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piano competition

Discussion in 'General' started by pianolady, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Radar

    Radar New Member

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    I did watch Mash but that's not where I got the nick name from, I was a radar technician in the Navy and my name if Ray. They called me Radar Ray for a while then it just got shortened to Radar.
     
  2. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'd like to say: Ditto! (and I'm dying, too...)
     
  3. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Monica, I don't know what the requirements are for your competition, but here are some guidelines from former judges:

    1. Formal works always carry more weight over the less formal works.
    2. Typically longer works are weighed more heavily over shorter works.
    3. Shorter and more technically challenging works carry more weight over the longer and less technical works.
    4. One long and difficult work carries more weight than multiple short and less difficult pieces.
    5. Almost every competition requires a Mozart or Beethoven Sonata, and a Chopin Etude(s).
    6. Certain works in the piano repertoire are a "real world" measure of greatness of a pianist's debut: Beethoven Sonatas; Chopin Preludes Op. 28, Etudes; works of Liszt.
    7. Make sure you know all the pertinent requirements of the competition, judges, piano, hall.

    Whatever you're worrying about now, just REELLAAAAXX........ If there are multiple rounds in the competition, then you don't need to show up to a race in a Ferrari in the first round of the competition. The first round will screen out the one's who will make mistakes. Keep it simple, predictable, and clean. Save the most difficult repertoire for the final round.

    When you're on stage, there is no guarantee that you'll play 3 shorter and easier pieces better than 1 longer and more difficult one. From a judging standpoint, it will weigh less heavily in your favor. Statistically, I'd say you have a better chance to play 3 shorter and simpler pieces better than 1 longer and more difficult one. In some circumstances, when you play a group of seemingly easier pieces, it may be more difficult to excel on every piece equally in public, because I think we psychologically prepare ourselves differently with easier pieces, and there is also an issue with consistency. Years ago, I was faced with a similar situation in deciding which Beethoven Sonata to play in the final round. I chose the easier one. I was told that it was the deciding factor in my placement. The pianists who placed 1st and 2nd clearly played the more difficult sonatas brilliantly. However, had I chosen a more difficult sonata, and didn't play it well, I would have dropped down considerably from 3rd. Well, even still... Not bad for Jerry's kids?! :p

    In the meantime, pick and chose various passages within your repertoire to make sure your fingering and fluidity is intact to remove any doubts. Make sure your muscle memory in the fingers is just as confident as the notes in your brain. Remain calm, collective, patient, and focus intently - live vicariously in the state of mind of the composer when you're playing for them on stage - allow yourself to feed the music as if you were the composer. Don't worry about nerves, every pianist in that hall will have it. The difference lies in how you allow yourself to be free in spirit, and yet not allow your focus to wander under pressure. Try practicing with distractions and noises to practice on your focus - it will help you maintain that essential focus in the event you do have an unexpected distraction. Competitions are respective to one's cumulative musical experience - you're an avid recorder of music, great pianist, and all that hard labor will show... At the very end, you will do amazing things that will even surprise yourself... Save us a front row seat! :)

    Good Luck!
     
  4. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Aha! So it is. It didn't occur to me that Liszt has his anniversary soon. But it's a bit strange that a biannual competition made it a rule of one year which involves three years (2009-2011), if its rule is always based on anniversaries of composers.
    Anyway I had thought this competition is so romantic tendentious that it's obiously not for me. Among those three Schumann is the only one I have real sympathy with. I never really liked Mendelssohn and Liszt. I think Chopin is a wonderful composer, but somehow I seem to have no talent for his music :roll:
    BTW Alfonso, are you planning to participate in such a competition, or have you already done? I bet you will do really well :D
     
  5. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wow, you have a lot informations and your own experiences as well! Thanks for sharing.
    But are all of those elements equally valid for an amateur competition, too?

