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Granados - Danza lenta, and Schumann - Romance

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Here are two pretty pieces I wanted to submit on Valentine's Day since they fit the day so nicely. But the Universe was going against me or something, and things just didn't go well.

    We already have a nice recording of "Danza lenta" by Chris on the site, but I love this piece! It's warm, lush, gorgeous, and makes me feel good when I play it, so here is another version. The Schumann Romance is simply a sweet and romantic piece, which is why I tried to submit it on V.Day. Oh well.... :)

    Happy belated Valentine's Day!

    [​IMG]

    Granados - Danza lenta

    Schumann - Three Romances Op. 28, No. 2 "Einfach in F-sharp Major"
     
  2. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I had a listen to your recordings here and thought you played both well. I don't recall ever hearing the Danza, before. I agree with your assessment, it is quite a lush piece. If I could only make one suggestion about the Danza Lenta, I would say play the left hand softer in comparison to the melody. The way you played it there was a difference, but personally I think there could be more. Granted, at the beggining I think Schumann intends for the accompianment to get confused with the melody, as both play in the lower register. As the registers go apart further later in the piece, I think I hear a greater difference, which is nice. Perhaps you hear a difference between in dynamic levels between hands more prominently the further they are apart... :shock:

    The Schumann Romance is quite nice The ostinatos come across legato and your rendering of the phrases like simple sentences makes the allure all the more in the simplicity which I think is the strong point of this piece, not unlike the Danza (at least at the beginning) how fitting to play these pieces together! If I could make a criticism about your performance, I wish I heard more of a sfz at 1:17 as it seems to be the first time there is some conflict in the romance as it were. The ending is nice. I like the long fermata, it left me in a trance 8) Now maybe I should go listen to something from my Stemper collection.. :lol:

    Roger that. :wink:


    Enjoyed these,


    Riley
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Riley, thank you for listening!
    The Danza lenta (Slow dance) is from a two-piece set called Spanish Dances. It's a separate set from Granados' more popular 12-piece set of Spanish Dances. How you say that the Schumann piece put you in a trance at the end.....that's how I feel when I play Danza lenta. Actually, I have to sort of get into a trance when I start the piece, because it's supposed to be ppp and it's so hard to play all the chords so softly while trying to bring out the top note just a little bit more, and then all the trills in the RH. Hard stuff for me - I literally have to take some deep breaths and think calm thoughts before playing.

    The Schumann piece - I like it because the melody is mostly on the lower register. And I think it's the only piece I've played where the thumbs play most of the melody. Isn't that strange? But it works! The marking at 1:17 is p, so you can't really get any louder that that. The whole piece never gets louder than p or mp

    Now I'm confused.....where did that quote come from?
     
  4. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    That's sounds tricky to play that softly. There is a lovely Piano Concerto by Chopin and the second movement is "Romanza," that has the same effect. The strings play con sordino, (with mutes) and though it sounds kinda cheesy I think it is a good dynamic for the romantic character of the Mvt.

    Now I'm confused.....where did that quote come from?

    Not something u wrote but it said in a gif or something maybe its broken. Does Jan's Graphics mean anything to you? :lol:
     
  5. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    They're both very nice, Monica. Especially the Schumann, where I think you've hit the tempo that keeps it romantic and contemplative without being too slow, either. By playing the melody with mostly thumbs you avoid too much "percussive" sound which one gets sometimes in recordings of this wonderful piece.

    The graphic that Riley is pointing out is the way your graphic in the original post appears to the rest of us. It looks like you're hotlinking instead of uploading the graphic (after downloading to your PC first if it's not already there). Perhaps a Valentine graphic?

    Thanks for the recordings, too, from the point of view of how slow things have been lately. :)
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh, thanks Riley and Stu. You're right, I didn't see that weird message on my desktop computer, but I just looked on my smartphone and saw it. I've removed it and put up a different heart. Hopefully it can be seen...?

    Riley - I know that Chopin movement well. It's so pretty!

    Stu - thank you for listening too. I also wonder where everybody has been lately...
     
  7. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Monica,
    These were both very lovely. You did a nice job of phrasing and voicing the melodies. It was a soothing experience.
     
  8. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes. I see it now. I thought you put the no hotlinking sign up intentionally to say no hotlinking the recordings...

    Hopefully somebody who hasn't been around for a while can answer that.. :)
     
  9. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    These are lovely pieces well played.

    In the Danza, I don't think I agree with Riley's point about left hand competing with melody. The left hand seems to me to have its own embedded melodic interest which must not be entirely displaced by what the right hand does. If the left hand were mere accompaniment, it would be excessive of the composer to allow it to "vamp" for almost a full 10 bars (lasting half a minute) before the "real" interest floats in out of nowhere as a wispy descant which gradually grows in significance.

