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chopin nocturnes opus 55 no 1 and opus 72 no 1

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by StuKautsch, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    For the most part, I've submitted recordings of pieces that I've recently learned. That's great, but why bother getting old if you can't play a few pieces on and off for years?

    We had only one recording of the opus 55 no 1, and I decided to throw in opus 72 no 1 because elsewhere on the web there is a recording of me playing both of these pieces in one MP3, which drives me a little crazy. So I get a chance to separate the two.

    Opus 72 no 1 is occasionally referred to as opus 72a (I think it's posthumous), but the standard, at least on this site is 72-1.

    5'10" Petroff, lid up. H2 Zoom recorder (yes, I know, it's not the best).




    Chopin - Nocturne in F Minor, Op. 55, No. 1

    Chopin - Nocturne in E Minor, Op. 72, No. 1
     
  2. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Competently played, you get all the notes, but I am a bit unsure what you want to project. These pieces normally need large scale rubatos to come to life. 55.1 sounds like a march in your rendition, a bit unusual but if that is what you went for you succeeded! 72.1 I think is better though I lack the intimacy that would come of more pronounced dynamics. Perhaps it is the recording which flattens it. In all, well done, but I think you can bring more emotion into these (if you want to, of course).

    Joachim
     
  3. pianolady

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

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    I agree with Joachim. I think you can certainly play the pieces; the notes are well in your fingers. But I think you are playing them too fast. Especially op. 55/1. I've never heard it played like this. IMO, nocturnes should be soft and refined, like you should caress each note more. More delicate. Not in the more dramatic parts, of course. Just the over all feel in general. But this is one of those subjective things. You definitely play both pieces with confidence! :)

    They are on the site.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hmmmm... Op.55 sounds like s jolly polka more than a nocturne ! I would have liked the coda (it started promising) had you not chosen to speed it up along the way.
    All in all it is not just too fast but too dry and matter-of-factly.

    The Op.72 is much better imo, some good nifty fingerwork there. Even here you could be quite a bit more relaxed, and apply clearer phrasing and breathing. Just a personal opinion from someone who is not the most poetic Chopin player either ;-)

    Agreed on recording pieces that you have known for a longer time. I too seem to spend most of my time learning new things and recording them (with quite some exceptions along the way though). It's the latest discoveries that always seem to hold the most attraction. But revisiting old friends is very rewarding too, if only to see how one has improved since last playing them.
     
  5. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, everyone.
    The f-minor does sound very stilted and I don't think it's the equipment (though my mic placement might have a little to do with it). I'm very self-conscious in front of a mic and it was worse than usual this time because of the long layoff (about one year). I was never the most accurate of pianists but it doesn't matter all that much in performance. But mistakes on (my) recordings make me wince a lot so I guess I play too conservatively.

    However, the tempo on Opus 55, in the Kalmus edition, is marked at 96, with 132 in the bravura section (which, I just noticed, is marked piu mosso, but when I was a student, it was the 132 which was emphasized). The coda is marked stretto with an accelerando in the final upward section.

    I don't feel bad about following directions in an edition which was popular in my youth (at least in the US). But it's possible that the desired legato in the main section is realistic only below 96. The "polka" feel that Chris mentioned is probably insecurity in the LH resulting in a 'thumping' on the beat. A slower tempo (or more technique!) could smooth this out, I suppose.

    As for 72: I play the piece because I like it. I've been called on the carpet for too much sturm und drang in performance, but that's very different from recording. I find playing it almost as scary as Mozart because there's no where to hide.
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I did not mention it but there were actually quite some mistakes, more than should be necessary in a relatively easy piece like this. I guess it's due to recording stress, or perhaps you should have prepared a little longer.

    Yes, had it been more flowing and less dry the tempo would not have been such an issue. Still, I don't get Kalmus' mm markings. The piece is marked Andante, is it not ?
     
  7. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    The problem with 55/1, imo, is more the lack of pedalled sonority and general staccato attitude in the outer segments, rather than the tempo per se. If there was more tenuto about the bass notes, you might get away with it. As it is, to my ears it sounds strange, though it is at least done with conviction and the middle section I don't mind.
    72/1 is much more successful, partly maybe because the piano sound seemed richer, but it was just far more convincing in general and I really rather liked it.
     
  8. kawai_cs

    kawai_cs New Member

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    Good work on those nocturnes. You play them confidently. You sure are a skilled pianist.
    The first one sounds more like a march than a nocturne to me as well. You are almost playing staccato, scarce pedal and your piano is not singing thus it sounds pretty unusual for a nocturne.
    The second one is played more melodious. Personally I like to play the LH in the first section more silent in the background. Good work on ornaments - they are difficult. Now I would try to make them sound more effortless, nonchalant. Maybe it is just the recording that makes them sound a little sharp.
    Myself, I am also very emotional playing Chopin and tend to make my fortes shout a little bit :wink:
     
  9. pepasch

    pepasch cooperation is a profession Piano Society Artist

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    I just listened to the opus 72.

    I think you are on the spot with this piece. I liked it very much. The right hand expression is very beaurifull.

    It could be helpfull for you to concentrate on the first few bars first. It looks like you want to put to much meaning into the left hand opening broken chords. Try to make them emerge as meaningless and as harmless as you can imagine. They are just there. A vague sort of background texture. And then, after two broken chords, suddenly, this mysterious first theme arises out of this mist. It defies the seemingly meaningless floating movement of notes underneath. And through this, it lures these left-hand figures in newer and ever more enterprising areas. Yet, they never quite distuinguis as charactres on themselves.

    Try to do this with the first 10 bars. Then carry this approach into the rest of the piece. You will feel closer to Chopin afterwards.

    Greetings from the Netherlands
     
  10. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Stu,

    Your presentation of the Opus 55 No. 1 Chopin nocturne
    was something different than my conception. It was faster and the character was more flamboyant.

    The bass is more detached as well and the ending is also more upbeat than my conception.

    It was interesting to hear. Sometimes we artists do things like that when a work is in progress.

    Best,
    Kaila
     
  11. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks all.
    Andrew - the 'staccato' was supposed to be 'subtlety', but did not come off like that. Yes, more tenuto in the bass is the prescription.
    Pepasch: What you're describing is something I was taught to do, but frequently forget. My teachers told me to listen in my head for two measures before beginning. Next time.
    Kaila - 'when a work is in progress'. I guess it is, even though I first learned it when Nixon was president! I wanted to record something that was not in progress but ... Maybe I've changed the interpretation of the piece once too often.
     
  12. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Stu,

    Maybe sometimes our initial instincts are more on target and for that reason
    I am going to rerecord the Chopin f minor fantasy again next week.

    When Nixon was President I think we had 3 classical music radio stations in NYC.
    Now we have one.

    Best,
    Kaila
     

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