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Nocturne time

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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  2. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I listened to the Chopin nocturne. It is beautiful. However you might have larger dynamics.

    Your sound is very clean. (I shall have missed the announce of you new recording set or is it still the Edirol ? :oops: )
    But it is too dry for my taste. It makes me miss partly the dream mood from this nocturne. I processed your recording to get a sound that makes me enjoy more this music. :)

    Cheers,

    Didier
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Didier,

    Thank you for 'Didierizing' me. :) It's been a while since you have done so. I'm still using my Edirol, but I have it in a different place than I had in my earlier recordings. Also, back then I was compressing at 128 kbps - I don't know why, actually because I just didn't know about those things. I still don't know that much, but I'm now using Audition as my editing program and have settled on the reverb Full - Lecture Hall. The file you made sounds a little smoother to me.

    Regarding my dynamics - I admit I'm not always very good at that, but I feel like in Chopin - especially the nocturnes, one should not play too loudly. I don't think Chopin's markings of ff meant the same to him as they do to us today. Probably a dumb excuse for my lack of good dynamics, but it's the only one I've got.... :oops: :lol:

    But now I have a new problem - my Field recordings on the site will not play. I get a Quicktime icon with a question mark in the middle of it. I was having the problem last night too, but thought it was working. I uploaded my files three or four times. Can anyone please click on one of the Field nocturnes here and tell me if it plays for you?
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    They play fine for me. At least I heard the beginnings ;-) I think your computer has been invaded by aliens again.
    The new reverb sounds very good to me.
     
  5. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Monica,
    All the files open for me. I think these are all very nicely played.
     
  6. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Good to hear some Field once in a while. Nicely played. These appear to be relatively slight pieces and to not have the drama and darker aspects present in Chopin, so I think you are right to play them in a fairly understated manner avoiding significant use of romantic-era mannerisms and gestures; however I would suggest is that your dynamic range is a bit restricted. Once again, thoroughly enjoyable to listen to.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for checking. :D I'm glad the reverb sounds okay. One of those things that you can experiment with for many many hours and still not try out all the different possibilities. And then there is all that equalizer stuff! I wish I knew more about that, but really there is so much there. I feel like I'd need to go back to college to learn it all. Even so, I'd like to learn how to take out some of the 'hard' tones from my piano - the brightness. There must be settings on the program for that but heck if I know what/where it is. And yes, those darn aliens! Must be the same ones that are jumping around inside my chest.... :wink:

    Thank you too, Eddy! :D

    Thank you, Andrew. :D You are right about these nocturnes being slight compared to Chopin's. As usual, Chopin took a genre and totally made it his own. However, these 'little' nocturnes here are not as easy to play as they sound. It's the left hand that is hard because it jumps all over the place and yet you have to keep it steady and every note balanced. I had to do about a thousand retakes because of inaudible notes, or notes that came down too hard, things like that. Re: dynamics; I know I can improve on them like usual, but really I don't think some nocturnes should have drastic dynamics. Also keep in mind the time when they were written pianos did not have the dynamic capabilities that our modern pianos have. That sounds plausible, doesn't it? :)


    But wait....the aliens - they have now attacked two of my Field nocturnes. OMG, I can't believe it!! :shock: :shock: I've cut out just about 1/2 minute of each file so you can hear what I'm talking about....
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    They must not like Field much. Can't say I blame them :mrgreen:
     
  9. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, I agree, these are not "big extremes of ff and pp" type pieces. To clarify what I meant, whilst you do quite well in terms of having the melody predominant over the accompaniment, and there certainly are some nice musical touches, the dynamics of the melody are a bit samey and a little nuance and inflection within it would go a long way. To put it another way, your dynamic gradation [of the melody] seems a bit linear when sometimes it would benefit from some undulation. Please don't take my criticism too strongly; your playing is innately elegant and clean but with pieces such as these I believe that getting the subtle nuances of tone and touch across makes all the difference between an effective performance and a truly artistic one.

    (edited)
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    That's okay, I understand what you are saying. :) Thank you for the suggestion!! If I can find more time to spend on these, I'll definitely work on that.
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Nope, I don't think so :D
     
  12. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    (edited) :wink:

    You been reading my edits?
     
