DONATION STATUS
Needed before 2016-12-31
$ 2,500
So far donated
$ 825

Cui - Two Preludes

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,716
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    Re: Cui - Twp Preludes

    I liked the first one because it reminded me a little of a Granados impromptu that I've played - but just for a couple measures. The second piece was okay until about the last quarter where I think it started going on for a tad too long. Your playing is good, as usual, although maybe it could be more graceful here; it sounds a little heavy-handed. These are okay but don't really spark interest in listening to anymore Cui. Also, I really don't like the photo we have of him on the home page!!
     
  3. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Physician
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX, USA
    Last Name:
    del Rio
    First Name:
    Eddy
    LOCATION:
    San Antonio, TX, USA
    Re: Cui - Twp Preludes

    Chris, I too like the first one, very much in fact. I'm trying to make a connection of it to something that I think (?) is Brahms -- but can't put my finger on it. :? Maybe someone else can help me here? The 2nd one doesn't do much for me.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Thanks for the comments.
    Yeah if only he would look like Granados and his music sound like Granados .... that would help would it not :p

    Indeed the octave passages are a bit Brahmsian.
    The second one is actually one of my favorites of the set.
     
  5. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Physician
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX, USA
    Last Name:
    del Rio
    First Name:
    Eddy
    LOCATION:
    San Antonio, TX, USA
    <deleted: response no longer relevant>
     
  6. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,149
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    LOCATION:
    U.S.A.
    Hi Chris,

    I really enjoyed both preludes. Sometimes Cui's melodic lines, instead of sounding inevitable here, take unexpected twists and turns, as do the accompanying harmonies. Cui's earliest attempts at writing for the piano seem a bit awkward and banal to me, but these two preludes show more musical sophistication in my opinion. Both seem to me to be fine compositions.

    I don't have the scores here, but I believe that you played both pieces exceptionally well, as both were completely convincing. Will you be playing more of these preludes?

    It's good too to have more lesser-known Russian music on the site.

    Thanks for posting these recordings.

    David
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Thanks for the appreciation David ! Though it is clear that Cui was not a pianist (he writes some strange things sometimes) I finf thes preludes to sound totally pianistic, and very Russian (amazing, considering Cui was of Lithuanian-French heritage).
    I have a handful more of these preludes on the roster. So far I don't intend to do the CS (quite a novelty for me ;-)
     
  8. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Carbondale, IL
    Last Name:
    Tucker
    First Name:
    Riley
    LOCATION:
    Carbondale, IL
    These sound nice. For criticism, a little bit more rubato on the Allegro non troppo. The 2nd piece is one I would like to practice, I hear a little of Tchaikovsky in the left hand.

    Too bad that he is underappreciated, though perhaps you are changing that :)

    ~Riley
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    More likely the people changing that would be Jeffrey Biegel and Margaret Fingerhut through whose excellent recordings on Youtube I got to know these preludes.
    Yes, the second of these does have echoes of Tchaikovsky.
     
  10. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,080
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Amateur musician
    Home Page:
    Having listened to these and other pieces by Cui I wonder how he can be considered a "nationalist" to be mentioned in the same breath as Rimsky-Korsakov and Balakirev. Of course I know he was a member of the Mighty Handful and all that, but even his origins are non-Russian and his music to me sounds anything but Russian. Tchaikovsky, who was reviled by the Mighty as been sold-out to Western decadence or whatever, is more of a nationalist that Cui.

    The first of these two I found a bit nondescript, though I did enjoy listening to the second one and this is a welcome addition to the site.
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    I don't know whether Cui wrote 'nationalistic' (whatever that term implies) works. But piano music can sounds Russian even if not nationalistic. It's something about the harmonies, rhythms, and figurations - Liadov has it too, as do many Russians. An innate feeling for the piano. I rate Cui's piano music higher than that of Rimsky, Borodin, or even Moussorgsky, in terms of being pianistic (even though Cui clearly was no pianist, he could write down the most impossible things). Even Balakirev, whose piano music is outstanding and highly regarded in Russia, if not played as often as it should, is not usually 'nationalistic'. Most of Tchaikovsky's piano music is not 'nationalistic' either. But again, I'm not sure what that term really means.
     
