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#1305764 - 11/15/09 01:06 AM Scriabin Ninth Sonata
Mark_C Online   content
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#1309801 - 11/21/09 01:43 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
Mark_C Online   content
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BTW.......I'm pleased that people seem to be 'looking' here, but also I'd appreciate any comments/critiques that anybody might have.

Don't be afraid to be frank. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1311254 - 11/23/09 10:20 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
ChrisKeys Offline
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Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1277
Loc: Dallas, TX
Hi Mark, I expected others with more expertise to venture an opinion. Alas, you're stuck with me. :-)

I confess I am no Scriabin expert or aficionado. Nevertheless, I'll do my best.

This may seem strange, but your posture and presence communicates a relaxation that is a tremendous asset. I can only assume there was very little excess tension while you performed this piece.

There was lots of color in this piece, which was fun to hear. The tempo seemed about right. Perhaps the only suggestion I could make is that the piece occasionally seemed to need more "bite," and more contrast between certain sections.

Please take this as a minor critique. You undertook a very difficult piece and did a great job with it. Please, do post videos or just sound files of any of your other performances.

Chris

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#1311295 - 11/23/09 11:36 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: ChrisKeys]
Mark_C Online   content
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Thanks very much, Chris -- I appreciate that anyone would finally comment here smile even if it was stupid stuff. ha

And your comments are very smart.

Originally Posted By: Chris W_dup1
....I confess I am no Scriabin expert or aficionado....

Let me tell you though, you know what you're talking about in your comments.

Quote:
This may seem strange, but your posture and presence communicates a relaxation that is a tremendous asset. I can only assume there was very little excess tension while you performed this piece.

Music to my ears. smile
Actually I've gotten quite a few comments along those lines, and I'm very pleased. Especially about the relaxation, since tension has always been a terrible issue for me and I've worked very hard on it. I think it still is an issue, but somehow I do better with this particular piece.

Quote:
There was lots of color in this piece, which was fun to hear. The tempo seemed about right....

Thanks -- and for the most part I like the tempo, but I wish I had taken the opening portion a bit quicker.

Quote:
Perhaps the only suggestion I could make is that the piece occasionally seemed to need more "bite," and more contrast between certain sections.

ABSOLUTELY, especially (I think) the latter.
Although I'm sure this is the best I've ever played, I absolutely also thought the same as what you're saying. I think there is a good range of dynamics and expression within the totality of the piece, but in some places the contrasts between sections are not good. And I felt TERRIBLE about those places.

Thanks Chris! Thanks for the encouragement, and thanks very much for such a perceptive write-up.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1311320 - 11/24/09 01:06 AM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
ChrisKeys Offline
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Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1277
Loc: Dallas, TX
Mark, I'm so glad my musings were helpful, and I thank you for confirming that I'm hearing things sanely. :-)

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#1315716 - 12/01/09 09:28 AM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: ChrisKeys]
Morodiene Offline
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Hi Mark, I decided to check out your performance. What a fine job! Good luck with the contest! I'm also not familiar with Scriabin much, but this piece sound very difficult to play, and you seemed to pull it off with ease (I know it was a lot of work though).

One critical comment I have is on your trills. They seem a bit slow at times to make me wonder, are they written out/measured? When you played them with finger 1-2 or 2-3 I noticed your 5th finger sticks straight out. You may want to work on relaxing that while you trill. Obviously trills with 3-4 the 5th finger is going to be moving as well, but there's no need with the others.

Thank you for sharing this piece with us, it's always great to hear new things. smile
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#1316309 - 12/01/09 10:18 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Morodiene]
Peyton Offline
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Mark, I'm not sure how I missed your post here but... well, I did. Your playing of the Scriabin was fantastic. You owned it! And how you can memorize a piece like that is beyond me.

Sure like that piano.... smile
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#1316431 - 12/02/09 01:28 AM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Morodiene]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Hi Mark, I decided to check out your performance.....

Thank you!!
Quote:
.....your trills. They seem a bit slow at times to make me wonder, are they written out/measured? When you played them with finger 1-2 or 2-3 I noticed your 5th finger sticks straight out. You may want to work on relaxing that while you trill. Obviously trills with 3-4 the 5th finger is going to be moving as well, but there's no need with the others.

