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Scriabin, Prelude Op. 11, No. 12 in G# minor

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Rachfan, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    This is one of Scriabin's early period works dated 1895. This quiet prelude is one of longing and yearning, sometimes dark, but not without glimpses of sunshine too. I hope you'll enjoy it.

    Scriabin - Prelude in G# minor, Op.11, No. 12 (1:43)

    Comments welcome.

    David

    Piano: Baldwin Model L Artist Grand (6’3”) with lid fully open
    Recorder: Korg MR-1000
    Microphones: Earthworks TC-20 matched pair of small diaphragm omni-directional condenser mics in A-B configuration
     
  2. rv

    rv New Member

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    Heya. This is one of those pieces that I hadn't really paid attention to when listening to the whole set. It doesn't stand out, but now that I'm repeatedly listening I'm starting to appreciate it. Well done and thanks for posting!
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi rv,

    I've had that experience too. On first hearing, a piece didn't impress me but then it grew on me as I listened more. I'll probably post a few more of these Scriabin preludes, as I've been meaning to for years, but have never gotten around to them until now.

    Thanks for listening and your compliment on my playing!

    David
     
  4. rv

    rv New Member

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    Looking forward to hearing more from Op. 11 from you!
    (I've posted my own recordings of No. 1 and No. 10 below and I'm currently working on No. 24)
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not being an unequivocal Scriabin fan, I have always loved the Op.11 set, and this one is no exception. Very well played,
    as always ! The only nag I have is that in bars 4 and 3 from the end, you don't play the G# in the RH. I can't see why not,
    a couple of bars earlier you did play it right. I find this to disturb the melody line, and I would prefer a re-recording because of it.
     
  6. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Hi David,
    Finally had a listen were I could follow with score (1st edition re-print by Belaieff). First, I love the mood that you create with this piece and think you have it spot-on: a bit of melancholia and longing with maybe just a pinch of resignation (just my opinion). I have found some rhythimic issues, however, that I need to bring to your attention. Keeping in mind that this is a compound triple meter (9/8), what follows is clear.

    First, bars 10-13 dispense with the compound nature of the meter and change aurally (and mathematically) to simple meter (3/4). He could and should have just written duplet 8th-notes but chose to indicate it the more difficult way. However you play the dotted 8th duplets so fast that it still sounds like you're playing the triplets, and consequently you go throught the bar too fast (by a beat). These bars should just be counted 1&2&3& within the same triple pulse tempo (he's composed a weak hemiola in that it only changes from compound to simple meter).

    Second, bars 17-19 have quadruplets notated with four 8th-notes. When I saw this I thought why didn't he use 16th notes instead and did the math to check (the principle being to use the notation which produces the error of least magnitude) only to find that with the 8ths it's one 8th too much, but with the 16ths it's one 8th to little (same magnitude). But I feel that the spirit is better indicated with the 16ths. Then I noted that that is precisely how he indicated it in the LH 2nd beats of bars 13 and 14 (but without the obligatory slur and "4"). In otherwards he's inconsistent. Both quadruplets (whether with 8ths or 16ths) should have the slur and "4" to indicate an irregular grouping in compound meter. Despite all this notation discussion, my point is to say that I feel you play the quadruplets of bars 17-19 too slowly, especially for having the fermata. If it were me, I would practice first without the fermata to be sure to get the 4-notes-to-the-beat aspect down clearly.

    Needless to say, the voicing and control of the large spans is done very tastefully. Thanks for the post.

    Eddy
     
  7. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    This is a most interesting observation. Could it be the case that Scriabin did not really intend there to be 4 notes to the beat here?

    It strikes me that it may be possible that he did not simply make a mistake, but may have chosen to notate the quads deliberately as 8ths instead of 16ths, in order to make them appear visually more like the basic triplets of the compound rhythm, and that they should be played at that triplet speed and not at the same speed as the 16th-notated LH quads in bars 13-14 (it could be argued that had he intended them to be played at the faster speed he would have notated them "correctly").

    What I have in mind here is that Scriabin could be using the quad notation, in conjunction with the fermatas, as a kind of shorthand which, in long form, would have rewritten bars 17-19 as something like 12/8, in which the second of the quad notes (the one with the fermata on it) takes the value of three ordinary basic triplet 8ths of the compound time, all tied together, with the other three quads just being one basic triplet 8th each. Because of the disadvantages of writing it like that, he uses this non-standard shorthand instead.
     
  8. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Based on Ockham's Razor, I think my idea is more correct than yours rainer, but we certainly agree that the score has some ambiguities (to be polite) to it. :wink: I take your silence on the first issue to mean that you otherwise concur (?).
     
  9. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi,

    Thanks, everyone, for the inputs.

