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Some Alkan

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Needing a break from my regular projects, turned my attention to Alkan. I've neglected him a bit in recent years, but a re-appreciation is due (I have to blame Felipe for that :lol: ). I intend to record more Alkan, but I think I'll stick to the 'easier' and smaller pieces though, and leave the big warhorses to the real virtuosos here.

    Alkan - Esquisses Op.63 - 1: La Vision ( 2:51 )
    Alkan - Esquisses Op.63 - 12: Barcarolette ( 2:05 )
    Alkan - 25 Preludes Op.31 - 8: Chanson de la Folle au Bord de Mer ( 4:20 )
    Alkan - Op.45 - Salut, Cendre du Pauvre ! ( 8:25 )
     
  2. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    oh, Salut du Centre Pauvre is such a difficult piece to bring off. Having heard both Martin's and Hamelin's recordings, I started appreciating this one only after coming across Nakamura's. so I'd have done things in a different way here, a little faster and more in the Nakamura style, but it's okay in your way also.

    the beginning of your Op. 63 no. 12 is really arresting. you created an atmosphere of mystery, with slow tempo and pianissimo at the right hand. and you play Op. 63 no. 1 with affection, while professional pianists seem to play this piece only the complete the set.

    the Madwoman is good. I prefer it a little faster, but definitely is better this way than the extremely fast version of Mustonen (Mustonen plays good most of the preludes, but some of them are too fast).

    thanks for giving us more Alkan =D
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    It is actually. The arpeggios before the end are very hard and I still don't quite know how best to handle the middle section with these low drum-strokes. The trills seem to be stuck in my sluggish keyboard sometimes. Anyway I think it did not come out too bad.

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  4. pianolady

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

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    Felipe once told me that 63/1 is too easy and not memorable and I think he is right. He also gave me a list of other Alkan pieces that I may want to play - one of them being this Bararolle. Unfortunately, now that I hear it, I'm not crazy about it. The 31/8 - would make good music for my next Halloween party. Op. 45 - all that low stuff goes on too long, don't you think? Sorry - maybe I don't like Alkan's music like I thought I did. None of this is against your playing though. It is mostly fine, except for in the op. 45 your repeated chords are too strong. Also, your piano could use a tuning.
     
  5. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    please, Marcelo...
    how can I say "cagüeteira" in English?
    :D
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Too easy, what does that mean ? Should there be more octaves and roulades of notes ? I don't judge a piece on that. Nothing is 'too easy' for me :D

    Nope, I don't think so. Give me low stuff over high tinkling every time.

    Strong maybe, but not too strong IMHO. As long as the RH melody has prominence, which I believe it does.

    It is not a fresh as I'd like, but not too bad yet. It was tuned on july 23 and I'll have to make do with it for 1.5 month. Don't want to increase my tuning schedule to more than 3 times a year... It's costing me a limb already :!:
     
  7. Lukecash

    Lukecash New Member

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    Chanson de la Folle au Bord de Mer was okay, but it seemed rushed. Just not mad enough, you know? Also, the left hand imposed itself on the performance a bit. But it was a pretty good, stern interpretation. Thank you for your contributions.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks ! Leave it to me to deliver a stern interpretation. It's all the Bach fugues and chorales, I suppose :lol:

    I think this piece is one that people feel strongly about, and have their definite ideas about how to perform it. I wonder how that would be without the haunting title. - maybe nobody would give it a second look then. Although it is good even then.

    I am puzzled that it seems rushed to you, it's about the same tempo as Smith and Gibbons take. Yes maybe it could be madder (I assume you refer to the climax in the middle) but to me this woman is sad rather than mad, or maybe half-mad with sadness. Trying to reclaim her perished fisherman son from the sea, perhaps. I don't envisage her going into a mad frenzy.
    The LH is pretty dominant I agree (my grand has a sonorous bass and not a very ringing treble) but it makes sense for me, as this poor soul's wailing has to compete with the sound of the eternal sea.
     
  9. Lukecash

    Lukecash New Member

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    Really, by mad I meant that it wasn't drawn. To make a piece mad, in my humble opinion, you need to stretch the interpretation into something that wouldn't normally be pleasing/satisfying. Maybe it had to do with something else I can't put a finger on, but it seems like it needs to be 6-8 beats a minute slower. You are right that there isn't exactly mad rage in it, and that's why I saw the overpowering base as not such a great characterization.

    I see where your other ideas come from, but Alkan specifically named this "The Mad Woman On The Sea Shore", so it's about a mad woman; Not a half mad more sad woman. I do like your reference to the sea playing into the piece a bit.

    This is all just my own opinions though, so don't feel offended in the least. I liked the performance.
     
  10. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    this is what makes Chopin's performances difficult to please, I think.
     
  11. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    To "La vision": that sounds really sensitively played at some places, I have enjoyed it very much.
    To "Barcarolette": this one has like the first one also a more meditative character, sounds nicely played.
    To "Chanson de la Folle au bord de mer": this piece is really creepy, could be music to a Dracula silent film of the 20th or so. I think, the meditative effect is not too far away from the Satie-pieces, I have played recently. But then in themiddle is that crazy accelerando, wow, that´s really a good effect. Good playing, Chris.
    To "Salut, Cendre du Pauvre": This seems to have more (programatic) change. I think, the dreamy passages come out well, whereas the bass-arpeggios (and trills) could be a bit clearer here and there, I believe. I can hear some good dynamic contrasts and changes here.

    I didn´t know all these pieces and I didn´t follow with score, but I have enjoyed them very much. Thank you to have me made met these pieces.
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Andreas ! Indeed the middle section of the Cendre is a bit murky, I find these bass trills very hard to bring off.
    Certainly in the Vision and Chanson de Folle one seems to hear pre-echoes of Satie. What a strange and endlessly fascinating man Alkan must have been. But I think we hardly know anything about him, which is such a shame.
     
  13. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Techneut wrote:
    Right, Chris, I have to admit, I only know the very virtuoso pieces by him, played by Hamelin and so on, so it´s really a progress to have known here some of his easier pieces. I haven´t any knowledge about his biography until know, I have to admit. :oops:
     
  14. Lukecash

    Lukecash New Member

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    Read up on Alkan at these two sites in Jack Gibbons official website:

    http://www.jackgibbons.com/alkan.htm

    http://www.jackgibbons.com/alkanmyths.htm
     
  15. mgasilva

    mgasilva New Member

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    LOL, coming in a bit late, but here it goes: tattletale.

    Marcelo
     

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