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New Pianist Submission: Lamb, Beethoven, Mompou

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Bruce Siegel, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I haven't auditioned for anything in a while, and confess to being a bit nervous!

    I noticed that PS has some marvelous recordings of Joplin rags—I love the ones by Pantelis Assimakopoulos, in particular—but none by Joseph Lamb.

    I didn't see the Beethoven Minuet in E flat either. And the Mompou is very short, the 4th of the Chopin Variations. Unlike the other two pieces, I recorded it digitally, using the Garritan Steinway.

    I look forward to your feedback.

    Thanks,
    Bruce



    Beethoven - Minuet in E Flat, WoO82 (3:24)
    Lamb - Reindeer Rag (2:21)
    Mompou - Chopin Variations - Variation 4 (1:38)
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Bruce, and welcome. No sure why you'd be nervous about this audition. These are truly marvellous recordings, all three of them. You are completely in touch with each composer's sound world. The only complaint I have is about the Mompou... it's too short. It's such a pity to have just one of the variations - a bleeding chunk as it were. Any chance of you recording the complete set ?
    While the Mompou doesn't quite sound as open as the other two, this digital sound is certainly not bad at all.
    If you provide a bio and photo we can add you to the site. Just out of curiosity, what are you future recording plans ? We expect (well, we'd like...) our pianists to be regular submitters.

    PS - I love that slideshow on your site :D Excellent taste in classical paintings, too.
     
  3. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks so much! Your enthusiasm means a lot to me.

    I'm not too interested in recording the whole Mompou set at this point, but I do look forward to contributing other things. At the moment, I'm enjoying experimenting with the digital approach. I take it you won't mind getting more recordings using that technology? From your comments it seems you like the sound of the acoustic recordings better.

    Some questions:

    Are you reluctant to accepting short pieces in general? Would you be open to a single Mazurka, for example? Or three little Grieg pieces?
    From the submissions, I take it that you occasionally accept some original music? I'm thinking of one of my pieces that has a contemporary classical feel to it.

    Glad you like my crazy slideshow! It was a lot of fun to put together.

    I'll get a photo and bio to you shortly.

    Thanks again, Chris.

    Bruce
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Good to hear :)

    Digital vs. acoustics is an ongoing and raging discussion here. You may want to check the archives if you're interested. We don't like this trend of pianists to 'go digital', but I guess like all other technical developments, it can't be stopped. All we can say that digital is ok as long as it doesn't sound too much obviously digital. In this case, I might not even have noticed it if you hadn't mentioned it.

    Ah sure. It's just me being a completist. I like hearing all of a sonata, or set ot variations, or any other collection that is really meant to function as a group, and I can never understand why people only want to play one part of it but not another. That feels to me like selling a composer short.

    Ayuh, we do. The rule is that we accept anything as long as it can be reasonably called 'classical', and provided we like it. The admins' decisions on this cannot be contested. How is that for democratic and objective :lol:
     
  5. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    The fact that you "might not have noticed it" is pretty thrilling to me, actually. I live in a small place —no room for a grand. And I'm really fed up with the sound I get when I record my upright.

    The truth is, I enjoy playing my acoustic more. It's much easier to control the dynamics. But I'm always disappointed in the quality of sound when I record it.

    Whereas with the Roland/Garritan combo it's exactly the opposite. Playing highly nuanced classical stuff is a real struggle, and not usually much fun. (Though things do get a little better after I've been warming up on it for hours). But—when I listen to the results, I go—wow. Did I really just do that? Somehow it sounds better when I'm done, than when I'm playing.

    So the keyboard is a compromise, definitely. But I think of it as my "sharing machine". It gives me the pleasure of being able to get recordings out to the world I feel better about. (Though I don't think for a moment that it comes close to the quality of a beautifully recorded grand.)

    At least that's how I feel at the moment!

    I confess, too, that being able to edit so easily is very seductive.

    Unfortunately, playing the digital also robs me of the fun of playing my upright. They're so different, that if I play the upright, I'm totally messed up when I try to return to the Roland!

    I'm much less of a completist. A partisan, maybe? :) Often, l will enjoy playing just one movement of a sonata, or 3 pieces out of a set of 20. Or even one page out of a larger piece (not for an audience—just for myself.) My philosophy is why not just enjoy what I like?

    Sounds perfect and I respect that completely!
     
  6. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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    The Garritan sounds great, of course! And the interpretations are great, too.

