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Scriabin - Preludes

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by pianolady, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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  2. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    I liked your performances. Seem natural. even flexible.
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,

    I didn't follow with the scores, but these sound very nice to me. I particularly liked the last one, 17-6. Scriabin's early and middle periods are my favorites, including the early opus numbers you play from here. I've never warmed up nearly as much to his late works. Good job!

    David
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you, Felipe and David. :)
     
  5. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Are the nocturnes on the agenda? :wink:
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I don't know. Haven't looked at them yet to know if I like them. Are they just as pretty as these little pieces?
     
  7. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    Everything by Scriabin is arrestingly beautiful. 8)
     
  8. timmyab

    timmyab New Member

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    These are beautiful pieces sensitively played.The piano sounds nice as well.I really must get around to learning some of these Scriabin preludes one day.
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you, Timmy. Glad you like the piano sound too. I'm always trying out different recording settings, etc.
     
  10. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Nicely played, Monica. You have chosen the honest and simple way to deal with them and I feel it's the only way these preludes should sound.
    I have played some of them in the recent past with Op. 16-4 being one of my favourites. I believe that your 16-4 is way too slow. Of course this is subjective, but I still think you need to increase its speed moderately.
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you for listening and commenting, Pantelis.

    At first, I was very surprised by what you said about Op. 16-4 and was all ready to fire back my arguments as to why I think you are wrong. But then I did a little checking around and discovered that you are a little bit right. I play this slower than all other recordings I could find. (Not by much regarding some of them, though).

    Still, this is marked Lento with quarter note at 44. When I was recording this, I thought that was what I was doing, since I actually did check myself with the metronome before I recorded. But I don't know what happened. It was a rainy day that day, maybe I just got carried away by the gloominess and made too much out of this piece.

    So I think I will redo this one today. (It is a bright sunny and warm day today.) (Hope my Lento doesn't turn into Allegro. :) )
     
  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Changed my mind - no recording today. It's too nice outside. Going to spend the day at the pool instead. 8)
     
  13. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Monica,
    I have listened to all pieces with score. I have enjoyed them very much and I don´t find anything to nitpick on. I like also your tempo of op. 16, no. 4.
    These pieces are really all very nice and so contemplative. They have something very pure. I like them and I would like to play them one day, too.
    What a beautiful performance!
     
  14. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    HUMPF!
    here it is 8º Celsius, which for us is absurdly cold. the sensation is even colder than 8º C since there is wind.

    I hate cold. :cry:
     
  15. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    very pretty

    Five pieces, and I had never heard any of them. The last one (B-flat major) is especially gorgeous and your best interpretation, too. I liked the way you played all of them.
    If you would allow me a small unscientific comment, I thought the F-sharp major could have "flowed" better. It was also my least favorite, so maybe it was just that.
    Again, the B-flat major is truly beautiful. I hope it gets a lot of "air time".
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Felipe – that does sound cold for Brazil this time of year! We are going to be in the mid-80 degree range by the end of the week. If you come up here I will take you to my pool. Ordinarily, it’s nice and refreshing, or relaxing, depending on what you do. Except today I had a little problem with my suntan lotion. It’s a new bottle and I opened it up and smelled it, but must have squeezed the bottle at the same time because the lotion shot right up my nose. And I’m telling you, it did not feel good! My nose still burns!! Think I can still taste the lotion too!!!

    Andreas – I agree, these pieces do sound ‘pure’. I never thought of them that way before. I’ll probably do a few more of them and also the Poeme, op. 52, no. 1. I really, really love that one. So pretty….a little tricky rhythm but in general I find these to be much easier than the Godowsky pieces.

    Stu - your ‘unscientific’ statement makes perfect sense to me. That f-sharp major one was the trickiest of the bunch and gave me quite a bit of trouble for such a short piece. I ended up not caring for it as much as the others.

    Thanks, you guys! :D


    p.s. Happy birthday, Edvard Grieg! (forgot to say that earlier)
     
  17. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    Is it red? if so, it deserves a picture! :lol:

    btw... the temperature here is 8º Celsius. you said it is 80º there, so probably it is Fahrenheit (if it was Celsius, above 60º everyone is dead. hehe)
     
  18. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    First of congratulations on your first installment of Scriabin's early period. An overall very good!! :)

    Second of all, you might want to have the score handy for my analysis, unless of course you're a master at memorization and no longer need it.