    I found this advise really interesting, cause I always play better in such a situation than in very quiet surroundings. It's like reading a difficult book in a noisy subway. I found that made me always more concentrate. :roll:
     
  6. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    In 2009 IPAC Berlin was not held, nor will be in 2011, hence the accumulation of anniversaries in the current edition. Also, I believe that those four composers offer all together quite a wide choice -after all you can pick out whatever piece you like, a mazurka, a valse, a song without words, an easy piece from the Years of Pilgrimage, it is just a token if you cannot or don't want to play the Liszt Sonata or the Carnaval.

    Submit some Chopin and we'll see. :p



    In a very distant future I might even try. :lol:
     
  7. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    It's not just you - even the professionals have a hard time truly empathizing with Chopin. Glenn Gould comes to mind. Oddly, he said he only played Chopin 'for himself', and there was implication in other areas that he tended to play with the most abandon when alone. I mean...he claimed to not really like Chopin, but if you don't like a composer, why play his music for yourself? :lol: And his interpretation of the b minor sonata was, just like he said, quite 'straight'. He keeps a tight lid on dynamic fluctuation, and plays with a nearly perfect Chopin rubato, though this is also tightly controlled. The latter makes me wish he had played more Chopin, because I really value that talent in pianists, but the former is a problem, I think. Also, most professionals who did record Chopin are disappointing to me.

    I have come to my own peace with Chopin, I think. I know I can't play his music like he did, but it still moves me.

    I think that maybe the emphasis on these birthday composers comes in the same year because of the novelty of the situation. Unlike with Bach, Handel, and Scarlatti, who were all born in the same year (they celebrated 300 in 1985).....Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann all knew each other. They were friends, and they were enemies. :lol: They had a lot to say about each other in their memoirs, including letters. Also, for a piano competition, these four are particularly important, as they are the most consistently popular composers of that generation, the generation that shaped the maturity of the piano, as a solo instrument (Mendelssohn less consistently popular, but there has been a resurgence of Mendelssohn interest in the last half century or so). Their generation was the generation of the piano recital, the master class, and the dawn of memorizing for performance, and pianistic virtuosity reached its elegiac height then also, particularly through the technique of Chopin and Liszt. We all favor one of them over the others, or maybe two, but I think that is why the competition gives a choice.
     
  8. pianolady

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

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    Great tips, George. Thank you for that! This competition is more relaxed than other competitions. There are no requirements as to repertoire except that participants should not play music that is too unfamiliar. Apart from there being time limits, that's it!


    And Alfonso and Hye-Jin - I'm glad you said what you did - I think I will stick with my original plan and play three shorter pieces. Without giving out all details - I can tell you that for the first round I chose a short Mozart sonata movement, one Chopin mazurka, and one Mompou Cancion & Danza. Here is my thinking for this, so feel free to tell me if you if think it's dumb - I'm still open for suggestions: First of all - there is a ten minute time limit. I wanted to put down Granados Goyescase no. 2 - there is practically every technical and musical aspect in the piece that I figured it would cover all bases. However, I tried and tried and could not get it in under ten minutes. So then I switched gears and went the route of shorter pieces. The three I chose clock in at 9 minutes, 45 seconds. I was worried about what would happen if I inadvertently go over by a few seconds, so I asked the organizers if a giant hook would come out and yank me off the piano bench and they said no - a few seconds would be ok, but only a few seconds. And then the tone and mood of the pieces I chose was something I carefully considered. You wouldn't know this about me, but when I have company over for dinner parties or whatever, the dinner music I choose fits the kind of mood I want for the party and also what I think most of my guests like. So in this case, my three pieces are each upbeat and end in either a soft pretty chord, or a loud exuberant chord. I want my performance to end in an upbeat way, sort of leave an uplifting impression. Now that I look at my entire list for all three rounds, it seems none of the pieces I chose are 'dark' or 'sad' pieces (except for one other Chopin mazurka). btw- I recently considered playing the Chopin Barcarolle for the first round, and that's what got me rethinking all this. But you guys know how I play - I don't think I could get this piece any better than it did for my PS recording.

