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Chopin - Complete Mazurkas

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Over the last month I've been busy re-recording all of the Mazurkas. A couple of opuses were already posted here. I hope these are ok.
    There's also a YT video with some imagery from Poland: https://youtu.be/RZvTFCfaEpE

    Chopin - Mazurka No. 1 - Op. 6 No.1 in F Sharp Minor (3:18)
    Chopin - Mazurka No. 2 - Op. 6 No.2 in C Sharp Minor (2:28)
    Chopin - Mazurka No. 3 - Op. 6 No.3 in E Major (2:00)
    Chopin - Mazurka No. 4 - Op. 6 No.4 in E Flat Minor (0:55)
    Chopin - Mazurka No. 5 - Op. 7 No.1 in B flat major (2:21)
    Chopin - Mazurka No. 6 - Op. 7 No.2 in A minor (3:18)
    Chopin - Mazurka No. 7 - Op. 7 No.3 in F minor (2:44)
    Chopin - Mazurka No. 8 - Op. 7 No.4 in A flat major (1:13)
    Chopin - Mazurka No. 9 - Op. 7 No.5 in C major (0:48)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.10 - Op.17 No.1 in B flat major (2:28)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.11 - Op.17 No.2 in E minor (2:13)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.12 - Op.17 No.3 in A flat major (4:49)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.13 - Op.17 No.4 in A minor (4:12)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.14 - Op.24 No.1 in G minor (2:29)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.15 - Op.24 No.2 in C major (2:13)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.16 - Op.24 No.3 in A flat major (2:20)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.17 - Op.24 No.4 in B flat minor (4:36)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.18 - Op.30 No.1 in C minor (1:36)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.19 - Op.30 No.2 in B minor (1:15)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.20 - Op.30 No.3 in D flat major (3:06)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.21 - Op.30 No.4 in C sharp minor (4:07)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.22 - Op.33 No. 1 in G sharp minor (1:41)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.23 - Op.33 No. 2 in D major (2:32)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.24 - Op.33 No. 3 in C major (1:19)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.25 - Op.33 No. 4 in B minor (5:45)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.26 - Op.41 No.1 in C sharp major (4:18)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.27 - Op.41 No.2 in E minor (2:25)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.28 - Op.41 No.3 in B major (1:22)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.29 - Op.41 No.4 in A flat major (2:35)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.30 - Op.50 No.1 in G Major (2:50)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.31 - Op.50 No.2 in A flat Major (3:48)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.32 - Op.50 No.3 in C sharp Minor (5:19)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.33 - Op.56 No.1 in B major (4:50)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.34 - Op.56 No.2 in C major (1:41)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.35 - Op.56 No.3 in C minor (6:44)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.36 - Op.59 No.1 in A minor (4:14)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.37 - Op.59 No.2 in A flat major (3:00)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.38 - Op.59 No.3 in F sharp minor (3:38)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.39 - Op.63 No.1 in B Major (2:43)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.40 - Op.63 No.2 in F Minor (1:48)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.41 - Op.63 No.3 in C Sharp Minor (2:09)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.42 - Op.Posth. in A minor (3:49)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.43 - Op.Posth. in A minor (Notre Temps Nr. 2) (4:03)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.44 - Op.67 No.1 in G major (1:18)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.45 - Op.67 No.2 in G minor (2:20)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.46 - Op.67 No.3 in C major (1:30)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.47 - Op.67 No.4 in A minor (2:54)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.48 - Op.68 No.1 in C major (1:41)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.49 - Op.68 No.2 in A minor (2:45)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.50 - Op.68 No.3 in F major (1:50)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.51 - Op.68 No.4 in F minor (1:56)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.52 - Op.Posth. in B flat major (1:35)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.53 - Op.Posth. in G major (1:44)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.54 - Op.Posth. in D major (1:25)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.55 - Op.Posth. in D major (1:48)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.56 - Op.Posth. in B flat major (1:34)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.57 - Op.Posth. in C major (3:20)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.58 - Op.Posth. in A flat major (1:48)
    Chopin - Mazurka No.59 - Mazurek Dabrowskiego (Reconstruction: Mariusz Dubaj) (1:28)
     
  2. pianolady

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

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    I never cease to be amazed by your prolific output!

    I haven't cracked open any of my mazurka books for a long time. I cannot listen to your new recordings now and I don't plan on playing any mazurkas, but I'm sure it would be interesting to learn if our interpretations change very much over time.

    You'll have to fix your new table on the Mazurkas page. All the timings are the same as mine and I doubt you could actually do that.... :lol:
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Indeed I forgot to change timings :oops: It's corrected. I am generally slower than last time, which I believe is a good thing, and mostly slower than you, although with exceptions. My interpretations have certainly matured since a time when I was mainly concerned about getting through the notes as quick as possible.

    One timing difference caught my eye, that of Op.68 No.4. You are playing a different version with an added middle section that was completely new to me. Where did that come from ? There's no alternative version in the Paderewski. I find it sounds rather out of place. To me this sounds like a late mazurka into which some zealot scholar has pasted a bit of juvenilia. But I could be wrong there.
     
  4. pianolady

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

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  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ah right :!: It wasn't completely new to me then. I see I had much the same reaction back then. It is interesting to hear some unknown Chopin, but I still think the Mazurka is better without it, and I do do not blame the editors who "left it out".
     
