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Chopin waltz in a minor

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pepasch, May 17, 2015.

  1. pepasch

    pepasch cooperation is a profession Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Folks,

    Well, i just had to make another recording. Again with my Roland F-20. Recorded directly into a Zoom H-4.

    It is a lovely Waltz in a minor of Chopin this time.

    Greetings from Holland.
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Another thing that has changed since you were last here is that the quality standards have gone up tremendously. This recording has far too many slips, fumbles, misreadings, and missing notes to be considered ready for the site. In an easy and very well-known piece like this there is no justification for not at least getting all the notes right.
    The sound is passable but does get rather sharp and metallic in the forte.
     
  3. pepasch

    pepasch cooperation is a profession Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    What type of quality standards have gone up? Musicality standards, accuracy standards, recording standards, creativity standards, technical standards?

    Sharp and metallic in the forte you say? That is called "brilliance" according to the Roland F-20 manual. It is an adjustable thing, in 5 levels. My recording was on level 4.

    Perhaps i will reload the thing some day (if i manage to raise the accuracy standard!).

    Greetings from over here.

    PS: it used to be a bit more busy and lively around here, wasn't it? Or is my recollection failing me?
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Most of all the standards that can be measured more or less objectively. We no longer accept recordings with lots of noise or errors. A reasonable accuracy must be obtained, and the easier and more well-known the piece, the more stringent this requirement is. Also, in romantic or virtuoso music, slips are more readily tolerated than in Bach or Mozart.

    It could be that others perceive your Roland's forte as brilliant rather than metallic. Some people even like metallic :)

    Creativity and musicality can and will always be argued about. For better or worse we have sometimes refused recordings we felt were too weirdly "interpreted". It's dangerous ground though.

    Yes it has gone deadly quiet in PS. I am not sure people have stayed away because of the current high standards and the strict focus on music, or if the formula has simply outlived itself. Few if any people have ever told us they were leaving, let alone why. People just sneak off, even after years of "service'.
     
  5. pianolady

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

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    Hello and nice to see you back here!

    I've always considered Roland to be a good brand, so maybe there are more settings you can adjust to make the tone of your recordings sound fuller? I agree, it's not bad, but to me it sounds thin.

    Regarding our higher standards and the lack of participation on the forum these days: A few years ago, we decided to make PS a place where people can come and listen to 'only' high-quality recordings. After all, there are plenty of other places on the Internet where one can hear mediocre recordings and we wanted to be better than that. If that's the cause of the decline in the forum, then there is nothing much we can do about it. But if someone out there wants to hone their skill at playing piano, and then be able to share their hard work with the world by having their recordings included among our other members' high-quality recordings, then PS is the place to be! Like bragging rights. :)
     
  6. MarkieUK

    MarkieUK Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've just listened to this. I think it sounds quite nice. There are some small slips throughout, but they sound minor (although I don't actually know this piece). I think your expression is effective in places, though you could let the music breathe a bit more sometimes and your piano does have a tinny sound.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Granted, most are not disruptive, and sound quite plausible when you don't know the piece. Unfortunately I know it like my back pocket... and believe me, there are anomalies about every few bars or so.
     
  8. kawai_cs

    kawai_cs New Member

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    Hello There,

    This is my first post here but I have been reading/listening here for a while :)
    I must say I agree with Chris's comments 95% of the time. You have great ear and I admire your knowledge and musicality.
    I think you are a little harsh with our pianist here today, though.
    Yes, there are lots of slips and missing or wrong notes but ... to my surprise, it is played musically. It sounds to me like Chopin - and this is honestly so much more important (to me) than missing notes.
    This I cannot say about some recent recording of Chopin found here, where the performer might be technically better, but they are still so far from the score, so far from what Chopin should actually sound like.
    It is true, Roland does not sound nice in some places of this recording but they can play what they have available.
    However I understand that there are standards here that you make sure are kept.
     
  9. pepasch

    pepasch cooperation is a profession Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Pianolady,

    Good to hear from you.

    I always looked upon this site as a meeting place. I liked it being inclusive instead of exclusive. Being here was stimulating and not frustrating. I did not have that much time to spend on it but it was fun to be around here and listen to contributions of others, having some interchange of thought. Etc.. But the thing with networks and communities is that the folks who started them often become overambitious, like becoming the best and all that. Whereas the community members are mostly and mainly there out of interest and for fun. Their ambition is to participate and even to contribute, but mostly not to excel.

