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Chopin - Impromptu No. 1

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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  2. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Yay, I have always loved this impromptu! It's not very easy either; quite a bit of it is awkward. Overall your playing is very nice. I don't have my headphones right now so I probably need to listen again later for better sound quality (and I'll have a listen at the mazurka then too), but if I had to criticize one thing I'd say it comes off as a little bit too deliberate most of this time, as opposed to the whimsical character in A. I think that part of that is your piano, though. I've noticed over the years listening that your piano has a very wooden sound, what Chopin might call 'too insistent' (which was his opinion of Erard pianos and the general German style of building them, hence his preference for the Pleyel). But I think part of it is also a matter of touch (some might say tempo, but I think that is only a small part of it). Of course, after years of playing on one piano, it's bound to affect your playing pretty profoundly.
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for listening/commenting, Theresa. I didn't know that my piano sounded woody; that's a new one of me. I always work so hard in trying to produce the best sound I can with what I've got (piano, recorder, editing programs) and thought I had things sounding okay. But now my crummy playing is enhanced by my piano, or my crummy piano is enhanced by my playing - either way I am saddened...
     
  4. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    @ the impromptu: I liked the whirling and lyrical elements you brought out in the piece. About your piano sounding wooden, I think it could be a function of the reverb, as if you played this piece on the same piano in a concert hall (or even adjusted this same recording to concert hall in an editor) it might sound a little spacier, in a way, otherwordly.

    I guess it depends on what a listener likes to hear: closeness of the piano or a piano farther away like its in a much larger space. I think in this piece, that is, this recording, the closeness is ok because the shifting gravity of the melody communicates almost a different reality, while the closeness of the piano reflects that this is imagined and not in fact real. For some reason this piece reminds me of Schumann's Op.21 Noveletten no. 4. They both have lyrical parts to them, so that's probably it.

    @ the mazurka: I don't remember if I heard your first version but this remake sounds good. I like the contrast in dynamics of the grace notes and the notes they immediately follow. Another lyrical piece. I think I hear tuplets and if so, they must have been hard to play. Especially at tempo for this piece. Maybe make the B section a little slower to contrast the quick A section even more.

    Riley

    -------

    "I play Bach gladly... but I do not recognize him (as some do) a great genius."
    -Pyotr Tchaikovsky
     
  5. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    :lol: No dear, my playing is 'crummy'. Not yours. :wink: I am probably just picky on piano sound cause I get to play on a Steinway a lot.
     
  6. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    (Dang, I accidentally closed the tab and lost everything I had just written.) :evil:

    First, I thought that both performances were lovely. I have always adored that Mazurka for Chopin's writing that "wrong" note at the end of the main theme.

    Your performance of the Impromptu does it justice. You do a beautiful job of conveying that swirling, twirling, waltz-like outer sections.

    The middle section I believe would do better with a more relaxed, less insistent tempo. The marking is "sostenuto" in each of the editions on IMSLP (unfortunately I don't have an urtext or even the Paderewski ed. available). Here is what the Dolmetsch dictionary has to say about "sostenuto": (1.)(Italian) used alone as an tempo indicator, sostenuto means the same as andante cantabile" (4.) "(a passage) played in a cantabile style". It is thus a tempo indication. In fact it is placed in the "tempo" position above the system in all but one edition on IMSLP (granted all four could represent variations on the same source.) Also, if you compare it with no. 3, which also begins with a perpetuo moto triplet section, its middle section is also a more lyrical section marked "Sostenuto". In the posthumous Fantasy-Impromptu, the "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" section is marked "Moderato Cantibile."

    Anyway, a more relaxed tempo will allow you to play those detached bass notes (I think that he is somewhat thinking of the light sound of pizzacato bass viols and not necessarily "marcato") with greater ease and less fuss.

    One other thing, each edition marked the passage between the turn that begins with the 3 Bb's and the longer sixteenth note fioratura with a rit. or ritenuto. I would like to hear more relaxation in the tempo which I believe would give even greater impact to the fioratura.

    Over all, a job well done -- particularly late at night.

    Scott
     
  7. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Monica,
    I have to admit that I don't know these works (I'm not big into the "dance" works of Chopin, shameful I know) but I do like very much your performances here, especially the Mazurka. It had a very nice character to it. You did a fine job of voicing. If anything, maybe a little more rubato where appropriate to give it some increased ebb and flow. (Man, you're a recording queen!)

