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Gershwin - Prelude No. 1 (video)

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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  2. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Monica,

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you have two different tempi in that piece. After the introduction, you start at a rather leisurely pace, then the moment you hit the 32nd note figure (I don't have the score in front of me to give measures) you took off like a bat out of hell. I almost got whiplash from the g-forces involved.

    There were good points too, but I have to go to bed 'cause I have church in the AM. I'll type some more mañana.

    Scott
     
  3. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,
    that´s musically a nice version, but I have to agree to what Scott wrote, you begin in a quite slow tempo and become more and more faster up to the end of page 1, from there on you stay in a certain tempo. I understand, that you want to bring out the signals at the beginning in a clear and decisive way and they can be played "con lizenzia", but after the opening bars the tempo should be constant, so I also would recommend to think over the tempo-question in that piece again.

    Apart from that that´s played very nicely and I like, that you play it by heart, it´s really musically played with a good flow and rhythmical feeling.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Scott and Andreas. I didn't realize I was taking the first page slower than the rest. I've moved my video into "private only" for the time being and will try recording the whole thing again in a few days. Thank you again! :)
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    can someone come to my home and shoot me? Third Saturday in a row that I'm trying to video-record this piece and it's not going well yet again! :evil: :cry: :evil: :cry: :evil: :cry: It's only a one minute long piece!!! There must be something wrong with me, maybe I need a doctor. Will delete this post soon....perhaps letting out some of all my this pent up negative energy will help.
    ok, back to the piano for round ten-gazillion...
     
  6. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Pianolady wrote:
    Take it easy, Monica, probably a break of a week or more will help. I often have made the experience, that a piece, which I couldn´t get to a satisfiing level at the moment, became very good after a certain break. Just a personal tip from my minor side. :)
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yeah, don't try to fight it, just leave it alone for a while, until it thinks it's off the hook.
    Then sneak up on it from behind, and.... BINGO :D
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh you guys....really, I don't know what's going on here. I have waited a week - two in fact! This is my third attempt at recording. I've been at it since 11:00 this morning and have made 15 videos. But none of them are acceptable! So I have three more hours to go before I have to quit playing. If I still have not gotten a decent take by 5:30, then I dunnno...I'll probably give up. My playing is not getting better; if anything it's getting worse. Not sure what the point of me doing all this is anymore....Should have stuck to the ukulele! Argh!!!

    Okay, back to the grind stone. If you don't hear from me for awhile, it's because I'm down at the local tavern drowning my sorrows.... :)
     
  9. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Are you still at the tavern?... Weekend Movie List: Titanic, United 93, Atonement, Gettysburg... :p
    Seriously!... Avoid grindstones! Don't obsess over it! Go out with fun friends. Talk about something different. Have a couple of drinks. Laugh like crazy. Dance it off. Don't dwell on it when you come home either. Don't even mention Gershwin this week. You'll make your truce with the camera in less than a month. :D

    The difficult part about this Prelude is not the technique, but the rhythm. Harder to read than what most people think.
    Syncopations, delayed entrances can play havoc. Know the music by memory.
    Draw lines on the music if you must.
    Check fingering! Change it if necessary
    Play measures 20, 29, and 61 as chord clusters when practicing.
    Isolate problematic measures and practice single measure at a time. Especially on the last page with the octaves and rolled chords.
     
  10. hanysz

    hanysz New Member

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    Well, I was going to watch your first version and see if I could find some helpful suggestions, but the video disappeared before I got to it. If you're willing to post a not-quite-ready version (maybe after a suitable break), we can have a little group masterclass here and figure out what to do. It might not be as bad as you think.
     
  11. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I want to share something here, and hope it is worthy for you to ponder:

    There is a ratio between practicing a piece and performing it, and it varies by the pianist and the particular composition at hand. For example, for a certain piece, after it's fully learned, the ratio might be no more than six performances following one spotless play-through in practicing mode. For that same piece and a different pianist, it might be no more than four performances after doing it in practice mode. Or 12 performances, or whatever. Like you, my ratio is pretty high, that is I can do perhaps 15 performances following practice mode.

    But here is something I've noticed as a pattern during an especially long (and grueling) recording session: The first several recordings might be accurate, but there seems to be nothing really special about them. They sound, well, too mundane. During the next several attempts thereafter, I find that I'm playing with more confidence and artistry, and that the "takes" seem more up to my own standards and expectations.

    As I continue on in the session, a new phenomenon eventually creeps into it. I find that in several sequential recordings that some errors have occurred, some for the very first time. Instead of continuing, I stop the recording each time and delete it. (That's a cue that gets my attention.) The explanation is easy to figure out--I more than exceeded my own practice/performance ratio. My experience with the phenomenon is that from then on, the session will inevitably only go downhill with increasing attendant frustration. Persistence and more time spent will then be futile. This is because the errors, much like spurious thoughts, interrupt concentration and increase tension which countervails relaxed playing. I've determined that once this erratic playing has occurred on four or five attempted "takes", the session cannot be productive, so I stop there and turn off the equipment and quit for the day.

