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Martucci Fantasy on "La forza del destino"

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by andrew, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Every now and then I find a completely unknown piece of music which I'm really partial to. I rate this paraphrase very highly. Here, from a concert last year, is Giuseppe Martucci's fantasy on Verdi's Force of Destiny. Remarkably, it's a piece of juvenalia, written when 16 or 17. I had a small memory lapse and flirted with disaster by trying to play too fast and soft at one point, but other than that I'm pretty happy with the performance. Hope it's of interest.

    Martucci - Fantasy on Verdi's "La Forza del Destino" (8:05)
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    If you say this is a very good paraphrase I will believe you :)
    Certainly Martucci was a phenomenal pianist, judging by his two gargantuan piano concertos, and apparently he reached mastery at an early age. Some years ago on holiday in Italy I bought some Martucci scores but eventually sold them as I did not find much that could hold my interest. This paraphrase is expertly composed (and performed !) though I find it a little perfunctory, the end being particularly unsatisfactory. But I don't have the paraphrase/transcription bug, so that could just be me.

    Now while I've already uploaded the file, I am pondering on where to put this on the site. I think it will be the _Various page because I don't want to create neither a Martucci or Verdi page for this one.
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've never heard of this composer, let alone this piece. It sure is big and showy! I liked your trills in the middle part. But really all of your playing here is very good, as usual.
     
  4. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    I can't cite a source offhand, but I do recall that when I was doing research for programme notes on this piece I found a claim that Liszt himself was very impressed by the young Martucci's playing. I like this paraphrase for its varied colour, and for its avoidance of the trap which I feel many 19th century paraphrases fall into - some Liszt ones and in particular several by Thalberg - i.e. thinking bigger is better and not knowing when to stop. Curiously, like you, I used to not like the end at all and would perform it in a truncated version, but I've changed my mind. It's possible it would benefit from a bigger statement of the thematic material (either by me as pianist, or compositionally): I'm not sure.

    Various seems fair enough as the site location, particularly as the bulk of my "hyphenated" repertoire is in there. (I'm going to be annoying now and point out that I noticed that while my two Liszt transcriptions on the site appear to be in the Various section on my pianist page, one is in the Various and the other in the Liszt section).
     
  5. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    You're not alone. My teacher hadn't heard of him either ;)

    Thanks - there are a few things I wish I could do again, but it is quite demanding, and it's on my "record in studio" to do list, so I'll hopefully get a chance to sort those out in the future.
     
  6. MarkB

    MarkB Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Andrew,

    that's very good playing again. You really do like your transcriptions ! I've never encountered anyone quite so interested as yourself.

    I don't think Martucci is quite in the same league as Liszt though.

    I notice on Wikipedia (if you can trust that of course) there is a long list of piano compositions. Does anyone know anything about them ?

    I sympathise with your comments on Thalberg. I really have no time for his compositions at all.

    Thank you.

    Regards
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Too little. I had a Scherzo, a Concert Etude (in both of which I found the musical content did not justify the technical demands) and an album of selected pieces. Some of these were nice, some were cute (I remember liking one or two of the Foglie Sparse) but none of them were really fetching. It is the same with his piano concertos, which contain some good things and some impressive moments, but ultimately fail to convince. Nothing wrong with the pianism, but his tunes are just not memorable enough.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok this is up.
    What do you mean going to be annoying ? You already make my life miserable with all these transcriptions, paraphrases and fantasies. Can't you just record one normal opus number for a change ?
    I well realize we're being woefully inconsistent but I just can't seem to be able to define a rule that fits all cases. Complaints to the management :D Or, you can sign up as an admin and put it all right ! And get to handle everything that involves more than one composer.
     
  9. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    I don't know a huge amount about other Martucci piano compositions, only having the cd of his second concerto and other works. He did a few Bach transcriptions but I've never looked at them properly.

