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Ravel Gaspard de la nuit

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by PinaNapolitano, May 16, 2009.

  1. PinaNapolitano

    PinaNapolitano New Member

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    Hello to everyone, I am an Italian pianist, and this is my audition material for your site. I hope you enjoy it. I'm still finishing to record Scarbo, but will post it soon. This will be soon followed by Beethoven Op. 111, Chopin Barcarolle, Schonberg Funf Klavierstucke op. 23, and Prokofiev Tocatta, all material I am recording to use as a demo CD. I'd appreciate getting your feedback!
    Thanks!

    ps - scarbo on page 2!
     
  2. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    and talking about Gaspard de la Nuit... here it is! :lol:

    Your Ondine is good. I'd wish a calmer approach, then it should get a little faster in the middle, and not the opposite as I listen here, but I understand it's quite a difficult piece. I haven't listened to Le Gibet, because I never had much patience for this piece, so I won't be able to do adequate comments about it. :lol:

    Looking anxious towards your Scarbo.
     
  3. PinaNapolitano

    PinaNapolitano New Member

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    Thank you felipesarro. I usually ty to keep more or less the same tempo thoughout a piece, and expand rather than accelerate towards a climactic point. This has always been my artistic aproach to shaping a piece. In any case, I'll be rerecording Ondine - I am not yet satasfied with it. I listened to your noctuelles on youtube. I played Miroirs a few years ago, and for me you take quite a fast tempo with it. I find Miroirs to be the most advanced piece Ravel wrote for piano, very abstract, and no sense of regular bar lines, which means breathing becomes very important. In any case, it is very difficult on an upright, but well done in spite of that!
    About to record Scarbo...
    Thank you for the reply!
     
  4. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    Oh, sure!
    I forgot about this possibility... hehehe
    Idil Biret does this kind of thing while playing Stravinky's Petroushka or Ligeti's Etudes.

    Oh, yes... but only after recording Noctuelles that I listened to some beautiful (and calmer) performances of this piece by Thibaudet and Louis Lortie. :roll:
     
  5. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Ravel is suddenly in vogue? I like that.

    Your performance on "Le Gibet" is exceptional (to my ears). Calm and alert at the same time. You handle the dynamics very well and so the harmonies shine. Bravo for this.

    The "Ondine" may need a little more work. It sounds a little stressed or uncertain on style. The last minute or so seems better in this respect, so you may start from there.
     
  6. PinaNapolitano

    PinaNapolitano New Member

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    Thank you wiser guy for the compliment! I am also less certain about the Ondine... And I would like to know if you could clarify more what it is you hear that makes it sound uncertain, if you could. It is difficult to hear oneself objecively! Is it from the forte onwards that you think it improves? I'm trying to make the phrases in the left hand breath at the beginning, and meanwhile the right hand to become just a wave of sound - perhaps this could be helped simply by adding more reverberation to the recording? Do you find that the breaths are what make it feel less certain, or is it a matter of dynamics, or perhaps tempo? I'd be thankful for whatever further comments you could provide as I was already planning on recording it again!

    Thanks again!
     
  7. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hmm, difficult to say. And you are right, everybody listens rather subjectively so what I want to hear might be different to your tastes.
    Since you plan to record again and since you obviously know the piece inside out, I would only advise you to do multiple takes. This is the only way to feel comfortable and as a result, to play according to your potential. Don't throw away takes before you listen to all of them and pick the one you like best. And even then, give yourself time to reconsider.

    Oh, and a small comment on the audio. Your left-right separation is too exaggerated. The piano seems to be cut in half. If you're happy with your current microphone placement, just change your pan settings to soft left-right instead of hard. Let some treble leak left and some bass on the right.
    I also thought (I may be wrong) that I heard a certain amount of compression. Switch it off during recording and use only a limiter if you are afraid of clipping. Compressors don't get along well with solo piano and this type of repertoire.
    As always, my comments on the audio are meant to help not offend. Please disregard if you don't agree.
     
  8. PinaNapolitano

    PinaNapolitano New Member

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    Regarding the recording settings, it is my boyfriend who is arranging all that. But when my disc is finished we plan to have it professionally mastered, so hopefully that should take care of the imaging. There was no compression or limiting he says. I will post a new version towards the end of the week - I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it!
     
  9. Syntaxerror

    Syntaxerror New Member

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    Just listened to both of your recordings... you're really doing a great job! The Gaspard is just such a great piece... I would even say your "Ondine" is better than "Le Gibet".
     
  10. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Pina,

    I should preface by saying that I've played through parts of Gaspard over the years, but have never really studied these pieces.

    I believe that your "Ondine" and "Le Gibet" are completely creditable renditions. Could they be a bit more refined and polished at this point--yes, but you already know what you wish to do by way of improving them. I think that spinning the mood of Ondine must come from Bertrand's poem and its mental imagery--the beautiful, enticing water nymph, who in the end cannot win over the poet and cries when he will not join her, but ends their encounter on a playful note. The articulation of the accompaniment probably needs to be a little more fluid. There are also a few moments when the accompaniment (background) intrudes too much on the melody (foreground). You'll want to achieve a better balance where that occurs. Your ear is the high court in that matter. I liked Le Gibet too. It has to be difficult to depict a corpse twisting on the hangman's rope in the gallows under a blaring sun! But you achieve it quite well in my opinion. Your playing adds much color to an otherwise grim piece.

