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Medtner and Mendelssohn

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by arensky, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. arensky

    arensky New Member

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    Medtner's Skazka in f minor Op.26 #3 (on my recital in three days) and Mendelssohn's Song Without Words Op.30 #3 in E major "Consolation" recorded for one of my students who's playing it. Who assigned those titles anyway, many of them are quite dumb. When I last played this I was 13 or 14. Looked through the whole Lieder Ohne Worte, many of them are quite good and somewhat neglected; perhaps I'll record some others once the semester's over.

    The Medtner has some sloppy moments notably the LH B7 arpeggios and the concluding "cadenza" but I think this captured the spirit of the piece. Hope you enjoy it.

    Idylle will be coming very soon...

    Medtner - Skazka in f minor Op.26 #3
    Mendelssohn - Song Without Words Op.30 #3 in E major "Consolation"
     
  2. schmonz

    schmonz Amitai Schlair Piano Society Artist

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    Woohoo! Mo' Medtner! I've been working on this piece too (lovely) and since you mention it's about to be performed, I'll give relatively detailed comments.

    The exposition is very nicely set out. (Suggestion: try pedaling it just about twice as often as you do. I've been doing this and find it better suits the harmonic rhythm.) After it's done, I hear a noticeable tempo shift. Is that in the score and I don't remember it? Or maybe I'm not hearing it right. Either way, it's a bit unnerving to hear. Same with the staccato on the RH chords in the "bridge". But really the most important spot to concentrate on is the denouement of the harmonically unmoored arpeggios right before the theme returns -- it's the climax of the piece and should be dwelled on, slower and more forcefully, with a slight ritard just before breaking off abruptly (all IMO, of course). I really like how you take your sweet time before setting your hands back on the keys for the recap. The "cadenza" could use a little more boom in the sustained low F, but more important, more emphasis on the LH part, and don't get too fast too soon.

    This sounds like a ridiculous amount of niggling for such a small piece, and a lot of it is merely my own interpretation, and the rest you probably already know about, so don't take it all too seriously. But maybe there's something helpful in there. I plan to record this one soon, too, so you can have your say about it. :)

    BTW, the recap is shocking writing. The piece is in F minor but the recap starts in F# minor? And doesn't sound weird doing so?!? And then wends its way back home without sounding weird either?!?!? I love pointing this out to my musical friends and watching their jaws/eyes/brains-oozing-out-of-their-ears.
     
  3. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Both pieces sound very well to me, expressionwise and voicing of the melody. Have had only a look at the Mendelssohn score while listening, did not found reading errors.

    It is great that you prepare yourself well before a student plays a piece so that you can serve as good example.
    I also can't understand why somebody tries to find names for the pieces which are called "Songs without words". That's needless.
    There is a quotation from Chopin who found only the very first piece of that "Songs witout words" useful and the others too trivial from composition. Pretty hard opinion, but Chopin did not found something good in the compositions from other living collegues in general...
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Both very thoughtfully and affectionately played, and nothing much little to niggle about in terms of either technique or interpretation. I am not such a fan of the Mendelssohn Lieder Ohne Worte, although they certainly have their moments. I don't know this one but I think it gets all it needs.

    The Medtner Skazka I know very well. I would have wished for a little more contrast here and there. The forte middle voice, at the Tempo di Valse, could be brought out more, as could the left-over-right eights in the coda (the articollando probably hints at that ?). In the middle there are two pp bars in between mf bars, I did not hear that difference. I think the outer movements are a mite slow - well inside the metronome marking, but not very Narrante. Then you speed up considerably for the Piu mosso, but however this is marked (non subito) so there should not be a sudden gear shift, schmontz is right about that.

    But it's all nitpicking really. These are good, I'll put them up. More Medtner, yeah ! I am working on the remaining two items of the Op.42 set.
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    These two are up the site.
    Chase, if you plan more Mendelssohn Songs without words, you could perhaps provide some text about them ? Also, have a look at the Skazki page and see if you agree with my text there.
     
  6. arensky

    arensky New Member

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    Your Skazki blurb is good. If I post more Lieder Ohne Worte I'll write a short article about them, the source material is easy to find. I still need to write a blurb on Woodland Sketches, the problem there is that a friend gave me an old book about MacDowell that's PACKED with info, including a lot about the Woodland Sketches. To condense and modify this information will be quite a project but it's on my list. Probably not until late spring though.

    I wish I didn't have to earn a living. Then I could devote much more time here! :D

    Hmm, where did I put those lottery tickets.... :roll: :wink:

    I will respond to your and schmonz' comments in a couple of days; I play the concert with the cellist tomorrow for the first time. Off to practice.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    That is just it, and now you will appreciate my problem. I do not just want to grab some piece of text somewhere and copy it verbatim. That is cheating, even if we change to odd word. At PS we claim that our page texts offer something unique, and that gives some responsibility and it takes time. So I will make a point of urging pianists to supply texts for the repertoire they choose.

    But don't make too much of a meal about it. It doesn't need to be a 2-page in-depth analysis. A couple of lines will be great. I just don't have inspiration as I don't know these pieces very well and don't fancy them much. Thanks in advance !
     
  8. schmonz

    schmonz Amitai Schlair Piano Society Artist

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    Good luck on the recital!
     
  9. arensky

    arensky New Member

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    I do appreciate your problem. Writing art or music history well is a hard thing to do, it's easy to become long winded or overly opinionated. And to write for the uninitiated people who come to this site because they heard a piece by composer "X" somewhere or just like piano music (of any kind)and they want to learn and hear more about that composer is tricky. You have to write intelligently but in such a way that we don't alienate those people by being elitist. Pandering (this seems to be prevelant nowadays) is bad too. I think we're doing a good job here, and it's better to take the time to write a good article than just cram some stuff together. Since we all have lives away from here

    Indeed verbatim copying is cheating and often illegal. I've had to fail people for it in my college classes. :x

    But if a posting pianist is not a good writer those of us who can write well should fill the gap for the good of the site. Schedule permitting, of course.

    Gonna run through Rubinstein a couple times, then to bed.
     
  10. arensky

    arensky New Member

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    Thanks! 8)
     

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