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Chopin Nocturne Op. 27, No. 2

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, May 30, 2007.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I have been infatuated with this piece for a few weeks, now. It literally used to make me cry when listening to it - my heart hurt from the beauty of it. Then as I became better at playing it, I got more of a 'turned on' feeling than anything else (I know, weird reaction). Too bad I am always alone when playing piano. :wink: So...for two days, I have done nothing but record this piece. Had to give up my morning coffee, too, so I wouldn't be so shaky and heavy-handed. But no matter how hard I have practiced, or how many times I recorded this, I just can't get it perfect. This is the best I can do. Upon listening to it the very last time after editing out starts and stops, adding reverb, and naming it correctly, I did end up crying again, because it just doesn't go the way I wish I could play it. There are a few inaudible notes, some notes that you can hear but are too soft, some notes that came out too loud - Grrrr - I'm so disappointed in my playing. If you have any tips on how to play better, how to play softer, smoother, lighter, anything at all, I would be very greatful.

    Chopin Nocturne Op. 27, No. 2
     
  2. Nicole

    Nicole New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Now you know the men on this site are going to want to see you perform this piece in video format!!!
    Robert or Chris are probably going to kick us off for talking like this, but I told a male colleague once (who I MISTAKENLY thought was gay, so to my great embarassmnent, I'm sure he must have thought I was hitting on him), that I really think there is an element to playing with effective rubato that is akin to passionate sex, if you will. Some people go through it as just a mechanical thing from start to finish, and others are truly in touch with what they are doing -- savouring every moment and lingering especially on the moments that warrant lingering. My philosophy is that if you are awkwark/self-conscious at rubato in piano and play with no natural feeling, you probably have the misfortune of being pretty boring in the bedroom too. Maybe it is not so much a sexual thing, as that those who have the fortune of feeling uninhibited with emotion will be able to have success at rubato, as well as....um, other things.

    So frustrating, isn't it. But I've read that almost every great concert artist (unless they have a serious ego) is ALWAYS aware of a little area within each piece of their repertoire that is slightly less than perfect. I think when we work on a piece a lot, it becomes, on average , about 97% perfect, and that little 3% that doesn't always go the way we want can end up bugging us to the point where we don't bother to record it or play it publicly. This is the case for me. But I must be reminded that REALLY, it is usually only ME who can truly tell when a note didn't get pressed all the way to the bottom, etc. Did you ever hear someone play a piece you didn't know and think they were just frickin' fantastic? Then, you learn the piece yourself, hear their performance again after you know this piece even better than they do, and realize they were actually making quite a few tiny "mistakes", if you will, that were imperceptible unless and until you learned the piece even better yourself.

    So, great job, M! Don't be at all disappointed, as for every 3 things you might have wanted to go better, 97 were better than perfect and could not have gone better.
    N
     
  3. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Haha, this made my day. Hilarious (for me, but probably serious for you)

    Anyways: The recording feels as if you are almost "there", maybe in another week or so you can complete the emotion, IMO, instead of being 7/8ths complete. I really cant pinpoint what is missing, but overall it is a nice recording.
     
  4. Anonymous

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    I don't understand why i can't listen to half the pieces in the audition room? Is there a link that you are supposed to click on or somethin and my computer just deletes it. Does anyone have any ideas on this?
     
  5. Anonymous

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    Ah okay i get it. I have to be logged in-no worries hahahah. I only log in when i post a reply which i conveniently just did! :oops:
     
  6. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Monica, this Nocturne sounds beautiful to me!

    Can't understand why you worry about not playing soft and smooth enough - it sounds calm and soft and smooth to me just the way you played. So everything is fine and well done.

    If you nethertheless insist on a critical remark, it is that on those spots were you play the melody line very soft - beautiful soft -, you could try to take the left hand back accordingly, on those places the lh stands out a bit by comparison. Personal opinion only!