    When I started listening, but on a MacBook--which has very poor speakers--I had only the slightest suspicion that the piano was sampled; and that's because I myself USE the Garritan! One or two of the solid chords seemed to give it away. But brilliant sound, overall.

    Which piano option (under the hood, etc) did you use here?

    JG
     
  7. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Thanks, John! I use the "Under the Lid" option. The other one I have is the Classic, in which the reverb is built into to the sound. I like to be able to add my own reverb so I have more options if I want a drier effect.

    Which did you use for the Intermezzo? It's funny you're asking me because when I got the Garritan Library a year or two ago, the very first thing I did was to see if I could duplicate the sound on your Intermezzo!
     
  8. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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    You know, it's been a long time! And I stopped altogether playing for a few years. I have the full version of the Garritan and I all I can say for sure is that I didn't use the concert hall option. It's too reverberant and not that realistic.

    I probably used (like you) the "under the lid" version and added reverb afterwards. I used too much verb, it seems to me now. I find your rendering of the Garritan compelling.

    Before long, everyone will be jumping on the bandwagon!

    JG
     
  9. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Now if I could just find a keyboard to pair it with! I'm using a Roland FP7, and I have to work too doggone hard to get the dynamics I'm after. Evenness and quietness—those are the challenges.
     
  10. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I have a Yamaha p33, but compared to the Kawai 500 mid-grand (5'9"), the touch is incredibly weak. But not as weak as other controllers. I believe Kawai makes the most life-like touch-sensitive keyboards. You would also need--for recording and playing simultaneously, memory, ssd drives, and probably a pretty fast chipset.

    JG
     
  11. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Thanks, John! Do you happen to know a Kawai model number that others are giving high praise to for simulating the acoustic piano feel?

    As to the system requirements, I seem to be doing pretty well with what I've got: A Mac Pro desktop tower from a couple years ago without any special options or ssd. I am playing, listening, and recording simultaneously, and the latency feels unnoticeable to me, really. I'm aware of the exchange you had with others at Northern Sounds telling you to get a solid state drive, but I seem to be doing OK without it.

    The one thing I did do, when I reconfigured my system recently, was to put the Garritan on the outer ring of a partitioned drive, all by itself. (A new, inexpensive drive.) The outer portion of a disk spins faster and is more quickly searchable, so you get better response. Maybe that's making a difference. I used to be bothered by latency, but not anymore.

    Or, maybe I've become less sensitive to latency, but I'm fairly sure that's not the whole story.

    One other thing—Monica just responded to my new upload of a Mazurka with a comment about hiss. If you could read her comment and give that a listen and see if you have any thoughts on that, I'd appreciate it! (I'm smiling as I write this because I'm thinking of a term you used about yourself somewhere—technopeasant. I certainly feel like I belong in that category.)
     
  12. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I listened without score here, Bruce. I have enjoyed very much the Mompou, which seems a good interpretation to me. In the Beethoven-piece seems to be problem with the sound-editing concerning the balance during nearly all the short played chords. I always had the feeling that tone wanders from left to right or reverse.
    The ragtime sounds better, but also the sound seems a bit irregular to my ears at many places (it´s difficult to express, the sound seems to "go off" or to "wander" before the breaks).
    I think, your playing (as far as it is "life" and not "edited") and interpretation is nice.
     
  13. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks for giving a listen and taking the time to comment!

    Thanks!

    I don't even want to think about the sound on these recordings! :cry: I did them maybe 8 years ago, when I first got ProTools and was learning to use it. I used all sorts of crazy strategies. I still haven't figured out how to make acoustic recordings here that I can enjoy listening to.

    That's why, at least, for the moment, I'm going with the digital approach. It has some deep disadvantages, but considering what I have to work with here—little room and a nice Yamaha upright whose tone will never be mistaken for that of a grand—I feel it's worth exploring.
     
  14. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    These are on the site Bruce. Please check that all is ok with them, and with your page and the links.
     
  15. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Bruce,

    I listened to your three pieces. Very nicely played! I had not heard the Lamb and Mompou before, so had a pleasant surprise hearing them for the first time. We sometimes think of Mompou as the "Spanish Debussy", but this variation has a late romantic sound to it. (Of course, Debussy wrote in the late romantic vein too until switching to his impressionistic style.) Thanks for posting!

    David
     
  16. Bruce Siegel

    Bruce Siegel New Member

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    Thanks, David! After hearing your Medtner and reading about your philosophy and approach, your complement means all the more to me.
     

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