Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by richard66, Mar 8, 2012.
Very good advice Matthew, especially your 3rd paragraph.
Yes, but Gilels, in addition to the subtle rubati he makes in various places, takes a lot of liberty with bars 12 and 22; see how much time he makes for the grace notes. In the light of this, Richard will understandably be wondering whether he should really take heed of what we've been telling him about those bars. Perhaps an answer is that the "right" to take liberties must be "earned" by first playing the piece in a way which is rhythmically exactly correct at a constant speed. That done, liberties can be taken, but in a well-controlled and deliberate way. By this I mean that instead of taking arbitrary liberties with the odd few notes here and there, one should still continue to play exactly in "time", but now in a "bent" time, or at a speed which one is allowed to vary continuously, and these speed variations should be gentle, smooth, and sweeping, with no sudden jerky changes.
I think the RH could do with softening too. In think Matthew's way of explaining the phrasing as "da da Da Da DA Da da" is very good, and we need this to come out more, the first "da" needs to be lot gentler. Although I can hear Richard making something of the hairpins towards he beginnings of bars 2 and 4, my feeling is that the underlying dynamic profile onto which he superimposes these hairpins still has too much of a "DA da Da da DA da Da" to it.
Ahh, what a lovely picture you paint. Disney should have used this piece in "Bambi"!
In fact, I would recommend actually singing the melody when you're working on phrasing and dynamics. My teacher got me to do that and it's helped me immensely.
Yes, even better! Of course, in my case if I were to do this I'd likely attract (or scare away) all the cats in the neighborhood. :shock: Someone may actually call the paramedics upon hearing me, convinced someone in the house is in urgent need of care.
About the length of the dotted crotchets it may be that I always got them wrong, but they used to be too long, instead of too short. Let that be and I will not discuss pros and cons. What I do contest however, is that the appoggiature I used to play just as leisurely as Gilels does and I was talked out of that by several members.Now I play them in a way I do not like, as they seem hurried and out of character, but which seemed to be what the public wanted. This was one piece I learned while I still took lessons and I remember perfectly well that those were relaxed, just as they are in Gilels recording.
While I am not sneezing at any of the very helpful comments by Monica, Rainer and the rest of you, it cannot but remind me of Aesop's tale of the old man, the boy and the ass.
Well, this is not without improvement. The way the top voice is more gently phrased, and is sounding less military than before, in the first 8 bars, is good. You're on the right path, now you just need to go even further along it. Also, where the same material comes again starting at bar 13, you are less gentle here than at the beginning.
The middle voice should benefit as much, if not more so, from whatever efforts you go to to make the upper voice gentler and to phrase the dynamics. At present these continuous 16th notes do tend to overwhelm the upper voice a bit, they're a bit stompy and samey, DA DA DA DA instead of Da da da da, and this aspect seems more pronounced now that you've chosen (I don't know why) to play the piece more slowly again. Although these middle voice notes are the fastest feature of the piece, they are certainly not the most important, they're background murmur to the melodic line, and need to be kept more quiet than the melody.
Alas, the old timing problems of bars 10/20 and 12/22 are still with us. Do you listen to your recordings critically before approving them for posting? If so, and if you can't hear these timing errors, then your inner ("heart") metronome is just broken and needs to be repaired, or trained with the aid of a real metronome. You've said you'd hate it, I know, but I fear it's getting to the stage at which such action is becoming unavoidable. Just maybe, there is another thing you can try first:
In bar 10 your second chord is about 25% too short. Perhaps what you could try in that bar is to change what the left hand does. Play eight 16th notes: Eb A Eb A Eb G Eb G. That should force you to hold the second right hand chord on for the right amount of time. Once you've done that a few times, allow the LH to play what's written again, while imagining you were playing those 16ths. Record it. Listen to the recording, and while doing so imagine the LH playing those 16ths, and see whether your recording arrives at bar 11 in time with your imagined 16ths.
In bar 12 the F# A is too short so the G Bb comes too soon, by about the duration of a 16th note. Perhaps it would help to play the F# A not as dotted 4ths but as six 16ths F# A F# A F# A, to train yourself, in the same way as in bar 10, to keep the 16th rhythm going in your head.
Make time for the grace notes if you must, but not by pushing the G Bb chord out of the way, but rather by lengthening the bar. If you listen to Gilels's bar 12 while imagining continuous 16ths being played, you should find that his G Bb arrives right on time, but that he has edited in a fermata onto them, stretching the bar by about the duration of an 8th note in order to let the grace notes in such that they don't sound rushed.