    It was a real pleasure to listen!
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for listening Nicole, Julius, and Olaf.
    Nicole, I don't know if playing with the video camera on would be much of a turn-on to the guys, since I still most of the time play in my pajamas with my hair pulled up into a ponytail. But my summer pj's are a bit on the skimpy side, so perhaps....forget it - can't go there, and I could never do it, anyway. :) I love your rubato/sex story. Now for sure I'm going to be thinking about 'other things' while playing piano. :wink: And thanks for the pep talk. I have listened back to myself a dozen times, now, but still cringe all the way through.

    Olaf, thanks for your kind words, but your critical remarks are exactly what bothers me most. (not that you said them, but that they are my main problem). I can't get my left hand to play softer without loosing the notes completely. It's all the amount of weight you hold in the arm and how much force your fingers come down with and all that. I used the soft pedal on much of this piece, which smoothed things out, but at the same time it softened my right hand too much. I don't know if it's my piano and wonder how it would go on a very expensive piano, if the balance would be better, etc...Yes, I know, don't blame my piano, it's all me. Well, I will continue to work on technique and maybe one day have a better time with this one.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    You are becoming unnecessarily critical of yourself. This is very good ! Yes of course you would have wanted it to be even more perfect, I think we all do. A couple of weak notes are nothing to be unhappy about except when you are an absolute professional. Yes the RH could sing out a bit more in places, but I think the balance is pretty good.

    I do not have anything to nag about this performance. Great playing, and time well spent. It is up the site.
     
  9. Anonymous

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    chopin nocturne

    Thank you pianolady. You certainly kept my attention for 6;56, I'll have to keep practicing until I can play it that well
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Chris and oldpianoman (love the name).
    Sometimes, I come across a piece that just grabs me and I don’t mind working hard on it to try to get a decent recording. At the time of the recording, I was just so glad to have a version that didn’t stink as bad as all the others, so I was ok with submitting it. Then later, I began to hear all the wrong things with it, and can’t help comparing myself to all the pros I’ve listened to play this piece. Today, I had a lesson, and my teacher showed me about a hundred ways to improve certain places, and that was only on the first two pages. So…I have been overzealous in recording this. I shouldn’t have been so impatient, and I should have waited until my teacher helped me. I’m sorry. Thanks again for listening.
     
  11. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Nocturne

    Absolutely lovely! It is a real challenge to tackle a piece like this nocturne. You did a great job, Monica. Don't be so hard on yourself. I followed along very carefully with the score and I could only find one note that didn't sound, and I'm not even sure of that one. That's a good percentage for a delicate piece like this is. I always enjoy your Chopin. You interpret it very beautifully. Keep up the good work. I look forward to listening to more of your Chopin.
     
  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, John. I guess a lot of us are in the same boat, always trying to improve. I credit this forum for making me try harder.
     
  13. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    While we, according to the Terms of Service, will moderate any sexual content, a subject connecting music to sex has of course its values and will not be moderated. Nor will we lock your account or send out special agents to eliminate any possibilities to further posts on the subject ;).

    It is an amusing story and I also agree with you that feelings is connected to rubatos which cannot be performed robot alike. That is why we do not like music played by machines but prefer playing of a human being. Most of us also prefer to listen to a performance live where we actually see the pianist and feel that he/she is communicating directly to us. The reason I have not posted any videos is that I am actually too shy to do so and I know that I am not able to act naturally when I know the video camera is recording. I get aware on all my awkward body movements, funny eyebrow and my stupid "nodding to myself" etc. Another reason is that the video camera is broken since we were away skiing.

    But back to topic, of course sex is connected to communicating feelings in music. This might sound really weird from my side but the excitement I sometimes feel in music can be close to sexual excitement (now don't make fun of me!). I am pretty sure most people agree here.

    It is also the very reason I learned to play the guitar in younger years. I live near the ocean where we had a lot of beach parties in my youth and early understood how well the trick of playing and singing some well-known tunes work on females around the late night fire :).
    Correct. This often happens when I learn new pieces and also the opposite. I was not impressed at the first listening but get very impressed after learning the piece myself.

