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Brahms: Intermezzo Op.117 No.1

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by alf, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    While still finishing up a couple of pieces from Op.116 and struggling to get through my 3 Triakontameron final installments, I've decided that this year I could finally take the plunge and engage in a selection of the wonderful Brahms's late pieces (incidentally I noticed that on PS site Op.119 is strangely missing in toto!).


    Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 117, No. 1
     
  2. pianolady

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

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    Toto is gone? :(

    I'll take care of your recording later tonight or tomorrow, Alfonso...
     
  3. pianolady

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

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    Ok, this is now up, Alfonso. Sounded very pretty. Except one little thing; your rhythm is not tight in a certain spot. My score is not numbered - it is the seventh and eighth measures from the end. I lost the pulse here, which should still be going on in the left hand but it's not. I may be wrong but I don't think so - I'm afraid it just doesn't go quite right there.
     
  4. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Rendered with 'molto' tender understanding. A very musical performance indeed.

    Perhaps it shouldn't be taken as a criticism, as much as it is an opinion; the Piu Adagio section is marked pp on my Edition Peters (Emil Sauer), the R.H. sound mf. I know it's a personal choice, but the tempo feels adagio, instead of andante moderato. Expression does not always imply playing slower, but rather on dynamic contrasts, and infinite shadings (microdynamics), and subtle rubati, which you already possess.

    Overall, it's a very engaging performance which captures the composer's intentions. Schaf sanft, mein Kind, schaf sanft und schon! "Sleep, Sleep, my child." Your performance is certainly evocative of this sentiment... It has to be, I listened to it more than once. :)

    OK, hurry up on Op. 116 so you can start Op. 119! :)

    Ciao
     
  5. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Monica, I see what you mean and I acknowledge that someone may understandably raise an eyebrow at it, but I actually didn't change the rhythm, just slackened the tempo to emphasize what I think it's the climax of the Intermezzo, where the imitative possibilities of the theme fully materialize in a ingenious 2-bar stretto. However, I don't want to sound too cerebral, after all I spent just a few hours on this piece, mainly working on voicing and pedaling, so I certainly wouldn't go to the stake for my current interpretation!

    By the way, Monica, your "toto" joke reminded me that "Toto" was the name of my first cat.

    George, thank you too for your spot-on comment. At the beginning of the middle section, my Henle score has "pp sempre ma molto espressivo", therefore I decided for a clear-cut dynamic curve in the RH motivic lines, actually keeping all the rest pianissimo in the background. But of course interpretation is often a matter of reconciling incompatibilites...
     
  6. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Fine music you chose to play, Alf. The way I hear it, It could perfectly stand as a soundtrack. I prefer this somewhat detached attitude. And I think you got the sense of its harmonic intentions and present them nicely.
    If you plan to engage in more Brahms, count me in the first seats in the audience.
     
  7. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Alfonso, I listened to your recording twice, at the first time without the score, at the second with a Henle. Without seeing the score I enjoyed your performance very much which gives me the impression of being well-through-thought (as usual) and lets me glimpse at your deep insight into the Brahms' music and the human life itself. With a score in my hand I re-found you made perfect phrasing and voicing. If I may wish something, I'd like suggest this: In the Più Adagio section you tend to weight notes continuously (with a slight delay of timing). I understand you're considering the notification "sempre ma molto espressivo", but I think also within this section there must be a climax and periphery. But you know well it's just a personal opinion of an immature listener :wink:
     
  8. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Alfonso,

    You have a very beautiful rendition here! I listened to it twice. It was very well played indeed, as you considered and listened to every note you played. Your phrasing, voicing, expressiveness, pedal timing, clarity and nuances are all excellent. As soon as I heard your voicing of the descending scale embedded in the RH at the opening, I knew it would be good. :) I've played 117/2 but not No. 1, so I cheated and looked at the score. By the very nature of the piece, given the poetic inscription, it's very quiet with the dynamics falling narrowly within p to pp except for the rinforzando at the coda. I think at Part B the closer you can get to pp for contrast to Part A and its later reprise, the better. (I'm looking at the Sauer edition in Schirmer and the International Music Company edition.) In part B it's interesting how Brahms calls for portato touch on the 3rd and 5th beats (both weak beats in 6/8 time no less) in the RH. I would think it challenging to play portato at pp, as usually we think of it as a weighted, pressing touch. You managed that enigmatic detail well. I'll have to experiment with that at the piano myself! Again, you've given us some wonderful Brahms here artistically performed.

    David
     
  9. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Pantelis, be sure that more Brahms will come!

    HA, I don't think so, Hye-Jin. Actually, You're quite acute in your observations!

    Glad you liked it, David. You're very right on the middle section and what you noticed is just one of the problems that must be faced there. But I'm afraid I'll have to wait for a more serious instrument to do further experiments! :lol:
     
  10. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    this is a pretty satisfying performance!
    and I think I'm too demanding regarding Brahms (difficult to find performances to please me).
    not that this means something... haha

    the middle section is perfect!
    only in recapitulation I'd like to listen more to those double high notes.
     
  11. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Felipe, I see that we Brahmsians are quite a number on PS. Three cheers for us! :lol:
     
  12. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    he's the greatest composer ever, isn't he?

    sometimes I feel like recording his complete piano output.
    or maybe his complete piano works EXCEPT Paganini Variations, for obvious reasons. hehe

    but then I remember I have a job. :roll:
     
  13. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    You are so cute, Felipe :lol:
     
  14. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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  15. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Don't tell Tchaikovsky!

    Which makes it the perfect excuse... :p
     
  16. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I was excited when I saw this posted because my teacher has been trying to talk me into getting into some Brahms, and I haven't done it yet. I have had to play a bit for accompanying vocalists, though, and some of it I really liked, so I had hopes that I would like this intermezzo. It just didn't do it for me, though. :cry:

    But of course you played it beautifully, as usual. :wink: :lol:

    Edit: on second listen, I liked it better. Maybe that was because I didn't make it past the opening on the first listen; the B was quite nice. I still don't really care much for the pastoral A, but I am the same way about the A of Chopin's 4th scherzo.
     
  17. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, the 4th Scherzo is not for all. Indeed its intangibility calls up to mind certain abstract late Brahms. I'd like very much to learn it -next decade, or life! :lol:

    Now I'm going to say something very compromising as a pianist: Brahms's best things are in his chamber music!
     
  18. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Even though I'm aquainted only with a small part of his solo piano music, I'd like to agree with you. Since my greatest enthusiasm for Brahms was found in his clarinette sonatas so far :D
     
  19. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    It's difficult to add anything meaningful after all these authentical brahmsian comments... I just wanted to thank you for a very poetical moment before going to bed. And, yes, we're looking forward to seeing more of your Brahms ! Güte Nacht
     
  20. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Bravo, Alfonso!
    That´s an exemplar of good taste, feeling and a lovely voicing (of that little subject, which can be heard through the whole piece).
    I feel your tempo and inner "breathing" and feeling of the music to be ideal. This is a very contemplative, deep and melancholy piece, isn´t it! Bravo once more and thank you very much for sharing your little musical gem with us!
     

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