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Chopin Nocturnes: Eb, op. 55 no. 2; F#m op. 48 no.2

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by RichNocturne, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. RichNocturne

    RichNocturne Member Piano Society Artist

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  2. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    I listened to the E-flat.

    Overall this is a decent performance, and kudos for having the courage to submit a live recording. The slips really don't bother me at all (they rarely do unless they become an overriding issue). But I do miss a bit the ethereal quality and dialogic structure of this nocturne, IMO one of Chopin's best. As a listener, I'm focusing on the left hand, and that's not a good thing in this genre (although it seemed better at the beginning and some other places). Some specifics:

    1. Smoother connections between notes (and maybe just a tad lighter) may make the lefthand smoother and more flowing and the right hand able to sing more effectively. I was hearing almost a marchlike "da-da-da" in the accompaniment, which doesn't really work for a nocturne (IMO).

    2. Some of the righthand's more florid figurations seemed just a tad awkward and uneven, particularly in the second half (around 2:25-2:45, and the trills around 3:35 that aren't bad but sound a bit struggly; there were incidentally though some very nice trills too earlier).

    3. The ending had a nice lead-in but then the closing chords sounded a bit cumbersome to me rather than noble.

    This is perhaps being pretty picky. You certainly had it well learned, and it's mostly solid, but as a performance it doesn't convince me musically and it may be connected with improving the technique in certain places. Have you listened to Ignaz Friedman's recording of it? IMHO the best recording of a nocturne that I've heard. That might be good for some ideas of phrasing etc. though of course in the end it should be your own. It just sounds to me as though you need to grow into the piece a bit more.
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I am short on time but just listened to your 48/2 because I know it well.
    I think you did a very nice job on this! Really, I have nothing to pick on except perhaps your trills at the end were a little harsh-sounding. If you could make them a bit more delicate, your playing on this would be perfect. One other thing - I'm pretty sure it's just a difference in editions; I play the last note in the RH a third higher than you did here. Hmmm....I'll have to check my scores now (but I do prefer it with the higher note - it just puts that extra special finishing touch right there at the end. Ah, such beautiful Chopin...).

    Overall, I think your playing in general has improved greatly from when we first heard you a couple years ago. :)
     
  4. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    I listened to both recordings and found both performances quite enjoyable. I really don't have anything to add that the others haven't said. Good job.

    Scott
     
  5. RichNocturne

    RichNocturne Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for the posts---I appreciate the feedback.
    It's true---the LH is always where I find myself listening in his nocturnes...such tricky stuff.
    Thanks for the comments---I will apply that to the next nocturnes I play (I'm thinking the op. 9 no. 2 in B and another one I haven't decided yet)
    Rich
     
  6. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Richard,
    Very nice playing! Excellent use of rubato, nice cantabile. Chopin would certainly be proud. Piano and recording very nice too. Thanks for posting.
     
  7. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very nice indeed! The sound is good but the stereo image is weird because of time misalignment between L and R channel. I corrected that and did of few other modifications less necessary.
     
  8. RichNocturne

    RichNocturne Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wow---thanks for the upload! It's not every day that someone posts a response of a nicely-edited copy of the original.
    I greatly appreciate your time in doing this...I downloaded it and put it with my recordings.
    Thanks again,
    Rich
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    These are on the site.
     
  10. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I really enjoyed your playing of both of these nocturnes - you seem to have a touch that is made for Chopin, very sensitive, expressive, and above all fluid. The slips were for the most part no big deal because you have the ability to keep going (something I lack). The main thing I would have done differently in 48/2 (not that you should necessarily care) is to use more of a hands-separate rubato with the ornament in m. 41 and the similar ornament in the return of A. Most people play it just as you did, with the hands-together rubato, taking a lot of time, but I like it better when the tempo of the LH is persistent and the RH catches up as necessary, and I think that contrast of keeping time while at the same time ignoring it is one of the great beauties of Chopin, and one of the great challenges as well. Anyway, thanks for recording!
     
