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Chopin Waltz No. 19 in A Minor, Op. Posth

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by 88man, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Chopin Waltz No. 19 in A Minor, Op. Posth.

    It's been a while since I last posted any recordings. I seem to have less and less time to play or record music these days. Someone should come over and play the Steinway B more often... :) Here is a start, as I am learning a new Waltz No. 16 and brushing up on old pieces.

    This short work is believed to be composed for either Mme. Charlotte de Rothschild, or her daughter. The Rothschild family presented the work to the Paris Conservatory in 1901. The first publication did not appear until May of 1955 in La Revue Musicale in Paris (Rory Guy, EMI Records). Musicologists believe this waltz is suggestive of Polish children's dances Chopin knew as a child. So, what is the correct stylistic interpretation for this piece? To play it with a child's vitality and innocence or is there another understanding that's appropriate?...

    Perhaps the answer lies in when Chopin wrote this work. The proposed dates for this work range from 1843 to 1848. The Piano Society outline dates it at 1847. If so, this is essentially a very late work, and it seems that over the years, Chopin's stylistic rendition is more characteristically Parisian than Polish in this waltz. Perhaps, one could also argue that there are rhythmic elements of a mazurka in the opening theme, but it's not stylistically defined as the opening theme in Waltz No. 7 in C-sharp minor, so it is vague to argue that it should be played like a mazurka. By 1847, compounded with Chopin's ailing health, the ascribed suggestion of young Polish dances seem to have aged considerably in a way as to suggest more of a longing or nostalgia, rather than having any festive overtone associated with childhood dances. I chose to play it as such - a reminiscing or longing of a distant childhood memory that has been stylistically and thematically transformed over the years. Furthermore, Chopin's chosen key of A minor key gives significance to these notions, and suggests a memorialization rather than a celebration of childhood simplicity and innocence.

    Thanks for listening.


    Chopin - Waltz no.19 Op. posth. in A-minor
     
  2. pianolady

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

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    You can ship it to my house! :idea: :lol:

    This is up, George. Sounded very nice to me. I think you are right about playing it in a melancholy style. One little reminder - please submit future recordings under 200 kbps.
     
  3. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Excellent choice, excellent playing. Bravo.
    You wonder about the correct stylistic interpretation? Look no further, this is the one.
    I liked your rubati, your trills, sound and simplicity. I've already listened five times. You have it and it shows. Hats off to you, sir.
     
  4. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    George,

    That is beautiful. You gave it that "Valse Oubliee" type feel that is reflective and sensuous. I do hear the Mazurka in it. Maybe it should be a "Mazurka Oubliee".

    Fine work.

    Scott
     
  5. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi George,

    That's a beautiful and convincing rendition of the Waltz. I really enjoyed your playing, especially the rubato and nuances.

    David
     
  6. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    I wanted to thank you all - Monica, Pantelis, Scott, David, for your comments and kind praises. It's nice to catch up with everybody again...

    Monica, thank you for the posting... It would be tough to part with this B having lived through "Planes, Trains, Automobiles" to find it in Ohio.

    Pantelis, I still have your Scarlatti Sonata in Bm in my head!... BTW, Greece is on my list of places - I've heard that the sunsets in Santorini are amazing - Eye candy for my landscape photography!

    Scott, if the notion of a "Valse Oubliee" came to mind, then I succeeded in capturing the essence of this little piece.

    David, I hope you are still sailing to the sounds and music of our N.E. buoys?... Can't wait until summer to bask in our coastline.
     
  7. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Landscape photography eh? ...hmm, I would love to see samples of your work, do you have a gallery online? You pay so much attention to recordings, so I imagine you photo work must be of equal quality.

    I am assembling a small gallery of photos just for the fun of it. Amateur stuff, basically. If you care to see some interesting Greek spots (not Santorini I'm afraid), have a look at http://gallery.me.com/wiser_guy
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi George,

    Yes! Last September my wife and I spent three days at sea on the Wanderbird, a former Dutch fishing boat built for the North Sea now converted for cruising. We did all of Penobscot Bay, some of the Maine coastline, a short trip up the mouth of the Penobscot River, the bay islands, and a bit of the Gulf of Maine. And yes, we passed a few bell buoys along the way too. :)

    David
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very beautiful indeed ! I've nothing to add to what everybody already said.
     
