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Liadoff, four Preludes, Opp. 33/1, 36/3, 39/2 and 46/4

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Rachfan, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Here I’ve selected some preludes of Anatol Liadoff (1855-1914). Liadoff was a Russian late romantic composer who had studied piano at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and composition with Rimsky-Korsakov, and in 1887 joined the faculty teaching mostly composition. The principle influence in his music was Chopin. Liadoff was long fascinated by counterpoint, and in his polyphonic style the left hand often transcends mere accompaniment and blooms into a rich counter melody. Consequently, I sometimes, not always, chose to treat the balancing of the hands more as a duet between voices. (Incidentally, I found this tendency in Catoire’s music too, which is not surprising as he had studied composition with Liadoff.)

    In choosing preludes, I first consulted the PS archive so as not to duplicate pieces already submitted. So these are the ones I recorded:

    Prelude, Op. 33, No. 1 marked adagio, composed in 1889 and dedicated to Nicolas Abramitschew;

    Prelude, Op. 36, No. 3 marked moderato from 1895 and dedicated to Alexandra Markoff;

    Prelude, Op. 39, No. 2 marked adagio from 1895 and dedicated to Felix Blumenfeld; and

    Prelude, Op. 46, No. 4 marked lamentoso from 1899 and dedicated to I. A. Lomanzsky.

    These gems are very short, altogether approximately 5 minutes, so I hope you’ll want to hear and enjoy the entire group.

    Comments welcome.

    Piano: Baldwin Model L Artist Grand (6’3”) with lid opened on the singer stick.
    Recorder: Korg MR-1000
    Microphones: Earthworks TC-20 matched pair of small diaphragm omni-directional condenser mics in
    A-B configuration

    David


    Liadov - Prelude in F minor, Op. 33, No. 1
    Liadov - Prelude in G major, Op. 36, No. 3
    Liadov - Prelude in C minor, Op. 39, No. 2
    Liadov - Prelude in E minor, Op. 46, No. 4
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hi David,
    I like these pieces, and you played them very nicely! And I can certainly hear the Chopin influence! This Op. 36 no. 3 piece here is so similar to Chopin's "Trois Nouvelles Etudes" No. 2!! (I've been meaning to record these etudes but just haven't got around to it....).

    Anyway, these are up. Just one little thing: When you are submitting several pieces that go into a page we already have on the site, please include the same information that is on the other pieces. I know you supplied some information, but I needed other information such as the key and the name on the opus. I had to do a bit of checking into these pieces to get all the pertinent information - like the the first piece is not a Prelude, but rather a Pastoral. Also, our naming standard is Liadov, not Liadoff. I changed that too.
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hi Monica,

    I'm glad you enjoyed these Liadoff pieces. And I'm glad you mentioned the Chopin "Trois Nouvelle Etude" No. 2. I was racking my brain to recall the Chopin piece that seemed to influence 36/3. Thanks!

    Yes, I normally do put the key signatures in to postings like this, and should have done so in this case. I'll remember that for next time.
    Hmmm, you're in error though on Op. 33, No. 1. I have The Well-Tempered Press Edition open and 33/1 is clearly marked "Prelude", not Pastoral. So then I double checked in the IMSLP which depicts the Muzyka Edition in Russia which also shows the piece to be titled as "Prelude". Thus, I'm confident that it was correct the way I originally listed it. If you could kindly change it back, it would be helpful.

    As for the key signature, I believe you meant to put F minor, not major. But some might debate that the piece is in its relative major of A flat. The opening bass harmony is low F which is evidence for F minor along with the melancholy sound as the piece unfolds maintaining the Fm feeling. However during the last four measures of the piece, there is modulation whereby the tonal sense shifts to A flat, and in the final measure the bass harmony is A flat and the top note in the treble clef is A flat too. So there is some tonal center ambiguity there for sure. It seems that Fm prevails through most of the piece, but A flat controls the latter part of the piece and gets the last word. I guess I can be had either way on it.

    I'm certainly OK with the naming convention of Liadov rather than Liadoff. In the U.S. Liadoff is probably more the norm. Both Hinson's Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire and Friskin & Feundlich's Music for the Piano lists the composer as Liadoff. But no question that in Europe Liadov is the usual spelling, and, of course, Piano Society is based in Europe, thus the convention. It's The Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. :lol:

    Thanks again!

