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Scriabin Prelude, Op. 16, No. 1 in B

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Rachfan, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Scriabin’s Prelude, Op.16, No. 1, (January 1894), falls within his early period influenced by Chopin’s style. Marked andante, the usual rhythmic pattern is triplets; however, the triplets are either aligned as polyrhythms or counterpoint. This presents a thin texture to the listener, yet it is more difficult to play than it sounds. I would characterize this piece as a reverie. Scriabin wanted the bar lines to be transparent—a manner of playing often found in Russian romantic music. This being a reverie, I surmise that Scriabin mitigated structure per se, as dreaming is more unstructured. Although a short work, it is not in ternary form. Instead Scriabin inserted an episode after the first appearance of the main theme, and a different one following the reprise of the theme. There are two climaxes, the first in the rubato section and a secondary one focusing on the highest note of the piece in the second episode prior to the coda. The coda itself is initially dissonant but resolves into tranquil beauty. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing this prelude.

    David

    Comments welcome.

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

    Scriabin - Prelude in B major, Op. 16, No. 1 (2:45)
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    That was nice. An interesting code indeed, much dissonant anguish resolving into peaceful bliss. Very well done.
    And good to see we don't have to nag about the tags :wink:
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed my rendition. That piece is harder to play than it sounds. There are leaps there in the right hand that involve both a full stretch of the hand plus lateral movement of the arm. And with all the humidity in the air, there is constant guarding against ghost notes. When I'm in between composers, if I'm undecided about my next piece, I can always depend immediately on Scriabin or Rachmaninov to give me an inspiration.

    I think I have the tags down now better than the music. :lol:

    David
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Most pieces are.

    Haha.. at least you've learned something here then :p
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    This one is on the site.

    Huh... I can't begin to imagine what that would be like.....
     
  6. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for putting the piece up for me.

    Yes, I know. I think the difference is that you often do arms-full of pieces at a time, while I apply more narrow criteria. For example, I now exclude Baroque, Rococo, Viennese Classical and Contemporary (with exceptions). Probably I should post a Bach piece here, which would provide amusement if nothing else, I'm sure. :lol: Basically I mostly search through the late romantic literature. Therein, I look for pieces that meet my personal aesthetic for ravishing beauty. If a piece leaves me cold, I won't touch it. Life is too short to play music that cannot move me. In another year and a half I'll be 70. So as the window of the lifespan narrows (the human condition), I think it important that I do what I do best and most enjoy. If I'm practicing a difficult but gorgeous piece, it will never discourage me. And when I can share the results with others, then that's my reward. I believe you're far more of an adventurer encountering a kaleidoscope of the piano literature. And that's great--there's much to to be said for it. In many cases involving obscure composers, had you not played some of that music, then who would have played it? There's no question that it has enriched the archive here and given many a forgotten composer a well deserved boost.

    David
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Same here, and I guess that holds for everybody except maybe students and pros who HAVE to play certain things for exams, contests, concerts, etc...
    My problem is that there's so much out there that moves me and I just HAVE to play it. In a way I envy those who can quietly and purposefully pursue their chosen and well-defined path through literature. And in another way definitely I don't :D
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    Yes, I can appreciate your viewpoint on that. I think a lot of it comes back to the personal objectives of the pianist. It plays a big role in matters of repertoire.

    David
     
  9. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi David,
    that´s a wonderful piece and performance. Your interpretation is full of subtle nuances. It starts with the pp after the mf, which you bring out excellently, goes over some differentiations between mf, p and pp and an accellerando, which you worked out very convincingly, and ends with a very good ppp. For me your interpretation is an ideal of working out dynamic and tempo nuances. Bravo, that´s a high musical quality as we are used by you.
     
  10. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andreas,

    I'm delighted that you enjoyed so much this prelude and my rendition. This piece offered some difficulties not apparent at first examination, especially the leaps. So I spent extra time to get it up to my personal standard. This is now one of my favorite Scriabin pieces. Thanks for listening and commenting. I appreciate it.

    David
     
  11. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    David,

    I listened to your interpretation of this Scriabin prelude, this is quite excellent. I have not heard it and it is like exploring something completely new for the first time, a one-of-a-kind feeling :) About your playing I am always glad to listen to your work. I see your point, the human condition has limiting factors. I agree with your assessment, it has the feeling of a dream, of floating on rather than standing in place. The ending reminds me of Albeniz's Evocation, also dissonant and tortuous, but finally giving way to a benign end.
     