    I did put down the Goyescas for round two along with one other piece - that round is twenty minutes. And the third round is 30 minutes - I have a bunch of pieces down for that one. But really, I doubt I will even get that far. I would love to make into round two, but I'm not confident of making it passed round one.

    So....any thoughts?
     
  9. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm a bit too young to be eligible to take part in the IPAC 2010 anyway, but this year is really not for me. I cannot say there is any piece among those easier pieces than Liszt sonata ect. which I really want to play or can confidently play :( Maybe most of my pieces in recent years are far from the "standard" repertoires. I have to learn more "standards" and to take more interest in them, in order to realize my dream (participating in a competition) someday :roll:
     
  10. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Your explanation is really convincing, Terez. Now I cannot blame the organizers any more :lol:
    I'm afraid to lead this post to too Off-topic, but can you help me in understanding what a perfect Chopin rubato is? (Sorry for my ignorance again :oops: )
    Even though I cannot say I have enough experience with Chopin, I have been nearly always disappointed by the famous ones, too. But recently I borrowed the Chopin CD of Hamelin (http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7818341) form our city library and found it really good.
    Yes, I saw that in your recital :wink:
     
  11. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    lol, just that the tempo remains steady in the accompaniment hand - maybe not metronomic, but with a strong enough pulse to at least sound metronomic to the casual listener - while the melodic hand is free from the accompaniment hand, weaving in and out. Perhaps both hands will weave in an out a bit, but the time that is borrowed must always be returned. GG's melodic hand was not all that free - I have heard more convincing Chopin rubato, that's for sure - but he kept the tempo under control, which is something that is lacking in most pianists' recordings of Chopin (Ashkenazy comes to mind....I have his complete Chopin). It is much easier for us to add ritardandos and accelerandos where there are none, than it is for us to keep the tempo and the precise rhythm in one hand, but not in the other. :lol: I find that the structure of the piece weakens when the rubato is too free. Melodies become garbled statements, and syncopation becomes meaningless.
     
  12. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Terez. I had read that thing somewhere, but I never considered it as so important... Maybe cause most pianists observe that not so strictly. At the first sight, it sounds a bit strange that you must obey a strict rule in interpreting music, but as you wrote, it is important.
     
  13. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I think that most pianists do not observe it strictly because it is extremely difficult. Not so difficult to play in tempo....but difficult to be expressive while playing in tempo. Even after playing so much Bach, so that our hands are independent of each other, it is extremely counterintuitive to most of us to let one hand be free of the other in this sense, especially in certain types of music, like the more lyrical pieces and episodes of Chopin. So we do what is easier: we are expressive via the unwritten ritardando and accelerando - this 'all over the place' rubato that is common in most Chopin interpretations (including mine, much to my disappointment).

    So, since it is difficult, I think for many years, professional pianists have justified this non-Chopin type of rubato in Chopin by saying that to play Chopin in strict tempo must be mechanical, and non-musical. But I don't believe that is the case.

    Sorry for going OT, Monica...especially seeing as how I think we have argued about this before. :lol: I will add my voice to those who think you should play what you are most comfortable with, at the competition. As Alfie says, it's a no-brainer.
     
  14. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Monica, thank you for sharing your planning of pieces! I think the combination of Mozart, Chopin and Mompou is good. I know how you play Ch and M. You love them and play well. But which mov. of Mozart are you going to play? The first mov. from K570 which you recently recorded? Or the third? I personally would really agonize over choosing just one sonata movement for a recital program. Cause I'm a bit obsessed by the puristic thought that a sonata schould be played in a whole and based on this it would be difficult for me to find a movement which could harmonize with other pieces. But I know well this is a competition with time limit and the jury allows to play only a movement from a sonata. Besides, playing a Mozart for a competition would be never easy, since a small mistake or uneven runs would be too apparent. Just a personal thinking from an unexperienced one :roll: :roll:
    BTW your Barcarolle was good...
     
