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Improvisation on Carmen

Discussion in 'Composing' started by andrew, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4eEE9rRH10

    Any comments? It's not as polished as the Miserere I posted earlier, but I could work further on it.

    Would be interested to hear thoughts, positive and negative. I think its improvisational roots show.
     
  2. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Quite impressive for an impromptu performance. Are you planning on working it into a more coherent, written-out transcription? The various permutations of the melodic lines interested me, as did some of your filigree, though as one would expect for an improvisation, it all seemed a bit disjointed.

    But even still, I'm thinking I'd much rather listen to this than Cziffra's transcriptions. I actually have one of his transcription CDs, most of which I found to be flash and trash despite his unbelievable technical barnstorming. The themes in Carmen I find a bit populist too, though they're undeniably appealing, and IMHO you have the start of something ovation-worthy here.

    Joe
     
  3. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, I would like to formalise it, and organise it more coherently. Structurally it more or less follows the original, but the joins show at the moment.

    It's not absolutely 100% an improvisation, being a reiteration of something which was a pure improvisation (other than the opening thematic material), the original is on my soundcloud and very similar but is under much inferior recording condistions. Nonetheless it's pretty close as no formal compositional work has been done. The opening 30-40 seconds are, amusingly and coincidentally, me more or less playing Cziffra's improvisation on Carmen (as learnt by ear, no score exists) so they aren't truly mine. Oddly I'm not 100% happy with them, and think they are a bit crude, but also I (obviously) don't play that part as well..

    So, in an abstract sense, I'm quite amused - complimented even - to read your comments about him. O/T I suppose, but personally I think his own paraphrases (particularly the ones on Strauss) are fantastic. They're not great music by any means, but I think they are great piano-playing, and quite sui generis, a master virtuoso revelling in his own control of the instrument and producing what I think is very honest music-making (in the purest sense - music for its own enjoyment).

    I spent really rather a lot of time learning one of his paraphrases (Il Trovatore) and in honesty the process and outcome induced a lot of consequential internal debate in me. I was quite pleased with being able to perform it live reasonably successfully, but when I did comparative listening I felt more than a bit deflated. Not enough pizazz, his reflexes are much better, his performance is rhythmically spikier, etc - and so I came to the conclusion that it's easier to write, and perform convincingly, your own paraphrases, if you have the capability to do so. It's, imo, easier to put your own persona over in playing your compositions than someone else's in theirs - something which on a deeper level does make me wonder how effectively all of us interpret Liszt, Chopin, or whoever.
     
  4. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, his virtuosity is certainly awesome. Just relistened to the Trovatore and his facility, speed, and nervosity are jaw-dropping. And I was certainly entertained, though perhaps in the same way that a circus freak is entertaining. Sui generis, yes, definitely, but to my ears, it just seems a bit too littered with incessant runs and grandstanding effects that fragment Verdi's ideas too heavily. But then, I'm not really a transcriptions guy (though I will be posting a few smaller Liszt ones here soon).

    Incidentally, though, I do like the vast majority of those I've heard of Liszt's, especially the Wagner ones, and other than that, Rachmaninoff's come to mind, especially his Schubert Wohin, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Liebesleid. And Godowsky's too, when he's not maiming Chopin's technical bible beyond recognition :p

    Absolutely, though at the same time I think they were glad to hear interpretations other than their own when the player had something to say. Probably Liszt more than Chopin, I'd think. But yes, what one wouldn't give to hear Liszt's and Chopin's expression of their music! It's one of the things that makes me hold out hope for God and heaven. Surely what Plato said about knowledge is true and we'll be privy to such performances beyond the grave, if we're good little boys, that is :p
     
  5. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'll look forward to hearing your Liszt transcriptions. Liebestod and Norma are probably my two favourites.
     
  6. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    That´s a very impressive improvisation, Andrew! It reminds me of the Horrowitz arrangement of this theme. Very virtuoso arpeggios! I have enjoyed it very much!
    I have commented also on your YouTube channel and also subscribed! Continue so!
     

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