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Chopin - Scherzo No. 4 in E major op. 54

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Francois de Larrard, May 25, 2012.

  1. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Dear All,
    I'm definitely not a great chopinian, but periodically I try to break and enter in this world, since my old professor taught me that a pianist should practice Chopin whatever his taste. I used to learn a good part of the Etudes, but the result was quite bad. This time I chose the 4th Scherzo, because I love a concert recording I have from Richter. At least I knew what I would like to do, even I have been far to succeed in transforming dream into reality. Since there are no version of this piece on PS, maybe you would like to take it, or at least to listen it... Thank you for your indulgence !

    Chopin - Op.54 - Scherzo No. 4 (12:56)
     
  2. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Francois,

    I had a listen to your performance, I would say it was exceptionally good. I hadn't heard the piece before, but I imagine this performance comes close to defining how the piece is supposed to sound. I liked your dynamics, the dotted rhythms sounded snappy. I find the pairs of phrase that features downward motion such as at :51, 4:06 and 9:14 pretty comical, the last note of the phrase sounds short and dry, as if it's the punch line of some joke. Chopin must have had quite a wit :)

    12:39 through to the end is really stellar. A fleet-fingered run is such a showy device in composition, and I like that it is saved for the end. Of course, this piece has so many runs, it almost spoils the effect :|

    One piece of criticism is I wish you would use more rubato on the wild scalar runs. I like that your tempo isn't totally in strict time, but for the most part it seems to be, at least from the first note of a run to the last. The value of rests seem to be more rubato between two given time notes are played... So I think the rubato of the runs could be more.

    Enjoyed listening to this :) ,

    Riley
     
  3. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Riley for your kind message ! I am pleased to know that you got some pleasure to listen the Scherzo, in spite of my peasant way of playing it. Yes, I have hard time to find a natural way of playing rubato, and, maybe due to my practice of other type of music where you must strictly adhere to a constant tempo, I always had difficulty with Chopin's rubato. I should listen Rubinstein, who makes it so magnificently... Hence my main difficulty is to play these rapid right-hand phrases. I think they really should fly as birds, making circumvolutions and gracefully landing at the end. Since the choice of each notes Chopin made when composing is always unexpected for me, I cannot take distance from the literal text, while keeping an exact renditon. Probably the piano technique has something to do in this matter. My approach is to play deeply in the keyboard with the weight of the arm in each note and each finger, while Chopin is more in the lightness and the flame... Some years ago I met a piano teacher, himself being an excellent pianist. He told me that, for him, there were two kinds of pianists: the 'long-arm', and the 'short-arm' ones. The former have weight, but little mobility, the latter having the opposite features. I think Rubinstein pertained to the second category. I am more a kind of orangutan :?
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    What a great choice ! I love the neglected 4th Scherzo dearly, more so than the other scherzi. There is something Italianate and luminous to it, reminding me of the 3rd Sonata, the Barcarolle and the late Nocturnes. Your performance is convincing and there are many good things. The relaxed conception works although sometimes it's just a little sedate. Where Riley mentioned good dynamics and snappy dotted rhythms, those are precisely my main points of critique. A lot of the continuous ebb and flow seems to be missing, and these dotted rhythms often sound forced and murky (though some are good). There are at least two ugly cuts I heard, you may want to take a bit more care when splicing.

    I know you are not a stickler for note perfection, and there are a fair amount of mistakes throughout the piece. Most are inconsequential but some I would personally have corrected. Let me just point out some that I think are read errors rather than slips:

    - Bar 42, d should be d# (same mistake repeated twice later on)
    - Bar 122, those 3 RH notes should be one tone higher
    - Bar 138, you don't play the G in RH, making the harmony very bland
    - In the transition from the Piu Lento to the recapitulation, you omit to repeat some chords/octaves. Maybe an editorial thing?
    - At 11:37 (sorry, given up counting bar numbers by then) you again play d instead of d#

    I think the Piu Lento could have been a bit softer and more varied, it's nice but a bit monochrome. In the coda I miss a sense of urgency and there seem to be more slips than before. The double octaves are not very accurate but the final run is impressive. It seems to be divided in octaves, which I am not quite sure I like.

    I hope all this sounds objective rather than negative. It's a strong performance despite the flaws. Shall we put it up like this of do you want to have another try ?

    As for naming and tagging, it's almost OIK but please use the opus number in both filename and Name/Title tag.
     
