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Chopin Prelude and Nocturne + Beethoven Sonata Movement

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by mwyman1, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    As one who has gotten his hackles up in the past :wink: (and hopefully ruffled some fur in turn :p ), I just can't resist responding when there's an amusing digression.

    Since the thread has now unexpectedly shifted to the topic of pet peeves, let me say what two of mine are: people who don't read carefully and/or present illogical arguments that are not based on at least some evidence. Before you direct your narcissism radar at others, you may want to ask yourself the following questions: (1) Is there any way a reasonable person could conclude that using the word "overplayed" is inherently associated with a narcissistic personality or even a narcissistic remark? (2) As a corollary to (1), is it reasonable to conclude that an admin is now an enemy simply because he may have said something slightly sarcastic; (3) Have I bothered to listen to myself critically before posting these recordings?

    So anyway, enough sermonizing from me and back to the original topic of your playing. It isn't that there aren't some good things here. Both the Nocturne and Prelude are sensitively phrased in some places, if somewhat tentative and forced in others. However, besides that there are a number of dropped notes (in the prelude more so), unseemly tempo hesitations, pedal blurs, and passages that sound jerky, hesitant, and inadequately worked out. This is especially evident to me in the Nocturne filigree, which needs to shimmer; instead, you often slow down and completely bring the tempo to a halt, presumably to make things easier for yourself. These do sound within your reach if you go back to basics and look at them more self-reflectively.

    However, the Beethoven, I'm sorry to say, is a complete mess. I just don't think there is a nicer way to put this. We're all, or mostly, amateurs here and I don't think anyone would expect anything close to perfection, particularly on a difficult movement like this. But when there are gross unevennesses, tempo strugglings, and awkward pedal usage in nearly every measure, it's a different matter. Frankly, this piece just sounds way beyond your current technical ability. It makes me shudder to hear that you're planning on playing the Chopin 12th prelude, which though shorter, is IMO 20 times more physically difficult than this.

    Rest assured, this is not a gratuitous ripping of your playing to shreds, only an unequivocal assessment.
     
  2. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi rainer

    Right you are. The accompaniment would disqualify the "Raindrop" as a nocturne. And thanks for reminding me of the story of Chopin composing it at Majorca. I read that tale years ago, probably in Huneker's book on Chopin, but had forgotten it.

    David
     
  3. mwyman1

    mwyman1 Member

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    Rainer - nice story thank you for sharing the background on this!
     
  4. mwyman1

    mwyman1 Member

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    88man - THANK YOU so much for the technology tips. I think I made a mistake when purchasing my Kawai CN23. It actually doesn't have line in/out jacks, only two headphone jacks. Reading on the Kawai site the very next model "up" from mine has those Jacks! :( I wonder if I can trade up with the dealer? (Wishful thinking probably.)

    Given this constraint, what would you recommend is the next best thing?
     
  5. mwyman1

    mwyman1 Member

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    Well hello Joseph, nice to meet you! I've actually listened to a lot of your recordings on this site and have a great respect for your work, sincerely. I love that you recorded all 24 Chopin Preludes as well, and have listened to them all. This really sux that my first communication with you has to be so testy. :(

    Yes, fair enough I probably did overreact. I've read a lot of postings here lately, and I think for some reason some of the responses by this particular admin (whom I also very much respect and have listened to a lot of his music here) have rubbed me the wrong way.

    Did you by any chance notate where these dropped notes in the prelude are? With my headphones, anyway, I can only hear one. Also, I would be interested in more information on the pedal blurs you refer to (such as where you feel the pedal was inappropriately used).

    Huh? Please tell me all of these places where I "often" slow down and come to a halt to make things easier? Perhaps you can explain why my tempo changes are inappropriate in these pieces, but not in your Prelude No 12 http://server3.pianosociety.com/protected/chopin-28-12-renouf.mp3?

    Ouch. Why did you use this particular language? Constructive criticism doesn't require this. I know I'm not as great a player as you, but truthfully this statement was very demotivating for me coming from someone such as yourself. I've been working for many months methodically and slowly building up my No 12, and in particular working on my form to keep my fingers relaxed and flexible, yet strong, so they won't tire by the end of the song. I've attached my last recording of a series where I've been slowly increasing tempo. I may as well take all my medicine at once here today! :wink:
     
  6. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Where, I believe, he composed the Scherzo in C# Minor, Op.39.
     
  7. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    @ Joe: Based on the principle of analogy, I think he's got a logical argument. Oh boy.

