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Kosenko, Etude in F# minor, Op. 8, No. 8

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Rachfan, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Viktor Stephanovych Kosenko (1896-1938) was a Ukrainian composer, but also a virtuoso pianist and piano pedagogue. In his earlier years his principal influences were Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and Lysenco. A graduate of the Warsaw Conservatory, he studied piano with Aleksander Michalowski and Iryna Miklashovskaya, and composition and music theory with Mikhail Sokolovsky. Kosenko composed about 250 works in all—about 100 of those for solo piano--and the other works being orchestral works, concertos, chamber music, chorus works, and songs. During his short life, Kosenko also held important positions in academia, music circles, and was often a juror at important piano competitions.

    I hope you’ll enjoy this recording.

    Comments welcome.

    Kosenko - Etude in F# minor, Op. 8, No. 8 (3:54)

    Piano: Baldwin Model L Artist Grand (6’3”) with lid fully open
    Recorder: Roland R-44
    Mics: Matched pair of Earthworks TC-20 small diaphragm, omni-directional condenser mics in A-B configuration

    _________________
    "Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities." David April
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    One can certainly hear where Kosenko is coming from here ! This could very well pass for a Scriabin etude or nocturne. A good piece if not especially original.
    A performance in the grand style, I would say. Perhaps there could be a bit more sturm und drang, but that is probably easier said than done. It's good that
    you took your time over this one, it is probably far harder than it sounds. The Baldwin sounds in good shape and tune. I will put this on the site tonight.
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for your compliments. I really appreciate them!

    There is no doubt that Scriabin was a strong influence in Kosenko's music. Kosenko died at age 42 during the Stalin regime which pressured the composer in unpleasant ways. Had he lived longer and/or left Ukraine, his music probably would have become more original. The Op. 8 etudes, including this etude, is a collection of 11.

    You undoubtedly noticed that I hadn't posted here at Piano Society for quite awhile. Nothing to do with this site. Instead, it's due to my preparing this piece. There were times when I thought I should abandon it, given some of the difficulties presented in the score. Then there was the matter of the recording. I don't know how many takes I did, but it was a lot, and almost all of them were disappointing to me. I'm my own worst critic, but after a while, I was feeling discouraged if not defeated. Well, this recording at hand wasn't perfect (but who here is perfect? :roll: ). What was bothering me were two or three minor glitches in the execution. Then I listened to it a few more times, and it grew on me like magic. So I decided to post it, and am glad I did, as there have been all favorable responses from the listeners.

    Thanks too for putting this one into the archive. That gives us two Kosenko pieces there.

    David
     
  4. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    A fine performance of a very evocative piece, almost hypnotic at times, which you bring out really well! To be honest I hear more of Rachmaninov than of Scriabin here. I'm not generally a Rach fan :) though he certainly has his moments. Kosenko is unknown to me, thanks for introducing him.

    You do the long pulsing lines beautifully and handle the tricky part around 2'00'' cleanly without tension, no mean feat. If you'd allow just one remark: a few times you seem to hesitate a bit before the downbeat (like at 2'37, 2'53'' and a few other places). If this is an intentional emphasis I respectfully disagree, as it means a slight hiccup in the solid flow. If there is a problem here, with hand movements or memorization, be aware of the effect. I certainly don't think you need to re-record, given the effort you already spent, but for the future look out for this.

    Joachim
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    These are on the site. I have put this one in the Various section next to the other Kosenko piece. Yes it does sound a lot like Rachmaninov too in places. The opening is pure Scriabin though.

    I recall you mentioning you were taking your time over this recording. The thorough preparation shows, I did not hear any glitches (you probably have to know the piece intimately to notice them) but the hesitations Joachim mentioned bothered me a little. They don't sound intentional, more like brief moments of uncertainty. This happens to me every now and then, and I'm not above cutting such a pause out if possible - I know, it's cheating :) Apart from these, you pretty well have the piece pat down. I don't have the score but I can imagine it is a bit of work indeed.
     
  6. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Joachim,

    Thanks for the compliments! I really appreciate that.

    Re: the hesitant downbeats: Of the two you mentioned, one was my eyes not quite focused on the score creating momentary uncertainty. The other was a mental and physical scramble to effect a hand gesticulation -- and not without some angst ha-ha! The first one you cited would be hard to fix as I no longer am able to memorize. The other could have been better timed with more practicing of the hand positioning. I have to say that there are places in this etude that really challenge the pianist.

