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Ravel, A la maniere de... Borodin

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Rachfan, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    This beautiful piece is currently missing from the archive. This is an older analog recording of mine which I believe is very listenable. Here Ravel dabbles in the "Polovetzian Dances" of Borodin. He created this pastiche in the form of a waltz in 1913 and dedicated it to a friend, Ida Godebski. (The Godebski family regularly hosted gatherings of musicians and artists at their home in Paris. Ida was the wife of Cipa Godebski.) It was first performed by Alfredo Casella at the Salle Pleyel in Paris on December 10, 1913. I hope that they can fill the void in Ravel's Miscellaneous category. There is a page turn present.

    David


    Ravel - A la maniere de... Borodin
     
  2. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    ? :wink:
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Eddy,

    The Salle Pleyel is a venerable recital hall in Paris. In the early 1900s the three principal piano builders in France constructed elegant recital halls in Paris as part of showcasing their pianos. These were the Salle Playel (2,400 seats), Salle Gaveau (1,000 seats) and the much smaller Salle Erard (255 seats), all of which have hosted countless piano and chamber music recitals over the years to the present day. Given its size, the Salle Playel can also accommodate larger performing arts events. Unlike the piano companies, all three halls still exist, are well maintained, and continue to serve the musical life of Paris. They've seen a lot of history! :)

    David
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    It's stylishly played, but IMO much too slow, and the swimmy sound and out-of-tune treble don't make for easy listening. There is no problem with this going up on the site, but I think you should maybe try and re-record this.
    I don't believe Ravel is actually quoting the Polovtsian dances here. Or is that not what you were saying ?
    Gee, there sure were a lot of these Salles in Paris back then :)
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi David,
    I'm giggling a little because you now warned us ahead of time about the page turn...

    Anyway, obviously this is pastiche (as you have said) and not a quote. And I think it's a beautiful little piece. I like it a lot, as well as your other Ravel pastiche here (for future reference - next time you have two pieces from the same set, please put them in the same thread).

    And for me, the Salle Pleyel (spelled with an e not a ) = Chopin! That's where he caught a break and made a name for himself in Paris.

    I made a new page for the set and both pieces are up.
     
  6. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    While I can't tell for sure if there is any direct quote of "Polovetzian Dances", it is certainly infused with that DNA. I keep expecting it to break into the "Strangers in Paradise" theme any moment. There is that little descending stepwise moment covering a m3 (Db C Bb) that is characteristic of the end of the "Stranger's" theme, but that is a little like saying that Ravel quoted Borodin's use of the word "THE" :wink:

    David, I'm glad that you presented this and the "Chabrier" one. I was not familiar with them. Because I'm lazy, do you per chance know where these fit chronologically in Ravel's output?

    I am with Chris about you entertaining the possibility of re-recording these.

    Scott
     
  7. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Eddy,

    It was so late at night that I flubbed the spelling of "Playel". I just went back in the tread to fix that with an "e". Sorry to bore you with that historical explanation, as I thought maybe you were unfamiliar with the venue. :oops:

    David
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    I think the recording sound resulted from misguided close-in recording. At the time I did the recording I didn't know any better and was following the advice of a "sales-engineer" who was probably more knowledgeable about recording jazz and pops--unfortunately for me.

    I actually like the tempo I chose for this despite the allegro marking. This waltz has a nostalgic and sensual quality which at faster tempos is destroyed. If I were ever to re-record it, I go with the same decision. Re-recording though would be somewhere off in the future, as I'm already backlogged and behind in my new recording projects. But the good news is that if someone wants to hear these pieces, at least they're represented here. If someone else contributes new recordings, so much the better.

    Actually with his pastiche, Ravel was not directly quoting, but aiming more at characterizing Borodin's composing idiom, and I think he succeeded brilliantly in that regard. Same with the charming Chabrier imitation. I'm reminded on a much larger scale of Dohnanyi's "Variations on a Nursery Tune". He, like Ravel, was a master at doing imitations.

