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Falla and Ravel

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I still don't know if I should write de Falla, or just Falla....

    Anyway, I really like this Serenata Andaluza piece. Thank you, Chris, for giving me the last page, otherwise this recording would sound sort of weird... :lol:

    I'm not real crazy about this mazurka. Sounds to me like a hodge-podge of things thrown into one piece, including cowboy music :shock: . Oh well, I just wanted to try out another mazurka by someone else for a change. Sure reminds me that nobody can beat Chopin!!

    I included this Ravel recording because it's too short to be in a separate thread. It's only two pages long but I think very beautiful. Sounds sort of jazzy and also reminds me a little of Scriabin. This is the only Ravel piece I've ever played (I think), so I may look into more of his music one of these days. Or if anyone has any suggestions for me (not super-hard ones), please let me know. :)


    Falla - Serenata Andaluza

    Falla - Mazurka

    Ravel - Prelude
     
  2. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Hey Monica, what is that Ravel!? What a pretty piece! I love Ravel, and am so happy to find this little miniature that I can play and give to less advanced students. Where did you find it?

    I have to say, too, that though I haven't heard very much of your playing yet, this shows me a side of you I haven't yet heard. You play this truly poetically, with nice shadings of dynamics and tempo, even a delicate pianissimo at 00:30 that is stunning. Are you making an attempt to do more with dynamics?

    I'll listen to the rest later when I have more time, but had to respond this one right away!

    Bruce

    PS Boy, do I envy the beautiful sound of your acoustic grand.
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you very much, Bruce. And yes, with all our talk about dynamics, I knew I had to pay extra attention to them while making these recordings this week! :lol:

    Regarding the Ravel - Supposedly, he wrote this piece for a site-reading competition for his students. I agree, it sure is sweet! Here is a direct link to the score on ISMLP: http://imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/c ... __lude.pdf
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    You played this unusual prelude of Ravel very well. Also listened to Falla's "Serenata", a very pleasant piece. I enjoyed listening to both.

    I too recorded the Ravel "Prelude for Piano" but posted it elsewhere years ago. Here's what I wrote at that time:

    "Ravel composed his "Prelude" for a Paris Conservatoire sight-reading competition in 1913, which was, incidentally, restricted to women pianists only. So who sight-read the piece best? It was Jeanne Leleu (1898-1979), a pupil of Long, Cortot and Widor. When Ravel later sent the piece to the publisher, he dedicated it to Leleu, who also, with Ravel, premiered his duo-piano suite Ma Mere L'Oye. Leleu went on to concertize, next became a pedagogue at the conservatory, and later was a composer of symphonic and ballet works."

    David
     
  5. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    Hi, Monica! I love Ravel, but I find this prelude too difficult to understand (and therefore play it convincingly, despite the technical demand of two hands the same register).

    I must say I think you have greatly improved your playing! I noticed something different in my last listening of some of your recording... and it was confirmed in this post!
    You're playing flows considerably better, more expressive and more natural!

    What have you done?
    You've been with no teacher yet?
    Sometimes a teacher is good, but sometimes I think not having a teacher makes us more spontaneous (and therefore we play it more convincingly).

    PS: I myself play to my teacher one way, in order to please him, then I record it and post to PS in a different way! hehe
    This is not always, of course.
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, David and Felipe! :)

    @David - Thanks for the interesting information. I am a bit surprised to learn that the competition was for women only.

    Gee, I really don't know. Maybe you are on to something about playing without my teacher's guidance. Hmmmm...interesting...thank you for saying this! And actually - I agree. I always played more controlled for my teacher because I wanted to hit the right keys, etc...At home, I let my hair down and just play like there is nobody around (which is usually the case).
     
  7. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Kinda agree with you. I suspect it's just not terribly good music (and it's too long as well). I can't fault your playing; you've brought the same crispness that I've heard in your Chopin mazurkas.

    The Serenata is a much nicer piece, and the sound of your piano really suits it. You handle the minor section with the acciaccaturas with admirable clarity. Excellent!
     
  8. Vcpianoman

    Vcpianoman New Member

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    Really great job on this piece! I've never heard it before, but you captured the style well, although I sometimes can't tell between Ravel or Debussy with their similar sounding piano pieces (pentatonic scales/gliding/dreamy qualities, etc.) but you got the effect right. I enjoyed it!
     
  9. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Monica, I printed out this piece and having been messing with it a bit. It's tricky to play, with the LH playing those parallel thirds right in the middle of the RH's register. Unusual!

    In your recording, I was thinking how well you bring out the melody, which can be difficult to do in a pp situation. And I see that Ravel makes that a bit easier by writing the melody in octaves. Very effective arrangement.

    Love those minor ninth chords! So typical of Ravel.

    It's really a pleasure to hear you play this, and so nice to hear you explore those softer and softest ranges.
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Andrew, John, and Bruce.

    @Bruce - I know, you really have to lift your RH wrist up high in order for the LH to fit underneath.
     