    I have just two minor criticisms. First, in the opening bars, I think more could be done to convey the pulse of the dance to a listener unfamiliar with the piece, i.e. to make clearer that this is in 3/4, so the downbeats would benefit from more emphasis, and of course this isn't made easy by the fact that they are more lightly scored than the other beats. As it is, the listener is apt to misinterpret the downbeats as upbeats, and this is reinforced by the descending fifth (dominant to tonic) from beat 1 to 2 in bar 3. Once one becomes more familiar with the piece, and knows what's going on, one tends to feel the downbeats more; one thinks one hears emphasis here more than one actually does hear it.

    Second, after the bar with the loud chord at 3:37 and before the soft distant melody appears at 3:44, there is an abrupt chasm of silence. I'm not convinced by this, it isn't written, and I wonder whether the distant voice should rather grow out of the embers of the decaying chord.


    I'm no huge fan of Schumann, but this Romance I rather like. I side with Monica on Riley's point about 1:17. If you want to inject more passion, I don't think such an abrupt outburst is the best way to achieve it. If anything, perhaps there could be more exaggerated upwellings and downwellings (is that a word?) of dynamic (hardly any dims are actually written, but must surely be implied), and maybe even of tempo too. What? The rhythm police asking for more rubato? Has hell frozen over? OK, relax and pick yourself up off the floor; if you expect rhythm quibbles, I will offer but two: First, I suggest the liberty taken at 2:27, 11 bars back from the end, may be a bit too much. This is the 32nd-note leading to the sf note under the fermata; for my taste the unwritten rit here, to convey a sense of suspense, is over-egged, it makes this short note just too late and too long. Second, I reckon that two bars after the fermata, at the end of the bar, at 2:41, the three sixteeth-notes in the left hand (starting with B#) come a bit too soon, i.e. the A#-E chord isn't held on for long enough.


    But what a coincidence that you should choose to combine Granados with Schumann for Valentine's week! I attended a piano recital just on Saturday, given by the Taiwanese piano professor Giselle Hsin, who had done the same. She paired the first four Goyescas with a selection of five Kreisleriana, finishing off with Chopin's Op 2 variations on "La ci darem la mano". And all from memory, it was pretty amazing.
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for listening, Eddy! I'm so glad the recordings are soothing. That's what I was hoping for!

    No, but that's a nice idea :idea: :)

    Thank you for listening as well, Rainer! I carefully read your comments and checked the score in the places you mentioned and really I can only reply that I did experiment with dynamics, fermatas, etc. but these recordings are how I prefer to play and hear the pieces. But it's good to learn what others think, so thanks for that.

    And now I've got Danza lenta in my head again. It will probably be there all day, which is fine with me! I love it!! :)
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Beautiful recordings especially of the Danza Lenta, a piece I much love. I like the trills to roll a bit longer, but this is ok too. My only real nag is the turn between the climax and the coda (at the rall. molto). You play g sharp which should be g natural (at least it is in my UME score which I assume authentic). The g sharp seems really out of character, un-Spanish as it were, and spoils the moment a bit for me. That silence just after is indeed a bit abrupt.
     
  12. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    I thought I might investigate this with two Spanish references that I have. But I had trouble finding the work listed under the piano works of the composer. Then I realized I'm looking at books on Ginastera not Granados. How embarrassing. :oops:
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for listening, Chris, but I think the G-sharp is correct. I don't have an actual book, I just used the score that's on ISMLP. I just checked it and it is also UME, but then it was reprinted in 2002 by Dover so I can't be sure of which edition I'm reading. But I listened to de Larrocha and she plays a g-sharp too, so.....

    Also, I don't understand what is so 'un-Spanish' about the g-sharp anyway. It sounds fine like that to me. You are probably just used to hearing it 'your' way...That's how I feel with the E-natural/E-flat issue in Chopin's C-minor Prelude.

    My trills....yes, I wish I could play them longer, but I can't. I run the risk of my fingers getting hung up when I try to trill longer and I don't want to ruin the line.

    The break after the turn...I dunno...I just felt like there should one. To be honest, I never noticed themolto ten. above that last A. I wasn't planning on re-recording this piece, but now I think I will, because de Larrocha also holds onto the last A for a long time before she continues in the quiet part.

    So, thanks again guys, I've learned something new and can hopefully make a better recording. :D

    Nice try, Eddy! :)
     
  14. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    That Dover edition is clearly a reprint of the original UME with some very minor editorial corrections. In my version printed in 1966, in that same turn there is a natural sign before the second A which makes no sense at all. These old UME editions can be a bit clumsy and confusing at times.