    David
     
  4. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    These naming conventions... It all depends what you wish to reflect: pronunciation or original spelling, which neither version reflects. This might sound pedantic, but improper transliteration does influence pronunciation. in this case the "ia" does not stand for 2 letters (ie, not li-a-dov) but one (lya-dov). The same goes for Scryabin. Something equivalent in English would be to write not "pi" (the Greek letter) but pai. To complicate matters final v in Russian sounds like f (not double ff - double ff coming from the spelling rule that words ending with f double it, Hence Rachmaninoff, though the double ff usually derives from French transliterations). I mention Rachmaninov and here the "ch" stands for a sound that in English is non-existent: kh. Another name where the same sound is present is transliterated as Hvorostovsky (the h sound does not exist in Russian) and not Chvorostovsky or Khvorostovsky. Add to that that stess is disdained in any transliteration and some Russians end up with brand-new surnames. Take one of the secretaries-general usually called "KRUchev" when in matter of fact the k is a kh and the e is pronounced "yo" and is stressed and the "sh" sound is another letter inexistent in other languages. In the end only the "u" is pronounced as it should be. To add to the confusion each language has its spelling conventions, so that the same composer seems to have an infinite variation of surnames: Shostakovich, Chostakovitch, Schostakowitsch, Szostakowicz... I myself have two on the 4 Russian visas I have obtained over the years. :D

    There is the (true) story of the Englishwoman, surname Price, who married a Russian and went to live there, eventually obtaining a Russian document or another where her name had been tranliterated. Somehow the inverse process took place and she ended up with a passport where her surname was no longer Price but Prays.
     
  5. MarkB

    MarkB Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hello Rachfan,

    I enjoyed these recordings.

    I had only known Liadov's Music Box prior to hearing your performances of these preludes.

    I think I will have a closer look at these myself.

    Thank you.

    As for naming conventions, in the UK, from what I've seen, "ff" was favoured at the end of the 19th century and in the earlier part of the twentieth century. In the later twentieth century onwards the "v" is more common but I still see many newly published scores that use "ff" so I'm not sure if there is a European rule as such.
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Ok, sorry about the error, David. I somehow mixed up the third piece in Op. 33 (which is the Pastoral) with the first one (the Prelude). I can’t make the correction while at work, so I’ll try to do it either tonight or tomorrow night.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Good work on these beautiful miniatures David ! You made a good selection, although it seems like any Liadov piece is ok. Whichever one you pick, it always has at least one great tune, and will lie beautifully (though not always easily) under the fingers. Like most Russian composers, Liadov seems to have an instinctive understanding of the piano (from the all too little I know of him he was not a virtuoso himself). All his pieces are grateful, although sometime of them are just painfully short. Some of these are over just when you think they might begin to develop. If only Liadov's obvious melodic gifts had been matched by some industriousness... he might have been a great composer instead of a marginal one. At least page turns will not have been a big problem here :p

    You need not have worried about duplication items on the site. We could use some better versions of the ones I recorded :)
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for that background on transliteration. Something else that makes the subject even more mysterious is that there is not a direct phonetic correlation between the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets meaning that the novice cannot simply line up a Cyrillic alphabet chart with a Latin one and begin spelling our words.

    Your Rachmaninoff example is interesting (and controversial between Yanks and Brits) because if it had originally been Rachmaninov in Russia, when he came to the U.S. his signature was always written as Rachmaninoff, so clearly he preferred that form of the name. I had once read that phonetically in pronunciation the -ov sound is more firm while the -off is a softer sounding ending.

    David
     
  9. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for listening and I'm glad you enjoyed these miniatures. I didn't quite know what to expect when I delved into these preludes, but was pleasantly surprised. I'm positive you'd have a similar experience with them as well.

    Yes, there seem to be as many music editions labeled Rachmaninoff as Rachmaninov. I've noticed that too.

    David
     
  10. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hi Monica,

    Thanks! Whenever it's more convenient for you to make the correction, that's fine with me.