  11. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Falla - Mazurka

    Thank you for sharing this piece. I have never heard it before. My impression of your interpretation is that it is still developing
    and that with a bit more time you will play it with more of a 'guitar like sound' for some of the chords.

    You bring out very many beautiful aspects of the piece. The performance on the whole seems excellent
    and very solid with nice subtle shifts in mood. There is a vivid direction in the melodic lines that I really enjoy hearing.
    Your articulation is really excellent and the changes in texture are very apparent.

    Kaila
     
  12. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,
    I have listened to all pieces, but only to the Serenata Andaluza and the Prelude by Ravel with score. Alas, I couldn´t find the score of the Mazurka, neither on imslp.org nor on Mike Hawley´s site.

    To the Serenata Andaluza: Bravo! Very spanishly played, with good little rubati and nice expression. My only small suggestion of improvement would be to make more ritardando before the pp-part in d-major quite at the end. The pp could be much more silent IMHO.
    In summary really a very good rendition!

    To the Mazurka: Sounds rhythmically very precisely and it is played with some temperament. The dancing character comes out very well and you demonstrate nice dynamic contrasts.

    To Ravel, Prelude: Here your pp is really excellent. You have a good feeling for the impressionistic sound, Monica, (and also for the brooding site of the music :wink: ). I like that piece very much and you play it simply excellently!
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for listening and commenting, Kaila (and also on my Bartok).

    @Andreas - [​IMG]
    (I'm trying to keep up with your fun signs! :lol: )
     
  14. pb

    pb New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Love that Ravel piece Monica. I've never heard that one before.
    You play it really convincingly and the sound quality of your recordings is very impressive (as I believe I've mentioned to you before).

    Not struck on the Mazurka as a piece (as opposed to your playing of it). Don't think I'll be downloading that score. Love the ending of the other de Falla piece.

    One minor point - the volume of these recordings seem a little lower than the other piano music I've been listening to today. Do you amplify / normalise your recordings before posting them?
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Peter. It's okay - I don't care much for that Mazurka either. I just wanted to see what it was all about. In Falla's case - you win some, you lose some....

    Regarding my sound - no, I do not amplify or normalize. Sometimes I think that maybe I should amplify because I know that I do record at a sort of low level because I'm always trying hard not to clip (get in the red zone with too loud sound). Did it bother you that you had to perhaps turn up your speakers in order to hear my recording? I hope you come back and tell me, since this is very interesting and important to me.
     
  16. pb

    pb New Member Piano Society Artist

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    It didn't bother me particularly but the Ravel was noticeably quieter than other pieces I listened to from another thread on this site. The de Falla pieces were fine (and I know I mistakenly typed "these recordings" in my reply, please ignore that). It didn't sound "wrong" or anything but I personally always amplify my (admittedly rare) recordings to minus a few dB unless they are really quiet pieces. With the digital recorders everyone uses now being so quiet, amplifying in post isn't going to cause a great deal of additional noise.

    For example, the Ravel peaked at -10dB and although it is a quieter piece I think it could have done with being brought up a little. For each 6dB a track is amplified by, the perceived loudness doubles. These add up, so 12dB will make it four times louder and so on. Judgement is needed as a really quiet piece brought all the way up to zero dB would probably just sound wrong.

    But to repeat, in its present form it isn't problematic and I enjoyed it a lot. In fact I'm listening to it again and now I look at the score I note that it varies between p and pp throughout, so feel free to ignore me!

    NB if you're using Audacity, there's a difference between "Amplify" and "Normalise". However for solo piano, where both channels are usually recorded at the same level, this difference is less important than it might be otherwise.
     
  17. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh thank you! I didn't know about 6dB doubling the loudness. That's great information :D I'll put in my "how to get good sound" learning file. I am not using Audacity anymore - but even so, would there ever be a reason to use the Normalize function on our piano recordings?
     
  18. pb

    pb New Member Piano Society Artist

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    You're welcome! In fact "normalise" in Audacity does actually amplify the recording, but amplifies both the left and right channels by whatever is required to get them each to -3dB exactly. This can means that a different amplification factor is applied to both Left and Right channels. In contrast, the "amplify" function applies a single amplification to both channels.

    In short, if one of your L and R channels is louder than the other, then they will both sound the same after "normalisation". This isn't much of a problem to us with our digital recorders pointing directly at the piano, but is a problem if e.g. you have a number of instruments in an ensemble and there is a delicate balance between them that needs to be preserved.

    So yes one might want to normalise a piano recording, but I always use "Amplify" myself.

    Ah all this takes me back. Must almost be time for me to record something else soon.. ;)
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks again for explaining the Normalizing thing. In my case, I have tried fooling around with it, as well as amplification and usually end up with quite a mess, so I just don't even go there. All I need is good reverb and some restoration.

    That's the spirit! We'll be waiting..... :)
     
  20. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Monica, I listened to the Serenata a long time ago and then found no time to make a comment on it. I'd like to say I really love your playing which is very sensitive, natural, fresh and lovely at the same time. A better performance of it would be not imaginable. I ask you with Felipe: What happened to you?? :D :wink:
     

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