    I tend to get more disappointed with pieces that means a lot to me as I really like to tell the story of the piece and not just playing the notes. What is between the lines, notes, bars is of equal importance as the notes themselves. I need to know the story of the composer, in which time he/she lived, the circumstances around it at the time it was composed etc. etc. Without this knowledge, it can be difficult to fully understand the music. That is why I sometimes feel confused how the early composers as Scarlatti should be played as we do not know very much about him. In few cases as with Haydn, I feel it is deliberating but in most cases not. The reason I have strong feelings for Chopin is that I know very much about his life and his circumstances.
    Yes back to the topic and stop crying Monica! This is a wonderful performance and your way of expressing this beautiful Nocturne musically weighs up by far for your technical mistakes (which really are both few and hardly audible). I really love this nocturne too (while it never makes me cry, you know, men don't cry, we are not allowed to after we passed 15 ;)) and you are making the best out of it and should hold your head high. Keep on doing what you are doing!
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, Robert. But I bet you know what’s coming in a couple weeks. :)

    Funny!

    I used to whip out my flute and do the same thing. Still do. (kidding, sort of :wink: ) I think I would have liked to have known you back then. Seems you were quite the free-spirit.



    Maybe that’s why we are so happy alone at the piano. :lol: And of course, now, I will think of all that when listening to all you men play too. A new element to listen for. :wink:
     
  15. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    SEX?

    I don't want to rain on anyone's parade about sexual expression in music, but there is also the other side of the coin...

    Sometimes beautiful, expressive playing may be partly the expression of repressed sexual feelings.
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    But then the feeling is not repressed if you are expressing it, right? :? (can you elaborate while keeping it 'clean'? If not, do it anyway. :) )
     
  17. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I definitely don't see any reason to cry...you've been working on it for just a few weeks, after all, and the technique isn't easy, despite the deceptive cadence. You know that. ;) You also know that I respect anyone that makes tempo a priority with Chopin, which you of course did, and you did a lovely job.

    I won't say anything about that particular point that we already discussed. ;) One thing that I did, after I had played this nocturne for a jury the conventional way...I changed my fingering in the left hand to switch to the thumb on the 6th part of each beat, or most of them, anyway. It's unconventional, and I'm not sure that Chopin would have approved of it, but I loved playing it that way. It made it sooo much easier to be legato in the left hand, it made for any easy smooth pedal, and also helped me to control the volume of the left hand, and to be contrapuntal with the accompaniment. I find that using the soft pedal a great deal in this piece makes it too difficult to make the melody sing like it should.


    For those of you who have different ideas about tempo rubato, and also compare it to sexual expression...or repression...whatever. :) Keep this in mind - the best path to a true sexual release is a nice, steady rhythm. Those who are bad in bed are those you just can't get in sync with, are they not? ;)
    I'm not about to make fun of you...I was raised on Chopin, and I first remember making the connection between music and sexual tension and release when I was about 12, with the 25/1 Etude.
     
  18. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, Terez. I'll check out your fingering when I am back at the piano. My teacher also showed something, (don't have the book in front of me right now) but it involves picking up a secondary melody note that is written for the LH but I can use the RH to bring it out better. It's those kind of things that I'm working on now. As far as soft pedal - I like to use it - but I'm finding that it so much depends on the piano. My Yamaha grand, which I used to love - is doing strange things with that pedal, so I'm not sure I will use it like before. The Steinway I play on at my lesson worked much better, as the upper notes weren't as muffled.

    p.s. all this 'other' talk, well...you know...it's like playing really good piano. (stupid joke, probably nobody gets it except me)
     
  19. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Hey, I get it! :)
     
  20. Anonymous

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    wow...this piece is beautiful and you have done a great job at capturing the emotion and feeling required to play a piece like this....you have absolutely nothing to worry about. But I do know how frustrating it is and you are always your worst critic so there you have it.

    great job, love this piece!
     

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