  12. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Riley,

    I'm so glad you enjoyed my rendition of this prelude of Scriabin. Prior to taking up this prelude, I had never noticed it before. It turned out to be a wonderful piece of music. With the catilena melodic line and the deemphasized bar lines, it almost feels like being in "free float". So you're right on! The dreaming is like floating. The whole piece is achingly beautiful including the coda. Those leaps in the right hand call for a fully extended hand and moving the arm as well. They were devilish for awhile when I was practicing, but finally yielded. Thanks for listening and commenting.

    David
     
  13. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Hello, David,

    All these recordings that come up... I save them on my computer and sometimes I manage to listen to one, in this case, yours. Do I take it your preference in Scriabin is the same as mine? I much prefer his earlier work, before he got religion or measels or whatever it was, seeing notes through rose-tinted spectacles and inventing Mystic Trumpet... I mean, chords (the Mystic Trumpeter is a song by Holst :oops: ).

    Of course half-way through the little girl came along and sat at the piano and tried to accompany you, but still I did make it to the end and I must say I do like this prelude and you do play it with sensitivity, so a very pleasant addition to the site.

    You are very focused in the latye XIX-early XX century repertoire and that is good for us, as it gives us many gems, but I must say I could never concentrate so much on any one given period. I play from Bach to Rautavaara, though this month I have not touched the piano since 2nd august. (I have just heard some ice-cream has been poured into it, so maybe now it will sound better! :D )
     
  14. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Same here. I can't warm to late or even 'mature' Scriabin.
     
  15. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member

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    David,
    I'll just add my 'thank you' for this wonderful recording. I had to listen 3 times to make sure that I had nothing to add, except that I agree with Riley that the end reminds me of Albeniz.
     
  16. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Richard,

    Yes, this Scriabin prelude is definitely from his early period. My favorites are in his middle period, items like the Fantasy, Op. 28, Tragic Poem, Op. 34, the Waltz, Op. 38, etc. Great pieces!! But there is a forbidding gateway I never approach--Op. 50 and beyond, which is the late mystical period. There is nothing I wish to play there. Once in awhile I listen to his symphonic Poem of Ecstasy, Op. 54 (where the "Mystic Trumpet" you mention plays a prominent role). There are some things I like about that work, but I cannot warm up to the others there. Anyway, back to the prelude. I'm happy that you (and your young daughter too) liked this music. And thanks for the nice compliment on my playing too.

    It's true that I really feel at home in the late romantic period. But I think I might have an idea, however, which might shock the members here. Should be fun. Stay tuned!

    If the ice cream doesn't help the Geyer, then nothing will!

    David
     
  17. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Stu,

    I'm pleased that you liked the recording and played it several times! Thanks for listening and commenting on it.

    David
     
  18. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very nice. Imo you've achieved the rare feat of making a piece sound better than it actually is.

    I think you may have been born in the wrong era. Most people don't play the piano like this now ;)
     
  19. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for those wonderful compliments! I really appreciate it.

    You hit the nail on the head, Andrew. I guess I see myself as an Old School pianist. Today the emphasis is on correct notes which if anything has been deleterious to pianists. Entrants to piano competition can now be dismissed for a wrong note. The last three Van Cliburn Competitions have been parades of pianists who played the same plain vanilla. In short, they all sounded alike. Old School pianists always made a best effort to learn and play correct notes, but they went way farther than notes--they knew how to project their interpretations and put their renditions across to an audience. Often that meant taking big risks, but if they succeeded at the expense of a few notes being dropped under the piano, nobody cared. It was a detail, not the canvass. Listeners were inspired! So that performance brought the house down. Back then if an artist's recording was being broadcast and you turned it on already in progress, within a few moments you knew who was playing. There was a nobility in Rubinstein's playing; the glimmering sheen of Gieseking's playing of impressionistic music; the way Horowitz could make the impossible possible; the poetry of Cortot's playing of a Chopin Sonata; etc. Now, we have a focus on correct notes, and if everyone gets the notes right, they don't touch perfection, rather they have attained the state of accuracy where everyone's playing is sounding alike. To my way of thinking, that is mediocrity not excellence. Well, that's what I try to avoid. But, nor do I ever want my playing to sound idiosyncratic which is just as bad. I simply want to be in that zone in between where my expression and individualism are distinctive, but always in the service of the composers' music. If I can do that, then I will have attained my standard.

    Thanks for listening.

    David
     
  20. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    Good work as always. i did feel that the uppermost one-note-per-bar voice towards the end felt a bit one-dimensional, but that may probably be due to the composition. In general, the piece as others have said has kind of floaty, foreboding bliss, and you put that forward wonderfully.
     

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