  12. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    913
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    Home Page:
    Last Name:
    Wright
    First Name:
    Andrew
    WEBSITE:
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/andrewwright
    LOCATION:
    Edinburgh, UK
    TWITTER:
    arpeggio_andrew
    YOUTUBE:
    alkanliszt
    Re: Cui - Twp Preludes

    I felt there were tinges of Brahms also. Perhaps it's the general texture which is quite dense in places. There was a passage in the first piece (about half way in) which vaguely reminded me of the second Brahms concerto.

    I didn't expect much of these pieces, so it's nice to say that I found them rather more appealing than I had imagined.
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Re: Cui - Twp Preludes

    Yes I know which bit you mean, and what it reminds you of. Quite tricky, although I imagine the corresponding passage in the Brahms concerto to be infinitely more difficult.

    Good :D One should keep an open mind and give lesser composers the benefit of the doubt. They often may surprise you.
     
  14. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,080
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Amateur musician
    Home Page:
    We mean the same thing: I mean by nationalistic (a term I am not too fond of) the ideals of the Mightly Handful and in Cui I definitively do not hear any of that! Tchaikovsky I find quite Russian, but, either in subject matter or even in his music. If you take the piano music, look at the Album for the Young: the last piece, In Church, borrows from Russian Orthodox chant. If you look at his symphonies, take his first two ones or The Snow Maiden (Yes, I mean his op. 12) you will see the same. Of course, this seems to be something all Russians have, even the very first composers of instrumental music, like Bortnjanskij and Khandorshkin:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZtBLfZrOIE

    Does this not remind you of Tchaikovsky, and yet it was written when Haydn was alive and went unpublished till some years before this recording was made!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlluQpsU ... re=related

    This one actually reminds me of a song by Chopin!
     
  15. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Church Musician, Choral Accompanist, Musical Theat
    Location:
    Illinois
    LOCATION:
    Illinois
    Wow, that Khandorshkin piece sounds in the beginning almost as if it should have been written 50 years later. It has such a "romantic" sense about it. It wasn't until towards the middle that I began to truely hear the Classical period articulations and phrasings.

    Those are both interesting pieces and I do hear a bit of "Russian" in both of them.

    Scott
     
  16. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    913
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    Home Page:
    Last Name:
    Wright
    First Name:
    Andrew
    WEBSITE:
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/andrewwright
    LOCATION:
    Edinburgh, UK
    TWITTER:
    arpeggio_andrew
    YOUTUBE:
    alkanliszt
    I absolutely agree - one of the nice things about this site is that there are frequent opportunities to hear such composers.
     
  17. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,149
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    LOCATION:
    U.S.A.
    Hi,

    What I recall about the 19th century "nationalistic" trends in music was that nationalism revered the popular folk songs and dances, local legends and places, great historical events, etc. Thus there emerged Chopin's mazurkas, Grieg's references to folkways in his many character pieces, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies, Dvorak's "Slavonic Dances", etc. Mousorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" might be considered nationalistic too. For instance, what could be more Russian than the celebration of The Great Gate at Kiev with its carillons? Russians love bells! Borodin's "Polovtzian Dances" later quoted by Ravel in his homage to Borodin in the recording I posted here would be a another good example of Russian nationalism I think. Unfortunately, I know very little about Cui and his piano repertoire, so I'm unable to cite an example there. Tchaikovsky was never drawn into the nationalistic movement, and in that respect was much like Rachmaninoff, Medtner and others who were not much influenced by flavor of the day trends and resolutely continued to focus on what they did best.

    Moving into the 20th Century Bartok would certainly be considered nationalistic to an extent given the amount of time and effort he put into researching and documenting Hungarian folk songs and sometimes referring to their rhythms and tunes in his music. Probably a good deal of later Soviet era Russian music exalting socialist ideals as required by the ministry of culture would be a more recent modern example of nationalistic music.

