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Reply to Richard re Bortkiewitz

Discussion in 'Repertoire' started by Rachfan, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    I thought I had clicked Reply, but instead it was New Topic. Not a big deal.

    I'm glad to hear that you have more ample living space now. That's important once a child comes. Great! And if the nightly revelers are as boisterous as you say, then playing in the evening should be no problem, which is a benefit to you. My wife though would never allow me to do that. I always got the "Hush, you awaken the children!" routine.

    That was bad luck having your mics fund confiscated by the tax man. Horrors! :twisted:

    It's funny you should comment on Prelude 33/1. It so happens that I was practicing that piece briefly just before moving over to Catoire. I found it to be a highly unusual piece, perhaps not entirely characteristic of the composer. As I played it, it reminded me very much of the film music found in American Old West epics complete with the scuttling around of Indians and Cavalry troops, and the panoramic scenic vistas of the West. I wondered if Bortkiewicz had perhaps attended a cinema with his wife in Vienna that was showing an American western (not uncommon in Europe), and got the idea there. But I might be the only person who hears the piece that way.

    Yes... there are few pianists playing Bortkiewicz these days. And to most that hear it, it's "new music". Cyprien Katsaris plays it, of course, as does Koji Attwood. I'm one of a very few amateurs who has recorded it to the best of my knowledge. There are a couple of members here at Piano Society, Raul Manjarrez and the late John Robson who also contributed Bortkiewicz recordings. And there are a few videos to be found on YouTube. It's a scant, but dedicated, group of pianists who play this music, but perhaps our numbers are growing. Or at least I'd like to think so.

    Regards,
    David
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Don't forget Jouni Somero, Stephen Coombs, and Dutch pianist Klaas Trapman (who recorded three 2-CD sets so far).
     
  3. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Dear David,

    No wonder I saw no repy: it was a new topic!

    I had tried to do some recording with a programme called free something or another, but the amount of background noise was so great that I hastily decided the mocrophone was a dud. Then today I finally got around to installing Audacity (which I downloaded maybe three weeks ago). Miracle! Clear recording with little or no background noise! As the computer is too far from the piano (I can, of course, move one or the other in future), I had to put microphone volume at maximum. Some hiss and a piano in the background, but it did produce a decent home-made recording. In the end I recorded a Bach invention, a Grieg Lyric Piece and a Bortkiewicz Prelude but, alas! I am afraid there are too many musical shortcomings in the latter and lots of work will need to be done. The Lyric piece is almost acceptable, while there is a wrong note in the Invention somewhere. I attempted Bortkiewicz op 33/9 but I noticed the right hand is still most uneven, while The Angel just flew away. Maybe its the exitement of being recorded or maybe its just lack of musicality, I do not know. Daughter allowing, I shall try again this evening and hope for the best. At least this way I actually hear the shortcomings I always suspected I had but never had the courage to admit. :(

    My wife, like yours, is an agitating member of the Pianoless Society, but, as our daughter actually goes to sleep listening to the piano, there is not too much she can say. These days as soon as I start to play, she (the daughter) will take a cushion from the sofa, lie down on it and take her nap. When she is in a mood I place her in front of the computer and play her videos of little girls, almost always Japanese or Korean, playing Tchaikovsky or even a Mozart Piano concerto.

    I must say, the other day I found myself playing at 11pm and never realised it. My next door neighbour claims she has heard no pianos in the building.

    The bells in Prelude op 33/1 are more Rachmaninoff's territory, though I did recognise some chords, as he seems to use the very same ones in his piano concerto for the left hand.

    I believe you and Techneut have named almost all the pianists who play this repertoire so far, forgetting only Piano society member. Alexandre Dias, the pianist who recorded two of the piano concerti: Stefan Doniga; Lloyd Buck and Pierre Huybregts. Maybe Nils Franke ought to be included, as he recorded the complete works for violin and piano. That makes 12, not including me, of course.

    Richard
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    I should certainly have remembered Coombs, and I do recall, now that you mention him, reading a reference to Trapman's Bortkiewicz recordings about a year ago. Somero is new to me. I'll have to look at Amazon to check out his recordings there.

    David
     
  5. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    Audacity is a good short-term fix. Many people prefer a separate recorder rather than recording directly to a PC or laptop. The reason is that some have heard spurious hard drive and/or fan noises coming through onto their recordings. A good recorder might be a better long-term solution out in the future.

    Recording actually serves at least two useful functions. Obviously, one is making recordings for others to enjoy. But a reason as important is the opportunity to objectively listen to your own playing. In this instance, by doing so you've already discovered ways to improve your renditions. That's always a plus!

    There's no question that a good piano, recorder and a set of good mics along with decent room acoustics can contribute to a successful recording. But the element that's truly indispensable is always the pianist.

    You're lucky that your daughter seems to show some curiosity and interest about the piano. I recall both of our kids being totally indifferent. Then again, maybe it was my playing. :lol:

    You're very fortunate that your neighbor couldn't hear the piano. That means the walls in your apartment are old-style construction that lent themselves to muffling sound most effectively. "Cost-effective" modern construction is a very different matter. For example, if you stand in the bathroom in a new apartment and ask a question, you'll hear four different answers.

    Keep practicing and recording!

    David
     
  6. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Dear David,

    Take a look here:

    www.bortkiewicz.com

    There is a section on recordings and there you will find Somero.

    I redid some of the recordings last evening: much better.

    Richard
     
  7. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    I'm familiar with the Bortkiewicz website, but had never clicked on the Recordings section before. It appears to be complete and some of the offerings there are not available through Amazon, so a good alternative source as well. Thanks!

    David
     
  8. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Dear David,

    Have you happened to see I took my life between my hands and submitted a recording to the Audition room? The sound quality is appalling but the notes are more or less in the right places, even if Techneut thinks I need to improve here and there.
     
  9. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    I actually found your recording before your message here. I think you've brought the piece quite far, but left a few ideas for you there to assist. You're not working with a teacher, so I'm sure that suggestions would be useful to you. Let me know what you think.

    David
     

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