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Scriabin, Prelude Op. 11, No. 13 in G flat

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Rachfan, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    This is another of Scriabin's early period works dated 1895. This prelude is one of great charm. I hope you'll enjoy it.

    Scriabin - Prelude in G flat minor, Op. 11, No. 13(1:35)


    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. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Hi David,
    This is an interesting prelude. It immediately invoked for me the Chopin Etude Op.10 No. 6 (in Eb minor), with which it shares the same key signature (relative keys), slow melody and active 8th-note conterpoint.

    Thanks for the post.
    Eddy
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Eddy,

    I recorded Chopin, Op. 10, No. 6 years ago, but when playing this Scriabin prelude the similarity didn't dawn on me. Good catch. Proves yet again that early Scriabin is often Chopinesque.

    David
     
  4. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    David,

    This is such a lovely, soaring prelude. The Op. 11 set is a particular favorite of mine among Scriabin's piano output ( I had actually recorded the first nine a while back, but you have beaten me to this one :p ).

    There are some very sensitively phrased lines in your playing, and the pedalling seems clearly applied for the most part. My only real substantive criticism would be that the left hand could be a little more even and less notey in places. Certain notes seem to jut out a bit, particularly in the lower bass (the piano could be contributing too of course; that can be a tricky register). A few other specifics:

    1. In the reprise of the theme in bar 8, the pause seems a bit protracted, more of a tenuto than a ritard. Although it's not marked, I think a slight ritard is certainly in order, but yours seems too much and breaks the flow of the line a bit.

    2. The crescendo in the climax is observed, but maybe there could be a bit more drama and fire in the ascent (just a slight accelerando?).

    3. I thought I heard a misreading or two in the bass in the final reprise of the theme around 26-27.

    Just some minor nits and my personal take on it though. Overall I thought you sang the treble quite convincingly, which seems really the point of this magical song without words. I very much enjoyed listening.

    Joe
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    A good and sonorous recording, convincing and authoritative playing. No quibbles just that for my taste it could be a little more flowing and yearning, I find it just a touch on the brisk side. Maybe you wanted to avoid sentimentality, which is a valid conception. As Joe says the LH notes could have been a little smoother and less prominent in places.
     
  6. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    This is a really lovely recording, with some excellent phrasing. Without the score to hand I hear very little to quibble with. Perhaps the low Bb at 0.40 is a touch too obtrusive. On first listening the low Gbs from 1.10 also seemed to stick out a bit, but on second time, perhaps they are bells gradually receding into the distance. I can believe in that approach. Once again, this is beautiful.
     
  7. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for listening and commenting.

    Regarding the pause in measure 8, I was feeling it as a "soprano's pause". I just re-listened, and didn't think it was excessive, but yes, in these short pieces, keeping things in proportion becomes more important than ever. Maybe I should have made less of it.

    In crescendos I generally fight the tendency to speed up (an Old School thing). So I just played it at face value. Had Scriabin written con passione or similar, then certainly would have responded to it.

    Just watched the score for the LH in 26-27 but didn't detect any error there in the reading (Dover edition based on the Music Publishing House Edition, Moscow).

    Regarding the LH, it struck me as being very polyphonic not dissimilar from Liadov's writing. So while I tried to keep it in background, there were a few places where it was either a momentary center of attention, or, while not melodic, seemed entitled to a little more emphasis. So in those brief instances I allowed it to enter more into the foreground.

    Thanks again!

    David
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the compliment on my playing. I tried to keep the tempo around a quarter = 76 as marked (which I feel is too fast, but I didn't want to have others thinking my playing was too slow relative to the marking.) Many times I've also heard this piece drag along with too much being made of it.

    I did allow the bass accompaniment into the foreground a couple of times, as the polyphony really added nicely to the overall musical effect in my opinion.

    As I said to Joe, one of the performance requirements for playing a miniature successfully is to be aware of keeping things in proportion, such as a rit., a cresc., pause, etc. as they tend to be magnified given the brevity of the piece. In a longer work, they would be far less noticed.

    David
     
  9. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andrew,

    I'm glad you enjoyed this piece and my playing. This is one of those where the cantilena has to sing and soar, which very often means voicing the tops of moving chords and double notes. It's a great workout for the RH 5th finger in particular and shaping the phrasing along the way. Yes, I allowed the prominence of that low B flat at the climax of the piece. Interestingly, on the fading away (my idea) in the coda, evidently Scriabin had an additional similar measure at the rit. to prolong it even more, but later deleted it.

    David
     
  10. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Contrary to ther previous prelude, this one appeals immediately to me. I notice no similarity to Chopin, but to other Russians. I like the way you phrase it. As for the "soprano pause", it did seem for a moement it had finished, but no! And I like the little surprise you give when you start again.

    Good job!
     
  11. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    I'm glad you liked this prelude. It is a wonderful piece. In my youth I got to accompany a number of sopranos (along with a tenor as well). In doing so, you have to be constantly "tuned in" to their breathing as a song unfolds. Plus you must follow, never lead, the singer. It's not nearly the same as playing piano solo works where the piano is "in charge". And if you don't enable the singer to take a breath after a long phrase, then you're courting disaster! So when playing bel canto music, my mind automatically goes into singing mode, and I'll make a soprano pause (also for significant leaps in the treble) sans the soprano. I'd rather take criticism on that account than not recognize those requirements at all. The fact is, all instruments including piano basically emulate the human voice. So music becomes all about voicing, voice leading and playing cantilena well.

    David
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    And this one is on the site, too :)
     
  13. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for that. I appreciate it!

    David
     
  14. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    I agree with you. The pause allows the listener to breathe too.
     
  15. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    You know, I hadn't thought of that consideration, but it's so true. Thanks for mentioning it.

    David
     
  16. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very good David!
     
  17. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Robert,

    Thank you so much for listening and for the nice comment!

    David
     
  18. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Dear David,
    a great piece marvellously performed by you as usual. You bring out all these arabesques very sensitive and musical and I have enjoyed your performance very much!
     
  19. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andreas,

    Thank you very much, Andreas, for those compliments on my playing! When it comes to Scriabin, I tend to be very particular in selecting pieces to play. I look for those with high potential for playing with much expression. This prelude, as well as the G#m prelude, certainly met the criterion. I'm currently working on another one that I think the members will also enjoy. Thanks again for commenting!

    David
     
  20. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Rachfan wrote:
    I´m looking forward to it!
     

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