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Where is everybody?

Discussion in 'General' started by pianolady, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Lately, there are only a very few of us posting recordings. I wonder why that is? I hope anyone reading this who has not posted in awhile does not feel intimidated by all the high-level and professional recordings. It's much more fun to listen to amateur postings which benefits both parties greatly. It's a two-way street. The player gets feedback from a variety of listeners with different ideas, and the listener gets the benefit of listening with a critical ear, which is different than just 'regular' listening. There's many times when I am listening closely to something and have discovered something new, like that I had been playing that same piece wrong. Or finding a certain interpretation appealing. And we don't always have to stick with advanced pieces, either. It's sometimes more enjoyable to listen to shorter pieces that aren't so complex, but have wonderful melodies.
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    It's not just that no recordings are coming in, except for Setrak's, but the forum seems all but braindead recently. There have been dead patches before, but the frequency and length seem to be increasing steadily, to a point that I start wondering whether this forum still serves a purpose (except for being a useful vehicle to load one's recordings onto the web).

    Perhaps everybody who still cares about this forum should step forward and say so........ That might give us an idea as to whether there actually is a point in continuing with it.
     
  3. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I believe in the total mix with amateurs, professionals, male, female, young, old, beginners, 50 years of piano playing experience, poor rich, any ethnic and cultural background etc. The wide range of personalities and experiences should be encouraging rather than discouraging.

    During my almost 3 years on this project, there has been a lot of people who has come and left and actually since the beginning, it is only me left but from Joffrey's jump ins from time to time. That says something about the discover process about Piano Society and the possibilities to present the individual's music to the broad internet public. Most piano players have a limited repertoire and can refresh a couple of more recordings but once that is done, the time it consumes to come up with more recording is much longer. That is what I typically see with pianist coming in here, with a few exceptions, where she or he fade away as time passes. Several waves have passed with people that hardly anyone on this forum know as from the beginning with Mei-Ting and Koji Attwood for example.

    On the other hand, the actual site has never been more popular with well over 500,000 download on a month and is extremely frequently visited and you must not forget that the forum is just a part of the site and not the core. It mainly contains the function of reviewing new recordings before they go up on the actual site where they really serves its purpose and that is providing the never ending stream of music lovers with classical music. As I write on the main page "But for promoting pianists, the goal for Piano Society is to make classical music more famous to the broad audience as today, it is unfortunately neglected by the general public and we try to wipe away the elitist attitude towards it. The composers intended their music to be easy accessible and so it is on this site. Classical music can be listened to by anyone, no matter preconditions to music so begin your download and enjoy!"

    If I shall go back to myself, I do not post frequently, nor do I often provide very long answers and the first reason for this is that I seldom can come up with anything more to write that I have not already written some place else. So it feels like a never ending repeating of roughly the the same 7-8 sentences after some time. Not in the exact term of the words of course.

    But I will never leave Piano Society and look upon it as my life time project. With that time aspect, I am not exactly in a rush either. ;)
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Please, Chris. Don't take off the forum. It serves a great purpose. Where else can one learn how to measure the weight of your piano's keys, or how to use a digital recorder, see a posting about a composer you never heard of before, or share ideas on technique. I just wish for more variety in players. If I visited this site for the very first time and saw nothing but professional recordings, I would not have the nerve to post my humble recordings.

    Robert, I understand your point about how this forum is just a part of the whole site. But judging from the numbers on the actual threads, many people visit the forum too. It would be nice if more of them would come in.

    Yes, probably everybody thinks that way. But that's ok. I'd rather have someone say that they listened to my recording (when they actually have) than not say anything. My problem is saying too much, (and getting into trouble) but that's what is fun about all of this. You can be much braver than you would normally be in person. I wouldn't say half the things I have said here in a face-to-face situation.
     
  5. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm currently at my school but when I go back home I will give my doctrine in favor of the forum and reasons why it goes through periods of "brain-dead-ness". Trust me. It will be great.
     
  6. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've taken a pause in posting recordings to bring myself up to my personal best. It's very time consuming. (Sometimes soul-consuming.) Right now, I'm in the process of memorizing a huge amount of new music; that tends to throw me off for a couple months. I've also begun polishing pieces that I intend to post in the not-too-distant future.

    What I DON'T want to do is post something and two months later have a better version to re-post. Like Robert, I'm in no rush. Beethoven's sonatas and Chopin's works are lifetime pieces. I agree with you too, Monica; simpler pieces are every bit as worthy of our respect and effort as the big ones.