    I can certainly emphasize the G#s for Chris. As for the the dotted 8ths in 10 and 12, I can certainly slow those down. (Seems to me I had originally practiced them that way, but they must have evolved differently over time.) In line 4 my sense is that that the rhythm is governed principally by the 9/8 figuration in the RH. The LH quadruplets merely need to be fit into that context accordingly, not drawing any attention to themselves. In line 5, the combination of the quardruplets in the RH with the triplets in the LH need to mesh properly together, but within the surrounding 8th note rhythms of 9/8. It needs to cause a brief rushing effect into the normal 9/8 meter, no more. I might be oversimplifying, but I'm not seeing it rising to the level of my getting out a calculus or set theory text. :lol: My piano time is very limited, so this will have to wait a bit.

    Chris, if in the meantime you want to delete the thread, that's fine with me.

    David
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Emphasize, hell no.. just play them :D Or am I the only one not hearing them ? In that case I rest my case.

    Touché :D :p

    Why would I want to do that ?
     
  11. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    Yes. Also in bars 17 and 18 the printed LH note values don't add up.
    I do indeed.
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Jeez Rainer, you're getting soft :p
     
  13. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Yes they do if you see the triplet 16ths as the second half of a duplet which is clearer -- though still not marked as such -- in bar 18. He didn't pay much attention in Rhythmic Notation class. :mrgreen: Boy, I'd have my pencil flying on this one.
     
  14. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    In my non-musical life I tend to be very objective, logical and deliberative. But music is a right-brained endeavor, much of it to do with beauty, emotion and effect. When confronted with composer inconsistencies, I tend to go with my own instincts. Then if I need to pull back on the reins, it's easy enough to do. Years ago I used to think of the role of the pianist as a medium--that is, a nearly invisible middleman who interpreted the paper score for the audience with the prime goal of accuracy in rendering the music. Nowadays, I see that role differently, whereby the pianist is a co-author who acknowledges that the composer's score forms the true basis; however the performer also allows some of his or her own individuality to imbue the performance as well. While the composer/genius indeed created the paper map, it's left to the pianist to convey to the listener--not a piece of paper with symbols and signs on it--but the actual territory with all its breathtaking panoramas. And, of course, there is always and necessarily responsibility and accountability in doing so.

    David
     
  15. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I agree to all these thoughts, David. Performing music (on piano) means something like a symbiosis between the composer´s score and the individuum playing the music. And from my view the romantic musicians (all the old pianists like Rubinstein, Horrowitz and so on f.ex.) had such a good intuition and integral imagination respective sensation of the work, that a single note or sign of the script often had not that weight it has today. We - unfortunately - live in a time, this integral sensation seems more and more lost and it´s replaced by reason respective intellect. That´s what makes playing all the old works (especially of romantic epoque) more and more difficult for many pianists of today.
    For me it doesn´t matter too much, if a single note or sign isn´t considered respective realized, if the integral sensation and capture of the mood seems convincing. So it is the case in your recording as we are used by you. And so I personally don´t care too much about these two stupid g-sharps at the end. Listen to one or the other recording of Edwin Fischer, Alfred Cortot or Horrowitz, which contain much more wrong respective missing notes (well, they can´t really "contain" missing notes :lol: ) than your one and I think, you know, what I mean.
    I would like to thank you for this very beautiful, deeply performed and convincing recording full of integral imagination and sensation!
     
  16. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks so much for your thoughts. Yes symbiosis describes the relationship well between composer and artist. And yes, you're quite right--imagination and sensation in performance has given way to cool intellect which is more inhibiting. I'm very happy that you were able to enjoy my recording despite some reading errorrs. I find now that when I'm recording a piece, and listening to it afterward, I think of the piece as being holistic, not as being a collection of tiny, discrete details or assembled sections. It's true that the parts will always equal the whole quantitatively; but qualitatively, I'm not so sure about that. Sometimes over-attending to details can inhibit the shape, flow and sweep of the music. Michelangeli could near perfection in handling details and and the larger encompassing structure, and satisfy both the quantitative and qualitative standards of performance... but we're not all Michalangelis.

    I'm glad you enjoyed listening. I will try to produce an even better recording when I can get some piano time.

    Thanks, again.

    David
     
  17. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    Of course, and this is obviously what he meant. It's just a spelling mistake.
    I wonder why he just didn't just dot the 8th and omit the '3' from the triplet, then it would have been both clear and correct.
    Imagine if he had marked it as a duplet, then the triplet would have been correct; but he must have thought that to have a triplet nested within a duplet would have looked unnecessarily complicated.
     
  18. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Hi David,
    I agree with your current vision. In fact, it is interesting to me that in America (perhaps England and Germany too?) the Billing for a piano recitial will say "David April, Piano [or Pianist]," but in the countries of the romance languages it will say "David April, Interpreter."
     
  19. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Eddy,

    You're quite right, and I believe those "titles", pianist and interpreter, contain different connotations and expectations. The difference is interesting and more complex than it might first seem to be.

    David
     
  20. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    That's right... stupid they are. Probably written by mistake. Scriabin was such a plodder :roll:
    But if it were my recording they would annoy the hell out of me.
     

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