Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by John Robson, Jan 29, 2007.
Trying to upload mp3's again.
To all people who have claimed they can upload only one attachment per posting : See, it can be done !
I can't comment much on the Joplin items as I sold my book long time ago... It's not music that holds my interest, but these are very competently played, and good to see you take the composer at his word to 'never play ragtime fast'. Not sure if, nevertheless, they might not need a bit more swing and bounce. You seem very comfortable with the ragtime bass, which I always found more difficult than it sounds.
Chopin 64-2 : Good tone and conception. Hardly a note out of place, but a bit rough-and-tumble. This could do with more restraint and elegance, and more controlled rubato. There seems to be an ugly edit just before the recapitulation. This is a popular waltz around here, and others will have more to say about it.
Chopin 64-3 : Very consistently played but terribly slow and wooden. A complete lack of rubato and very little dynamics. Honestly, a waltz needs a bit of elegance, yearning, and lilt. I thought I heard one or two edits, one just before the end, that are a but awkward.
Chopin 70-2 : Exactly the same remarks as 64-3.
Chopin 70-3 : Same again, though your approach seems to work better here.
Chopin 32-2 : Same again. There are also very good moments and your tone is nice if a bit modest.
Chopin Waltz Posth: This is a tricky little thing, and you have mastered it notewise. Now these notes must dash and fly off the page.... There must be more diablerie in the outer movements, and more fervour and romance in the middle section. You don't feel comfortable yet with the passagework. The ending is a bit of a fumble, and is there a strange edit just before the last couple of bars ?
But this is a good start. You can definitely play this music without hardly a slip or reading mistake, and in a steady tempo. That is worth a lot ! Now you need to apply a firmer touch (make all the notes sound, even the soft ones) and start using rubato and dynamics to lift the music off the page and make it sound like poetry. Listen to the likes of Rubinstein how they make every bar sound like it is the most beautiful thin in the world. Yeah I know, easier said than done ....
Your instrument generally sounds nice, expecially in the 64-2, but some treble notes are a bit sour. What make is it ? The recording in the 64-2 seems a bit direct in that some mechanical noises can be heard.
I would put the Joplins on the site, as I think they are good and we have very little yet. For Chopin, there is fierce competition, and while these are not bad in any way, personally I would want to do a bit more with them before seeing them join the site. Go easy on the splices, in particular. That can only be done at a quiet moment between phrases.
And BTW, welcome to the club. I hope my bashing does not put you off too much ... We are honest but critical here. I for one know all about getting chastised for lack of rubato and dynamics (aka expression).
damn...Mr. Techneut beat me to the punch. Oh well. I can't comment on the Chopin but I can comment on the Joplin.
You play them with a nice relaxed tempo which is good. Fast or slow these specific rags sound good. There were a few minor slips (I think I counted two, but then again I could be wrong).
What piano do you have? How do you record your music?
64/2: I like your expression on that, especially the soft playing in the repetition of the B part (if the waltz is seen as sections A-B-C-B-A-B). And it also does not sound static (especially in comparison to the 69/2 waltz I heard before from you). There are some minor reading errors in the C section, and towards the end of the C part you added a complete bar (LH and RH part in two different bars instead together in one bar). But that's not so important - because expressionwise it comes out well. Good job on that!
32/2: The middle part is sensitive played, the A major section and following a minor section, also that beautiful pp passage in the last page. The tone in that parts sound good to me. However, the beginning and end part has the melody in the left hand. The only thing what stands out here is always the lh trill. It sounds better to me if you phrase the melody in left hand stronger and try to trill softer so that it does not stand out. I personally hit the soft pedal extra for that trill since I can't trill with lh as soft as I like it on that spot. Maybe a solution for you too here.
There is an edit in the middle part with some additional notes, so if you do edits, at least you should do it more decent.
Overall, I agree with Chris (Techneut), that this waltz interpretations has some really nice moments, but you could polish it on the other parts a bit more.
70/2: Nothing wrong to play very slowly. But you play it also static and monotonous in most parts. Can't understand - your 64/2 take shows that you CAN play expressively. It is such a beautiful composition, you could and should do much more. It ends soft and nice, and the notes are there, but I don't recognize efforts from you to show the beauty which Chopin put in the melody. Let it sing!
Maple Leaf Rag: I like your playing! The ragtime feeling is there, dynamics too. Some bars, especially in the difficultier middle part could come more fluid, and some notes differ to what I am used to hear but overall it sounds good to me, so I agree with Techneut that this is a good debut to put on the site here!
Did not listen yet to the other takes.
First of all, I really liked your Joplin pieces. In these, you are rock steady like you are in perfect time with a metronome. Dynamics were also good. The Maple Leaf - It probably is just a difference in scores, but I have one more note in the first main theme - 2nd measure - I have one more e-flat sixteenth note last note. Not huge, I know - just used to hearing it, that's all.
Waltzes 64/2, 64/3 and 70/2 - These you are once again playing too steady. Maybe you can play the grace notes (70/2) faster. It's almost like you played this music after you played the Joplin pieces in that they are so evenly played. (by the way, the recording cut off two measure from the end in the 64/2)
Post. Waltz - Here you are like a different person playing piano. Not steady and sameness like the other waltzes. I think your style was right on for this, sometimes almost too much as the ending arpeggio got off. Also, somewhere between the 13th and 10th bar from the end a whole measure is missing.
All in all, a lot of good things, but room for more feeling and personality. Also, don't play Chopin after you have just played Joplin.
I agree with previous posters that your Joplin recordings are good while most of the Chopin recordings are slow and also too slow. The exception is the posthumous waltz which I think you do well and it is also the most difficult of the Chopin recordings.
The 34/2 waltz can be played slow as in this case but I think it should be more smooth. I would use the pedal (no matter debates of Chopin and pedal) a lot more to achieve a consistant flow. And it should not be op.32 no.2 but op.34 no2 (32 is the A-flat Nocturne) .
Ohhhhh. No wonder I couldn't find it in my Waltz book.
give me a whiskey barman,,,,,,it sounds like an old movie....very good.
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