  6. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Congratulations on the full set: that is a significant achievement. I've by no means listened to all (a dozen or so only): they come across well but I have slight concerns about your sound, which suits the more rustic ones but less so the more intimate ones where I'd prefer something more rounded. I think it's a common failing amongst pianists (and I'm probably implicitly criticising myself here too) that, fundamentally speaking, they really only have one sound and merely vary the volume level. Nevertheless, it's quite something to have put all these together.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks Andrew. Good to see someone still visiting this deserted place.

    Short of controlling the volume level and pedalling, I don't really know how to create different sounds. It's a skill I have not learnt yet, having been mostly busy with getting the notes right... I wonder that ecactly great pianists do, apart from the above, to create a varied "sound". Una corda maybe ? I do not like the sound of it on my grand. Though I should really check out if that is the same when recorded. This only just occurred to me :roll:
     
  8. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I suspect pedalling and voicing is one part of it. The una corda pedal is, in my opinion, much under-used, largely because there's a preconception that its usage is for those who can't create pp by touch alone. (I completely disagree with this, and there are times when the thinning of the sound can be very effective: the amount of two pedal indications in later romantic and impressionist music makes the point, I feel.) Personally I've very much cultivated a rounded sound over the years and really can't explain how other than that subconsciously I've probably experimented with different attacks and hand positions until I get the sort of sound I'm looking for. I'm very much out of my comfort zone talking about this, as I'm far from a pedagogical authority and being self-taught to a significant degree doesn't help. I don't think my sound is especially varied - it's maybe a bit kitsch/mushy at times - and probably totally inappropriate for Bach etc, whereas yours is crisper, and imo would be inappropriate for big Liszt. IF, big if, I was to play Bach, I would use much less pedal, more staccato, try to optimise crisp finger articulation, whereas perhaps when you're playing Chopin, Liszt, etc, you need to think about the function of the pedal(s), about breathing at phrase ends, and a more caressing approach to the keys.
     
  9. MarkieUK

    MarkieUK Member Piano Society Artist

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    I always think it's useful to practice without the pedal to try to learn how to make different sounds. Playing 18th century music (written for fortepiano) and really trying to think about articulation of bass voices (which can sound muddy on a modern piano) can be an interesting exercise, as mid-range to bass on fortepiano has a very different sound to a modern instrument (I realise this is more relevant to pre-Chopin era music).

    One technique I've been quite struck by is "open pedalling", i.e. using the soft pedal/una corda and sustain pedal half depressed simultaneously to create a hazy, slightly blurred harmonic effect; also sounds really good in creating a mysterious effect. Certainly useful in early romantic music and Beethoven.
     
  10. verqueue

    verqueue New Member

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    I've listened to all your Mazurkas at work. It's solid interpretation of them, it has its charm. Sometimes you could use more niuances. Also as whole cycle it had sometimes too monotonous mood. But still it was a huge effort and it was a pleasure to listen.
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you ! Quite a huge effort to listen to all of these :)
    Yes, the quest for more nuance and subtlety goes on... And one should probably not listen to the cycle as a whole. This would get slightly monotonous regardless of the performer (though less so with a good performer).
     
  12. MarkieUK

    MarkieUK Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've just listened to Op. 24 No. 1, as it's another of my favourites, and one that I've played myself at one time. I like that you're doing some nice contrasting expression with the different sections now (the same goes for Op. 7 No. 1). Playing lighter (almost leggiero) helps to give a different tone quality in the C section of Op. 24. No.1. I think you should experiment with the una corda pedal (if you have a true una corda pedal on your piano), as it could help to get even more contrast.
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks Mark. Yes I should be - and am - experimenting with the u.c. pedal. Just been using it in two short recordings and it sounds much better than it does when recorded than when recording ! My grand's rather unsubtle action makes it difficult to play pianissimo. Whenever I play another instrument I find this to be much easier.
     
  14. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    An amazing and impressive contribution! Do you actually also have a day job?

    I listened to a few random and a few favourites and think it is very well done. You certainly do more than just hit the notes. I don't think you lack in rubato and nuances - you certainly know how to do that. If there is a problem it is more in the large-scale conceptions. These pieces are often quite repetitive and there is considerable room for variation in how to bring repetitions out differently and how to connect phrases, which would make each piece more interesting and personal. If you want to come back to this (I imagine not anytime soon), the effort should probably be mental and could perhaps even be done away from the piano, to contemplate what you really want to project, why this piece is really important, and what your personal interpretation of it is. I think it was Tovey who once said that when a pianist practices, at most half of the time should be spent actually touching the piano. For me that is impossible since playing is too much fun and my time very limited, but in pieces such as this he has a point.

    About the softer sound: the only advice I can think of is that sometimes (far from always) the LH is a bit loud on beats 2 and 3. Beat 1 is usually the bass and should of course be heard prominently, but when 2 and 3 are just the harmonies it can be effective to play them very softly, sort of sneaking in and barely indicating harmonies. Though I can understand that if your action is unsubtle your options are limited here.

    Joachim
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks Joachim ! Yes I do have a day job, alas... and an often punishing commuting drive. The traffic has gone positively insane now that the economy is perking up.
    But apart from that, I don't go out so much :)

    It is probably not a good idea to want to record such large complete sets. There just isn't time to contemplate each piece, create an unique concept and make the most of that. A certain sameness seems inevitable. I think some here are good, and most or all could be better. Not any time soon, indeed. I've now started to make more use of the u.c. pedal. The problem is that it always creaks. A large slabs of old wood sliding over another seems to have to make some noise. Ah, must be great to have a digital.....
     

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