You must be right, because in general I hate my trills and I know they're pretty terrible. smile
Like much other 'technical' stuff, I have trouble with trills. Although.....in this piece, I thought that my limitation on them wouldn't be bad, because I consider most of them in this piece to be not really trills in the usual sense, but flexible figurations, almost as though they had fluctuating note values ('murmurings') within them, and sort of a structure. I'm not surprised you wonder if they have "written-out" values; they don't, but I guess I play them and view them as though they sort of do -- and as though those note values often aren't particularly fast.
I suppose it's possible that my view of them isn't based on pure musicality, but influenced by my limited ability to play trills!! I hope not, but.....I'll make sure to go over all this in detail with my teacher.

About the 5th finger: Thanks for pointing that out. I know that I do all kinds of funny and counterproductive physical stuff, probably mostly as a result of being "self-taught" during some of my early years. I'm still struggling to unlearn a lot of what I got into.

Thanks very much for giving the piece this kind of attention and for not hesitating to criticize as you did. I appreciate it a lot.

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#1316435 - 12/02/09 01:42 AM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Peyton]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Peyton
....how you can memorize a piece like that is beyond me.

To tell you the truth, I don't understand it either. smile
Quote:
Sure like that piano.... smile

Me2, obviously. I was very lucky. The recording was done at a nearby auditorium that has two house pianos: a Steinway and a Bosendorfer. Talk about an embarrassment of riches.....
And this is a honey of a Bosendorfer, even though it's "only" a 7'4" model.

Thanks so much for taking a look....BTW I already did a post to you on another thread because I hadn't seen this yet. I wasn't 100% sure over there whether you were "biffer" but I figured you probably were! I looked over your art and your website quite a bit and loved it. If you ever have other exhibits in Manhattan (where I work -- sorry I missed you there in April!) or Westchester or the Berkshires (we're in all those places a lot) and if you see me on here, please don't hesitate to mention it.
Or.......while I don't do private messaging on here, you could send me a message on youtube any time.

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#1316871 - 12/02/09 04:39 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
landorrano Offline
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Registered: 02/26/06
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Loc: France
Very very nice, a great pleasure to listen to. Excellent!

You are visibly more at your ease after several minutes.

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#1317007 - 12/02/09 07:56 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: landorrano]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
.....You are visibly more at your ease after several minutes.

Thanks for listening -- and you are very perceptive. smile

I think I look constipated for the first bit on there. ha

It was about the 3rd or 4th "take," and by then I was just trying so hard to avoid any miscues in the opening section at least, because, well, you probably know how it is. After that, I loosened up because I didn't feel it had to be so "perfect."

Horowitz said "Perfection itself would be imperfect." I don't know what he meant, but it's certainly right about what I was trying so hard to do there. ha

Thanks very much for taking a look!

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#1317341 - 12/03/09 08:36 AM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
landorrano Offline
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Registered: 02/26/06
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Loc: France
Originally Posted By: MarkCannon

I think I look constipated for the first bit on there. ha


Well, aren't all New Yorkers?

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#1317559 - 12/03/09 01:10 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: landorrano]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: MarkCannon

I think I look constipated.....


Well, aren't all New Yorkers?


Yes, I think -- at all times, either that or the opposite. ha

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#1317613 - 12/03/09 02:08 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
rada Offline
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I have met more doctors that are good musicians. What is it with you guys....are you allowed to have all the smarts? I don't know this Scriabin piece so I can't evaluate the piece but when you sit at a piano and play and listen as you did it obviously shows accomplishment.
Good luck with your entry!
rada

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#1317618 - 12/03/09 02:14 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: rada]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Originally Posted By: rada
I have met more doctors that are good musicians....

Thank you!! -- although actually I'm not sure how 'good' we necessarily are. I have the built-in excuse of being able to say "It's not bad for a doctor." smile

No doubt some of us are terrific. The winner of the first such contest (last year) was Christopher Shih, a doctor whose playing is of truly professional quality and arguably beyond. And no surprise, he has been winning the amateur competitions right and left. He wasn't yet "old enough" to enter the last
"live" Cliburn amateur competition, '07, but the winner (Drew Mays) was also a doctor, and his playing is fully professional also. People like that make me feel humble indeed.

