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Frescobaldi - Canzona in D minor

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Next to the German baroque, I feel drawn to Italian renaissance organ music. Having already done pieces by Zipoli and Cavazzoni, I find that Frescobaldi is not bad either. I recorded this little canzona this afternoon. Hope you enjoy.

    Frescobaldi - Canzona in D minor (2:24)
     
  2. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Chris,

    This is a fine performance. I love early Italian organ music because they so seldom require much pedal (and my pedal technique is next to non-existant). To me it actually has a fresh, somewhat modern sound for such old music.

    This piece is possibly more early Baroque than Renaissance, though to our ears it probably seems more Renaissance because of the modal D dorian minor (with the 7th inflected as leading tone at the cadences) as opposed to melodic minor of late baroque. (If I counted right, there are only 4 Bb's in the piece and none really being used in a descending melodic minor context.) The cross relationships between the sub-tonic 7th and leading-tone 7th, use of minor dominant at cadence points from time to time, as well as the sectional nature with alternation between imitative counter point and fantasia-like passages as well as meter changes gives a bit of the Rennaisance feel.

    But on the other hand, it is easy to see how its imitative structure is related to the fugue (the keyboard Canzona is an ancestor to the fugue) with entries of the subject at tonic and dominant. Also the structural harmony seems to me to be more intentional and regular than would often be the case in renaissance music. The cadences are primarily in a tonal style and sometimes incorporates V of V.

    I love the lively, fanfare-ish, dance-like character that you give the subject. The entry on "A" in the second measure looses that character a little.

    Try making a little more of the syncopations that occur by giving a definite articulation of the preceeding note. For example, in meas. 3, if the "A" on beat 3 were played definitely as an eight note / eigth rest, the tied "C" will come out more strongly as syncopated. Similarly, in meas. 8, try turning the first soprano "A" into dotted quarter / eigth rest, and the following "A" will again come out in more relief as a syncopation. (Here, the alto line could do it too or it might be done legato, depending how strongly you want the syncopation against the subject in the bass).

    In a similar vein, in mm. 12, though not syncopated, the soprano "C's" could benefit from the dotted quarter/eigth rest to bring out this line against a legato alto/tenor (which might even tie the tenor "E" across the bar), which has the feeling to me of a descant trumpet entering on a cantus firmus announcing something important to come (which is the cadence on "A" and the fantasia like passage.)

    One other thing in this first section to me is that the slower moving lines could benefit from legato to contrast with the more detached subject.

    Several times, the cadences seem slightly rushed into the resolution (the last cadence, the final "C#" of the turn barely sounds). The arrival feels just a hair too soon.

    I love the washes of color added by the fast scales. I can imagine that in a highly reverberant cathedral that the effect would not be unlike those Debussy washes of color that are created with the damper pedal, only Frescobaldi's "pedal" is the cathedral itself.

    Great job, Chris.

    Scott
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Scott. Yes this piece is more Baroque than Renaissance, chronologically seen. I tend to lump everything that pre-dates Bach into Renaissance :roll: As you say, these pieces often sound quite modern, same with Cavazzoni who wrote much earlier.

    Interesting ideas about creating even more rhythmic interest, and the cadenzas perhaps being a trifle hurried. Actually this was sort of an impromptu recording, I'd only played through the piece once of twice before, and not recently, when I sat down to record it. Hence the performance is more spontaneous than considered. I seem to be quite liberal with accidentals in this repertoire, somehow in the last-but-two bars I played C# instead of C.
    Not sure if that was the right thing to do.

    Indeed the absence of pedal in pieces like this is very attractive. So nice not to have to worry about a pedal part, to just sit down and play like on a piano. Makes a chance from the exhausting learning curve of the Bach chorales - some of these drive me to despair, especially the trios.

    So when will you record some organ pieces ?
     
  4. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    LOL. That's funny, seeing as how Bach was late Baroque and continued composing in baroque style after the world had already moved on to other things. (thank the BIWIDNB!) I listened to this and it sounds good (both the music and the performance), though it seemed to bog down a little in the complexities near the end. Perhaps this impression is some ignorance on my part. I miss playing the organ; now that the recital stress is over, I might give the Bach passacaglia a whirl again. :roll:
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not so much complexities as having needed a couple more takes. But I did not have too much time and had promised to be home for dinner :)

    That be good. Don't forget to buy a recorder first :D
     
  6. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Chris wrote:
    I'll try getting some together this fall, or at least when it cools down a bit in the AM. Our sanctuary is not air conditioned and we are in the midst of heat advisories for the week!! :oops: (that's not embarassment, that is me burning up in our heat). :lol:

    Scott 8) (and with my sunglasses)
     
  7. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I have one, dork. :p I haven't worked on any organ stuff in months because 25/11 took over my brain for over a year. So once I get it decent again I'll record it for curiosity if nothing else; too bad the fugue is out of my league. I can do the passacaglia, but the fugue scares me.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Chicken :p
     