    It think it would be wiser to permit several levels of excellence within a community. You could work with stars or merits that a member can earn (and these not only being given by some but by all members). Thus stimulating upward mobility and eagerness to learn. You could create an inner circle of pianist for a public site and a second circle of pianists for a semi-public site. And then you could even have a private site for members only. There is really a lot that you can do to raise overall quality without raising the entry level standards.

    Apart from that, i do not like "objective standards". They remind me of SMART management targets. They are for management junkies who chase after their bonuses whereas the organization which they seek to manage looses its soul. I had, for example another peek at this site. I noticed that Chris made this truckload of recordings. He must be recording half of the mp3's on this site. He recorded for example all Mazurka's of Chopin. And while i listened to one or two, i wandered: is this the objective standard that others have to conform to? What on earth has happened here?

    I am really very much puzzled by my revisit to this site. What have you gained from introducing these standards? Have the number of contributions gone up? Are new pianists enlisting? And do they feel encouraged? Have you spotted a new Glenn Gould already? Has the site started to become a fierce competitor of Spotify? Is Arthur Rubinstein looking upon its contributors with aw from up there? To be honest, to me it sounds like you have traded livelihood for high standards. I do not see how that can be a good bargain. There surely must be another way to make this project more sustainable.

    Peter Schuttevaar
     
  10. pianolady

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

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    Hello again, Peter.

    You raised a lot of interesting points! Honestly, I agree with many of them, but I also see the merit in the way things are now. Your idea of offering different levels of expertise is good. We added the sub-forum "works in progress" a couple years ago in hopes that other people not quite ready (or willing... :wink: ) to submit recordings for evaluation could at least still post their recordings.

    What we really could use is more help around here! I have felt burned out for many months now, and I know Chris' enthusiasm goes up and down too. I want to be able to say, "Great ideas...we'll implement them right away!" but I don't have the motivation to do so. Still, I don't want to totally give up on PS, either. Speaking for myself only, I guess I need to figure out how to get my enthusiasm for the site back up to where it was in the old days. It used to be a lot of fun on the forum, and it sure would be nice to have some fun again!

    Thank you for your feedback, Peter! :)
     
  11. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    Regarding "standards," I don't know if standards here have gone up or not. I do notice an increased focus on note accuracy, in that performances with more than a couple of note errors are either rejected outright or are subject to intense criticism from administrators. But performances that sound like wooden read-throughs are generally accepted, as long as all note errors are carefully edited out, even if several members objected to the lack of artistic quality.

    I find it less and less interesting to listen to performances created according to this set of values, and that is one factor in my reduced participation here lately. For those who want to go listen to excellent professional performances of a piece, there are easy places to go and do that now.

    I do still value dropping in here from time to time to listen to the contributions of some members whose playing I really love, to listen to a rarity or two that it's hard to find elsewhere, or just to see what some fellow piano obsessives are thinking about today :) And I like sharing a recording of a piece that is important to me every once in a while.

    And I do value the idea of having a site that's both a curated home for recordings -- cuts through the noise on Youtube and whatnot -- and a positive community for pianists who are enthusiastic amateurs, professionals, and students alike to get together and share progress. But I think the curation and the community need to support each other, otherwise neither will work.
     
  12. pepasch

    pepasch cooperation is a profession Piano Society Artist

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    Hi all,

    So it looks like this site has turned into the private publishing site of Chris Breemer. The others have left or have become tired?

    That's a pity, because the recordings of Chris are not at all that interesting. It would be better for him to concentrate on just a few recordings and make them stand out, instead of going about like an encyclopedic.

    Music is not about bookkeeping. It is not even about notes. Music is a deeply spiritual thing. When textbook precision and a fear for making errors become standard, the music will die. And then you will truly have gained mediocracy.

    Sorry for bringing this all up. It was just my intention to post some recordings and see what people make of my digital piano. But i became a bit distracted from this purpose.

    Greetings from Holland
     
  13. MarkieUK

    MarkieUK Member Piano Society Artist

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    Having read through all the posts on this thread I have to say I agree with some of the points Pepasch raises, although I definitely don't think the site has become the private publishing site of any individual. I think it's possible that some people may be feel a bit inhibited in submitting recordings due to the high standard of Chris Breemer's work, but I think his criticism of others' recordings is usually very fair and he doesn't look down on people submitting less technically demanding pieces, provided that they're played to a certain standard.

