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MacDowell - Fireside Tales

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I have never heard any of MacDowell's pieces from his Fireside Tales, but I looked through the set recently and was drawn to these three because of their titles. The music is pretty with sweet, rich, and gorgeous harmonies, and I find MacDowell's detailed descriptions so cute and appealing. For example, in the no. 1 his tempo marking is "Simply and tenderly". And in no. 3 he writes, "With deep feeling, dreamily". Also later on in a section he marks, "like men's voices". Anyway, hope these are okay. Like I said, I've never heard any of them before, so comments appreciated.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody! :)



    MacDowell - Fireside Tales, Op. 61, no. 1 "An Old Love Story"

    MacDowell - Fireside Tales, Op. 61, no. 3 "From a German Forest"

    MacDowell - Fireside Tales, Op. 61, no. 6 "Smouldering Embers"
     
  2. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    Like you, I had never heard any of these pieces before. I'm familiar with the Woodland Sketches, Sea Pieces, and Etudes, but had always wondered about these Fireside Tales which always seemed to be in hiding somewhere. These pieces seem well crafted, and I most liked No. 1, An Old Love Story. It has marvelous progressions, harmonies and modulations. You play all of these selections very well, very expressively too. In some ways MacDowell reminds me of Grieg. They're both Edward's, their lives overlapped, and they both loved writing character pieces for the piano. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that they once met when MacDowell paid a visit to Grieg's home. MacDowell didn't compose with an "American sound". In his day pianists and composers always studied in Europe. So his training, of course, was from the European perspective, thus, I believe the similarities with Grieg's approach to composition. It's was left to the next generation of musicians and composers to develop the American sound. Nonetheless, MacDowell is still an icon of Americana in his own way and in his own era. Thanks for posting these pieces and performing them so well!

    David
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, David. I think you're right about MacDowell's character music being similar to Grieg's. I find both very appealing and interesting to learn, because you never what harmony is coming next. Interesting about MacDowell visiting Grieg at his home - I didn't know that. Neat!
     
  4. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for these enjoyable recordings, which are new to me. I've heard some MacDowell previously, but only a few select pieces. Re the European training, he studied briefly with Liszt at Weimar. They are sweet pieces, but not sweet to the point of kitsch.
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I didn't know that about MacDowell studying with Liszt. Very neat - thanks for that interesting tidbit, Andrew. And thanks for listening too!
     
  6. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,
    I have listened with score and I like these pieces also very much. They are new to me.
    To op. 61, 1: great job, very good voicing, when the theme comes in the tenor. My only suggestion of improvement is your pp. (I recommend to use a bit left pedal, if you can´t play more silent.)
    To. op. 61, 3: Well, I will see, if the title is adequate, when I will walk to the Odenwald next time. :wink: In every case it´s a nice lyrical piece with a nice choral-like part between and you play it really lovely. I like the sweet harp-like sounds, which are built in. You play them just with the right feeling, I think.
    To op. 61, 6: also nicely played!

    I have enjoyed these pieces and it was nice to meet them here. So thank you for sharing these nice recordings.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Andreas. And I shall listen to the no. 3 piece next time I'm walking through the forests in the lower regions of the Hartz Mountains! :)
     
  8. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Pianolady wrote:
    You really should tell me, if you come to the Hartz, it´s not too far away, I suppose. :!:
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I was in the Hartz mountains when I visited my cousin in Germany. She continually asks that I come back, so maybe I will one of these days. I'll let you know if I do. But really, all you Europeans should be coming to the USA, since the value of the Euro against the dollar is in your favor. Last time I went to Europe it was the other way around....
     
  10. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Pianolady wrote:
    I think, from my home f.ex. to the "Brocken" in the Harz is approximately 400 km, nearly 4 hours by car. You are cordially invited to visit me. My wife still was in Texas, when she was younger. I personally haven´t been in the USA yet, but I have been in Great Britain (England) five times in the 1980th.
     

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