    David
     
  18. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,080
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Amateur musician
    Home Page:
    While in general I agree with your point of view, I beg to difer, David, about Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. I would say they were also "nationalistic", albeit in a more moderate manner. You could not by any strech of the imagination listen to the works of either and say, "This is a German composer. You would immediately say, Russian!" This goes also for Stravinsky (at least the early period). You mention the Great Gate of Kiev with the bells: Rachmaninoff was fascinated by these very bells that you say fascinate Russians! Both, by the way, contributed music to the Russian Orthodox Church, which might also say something. The same goes for Bortkiewicz.

    The difference is their approach: while the "5" believed that symphonies, as well as any form of musical learning, were the the works of a West to be despised, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff had a much wider outlook. Even such a Western-looking composer as Rubinstein has his "Russian" works, like the Russian Capriccio and an opera or two on Russian subjects. Rimsky-Korsakov is an interesting example, as he began as his friends of the "5", but eventually realised that lack of study did not produce good music, national or not, and "sold his soul", at it were.

    I believe that what happens with Cui, Medtner and Schnittke (a modern composer, of course) is that they were not ethnic Russians, but the children of immigrants. You yourself have mentioned Medtner's "Germanness". The only one who seems to sound really Russian while being the child of immigrants is Glier (or Glière, as the composer liked to be called). I say this not because I believe it is in the blood, but because the child of immigrants often lives in a segregate society (there was, for example, a German Republic of the Volga, until dissolved by Stalin). This certainly was the case of Schnittke.

    You mention Chopin and his mazurkas. This dance, as you have possibly noticed, is widespread over all the countries where there is a Slav population, which explains why Dvorak wrote some, as well as Tchaikovsky. The same goes for the dumka (plural dumki) and we have dumkas written by Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and even Chopin!

    Borodin, with his Polovitsian Dances, as well as Rimsky-Korsakov in Sheherazade and Antar, are indulging in what the Russians call not "Nationalism", but "Orientalism", that is, drawing on the music of minorities within the empire or even from Arabia itself.

    Liszt was also the chid of immigrants (original spelling List) and could not speak a word of Hungarian. He confused Hungarian with Gypsy (called in Hungarian Verbunkos and was the same error Brahms was to commit with such disatrous consequences to his pocket) and his Hungarian Rhapsodies should by rights be called Gypsy Rhapsodies. Enescu also fell into this trap, where, in his 1st Romanian Rhapsody, he quotes "The Lark", a very famous Gypsy violin piece which is in the repertoire of Sandor Lakatos and his Gypsy Band, for example. Bartok has the merit of having discovered the real Hungarian music, a music that has little to do with Gypsy orchestras and virtuoso violin passages.

    By the way, I came across yesterday in a shop the complete piano music of Ljadov.
     
  19. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,149
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    LOCATION:
    U.S.A.
    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for adding so many thoughts on the subject of nationalistic music. I does tend to be a nebulous world at times. Yes, I would have to agree that Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff reflected nationalism in their music, but more as a matter of degree. They held a wider world view than those who were focused more narrowly like The Five.

    You mention "Orientalism". That's the very reason I didn't mention Rimsky-Korsakov's "Sheherazade", as prominent a work as it is, in the examples I gave so as not to confuse the issue! Like you I should have probably commented on it.

    I totally agree with you on your point about composers whose parents were immigrants to Russia like Cui and Medtner. Catoire was Russian born, but of French immigrant parents, and he was raised in Russia by them as they pursued business interests there. That cultural isolation to which you refer is evident to me in Catoire's music, which makes it very distinctive. Yet Catoire became highly respected and his books and scholarly articles on composition are still used in Russian conservatories and universities to this day.

    And yes, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies would more properly be titled Gypsy Rhapsodies.

    I recently saw a reference to that volume of Liadoff's complete piano works you mentioned here. I'm sure it will be a fine addition to your music library. There would be enough material in there to keep a pianist busy for a very long time!

    David
     
  20. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    Great discussion.

    Yet I stubbornly maintain that Cui's preludes sound inherently Russian and could not have come from anywhere else. Not nationalistic then, but in terms of sounding sonorous and pianistic as only the Russians (both native and imported) can.

    I assume that 'Liadov volume' is the Koenemann complete Liadov in 6 volumes ? Or is it 5, can't remember. That is what I have and sure it is a treasure trove. I'm currently digging into it again, to replace some of my early recordings.
     

Share This Page