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Tchaikovsky opus 72 numbers 8 and 17

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by StuKautsch, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    This link
    http://imslp.org/wiki/18_Pieces,_Op.72_ ... sky,_Pyotr)
    will take you to a page where you can download Opus 72 if you like.

    #8 is titled "Dialog".
    #17 is titled "Passe Lointain" which is roughly "Distant Past".

    Piano is Petroff - large baby grand - which sorely needs voicing and maybe new strings.
    Lid down for both pieces.
    Recorded on a Zoom H2, 192 kbps.
    Audacity GVerb using their published "quick fix" settings.

    Comments are welcome, of course - including about the music itself. Some days I like these pieces, and some days I don't; I'm curious about what others think.

    Tchaikovsky - Dialog, Op. 72, No. 8 (2:50)
    Tchaikovsky - Passe Lointain, Op. 72, No. 17 (4:30)
     
  2. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Great playing Stu ! The Petrof has a modest but very likable voice. As has Tchaikovsky in these charming pieces.

    I can't find much to criticize except that you can take your time a bit more, and do more with dynamics. The Dialog is a bit hurried in places and you underplay the short but important climax. Be expansive, persuade the listener this is great music ! The Passe Lointain, which I love a lot, is beautifully
    done even if I'm not sure the middle section should be so brisk as you take it here. You should cut off the noise at the end of this track, as well as provide proper Name/Title tags for both tracks :!:

    Tchaikovsky's piano music can be a bit perfunctory and repetitive at times, and I can understand you are more enthusiastic about it one day than another.
    Although in this set he generally gives his finest.

    New strings and new (or voiced) hammers sound like a worthwhile investment. You may find, as I did with my Gaveau, that the sound improves dramatically
    and brings fresh inspiration.
     
  4. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    Chris,
    I'm embarrassed by the noise at the end of the Passe Lointain - there's something wrong with my process of editing for that to get through.
    I think I know what was wrong with the tags and I've redone those, too. I'll attach both files to this reply (is that the proper procedure?)

    As far as that tempo (the agitato) was concerned - it probably was a little fast, but the "agitato" marking always brings out the 20-year-old that is still slumbering in me. Also, recording works for which I've never heard a different recording is a real adventure for me, and I'm sticking to it in this opus.

    BTW: Do you think that Tchaikovsky occasionally makes pieces more difficult than they had to be? The music is beautiful, but there are times in this opus where I feel that the practice-time-to-music-satisfaction ratio is a little high!

    Tchaikovsky - Dialog, Op. 72, No. 8 (2:50)
    Tchaikovsky - Passe Lointain, Op. 72, No. 17 (4:30)
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Probably the most important thing in the editing process is the final listen-through from start to end. I had to learn that the hard way :)

    Thanks, that's better. Proper procedure (insofar we have one) would be the replace the attachments in the first post (unless they needed to be kept for some reason).

    I have to admit I never really saw the "molto agitato" marking there :shock: and always been content just to bring out the Piu mosso. So you are probably doing it right here.

    I never feel he makes things difficult for the sake of it. But indeed sometimes the musical content does not justify the long hard work. In this set I feel this applies to the Polacca de Concert, and to a lesser extent. to the Scherzo Fantasie. I still like these two pieces despite their excessive length and repetitiveness. You're right, there is some very difficult writing scattered throughout this great collection.

    These are now on this site, well done. As you are involved in this opus, would you consider compiling some text about it ?
     
  6. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    Chris,
    I'd posted some modest notes in September that got lost in the cracks. There are a few other things I'd like to say about the opus and I'll work on those. Here are those notes:

    First published in September 1893 by Petr Jurgenson, the opus 72 was mostly written in 1893 (making this a very late work - immediately after the 6th Symphony), although musicologists feel confident that some of the material was from earlier sketches.

