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Rachmaninoff

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by John Robson, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Rachmaninoff: Prelude, Op. 23, No. 5

    I noticed that this, one of Rachmaninoff's most famous preludes, is not on the site, so I decided to do it. This takes me back to my teen years when I played it in a recital and had a bad memory slip. That was probably the last time I played it until I started relearning it for this post. I scouted the internet and listened to several recordings of this prelude including Ashkanazy (sp?), Gilels, several unknown pianists, and three versions by Rachmaninoff himself. I liked Gilels' Youtube version the best even though he has several miscues. I can certainly relate to that. Most of the recordings were faster than my post with the possible exception of Gilels who played it with great passion. Some of you are probably not interested in hearing this prelude AGAIN. It is one of those pieces that even non-pianists recognize. My guess is that only the C# Minor Prelude is more famous than this one. I hope it's not too bad. Thanks for listening.

    Rachmaninov - Op.23 no.5, Prelude in G minor, Alla Marica
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Obamanation, unfortunately...
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    do you keep your nails short? I swear that I can hear what sounds like nails hitting the ivories.
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yipeeeeee! We are back on!

    John, if you check in tonight, I will listen to this in the morning. Right now there are too many teenagers running in and out of my house. I can't concentrate.
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not at all. It's very good! And I don't care how popular it is, I still love this one. I bet your neighbors liked it too. :wink:

    Regarding your technique - all good, dynamics great, and good job bringing out the LH second melody notes halfway into the pretty part. I have to admit I have never heard those before - probably because it was me playing it at the time. So I learned something today. :) Tempo was fine too, in my opinion.

    I'm listening a second time and I hear what Juufa is talking about. I don't think it is fingernails. Sounds more like something sitting on your piano that is rattling or maybe the Edirol is jiggling around. Is it on a hard surface? Also, your end - the piece ended fine, but you could let the file go another second or two so it's not so abrupt. Unless you sneezed or something right then.
     
  5. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    John, that sounds great to me. You play with much passion, and the bass octaves come out really strong and gives it the typical deep ground. Also your dynamics I find very well, there are sweet soft spots in the middle and the end, rhythmically precise. Nothing to niggle!
    Your piano sounds great too, also the recording quality is very well, you use an Edirol now? I have to agree with Juufa that there is some clicking noise but I doubt this are the nails, you could check. But of no importance.
    Thank you for sharing. Have to confess, I did not know that piece, although it is famous as you wrote
    :oops: It's a shame I know...
     
  6. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Good job John. A bit slower than the main stream performance but you play it with dedication and have a good overall idea of your interpretation. I believe you do it a bit slower to make sure you can handle it technically as the many fast chord passages (as always with Rach) are tricky to handle when one get it up in speed. Rach was really a technically master when it comes to fast large chord passages and had a very flexible technique (and of course very large hands) which enabled him to write very difficult music. Actually, pure technically, this is one of the preludes that is not very difficult and fits the hands pretty well.

    It is up on the site.
     
  7. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Prelude

    Thanks for listening. Robert, you are definitely correct about the tempo being a bit slower than some pianists play it. I also thought this would be an easy piece to record. WRONG!! One reason is the that it is very advantageous to possess large hands to quickly execute the large chords accurately. I'd kill for larger hands. But unfortunately that's a gift I don't have. I believe my hands were more supple when I was younger as I don't remember having as such difficulty playing the chords when I was young. However, when I started relearning this piece, I was surprised at how difficult it was for me to accurately play the large chords. The work requires that one leap back and forth between the big chords and the melody notes. I was playing it faster, but had to slow the tempo a little to reach the chords. Otherwise, my little thumb kept sounding two notes instead of one. I've been attempting to record this piece for over two weeks. Since I can't edit well, I had to play from beginning to end, sort of like a live performance, with as few mistakes as possible. It was difficult and quite frustrating to play it over and over. I unintentionally memorized the piece.

    Thanks, Pianolady, for listening. If you REALLY want to notice the countermelody in the center section, listen to Gilels rendering of it on Youtube. I think he may have overemphasized the countermelody, but I appreciate his raucous impassioned rendering of this prelude even with the wrongs notes. Monica, the Edirol is so super-sensitive that I place in on a pillow in a chair approximately 15 feet from the piano. I have to be careful to avoid too much reverb by placing pillows around the Edirol unit.

    Olaf, this was my second recording using the Edirol. It's not a professional sounding recording, but at least there is no hissing as in many of my earlier posts. However, Juufa, Monica, and you heard the clipping sound which I hadn't noticed as much before. I believe I've located the cause. I export WAV files from Audacity and then convert them to mp3's using SmartWav converter. I just listened to the WAV file of this piece and the clicking sound isn't there. It only occurs after the conversion to an mp3 using SmartWav. If Robert and Chris think the clicking sound warrants it, I will try to make another mp3 from the WAV file using another program to correct the clicking problem.
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    John, never mind about what I said about the end. I just listened to some of my recordings and they end the same way.
     
  9. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    No clicking sound

    Robert, here is another conversion of the WAV file to mp3 using WAVPAD. It doesn't have the clicking sound. Perhaps you could post this version instead of the first one....that is IF you wish to post it.

    Monica, good ol' WAVEPAD

    Admin note - See the link in the first post of the topic
     
  10. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Prelude

    I don't post this to make you more jealous but a neighbor's daughter, 12 years old, wanted to play the piano in my house yesterday and she got very long fingers. She easily reached 10 keys and even 11 when she stretched them out. I never seen such long fingers on such a young person! Just a pity she could not play ;).

    I have replaced your previous recordings with this new.
     
  11. John Robson

    John Robson New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Neighbor

    Robert, I hope your twelve-year-old neighbor with the long fingers is very ugly!

    LMAO

    J
     
  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Re: Neighbor

    Funny!!!!!
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well done indeed. Good style and tempo, and no read mistakes that I could hear. Yes you bring out that middle voice in the middle part quite well, it could perhaps be a little clearer still but then you'll also need a more direct recording (I find this to sound rather distant and cavernous - I'm sure you do not need to go 15 feet from the piano - my edirol is about 20 cm away from it). I did not notice any clicking though.

    Two small points of critique. Your repeated 16th 'polonaise' chords are not always distinct and clear, and the crucial octave downruns sort of sag instead of inexorably culminating in deep fortissimo. And yes, some misses in these nasty jumping chords and octaves can hardly be avoided. Admirable job all the same !
     

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