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Rachmaninoff, Prelude, Op. 32, No. 1 in C

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Rachfan, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Rachmaninoff composed this first prelude of his Opus 32 in August of 1910, and it was first performed in Moscow. This prelude is a brilliant piece with a subdued ending. The best recording I’ve ever heard was Richter's; but not being a Richter, I formed my own interpretation within my capabilities which resulted in a different sound.

    When asked, Rachmaninoff freely admitted to having “programs” for many of his preludes, but refused to divulge them, instead leaving listeners to derive their own programs. This prelude reminds me of incoming ocean waves gathering strength, crashing against a rocky shore, swirling in violent turbulence as the foaming water retreats, only to roll in again to thunder and explode against the steadfast rocks while tossing sea spray high into the air. I hope you like it.

    Piano: Baldwin Model L Artist Grand.

    An older analog recording

    Comments welcome.

    David

    Rachmaninoff - Prelude, Op. 32, No. 1 in C Major
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    A good stab at this prelude. While not staggeringly difficult, this one is quite tricky and you do a fine job. In some places its sounds a litte strenuous, and the balance seems a bit towards the bass. I am surprised that the sound is not better, but then this is a recording from 2003 isn't it ?

    It is up the site.
     
  3. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    where is the link?
     
  4. pianolady

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

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    It's there now.
     
  5. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Good job PianoLady!


    and bravo Mr. David although your piano sounds a little out of tune.
     
  6. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Actually, this recording is from the 1990s. It's only been since August 2007 that I've been making digital recordings. Before that, all were analog. I've decided to annotate which is which on my recordings here.

    Thanks for the compliment! Yes, although not extremely difficult, this prelude is very tricky, so was still difficult for me.

    David
     
  7. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi juufa,

    Glad you liked my performance of this piece!

    I'd love to get the piano tuned just before every recording, but it would be an expensive proposition for anyone. So if the piano is just a bit off, I go with it. (I keep a tuning lever handy and fix a note or two as well.) But if it's really noticeable (like right now it's bad), I postpone recording until after it's been tuned.

    David
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Are you sure ? It said 2003 in the ID3 tag.
     
  9. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    The tune is minor. To me, this is still good sounding. Not perfect, but still good.
     
  10. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, I'm fairly sure, although it was a few years back. My recollection is that the electronic music file on my PC was "ripped" from my own Rachmaninoff CD. So here was the path it had followed: analog WAV file on cassette tape, transferred to CD, uploaded as WAV to the PC and converted to WMA in the process, then reconverted to MP3 for posting purposes. The weak link in all this was the CD. I had been working with a professional studio to transfer the tapes to CD, as I was concerned about tape degradation over time. CD technology was claimed to have an archival life of over 100 years. Well, it turned out that the studio (the only one in the city) was not that "professional". And this was before CD burners for home use (or later E drives for the same purpose) were common. I believe that my tapes were the first pieces of classical music they had ever encountered. If there was a momentary pause in the playing due to rests, they took that to be "the end", and continued the rest of the piece as a new cut! Finally, I had to sit with them to get it all right. Where they worked in pops and jazz, I suspect that they also applied filtering or whatever as they saw fit without consultation. I was never too happy with the results.

    So several years ago I decided to delete the CD rips from my PC library and feed the original taped versions into the PC through a line-in cable into software to create the electronic files in WMA. The sonics were a definite improvement! That might be when the 2003 date got onto the tag. But the recording itself actually dates to the 1990s. Now that I've gone digital, I simply do transfers from the recorder through a USB2 cable directly into My Received Files. Life is much simpler now.

    Sorry it was a long story.

    David
     
  11. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Congratulations David, this prelude is really tricky, especially the middle part, which I've never managed to overcome.
     
  12. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi alf,

    Thanks for your kind words! I found this piece to be treacherous in more ways than one. Quite frankly, I lack a "big piano technique"; so looking back, I think I probably subdued the piece by sheer will power and perseverance more than anything else. :lol:
     
  13. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wasn't this one nice!!!! I'm sorry I missed it in all my personal drama of weekend!

    Good job!
     
  14. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Nathan,

    I'm glad you liked this piece! I'll be posting more Rach preludes soon. I'm just waiting for some of my other postings to thin out a bit here, as I don't want to have too much on the board at once. It seems that his Op. 3, No. 2 in C#m and Op. 23, No. 5 in Gm get nearly all the attention. So I'm glad to post some that aren't as well known, but every bit as good.

    David
     
  15. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi David,
    I listened to your recording with great pleasure and I have to say you show a real romantic pianism of the good old tradition here. Very clear in the rhythmical structure (which is immensely important for Rachmaninof, because he was not a "wild" romantic composer, but had much clearness and rhythmical correctness when he played himself) and very expressively played. Very good contrasts in the dynamic, may be the piano begining in measure 17 could be a bit more silent, but this is extremely difficult in this masterly piece. I like this recording very much and as it seems to be an older one, containing some noises, I edited it with my sound-editing-program. I deleted the hiss, did some normalization on the waves and put a little bit reverb to it. I did not do any equalization. Do you like this edition?
     
  16. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi musicusblau,

    Thanks so much for your positive comments. I really appreciate them!

    Yes, I'd love to hear your edited version of my recording. I have AVS Editor here, and have used it for minor things like adjusting the volume and silencing on/off switch noises, etc. but have never ventured into the more advanced functions. As soon as the admins active it, I'll have a listen and let you know what I think. Thanks for taking the time! It might also give me the courage to play around more with my audio editor, especially with older analog recordings. (I only switched to digital last year.)

    David

    Update: Hi musicusblau,

    I just listened to it. Sounds great! Far better clarity with less noise signal. The only thing I'd do further would be to do some volume reduction so that it's at correct listening level at the 12:00 position on the typical volume control. Right now it's sounds very loud there. If that adjustment could be done, it would be great to replace the original with your enhanced version. I like it!

    David
     
  17. pianolady

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

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    Not sure what you mean here, David. We don't have to activate it. Just click in the attachment where it says "download" and you should be able to hear it.
     
  18. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I must have been asleep at the switch. Found it. Thanks.

    David
     
  19. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi David,
    I have put the level a bit down. I can put it more down, if you like. Tell me your opinion, please.
     
  20. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi,

    Yes, could we perhaps try to decrease the volume yet another notch? I judge it wearing headphones, but the sound is proportional, I believe, as to how it would sound through speakers. Overall, though I really like the results. Last night I played with my own file of the piece here at home using AVS Editor; but compared to the software you use, I didn't like any of the multiple reverb options on AVS. I do like their Utilities, but am not crazy about their Editor. Audacity seems to be quite well regarded. Is that the one you prefer?

    David
     

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