    I also took a step back to admire the fantastic and (yes) intimidating recordings that have been recently posted. Being intimidated can be a good thing, sometimes.

    I'll be back. 8)

    Pete
     
  7. schmonz

    schmonz Amitai Schlair Piano Society Artist

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    I would be intimidated if I felt I had anything in common with some of these very, very good pianists we've had lately. But I don't think of myself as a pianist, just a guy who plays piano, so it's okay. :) (Someday I hope to be a pianist... lots of training between here and there.) Instead I listen, get a kick out of the great music I get to hear, and find inspiration to keep at it.

    I also have very little in the way of repertoire, especially after having not played for many years, and as a full-time student I have significant time constraints. But piano is a wonderful outlet for me and Piano Society has given me new motivation -- as if I needed it!

    I'm always working on a couple new pieces. My current top project, Medtner's Danza festiva (Op. 38 No. 3), is by far the most fun I've ever had playing the piano. After playing through it I'm useless for a half hour until I come back down to earth. Unbelieveable.

    So that's the view from down here. I don't know if I'm representative of the average user, but if I am, that explains the lulls.
     
  8. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    There is no purpose to remove the forum. Because of the forum and because of the many listeners and critiquers, I am becoming better---albeit slower than I would want, but nevertheless progress is made--and because of this forum I am developing a better appriciation (spelling?) for classical music.

    Sure there are times when the forum seems dead. That's because we are not all professional pianists who can devote 12 hours a day to playing. Many here have families to tend to, I believe that is a priority over piano. Secondly, most of us (except Mr. Breemer :wink: ) cannot churn out lots of recordings at once. Take me for example, one piece from Tchaikovsky's Album for the Young, on average, takes me about two months to learn and to "perfect" it. Five lines of music isn;t that much but I am still a novice. Likewise, as some said before, the big works (i.e. Beethoven sonatas) take months and months and moths of practicing.

    I agree with you that, except for auditioning, the forum has declined. That's because majority of the topics and major issues have already been discussed. There are plenty of repeats as well.

    But as Mr Robert said this forum is not the purpose of the site.

    If you are looking to make the forum more popular, then I suggest adding in another "room" called the "classroom" or something along that line. Then you will have lots of posting about how to improve a certain passage or questions about how to play a certain music note. But is that what you really want? Sure it would be helpful for me once and a while. I just can't see it working because it will just become a swamp of posting.

    In short:
    1) Keep the forum
    2) It takes time to post music
    3) Majority of the concerns have already been discussed
    4) Forum is not the main idea of PS.


    I hope I didn't come off like a jerk. Somedays I am depressed to find out that there are "no new posts ever since your last visit" ...it brings tears to my eyes :lol:


    Best,
    -the juuf
     
  9. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Here I am! :lol: I'm not sure if I'm in the right place here, but here I go.

    The nocturne has a hilarious slip. Nonetheless, I'm posting it just to stimulate some discourse.

    The etude is not nearly where I want it to be, technically and musically speaking. To me, this etude is doubly difficult as the infamous Opus 10, No. 1.

    I put this under "General" because I don't intend this to be a final submission, just a point of discussion.

    Back to practice, now.

    Pete

    :D
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Pianolady, juufa: I was not suggesting removing the forum (which is not for me to decide anyway). It's just that when there's virtually no activity for days on end, I start wondering what it's for. This used to be a lively place with many posters discussing things. Most of the posters are now posting elsewhere, and these days there is only a brief flurry of commentary postings when something is submitted, and then things get dead silent again. A forum is not supposed to be like that, it's not supposed to be just a channel for taking in and commenting on recordings. That is an important aspect, but perhaps it would belong on the main site. As said, the forum is just a minor part of PS and that is why I sometimes doubt its functionality. One indication is the large number of people who join, but never post, or stop accessing it after a couple of days.

    Good job we still have a core of regulars who come back every now and then :D And I guess that still makes it worthwhile.

    Yeah I think perhaps we should create that classroom forum. With the provision that everything in there is auto deleted after, say, two weeks. Otherwise it will become a right mess and fill up the disks in no time. How many people would be prepared to take the role of on-line piano teacher is another matter...
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I can't either, not if the recordings should be any good. So I have stopped doing that, and taking much time over preparing and polishing now. No way I will upload batches of one or two dozen recordings ever again.
     
