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Mendelssohn: Song Without Words op. 38, 6, Duetto!

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by musicusblau, May 31, 2008.

  1. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I have recorded the "Duetto" in a flat major of Mendelssohns "Songs Without Words", which he wrote 1836 for his fiancée, Cécile Charlotte Sophie Jeanrenaud (1817-1853), before they married on 28.3.1837. This little "Duetto", which can be improved probably as kitsch (slush) from the view of today, is a "Love"-Duett: one tenor and one soprano have a dialogue, which ends in an octave-unisono in ff, which symbolizes the marriage.

    After a short introduction (bar 1) the soprano (Cécile) starts a phrase, in bar 6 the tenor (Felix) answers, in bar 10 (with upbar) the soprano repeats his phrase, now in bar 14 the tenor repeats his phrase, but in e flat major now instead of a flat major like in bar 6. All phrases have nearly 4 bars. So it´s a very classical Song-form. The dialogue develops from bar 18-29, until to the highpoint (octave-unisono in ff), in which Cécile (soprano) falls in the melody of Felix (tenor), (like it is usual in the 19. century the woman adapts to the man :wink: ). The duett ends with a little epilogue (bar 39-51).

    On my youtube-channel I make a little filmique picture-experiment with portraits of Felix Mendelssohn-B. and Cécile Jeanrenaude.
    Here I put the audio-file. I´m very interested in your comments!


    Mendelssohn - Songs Without Words Op. 38, No. 6 in A-flat major - "Duetto"
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That was lovely, Andreas! And I so much enjoyed the interesting text you provided. I'll try to put this up later today.
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ok - it's later, and this is up!
     
  4. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you very much, Monica! :D
     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    >(like it is usual in the 19. century the woman adapts to the man :wink: ).

    To make an example, Chopin and George Sand.... :) :(
    No, you are right, and also your playing is. A little more compressed dynamics respect other your Mendelssohn recordings, maybe?
    All best,
    Sandro
     
  6. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    A noble and chaste interpretation, which is a legitimate view of this piece (and in general of bourgeois life in XIX century) but perhaps a bit stereotyped. I've learnt the Duetto some months ago, but I didn't resolve to submit it since I wasn't completely satisfied, and find your playing rigid, to an extent - it's so difficult to make music breath naturally at the keyboard!. Also the octave section in fortissimo is strangely restrained and somewhat frustrating.
     
  7. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Sandro Bisotti wrote:
    Very good, this is remarkable exception! :wink:

    Thank you, Sandro! :D Yes, the less range of dynamics results also a bit of the new intonation of my grand-piano. It was too hard and I let made it a bit softer. But in some weeks or so it will have the same sound as before. It´s only because the intonation is fresh now.
     
  8. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Alf wrote:
    Concerning the theoretical thoughts about this piece it´s not my interpretation, the piano-playing is mine, of course. I have the analyse from the dissertation of Christa Jost, 1988: "Mendelssohns Lieder ohne Worte".

    This is your opinion and your good right to have it. I don´t agree. I choosed the slower tempo to have time for musical and expressive phrasings. And in my opinion this is well done, so for me there is nothing rigid. The octave-unisono could be louder, you are right, but this is also a matter of taste.
    Thanks for commenting.
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That is a perfect and most wonderful performance of this lovely piece (which I'm sure is one of the better items in the Lieder ohne Worte).

    I agree with Alsono only in that the "molto crescendo al fortissimo" section is a bit underpowered. But I found nothing stereotyped, rigid or frustrating here. I could imagine Perhahia, Goode or Pires doing it in a very similar way. Though perhaps not a Schiff, Argerich, or Pogorelich :wink:
     
  10. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Techneut wrote:
    Thank you very much, Chris, for these encouraging words. :D :D :D

