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Chopin - Mazurka Op.68 no.4 with complete middle part

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Recorded this morning....I recently learned that this mazurka, which is considered Chopin's last composition, has a whole middle section that I did not know about; it was not in the book that I used to make my first recording of this mazurka back in 2007.

    Evidently, Chopin's original sketch was practically indecipherable but his friend, Franchomme, had deciphered it and then his other friend and copyist, Fontana, prepared it for publication. It is the version most often found in Chopin Mazurka books. However, there is more to the story - which is quite long. Basically, Franchomme and Fontana omitted an entire section.

    Over the years, top Chopin scholars have viewed the original manuscript and tried their hand at figuring out the middle part (C section). Arthur Rubinstein recorded a version that was edited by Ekier, who corrected numerous mistakes found in the Franchomme/Fontana version and also included a 16-bar C section. Yet other editors claim the C section is really 32 bars in length. This version that I play here is the most recently published version (2012) and includes everything! There are some chord changes throughout the whole piece (different from my old/Fontana version) and probably a thousand accidentals that I hope got correct - this mazurka is deceivingly difficult because of those things.

    Anyway, hope this one is okay. As an interesting note (to myself really), I play this mazurka today much faster than I had when I recorded it five years ago. Just the way I feel it now, I guess....

    Chopin - Mazurka Op.68 No.4 in F minor
     
  2. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Monica

    That is a lovely Mazurka (that I'm not familiar with) and beautifully played. For a Polish dance, this particular one evokes Paris of about half a century later. There are moments that I can almost hear a little French accordion playing.

    Scott
     
  3. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I had a listen to your recording. I really enjoyed it. I have not actually heard the other versions of this piece, but this one sounds very good. I think your tempo was good, your phrasing did well to bring out the interesting modulating turns and the trills sounded crisp.

    For criticism, I thought you could make more of a decrescendo from :54 to 1:06, but maybe that is not called for in this flowing style of playing.

    Enjoyed this,

    Riley
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I just listened to your mazurka and give you high compliments on your playing. Very nice indeed. I also appreciated your "program notes" giving the history of successive efforts of scholars trying to properly interpret Chopin's sketchy notation and to correctly assemble the pieces of the puzzle to create the authentic version of the music. It was quite an evolution and certainly a fascinating story.

    You've done a fine service for Chopin in making his "complete mazurka" better known to the audience here through your fine recording. Thanks for sharing it!

    David
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    This middle section is new to me. It sounds a bit clumsy and searching, not as elegant and surefooted as everywhere else in the Mazurkas. Sounds tacked-on, in fact, the return to the main there not quite convincing. Elsewhere I heard some different notes than what I'm used to (Peters and Paderewski).
    Fine clear playing though it could IMHO do with a bit more freedom and dynamics.
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for listening, Scott, Riley, David, and Chris. :)

    @Scott - interesting the part about Paris a half-century later.

    @Riley - do you have the score? I had to purchase it from Amazon.com, so I'll be mad if now I learn that the score is online somewhere.

    @David - you listened to a mazurka :shock: :) . I wish I could tell the rest of the story about how this piece changed over the years. I thought about scanning the notes that are in the score I just bought, but then thought I'd get into trouble.

    @Chris - I admit to not being crazy about the middle section either. Oh well... And yes, there are different sounds to some of the chords in this version - supposedly corrected notation from the first published version (which is probably what you have). I kept thinking everything was wrong when I was playing through this version.
     
  7. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    No! I was able to find an edition published by Bote & Bock (in 1880, so 132 years ago :p ). I wonder if this is the same as your franchomme/fontana version? It of course says nothing of the middle interlude. It is a mere two pages.
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh, sorry, Riley. When I was reading your last post, I thought I saw bar numbers instead of timing numbers. But yes, the version you were looking at is most likely the same version I have in a book, which is the most common two-page version.
     
  9. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    Very nicely done Monica! Sounded great to me, and the tempo did not strike me as too fast at all.

    It is interesting how tastes and approaches to music change over time. It certainly can be very enjoyable to re-visit pieces learned long ago!

    Matt
     
  10. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very nice and clean, and also an interesting piece harmonically. I do however agree with Chris that more contrasting dynamics would improve it, and give more of a sense of motion within phrases. I would suggest you listen to Friedman's mazurkas out of interest; I very much like how he plays them, though whether his playing would be considered "acceptable" nowadays is another point altogether.
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for listening, Matthew and Andrew.

    I used to not like Friedman's playing at all, but gradually over the years I am coming to appreciate him much more. Regarding my dynamics - I dunno, I hear them. I use the soft-pedal liberally here, and when I'm playing I certainly hear the dynamics changing. Seems sometimes I get them okay and sometimes I don't. I'll keep working on it, though, it's good to be reminded, so thanks for telling me. :)
     
  12. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Congratulations, Monica, for this very nice and nostalgic mazurka... Your playing is very retained, which is always a good approach for Chopin, according to one of my teachers who didn't like too muche rubato...
     
  13. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Beautiful Monica!
     
  14. cmudave1125

    cmudave1125 New Member

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    Thank you for posting this recording and your notes about the piece. I was actually not familiar with this mazurka at all and it was wonderful to listen to Chopin's last composition. Out of all of Chopin's works, I am least familiar with his mazurkas, which is a shame that I hope to rectify in the near future, once I get through my "Russian Summer."

    Dave
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for listening, Francois, Robert, and Dave. :D

    @Dave - yes, you really should look at Chopin's mazurkas. There is plenty of variety among them, as each is very different from one another.

    @Francois - Rubato seems to be something pianists will forever debate. How much to apply, how little to apply. I tend to think that Chopin of course used rubato, but not a whole lot. Seems he did not like things to be exaggerated. Then again, there is that story of how someone (can't remember his name right now) thought that upon hearing Chopin play one of his own mazurkas, the man said the piece was in 4/4, not 3/4, so I don't know.... Guess I will just have to ask Chopin when I go to Paris in a couple months. :)
     
  16. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy New Member

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    Lovely piece sensitively played. I concur with the thought of it reminding late 19th century Paris. Loved it.
     
  17. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Pantelis. And it's good to see you again! :)
     

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