    I think it is a shame if amateur pianists are deterred from submitting pieces due to a high technical standard. After all, it is supposed to be a site for amateur pianists (!) We should encourage each other to improve and we're all obviously at different technical standards of playing. I took a break from the site for a while and came back and did notice the improvement in overall quality the recordings on the site (some I think are near a professional standard, if not professional). So let's remember that it is a site for amateurs mainly, and perhaps there is some scope to appraise submissions that may sometimes contain some technical inaccuracies but still have musical merit.

    Right, I'm off to practice some Haydn now.
     
  14. pepasch

    pepasch cooperation is a profession Piano Society Artist

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    Dear all,

    I couldn't resist to make another recording of the a-minor waltz in my lunch break. I did some adjustments of the Roland digital piano. Another piano timbre and more echo. I am curious what you folks think of this.

    Greetings for Holland.
     
  15. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ouch, this thread is not so much about the OP contribution anymore.

    My feeling, which is based solely on my personal experience, and I claim no generality whatsoever, is that the high standards of this site has help me A LOT. I am an intermittent hobby pianist with no audience beyond internet. The standards, comments and discussions on this site have been greatly important to make me focus and exert myself. I do realize the huge amount of work Monica and Chris put in. For this I am very grateful. And I do think this gives them the right to decide what should go on the site. I would be very sad if they lose heart.

    Having standards of musicality and interpretation is extremely difficult and I think it wise to avoid that. What is dull to one person can be interesting to the next. Chris' mazurka project was mentioned (though that should really be discussed in its thread) and is an example of an artistic achievement quite different in kind from what I would aspire to, but I can certainly respect it. I guess there is a sense of fulfillment in being able to grasp the whole set, different in kind from playing one of them with great intimacy. I am happy that there is room for different kinds of artistry here. Standards for accuracy and recording make more sense, since following constructive criticism a performer can do something about that.

    I think it goes against the grain of the site (and would cause me much more anxiety than stimulation) if we started to rate people in different classes.

    Finally about the music: I listened to the last version. My main gripe is that the piano sound is unpleasant. What recording procedure do you use? I used to play on a digital, and using its speakers and a cheap recorder the result was awful. A digital is a recorded piano to begin with, and this way you re-record a recording. A much better way is to connect the line out (or earphone out) of the piano to the line in (or mic) of the computer. It requires some tinkering with the levels and ideally you should have a sound card, but mic in will be vastly better than acoustic recording.

    Your interpretation is consistent and shows great passion, though it is so far removed from what I usually associate with this piece that my main impression is astonishment. Perhaps that is what you strive for. Predominant feelings are of stress and tension. In particular some of the rushes at phrase endings are disconcerting. Whether you meet accuracy standards I would let Chris judge. He is usually very good to give detailed feedback to work on.

    Joachim
     
  16. pianolady

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

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    Thank you for saying what you said, Joachim! The same goes for me. When I first came to PS it was when I was just getting back into seriously practicing piano again after a very long hiatus. The first recordings I submitted were pretty terrible, and I got plenty of negative feedback. But I needed that! It spurred me on to practice more and start taking lessons again. I think if people said that my recordings were fine and that they’ll be put up on the site as they were, then I would not have tried to improve my playing. I credit PS with giving me the motivation to practice more, because it’s lead to opening up a whole ton of new and wonderful music to me over the years.

    What I don’t like is when people go away for a while and then come back and complain about things here. We admins are doing the best we can and it’s impossible to please everybody. But with that said….we do need more dialogue here on the forum, so I don’t really know what direction to go.
     
  17. pepasch

    pepasch cooperation is a profession Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Joachim and piano lady,

    Let me first make clear to you that i am not at all against standards. It is how they are applied that matters. If they serve as a threshold for entering an online community, then the community will become exclusive and die. It is as simple as that. Ask yourself. What stimulated you to become better? Were it the high standards or was it the feedback? My guess is that it was the feedback.

    If i were here for the first time and if i were to put something on this audition room and the first thing that i get as a feedback is about the many notes that have not been played or have been played wrong, that would have certainly put me off. I would have run away to never come back. Especially if this feedback is accompanied with remarks about how this piece should be played, at which speed it should be played and in what type of idiom it should be enshrined. To be honest, i would then have thought that this site is not about music at all. Instead, i would have thought that it is about the art of conventions. The thing is that i did not come here for the first time. I know there are fine people out here who have their hearts at the right place and who have invested sincerely in this. So i came back. And i am sorry to be so critical while doing so, but i fear i must be.

