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Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by richard66, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Of course I know this as part of Grieg's music to Ibsen's Peer Gynt, where it is sung by Solveig, when Peer finally returns to Norway and to her, the bride he had abducted on her wedding day. What I have never heard is the piano version, which I know because Peters published a trancription, along with a version on Solvejg's song (there are two different piano versions of the latter, by the way).

    I have played this for a number of years, though much slower than now (orchestral versions tend to be slow, lasting from 4' to 5'30" minutes): at 3'50", it is rather fast, but any slower it is just too much for the piano's sustainiing power.

    Grieg - Solveig's Cradle Song (3:51)
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I did not know this one. Being very familiar with the Peer Gynt suites (it was one of the first classical works I got hooked on) and having all the Peters Grieg albums (and played most of it) this really surprises me. You play it pretty well, and I don't find the tempo too fast. This first couple of measures are rather a shock, your piano sounds quite awful up there. But soon as it's an octave lower, it is no longer a problem. Where did you find this one ? Is it a transcription
    by Grieg himself, who reworked many of his songs and orchestral pieces for piano solo ? It's not in any of my books.

    Interesting about the two versions of Solvejg's Song. I know only one, which I hope to record one day. Tell more !
     
  3. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    It comes from my earstwhile piano teacher. She has (I suppose she still does) a Peters album with Solvejg's Song and this one, which is a transcription by another hand (I mention it in the tags): Walter Niemann, of whom I know nothing. I have a copy, which I hang on to for dear life, as it does not seem to be available elsewhere.

    Do you mean the piano sounds bad because it sounds bad or because it is out of tune? I must say each time I record I cringe when I hear the piano I have. I hope soon we do move house and I can finally get something better. I am also hoping to start some work for a music school and maybe then they might let me use one of their pianos.

    One version of Solvejg's Song is to be found in Grieg's transcription of Peer Gynt suite No. 2, while the other is in his second series of Piano Pieces After His Own Songs op 52. I had chucked the copy I had that was coupled with the Cradle Song after I had obtained op 52. What was my horror when I realised that it was something else! What was my relief when I realised the one I knew was there, all the time, in the Peer Gynt album and I had never bothered to look!
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ah, Niemann, a well-known name. he transcribed a lot of stuff, mostly for Peters I think.

    I don't think it is out of tune. It's just the sound of the high register in the first few bars that made me cringe a bit. After that, the sound is quite passable. But I sure hope you'll get access to a better instrument.

    Checked my books and you're right, there are two versions, which in fact I've played both without realizing they were different :oops: The difference is very small though, the op.52 version just a little more fleshed out.
     
  5. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    The playing is pretty alright, but the section from 2:02 - 2:08 is slightly confusing with regards to rhythm, perhaps slightly more accented strong beats can give the listener some clue as to where the beat is. The second time you played it was somewhat better however.

    It sounds more like a march than a cradle song though. :S Also think you could slow down slightly more towards the end to give more finality to the piece.
     
  6. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you!

    For the passage you mention, when it is repeated I play it slightly faster. The socre bears the indication "animato".

    There is no ritardando at the end and I am not sure I have ever heard any. I am not sure it would work somehow.

    As I mentioned above, it is played faster than the orchestral version and perhaps faster than the metronome marking, which is cortchet = 72, butr any slower it will not work. The melody simply dies out in the first bars; that is why I speeded up a little.
     
  7. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Not much to do if it is the piano. I might stop recording for a while; not because I am offended in any way, but it seems a waste of time while I still have this piano on my hands. Good that I did not buy it! Did I tell you the trouble I had with Bortkiewicz (The Butterfly)? It was a feat to subdue the right hand (the melody is on the left). Then I had access to a Steinway 1/4 and I tried it. Magic! The melody sang while the right hand was very discrete.

    I noticed right away the difference, because I could not play the op 52, while the other one I could, as it is the one I was familiar with.
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    I just listened to this transcription. Had never heard it before. I don't have the score, but it sounds convincing to me. Nice playing!

    David
     
  9. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, David.

    It seems only two people in the world have the score, but so much the better than one can listen without worrying: "is this right?" Did you ever hear of the great pianist (I forget his name) who noticed sitting in the first row a lady with all the scores on her lap. After the concert was over he commented on that, saying he had never felt so nervous in his life.