    If Larrocha plays the G sharrp it's probably handed down via Frank Marshall and must be right. I'll stubbornly stick to the G natural though, as it may have been Granados's first thought, and second thoughts are not always better.
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well now I am freaking out! Totally!! I can't believe this!!!
    I just got into work, turned on my computer, got my radio station tuned in, and guess what the first piece I hear?
    Danza lenta!!!! :shock: :shock: Really, this is so weird!!!! :shock: :shock: I listen to the same stations on Pandora radio every day and I've never heard Danza lenta come on before. :shock: :shock: :shock:

    But here's the real kicker: It was played by D. Riva this time and he plays a G-natural! Aghhhh....what am I going to do? I have the house to myself tonight and planned to re-record this piece, but I don't know which note to go with now. :? :?
     
  16. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Go with the best, G natural. Never mind Larrocha :twisted:
     
  17. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    What an extraordinary thing to happen!
    Never heard of him, so I looked him up and apparently he is - horror of horrors - something of a Granados expert. But more so than Alicia? Who knows.
    It says he was assistant director and she director of an edition of Granados's complete piano works. To think they might have actively disagreed about it is intriguing, but it's probably not that big a deal.
    Just do what your gut tells you. Given conflicting instructions, it falls to subjective interpretation.

    For my two cents, I would note that Spanish editions are notorious for typographical errors. A natural sign (as Chris points out) makes no logical sense because there is neither a G# in the key signature nor has there been one earlier in the same bar which would need to be cancelled; there hasn't even been a G# anywhere previously in the whole piece, so it can't even be a reminder. So if Granados wanted a G natural, one would think he would have just written a plain G, without a natural sign. This suggests the original UME edition's natural sign is simply a misprint for a sharp sign which is probably present in the manuscript, a misprint which has been corrected in the Dover edition.

    While there is merit in Chris's statement that second thoughts are not always better, and while it is his prerogative to "cling stubbornly" to what he is used to, there is no reason in this case to assume that a second thought of the composer himself was involved. Sight of the manuscript would probably resolve the question, but in the absence of that, I would intuitively plump for the G#.

    That said, one might like to undertake a musicological dissection of the piece, and ask which version makes more musical sense. A G# suggests a temporary tonality shift into A major, but that doesn't seem to fit too well into the context. I give up. :?
     
  18. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    It gets better. Later in the day, Danza lenta came on again - this time played by Thomas Rajna, so I had more freaking out time! :lol: (Seriously, I still can't believe this - like it was Danza lenta Day or something.) I've listened to a lot of Rajna's Granados over the years and he's very good too. His technique is unbelievable, however I prefer Douglas Riva because I think he plays with more depth and sensitivity. And fyi - Riva is the most preeminent Granados expert there is!! He worked closely with de Larrocha and the two of them recently put out a complete set of Granados' works - I have several volumes already and plan to purchase more.

    Anyway, although Riva plays a G-natural, Rajna plays a G-sharp and probably it is merely a difference in the score, whether it was the original version, or if Granados changed it later on. I just re-recorded my version of the piece tonight; some of the trills are better, some are worse--I'll never get it perfect! I also stuck with the G-sharp because that's what I'm used to.

    So that's it.... now I'm listening to the piece once again while sipping some red wine and dreaming about a tropical paradise. Life is good! :)
     
  19. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    As I wrote, that natural sign is in front of the following A, where it makes even less sense than had it been on the G.
    In any case I keep believing the G nat sounds much more idiomatic. It anticipates on the temporary shift to minor. I am pretty convinced that this was what Granados meant (and that Riva and Larrocha thought so when preparing the scholarly edition).
     
  20. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    Yes, probably. But since the original UME edition is from "ca. 1915", he would not have had terribly much opportunity to change it before he died in 1916.
    Ah, so you did. Sorry, I sloppily misread that, and thought you had said it was on the G. Still, these hamfisted Spanish typesetters are as likely to stick symbols in the wrong place as to use the wrong ones, so I wouldn't dismiss altogether the possibility of them doing both at the same time when preparing your 1966 edition.
    Perhaps, but for X to "anticipate" Y, one would have thought X should involve actually changing something, which sticking in a pointless natural sign, wherever it goes, does not do. Perhaps :idea: it should have been a flat sign instead, and on the B. OK, while this isn't really a serious suggestion, you've got to admit that it would sound nicely idiomatic too, and really would anticipate the minor, specifically the B-flats which do actually occur two bars later. 8)
    That the two of them discussed this difference and that Riva persuaded Larrocha to change her mind is an interesting thought. If Monica is planning to purchase more volumes of this new edition, perhaps the one containing this piece should move up to the top of her shopping list, if it isn't there already. Do you think they would have been able to consult the original manuscripts, or are they likely to be lost/destroyed?
     

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