    Since you asked for it ( :twisted: MWAHAHAHAHA), I'll give you an item-by-item critique for each piece.

    First of all, I noticed that you ommitted the first two preludes from Opus 16. You should work on those as well (I was actually going to suggest No.1 to you with its three 'bells' throughout.) No.2 has some excellent practice for 5-against-4's and 5-against-3's. I'll be waiting to hear these two to complete your set of Opus 16. You might also like Op.17, No.1 from Paris, February 1896. Usually Scriabin's compositions written in Paris have a decidedly different feel. Don't count that one out to quickly as you have to work with it a while before it blooms. :) ... but for now ...

    I'll also add here that since I don't have a metronome handy, I'll be taking your word on the tempi being correct. They're all in the right ballpark. So take a deep breath, and don't take any critique to seriously to the point that you get mad or sad. That's not my intention, here. I'm just telling how the pieces could be made perfect. :D

    Op.16, No.3 (Moscow, 1894)
    Excellent attention to detail concerning the phrasing and some of the dynamics for the first 13 measures. However, I'm not hearing the diminuendos in measures 8 and 14; nor the crescendos in measures 7 and 13. One way to approach this might be to back off from the dim. in measure 6 to almost a pp, then in measure 7 begin your cresc. to mf in 8, then immediately begin the dim. to the end of the phrase. This of course would make the cresc.- decrescendo in measure 6 a noticable swell of sound/passion. Measures 12 through end of phrase at 1st beat of 15 would be similar. Excellent respect for the rests (right hand-2nd beat) at measures 11, 17, and 20. However, I would like to see more of a contrast between the mf in the right hand and the p in the left hand starting in 2nd beat of measure 17 through 3rd beat of measure 18, and again from 2nd beat of measure 20 through 3rd beat of measure 21. However, there is one point that might be open to interpretation concerning the crescendos in measure 18 and again in measure 21. One way to interpret this is to assign the crescendo to only the right hand in both measures. The version I'm using which may not be authoritative has the crescendo in 18 clearly for the right hand, but in measure 21 it's printed more in the centre of the measure. :? This might mean the crescendo in measure 21 is for both hands, although this could also be a typographical error. Like I said, this would need research/meditation to determine which. Preliminarily it appears to me that Scriabin intended the left hand to continue on with a soft legato p (while the right hand went from initial mf to crescendo to perhaps even f), until the start of the new phrase in 18 (4th beat) which would bring the right hand (quasi subito) to the same level as the left hand in its p. Then with measure 19 both hands swell with amplitude and force to the 1st beat of measure 20. Similar dynamics in measures 20 - 21.

    Don't rob the 5 in the 4th beat of measure 25 (right hand) too much (I'm nitpicking here because you didn't do it toooo much only slightly), and make sure that it contrasts nicely with the 6 in the 1st beat of measure 26. Where's the Chopin rubato in measure 27?!!! It's very rare for Scriabin to actually write "rubato" on a score so whenever he does ... he really really meant it! Also be attentive to speeding up too much for measures 28 onwards (2nd beat after the rit. from 27). Finally, one technique to help make the sustained G in measures 33 (tied from 2nd beat) through 34 is to pay extra attention to cleanly lifting off of the chord from the second beat as precisely as possible (some touch may be in order here (or Ch'i work ...) to pull this off. The effect is that the G clearly rings out by itself). I realize that this might be difficult with your small girly-hands :wink: so (just for practicing - certainly never for performance or recording!!! :shock: ) try transposing the Ab in the left hand up an octave so you can reach all the notes of the chord without an arpeggiation (is that a word?) A good additional exercise to practice this technique would be in Op. 11, No. 10 (especially the last four measures), but more especially in Op. 11 No. 4. In Prelude 4, focus upon making the left hand really sing (cantabile) This begins in earnest around measure 17 to the end. Both of these are fairly short and fairly easy athletically-speaking. For this particular technique No. 10 is easier since the sustained notes are sff (except of course for the F# in the left hand, and the F# and A in the right hand which are p. Prelude No.4 gives you the opportunity to practice this a bit more, as well as in pp and ppp.

