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Chopin Prelude No 12

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by mwyman1, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    Hello all. Please find here for your consideration and feedback Chopin's Prelude No 12 in G sharp minor. This is one of a handful of Preludes I'm working on, and is admittedly the most ambitious for me. It's been quite a humbling experience working on this to say the least! :wink:

    My goal for this piece is to achieve a clean amateur recording at a tempo that, while certainly not matching many of the recordings I hear of this, at least conveys the "drama" of this wonderful prelude. Put another way, a lot of practice and sweat went into this so I'd like to make the most of it while it's still in my fingers.

    Quick side note I wanted to share... Boy was this one a bear! For a very long time I played this slowly and carefully, gradually increasing the speed with the use of the metronome. I must say that after my last posting here of some different pieces (which I'm still refining), the feedback I received I believe has helped me greatly on this prelude - already! I uncovered a bad habit I have when I begin to bring my pieces up to tempo. I have a tendency to drop notes at faster tempo, but don't really notice myself as presumably I'm too wrapped up in the phrasing and dynamics. Just conscienciously reminding myself to clearly articulate has helped me quite a bit. That and, in the case of this one especially, the good ol' metronome!

    I do have a good sized self-critique list for this recording, but am looking forward to and would be greatly appreciative of any constructive feedback.

    Also, at the urging of some members during my last posting, I added a small 'reverb' effect to the raw WAV file to try to improve the realism of my digital piano sound. I have mixed emotions about it personally, and continue to try new things to improve the audio quality.

    Sincerely... Matthew
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've worked on this one awhile ago too, but never got it quite up to PS standards. Your version here is nice! I think the feel of the forward momentum is good and the tempo is right. One note at bar 30 - the last note in the RH - I've always played that as a D-sharp. Could be an difference in editions, though....

    Regarding your sound - I listened to this on a different device, but I'm still not that crazy about your piano sound. It's tinny. Perhaps the sound is improved with the added reverb, I'd have to listen again later when I'm home. Have you tried recording without plugging into your computer? Can you get a mic and try recording a 'live' sound like what Rainer suggested? The experiment would be interesting.
     
  3. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    A very credible performace. I like the tempo and the phrasing. This prelude is in reality just an etude for RH over a waltz left hand (consider the melody or lack thereof). Congratulations!
     
  4. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Matthew,

    Just had a listen to your new recording of this prelude and I must say that it is IMO a vast improvement over the first one. Nice and controlled. Indeed I can hear that you've practiced this quite carefully over time with the metronome. Much clearer and more even fingerwork too. I do have a few thoughts/suggestions, however, mostly concerning interpretation:

    1. I know that most editions have the pedalling indicated for the entire measure, taken off at the last beat, but to me it sounds just slightly muddy (assuming this is the way you are pedalling), which is why I like the way Cortot marked it in his edition, taken off right after the second beat. Or flutter pedalling might also work. IMO the objective is to get across more of the crisp staccato element of the chords/octaves. On this note, another comment I had was that the accents on the first beat should be crisper, but I do hear you impart some accent there, so this might be improved by just being a tad lighter on the pedal.

    2. I'm impressed by the overall consistency in your tempo. To my ears, it perhaps almost sounds a bit too motoric, needing a bit more romantic recklessness and abandon. But now that you've done some fine fingerwork, it should be much easier to achieve that freedom.

    3. Though most of it is quite clean, there are just a few passages that could be just a bit neater or clearer (e.g., from 13 to 17, there seem to be a fair amount of slips, especially in the left hand, and the notes don't sound in a few places, particularly at the end of phrases). Of course it goes without saying that in a piece this difficult, some leeway is necessary and I certainly didn't find it a distraction in your performance.

    4. Maybe do a bit more with dynamics, particularly at the climaxes -- it sounds just a bit monochromatic to my ears. Easier said than done of course.

    Anyway, just my thoughts such as they are. Obviously, in commenting on your playing I am not raising my own playing up in any way (which btw, you had some very valid criticisms of). It's just fun to listen and pontificate :p . IMHO this would be perfectly acceptable for the site if you plan on it going up (of course it's not my decision). Again, nice work overall.

    Joe
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, it is good enough for the site. However, we require at least three recent recordings, ideally of music in various styles.
     
  6. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    Thanks for taking a listen Monica. I did try the mic recording using the only mic I have at the moment, which is one that came with a PA system I bought a long time ago. I tried it in several different positions, but it only picked up significant sound right next to digital piano speaker - I think the mic is really only meant for singing. Anyway, the result was terrible in my opinion... sound quality, consistency, etc. If I can't get the direct recordings to my satisfaction I may shop around for a better (more appropriate) type of microphone.

    I have been reading more about digital post-processing, and I saw some promising things said about proper configuration of the equalizer. I'll try running some stuff through a series of settings and see if I can come up with some improvements. At least I have the original WAV files for my recordings so if I find some combinations of processing that works I can go back and apply them.

    Very interesting - I hear (on this board) that it is common to have variations in Chopin editions. I double-checked my edition, edited by Willard A. Palmer, and mine clearly shows a natural D. However, it contains a footnote on this note (octave) saying: "The D's are natural in the Autograph and first editions. Most modern edition's have a D#."

    Hmm. So which is better I wonder? I guess your ears would get used to either. :)
     
  7. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    Thanks Eddy, I appreciate your feedback. I'm pleasantly surprised that everyone seems OK with the tempo. For some reason this was my biggest worry in posting, that it wouldn't be "Presto" enough. 8)
     
  8. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    Thanks Joe for taking the time to listen and provide feedback. I think I agree with all of your observations, especially the one about a few places at the end of phrases where the notes fade off a bit too much. After I listened back to this I was shocked at first, sure that I had played every note! :roll: When I inspected the WAV file closer, I do think I played these fading notes but diminished to the point that they become overshadowed, perhaps in anticipation of making the [literal] leap to the next phrase. Certainly room for improvement to be sure.

    Your feedback is very much appreciated, and I really am in no position to be criticizing your work and am sorry about that. :oops: You recorded all 24 of these things after all, amongst so many other things. Thanks again.
     
  9. mwyman1

    mwyman1 New Member

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    Yippee - I'm a bit relieved since I thought you guys would tell me to come back after I increase it another 100 bpm! :shock:

    No problem on the criteria for recordings being "recent" - everything I have right now is stuff I'm currently playing as I have only caught the recording bug pretty recently. I have quite a few pieces in the works, in addition to the three previous submissions. I plan to re-post the Beethoven "Tempest" Sonata 3rd movement, and before too long [hopefully] wanted to add on the first two movements - just a matter of priority for me I suppose. Also, I had specific feedback on my other two Chopin pieces I posted, all of which seem pretty quickly within reach for me to address but I tabled those in favor of other Preludes after learning that you guys aren't as interested in the more "popular" works of which you have too many recordings.

    I'm in no hurry, but any suggestions regarding what would qualify as various styles would be great.

    Thanks again Monica.
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I agree this is well played despite some very minor flaws and is good enough for the site. Not crazy about the sound but
    for a digital it is not so bad.
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Maybe something from the other music eras, like a baroque piece, classical, and/or 20th-century. We just want our pianists to be able to play and record a variety of music.
     

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