  10. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Pantelis, I loved your inspiring photos of Myloi! Great composition, subject matter, and accurate colors for digital. It's particularly difficult to capture the aqua-green color of the Mediterranean - your white balance control is excellent. Colors look like Nikon?... I don't have an online gallery, however, I do have a few albums of my digital photos on Facebook - Italy, Spain, Cape Cod, etc. I favor film over digital for landscapes. However, with all the x-rays at airports, my 6x7 Mamiya 7II, 35mm, and my homemade 6x17 panoramic cameras don't see the light overseas. So much to see, do, experience, and learn, so little time...

    David, for whom the buoy bells toll?... It tolls for you and me. Maine is an amazing sanctuary of pristine coastline. I'd like to get to Acadia National Park too next summer. I am glad that you're living it up on the high seas.

    Thank you, Chris, for your praise! BTW, I see that you have a great opportunity and ability to play the organ and piano. There aren't too many progressive minded organists these days who follow that tradition.
     
  11. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    George,

    This interpretation shows great maturity and artistry. Bravo!

    Kaila
     
  12. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    You can guess camera make by the colours? I'm impressed. It is a Nikon, yes. Thanks for taking the time to look at the pictures and for your words. Judging by your equipment, I'd say you must be very experienced yourself. I don't have a facebook account and I need one to access your photos, I think. Will do, some time over the next few days.

    Tell me about it!
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Haha, I am not much of a progressive minded organist, being almost wholly dedicated to Bach with only an occasional nod to other Baroque masters. And it is not so much opportunity as dogged determination and sheer effort that makes me get anywhere at all with this.
     
  14. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Kaila, coming from your extensive musical pedigree, I am flattered by your comments. Thank you!

    Chris, opportunity never knocked at my door either. It's "That dogged determination and sheer effort," as you say, is how we earn opportunity. Simply put, in the U.S. we call it "No pain, no gain."

    Pantelis, for a fellow shutterbug, there's always time for pictures - just what I needed for this dreadful winter as I am tired of shoveling snow... I stopped collecting cameras before digital really came into focus (no pun intended). I've always been fascinated with lens and camera design. Subtle nuances in color, texture, and light are terms that are equally important in photography as well as music. As you know, the parallels are many - When playing, we try to see the light, when photographing, we try to hear the sound. Bizzare, but effective. Let me know when your on Facebook...

    Regards to all!
     
  15. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That´s a most beautiful performance! Very expressively and musically played, I like it very much. And the sound-quality is also superb. A recording of a professional standard. Keep up the good work!
     
  16. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Oh that's so nice! George you must record more often for us! :D

    A comment about the sound because I know that we share some interest in the recording technique. The piano timbre is beautiful. The sound is much detailed and clear. But I would like a better fusion between both channels. It does not sounds to me natural, like if the left hand and the right hand would be played on two different pianos.
     
  17. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Didier for the comments. This was the first piece I recorded to test out my new DAV BG No.1U with the AKG C414B-XLS mics. The mics were in the similar position that I used for the Avalon AD2022 preamp - about 3ft away from the point between the curve and tail, and 6ft high, spaced 18in (46cm) apart in omni.

    It may be a large room, but believe me, there's only 1 piano. :) I wanted to diverge from the "natural" sound because I chose to have a nostalgic or mystical flavor to this piece. I wanted the perception of distance, air, darker mood, and a little diffusion, as opposed to fused/narrow/focused sound for this piece. I experimented with a more diffuse sound field through mic spacing and distance, a darker timbre, and warmer tone. Getting a warmer tone is a little difficult to achieve with AKG's and in a home environment. Besides, I am always experimenting with different mic positions so no 2 recording sessions are ever exactly the same with me. The only effect I added was 6% reverb.

    I just listened to the piece with headphones. I think there are several factors relating to the fusion/diffusion of sound apart from my intentions:

    1) Mic location was toward the middle/tail end of the piano - farther away.
    2) omni selection susceptible to nearby reflections (ceiling, adjacent dining room, etc.).
    3) There may also be a phase issue with the mic positions. I think that's the risk when the sound becomes rather diffuse because of mic spacing. I guess I could use software to correct for phase response, but I was so concerned about the right tone and timbre for this piece, that I didn't bother.

    The timbre and transient response of the 2 preamps are different. When using the DAV, I may bring the mics closer to the piano without the fear of brightness when compared with the Avalon, and space the mics closer for a more coherent focus.

    Aside:
    I've been also thinking that the Schoeps MK22 "Open Cardiod" mics might be a great choice for home recording. It's supposed to sound like the MK21 (wide cardiod) with a MK4 (cardiod) pattern. As for SDC omnis, I am still deciding between a Senn MKH8020, Schoeps MK2, or call it a day and get the MBHO setup with omni and WC all for 1/3 the price of Schoeps?...
     