    Thanks for your helpful comments. I'm glad you liked this music.

    David
     
  7. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I would just like to reiterate what I said on pianostreet that this really is a fine recording. I see the pauses/hesitations/agogic accents have been commented on. I didn't find them bothersome (hence that over there I commented only very obliquely on them, in terms of performance style), perhaps the two mentioned are a little excessive. Hard to know for sure which are intentional and which aren't, without having been directly involved in the recording process, but I would say that, whilst they are an acquired taste, they're also an attribute of a certain older style of pianism. [edit: I see there has been clarification regarding this!] I'm partial to using them myself and quite appreciated some of the more subtle ones elsewhere in the piece but there is sometimes a danger that they can become an affectation, and their usage is a matter of delicate judgement imo.
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for putting my recording up. I appreciate that.

    There might actually be influences present from Rachmaninov as well as Scriabin. Who could provide more inspiration than them?

    Aggg! Those moments of uncertainty are a nuisance and a bane to say the least. Probably another way of looking at it is in a broader sense -- continuity.

    David
     
  9. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi andrew,

    Yes, I agree with your thoughts on the the hesitations. Some are intentional (planned in the articulation) and unintentional (the moment of uncertainty). In my recording there are both. I do believe that the intentional hesitations used sparingly can add to the performance in a positive and successful manner. The moment of uncertainty is obviously unanticipated even if only a half-second in duration, forcing the pianist to immediately restore continuity. Neither the intended nor unintended hesitation can be detected in isolation; rather, they are revealed in the context of playing the music. In the end these can be found to have been spurious interruptions, or an element of artistic performance.

    David
     
  10. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hello, David,

    While expecting everyone to come out and listen to my recordings and say wonderful things, I have become very lax on commenting on anyone else's. Definitively not the way to endear myself to fellow members, is it?

    I did, however, listen to your first recording of Kosenko when you had posted it and I have now listened to your second one.

    I am familiar with some of Kosenko's music and I particularly enjoy his fine violin concerto, which in ways reminds me of Glazunov's, not so much in the invention (Glazunov's being superior) but in the structure of the work.

    I will say that the Etude is very enjoyable. The piece is vastly superior to the Consolation and I thought both your playing and even the sound of your piano to be much better also. Could it be your new recording set-up? I write from memory, so I do not remember where Chris and Andrew noticed hesitations. Were they in the latter part of the work? I noticed them too, but only the first one jarred me, maybe because it mirrored an earlier passage, where there was none. The other ones, however, sounded as if they could have been, as Andrew says, your interpretation.

    I hope you may soon add a third of his works, so that Kosenko may merit his own page. I saw he has some Etudes in the form of old dances. How you looked at them? I have only listened to a bit of the first one, a Gavotte.
     
  11. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    Joachim pointed out a couple of hesitations at 2'37 and 2'53. I think one was an uncertainty reading the score and the other was a difficulty in execution. They were fleeting errors that didn't stop continuity. I generally do not use hesitations unless there is a rest or a fermata. Had it been worse I would have stopped the recording and started another one. But I had already recorded a slew of trial recordings.

    Yes, I have the etudes inspired by old dances but have decided on a different tact. At the moment I'm tied up with another Kosenko score. There the heavy chords written in ledger lines are often loaded with accidentals, making the 11" by 8 1/2" printout format so hard to read!

    The "new" recording equipment utilizes the same microphones, and I believe that the Roland R-44 is on par with the Korg MR-1000 I used for several years. I'm still experimenting on the sound input volume which is more difficult than on the old Korg. As for the piano, it receives quarterly tunings. I'd sooner pay the money than hear complaints about it. I'm trying to decide now if my Baldwin needs hammer voicing. The new Ronsen Wurzen hammers went on in 2007, and the years have flown by. No voicing was necessary upon installation. They were perfect right out of the box! Maybe the tone might need to be a bit darker now, but a lot of people like the vibrant sound it produces. I'm undecided on that.

    Nice to hear from you again here.