    Yes, those salles were famous in their early days, and continue to serve the public today. The Salle Erard is interesting, because it has movable rather than fixed chairs. And when you look at a picture of that hall, it seems quite large, yet the chairs only fill the front portion of it. My guess is that a decision was made to confine it to more intimate recitals. The big name pianists usually try to book the Salle Pleyel, as obviously they get a much bigger take from the box office there. But where the Salle Gaveau is still a good-sized hall, if not nearly as large as the Salle Pleyel, performers have choices of large, medium and small halls according to their preference, all of them being elegant venues.

    David
     
  9. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    Back when I recorded that, I wasn't getting as much supervision on page turns. :lol:

    I debated putting the two pieces in one thread, but then I thought that it might be easier for you to handle them separately. I guessed wrong, but will keep that in mind. They both date from 1913 and their titles are similar, but they don't appear as a set or a duo and the sheet music is sold separately published by Salabert.

    Yes indeed, I'll bet that many famous names made their first big splash at the Salle Pleyel in Paris.

    Thanks!

    David
     
  10. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Scott,

    Yeah, I took STILL expect that "Strangers" theme to pop up in there. :lol:

    Chronologically, Ravel's first piano piece that has survived was the "Serenade grotesque" from 1893. Incidentally, I have never played this one, as Ravel was very explicit that he never wanted it to be published. Alas, it was published by Salabert around 1973 despite his wishes. I own the sheet music, but out of respect for Ravel I have never once put it on my piano's music desk. The two pastiches were writtein in 1913. His last piano piece, I believe, was his transcription for piano of "La Valse" in 1920. So I would say that these two pieces were more or less late output. As you know, Ravel composed in a cool classical style but also in an impressionistic style. But the two styles were not sequential, that is, starting with one style and moving on to another. Rather,he constantly mixed pieces of either style one after the other depending on his composing mood.

    Glad you enjoyed these pieces! Thanks for listening.

    David
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ravel was indeed, and could well imitate someone without direct quoting. I guess I misunderstood your phrase "dabbling with the Polovtsian Dances".
     
  12. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Hello David,

    I for one liked your choice of tempo, but then I am the founding member of the "Adagio Molto Society of Piano Players"! :D

    I knew of these pieces and have heard them now and then, though they had not registered till now. I too felt the Polovistisan Dances, though, as you say, there is no direct quotation.

    Your piano is very individual here, but, as you say, it might have been the microphone placement.

    It is obviously is I and my conditioning (having become acquainted both with your playing and his compositions) but I keep thinking of Bortkiewicz! Is that not funny?
     
  13. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    I'll gladly join your Adagio Molto Society of Piano Players! Hmmm, could I be Vice President? :lol: Glad you enjoyed listening to this piece at the tempo I chose. It works really well in my opinion.

    I'm actually honored that you associate my playing with Bortkiewicz's music. To me it means that I had some impact in bringing those neglected pieces to other pianists and listeners. It makes my day! :D

    David
     
  14. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    I know about the Salle Pleyel (my first teacher also performed there as a guest of the Ambassador in Paris), but not about the Salle Playel. :mrgreen:
     
  15. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    :lol: Got it.
     
  16. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    Thanks for putting up the two Ravel pieces. They display on the Composer's page OK, but do not appear on the Artist's page. Is that a link problem?

    David
     
  17. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Sorry, David, I forgot one thing. It's fixed now.
     
  18. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, Monica. I appreciate it.

    David
     
  19. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi David,
    that´s another very interesting and subtle performance. I think, the "great bows" (or "curves"?, german: großer Bogen, a metaphor for the right phrasing and breathing of the music) are absolutely in there as many subtle details of the sensation of the music. I have followed with score and enjoyed your rendition thoroughly!
     
  20. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks for your comments on this Ravel piece. I often think of the "great bows" or phrases as the contour of a piece, so to play the long line, one has to have a sense for the contour, the textures within the contour, and the positioning of the melody within the textures embedded within the contour. And as you aptly point out, that's how the sensations of the music ultimately become apparent in the playing, as the "great bows" must figure importantly into the overall interpretation. I'm glad you enjoyed this short but irresistible piece.

    David
     

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