    Overall, very good job, so don't take my critique too personally. Every criticism is a golden opportunity which informs you exactly where you can improve to become more perfect. :)

    Op.16, No.4 (St.Petersburg, 1895)
    First, I'm having trouble picking up the sotto voce (under the voice), this should give the impression of an 'aside' as in theatre. The introduction to this piece really is an aside, that begins to warm with the first full chords. Thank you for not duplicating the Bb in the left hand of measure 3 (3rd beat). So many people do this and think it doesn't matter, yet it significantly alters the internal movement of the chord. Refreshing to hear!!! :D What happened in measure 8? You've added a fourth beat to the 3/4. I realize that this figure can be difficult and many editions print it wrong/funny. The third beat has 6-against-4, but in a wierd juxtaposition. Make sure that the left hand and the left-half-of-the-right-hand are coordinated in a dotted eighth to sixteenth (in 4) under the triplet with dotted centre to sixteenth. If you think of this in terms of a 3-against-2 (assuming these are easier for you) it will give you the right feel. You just need to divide each of the two into two. I think this doesn't really make sense to describe, but I'm kinda at a loss to describe it. Maybe by counting it in twelve, the notes should then fall on 1 5 10 11. Practice this slowly then speed it up a bit.

    The figure on the 1st beat of measure 10 is a strange one, since you have to hold the right hand Bb octave for the whole beat, while the Bb and Gb of the left hand are a stacatto quarter note, and the Eb in the right hand is a stacatto eighth note. This is a difficult figure to get down, but it's more effective if the ends of the notes are more distinct. Think that each of the notes of the chord is a singer in a choir, and each of the parts of the choir has a specific ending time for their part. I do hear that you're doing this somewhat with the note but it's just not distinct enough for my tastes. Also I'm not sure if I'm hearing it correctly (due to the tiny computer speakers), but in measure 10 (1st beat) the Bb octave is held for the whole beat, and it sounds like you're only holding the top Bb. Like I said, this could be due to my tiny speakers.

    Also, overall there is a slight hesitation before the chord measure (1st beat) at most of the dotted triplet figures (3rd beat). It helps me to count these out in my head as 1 . 3 . . 6 1 with the chord coming in on the final 1. You may have been doing this as an expressive hesitation but I feel that this is done a bit too much. It sets the song slightly too hesitant and makes it a bit choppier than it could be. This song is indeed harder to play than most people realize since it's much easier to play this song at a faster tempo, but that's not what Scriabin intended. He makes you really slow it down and get these figures precisely.

    Op.16, No.5 (Moscow, 1895)
    From the very start, you have a rubato that should come out more. These are most likely 'Chopin' rubatos with the left hand tempo steady and the right hand robbing away from the beat until it runs to escape getting caught and falls in seamlessly with the beat blending right in. This will probably be somewhere in the second or third measure according to taste, where you would want the hands to coincide again. There should also be a slightly greater emphasis upon the melody, but I understand that some of these intervals may be a large stretch and giving proper duration might be difficult. This is most noticeable in places like measure 11 with the C# which should be held the whole measure. The next improvement that could be made would be with the 3-against-2 figures in measures 12 and 20. You are playing these correctly, but they could be more precise. Some of these types of figures in Scriabin's music will sound like a mistake to casual listeners if they're not super precise in the rhythm. Don't exagerate them, as that would be too far in the right direction. Somewhere between where they're at now and a strict metronome tempo, somewhere in between.

    Sometimes there are slight hesitations before beginning a phrase, such as into the beginning of measures 5, 9, 17, 21, and 23. Measure 13 is perfect in this regard. There's just enough of a semi-quasi-break to denote the startup of the theme, but it's not too much that it makes you trip if you were trying to dance to it. When you fix these hesitations, I think the pickup note to measure 5 (the last 32nd note after the 32nd rest) will fix itself as well. Be sure you preserve the current phrasing there as that second phrase must begin with that 32nd note.

    I think the largest flaw with this piece is with the dynamics. Scriabin goes from pp up to f in three measures from measure 9 to measure 11, then to mf by 13, back down to pp by 15, and then again from measure 17 to measure 19 is another pp to f swell, then two measures down to mf, and two more back down to pp. This piece thrives on contrast of dynamics, and any extra attention you pay to dynamics in this piece pays off double. Good work with the phrasing since Scriabin didn't really write in a lot of explicit phrasing here, but you very tastefully added some semi-quasi-breaks that work quite well, indeed. 8)

    A final compliment on this piece since I know how busy the piece is, and then Scriabin speeds it up to 126. Excellent job holding the tempo together.