    What I do then is to get my headset and audition all complete takes that I captured during the session. Through elimination I find and keep the best recording, but eliminate all the others. That one I retained becomes the benchmark to be bettered in the next session.

    At the next opportunity I first revert to practice mode to recover and refresh my capabilities in playing the music. Once I'm satisfied, then I can move on to recording mode which is then usually successful.

    I believe, Monica, that in this instance you probably went too far for too long (that is to say, 50 takes), so the desired result eluded you. And where your wrist was aching, it could have even been dangerous! Bottom line: You likely stretched your practice/performance ratio way past its outermost limit.

    I realize and respect that your work method might be quite different from mine, but I hope this might somehow still be helpful.

    David :)
     
  12. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Surely playing has ceased to be a pleasure and recording no longer an extention of that pleasure, but has instead become the sole aim.
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I was going to delete my previous post, but you all have such interesting and entertaining bits of information regarding video-recording, that I left everything up.

    @George - I wasn't drinking earlier, but I am now. Must be why I can't figure out the connection between those movies. I've seen Titantic and Atonement. Is it because they are long movies?
    Regarding obsessing over Gershwin - yes, I surely have been doing that. Three whole Saturdays I've been trying to video-record this piece. Why? I don't know. I get an idea and just have to go through with it, I guess.

    @Alexander - I took my first video off right away when I learned that my tempo was goofy. I have now diligently practiced this piece for the past two weeks with the metronome so I really, really hope it's okay now....

    @David - I understand completely what you're talking about. There were some days when weird mistakes popped up and I couldn't figure out why. Then the next day, they would be gone, but different mistakes popped up. It totally baffled me because this prelude is only 4 pages long. I've played and video-recorded pieces much longer than that and didn't have as many problems as I had with this one. I do know one thing for sure....I am not going to video-record anything again for a long time!!!!

    So....well.... here, again, is my best effort after a thousand attempts: Cheers! :)


    video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH5RP_A4 ... ideo_title

    mp3: Gershwin - Preludes No. 1 "Allegro ben ritmato e deciso"
     
  14. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Monica,
    I like it very much! And your smile at the end lit my face up :D . My first teacher would have given you hell for playing in those high heels, but more power to you if you can! I think you've done a great job of working hard and have a great result to show for it.

    Regards,
    Eddy
     
  15. hanysz

    hanysz New Member

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    And this sounds entirely respectable. Well done!

    I had a student play this piece a couple of years ago. She was terrified of those triplets. You play them so neatly, and don't look at all worried.

    One suggestion, and a practical, not a musical, one. It's hard to tell from the camera angle, but it looks as though you're sitting quite low at the piano. Considering the amount of jumping around in the second half of this piece, you might find it more comfortable if you wind your seat up just a little bit higher. You may want to think about the idea of sitting differently depending on the repertoire; I certainly tend to sit about an inch higher when I'm playing Liszt than for Bach.
     
  16. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    There 's little to complain about here, everything comes out clearly and cleanly. It even has a certain swing to it (though it could still do with a little more rhythmic zest and sharper accents, especially the crossed-hand passages sound a bit flabby). But really this is very good, I don't quite understand what your problem is with this and why you can't be satisfied with it. I suggest leaving well enough alone, at least for the near future.
     
  17. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I can do anything in heels! 8) :lol: I usually play with slippers on, or barefoot, but didn't want to shoot close up here so I had to wear real shoes. And actually, those are my flats...haha
    Seriously, thank you Eddy! :)

    Thank you, Alexander. I had to practice those triplets a million times!
    Interesting what you say about my sitting level. I really haven't thought about that in a while and perhaps you are right that it's a little low. I used to have it up higher but maybe it's somehow gotten lower over time. Good thing you said something....I might have eventually been sitting on the floor without realizing it. :lol: I'll certainly play around with the bench level next time I practice. I never thought about changing the level depending on the piece....that's something to think about.

    Thank you, Chris. I am going to leave this one alone for now and I never said I wasn't happy with this version - it was all my other attempts. But since I've now recorded Prelude 1 and 3, then I might as well do no. 2 too. At least it's a slower piece so I shouldn't get so stressed out. But I can't reach the LH stretches in that neat accompaniment without jumping them, so not sure if it's going to fly or not. Ah well...I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

    @Richard - yes, my goal was to get this video-recorded. And no, it was not a pleasure - but most of my efforts in video-recording are not pleasurable because it's such hard work (for me, anyway).
     
  18. hanysz

    hanysz New Member

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    Don't let that stop you. For the first four bars you can use both hands. Then once the melody starts, it doesn't show up so much if you break some of the tenths.
     
  19. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Rats, I was going to suggest that. You beat me to it :)
    Anyway the advice will probably carry more weight coming from a pro pianist.
     
  20. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    I do just that: left hand whenever there is only the f-clef. There are also a couple of other places where I take the upper note of the chord with my right and the lower with my left. Having recorded and submitted there were all sorts of things said about my murdering of Gershwin, but that one no one noticed!
     

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