  11. RichNocturne

    RichNocturne Member Piano Society Artist

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    Right---about the rubato...I've heard it hands-separately, and really only one performer I heard really nailed it...unfortunately, yours truly can't pull that off (although, not for lack of trying).
    Thanks for listening!
    Rich
     
  12. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I sympathize. That was just the only thing that stuck out at me, and sometimes I think people don't even consider it because everyone plays the rubato hands-together. :( Good to hear you've at least tried. (tbh that's not surprising considering the general fluidity of your playing.) One thing I have tried that is helping a lot is playing rubato with the metronome. But you've probably done that too.
     
  13. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Maybe because most people (everybody?) think it sounds unmusical. IMO it is nothing more than MDD: Musical Dissociative Disorder. I think this has a certain mythical status. Consider that if it were a genuine musical virtue, it would not be associated with a single composer's piano works. Can anyone imagine Brahms, Liszt, Scriabin, Debbusy or Rachmaninoff played this way? Certainly I cannot. Has anyone every heard an orchestra doing this? Absolutely not! :shock:

    Standing ready to Stand Corrected,
    Eddy
     
  14. hanysz

    hanysz Member

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    It's reasonably common in opera, and works well in piano works that show operatic qualities (a lot of Liszt, some Chopin, occasionally in Mozart slow movements, but not Debussy or Rachmaninoff). In my opinion this sort of rubato is becoming rarer in piano playing because we tend to over-specialise: pianists don't listen to enough opera (and singers don't listen to enough instrumental music)! I haven't heard an orchestra alone doing this (at least, not deliberately), but I've heard it done by the the combination of orchestra plus voice.
     
  15. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Oh, it can, depending on the pianist. Like Rich said, people rarely nail it. If you still think it sounds unmusical when it's nailed, then you'd have probably been in the Berlioz camp regarding Chopin's own playing. (A relatively small camp, but you're welcome to it. :wink: ) I think it sounds incredibly unmusical when people play Chopin too straight, and I think hands-together rubato often sounds tacky, and disrupts the pulse of the music.

    Rachmaninoff did sometimes, IIRC. I will have to dig through some recordings later. Orchestras generally can't do it, unless there is a soloist involved (and the opportunities for this are probably rare). Typically the conductor follows the soloist, but it doesn't necessary have to be that way. The distinction is probably the root of Berlioz's issues with Chopin's playing; conductors are accustomed to both rigid tempo and compulsory synchronicity.
     
  16. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    This was the reason why Chopin advised all of his students to sing; he wanted his students to mimic the impassioned speech of opera when playing his music. I find that this type of rubato works well in many unexpected places in Chopin, though (for example, 25/12, where it's commonly thought to be inappropriate). It just has a totally different effect. I've also found that polyrhythm exercises are great for developing the ability, too, such as the TN etude in F minor, because they teach you to effectively separate the melody hand from the accompaniment hand (unless you take the less-musical route of constantly thinking about exactly where each note should fall).
     
  17. rsmullyan

    rsmullyan New Member Piano Society Artist

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    After a very tearful listening, particularly of the F# minor, I can only say "God bless you!" Your playing moved me beyond measure. What is your real name?
     
  18. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Rich,

    I just listened to both Nocturnes. I think your approach is sophisticated and very beautiful. The flow is excellent. I do not know these nocturnes well, but from the standpoint of someone who just wanted to listen to something presented in an interesting way, your communication of the lines was very successful. Your shading is gorgeous for the most part.

    The E flat major nocturne seemed a bit richer and consistent in terms of tone throughout.

    Congratulations on your performance.

    Kaila Rochelle
     
  19. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Now I come to think of it, I remember when I was still learning the teacher (French school) did mention just this in relation to Chopin's Prelude in d. That the secret to a good performance of that one was to keep the left hand steady and in perfect time while playing the right hand with much fantasy and singing was mentioned to illustrate what playing with fantasy meant.
     

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