics are dramatic enough, try to savour them and beware the voicing. In a way this is the main conclusion, the final attempt to seek order and dignity. Try to feel this as swelling up from your body rather than as of someone beaten to death. In particular the final fff at 9'10'' could go very much slower.

    The coda from 9'40'' I think is the main problem here. This is technically fiendishly difficult, and at the same time musically extremely complicated. For myself I am not certain what Chopin intended with this, it is one of the most disturbing parts of his works, but surely it must be more than sheer miasma. I guess you need to think carefully what this means and how to bring it out. A clue could be the dynamics in m211-214 with both crescendos and diminuendos which I did not quite hear. Even if tension and despair is what you want your playing should be more relaxed. I'm sure this will come with time. This piece needs more than a few months to be absorbed.

    Joachim
     
  6. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Joachim's post is to the point and displays greater detailed familiarity with the work than I have. In general, it's technically almost completely under control and there are lots of positives. The coda is a slight let-down, and I don't like the somewhat indecisive dim. at the very end. Probably there are also points in the piece where it doesn't need to drive forward quite so much. I only have one serious issue and that's the piano. If this had been recorded on a good grand piano, it would have been excellent. As it is, there are points where the tone of the piano militates against a full, warm sound, and there are a few places, dark as this piece is, where a bit of warmth is called for. Really a very commendable performance though!
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yes, the piano sound actually makes it hard to listen in places where the going gets rough. I'm not sure if that also could be a pedaling issue. In any case you and the Ballade deserve a better instrument, at least for a recording.
     
  8. verqueue

    verqueue New Member

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    No, not really amateur. I work as a classical pianist on a cruise ship. But this is not a piece which people asks for ;). Thanks for your encouragment words.

    Yes, problably it's something connected with maturity. It's easy to rush and go forward instead of holding it. I'm a nervous person in normal life. On the other hand I don't think I've a physical tension problem in this piece, but I had to work on it. Unfortunetely I can't fix quality of my home-made recordings. When I've an access to a grand piano I can't have a better equipment with me :(. I just need some advices in this piece, that's all. My main problem is that I hate to listen my recordings, so it's hard for me to catch my mistakes or issues.



    Thanks! This is a great comment, I really appriciate your time.

    About opening you're right, it shouldn't be so divided.
    About part after 4' it's one of these not-interpreted spots. I don't have an idea which voices I should show and "how to listen to it". Intimacy is something missing here without doubt.

    Part after 5' I think I'll stay with this tempo. These harmony niuances there are very important to me. Maybe later I'll be able to show them in faster tempo.

    Part around 6' I think is a hardest one in interpretation aspect. Definitely I should put more attention to harmony.

    After 9'05'' it's so hard to hold a tempo there, I missed so much with my rushing. I guess it'll be easier after some time.

    Coda is hard for me both technicaly and musicaly. Generally I almost always have a "tempo complex", that I'm too slow. This is one of these spots, that I think I play it too slow, so I play it faster than I can and miss dynamics and meaning.

    Thank you once again for this comment.


    Oh, yes! I'll fix it. Thank you for your comment.
     

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