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#1318385 - 12/04/09 02:50 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
Fun Offline
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Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 152
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Wonderful performance, Mark. Scriabin music is a bit too modern for me, so I really can't contribute much :), but it's an eye (& ear) opening for me to watch your video. Do you have to pay for using & recording with the piano? Good luck to you on the competition.
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#1318405 - 12/04/09 03:31 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Fun]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Thanks for looking, and thanks for the comment!
For many years it was "too modern" for me too. I couldn't relate to it at all. But what happened was ......it was on a Horowitz record with other stuff that I listened to a lot, and when it came to this piece, I was usually too lazy to turn it off smile so I heard it over and over again, over a long period of time, and eventually I sort of started 'getting it.'
Also people told me I should play Scriabin because he was crazy and I'm sort of crazy too. smile

Yes, I did have to pay, for the use of the space. The video was done at the auditorium of a local conservatory and they charge 'by the hour' for using the space. I'm just lucky that this Bosendorfer is one of their "house pianos." When you use the space, you can use whichever piano you want (they also have a nice Steinway). There wasn't any extra charge for doing a taping there.

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#1318917 - 12/05/09 12:22 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
gutenberg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/07
Posts: 380
Loc: Wichita, Kansas
Mark, a very impressive performance. I tend to shy away from more modern music, but you drew me in and I caught glimpses of the piece's organization. No small feat when you consider how ignorant I am with this music.

I appreciated your comments on how you became familiar with this work. Can you tell us a little more about your musical background and training? I see you also play the violin. Also, can you give us more information on this contest?

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#1318973 - 12/05/09 01:44 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: gutenberg]
Mark_C Online   content
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Thank you!!!
Yes indeed, I take that as a great compliment for such a piece.

And thank you for being curious about those other things. First of all, about the contest: I'll just give the 'basic facts' which I imagine is what you meant, but I want to say that there's 'much more' I could say about it that might be of interest, which I'll give if you or anyone asks for it. Otherwise I'll just leave it with the simple normal answer. smile

I imagine you know about the Cliburn organization -- i.e. that for a long time they've been having piano competitions for young professionals, every 4 years. In 1999 they began having amateur piano competitions as well. Last year, they added this "YouTube" event, and this year they're doing it for a second time. The result of the "contest" is based on voting by YouTube users. To enter, all you need to do is submit a video of 5-10 minutes (plus a brief questionnaire but that's nothing). It seems admission is basically automatic, provided the video is reasonably competent. The deadline for submission this time was Nov. 2. Voting ended on Nov. 24 and the result will be announced Dec. 9. The plan was for there to be just 1 winner (as was the case last year) but now it is appearing there will be multiple winners. What do you "win"? Well, it might not sound like much smile but to many of us it means a lot: Automatic entry into the next "live" Cliburn amateur competition, which is in 2011.

About my background: I had piano lessons from a very early age but wasn't at all serious about it till after I stopped when I was 14. After a few months I found that I really MISSED IT, and started craving the music in a way I hadn't before. I took out some LP's from the public library and got galvanized by a particular piece which I felt I had to play, so I started practicing it on my own -- and then I became a very serious student and practicer, but without a teacher, which meant I developed a lot of bad habits but became pretty good anyway. smile
In college I was just lucky to be at a place where the piano professor, Malcolm Bilson, was an extraordinary teacher and person, and he helped me start knowing what I was doing. After that I gave concerts on-and-off over the years, and along the way was lucky again to find a teacher, Seymour Bernstein, who once again was way beyond what someone like me could have ever been able to hope for.

The "violin" part hasn't been much actually. In junior high (that's what they called it back then) smile we had the opportunity to take music classes where you "learned" an instrument -- I put it in quotes because it really wasn't much learning since it was a group setting. Everybody who played was automatically in "the orchestra" and in "chamber music" -- you can imagine how we must have sounded. I continued with it through high school and loved it (and can still sort of play), but you wouldn't want to hear it, except for laughs. ha
Thanks again very much for being interested!!

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#1319010 - 12/05/09 02:34 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: gutenberg]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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P.S. Considering that you asked about my background smile I guess I shouldn't have passed up the chance to mention that I was once lucky enough to get reviewed in the NY Times and that it wasn't half bad (for someone like me):

Review by Edward Rothstein

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#1319050 - 12/05/09 03:41 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
gutenberg Offline
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Registered: 03/05/07
Posts: 380
Loc: Wichita, Kansas
Thanks Mark. What a wonderful feeling it must be to have a review like that. Some day give us Beethoven's Opus 110.