    @ Matthew: Now that is not fair using our own music against us; please don't do this with me. :|


    Edit: Oops. I meant Matthew not Mark :mrgreen:
     
  8. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Since you seem to want it, here is a more specific critique on your prelude:

    1. Right in the opening measure, the third of F and D-flat doesn't sound in the left hand (this is what I am using "dropped" to mean, not "missed" or wrong, but weak or nonexistent). Then there is noticeable asynchronicity going into the second measure. The repeating A accompaniment seems weak in general. Then for the brief filigree run in measure 5 I don't hear the initial note after the first repeated note. For the reprise in measure 6, there is some rather noticeable and awkward hand asynchronicity.

    2. In the entrance of theme B (measure 9), there is an unpleasant pedal blur in the lefthand against the melodic subject.

    3. Measure 14, the G-flat doesn't sound, particularly unfortunate since this is the climax of the phrase. Also the lefthand around this point sound a bit weak and uneven. The three note ornament in 15 is too slow in relation to your overall tempo so it sounds a bit clumsy to my ears.

    4. IMO you overemphasize the second reprise to the main theme, banging that E-flat a bit.

    5. Is it just me or is there an edit cut in the repeated notes right before the transition to the C-sharp minor section? One of the notes sounds as though it fades out for a split second.

    6. In the middle section, it gets suddenly quite a bit slower in relation to the tempo you started out with, which isn't called for IMO. I also find it rhythmically monotonous and think the accompaniment is too loud with not enough legato and singing of the melody in the lefthand

    7. It gets even more lugubriously slow when the righthand melody comes back and around 61-62 (I counted so the measure number might not be accurate, since my score doesn't have numbers), I am hearing weak notes in the bass (though your melody is better here).

    8. The end suffers from rhythmic monotony again and I'm not sure you're hearing the climaxes of all these delicious phrases. The very last measure seems rather abrupt -- not enough ritenuto for a sense of release and finality.

    As a general comment, I find the rhythm rather jerky and inconsistent in the outer sections and overly careful and not varied enough in the middle section. Given the tempo changes between sections, too, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to review your playing with a metronome even in this case.

    Sure, I'd be glad to. Right before the chromatic filigree in measure 16 for one, There are incidentally also many notes in this passage itself that are simply not there (don't sound). Then you also slow down grotesquely in measure 23 (the variation on 16). There's also a lot of slowing down on the last page for the coda, which you accentuate by waiting a very long time in between the low E and the accompaniment. Of course I can't prove that you're doing this to make it easier for yourself. Just how it sounds to me when one breaks the fluidity of the line to hit a low note.

    I don't see how this is not constructive. I think it's more constructive to be honest and tell someone that the piece sounds too difficult for them (admittedly only my opinion) than for them to continue to struggle at it and waste their time. Normally, I would just let someone labor under a delusion and not comment on a performance where I didn't have more positive to say, but your rather passive-aggressive responses to earlier commenters annoyed me, so why not stir up a little trouble? :twisted: :p This passive-aggressiveness, I believe, is demonstrated by your even bringing up my performance of Prelude 12, since this is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. But please feel free to tear my performance of this or anything else apart. I really couldn't care less. Passive-aggressiveness is another of my pet peeves btw, since it is often accompanied by delusional logic. But then, I'm sure you'd deny that you were being passive-aggressive anyway (much as Chris denies being narcissistic :mrgreen: ), so I guess it's my own flawed perception and probably a moot point.

    Regarding your performance, upon hearing it, I stand by my statement. IMHO this sounds to me as though it will never be ready given your present technical level. Besides being way under tempo at this point, the notes just simply aren't clear in practically every measure -- they sound smudged. This is a Presto, not an Andante, and if you're struggling to play the notes clearly at this tempo, I just don't see how you're going to be able to bring it up much more. My advice would be to start with something easier that you can control better, like a Clementi sonatina.
     
  9. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    No, this would be a logical fallacy, a "weak analogy": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_analogy

    It is never possible to draw a deduction (in your words "logical argument") directly from an analogy until an argument is pursued further by other means. An analogy is rather an example of inductive reasoning, simply an observation (an opining, not a syllogism) that there is a relationship between two things (which may be true or false upon further observation). It may of course be the starting point on which one bases a gathering of actual evidence for a deduction. Anyway, there really isn't such a necessary relationship here since these are two entirely different pieces (nocturne and prelude) with entirely different characters. That is, what might be inappropriate slowing in one piece might be quite appropriate in another.

    On that note, I never said that slowing down or speeding up was never kosher. Like most things in life, it's a matter of degree. A little rushing and slowing here and there (which I would fully agree with as criticism of my playing of that prelude btw) is not the same thing as almost grinding to a halt and sounding as though one doesn't know the music and is finding the notes (once again, just my opinion of what I heard). But the larger issue is why someone would even bring up my playing here. I never said anything about it or compared it to anyone's. It's a completely irrelevant issue on this thread.