    Op.17, No.4 (Moscow, November 1895)
    This piece should be really sotto voce almost to the point of being pensive. Dynamic-wise Scriabin only reaches up to mf in the largest swell, and stays mostly under his breath in the pp down to ppp range. The minor swells only reach up to mp. So this prelude is really a study in playing totally understated. It should almost have the feel of a pensive reverie, a whispered voice in the Moscow Winter night ... That said, you do show some really nice attention to the phrasing details. This is a very common Scriabinism to start off the phrase with a couple of pickup notes in the previous phrase. He reaches a semi-climax with this style in Op.7 #2, Op.8 #7, Op.12 both Impromptus!!, Op.14 #2, and finally Op.42 #2 & #8. You've done a really excellent job keeping the phrase separate from the measure where one would normally expect it to be. This is also one of the few Scriabin pieces that one could approach with a more rubato (but not rubato) fashion.

    Excellent work with the rests (last quarter of 1st beat through first half of second beat figures). One point about rests is make sure you notice that measure 6 (second half of 1st beat) are quarter notes, not eighth notes. He changes the thematic figure subtly on that repetition only, it helps give a clue that the theme will soon modulate. (From the ..X. ..X^ X^X^ to X^X^ X^XX X^^. where .=rest,X=note,^=held note). It also balances out the previous modulation thus:
    [START]
    ..X. ..X^ X^X.
    to
    ..X. ..X^ X^X^
    to
    ..X^ ..X^ X^X^
    [STOP]

    Some of the measures where Scriabin has two voices in the right hand should be more pronounced, such as in measure 2 (second full measure) in the last two beats the first voicing would be Bb - F - Eb, whereas the second voicing are the intervals Eb/Gb - Gb/Db - rest. The stems of the notes help differentiate these most of the time. Also during this phrase the three note figures should noticeably rise and fall in dynamics, not excessively, just noticeably (if that makes sense).

    Nice work with the poco rit. section (measures 9 - 10) and then into the 'a tempo', just one minor detail about starting the rallentando too soon. Don't anticipate this too much as the 'a tempo' holds up until the last measure.

    Finally, it could be my computer speakers but I don't hear the final low-low-Bb, but I do hear the top-Db which my score shows is tied from the previous measure and should be held down the whole time.

    ...and with all that critique out of the way ... I think you did a really good job with this piece, I just have the confidence that you could make it near perfect since you have definitely shown that you can focus upon the details of a piece.

    Op.17, No.6 (Moscow, 1895)
    The tempo that you've chosen does work although I think it's a little too fast. This should be a 'painful walking' (andante doloroso), it even helps sometimes to cry while playing pieces like this one, since that's the feeling that must come through. The dynamics can really help a lot with this as he covers the range from pp to f. I especially liked the second sobbing outburst from measures 18 to 20, and then the resigned quieting to measure 22. Nicely intense!!! Excellent!

    The entire piece, however, could be a lot more legato and responsive. Try to think of the dynamics of someone that is in anguish and sadness and the quiet sobs occasionally arise into a frustrated angered passion. This was written about four years after his hand injury, so I don't really think that's the only motivation here, but I can see some of his rising anger to curse God, then resignation into creating passionate music anyway. Mulling over the unfairness of such a devastating blow to his chosen profession as a performing pianist. Resigned to instead accept being a composer ... (yet occasional anger upon reflection) ... etc. You may have other motivations that will work for this piece better for you, that's just the idea that occurs to me. It would need to maintain intensity if it was played at eighth note = 60 (an eighth note every second). Really play inside the keys, not on their outer surface.

    The only other improvement to this piece would be more separation of voicings. Approach it as if it were a Bach Fugue (a 4 voce) or a Madrigal ensemble - with each particular part as a separate voice in a choir. Each voice having its own independent existence, yet melting together into a greater passion.

    Other than what I've already said, this piece is just excellent. My favourite of the set is this Opus 17, No.6. I think this one freed up your voice more than some of the others. A really excellent job.

    AND to think that this was your very first time playing Scriabin. I am seriously and truly impressed!!! 8) I knew you could produce some quality results.

    Hopefully, you won't take this critique too hard. I'm only offering constructive criticism to help you become perfect!!! These pieces all cover Scriabin's early phase. I think you mentioned that you were working on the Op.52, No.1 Great to hear that, but (sarcastically) that's from Scriabin's icky final period where everything is all just atonal noise. (end of sarcasm) Your assessment of it shows that you're begining to truly understand Scriabin's works. If you're planning on the Op.52, No.1 you should also look at the other 2 morceaux, 2.Enigme and 3.Poeme languide. The #2 is, well, enigmatic. :lol: and the #3 should be a very languid poem (it's short, too). That would make a great final period set ...