  9. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Well...I would love to do it, really. I mean, come on. Obviously I'm not scared of hard stuff. I just feel like I'm in better shape with piano and that it would take waaaay too much time for me to learn the pedal on the fugue since I have no experience whatsoever with organ and playing with my feet. The pedal in the passacaglia is a little more doable - there's only that one part that I'll have to work on over and over again. So I feel like I would be sabotaging my chances of playing the Chopin etudes well if I spend time on it, and that's what scares me really. A little organ for a breath of fresh air is nice, but I won't have access to either the organ or the Steinways forever. (Though I have already mentally started making plans for gaining access to other Steinways in the future, perhaps even Steinways that haven't been emasculated.)
     
  10. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,
    that sounded very nice to me. I have tried to find the score of it, but there are so much canzonas by Frescobaldi, that without any nearer information I couldn´t find it.
    Seems to be real nice and proper organ playing as we are used from you. About read errors and other nitpicking I can´t say anything without score, of course. What a luck, isn´t it?! :wink:
     
  11. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    The score can be found on page 8 of this file on IMSLP: <IMSLP32097-PMLP72992-Liber_Organi_-Dalla_Libera-_Vol._10__Italian-German_School_.pdf> (this is the file name given when I select "save as...." It is the "Liber Organi" which shows up in a number of composers with organ music. I'd give you the exact link, but IMSLP is not answering my call at the moment.

    Scott
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes it is a huge investment learning to play organ proper (as opposed to playing manualiter pieces or pieces with only a simple pedal line). I'm asking myself if it was the right thing to want. I don't play so much organ recently and work is not progressing well on the Leipziger Chorale, they seem to take forever to learn.
     
  13. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    I listened to your recording. I don't believe I have ever heard of the composer Frescobaldi. I don't have the score of this piece so I cannot reference your recording to it, but I enjoyed your performance. One thing that I heard was that the space you recorded in was large (assuming you did not digitally process the recording at all) so the notes came together in more of a legato style which was nice. If I could offer any criticism, I would have liked to hear more of a ritardando at the end, though it seems you had a limited amount of time to learn and record it, so I can understand that.

    Thanks for the recording,

    ~Riley
     
  14. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks :D
    I am sure you would pick on some of my choices between F natural and F sharp. It seems like in this type of music, composers often did not note the accidentals, and in a G minor piece there is often a choice between F and F sharp (at least I heard other performers take liberties too). I think it is part of what make this music sounds fresh and interesting.
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks :D Frescobaldi is not exactly a household name to me either, even though I believe he is an important figure in Italian early baroque. In fact I've never heard anything by him and can't remember how I picked this particular piece - it's not on YouTube.

    In baroque, a closing ritardando is usually applied to only the very last notes, more like a curtsy than a real ritardando like we know from romantic composers. It doesn't sound 'right' if you start it too early.

    Indeed I had not much time to record this. What a piss-poor excuse, isn't it ? :roll: :lol: But I seem to play organ only once a month these days (i.e. when I practice for the next day's sunday service).
     
  16. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I recall Frescobaldi from Keyboard Lit. There was something important about him...I think I had to write something about him on an exam. Maybe just that he was one of the first well-known keyboard composers? I think it was something more than that. Wish I could remember. Gordon and Kirby are not helpful. :(
     
  17. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    [from Wikipedia - the article has numerous sources.]
    "Frescobaldi was the first of the great composers of the ancient Franco-Netherlandish-Italian tradition who chose to focus his creative energy on instrumental composition."

    "Contemporary critics acknowledged Frescobaldi as the single greatest trendsetter of keyboard music of their time."

    "Frescobaldi's work was known to, and influenced numerous major composers outside Italy, including Henry Purcell, Johann Pachelbel, and Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach is known to have owned a number of Frescobaldi's works, including a manuscript copy of Frescobaldi's Fiori musicali (Venice, 1635), which he signed and dated 1714 and performed in Weimar the same year. Frescobaldi's influence on Bach is most evident in his early choral preludes for organ."

    (Anyone who was an influence on Bach must be big.)

    Scott
     
  18. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    It never ceases to amaze me how well-informed Bach was about the music of his time (as well as the time past). That for someone who never went outside his neck of the woods. And while probably well recognizing he was greater than anybody else, how sincerely he seems to have admired others' works. To me that is just another feather in old JSB's cap.
     
  19. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    What makes Bach great is that he was not aware of it: he just had a job to do and a family reputation to uphold.
     
  20. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    IMO he was far too intelligent, eagle-eyed and ambitious NOT to be aware of it. Yet at the same time he was a humble servant of music, God, and family. I doubt that a more extraordinary person will ever be born. What a great pity we know so little of him. If only he'd had more time to write letters....
     

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