  15. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Monica, the last post of me came to my mind as I awakened this morning and found my concerns against selecting just one Mozart movement totally useless and rather confusing. So never mind it :oops:
    However I wanted add one thing that is hopefully useful. When you play a technically tricky piece before the audience, you schould plan another short and easy piece before that one: This was what I learned from my performance of that Bach-Rach transcription. Actually I made the most terrible performance ever on that day. As I warmed up on the instrument before it, everything seemed to work well. But during a not that long break until the real performance I was frozen from the cold and the nervousness. So the result was horrible. It turned out that my RH can alway work also in the emotional stir, but my LH not. After it I thought if I played another comfortable piece directly before that piece, I could more relax myself and recover myself not only technically but also musically.
    So if you play the Barcarolle (which I suppose very hard) in any round, check if you can play that in any circumstances comfortably.
     
  16. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I was going to say...I dunno if 'purist' is even the right way to go about describing that need to play a whole multi-movement piece. Even in Chopin's time, it was still common to play other things between movements of a multi-movement piece, for variety. I have been thinking about that a lot lately, because of the way the Bach organ passacaglia was written. The fugue was obviously not written to be played right after the passacaglia, because the ending of the passacaglia is so awesome as to make one wonder why he wrote anything after it. But when you take into consideration that the fugue was not intended to be played right then - made obvious by the way the opening pickup note of the fugue overlaps awkwardly with the final chord of the passacaglia - it all makes sense. Bach probably played the passacaglia to open the church service, putting the fear of God into everyone as they settled down for worship. Bach, of course, achieves that magnificently. The fugue might have been played at some other time during the service, but it makes the most sense to me as something to play as the service ends. Maybe because the ending of that one speaks to me, saying 'church is over now!' :lol:

    I will probably never try to play anything as hard as the Barcarolle for anything like this. :cry: I do love it though....
     
  17. pianolady

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

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    On the competition guidelines, it states that they like to see a variety of styles and composers on competitors chosen list of repertoire. And with the first round being only ten minutes, I could only squeeze in the one Mozart sonata movement.

    @Hye-Jin, that is a very good tip about playing something easy for the first piece so that you feel a bit more relaxed for the next pieces. I've had similar problems like you did - seems that if I play a piece very well, then the next time it goes very badly and vice versa. Therefore, when I am practicing/warming up before performing, I try to end that warming up time when I've played my piece badly. That means that the next time should go well. Probably some weird psychological thing...

    @Terez - I tried playing through the Barcarolle again yesterday and man....it would take so much work for me to get it back in shape again. I'm afraid of hurting my wrists. But I still love it too....
     
  18. pianolady

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

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    Well, I just a moment ago played through Chopin's Bolero. I forgot I even had it - found it just now under a pile of books. And you know, I like this piece! It's fairly long but not nearly as difficult as the Barcarolle. I wish I would have thought of this before - I may work on it now and see if I can get it into somewhat decent shape. Do you guys know this piece and what do you think of it?
     
  19. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I didn't know that piece, so I listened to Ashkenazy's rendition on YT (Rubinstein's playing is not available in Germany again :evil: ). I think the piece suits to you very well and just from listening it sounded not so easy to play. Anyway Good luck with that Bolero, Monica!
    (BTW does it belong to pieces of Chopin which are hardly played? I have listened to many Chopin CDs so far but had never found it.)
     
  20. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    All of the Chopin 'miscellaneous' pieces suffer from neglect, with the exception of the barcarolle and the berceuse. Probably because we tend to buy Chopin by genre - nocturnes, etudes, preludes, mazurkas, polonaises, scherzos, ballades, waltzes, polonaises, sonatas, impromptus. The vast majority of Chopin's solo music is in one of those categories. I think the Barcarolle stands out because it's truly one of his best works, and the berceuse maybe because of its uniqueness (can't think of another piece that varies on such a brief chaconne).
     

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