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New pianist submission: Beethoven - Sonata Op 13 II Adagio

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by FrederickJ, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. FrederickJ

    FrederickJ New Member

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    Hello -
    I would like to be considered as a pianist with the Piano Society. Here is my 3rd submission, a recording I made (this week) of Ludvig van Beethoven's Sonata Op 13 II Adagio Cantabile in MP3 format at 192 kbps. The piano is the Garritan Steinway Model D "Classic" mode and it was played via an M-Audio Keystation Pro 88.

    Regards,

    Frederick Johnson
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for converting your files. :wink: I don't have much time again, but I now listened to your Beethoven. First of all - I wish you would have spelled Ludwig with a w and not a v. Never in my life have I seen it spelled Ludvig! Second - sorry, but I'm not crazy about your playing on this one. There are one or two inaudible notes, measure 21 sounded sort of "different" to me, and overall the impression I got was that it didn't move me. Half-way through I was thinking that I couldn't listen any longer and I'm not sure if it's because of your tempo which seemed a bit fast to me, or if it is the sound. The digital rendition here really does not work on this. We need more weight, more depth, more tone. Sorry to be a naysayer. Maybe it's just me - I could be wrong about all this - we'll see if anyone else chimes in...
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I listened only cursory but I had much the same idea. Not a very convincing performance, and too may missed notes. I'll comment in more detail later.
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Frederick,

    I've played this sonata, including at a competition (long ago), so I know the music.

    You have the music in your fingers and can play this piece off fairly well with a few slips. But there are some problems in my opinion. Here are some thoughts meant to be helpful:

    First, when Beethoven composed this Adagio, what he had intended was the sound of a string quartet. So you need to make the melodies legato and cantabile (except where other touch is indicated) and phrase well to aim for the rich sound of the strings. Dynamic shadings become very important in this effort too.

    Next, I believe your tempo is a tad too fast. Rather, this movement is meant to be played more leisurely. And why rush through it? The upcoming third movement, the Rondo, is marked allegro in cut time, which will allow for much faster playing. But in the meantime, the mostly gentle and tranquil Adagio is to be savored to its last drop.

    Your playing here is mostly accurate, but very "square" in my opinion. What I mean by that is that it's quite metronomic. Your playing emphasizes meter and rhythm within meter which is what becomes most apparent to the ear. You need to let the piece "breathe" more to enable it to take on more of a relaxed feeling. In the mid-section there is much drama that needs to come through, but at the moment it sounds too straight forward rather than being played with thoughtful artistry.

    There are some places in the rendition where your background accompaniment is vying for equality with the melody in the foreground. Accompaniment needs to be more subdued and subordinate through better balancing of the hands as you listen to yourself as you play.

    So on bottom line, I believe that you have the mechanics of the piece down, but now you really need to look more at the elements of musicality. Beethoven is not Haydn or Mozart, of course. Although his training was certainly Viennese Classical, he is a transitional composer who eventually straddled both Viennese Classicism and the early Romantic Age. Even though Op. 13 is an early period sonata, in many ways he was already a maverick by then and clearly displaying new ideas for musical expression. In fact, Beethoven was well ahead of his time with this piece, which is why we relate so well and easily to it in our own modern era. The"Sonata Pathetique" as a whole has much human emotion in it--tragedy, agitation, tenderness, capriciousness, etc. All of this calls for expressiveness. The strict metronomic treatment is causing it to be too one-dimensional rather than multi-dimensional.

    I hope this helps.

    David
     
  5. FrederickJ

    FrederickJ New Member

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    I appreciate such a detailed and helpful analysis. After some more critical listening (why is it we can do that for others so readily but struggle to do that for ourselves?), I can hear 'opportunities for improvement', both in technique and musicality. Thanks all!

    Regards,
    Fred
     

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