Yes, you reverted to a slower tempo again here. But that doesn't bother me as much as missing the rhythm on the aforementioned bars.
And Richard, I hate to tell you this, but I just listened to your recording on the main site and really it should not have been put up in the first place - one of the other admins did it. It's those long quarter notes at bar 10 and then when it repeats later on. This is a major rhythm glitch and since people listen to our recordings to hear how they go, then we can't by right host the recording. I'm sorry, I feel bad about this, I really do, but I think it should come down.
Probably by now you can play this piece blindfolded and so you don't have to worry about the notes. Your technique can improve in that your LH should still play much softer. Also, I don't remember if you ever answered me about where you place your recorder, but it sounds like it is too close to the low notes..? Then there is the rhythm stuff....Rainer and Eddy have provided much information on that already. Please listen to that Gilels version a bunch of times. Maybe play along with it if you can hear the recording while sitting at your piano...
Also, you can listen to one of our own member's recording of it, Alfonso Bertazzi, which is very good. I'm not suggesting that you copy another member's style, but his rhythm is correct and so maybe it could help you...just some more ideas... :idea:
I think I put up that earlier version mainly to give Richard a chance to move on without getting too disillusioned. IIRC there had been posted several re-recordings of the piece too.
Richard, maybe now would be a good time to start taking some lessons again. All this re-recording and re-assessing seems a bit laborious and counterproductive. Nothing beats someone sitting next to you and friendly nudging you the right way. Just an idea :!:
As for keeping rhythm, I find that counting the bars helps, especially when you have longer notes or rests and the temptation to come in too early is overwhelming. I learned that the hard way since starting to accompany church services. Counting now becomes a habit, and I'm glad for it. When listening back, I find it helps tapping the table, to quickly pick up where you slow down or speed up.
Never record something without listening to at least a couple of pro recordings (if you can find them) and never submit something before critically listening back to yourself a number of times (I had to learn that the hard way too). It would not be the first time that I though I had something nailed, and upon listening back had to concede it wasn't ready.
Maybe the time has come to say goodbye. It seems to me I am an embarassment for the Society.
Don't be like that ! You are one who is willing and trying to improve. I am only suggesting what might be a quicker and surer way do achieve this. I know it helped me a lot to take some years of lessons again.
Richard - I'm fairly new here but for what it's worth I really do hope you stick around. I've enjoyed many of your recordings, and I feel your work and forum participation would be missed greatly. I of course don't know your whole history here, but I think it would be a real shame (for PS and you) to let a few discouraging submissions overshadow the many positive experiences you've had.
I'm still feeling my way around the acceptance criteria as you may also be, but I do sympathize with the admins in what must often be a very difficult job. Your comparison with the "try to please everyone and end up pleasing no one" Aesop fable was clever, and I can understand how you could get this impression from the posts. I really believe the admins and members were honestly doing their best to offer meaningful advice. One unfortunate yet unavoidable reality of online forums is that we're limited to written communication, a form wrought with misinterpretations and misunderstandings of tone/intent.
I think this is one of the points Chris was making when he suggested a private teacher - that for a few of the pieces such as this one it may be less frustrating for you to receive immediate, real-time, and [most importantly] face-to-face feedback.
As an artist on this site who has published many very good recordings, you are clearly a very musical and capable pianist. Everyone here could likely benefit greatly from a capable private teacher, which may or may not make sense for you personally at this time. I believe you have on several occasions acknowledged the improvements you've made since joining the site. Keep your chin up and I look forward (with my fingers crossed) to see you bounce back from this disappointment very soon.
Oh, I am not miffed by your suggestion of a teacher by any means: I just feel that having submitted This Arietta maybe 15 or 20 times, Scarlatti 4 times, Scriabin 5 times, Schumann 6 times and so on, I really cannot be the pride of this society. Add to that Monica's desire to take some of my recordings down. Well, we do agree there: this is what I am trying to do too, but not quite that way.
Right now could not be a worse time for lessons, really: my wife is on the dole, my job, thanks to the efficiency of the local government, seems to have evaporated (it seems almost certain no dough will be handed out this month), the lease of the house is up in 3 months and we still have to eat and find money to pay for our daughter's ballet lessons, the piano rental and Internet. And, of course, I have the usual band of desperadoes wanting me to pay what I owe them!
