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Godowsky - The Gardens of Buitenzorg

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    "The Gardens of Buitenzorg" is no. 8 of Godowsky's colorful Java Suite.
    An exquisitely beautiful piece IMO. Godowsky's original works are scandalously neglected compared to to his transcriptions and arangements. The Java Suite shows him as a sensitive and perceptive composer, conjuring colors and textures rivaling those in Iberia and Goyescas. I wish I had the technical means to complete this suite one day, but I fear some items will remain out of my reach. This is one of the 'easier' ones but even here, Godowsky's multi-layered writing poses some problems.

    An Andreas would say, the mp3 is the exact soundtrack of the video :D

    Godowsky - Java Suite - 8: The Gardens of Buitenzorg (4:33)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiPU3RYvA7c
     
  2. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    This piece of Godowsky is very beautiful indeed. You played it very convincingly in my opinion, and it sounds quite difficult too. Whenever you have multiple sequential and ever changing small tone clusters in the figuration, there is little or no predictability to them. And being inspired by Java, there is that exotic quality to the music as well. The piece almost has an impressionistic sound. It must have taken more time and effort than usual to learn it and to feel secure in the accuracy of execution. Very nice and very different.

    David
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks you David. It's not a staggeringly difficult piece but quite a handful. Despite Godowsky's reputedly small hands, he demands a lot of wide stretches.

    In hindsight I notice a number of read errors, slips and weak notes, and failure to bring out some important voices, that annoy me. Also, the dynamics are insufficient. Nothing seems harder than playing shades of piano and pianissimo. I was foolish to think I had this one nailed.

    I love this Java Suite so much, its is a true treasure trove containing the most luxurious, opulent and beguiling jewels. It's the exoticism that appeals to me most of all. One of the pinnacles of all piano literature, IMHO. I just wish I could do it proud.
     
  4. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Not forgetting, of course, that at one point Java was also the Netherlands...
     
  5. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member

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    Hello Chris,

    Your performance is interesting. The lines are well communicated. You will of course, with time, create the nuances you desire. Meanwhile, your playing was a pleasure to listen to.

    One hears many layers. It is almost geological in it's effect, like the layers of volcanic ash the island is built upon. There is a very different musicality about this piece, like strands of rock turned into jewels. For me, your playing created visual images of exotically colored jade like formations.

    You did a good job and thank you so much for introducing this unknown gem of piano repertoire.

    Much appreciation,
    Kaila
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Kaila, good to hear you appreciate the piece in a similar way as I do. It's in bringing out the different layers that I'm not completely successful here, and there are some read errors that I should have found earlier by more carefully listening to others. So I will be re-recording this piece before long because I can do better than this (story of my life, hehehe).
     
  7. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm not especially familiar with this piece, so can't comment on accuracy. I've heard it before, but a long time ago. My initial impression is that you've done pretty well with it, because you sound like you're in control and not struggling. From the Godowsky that I have looked at, I assuredly do appreciate that sounding in control of the music is an achievement in itself. Read errors can be fixed; my one concern is actually the piano sound. It seems a little bright and brittle in places and I'd prefer something a little more mellow. Perhaps that is a reflection on my tastes which verge on the kitsch at times, and not a comment on you! Well done.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for the feedback Andrew. I've lived with this wonderful piece for a long time and feel really comfortable with it now. If it wasn't for the read mistakes, which I should have discovered earlier, I would probably leave this as it is, despite one or two very minor slips in the climax. But I'll have to redo it now.

    I'm a bit worried about what you say about the piano sound. It's not not optimally in tune anymore (though holding up well compared to before) but I think the sound is much fuller and richer than before. I have not changed anything in the recording setup or postprocessing, nor in the room, and I use the usual generous amount of pedal. Maybe my instrument just can't do full justice to Godowsky compared to a lavish 3m concert grand.
     
  9. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    This is a really beautiful piece, indeed! Since you decided for a rerecording, I'd like to make a (hopefully) constructive comment (I listened to it twice, very carefully :) ). Apart from the read errors which I of course cannot detect, I got the impression that after climax your performance experiences a slight lack of concentration, because slight unevenness of 16ths (or 32ths? that repeated note value) is noticeable and your musical language sounds not so fluent as in the former part. It seems to be stammering or hesitating a bit. Is it just me, or do you agree, too, Chris?
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Hye-Jin. I wasn't aware that the second half sounded hestitating or stammering compared to the first, nobody else mentioned that and I don't hear it myself. Perhaps it is just you :D Anyway, it is likely that the re-recording will be more fluent yet.
     
  11. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Umm ... what's wrong with that? It's perfectly physiologic. :wink:
     
  12. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, it has the air of a fully-matured interpretation. To me, the treble sounds a bit "glassy", not harsh but heading in that direction. If it's not optimally in tune, that might be symptomatic of it being a trifle sharp.
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Glad to hear that, thanks again !
     
  14. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Actually you're right, Mr. Doctor :lol:
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Nothing wrong with my concentration :evil:
     
  16. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Then there's something wrong with your ... :lol:
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I don't know Eddy ! You tell me, you're the doctor :p
     
  18. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Well then? :shock:
     
  19. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,
    I didn´t follow with score and I could enjoy your performance very much. I think, you bring out quite clearly all these chromatic lines and arpeggios, which like a typic romantic arabesque to me. Nice camera angles in your video, btw! Plus a good picture quality.
     
  20. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    I had a listen to your recording, I liked your phrasing of the melodic line, and the range in dynamics applied. This piece does not sound familiar, but it sounds nice. Since I don't know the piece I of course don't have the score on hand, but I will say, at 2:14 the sudden forte caught me off guard, there seemed to be little forewarning :lol:

    For criticism I would have liked to hear more energy in the some of the repeats, besides that it was not painful to listen to, I enjoyed it.

    ~Riley
     

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