    David
     
  12. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hello, David,

    I would not calle them "hesitations" when they are deliberate. In that case I would say "pauses". To me hesitation always has a negative connotation, as it implies one is uncertain or do not really know the score that well, which is not the case here.

    I hope the next piece is as good as the Etude!

    I did not have the piano serviced for some time, with the result that a lot of work had to be done and I paid more. I am sure that doing it the way you do it is only marginally more expensive. I was not even willing to let the Alexandra use it and I am not sure that explains a bit why she is not quite as sharp as before with her intonation.
     
  13. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi David,
    I listened to your new recording with great pleasure and this music deeply touches me. It´s musically and expressively played as we are used to it by you! There are some little suggestions I have for you: at some few places you could play out (that means take some more time) for the small thin printed notes, the little arppegios etc. respective build some more special ideas of interpretation of them. And may be you could play the arpeggio after the 14 thin printed notes from below instead from above? These are only some few ideas from my side given with the hope to be able to inspirate you and your wonderful and experienced playing. I really love listen to it!

    With best regards
    Andreas
     
  14. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks for stopping by to listen and to comment too. On the "small note figurations", I never thought of your idea to play it upward instead of downward as you suggest. It would certainly merit some trials at least. Generally speaking, I first tend to think of a small note run in rhythmic terms, as the first requirement is to make sure that the figure properly fits into its allotted space and time unless there will be some rubato present. I would have to admit that I often treat them in a perfunctory manner to ensure that they don't seem too pronounced -- i.e., suggesting that they are more important than they really are. I feel differently about Liszt's short cadenzas written in small-notes. Those are different in that they sometimes and rightfully take on a greater importance, small notes or not.

    I'll give your suggestion more thought. Thanks for sharing that!

    David
     
  15. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi David,
    of course, that the small notes and arpeggios should be in right time and these things are the basics for the practise them. But in romantic music there can be some rubato in them, of course. My professor at music highschool (university) brought me to the idea, more to think of them as I had the same attitude first to consider them more superficially. In my interpretation of music by Chopin, Rachmaninof and Liszt f. ex. I have get used to make exact thoughts of them since I have studied piano at music highschool. And I think, they are worth of making thoughts. At least that´s my personal opinion.
    I´m looking forward to your next recording!
    Best regards
    Andreas
     
  16. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andreas,

    You raise some interesting points about small-note effects, especially being reasonably free in playing them in the romantic piano literature. Clearly small-tone ornaments, rolls, etc., do not always have to be perfunctory. If there is a way in using them without overdoing it, then we should certainly take advantage of such opportunities. For example, if we can add a bit of drama or angst in small-notes just before the cantilena line resumes (while still playing in good taste), I would fully support it.

    David
     
  17. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi David,
    I feel you have understood me completely and I´m glad we agree to each other in that point. Thank you very much for your good thoughts on the subject. (It´s interesting, btw, that you use the german word "Angst", so it seems to be part of the English language? If you translate Angst into English it means "fear" or "anxiety".
     
  18. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andreas,

    Yes indeed, "angst" is German in origin and has the same meanings too. I think that there are other examples like that from Swedish, Polish and other languages.

    David
     
  19. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I would say "Angst" in English, does not denote just any fear and anxiety, but it has the sense of that very (to us at least) German feeling, associated, of course with Romanticism, of a fer that grabst you by the throat and makes you do have wild thoughts. The same thing that one sees "Wandern" in English, which denotes not just walking, but the way of walking without any clear destination over lonely and wild places. In matter of fact, to wander in English has the sense of walking here and there, aimlessly.

    I am sure I am not too clear.
     
  20. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ah, that's very interesting and -as a true german romantic ;D -I'm able to get that. Yes, "wandern" in the romantic sense is to go out into nature more or less without any aim, moved only by an uncertain yearning (to god, to love or whatever similar). Like the Taugenichts does in "Life of a Taugenichts"(Das Leben eines Taugenichts" by Eichendorff. Just to flee the civil life of the philisters, being a free man and artist. And after many adventures he gets his beloved woman and all was good like in a fairy tale. In this sense is also Schuberts "Wandererfantasie" f.ex.
    But Angst in german simply is connotated with fear and anxiety, though there exists also this special romantic meaning. Btw, there exists also a normal meaning of wandern, simply in the sense of walking.
     

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