    There is a thing that Joachim says, that is probably at the heart of the problem here. He states that because Chris and Monica have put so much effort into this site, they are surely the ones who can decide what goes up and what comes of. That statement might be true for a commercial company, but certainly not for a community of equals. The coin of much effort on behalf of these two has a flip-side, namely that it encourages laziness in others. Others will feel that PS is mainly a plaything for this productive couple. That their standards and their sets of values prevail. So why should others then come to help in such a structure. There is no incentive. There is no ownership.

    What you should do is to break this community open. Ask members to form a board and give it the power of steering on behalf of the whole community. Formulate a charter for this board and make sure that you yourself have limited tasks that give you energy instead of burning you out. That's the road ahead.

    Greetings from over here,

    PS: Joachim, thanks for the feedback. My intention is indeed to convey a tension. As i feel there is always this strong duality between harmony and conflict in Chopin's music. The demon allways shines through the angel and the other way around. And i did record directly from the line-out of my digital piano into a Zoom H-4 recorder (that's a semi-professional apparatus).
     
  18. pianolady

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

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    Well, this is real nice. You come back from out of the blue and right away start stirring up trouble. If you think you can do a better job here, then so be it.
     
  19. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    @Heather:
    You may have a point of sorts, but you are not being quite fair. It is not so that we habitually refuse recordings because of a handful of little slips. You can look up all the times I wrote "great work, the slips such as there were did not bother at all", and then obediently put up the recording. I also often acknowledge recordings being technically proficient but lacking in musicality (and then put them up as well). It feels to me you are still smarting because we found your Aufschwung to have rather too many issues, and particularly by my petty counting of them. Sorry about that, but there were really than many of them. Yes maybe (or surely) the artistic value is more important than total accuracy. Opinions will always divide on that. Just one question: would you publish a CD with a track that has a dozen slips, even small ones ? In a piece that is far from trivial, but not hugely demanding ?

    @Peter:
    You were here from dec. 2006 to june 2007, and in your 50 or so postings (with just one exception) you ONLY talk about your own 2 or 3 recordings. Much of which, IIRC, was discussion about your special wish to post only video's instead of mp3's. I don't consider that such a big contribution to the "meeting community" that it entitles you to pop back in after 8 years of absence and start telling us, like an interim manager, what we should be doing here. This seems almost as preposterous as me telling you how to play Schubert. Even though I agree with some of your points (and disagree with others).

    It's unavoidable that some people would perceive PS as my personal playground given the many boring and unmusical recordings I upload. But it's a little short-sighted. As you well ought to know Monica and I do a lot of work for other artists too. In fact processing other peoples' stuff takes us way more time than putting up our own recordings. And had you been here for the last couple of years, you'd know that I am even more critical of my own recordings than I am of others. Many of them are re-recordings, and many of those several times. Thanks to the feedback, and sometimes severe criticism, of other regular PS members of past and present, I have become a much better pianist than I was - if apparently not a more musical one. And I know that many others have benefited from my feedback and often brutal criticism. At least those who are, like myself, committed to honing their skills. If you are not interested in objective criteria there is nothing much I can say about your recordings, and nothing much you can do to improve them. I suppose I should just put them up without further ado, right ?

    If we had a regular body of faithful, capable and active members, wiling to donate their time on a regular basis, things might perhaps be different here, and changes could be effected. But nobody ever has the time for it, and even people who agreed they would help ultimately never did. I have to say if it were not for the convenience of hosting my own recordings I would have quit PS long ago. I could well do without the obligations and the endless arguing over what should be allowed on the site and what not. I would be more than happy to be replaced by someone younger who is more musical and open-minded, more web-savvy, and more willing to spend time on other people's recordings whether they agree with them or not.

    @others: Good to read that you see our side of things.

    That's it from me, I will not be discussing any further in this thread. Life is too short and I need to do other things, such as evaluate, tag, upload, and describe the new submissions.
     
  20. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi, good to see you here. Not often that someone hops over from Piano Street to check out this backwater.

    I am not being harsh here, not even a little. Just pointing out that are really a lot of slips and misreadings here, some of them disturbing and all of them unnecessary
    for a skilled pianist in a technically easy piece. If something like that can't even be said anymore I may as well take by bags and go. Had I wanted to be nasty I would have said this was sloppy and disrespectful playing, not justified by any special artistic merit.

    I have not heard the second version. Apparently this lunch break job was just to try get some better piano sound, which was not my main concern here. It is not likely to be any more polished so I'll skip on it.

    Boy I wish I could record stuff during lunch break. But it is much too noisy in the canteen, and there's no piano anyway.
     

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