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Novelette No. 4

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by John Robson, May 8, 2007.

  1. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    The term "Noveletten" is considered to mean short novellas. Schumann described the "Noveletten" as "cheerful and perfunctory, apart from a few moments where I get to the bottom of things." There are contradictory statements from Schumann as to whether or not he intended the the eight pieces as an organized cycle. For example, on one occasion he approved of Clara's playing Novelette No. 2 by itself. On another occasion he stated that they are all "intimately interrelated." Today they are frequently performed separately in recitals.

    He composed "Noveletten" and "Kinderszcenen" near the same time. Surprisingly he wrote: "I commend the enclosed "Kindersczenen" to your benelovence; originally they were meant to form an appendix to the "Novelleten," but I find it more fitting that they appear in a separate volume."

    Schumann - Op.21, IV. Ballmässig. Sehr munter
     
  2. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    That's playing with great spirit and dynamics - I think you captured the mood of the piece (my score has the german title "Ballmaessig, sehr munter") very well.

    Yes, nothing to niggle from my side regarding your piano playing. The recording itself is overdriven, maybe that's the reason that it sounds very sharp, from forte to ffff, with no mellow soft tones. But that's only the recording quality, I think you played the piano parts softer as it appears here.

    I never heard it before, but interesting that Schumann composed in such a style, and thank you for posting this!
     
  3. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, Olaf, for your kind words. I found this Novelette to be a rather strange piece of music and enjoyed learning it partially for that very reason. It "grew" on me.

    As a few PS members can attest, I have been experiencing many problems attempting to improve the quality of my recordings. Unfortunately I seem to have devoted more time and worry to recording problems than to the music itself. There are indeed soft parts of this posting, but a friend who is a radio sound engineer installed a PAD (?) on the cord to my pre-amp so I could increase the input volume level without so much clipping. I think it helped. I also placed the microphone a little further away from the strings to allow for a little reverb. My friend told me my music room is very "alive" and I shouldn't need any artificial reverb. I know nothing about that sort of thing. Perhaps I'm gradually learning a little.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I do not know this piece, but it sounds pretty hard. You played it well and with what Olaf said, great spirit. I've listened to it several times, now, and I think it's starting to grow on me too. :)

    A few observations about the sound: I'm not sure, but I think you said that you did not add any reverb. I can't decide if adding any would make it better or not. Did you try it with Wavepad? The overall sound is ok when I turn the volume down on my speakers - then I don't hear any hissing. I noticed your dynamics were fine, but at 1:17 it sounds like all of a sudden the right hand got not just softer, but like a far away sound. It's only at that spot.

    Just listened again. Nice job.
     
  5. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Schumann and Brendel would be proud! :wink:
     
  6. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, Monica and Juufa, for listening and commenting. Monica, I did not add reverb on this because I haven't been successful at adding it without some sort of distortion. However, I used more pedal than I normally do. The last Novelette I posted a couple of people suggested more pedal because it sounded too dry. So I tried it. I'm not sure, but I think it helped.
     
  7. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Don't you hear yourself that distorting noise on the loud places (and there are plenty of them :lol:) ?
    Then you should have a look at how your recorded waveform looks like in an audio editor like Audacity or CoolEdit or whatever shareware program.
    I did, it is that uggly digital clipping what bothers. Instead increasing the input level you drastically need to decrease the level until no clipping occurs anymore. That does not take much time - playing, looking at the resulting waveform - adjusting the level and remembering the level for every recording. That's an effort of some minutes and would greatly help to get a better recording quality.
     
  8. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    The recording quality is a bit harsh and if you watch the volume meter, it hits the roof many times. But I do not think it is alarmingly bad.

    Your playing sounds good and I have put it up on the site. Regarding Schumann's statement, I found the following sentence from googling:
    Schumann himself once stated: "This work is a series of longish tales of adventure… intimately connected and written with passionate joy -- cheerful and flighty…but somewhere I also hit rock bottom."
    About the same as you described so I added it on the site as well.
     
  9. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Novelette

    Thanks, Robert, for listening and commenting. Olaf has been kind enough to make some suggestions to help with my recording problems. I plan to try them to improve and avoid the "clipping" in a couple of my posts. If you wish, I'll will glad record the Novelette again at a lower input level. I also plan to do that with the Beethoven sonata I submitted a few weeks ago.

    I enjoyed reading the quote you found. I'm glad that Schumann mentioned "but somehow I always hit rock bottom" because those "rock bottom" parts are usually my favorite sections in the Novelettes.
     

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