  12. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    In my case it is also months back that I posted something. Yes, a bit I feel intimidated by the quality of some of the professional recordings, in the knowledge to not be able to reach that professional stadium. It is not so that this would hold me back to record and post something, but I simply take my time to polish it more than I was used to in former times. The general quality of recordings has raised, what is a very good thing. At the end one enjoys more if one delivers something one can be a bit proud about. If it takes lot of time, why not. Beside some minor pieces, I am working on that Chopin g minor ballade since 15 months. Although having it completely memorized and played from heart on different family occasions, there are still certains parts which need to be improved much. So why should I make additional pressure to post a recording very soon, instead spending still some more months?

    Another thing is that I try to change my way to comment a recording. Let me take a real example:
    I listen to an 85 year old man who records pieces which are really good. Then I recognize that there is some slight uneveness here and there, or minor slips in a Bach/Liszt transcription. Does it make sense to comment that? Is this helpful for that man? Is the purpose to show what for a glamour boy I am that I recognized that? I don't think so, instead it contaminates the overall achievement, so I believe.

    There is another point regarding critique on posted recordings. Should I niggle something I could not make better? I tend to say, no. If I find an unevenenss (to take that above example again) in passages, but cannot honesty say that I could play it better - where is the point to start critique? Especially if I may assume that the interpret has realized the same what I heard. In this case it is not helpful to comment about that. Maybe it is sometimes a better way more to say about the things one likes, maybe also if there are different opinions about the interpretation (which is always subjective, so not what tends to hurt). And if there are slips, no need to comment that annoying things, only if it is really distracting.

    The following will be for sure controversial:
    What do you appreciate more? A piece apparently played with much heart and passion, but there are some wrong notes and slips. Or a piece, perfectly played, but colder and bloodless?
    I enjoy more listening to the first alternative. Of course, the combination of both is what is the goal. Nevertheless, I don't think that note perfect playing is the goal number 1 and a sensitive musical interpretation is the goal number 2, and goal number 1 is what needs to be reached unconditional, and goal number 2 in optional.
    Sometimes it seems to me that nowadays, not only in this forum, the goal number 1 is what counts more. I wonder if Alfred Cortot could place a Chopin prelude, with all the slips and wrong notes in this forum. That shows the dilemma clearly I think ... :roll:

    To Pete (PJF):
    In both your 9/2 and 10/7 take you show very musical feeling to me. Especially your RH and LH are very well balanced - there are strong RH melody parts but also important LH bass notes come to their right.
    If you say that the etude is not nearly where you want it to be, I only can say that musically speaking you are already very good here, technical wise too. After a look in the score I also can follow that the RH part must be much difficultier as the already very difficult 10/1 etude.
    Regarding nocturne I can imagine that with a slightly faster tempo the melody line is more connected. If the parts with the RH fast runs need a stronger slow down that way, that would be ok too. Just my subjective opinion. You are a very sensitive player, with very good technique. I appreciate it that you never put that technical part in the foreground, also and especially if it is a Chopin etude.
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I agree that critical comment should preferably be helpful. But it should also be objective and honest. In my experience it is not so that all players recognize their slips, reading mistakes, bad habits, and other things that are wrong. To point that out is always useful, regardless of the artistic quality of the recording. Indeed, these days, Cortot would probably not get a foot in anywhere...
    Times have changed whether we like it or not.

    I do not agree that you are only allowed criticism if you can do it better yourself. In that case critics would have no existence and pianists could get away with anything at all - just like old times :p

    But of course this is controversial and can be discussed ad infinitum..
     
  14. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    It's the normal case that a player is not always aware of reading mistakes or bad habbits, I think. At least in my case it is so. If one would be aware one would probably not do the mistakes. So to a certain amount it can be helpful to point to that - if e.g. this leads to an improved re-recording. I disagree that it is always useful. Because if it is an old recording from former times e.g. and contains only some minor bugs, but is of high artistical value, I don't see what is helpful to point to those things. Because it has the danger to make the overall achievement smaller - and that achievement can be very high if the recording has much to say expressionwise.

    I think it is more important how the own attitude is. Good music is timeless in my opinion, a good interpretation too. Only because some tend to rate 100% correct played notes emotionless played higher as a passionate take with some errors (only to polarize two extreme things in order to make the point clearer), one does not need to have the same approach. I believe the main goal for music, especially live music, is to reach the heart of the listener, to touch the soul. If one puts that as main goal, maybe one gets another relation regarding perfectionism.