    If you have not already watched Vlado Perlemuter's rendition of Gaspard on YouTube, I encourage you to do it. He, of course, studied these pieces with Ravel, so his recording has a remarkable historical significance to it. In the video he is in his 90s, so you must cut him a little slack when it comes to dexterity. He chews gum throughout the performance too which we ignore. Also bear in mind that throughout his life he was blind in his left eye--yet makes all the big leaps by feel and rarely misses. Is his playing as sublime as Gieseking's or Lorti's, for example? No, but it's still awesome and spellbinding in its own way.

    A very fine job, Pina. Looking forward to your Scarbo!

    David
     
  11. pianolady

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

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    I have never studied these pieces, so I cannot offer any critical remarks. However, your recordings sounded very nice to me, and I can tell you are a fine pianist. Welcome to Piano Society.
     
  12. PinaNapolitano

    PinaNapolitano New Member

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    Thank you all very much for your kind remarks! I must say I find the Perlmutter a little dissapointing, it seems mezzoforte thoughout, and his pedalling isn't very controlled it seems. I wish there were perhaps a version of when he was a little younger, though perhaps this isn't fair to say. I find Michelangeli's more impressive, in spite or because of his absolute metronomic precision. Perhaps Argerich is the most impressive and fun, although on repeated listenings her capriciousness loses some charm.

    I am still working on scarbo - there is a section that isn't convincing yet - it's difficult to maintain interest at times with such limited musical material. But hopefully by the end of the week I'll have a recording posted for you!

    Thanks again for your support and comments!
     
  13. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    in fact, there are two recordings of Perlemuter.
    one for Nimbus, when he was practically dead ( :lol: ) -- and at that time my teacher had been his student for a short period -- and other for Vox, years earlier (in the 50's).

    but I also agree that Louis Lortie is really good. other names good on Ravel are Angela Hewitt, Abbey Simon and Thibaudet. all of them recorded his complete piano works.
     
  14. Didier

    Didier Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hello Pina,

    I like your Ondine. :wink: The timbre of the Steinway is well suited to this piece and to Ravel in general. I agree that narrower stereo separation (and possibly lows slightly on right rather than extremely on left) would be better. But the sound is already so good!

    For the interpretation, I cannot give to you any advice. You might be interested in the recent inegral of Ravel's piano works of Alexandre Tharaud (Harmonia Mundi). His Gaspard was selected in a blind comparison against of few famous ones (including the one from Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli) in the program La tribune des critiques de disques of the French radio station France musique.
     
  15. PinaNapolitano

    PinaNapolitano New Member

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    Didier, we finally meet! I'm glad you like the sound of the recording, it owes much to your advice to John. Thanks for the help in that regard! I will look for the Tharaud, it sounds very interesting! I can imagine how the sound quality of Michelangli's recording would not fare well compared to more modern ones, and his interpretation is almost opposite my own, yet I still feel his will remain one of the best - also Argerich herself thought so.

    The other recordings you list felipe I don't know, except for the Abbey Simon, which I have to say I don't care for much, perhaps because of the way it was recorded. They needed Didier's advice!
     
  16. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Pina and welcome to Piano Society! Being the pupil of Björn Månsson who is the pupil of Vlado Perlemuter, I will forward your remarks regarding his interpretation and see what he thinks about it. I think you are indeed right as it stays about mf throughout but I wonder if that is because of the audio recording or perhaps his age when he made the recording. Månsson has heard him live several times and he played of course Ravel a lot so perhaps he the impression is a bit different live than in an audio recording? Not meaning to criticise your opinion on Perlemuter of course!

    Your recordings are truly very good! Perhaps the melody should come off a bit more distinct in Ondine in the beginning? Your version kind of fade it in. A matter of taste and perhaps your recording equipment does not catch the dynamical difference as in live.

    We will of course put you up when you post your biography and when you feel your recordings are "ready". The ones you submitted now are of course by far good enough but you made a remark that you would re-record so that is up to you.

    Again, welcome!
     
  17. PinaNapolitano

    PinaNapolitano New Member

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    Hello Robert, and thank you for the invitation here. I didn't intend any offense in my criticism of Perlemuter, and would be interested to have confirmed that some of the strage aspects of that recording were due either to his age or the recording quality.

    I am uploading a version of Scarbo that I hope you will enjoy. Regarding the opening of Ondine, Ravel does write ppp, which I asume applies to the melody as well as there is nothing else indicated, but perhaps you are right, that it could be brought more forward.

    I am recording these as a demo CD, which I will have mastered by a professional, so perhaps we should wait until then to post them permanently, but I thank you for the invitation to do so.

    Thanks!
     
  18. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I did understand that it was not your intention and I will not put it like that for Månsson either. Still interesting to see his response.

    Regarding Ondine, in the score I have, there is a mark for left hand saying "tres doux et tres expressif". I believe that texts suggests that the melody should come out more clear.

    If you are confident with the recordings, I would like to put them up on the site along with your biography (optional with a picture) which you can send to my on email (robert@pianosociety.com) or post right here.
     
  19. PinaNapolitano

    PinaNapolitano New Member

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    I sent you a private message Robert!
     
  20. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Sorry but I did not receive it. Where did you send it?
     

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