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Schumann, Kinderszenen

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by mikel, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. mikel

    mikel New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Attached, please find a batch of Kinderszenen :)

    I've recorded Von Fremden Landern und Menschen, Kuriose Geschichte, Bittendes Kind, Wichtige Begebenheit, Traumerei, Kind in Einschlummern, and Der Dichter Spricht--seven of the thirteen. I may do the other half fairly soon, though I'm not out to record the complete cycle. These are my favorites, and I'd have to do more work to get the others into shape. (Though they weren't too bad last spring, when I almost played them in a shared recital that never happened).

    Here are some notes, technical and otherwisel:

    Recording in general: As soon as I started recording, all the stiffness that plagues me when I record came back. I play reasonably well before people, but not before a recorder. If they sound a bit expressionless and restrained--well, they are. Here's part of the problem: on stage, you make a mistake, and it's gone. The five people in the audience who are musicians might notice, and they're on your side. No one else will. In a recording session, I'm the one who has to be satisfied when it's all done. Yes, you can re-record it. And if you're really good (which I'm not), you can edit out mistakes. If anyone has any suggestions for how to deal with this, aside from a good stiff drink (which might not help the musicianship), I would really like to hear them.

    Dynamic range: Many of the pieces are fairly quiet. I wanted to use the same level setting for the entire cycle; I'm not sure how that will work out. I also was fairly conservative in my level settings, because I hate finding out after a recording that I've overdriven the AD converter.

    Una Corda: I should probably use it more, more for the way it changes the tonal quality than anything else. I did notice that a lot of repeated sections sounded too similar. (That's another part of the "stiffness" problem.)

    Pops: There are some odd pops--not too loud. I'm not sure where they're coming from, because they're not on the hard disk recorder, and I use optical fiber to go from the recorder into the computer. And some of them disappeared when I "re-recorded" them from the HD recorder into the computer. Audacity might be screwing things up somewhere (I personally think that's a terrible program, but I need something to import audio on my mac--I suppose I could use GarageBand). It's also possible that the remaining pops are the two house parakeets, who were (for the most part) reasonably well behaved during the recording session.

    For the record, I did very minimal editing on a Windows PC with CoolEdit (an ancient copy), and generated MP3s with its codec (Fraunhofer), which I slightly prefer to LAME.

    1: Von Fremden Landern und Menschen
    2: Kuriose Geschichte
    4: Bittendes Kind
    6: Wichtige Begebenheit
    7: Traumerei
    12: Kind in Einschlummern
    13: Der Dichter Spricht
     
  2. johnmar78

    johnmar78 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I loved your no15/1. Very touchy played and very enjoyable. This tune makes my tears to come out. I must learn this one day.
    Thank you .....
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not out to record the complete cycle, eh ? Well, there is a new rule (which I just made up actually) is that when you are halfway a cycle you must finish it :wink: Honestly, you cannot do no.4 and then leave out no.5 - they belong together. And besides, you do not want to miss out on that coveted "Complete recording by..." header.

    Very lovingly played, there is hardly anything to nag about. Certainly no misses anywhere, and I did not hear any pops either. You sound best in the gentler items, but must take care not to indulge in left-before-right or vice versa, and when going pianissimo, that all the notes still sound. You sound a bit stressed and heavy-handed in the nrs. 2 and 6, these could be done with more of a smile. The piano sounds very good too, though I find the mechanical sounds a bit distracting in places. We may have discussed this before, I don't remember.

    I am putting these up the site right now as they are great quality. But if you feel you need to re-record some of them, no problem.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    All these are up. Please check to see if everything is in order.

    Seeing as you are an editor/writer : if you have some text and perhaps an image for the Kinderszenen page, I would like to have it !
     
  5. rachmaninoff

    rachmaninoff New Member Piano Society Artist

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    that's very stupid I think. if you like the 4th and not the 5th why should you do it? I think your rule sucks.
     
  6. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Indeed great recordings and it would be lovely if you could complete the cycle with the same quality. I too have very little to nag about but for perhaps "The poet speaks". I think this can be done more poetic, take longer pauses, really think before you speak out net sentence and hang on some crucial keys. This is really hard to explain in words. Perhaps someone has seen the Video when Cortot teaches this piece in front of a couple of students? I think his ideas really make sense.

    Found it on youtube but you need to understand French:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8E_0glY3nI
     
  7. mikel

    mikel New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for the comments... glad you all liked the pieces. And thanks for the encouragement--I probably will have to do the whole cycle. I'm over halfway there. Probably a week or two before I can get some more free time to record, though.

    I'll look at that Cortot video, though my French is worse than mediocre. Der Dichter Spricht is one of my favorite pieces in the cycle, but I agree that this is a bit lacking. I should have done another take, but my daughter was coming home from school, and I wanted to get the cables and mics out of the way before she had a chance to trip on them.

    There's an essay I want to write sometime about Der Dichter Spricht and romantic irony; I think this little piece gets perfectly the combination of complete earnestness and also completely self-conscious self-parody. It's hard to think of anywhere else where you see the two combined so well.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    It seems to me this is the essence of Schumann - how easily and naturally he can step into a childlike world of wonder. I can't think of any composer who has that sort of empathy.
     
  9. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I very much liked your playing! With lovely keytouch on the soft pieces, very sensitive played. I also heard no wrong notes.
    On "Kind in Einschlummern" there was a spot more in the first part at which you lost the momentum a bit. To me it is kind of a lullaby which should have a constant swing like a cradle which swings in constant groove. I remember that my teacher said to me, as I played it about 30 years ago, if I don't find a constant groove on that I never get the baby falling asleep...
     
  10. wmgan

    wmgan New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Out of curiosity... why do you prefer Franhauser to LAME? I have been getting good, transparent results with LAME (3.97, previously 3.93) at the -V 2 --vbr-new (previously alt-preset standard) setting.
     

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