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Easy Brahms

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by wiser_guy, May 10, 2009.

  1. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I like Brahms' piano music. His style is quite different from other romantic composers of the time and his harmonies are light years ahead.
    I just picked three pieces I used to play, two short valses from Op. 39 (Nos 3 and 9) and an Intermezzo (No 4) from the "Seven Fantasies" Op. 116.
    I've borrowed a new preamp for testing and I have changed my setup a little to the more intimate side. I guess it better suits these pieces this way.

    Enjoy the music.


    Brahms - Valse op.39 No. 3

    Brahms - Valse op.39 No. 9

    Brahms - Intermezzo op.116 No. 4
     
  2. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Pantelis,
    these are really little gems. You play them very beautifully and musically. Just in op. 116/4 I could imagine to do some more dynamic contrasts here and there (f.ex. from bar 23-27 and some other places). But, of course, this is a matter of taste.
    The superb sound-quality makes these recordings to a listening-pleasure of first grade as we are used from you. I think, your new pre-amplifier makes the sound a bit warmer and clearer, isn´t it?
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Pantelis,

    In Op. 116 I've played No. 6, but not No. 4, so do not yet know the piece first hand. From listening to your fine recording though, I do believe that you play this Intermezzo very well indeed. Nice!

    David
     
  4. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    You're kidding!
    There is no "easy Brahms" :lol:

    These are really fine performances. I like your expressiveness in no. 3 and your pianissimo in no. 9.
    Op. 116 no. 4 starts a little wet in my opinion (much pedal), but it gets ok as things go on. The una corda in the middle section got too obvious, but it may be considered a problem with the piano.

    PS: Brahms' waltzes are far more beautiful than Chopin's... :roll:
     
  5. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Yes, but it is also too expensive. I just borrowed it over the weekend for a test drive and I returned it today. It is nice to have a hands-on experience with the high-end even for a small bite. For the record, and since I know you like messing with the audio stuff, it is a Universal Audio 610 tube preamp. Awesome with close miking and very quite.
    Thanks for listening, Andreas.

    Well to be fair, I should have recorded the whole opus 116 and not only a handy intermezzo. Alas, too little time for a such a task.
    Thank you, David, for listening.

    At last, another person who also thinks that the una corda screws the sound. I never liked the damn thing and I always find it awkward to have both my feet on the pedals. At first, I thought about ignoring the score on this and just try to play softer. Although I still think this would be the best choice, I finally decided to adhere to the composer's suggestion.

    Psst! Felipe, I tend to agree, but let this stay just between you and me. :wink:
     
  6. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    All well played, especially the waltzes. You perfectly catch the delicate shyness of the two. No.9's dominant ending desperately asks for the bass D of No.10, you shouldn't separate them... :lol:

    Last year I worked on opus 116 Nos.6 & 7. It's almost time to get back to them for the finishing touch. Thank you for posting Brahms.

    RE una corda, it's a great resource for the pianist, it shouldn't be considered just a easier way to play softer. Busoni used to play una corda also mezzoforte and forte passages. Score indications apart, actually that pedal is to widen a pianist's tone palette.
     
  7. pianolady

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

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    These are up, Pantelis. Sounded very nice.
     
  8. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    hm...
    I didn't say I don't like una corda... hehehe

    Yes, that's true, Godowsky asks for una corda in almost every piece he writes. I may be wrong, but I think he asks only in piano passages. But Alfonso is right. Una corda is way of changing the timbre of the piano, not a way for playing "easy" pianissimo.
    Hitting two strings for each note (instead of three) makes the sound "calmer", less brilliant... serene...
    But it also depends on the piano. I just found that the una corda of this recording sounded a little weird... it's the piano.

    PS: yes, in upright pianos, "una corda" doesn't change the timbre, unfotunately, and does make the pianissimo much much easier.
     
  9. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    hm...
    just an example...

    I like to use "una corda" for changing timbre in Chopin's Scherzo no. 3, when the choral theme changes into minor.
    I find it a nice effect. :)
     
  10. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, you're not the first I hear that use una corda in that spot.
     
  11. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you Monica, for listening and putting these up.

    Oh, no! Just when I thought someone else agreed on this, I am alone again.:cry:
    Yes, it may be the piano. I never liked the sound with the soft pedal depressed especially in direct comparison to the normal sound. On the other hand, it may be the pianist. I have zero experience on handling una corda parts, maybe it's my fault not being able to shape the tone properly. I don't know...

    You are right, I shouldn't. And you know what... I'll go on and record No 10 and maybe one more. Thanks for pointing this out.
     
  12. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    I see. But it may be the piano.
    I'm studying some Ravel pieces, and there is indication for una corda in the score. My teacher allowed to use una corda in these Ravels (he didn't allow me the una corda in Chopin's Scherzo, but I did it even so :lol: )
    But my teacher himself said he doesn't like the una corda of his piano specifically (which is a grand Steinway).
     

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