    Anyway, I'm by no means trying to start a fight, but as you know, I always enjoy a little controversial discussion :p
     
  10. dctpianist

    dctpianist New Member

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    Hi Matthew,

    You are much better than I am, but I have tinkered with the Raindrop quite a bit. Here's where I noticed some missing or weak notes or other things that grabbed my attention:
    *My edition is the Schirmer collection of Chopin preludes, nocturnes, and waltzes.

    Measure 1: You're missing an a-flat on the and of beat 4.
    Measure 14: The and of beat 1 (f in the treble, g-flat in the bass) is very weak.
    Measure 29: On beat 2 the bass is very hesitant/almost inaudible.
    Measures 43 and 59: Perhaps this is a taste judgement, but your ritards were a little too much for me.
    Measure 68: Do you play all four 8th note g-sharps in the bass during the first two beats? I thought I heard the third and fourth 8th notes but couldn't tell if you played the first two.
    Measures 73 and 74: The second 8th note in beat 1 is obscured by the bass. The rhythm is defined by the pulsing 8th notes and I don't think you should leave a single one unattended.
    Measure 80: Something is off in the first two beats. It sounds as if you forget the descending line of f to d-flat to a-flat and had to rush to catch up because you remembered it at the last second. You play d-flat almost inaudibly, then hesitate, then come crashing down on a-flat.
    Measures 80-81: Right at the bar line, my score is marked slentando. Consider working in a gradual slowing down instead of a sudden ritard on beat 3 of measure 81.
    Measure 81: The b-flat in the treble sounded off to me. It might be just a touch too loud. Or it could have been something else, like my cheap headphones or the nasty echo from your keyboard, in which case you played it fine.

    I know the right hand runs are difficult, but your retard was a bit too much for me in those sections as well. Also, for the third run in measure 79, my edition is marked as having the pedal down for the entire run, which you didn't do. I think this is likely editorial difference, though. Would someone that feels confident in their edition check pedaling for the three runs, please?

    Last, I'm noticing what I think are smudged thirds in the left hand where both notes in the third aren't quite played simultaneously. Or perhaps the thirds are fine, but it's the right and left hand combined that are just a teensy bit off. The first beat of measure 2, 6, etc sound smudged. This is something I still have trouble with, and you just have to be extra careful that you get a crisp and clear sound. I can recommend a few pieces that I think would help with clarity if you'd like.

    I think you're off to a good start with the raindrop. You seem to be fairly secure in the technical aspects, as I think the few little slips that I heard are just that: rare slips and easily fixable. I think you need to work more on your rhythm and pacing, as I didn't like a lot of your retards and you seem to have a few other issues. Keep up the good work and I think you'll have a very presentable piece :)

    Best regards,
    David

    PS- I know boys will be boys, but I think that it's a good time to calm down a little when the college guy is reduced to rolling his eyes :p
     
  11. mwyman1

    mwyman1 Member

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    Oh my dear Mr. Joseph. Thank you for your list, which I'll be sure to review tomorrow after a good night's sleep. And sense you offered, while evading my question altogether, I would be VERY interested in commenting on several of your works. Might I ask how does someone go about adding comments to already-posted pieces?

    I have just listened back to your "interpretation" of Prelude 15, while we're on that subject and again since you asked.

    Given your performance of this Prelude, I can actually understand why you have such a different stylistic opinion. Your approach is very different from mine to say the least.

    I'll provide more detail when I post my critique of your version, which as I've said before is good overall and impressive as part of the complete set. But here are quick problems/opinions I'm typing as I listen: (1) Broading beginning section with only a few hints of a delicate touch anywhere (is this Bach or Chopin??), added "rolling embelishments" not in the score, LH much too heavy almost ignoring obvious phrasing points (2) the dramatic and unsettling irregular tempo changes within the middle section (you may want to check out that metronome as well), more "rolling embelishments", some odd hesitations, not carrying through dynamics to the end of the phrases (ff in 40 stays ff for the full three measures) (3) very disappointed in the chosen "phrasing" between bars 60 - 75 approx. My favorite recordings of this Prelude sing a tragic song after the "storm" of the middle section. I can't find any precedence in my audio collections or in my score for your erratic tempo and dynamic swings which don't seem to have much logic. (4) I felt no emotional connection to the last section after bar 76. It sounded like a literal re-hash of the opening melody, when I feel it should be MUCH more delicate and ethereal.