    I would find it extreme woeful, if you would decline a Cortot played Chopin prelude (excuse for the hypothesis) from putting up to the site because of some wrong notes and slips. Because still today there are Cortot lovers who enjoy his art despite that slips or wrong notes.

    I would not say that one is not allowed to start critic for a recording that stands high above the own achievements. I only say, I will try not to do it. Critic can exist this way still, and there will be pianists who listen to a recording and can play much better than me - I better let them the precedence to critic in this case. It is not a question of beeing allowed or not, more a question whether one finds it indicated or not.
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok, I'm confused on who said what, but I believe critiquing our recordings is very helpful. Not in the sense that we should claim that an interpretation is right or wrong, but all the other things. How can it not be helpful to point out uneveness, or balance, or reading errors? And look at the times when someone didn't know about another edition that has notes in it that he never knew about? I think that is great when we can enlighten one another like that, make us dig into the researching aspect of the music. Yes, sometimes hearing that you played a piece with bad phrasing hurts a little, but now you are aware of it and try harder, practice more to fix it. I am collecting all my recordings on my computer, probably like all of you are doing too) and when I can play something better, I replace it. If this critique on the forum didn't happen, I wouldn't even bother to try perfecting the piece.

    Pete, I'm going back to listen to you now.
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    one more thing: about when the forum is at dead times. Why can't we bring up old topics, old discussions from old threads? Someone new would have a different viewpoint, and we ourselves may have since learned something new to contribute. So I say that when someone asks about something that was talked about in the past, we don't say something like, "that's an old topic. Go back and read it yourself." Let the conversation begin, again, and we may learn something new.

    Okay, Pete. Wow to your Etude. It sounds perfectly ready to me too. Great job.
    The nocturne- It is a bit on the slow side, but your touch is nice and delicate but comes down with a great booming hand on the ff. Heard some 'interesting' things pop out on the third to last line. :) But the last two lines to me were absolutely perfect. I see that you play your trills starting on the upper note. I always play this starting on the lower note, which I'm not really sure why I do that - someone must have taught that to me - so I'm used to hearing it. Is it more common to do it your way?
     
  17. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks for the encouraging words Olaf.

    Indeed, a faster tempo may be better for the nocturne, and the runs are in need of some work.

    I balked when I first saw the score of that etude! At first, it seems impossible. After memorizing it (one must memorize it to be able to play it) the main technical problem is finding a release mechanism after each sixth, without one the hand rapidly seizes in a futile attempt to get to the next third. A quick snapping motion of the forearm driven by the triceps does the trick.

    When it comes to the etudes, I try to always first approach them from a musical point of view. I'll never understand a purely technical interpretation of Chopin's Etudes; what would be the point?

    For an impromptu recording, my performance isn't bad but still I can improve it in terms of accuracy and LH voicing, also I need to stabilize the tempo. I'm really close to nailing it. :)

    Thanks for the jump-start, Monica.

    Pete :mrgreen:
     
  18. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I couldn't agree more.

    I read the nocturne for an impromptu recording. Yes, there are a few odd moments and I agree the tempo should be faster. I think I'll post this one along with my re-do of the Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. Posth.

    According to his students, Chopin usually began trills on the upper note. In the event of an appoggiatura, the starting note of the trill is determined by what will best maintain the legato.

    I'm relieved about my rendition of the etude. Overall it's fairly solid but the middle section is a bit shakey at times. I've done so much work on it, it's VERY nice to have the final product in sight!

    Pete
     
  19. schmonz

    schmonz Amitai Schlair Piano Society Artist

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    PJF, I agree with everyone (including yourself) that you're on the home stretch with this etude and that it sounds like real music and not just an exercise. Must have been a lot of work, indeed. Looking forward to the end result.

    Here's a snippet of what I've been working on a few hours per week. Obviously nowhere near ready, but man, is it fun.
     
  20. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Pete: Great job on that absolutely fiendish Etude. Once you have found and implemeted the 'trick' it may not be that bad, but until then it is a real killer. Very nicely done especially the phrasing and voicing in the middle partm and the unusual (but exciting and effective) step up towards the ending.
    The Nocturne is full of clonkers and rather too slow, but very sensitively done.

    Amitai : Yes you are getting there with that Danza Festiva. It is a great piece if perhaps a bit on the long side - you need great stamina and determination. I'll be interested to hear how you will hande that great climax leading to the recapitulation.
     

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