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Chopin - Lento con gran espressione

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Didier, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist

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    This is the famous piece better known as Nocturne op. posth. in C sharp minor. I play the only autograph version as published by Henle. It is an early version where there is a part with 3/4 bars at RH superposed with 4/4 bars at LH. It is not the most usual one. A candidate at the Tchaikovsky piano competition (Benjamin Moser) played this version a few days ago. It is also the one played by Claudio Arrau in his integral of the nocturnes for Philips. Of course, my interpretation is at a much more modest level, especially in this delicate part at 3/4 & 4/4.

    Chopin - Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. Posth.
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    This is so well-known so you may get a lot of different opinions on it. Here are mine: The first thing I noticed was that you didn't play a B-sharp in the right hand on bars 2 and 4.
    Next, was that sometimes your left hand was uneven. And your rhythm is off between bars 23-28. Needs to have clearer dotted eighth notes to sixteenth notes. Rhythm is also off between 35-44. At bar 53 you missed the A in the left hand, 5th eighth note. You say you have an unusual edition, but I'd be surprised if some of these things I mention are written the way you play them. I've been wrong many times, before, so correct me if I'm wrong.
    There is much here that sounds nice, but in my opinion, a little more tightening of the rhythm would make it better.
     
  3. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank your for you attention and your comments.
    Indeed, I don't play the B-sharps on bars 3 and 4 loud enough for them being eared distinctively.
    Thr 'rythm off' may be partly related to the score that I am using where two 3/4 bars at right hand correspond to one 4/4 bar at left hand. I recorded again this part while trying to do it better. Just at the beginning, the rythm is

    one and two and three and four and one at left hand (one 4/4 bar) ,

    one two and three and one two and three one at right hand (two 3/4 bars).

    This is known as polymetry in musicology. According to the Henle editor, the versions with 4/4 at both hands could result from the hesitation of the people who copied the autographs (there were several ones, all lost but one kept in Valdemossa) or from the first editors about this novelty in the art of music writing.
     
  4. Chaotica

    Chaotica New Member Piano Society Artist

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    It's hard to understand what you are talking about. You should maybe provide the score you are following, if possible.
     
  5. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    A very nice interpretation. Perhaps a bit on the slow side and I would like the runs at the end to be performed faster. IMO, the second run should accelerate to maximum speed when it turns around from ascending to descending.

    When it comes to editions, there exist a lot different versions of this Nocturne and it is produced from a sketch in a book which Chopin wrote to his sister Ludwika. Underneath is the text "Practise before playing my second concerto". Says pretty much about his sister capabilities on the piano. But as the sketch is rather brief, several versions exist and I cannot tell which one that is most accurate as Chopin never wanted this Nocturne to go public.

    Anyway, welcome to Piano Society and if you provide me a biography, I will put you up on the site!
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for providing the sample. I hear what you are talking about. I guess I still like the other way, the 4/4 way better. Probably because that's the only way I can play it. :)
     
  7. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist

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    robert,
    I am honoured by your invitation and I am glad to accept it. :) Let me a few days for sending to you a bit of biography.
    Yes indeed, I am usually on the slow slide...

    Chaotica,
    I agree that my explanation was not so clear. Here attached the part of interest from the score.

    pianolady,
    if you like this piece, you should try this version. It's a good exercise for the independency of both hands and it results in music flowing more freely than in the full 4/4 version, if it is perfectly done.
     
  8. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    The recording is up on the site.
     
  9. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello,

    I recorded again this nocturne. I think that the sound at least is better. I prefer also the second section here. Might replace my current recording on the site ?
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok - I replaced it.
    Overall, I think you played well. I still can't get used to your 'polymetry' rhythm but that doesn't matter. I noticed one error at bar 52 - the fifth 8th note should be an A not a G#. If it is only a slip, then never mind. :)
     
  11. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you again pianolady for your careful listening. I am afraid that I have been doing this mistake for a long time. :oops:
    When I will have improve significantly the trills, which shall happen some day hopefully, I will record this nocturne again and correct this mistake. :wink:
     
  12. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Does anyone else think that Chopin might not have wanted this published because of the bit of score that Didier posted? 3 movement of the F minor concerto, anyone?