    On to the ridiculous...I found all of your ramblings about me being "passive-aggressive" and having "delusional logic" quite funny. :lol: Is that what they teach you at "technical editor" school, or is this the great insight you pick up being such an accomplished, famous pianist?

    What sophomoric twaddle. Please go learn something, anything, on these topics and then come back and we can talk. While you're doing your research, I'd recommend sneaking a peek at "Freudian Projection".
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I suppose I have no legal ground for not particularly desiring to listen to and evaluate the umpteenth submission of the raindrop and similar much-played pieces. As an admin, this is probably my job and duty even when I dislike a piece. I thought I'd get away with evaluating just one piece and rely on other members' feedback as I often do.

    That much is true. The Audition Room is rather too centered towards submitting recordings for the site, and as such we sometimes give dismissive feedback, when something is not up to standard. We have more or less decided to
    introduce another forum for work in progress, but not taken the steps yet. In such a forum anybody could fish for
    feedback never mind what is being played and how. Mind you I'd certainly not feel obliged to listen to each and everything posted there. This would be in analogy with the audition room forum at Piano Street where anything goes and people either comment or they don't. Many things are silently ignored. There are no participating moderators there. Some submissions are top-notch and some are absolute crap. Once we have such a new forum,
    a rule for Audition Room would be that anything not up to standard would be relocated to the new forum without further ado. This little 'incident' proves again that we badly need such a construct.

    It rather sounds like you had some bone to pick with me even before you joined up. You certainly wasted no time there ! No problem though - we can take some bashing, and dish some out in return. It doesn't have to make us enemies, unless you want it so.

    In light of the other members' feedback on your Raindrop and Beethoven, there does not seem much point now in me going over the same ground again. Nor would there be a point in you rightly or wrongly arguing that I should do so.
     
  13. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Even though I have listened (unwillingly) to the whole 24 together, I suppose my ears shut out after the 6th (or 7th or 5th prelude - I lose count) and I actually never even heard (consciuosly, that is) this prelude until last year, when a Russian student where I work gave a recital and this piece she played. And that is not all: she had come earlier to my house to look for scores (she had none with her) and I supplied her with the Chopin album of preludes and she was playing that prelude from that very edition.

    I suppose I should be embarassed by all this but, it not being the fisrt time I do not know some of the things everyone takes for granted (I look years of conscious effort to manage to hear Rachmaninoff's famous Prelude!) I find it funny.

    And yes, it starts just like as soupily as any of the soupier nocturnes, hence my mistake. I mean the prelude, not the performance.
     
  14. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Is this a good idea or will all this vetting simply mean no one will submit? Already submissions are low. Doing this will make them go down even more. What you need to do is to restrict access in a way some sites do, to avoid people registering and immediately submitting recordings. Maybe you would need to make posting recordings in the audition room only available to members of the main site, with a different "room" for people who submit first recordings with a view of becoming members. Why compete with Piano Street? What makes PS so different and interesting is that the best recordings are moved to a permanent archive, where the pianist is clearly identified while those on Piano street simply drift away and we have no way of knowing who hides behind such names as Crazycat99 or Moonfaser.
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    We are not trying to 'compete' with anybody. No other site has as vast a collection of classical piano music as we have! We're just hoping that by having another room, one that is less 'formal', we will in fact attract more people to join the forums.
     
  16. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    We've discussed this and it is definitely a good idea. Our impression is that the high standards in Audition Room have scared people from submitting and even driven people away. A forum without any pre-requisites would invite more people to post and get constructive feedback without fear
    of the dreaded admins slapping their wrists. It just might have avoided an awkward situation like we seem to have in this case.
     
  17. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    How so? You asked me to back up my claims and I did so. I guess only certain types of feedback are acceptable to you.

    Who said anything about style? I merely pointed out more cut-and-dried things that were clearly wrong in an attempt to illustrate why it was unpresentable for the site.

    Sure, I knew you would be. It was clear to me from your nonsensical, defensive reply to Chris regarding "overplayed" that you're the type of person who's more interested in exacting petty revenge than in looking at himself realistically and learning something. Why not start a Web site or blog? For the opening page, you could put up a big glowing picture of yourself and then a picture of me next to it with a big X through it and an evil moustache photoshopped in. Then you could talk about how much more musical the playing of these pieces is by you and your other favorite performers. Option 2 would of course be to continue your rant against my playing right here. You've only got 23 left :p
     
  18. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Nope, that was mine too.
     
  19. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    We all want praise for our efforts, but, alas! no amount of praise in the world will make a recording better. That goes for all of us, including me. :cry:
     
  20. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Tooting right ! Only withering criticism will do :D
    Some praise is needed for motivation though. Something not always sufficiently recognized especially by zealous admins.
     

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