    My father also tells me that, when he was still in school, a violinist came to play for them and one of the pupils, who had liked a particular number, asked him to play it again. The violinist refused, saying that by playing a second time any differences (errors, flubs or simply a different tempo) would become immediately apparent.

    It is a pity about the sound of the piano, but still I do not agree with Chris that the first bars sound terrirble: I find the piano sounds horrible throughout.
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    That's weird....I posted something here ten minutes ago, but it's gone...

    Anyway, what I said Richard, is that I have not had a chance to listen to your recording yet. But I did download it onto my phone while on the train this morning, so maybe I will get a moment sometime today to listen. In the meantime, I just wanted to say that if your piano has unbalanced keys, and/or some keys are stiff or sticky, you may be causing permanent damage to your hands. Be careful!
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not. You posted that in your Chopin thread.
     
  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh, that's even weirder! I'm getting confused....
     
  13. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    Yes, I do recall that story about the lady in the front row with the score open in her lap. It was years ago though, so like you I can't remember who the artist was. Aside from that incident, there are also many concert goers who have found themselves sitting next to score gazers and find all the page turning to be a real annoyance. It's worse than the occasional rustling of programs, because it's on-going.

    David
     
  14. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    Quite so. The least they could do is learn how to turn pages silently.

    Rustling noises don't always come from just the audience, though. The other week I was in the orchestra for a performance of Elgar's "Dream of Gerontius". Choir members normally remain seated during long sections when the orchestra plays on its own or the soloists are singing, and then stand just before they have something to sing. They are often well trained so that the standing up and sitting down (the state change from seated to standing and back) is as inaudible as possible, and on this occasion they were pretty good at that.

    But as soon as they were standing there was an incessant annoying rustle as if sweeties or cough drops were being unwrapped. The cause was that their scores had been bound with identical-looking paper covers, probably for visual reasons, perhaps to disguise the fact that they were using different editions, and regrettably the paper used was of a type particularly prone to rustling whenever anyone's grip changed.

    Luckily during the rehearsal break several people made representations to the conductor and there was great joy all round when he instructed the choir to rip off the tissue paper.
     
  15. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    I think it is out of tune, but that's clearly not the only thing wrong with it. In the circumstances you are doing an amazing job of keeping some passages as quiet as you do (The Butterfly being, as you say, a case in point).

    A good voicing could pay dividends in terms of less frustration, but your reluctance to spend money on the old groaner is understandable since it would be wasted if (as you hope) you will soon leave it behind. But what if it doesn't happen as soon as you hope?
     
  16. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Well, you see: it is not mine and any investment on it benefits solely the piano shop from whom I rent it. The thing is that I must pay transport charges and having it taken away now and a new one brought in only to have it moved in two months does not seem sensible, as it would also involve tuning the new one twice.
     
  17. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Oh, there is no problem with the keys. It is the sound which is appalling and the piano that is as sensitive as a rhinoceros after anaesthesia. The tuner almost made my sign a document exempting him from all responsibility! In the end he achieved a miracle, but even a miracle was not enough.

    I thought I might ask the music school with whom I now work, but there there would a a great amount of noise, what with other instruments playing and a doorbell that is louder than a steeple on Sunday. Imagine half-way through this lullaby a big RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!
     
  18. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok, Richard, I have listened to your recording. It's a pretty piece, however, besides your piano being out of tune a little, I heard a lot of background hiss. Granted, I was running on a treadmill just now during my lunch hour while I was listening, but even with the noise from the machine I still heard the hiss. On every note that comes down, a splash of hiss comes with it. I don't understand why it's always just me who hears it, though. Is there any chance of changing your recording gear?
     
  19. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    Now you mention it, I hear it too, if I turn the volume up enough. But I don't hear a splash on every note, just on some, like on many of the downbeats. Could it be pedal-related swish which just sounds a bit like hiss?
    :wink: Inasmuch as the piano itself is part of the recording setup, I'm sure Richard would be delighted to change it!

    I'm surprised its owners have the nerve to charge him rent for something so bad he'd be only too pleased to have someone take a sledgehammer to it.
     
  20. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, I would love to, but at the moment I have to figure out how we are going to pay for next months food bill.
     

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