    Yes, the ff-unisono is underpowered, may be I should rerecord, it would be easily changed.
    Very interesting, what you say about the pianists. I have to admit, I don´t know Goode or Pires, the others I know, especially Andras Schiff, I visited five times courses in chamber music of him, which he gave at "Prussia Cove" in Cornwall/England in the 1980th. ("International Musicians Seminar").
    So, you see, I´m not always the "extreme pianist". :lol:
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Never said you were ! :D
     
  12. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I know, Chris, I was only joking! :wink:
     
  13. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Andreas for your detailed introduction to this piece. I know this and played it myself a little bit, and thought "Dies ist ein Liebesgespräch!" :wink: without any former informations. Now I'm happy, because my presumption is confirmed!
    And you interpret this in a very elegant and noble way, I think. But for me this is too elegant, therefore it sounds actually like a love duett of an old couple, not any more of a young couple who are just before the marriage :roll: (Maybe I prefer Argerich or Pogorelich to Perhahia, Goode or Pires, concerning this piece :lol: But I never thought Schiff together with Argerich or Pogorelich!)
    I agree with Alfonso that there are some spots which sound a little bit restrained. I think these are resulted from the frequent uses of tenutos. I tried to find the score but in vain (my room is in mess now :? ), but perhaps you wanted to express crescendo-decrescendo oder sf on the score, didn't you? But the way how you've done it prevented a little bit the music from flowing.
    By the way, what is the "intonation" of pianos? Could you please explain it to me? :?:
     
  14. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Phew! (but nobody called me like that before). :p

    Stereotyped the domestic hearth, rigid (to a degree) the singing, frustrating the lack of crescendo and fortissimo. But I'm not good at name dropping, actually I spoke to Schiff only once to get an autograph, and have been in Cornwall just for hiking. So, it's very likely Musicus is right and I am wrong about the entire question. :lol:

    I think Schiff is very much in the same league as Perahia and Pires (I don't know Goode). By the way both Schiff and Perahia recorded a selection of LoW (it's a pity that the Schiff's Album is out of print and difficult to get, because it's wonderful). A great interpreter of the LoW is Livia Rev. Barenboim also plays them beautifully. But the most stunning performance of a handful of Songs (among which the Duetto) is by Ignaz Friedman. If someone is interested to listen to them, PM me.

    Chris, let me add: even in technical easy and musically discernible pieces like these ones, the great artists you named are abismally better than us poor amateurs and it's not fair to compare (both ways :wink: ). Devil is in the details...
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I was of course not implying that this recording (although IMO very good) was in the same league. What I meant to say that these artists might have a similar conception of the piece, and that as such I think Andreas' interpretation is a valid one.
     
  16. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    That's exactly what I meant in my reply :)
    But I've never spoken to Schiff for an autogram, never seen him in a concert or in a masterclass 8) (You guys are lucky!)
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Indeed I should have put Schiff in the Argerich/Pogorelich camp. Even though he can be pretty mannered at times. He's a splendid pianist. I'm just listening to his Bach English Suites. A bit fussy at times, but mesmerizing playing.
     
  18. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Sure, you are! :!:
     
  19. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hyenal wrote:
    To intonate a piano means to make the hammers of the piano softer, the tuner usually takes a set of needles for this. He puts them into the tomentum (don´t know, if this is the right expression).

    (In german: Der Klavierbauer sticht die Filze der Hämmer mit einem kleinen Gerät an, das vorne drei Nadeln aufgesetzt hat=Intonier-Set, dadurch werden diese - wenn sie hart gespielt sind - wieder weicher und der Klang ist wieder schöner, bis die Hämmer erneut hart gespielt sind.)
     
  20. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks for this, Chris. I never said, that I´m a profi or that I am like Schiff or so. I just visited some of his masterclasses in my youth, which is a long time ago. I consider me just as a semi-profi, because my professional daily tasks are mainly other than playing piano and I have not any more much time to practice, but I studied piano for 8 semesters at a high-school. But if there would be more people, who feel so frustrated by my playing I better wouldn´t post any more here or I would recommend to those people better not to listen to my posts, so may be they could better sleep then. :wink:
     

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