    EDIT: Now that I've listened to it a bit more, there are quite a few more similarities than just that...holy crap, that bit in the middle is directly from the end of the second movement of that concerto...no wonder he didn't want this one published....
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Terez, the following is an excerpt from the book, Chopin: The Man and His Music by James Huneker

    **************************************************
    The recently discovered nocturne in C sharp minor is
    hardly a treasure trove. It is vague and reminiscent The
    following note was issued by its London publishers, Ascherberg &
    Co.:

    The first question, suggested by the announcement of a new
    posthumous composition of Chopin's, will be "What proof is
    there of its authenticity?" To musicians and amateurs who
    cannot recognize the beautiful Nocturne in C sharp minor as
    indeed the work of Chopin, it may in the first place be
    pointed out that the original manuscript (of which a facsimile
    is given on the title-page) is in Chopin's well-known
    handwriting, and, secondly, that the composition, which is
    strikingly characteristic, was at once accepted as the work of
    Chopin by the distinguished composer and pianist Balakireff,
    who played it for the first time in public at the Chopin
    Commemoration Concert, held in the autumn of 1894 at Zelazowa
    Wola, and afterward at Warsaw. This nocturne was addressed by
    Chopin to his sister Louise, at Warsaw, in a letter from
    Paris, and was written soon after the production of the two
    lovely piano concertos, when Chopin was still a very young
    man. It contains a quotation from his most admired Concerto in
    F minor, and a brief reference to the charming song known as
    the Maiden's Wish, two of his sister's favorite melodies. The
    manuscript of the nocturne was supposed to have been destroyed
    in the sacking of the Zamojski Palace, at Warsaw, toward the
    end of the insurrection of 1863, but it was discovered quite
    recently among papers of various kinds in the possession of a
    Polish gentleman, a great collector, whose son offered Mr.
    Polinski the privilege of selecting from such papers. His
    choice was three manuscripts of Chopin's, one of them being
    this nocturne. A letter from Mr. Polinski on the subject of
    this nocturne is in the possession of Miss Janotha.
     
  14. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Eh. I own that book. It's been a while since I read it though. :) And it has more than one quote from that concerto...at least 3 that I can think of...
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I don't remember the first version in detail, bit I think you have improved. Overall it sounds pretty good, although rhythmical control should remain a point of attention. The runs at the end sound great even though they are not entirely perfect. Keep up the good work !
     
  16. chopinman0901

    chopinman0901 New Member

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    I know it would be really hard to explain this in words, but can someone point out where the 3 quotes from the concerto is? I know where one of them is... I think. How about the quote from The Maiden's Wish?
     
  17. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    It would be easier if I had the scores to any of them - I don't, so I can't give you measure numbers. One of them is, if you listen to the very end of the second movement of the second concerto, that slow, drawn-out arpeggio to the top of the keyboard is quoted exactly in the middle of the nocturne. Also, the very opening melody of the third movement of the concerto is quoted starting at measure 21 of the nocturne, which you can see in the bit of score that Didier provided. And then, there is some mazurkish stuff going on that isn't exactly quoted from the concerto but is so similar that I call it a quote.

    I have always wondered whether the 3rd movement of the concerto should be called a mazurka, or not. Zimerman does parts of it in that mazurkish tempo that Chopin was critized for in his time. But only parts of it...and indeed, some parts of it seem very mazurkish and other parts not...
     
  18. chopinman0901

    chopinman0901 New Member

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    Thank you for clearing that up for me!

    The third movement doesn't quite seem to have the characteristics of a mazurka, at least in the beginning. It doesn't have any of the characteristic triplets, I believe, and isn't usually played with nearly as much rubato as Chopin's mazurkas. I always found the main theme of the third movement to be kind of a waltz. I emphasize the "kind of..."
     
  19. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Well, it's the triplet part that I was talking about that was "kind of" quoted in the nocturne. And this is also the part that Zimerman plays in the slightly "off" mazurka tempo.

    Also, I don't know the Maiden's Wish, but I'm assuming that the opening theme of the nocturne is this theme, because it's not from the concerto. :) I'm going to get a recording of the Chopin songs one day....the only one I know is Wiosna...
     
  20. chopinman0901

    chopinman0901 New Member

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    Oh my God! Eureka!

    Think about the melody of the first few measures of the nocturne we are speaking of. There is a part of the 2nd movement of the 2nd concerto with the same melody! It's about halfway through the movement where it gets kind of agitated, and while it isn't even close to being exactly the same notes, it is the same melody. I hope everyone understands what I'm talking about. Do you think this quote was intentional as well? I guess it would be too much of a coincidence if it wasn't. It definitely seems like this nocturne was written as a supplementary excercise to the concerto, if not a supplementary piece.
     

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