    Each of the 18 has a separate dedication (thus fulfilling numerous dedication pledges to people), but the pieces were composed at the same time, written to "earn some money", as Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother Modest in February of that year. He also told his brother a few months later that he had written the 18 pieces in 15 days!

    This work has also been catalogued as number 151 in "The Tchaikovsky Handbook, vol. 1 (2002)", by Alexander Poznansky & Brett Langston. That catalog ("TH" for short) is the main system of numbering used on the site http://www.tchaikovsky-research.net, which is the main source for these notes.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, I must have missed those. I've added these notes to the page. Whatever else you can come up with would be welcome and I'll add that too.
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    That was nice, Stuart. The first piece does sound like two people talking. The second piece is pretty. I was wondering if it was going to be this one piece.....nearly everyday I listen to a classical piano music station while at work and they always play this Tchaikovsky piece that I like a lot. However, it's one of the Seasons, but I don't know which piece. It's so pretty though...

    Anyway, nice playing and thank you for not breathing loud. :wink:
     
  9. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Stu,

    I had a listen to your recordings and liked them a lot. I think you did a good job of phrasing the chordal figures in the LH and the "dialog" melody in the RH. The frequent modulating turns I imagine were hard to learn. I think the tempo was fitting, as marked Allegro moderato, but would be interesting to experiment with a slower tempo. The 17 I think was nice, though for criticism I would try the soft pedal for the repeats, to change the character. I think your piano sounds quite nice. Oddly enough when I listened back to it I was reminded of the sound of a Yamaha grand which I have been lucky enough to play in college. They must be built similar :) Sounded fine to me, though of course, new voicing and strings would make it sound like a much nicer instrument :)
     
  10. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    First, thanks to all for listening and commenting.

    Riley, I'm glad you remarked on the tempo. It does sound nicer at a somewhat slower tempo, and it's easier to get the "dialog" effect. I opted for a tempo closer to the composer's marking because the piece is new to me, not recorded much, and just out of deference to Tchaikovsky. If I ever perform it, I think I'll ease up a bit.

    Frankly, I think many of Tchaikovsky's tempo markings are too fast in this set. I have a hard time trying to figure out what went on in that guy's head.

    Monica - I've been practicing holding my breath all the way through a recording!
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    :lol:
     
  12. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Stu,

    You do justice to both these pieces, but of the two from a compositional standpoint, I much prefer No. 8. Somehow No. 17 seems a bit Mendelssohnian to me. I can tell though that you put hard work into both. I don't have the scores here, but feel that you played both convincingly. Although Tchaikovsky produced a respectable number of piano pieces, I believe that his first and stronger love was composing orchestral works. Fine playing! Thanks for sharing these with us.

    David
     
  13. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Stu, both these pieces have something of the salon about them, but they're certainly not lacking in charm! The piano sound seems quite suitable as well. Thanks for uploading.
     
  14. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well done and very pleasant to listen to! My preference is for no 17. Basically I agree with Chris that this music could tolerate more persuasiveness and dynamics - but this of course depends on what you want to do with the pieces and what they mean to you.
     
  15. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    Just came back from overseas, so now I have time to listen to some recordings. After listening to these pieces I think I have had a wrong impression of Tchaikovsky's piano pieces all this while, given I've only listened to the Seasons. This is great music!

    I feel that the Dialog is a bit hurried as well, with some of the harmonically interesting chord changes being a bit glossed over. The bass melody could do with a bit more tenderness and breadth at times (e.g when it reaches upwards).

    I think your played the Passe Lontain beautifully, however. I think you could have sung the high G at around 2:30-ish louder, but other than that, the piece felt very moving despite the apparently simple A section and the repetitions.

    Anyway, good work!
     
  16. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for the comments, everyone.
    The consensus seems to be that I was sacrificing expression for tempo, which is what I suspected I was doing, especially in the Dialog. In that piece, especially, I think it was not just because of my limitations as a pianist, but that the piece really should ease up a bit.
    I'll be doing more of this opus in the future, and will keep my ear out for this.
     

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