    I've got more time for Thalberg than you do, but I think you have to be quite picky to get the best of him. Also, I'm not convinced that having Francesco Nicolosi as the main proponent of Thalberg puts him in the best light; Earl Wild's virtuoso recordings of Thalberg are in a different class altogether. It's my opinion that the op. 70 set of arrangements (paradoxically, the non-virtuoso output) is of considerable importance, and there are some good paraphrases of which I would especially cite La Sonnambula and La Traviata as worthwhile. That said, there's a large amount of comparatively throwaway fare to wade through to find these. I'm not persuaded in general by the original works I've heard, though the Soirees de Pausilippe are quite nice miniatures.

    Liszt does tend to get the kudos for being the undisputed king of this type of repertoire but I do feel there are some romantic era operatic transcriptions/paraphrases outwith him which are of considerable merit (ones by Tausig, Pabst, this one, a few others). It's only fair to say that I've waded through literally three figures worth of alternatives to Liszt trying to find ones which I feel are on a similar level.
     
  10. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not meant as a complaint, was just meant as an observation really. If you don't want to change it, it's obviously ok with me. I may not have designated them consistently in the first place anyway. Normal opus number? What's that? :lol: (I think I've not played a single-composer work in public for three years!!) Technically I believe this is Martucci's op.1, for what it's worth.
     
  11. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andrew,

    This was a first-time hearing of the Martucci Fantasy for me. I think your playing was wonderful and I totally enjoyed it. Congratulations on your performance of the very difficult piece.

    David
     
  12. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, I'm off to listen to your Liadov now! :)
     
  13. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andrew,

    You've played Liapunoff's "Nuit d'ete". What do you think of No. 12, the "Elegy to Liszt"? I've been playing through parts of it trying to decide whether to tackle it or not. The bravura sections and melody/accompaniment within the same hand are very difficult to be sure. Plus it's a very long work. Another consideration is that my practice time is very limited which makes it difficult to do justice to a big piece. Nor do I have a big technique. But then again....

    David
     
  14. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've actually played it in concert and was half-thinking about revising it! I found the hardest bit to be the leggiero in the Db major section, where the r.h. melodic patterns lie offbeat against the l.h. melodic pattern. That section drove me up the wall; one of the trickiest things I've ever played. The poco sostenuto, con maesta octaves are quite treacherous (you need good octaves on a regular basis in this piece!) The section directly before that calls for a fair amount of athleticism; it didn't bother me too much but that's purely because it's basically a souped-up version of the type of passage which is de rigueur in Liszt/Thalberg fantasies and so I'm used to it.

    Piano roll, I'm afraid, but as it's not something people are likely to encounter casually, here's the composer himself playing it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl_HHeuItQ0
     
  15. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    That's not just a "piano roll" but the performance of a Welte-Mignon Reproducing piano. IMHO these are very valuable in allowing us to hear performances of a century ago during the "Golden Age" of pianism. Edison was capturing the output of performance, and the Welte company its input.
    Incidentally, the piano roll method of capturing data would later be used by IBM on card stock for it's computers before magnetic tape.
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've been listening to some Welte-Mignon piano roll recordings of Granados playing his own music. It's wonderful - I love it so much!!
     
  17. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    They are very interesting historically, but just how reliable actually are they as a means of reproduction? Dynamics don't seem to come across with any great subtlety - there are some passages in that particular recording which don't sound very natural to me. Obviously they can be edited copiously (so what's new?!) and there are question marks over manipulation of tempo (whether conscious or accidental). I think I'm correct in saying that Busoni detested them and said so in letters to his wife. Obviously I'd rather have them than nothing.
     
  18. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andrew,

    Yes, I've heard that Liapunoff recording of the "Elegy to Liszt" many times. Not only was he a great composer, but also one of the finest pianists. Thanks for your comments on the piece. I didn't know you had performed it. Did you make a recording at the time? (And not on Welte-Mignon, but a digital one. :lol:)

    David
     
  19. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, I do have a recording, though it is handheld camcorder footage only, so the sound quality could be better. It's also from a lunchtime concert and there are extraneous noises like doors closing in the background! The performance suffers from a consistent fault i.e. I fell into the common trap of concentrating on other things and inadvertently tripletised some of the dotted rhythms. I can upload it later if you want to have a look at it.
     
  20. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andrew,

    Yes, I'd love to hear your rendition of No. 12. Thanks!

    David
     

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