    David
     
  11. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hi Chris,

    I tried to discover Liadoff's piano teacher at St. Petersburg Conservatory, but failed. Clearly he had some aptitude there, but was totally drawn to composition. (Liapunoff was an extraordinary virtuoso!) He's been criticized sometimes for not composing in larger forms. One trait he had was dreaming of big plans and being long on promises, but he was often procrastinating too. He left behind an unfinished opera, for example. By and large, he seemed very content in writing miniatures. But so many are gems!

    I totally agree with you on the matter of his piano music falling well under the hands--but not always. I have fairly large hands myself, but I'm convinced his were larger. I sometimes found that even with optimal fingerings, once up to tempo it could be a scramble for the notes!

    Well, by not duplicating, it at least ensured that previously unrecorded selections took priority. But there are some others that I would like to have played. I'll take another look. Thanks for that. :)

    David
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    I badly need to get back to Liadov and re-record at least some of the most excruciating of of my old recordings :D
     
  13. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hello David,
    I really like these works, as they are high-quality miniatures most suitable for step-wise training in romantic style. Your performances are artistic and thoughtful, as usual. I echo Monica's reference to the Ab Major Etude Nouvelle that uses sesquialtera (though the Liadov does not), and also felt a kinship of the C-minor prelude (first part) to the Chopin Eb minor etude (10/6).

    Thanks again.
    Eddy
     
  14. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hi Eddy,

    Thanks for the compliment on my playing! I appreciate that. Also the reference to Chopin's Etude 10/6 had escaped me, so thanks to for pointing that out.

    Yes, these are wonderful miniatures to say the least. As soon as I played the first one, I knew that members here would like hearing these pieces. I don't know why it took me ever so long to look into Liadoff's music.

    David
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Ok, David, I made the correction. Sorry about all that.
     
  16. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hi Monica,

    Thanks for making the corrections. It all looks good. Super!

    I think anyone could have been fooled by the Muzyka Edition on the IMSLP. I noticed a quirk in there whereby when you click on that opus, it scrolls down and parks at No. 3 rather than No. 1 up at the top. Strange! I've never encountered that before at the site.

    David
     
  17. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    After my comments about transliteration I have listened and can now pass judgement :D

    I was of course aware of Lyadov's small (in the sense that almost he wrote were miniatures) talents but these are by in large enjoyable. Perhaps I know best his orchestral words were in happier moments he might remind one of the Stravinsky of the Firebird, so there might have been some truth in the story that Dyagilev had approached him at first. I believe his most substatial work to be a collection of Russian folk-songs for orchestra that actually lasts for more than 15 minutes.

    You bring these pieces off the page very well and, while I have enjoyed some better than others, they go very nicely, thank you. I especially enjoyed the non-Pastoral and the Prelude in c.

    I beg to differ on the subject of transliteration, David: there is one, internationally recognised, but the only ones who seem to use it are the Italians (Maybe the Czech do also: I need to check), mainly because they have no way to write the final ch sound. Russian words are written as if they were Czech. If you look any Russian up on Wikipedia and the go to the Italian version you will see what I mean:

    http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatolij_K ... %8D_Ljadov
    http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%ABtr_ ... Cajkovskij

    As I mentioned earlier in Russian final v sounds like f, so our composer in question is called Lyadof while his wife was Lyadova.

    Geep on the good work, David!
     
  18. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Nice pieces, well played, and they make an attractive collection. I too hear hints of Chopin, but I wouldn't mind betting there is some Russian folksong in there also, though I'm not sufficiently au fait with the idiom to know for sure.
     
  19. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for those links to the Italian sites. It was interesting to see their spelling variations.

    I wish that Liadoff had left more of an orchestral legacy. One listen to "The Enchanted Lake" leaves no doubt that had he applied that aspect of his talent and ability far more than he did, the music would would have benefitted. He had two enemies: First, despite being an established composer and professor of composition, he was very leery of working in large forms. And second, he was a well known procrastinator. We are fortunate though that he left us an ample and wonderful piano literature.

    When you said this:
    Was that an intentional pun? :lol:

    David
     
  20. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Liadoff, Four Preludes (various opp.)

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for listening to all of the pieces. Indeed in the first one, the Op. 33, No 1, in parentheses underneath the title Prelude is written: "on a Russian theme". It's possible that the theme was from a folk song. They are certainly lovely pieces. I've decided to do a few more before moving on to another composer. I appreciate the compliment on my playing too.

    David
     

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