By the way, has anyone read this comment of mine? viewtopic.php?p=53685#p53685
Seems you implying that I am a villain here. Between your first postings of Arietta and then these here, I probably have spent a couple hours listening to you and offering comments and suggestions to help you improve! It is only this one recording that I took down and you know the reason. Let me remind you that a short piece like this Arietta needs to have not only correct notes, but rhythm too. It could very well happen that someone out there - perhaps a beginning piano student, or maybe someone just interested in the Lyric Pieces - randomly selects your Arietta recording. Since you know that your rhythm is off, then you can't possibly feel that it's okay for your recording to be the example that correctly represents the piece, right?
Actually Richard, I think there needs to be more members like you here It's one thing for the more experienced members to post recordings. While their love for the music is apparent, for me it's somewhat expected that they'll produce recordings. Playing the piano is what they do. I think it takes a lot more guts for you, as a less experienced pianist, to submit recordings here, and I admire that. Also, your passion for music clearly shows in your playing, and I've truly enjoyed your recordings (even though I've offered criticism :wink: ).
Yes, recording and practicing can get frustrating. But you shouldn't think of how tedious it all to make all those recordings. Instead, you should look at all the progress you've made. I think your recordings of Arietta show a lot of improvement, and you should be proud of that.
I read your comment. While I agree that there will almost always be small errors in performances, I don't think that was the issue here. Your one large problem (the rhythm in one or two measures) was distracting even without looking at the score. Also, you have to remember that to the more experienced members, what may seem like a tiny issue to you is actually a large problem to them. Last, I think you walked into somewhat of a trap with this piece, one which isn't your fault but is just how things are. Grieg's Arietta has got to be one of the more popular piano pieces out there, and I would bet that all of the active pianists here have not only played it but have heard it countless times. There will be high expectations for a recording of Arietta. And there's the issue of it being deceptively difficult to play extremely well, as it requires a light, controlled touch. But I'm not trying to discourage you here. As I've said before, I think you've got something solid to work with that just needs a little fine tuning.
That being said, I'll pm you a few pieces that I think you would like in case you want to take a break from Arietta for now.
Don't give up playing and posting here, Richard!
I can only concur with David's words here. Very well said.
A good suggestion to take a break from Arietta. One learns a lot from polishing one piece to perfection, but it should not be overdone. With the progress you made now, you can leave it fallow for a while and return with a fresh mind, to be surprised at how much better and easier it feels. I think that will produce the version that everybody can be happy with. In the meantime, refresh your soul with something else, something that is not as well-known and vulnerable.
As one of the "more experienced members" let me add that it does not always come easily to me either. There are many pieces that drive me to despair and seem to resist all attempts to get them perfect. And then when I think I'm there, someone will rightly point out there's notes missing, or voices not brought out, or too much pedaling .... and back to practice I go. Most of the times. Sometimes nobody complains and yet I'm still not happy with it. Gotta be your own worst critic...
No no, you are not the villain. I am the first to admit that recording on the site was bunk; hence my wish to replace PDQ. But truly, would it not be better to take the Schumann down too? I meant it!
You know, David, I had no idea the Arietta was at all popular. The only version I have ever heard of it and that maybe 3 times (2 through the link Monica posted) in my life and mind you, I have been playing it for 20 years now.
I listened another time to the Gilels version yesterday that Monica pointed out to me. Of course, if I were to invite him to come over for dinner (his spirit, at least!) he would have done a very good job, but not like his recording. I mean that the ultimate limitation is the piano itself and the recording apparatus.
Anyway, I tried my hand at it again with the clock stopped, but the three-year old girl present, so I fear a small amount of noise is present. This was one take, with no editing apart from clipping the ends, hiss removal and reducing the amplitude of the left channel.
I gather that one channel being louder than another is a problem with Audacity. They mention it on their help page and suggest normalising, but I find that ampifies both tracks to maximum (You commented on that the other day, Monica - by the way, answering you: I place the recorder on a sofa behind the piano, with the microphones perpendicular to the strings and with middle c between the right and left ones.)
One interesting observation that my wife made and I noticed too, is that, even though my version is the faster of the two, mine seems slower.
Your tempo here is much better, Richard. I like this version except that the bars with the two quarter notes are still incorrect. You are not holding out the second one long enough. I know the piece is written in two, but maybe if you play like it's in four and pretend those quarter notes are half notes, then I think it might be easier to get them right. So just start from the beginning while thinking 1-2-3-4-, those four G eighth notes in the first bar - pretend they are quarter notes. Then when you get up to bar 10 you'll play two half-notes, 1-2, 3-4.
As far as sound quality goes, this is good. The hiss level is low. I'm still not getting enough sound out of the RH, though. For an experiment, maybe you can try moving your mics off center where you have them now, and putting them closer to the high end.
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