  18. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Your explanations above are very interesting, George. (BTW, did you notice my comment below?) I´m recording without any preamp, but with a good pair of Neumann KM 184 mics. What do you think of this brand? Is it much better respective a big difference to record with a preamp than without one? And what means WC? (I suppose it´s not a "water closet" here, isn´t it? :wink: )
     
  19. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Andreas! I'm sorry for not seeing your wonderful comments at the end of the first page.

    I am glad to share some good humor on PS, as music can get serious at times, unless we're discussing a humoresque... Unfortunately (or fortunately) "WC" doesn't mean water closet in this case. :) I was referring to the Wide Cardiod pattern on a mic. Its pattern and frequency response lies somewhere between an omni and cardiod. It retains the desirable qualities of each pattern: a natural and realistic sound from the omni, and directivity to attenuate nearby reflections from the cardiod. For home recording, I think it's the best compromise.

    Neumann is the most revered mic manufacturer in the world in terms of quality, sound, consistency, and recognition. It even won a Grammy Award for its contribution to the art of recording. The company has evolved alongside the changes in technology - replacing tubes and transformers with solid state and transformerless designs. There are pros and cons to this from a sonic perspective, but that's another topic. Neumann mics are individually voiced to a consistent standard of sound as dictated by the German ton meisters. They have a smoother, refined, and sophisticated sound that Chinese mics lack. The compromise lies in the price. You get what you paid for.

    Since you're asking, pianos love omni and wide cardiod mics for a natural sound. It's all a matter of taste, if you like the KM184 on the piano, then keep it! The KM184 is a cardiod mic, so it's more directional with a narrow focus. It has a different EQ response from the omni or wide cardiod. This will change the tone and timbre of the instrument slightly. There is a 2dB presence peak @ 8-9kHz which will add slight brightness to your sound and the bass rolls off from about 150Hz which will make the sound thinner than WC or omni. Another phenomena with most cardiods is that they have an off axis response - perceived as certain notes sounding out of tune as the sound enters the mics at an off-axis angle when the mics are too close to the strings. However, a major benefit of the cardiod over the WC and omni is that it does a much better job of blocking nearby reflections from the walls and ceiling which adversely colors the sound.

    A dedicated mic preamp will add some/little improvement to your overall sound over a soundcard or out box. You may notice more detail, dynamics, smoothness, depth, less noise, etc. My current recommendation is the DAV BG No.1 preamp, which costs $853 through paypal. Nothing comes close to it in value. Recording engineers love it. It captures the right balance of timbre and tone of the piano. It also has just the right amount of "syrup" to give a silky smooth sound, without smearing any detail. It's a more laid back sound, and doesn't have that digital edgy or harsh sound of some other preamps. DAV was founded by Mick Hinton, the chief engineer to modernize the old Neve mic preamps at DECCA records in London. With this pedigree, the voicing for this preamp is very classy for classical piano recording and should mate with the voicing of the Neumann mic very well.

    From your recordings, it sounds like you're playing on a very nice Grotrian?... 95% of the perceived sound comes from you, the piano, and the room. The gear subjectively influences 5% of the sound. It's a noticeable difference, but some don't care. For me, I have become increasingly fascinated by the character of sound, and how slight changes in timbre and tone can alter your emotional response to music. It can be a transforming experience if you're good at it. I am still learning the finer nuances to this art and science.
     
  20. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you, dear George, for giving me such detailed information and explanations! I absolutely like to discuss the theme of good recording technique and microphones, but I´m not a real professional concerning these matters. So, I think my next acquirement will be such a DAV BG No.1 preamp, but I still will have to save money for it. It is my intention to buy a nice preamp for my Neumanns one nice day. So, thank you very much for your recommendation. There are also omni-directional and "WC" capsules for the Neumann KM184 available (they have the type KM 183 and 185). One can unscrew the cardiod capsule and screw the new capsule on the mic. BTW, I think "Wide cardiod" in German it´s "Hyper-Niere" (Niere=cardiod). There is also a capsule with "Hypernieren-Charakteristik" availabe for the Neumann microphone. You can have a look here, if you like: http://www.neumann.com/?lang=de&id=curr ... escription
    I have choosen the cardiod capsule, because I wanted to avoid noises from the environment, but I never have tested an omni-directional or WC until now. (Wow, I must be a super-natural, that I never was on a WC until now, isn´t it? :lol: )
     

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