  13. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I listened to the first two Field nocturnes and the Chopin. The Field seem very well played in general. Good balance between the right and left hands and steady pulse. They could perhaps be a bit more fluid and dreamy in places and the finger legato a bit more secure IMHO, but overall very good.

    As for the Chopin. it's nice to hear this one played (it seems to be less often played than some others). Again good job overall, but it being Chopin, I do have some nitpicks and suggestions (I followed along with score):

    1. In the second measure, the turn notes are clearly marked as being before the beat, but yours seem on the beat. Generally, ornaments in Chopin do tend to be on the beat unless it's marked otherwise as here. Could be a difference in editions of course.

    2. A few dotted rhythms don't seem quite precise to me. For example, the dotted 16th rhythm in measure 5 seemed held too long (also the one in the recap).

    3. At a couple of points, you noticeably rush (measures 10-13 and the reprise in 76-79). This may be intentional, but it didn't seem quite natural to me.

    4. For the longer trills (measures 9, 75), you stop in the middle rather than play them through the rest of the measure. Since Chopin indicates them as over half notes and writes the termination notes (at least in my edition), I think he intends for them to be played fluidly through to the next measure.

    5. The filigree passage that begins with a chromatic scale (measures 37 and 87) seems a bit unclear/uneven to my ears with a couple of dropped notes. This might be one passage to work on a bit more.

    6. Nice work on the chorale-like E-flat major middle section. Nothing to nitpick here. I like your rubato, which seems to have a dash of heroism.

    Although this is IMO not one of the more difficult nocturnes, it still is very tricky to get just right with all the grace-note filigree. Many of these you do well, but some could be tossed off with greater fluidity and panache. Just my opinion of course. Nevertheless, I enjoyed listening as always.

    Joe
     
  14. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I had a listen to your nocturnes by Field. Well played! The three Field Nocturnes felt, to me, conceived in a dream-like state, which I suppose is appropriate for it being a nocturne :p For criticism, if you were to record this again I would echo didier in that I would try to increase the dynamic range so the soft is barely audible and the "ff" sound as if digging into the keys. This is just for the field nocturnes. I was not able to get the Chopin nocturne to play for some reason? It directed me to a box that said "newer version needs to be installed" :evil: . I am using a lab computer now so its quicktime may be out of date.

    Sounded nice,

    ~Riley
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for the detailed critique, Joe! :D

    The turn notes in the second measure...I never really noticed that they are before the beat, but I think you are right. I tried it out on my piano just now, but it's hard to do; there is no time! Those rushing spots - that's just me....I feel like it's a tiny bit of joy and I tend to want to animate it a bit. Maybe it doesn't work and is just plain stupid. The long trilll - again, you're right about that - I cut it off too soon. And the long chromatic tiny notes....it's psychological. When I'm getting close to that spot my head starts thinking, "oh no, here it comes, that hard run", and so I get nervous and flub it up. I just now practiced it about a hundred times. Thank you again for all this - I will make a new re-re-recording tomorrow night and correct these things. :)

    @Riley - thank you for listening. And again, I too am having the same problem. None of the links at the top will open for me. My Quicktime must be screwed up. I hope it's just that.
     
  16. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I just listened to all your Field Nocturnes and they all sounded very nicely played to me. The only one I ever played was No. 5 in B flat, which is probably the best known and most popular one of the set.

    Regarding the brightness of your piano, probably electronic editing is not the best answer. Rather some voicing of the hammers would be the better solution. My Baldwin is getting a bit bright now too. I keep hesitating because when the piano is voiced, its sound will go from the familiar to the unfamiliar. My fear is that I might not like the result. I sense you have that same worry.

    David
     
  17. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi David,

    Thank you for listening to my Field nocturnes. I've only ever played these three. I have the whole book, so maybe one day I'll look at some others.

    Regarding voicing my piano - you're probably right about that being a better solution. My tuner was just over last Friday, but I was not home and so I didn't tell him about this. Darn it! He did however find the problem I had which was something rattling around on my F-sharp key. It was a paper clip that I had dropped down in there. :lol: Anyway, I think I could do some of the voicing myself. If I just prick the felts a little bit, it really takes off some of the harshness. Problem is that I can't find a needle or something like that long and skinny enough. Maybe I can purchase tools like that...hmmm...just gave myself the idea. :idea:
     
  18. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Hi Monica,

    Thank you for giving us these Field nocturnes. He is always one of those figures in music that I think about exploring when I read something on Chopin that alludes to Field's influence on the nocturnes and then go on with learning the music that I need to learn for church and school.