  5. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Hello Francois,
    Thanks for posting this beautiful work! I think you have done a most credible job of performing it. Personally, I think you stand at the precepice of a truely masterful performance, but this performance is very worthy of posting for listeners to enjoy around the world. It seems to me that your execution has a slight bit of a governor placed on it. By this I mean that IMO this piece requires times of great abandon and elan to bring it off in its true spirit, and though you are certainly playing it all, there are times of mild reservation in the runs. In my opinion, you should continue to pursue this work until not only you can play the piece (which you can do now), but until you can play "with" the piece as a cat does with its capture before it kills it! In otherwords, to continue to pursue a more transcendental command of the technical aspects so as to allow for play at the emotional level. If I have to object to anything, I would also indicate the playing of D instead of D# in the two areas cited by Chris. In the manuscript/original edition commentary provided in the Paderewski edition, there is no mention of variant readings on this matter, so it would appear that it was a read/learning error on your part. Despite this, I think this should be hosted because for the great majority of listeners this slight error would not be appreciated.

    Again thanks for the hard work and fine playing!

    Eddy
     
  6. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Chris for your accurate listening, with the usual amount of criticism, sorry, objectivity :) :) . I was just kidding, I really like to be challenged (at least in this matter !). Regarding the general tempo, I would like to be able to play the piece more rapidly. It is just my technical limits which makes me adopt this 'relaxed' way...

    :eek: Sorry, here I vote non guilty ! I've played d# and it sounds so (at least to my ears...)

    Again, non guilty. We may have different editions? Mine is the Paderevski's one.

    True, but it is so difficult to catch, and so fugitive...

    Oups, there are three octaves missing ! :oops: You got me this time :x

    It is a natural D in my score.

    I have changed the tagg. For the music... it's another story ! I agree with all your last remarks. But I have worked on this piece for something like 8 months now, and I am a little bit tired with it. And owing to my technical limitations, I doubt I am able to do globally a better work... As I wrote, it was a challenge for me to mount a big Chopin's piece, but I know this one is very close (maybe slightly beyond ?) my level...

    Thanks Eddy. As for the D vs. D# issue, there is a # on the score, and this is really what I play ! For the rest, as I wrote before, I am not doing what I would like to do in this piece, but to rise the level, it is not a matter of working more, but rather to change of lifestyle (e.g. playing 6 hours of piano a day instead of 1-2 !).
    When you talk about precepice, my problem is not to sleep and to fall in, which is not an easy task... Anyway, thank you for your encouraging advice. When I retire, this could motivate me to make a come back toward this beautiful piece.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well, what can I say.... If a D natural sounds like a D# to you, time to get the old ears checked ! Not that it matters much. But it's wrong :wink:

    Sure, I only have Peters. I don't see the Paderewski anywhere online, but every other edition I could find has it the same (E - D# - C#)

    You mean there's no explicit accidental (my Peters sometimes is so kind to write these out where needed) but by the E-major key signature it definitely should be D#. I have to stand my ground on these things :D

    Yes, I know all about working on a big piece for the best part of a year and still not getting it right. That's life for us amateurs (though you are less of an amateur then I am).
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok, this one is on the site. Not sure if I've asked this before, but what tagging software do you use ? My programs have trouble reading your tags
    (although iTunes, being much smarter, hasn't).
     
  9. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    My wife is equally earing a major chord, not a minor one. Maybe it is a matter of ear nationality ? :)

    Otherwise, I am using Mp3tag.
     
  10. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    No, it's just that Chris has either mis-counted the bars or mis-typed the bar number. Confusingly, by coincidence bar 42 happens to have a D#, and so you think this is what he meant, but it is embedded inside a B major dominant 7th chord, and as far as I can tell you are playing this correctly, and even if you had played it as D natural, it could easily have gone unnoticed.

    I think Chris must mean bar 62, where there are octave D#s in the melody, and these you do play as D naturals.
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    It seems my counting is no better than my piano playing :lol: Indeed I miscounted (blessed are scores that DO have bar numbers, bloody Peters never do) and indeed it is bar 62. If I mentioned any other bar numbers, 20 should be added too - assuming I did not goof up again after that. Next time I will not count bars but use timings. It works much better. Unless I mistype them of course.
     
  12. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Then the mystery is solved, and none of us is yet deaf... I am not anymore blind but just a bad reader :oops: !
     
  13. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Sorry I didn't count out the measures (42 vs 62, etc.) myself; that would have fixed it early on. :|
     
  14. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Fantastic recording!!! I enjoyed every second of it. Advertised on Twitter ;).
     
  15. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Robert for your enthusiastic post! Regards,
     
  16. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Hey Francois,

    Great performance.

    Scott
     
  17. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Great music, average performance... But thanks for your compliment !
     
  18. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy New Member

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    Very impressed by the whole effort, Francois. Congratulations for taking on such a demanding and lengthy piece. You manage quite well with it. I loved your dynamics, in some points really powerful.
     
  19. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Pantelis ! Well, when I listen old recordings I made 20 years ago, sometimes I wonder if I have made any progress -apart from having played a wider repertory - but I hope I have slightly improved my dynamics ability. I remarked some very old pianists have a fantastic range in this field (as for instance the last Richter...), even if they have lost a part of their speed and rythmic accuracy.
     

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