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Thalberg variations on Moses' Prayer (live video)

Discussion in 'Works in Progress' started by andrew, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    A bit of fun, featuring Thalberg's infamous "three-hand" effect; he played this at his duel with Liszt. Sort of WIP as work is ongoing on it (if intermittent) but not much point me putting it in the Audition room when I have a recording up already.

    A few smudges, but I'm fairly happy with it considering it was for an informal live recital that I didn't do a huge amount of preparation for (tsk, tsk!). I'd feel a lot happier about it if there wasn't a fantastic version by Italian virtuoso Marco Falossi in the related videos tab ;)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTfJVmSrG5Y
     
  2. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thalberg really was a match for Liszt! Really enjoyed this. It is some great music all I found myself wishing for were some dancers beside you on the stage!
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh brother, Andrew....a few smudges? Like anyone could tell? :) :) :)

    That was very nice! I still wish your skill with arpeggios could rub off on me!
     
  4. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks to both of you! I did go through it and count the smudges a few days after ;) More than I would like but it is live of course. If I did ever play in a competition situation, this would be one of my pieces and I'd practice it like the devil. It's tightrope walking really but at the same time it's very pianistic.

    Not sure about this dancers thing - one of my friends wants me to perform with a light show going on, maybe that would do!
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well done. The few tiny smudges would not bother anyone except a recording engineer or a competition judge.

    The piece does make me wonder if Thalberg could actually do more with a theme than just state and restate it with ever more notes, applying ever more pianistic tricks. Lots of technique, precious little music... and it's not Rossini's best theme to start with, IMO. But undoubtedly fun to play and an excellent exercise.
     
  6. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks - I can't believe you listened to this! I think it's quite cleverly written, not deeply written, just cleverly. I suppose it belongs to the school of thought and period where you simply wrote variations on themes, you didn't develop them per se (I have to say that I think a lot of the Viennese and post-Viennese theme and variation style pieces are dreadfully dull). In many ways that was Liszt's great innovation - transformation of themes.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I think I watched more than I really listened :p
    I have to disagree ! Mozart and Beethoven variations are anything but dull, and they do a damn sight more with their material than Thalberg does here.
     
  8. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hmm. I think the Eroica variations are terribly "worthy" (the Diabellis are more exalted) and imo some of the fantasies on operatic themes which predate this era simply don't work very well. There may be more wit in some Mozart and Beethoven, I grant you that - this is essentially just a cornucopia of pianistic devices. As such it is imo a lot better than stuff by the likes of Herz, Pixis (which I've just been looking at), Dohler, and various others of that ilk. I don't even find Alkan's early operatic fantasies/variations very convincing.
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh, I'm sure there is worse than Thalberg :mrgreen:
    To be fair I've never heard any original work by him (though there seems to be quite some) so I cannot really judge him as a composer.
     
  10. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Andrew,

    I loved it. As others have said, how could you tell that there were any smudges among that mass of notes. I think that it would be less scary to jump from an airplane than ponder even trying to get through that mass of notes alive and in one piece. Great job.

    Scott
     
  11. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, Scott. The one that really niggles is the ff F natural octave at 4.08 that should be a G, it's just too grating! But yes, of course this is perfectly respectable for a live performance and I was quite pleased afterwards. I've played it quite a few times as a recital-closing piece or as an encore and it always goes down well.
     

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