    You played these nocturnes with elegance and restraint, two qualities that I believe serves this type of music well. This is pure piano music and IMHO orchestral arrangements or other transcriptions do it no good.

    Listening to the Field nocturnes was enlightening. Throughout I heard figures and passages that were pure Chopin -- the very figures that I always equated with Chopin and no one else. Now it is obvious that Frederic "plagarised" them from John Field. It certainly seems to indicate that he found these musical moments as evocative of the "night" experience. (How terribly "Post-Modern" of me to say "'night' experience" when I could have just said "evocative of the night").

    The main difference that I hear between the Field and the Chopin is that the Field L.H. accompaniments sound more basic and have less finesse than the Chopin. His form seems also more clear cut and creates a sense of more restraint. But remember, Field is a child of the late Viennese Classical period. His mentor was a classisist (though a romantic one at that -- there are moments where he out Beethovens Beethoven -- who greatly admired Clementi's music). Field is creating a new concept in piano music from scratch, so to speak. Chopin is enough younger that he has the opportunity to move this new piano idea forward.

    [P.S. Monica, I know that you don't think much of Clementi because of what you have read about is treatment of John Field. Though I can't yet put my finger on it, I think that Clementi may be getting a bit of a bum rap here. The only prime source that I have found that says anything about Fields ill fitting clothes and other things that have made it to the history books was the book by Louis Spohr that talks about one meeting between himself and Clementi and Field. C & F were on tour and washing their own clothes. Spohr attributes this to cheapness, but there had been substantial financial loss in Clementi's piano company -- a fire -- earlier that may have helped cause this "cheapness". From what I have gathered, Clementi also did a lot to help Field secure a financially lucrative postion in St. Petersburg that put him in the presence of the nobility and earned him a lot of money. If we are to get after any composer for his treatment of others, we should go after Beethoven. Look what he did to his nepher, Karl, and Karl's mother! Heck, he drove Karl to a suicide attempt.]

    Scott
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for listening to the Field nocturnes, Scott. I don't think any orchestral arrangement would work with them either.

    Yes, Chopin clearly was influenced by Field. Wish we could know what Field would have thought of Chopin had Field lived longer and had a chance to hear Chopin’s nocturnes. And regarding the ‘nocturne’ or ‘night music’ – from what I’ve read, Chopin (and his circle of friends) would often stay at musical soirees way until into the morning hours. So there was plenty of ‘night’ time in which to play nocturnes. I can imagine what it would have been like to be at an elegant and intimate soiree in some exclusive mansion in Paris: it’s very late at night and people are tired but not yet ready to retire. Fireplaces are lit, and some candles still burn but not as many as earlier in the evening. The room is darkened yet cast in a warm, romantic glow, and then Chopin gets up and strolls to the piano, sits down, and plays one of his nocturnes. Ohhhh…I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about that! Hurry up with that time-travel machine, folks! (It's been confirmed that neutrinos travel faster than the speed of light, so time travel may be possible after all.... :D )

    Regarding Clementi - I remember when I was researching Field to write his bio, I found several sources referring to Clementi’s sometimes crummy treatment of Field. Originally, I was going to put more about that in the Field bio, but decided against it. However, it did cloud my judgment about Clementi as a person. Did you know he was married three times? Wonder if he had a pre-nup? :lol: And yes, probably Beethoven gets the award for being a bigger ‘meanie’ than Clementi was.
     
  20. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    No! :eek: Don't stick pins into the hammers! You might assume that you put them into the striking surface of the felt which is NOT the case. It goes into the shoulders. And, for voicing there are different mounted pins for different effects. And you need lacquer too, in case the voicing on a hammer was too much and needs to be reversed a bit. It's extremely easy to ruin a set of hammers, so better to leave it to the tech. One thing you can do--if you get a brass brush about the width of a toothbrush, you can pull out the action to get at the hammers and carefully brush the striking surface from front to back, then from back to front. Ideally two motions, no more than four. Do it precisely and crisply with just enough pressure, without pulling out strands of felt. The purpose of that is to get the metalic residue from the strings out of the grooves on the hammer felts. It will darken the tone a little, but lasts only for a week or two.

    David
     

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