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Hanon reloaded

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by wiser_guy, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I wonder if there is anyone here not familiar with Charles Louis Hanon and his book of 60 exercises. Its yellowish cover leaves little doubt that these exercises once mastered, would turn an ordinary pianist into a virtuoso. Some of us followed along, some declined. I belong to the latter, but I fear it's one of the reasons I haven't become a virtuoso.
    Nevertheless, we should all agree that Hanon isn't particularly fun to play. But this can change!
    "The Hanon Rag" by Bill Edwards may well be the answer - play Hanon and have fun at the same time.

    About the author:
    Bill Edwards is a contemporary performing pianist and composer. He has done an amazing job creating a website full of resources about ragtime and old-style piano (http://www.ragpiano.com). There you can find valuable information, biographies, trivia and of course many ragtimes to listen to (albeit only in MIDI format). Furthermore, you can browse a collection of novelty rags some of which are very interesting indeed, get scores or CDs. And of course, you can find the "Hanon Rag" score should you want to try it out.

    I have requested and have been granted the permission by Bill himself to record and present his "Hanon Rag", so there is no problem putting it up on the site, should you find it acceptable, that is. This piece has been recorded by Sue Keller and a few others. I am the seventh one to do so.

    Enjoy the music.

    Edwards - Hanon Rag
     
  2. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    My ears are off, but is this in the key of C-major? Also, were any sharps / flats used? This is an entertaining rag to listen to and captures the essense of Hanon. Although if it is not in C-major and uses #/b's, then it doesn't stick to the dryness of Hanon :wink: :lol:
     
  3. pianolady

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

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    What a darling piece - I loved it. Great job, Pantelis. The sound is great, too!

    It's on the site.
     
  4. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    All sorts of silent film imagery comes to mind. :lol:
     
  5. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks for listening, juufa72, and yes, the key is C-major but of course the piece develops and modulates freely after that. It has borrowed several known phrases from Hanon to build melodic content but the engagement ends there. The only similarity I find with Hanon is that it might as well be used as an exercise.

    Thanks Monica, for putting this up. I will ask Bill Edwards, the composer, to have a listen and let's hope he likes it!

    Pete, if it reminded you of silent films then my job was well done. Thank you for this flattering comment.
     
  6. pianolady

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

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    He will! I'm sure he will consider himself the lucky one, because he has you to showcase his music.
     
  7. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    A brilliant introduction and an exhilarating listen, Pantelis. Maybe a sort of compensation for having been harassed as a child with that vile collection of pretty useless exercises (mine had a white-blue cover, Curci Edition). :evil:
     
  8. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Although Hanon was a French composer, I am not coming in the discussion to take his defense - I'm not too fond of this kind of mechanical approach of piano - but only to mention an improvisation recorded by the great (French) jazz pianist Martial Solal. The name of this improvisation was Ah non ! ('aoh no !), another kind of second degree reverence...
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Not knowing Hanon's 'music' this sounds like any other rag to me. But very nice it is, and impeccably played as always. Great job.
     
  10. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Pantelis,

    Nice job in playing this piece!

    This is certainly a clever, entertaining, and upbeat composition. I have to admit I paid my dues early on with Hanon, although today I find very limited value in it. Oh, and it never made me a virtuoso. :cry: But this pleasant rag removes some of the curse from it. Sounds like it's fun to play too. Thanks for posting it for us.

    David
     
  11. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Alf, I would swear the Schirmer book was the only one! Always learning something new each day, I guess.

    Yes, I know Martial Solal. I have his Live at the Village Vanguard album. Quite a different case his Ah non solo though. He plays the whole exercise there not just a phrase or two and his harmonising is very interesting.

    I wish I could see it this way also, Chris. But these phrases and patterns hold a strong footprint in my musical memory. Still today, strolling down the street, one can hear the poor little girl struggling with Hanon from the open window of a house nearby. A struggle full of flubs, stop & gos and frustration. And if you are unlucky enough to have this girl study in the next-door apartment or the house across the street, then you are set for afternoons in torture.
    Speaking of the girl studying next door, quite similar is the case with "Der Erste Bach" minuets. I believe these come from Anna Magdalena's notebook and may serve equally well as devices of torture. :) I wonder if these were actually written by Bach.

    The chicken or the egg dilemma. You become a virtuoso by playing Hanon well or you play Hanon well when you are a virtuoso?
    Thank you for your always encouraging comments, David.
     
  12. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I think every music publisher has tried making a few bucks out of it. Porn is ethical business, in comparison. :twisted:
     
  13. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm not much into jazz music, so I've never heard of Solal (the title of the piece is amusing, though - in Italian you can make a lot of dirty puns on composers like Hanon, Kuhlau and Busoni, and I'm sorry for Busoni, I must say). Is there online an audio file of it? Regarding Hanon opinions may vary, but in piano practice I'm personally against everything close to a mechanical approach to the music.
     
  14. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Pantelis,
    I listened with great pleasure to this splendid performance of a high quality entertaining rag. You play it very musically, with a lot of subtle nuances. Great job and very good sound-quality!
     
  15. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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  16. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you for the link. I've tried many times to acquaint myself with jazz music, but in vain...
     
  17. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    excellent - thank you

    This is really good AND entertaining. I downloaded to my PC, which means I owe you a "thank you". I laughed out loud several times, particularly during the last passage.

    My own Hanon days are, thankfully, several decades in the past, but I can still hear every note of those things in my head. Your recording now relieves the pain of those memories!!!

    (BTW: I'm also a ragtime fan, and your style is great.)
     
  18. wiser_guy

    wiser_guy Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Regretfully, several decades for me also! And those Hanon 'riffs' permanently carved in the head. I am not sure if it's because of persistence with these at a young age or because Hanon actually held a secret on catchy music.

    Thank you, Stu.

    P.S.
    [Pardon me going off topic: I recently realised the merciless passing of decades at my birthday when during a small gathering, a friend bitterly suggested that anyone with black and white only photographs from their christening should better avoid celebrating birthdays.] :cry:
     

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