    For something from his middle period, take a look at Opus 37, Nos. 1, 2, and 3 (maybe also 4 to complete the set, if you will - but it's a faster piece). These show the fleshing out of his style. I think you'll especially like Nos. 2 and 3. Each of the four pieces are only two pages a piece. They all build upon the same types of techniques and themes some of which I've mentioned above, others which you've no doubt discovered by working on the Op.52. All four of these are not as difficult as some other Scriabin pieces (although they do have their moments, as you would imagine). Let me know if those will work for the middle period set, so I can think of some others to suggest. I'm wondering if you've rejected the Op.34 Poeme tragique since you haven't mentioned it. Once you get used to the tonality of it, you'll see that it has a beautiful (in a tragic sort of way) structure. What are your thoughts on the middle section (measures 32 through 51)? Some of the intervals might be a bit of a stretch, especially when he augments the theme into two Russian handfulls of chords!!! :shock: :lol: Let me know what you think either here in this thread or the other thread in repertoire ... I'll be eagerly awaiting more ...

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand

    P.S. I just realized how much I've written!!! Where did the last hours go? You can see just how enthusiastic I get about Scriabin. Sorry if that was too long... (sort of) :) I told you I'd have more time after Thursday ...
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Wow, Michael! You sure are thorough!! It took me two cups of coffee to get through everything here. :lol:

    But seriously, thank you very much. I'll try to respond to some of what you said.

    16/3 - bar 18 - my crescendo is closer to the RH as well. Bar 27 - yes, I could have done a better job with the rubato, but rubato does not come easy to me. In fact, I probably could spend a whole two days on just that one measure in an effort to do better rubato. Bar 11 - When I first read through this piece, I wanted to bring out the top note of the LH more, making that be the leading voice. There are not dynamic markings here so I thought that would be all right. Then I listened to two Russian pianists on Youtube (can't remember their names) and they did not do this, so I thought I should not either. What do you think about this? Would this had been all right? I know the mf and p in bar 17 tell us specifically which hand to bring out, but there's no direction regarding that in bar 11. I just didn't know if that would have been a mortal sin or not so I didn't do it.

    16/4 - bar 8 - Ugh, you're right. Dunno what happened there, exactly. Bar 10 - and other hesitations - I'll blame my 'girly' hands. No? How about that's my rubato. No? Ok, forget it...no good excuses there.

    16/5 - Argh - more rubato! Bar 11 - Darn it! I always miss those up stems!. Dynamics in bars 9 - 11, yes, I should have done them better.

    17/4 - bar 6 - Yes, now I see that it's a whole quarter note and not an eighth. You lost me on that XXX^ stuff. I'm not advanced enough to understand that, but I think I understand what you said. Bar 2 - more up stems! Last measure - I did play the low low B-flat, but dang it! - I didn't see that the D-flat in RH is tied.

    17/6 - I really love this one too. I wouldn't mind playing it slower, because then those beautifully sad harmony changes would be even more gut-wrenching. I think I just followed the metronome setting. Not sure about that, though. I'll check it out.

    Ok, thank you again for all of this! I so much appreciate it. I'm not taking lessons currently, and it was my teacher who always pointed out those things like rests, up-stems, and phrases. This nitpicking is just what I need!

    And now about the op. 52. You think that no. 1 is atonal noise? I don't. I think it is beautiful. I love it. Even though it is slow, it's got a little jazziness in it. I should have it down in few days and then I'll definitely check out nos. 2 and 3 from the set.

    The other pieces you mentioned - Poeme tragique - I've no time this weekend, but I'll look at them next week. At least I'll try. My head is spinning with all this talk about all these pieces, and I still want to listen to Prometheus and that concerto again, and read all that other information you showed me, and... :wink:
     
  20. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hye-Jin
    I didn't know any of these pieces, but your playing is very moving. Since I've not been on PS for a while, I notice in your recordings that your musical maturity is developing to the full.
    From a personal curiosity I'd like to ask how you got to know these pieces. By hearing other recordings or from the scores? Or from the suggestion of your teacher?
    By the way the instrument sounds very good. Have you bought a new one or just changed the location of the recorder?
     

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