    Regards,
    Eddy
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for listening/commenting Riley, Scott, and Eddy. I really like this little mazurka because of its quirkiness, and my interpretation here is pretty well set now – I can’t play it any other way. But Scott, what you said about the Impromptu, specifically the middle section is very interesting. I’m too embarrassed to say what edition I was reading from, but I don’t recall seeing ‘sostenuto’ written there. But that doesn’t mean much, because I miss a lot of markings – my former teacher used to point them all out to me and I was a little shocked at myself for not seeing ‘everything’. Anyway, as I was playing/recording this piece, a little voice in my head was telling me that this middle section should go a bit calmer and I should have taken heed. Thanks for pointing this out to me – especially if ‘sostenuto’ is actually in my score, then I made a big boo-boo and will need to re-record at least the middle section.
     
  9. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Always heed those little voices in your head. Schumann did and you see where it got him. :twisted:

    Scott
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yeah, in a loony bin with twisted fingers. Good thing my little voices are not as pernicious. I usually hear things like, "there's ice cold beer and left-over pizza in the refrigerator..." :lol:
     
  11. Julian G.

    Julian G. New Member

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    Well here it comes, my first comment on PS.
    I am used to give my replies rather by talking, so I will need to practice writing.
    Hope I don´t use the wrong words and end up saying something terrible and mean :shock:

    I find the Mazurka nicely played, very straight and in line.
    My opinion is you could be more free with using the pedal, just generally more.

    Since I have not listend to the Impromptu I cannot say anything there jet.
     
  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for listening to my mazurka, Julian. You did just fine with your writing; nothing terrible or mean. :)
    Don't worry, we are fairly tolerant regarding language difficulties. Unless you say something very funny - then we will probably tease you. :p :)
     
  13. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    And most of those difficulties are from those of us for whom English is our only language. Heck, I live in a town that can't speak English and they don't have any other language to fall back on. :roll:

    Scott
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Pig Latin? :p
     
  15. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica, it seems that you've played these pieces for a long time... haven't you? Everything seems to fall into your hands so nicely. And I liked the vividness of these performances a lot. One thing I could say, to be critical in a constructive way :wink:, is that in the impromptu I sometimes hear disconnections of phrasing between two bars, which could be bound in a phrasing, and get from it the impression of a slight hurriedness. But I didn't play it myself, so that was really my two cents (or one cent? :lol: ).
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Hye-Jin. Thank you for listening/commenting. I have played the mazurka for a long time, but not the impromptu. Although, I did have to work hard on it, because there really are a couple tricky spots. I know exactly which phrases you are talking about that aren't as smooth as they should be. It's all because of the 'club' - our 'Pianists with Small Pinkies" club. I couldn't reach those places and to jump around a lot. Supposedly, Chopin had rubber fingers and could reach these places with no problem. I wish I could get some of that rubber!
     
  17. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    :lol: Then I withdraw my "two cents"! There seems to be things which cannot solved by our small hands :evil:
    Did you perhaps see the thread titled with "Help!!! (Brahms op.120-2)" on the "Technique" forum which I opened? It's about the problem of that "club" and I was very surprised at the commiserations from other members (I attached pics of my RH struggling with large chords there) :lol: :lol:
     
  18. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I listened to the Impromptu and believe you produced a fine rendition there. Your articulation seems flawless, you bring a wonderful fluidity to the music, and you had a good control of dynamics too. You brought out the playfulness of this music very well. Very nice!

    Chopin's dance forms don't appeal to me as much, so I didn't get to the mazurka yet... although tonight I posted Ravel's take on Borodin's "Polovetzian Dances". OK, don't even think about asking me to explain myself on that one! :lol:

    David
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi again, David.
    That's okay, at least you bothered to listen to one of these recordings. And that you take a moment to comment means much to me. Thank you! :)
     
  20. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica, I listened to the Impromptu as I used to play it a long time ago. It's clear and precise, though there are points where I would opt for a bit more in the way of dynamic (and hopefully emotional) expansiveness, in particular in the middle section. Sometimes I think it's perhaps a little metronomic and more rubato would help: an impromptu is originally in sense an improvisation. In no way is it a bad recording; it's well presented and professional, I personally would play it in a freer manner.
     

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