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#1336064 - 12/29/09 05:39 AM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: gutenberg]
babama Offline
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Registered: 02/15/08
Posts: 801
Loc: Netherlands
I don't know yet what to think about the music... I absolutely love some earlier Scriabin pieces, but this is quite something else... your playing sounds impressive though! Do you also play early Scriabin? smile

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#1336299 - 12/29/09 01:51 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: babama]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Originally Posted By: babama
I don't know yet what to think about the music... I absolutely love some earlier Scriabin pieces, but this is quite something else... your playing sounds impressive though! Do you also play early Scriabin? smile

Sure! I play early, middle, and late Scriabin. I'm an equal opportunity Scriabin player. smile

Most of my favorite Scriabin works are earlier. It took me a very long time to really appreciate his late style.

P.S. Glad you found your way to "Member Recordings"! (And I saw that you looked at some other posts on here also.)
As you know, that's a whole issue in itself, and I appreciated your post on that thread.

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#1339329 - 01/02/10 04:26 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
BruceD Offline
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Mark :

I've listened to this twice, now, once with the score and once without, but apart from commenting on your apparent technical mastery of the work, I'm not familiar enough with late Scriabin to make any intelligent observations on your interpretation. It does seem to be a daunting work, and the technical challenges appear not to be the only challenges.

I don't quite understand the work; I don't understand what it is "saying," where it is going, nor what it means. Nor, yet, does it "speak" to me in a manner to which I could respond. I wonder how many listenings it might take to begin to feel that I was gleaning some of the essence of this Sonata.

Nevertheless, my hat goes off to you for what you have done with this work.

Regards,
_________________________
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#1339384 - 01/02/10 05:51 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Thanks very much Bruce, especially for even listening a second time.

My first reaction was "oh no, I failed" -- regarding your not knowing what it is saying, where it is going, nor what it means, and that it doesn't "speak" to you. And I think it probably means I sort of did, although I know that it took me many years before I "got" late Scriabin. BTW, need I say, you're far from alone; while most people who hear me play it in person seem to love it, quite a few feel puzzled or worse.

While I'm proud of this video and I feel it's the best recording I've ever made of anything, I know it could have been much better, I've come to cringe at those aspects. For example, while this might seem to be just a tiny thing, right in the first measure, the 4th chord is too loud, and I think it maybe destroys the message right away. For me it sort of does, but I try to convince myself that I'm being too picky. And there are a number of other things: a pause that was unintended and seems meaningless ("what was I thinking"), a section that should have been much softer, a place where the music is supposed to be running away furiously but I hold back just a little, probably out of cautiousness.....
I can't help wondering if maybe you (and others) would have liked it better "if only" I had executed a little better.

Maybe some day I'll play it well enough to find out. smile

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#1339453 - 01/02/10 07:40 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
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This is not a case, I believe, of "the medium being the message." I think that I simply need more than two hearings to begin to feel anything about this piece, which is not a way of saying that you didn't do it justice or didn't adequately convey its meaning or "message."

Wallowing (with guiltless pleasure) as I do in listening to and in playing the Romantic and Classical literature, it would certainly take more than just an outstanding interpretation of this piece for it to "say" something to me. I am on totally unfamiliar ground here without any points of reference in my listening experience.

In my numerous and sometimes detailed critiques of the performances of others, I limit myself to commenting on works that I know well or on the composers whose works I am familiar with. While I try to find something constructive to say in my critiques that can only be done based on knowledge of a work or familiarity with a style of writing.

I still don't think it's a case, at all, of your not succeeding in your performance of this work. I need a frame of reference in which to place a performance before I feel I can make any comment on it, and I have none for this work.

Speaking of Scriabin, however, I am currently working on the Prelude and Nocturne for the left hand alone, Op. 9, my very first attempt at playing anything by this composer. But for the awkwardness of the cadenza in the Nocturne and my current inability to master that cadenza to my satisfaction, I would post a recording of it. That may yet come.

Again, I am impressed by what I see and hear as far as your technical grasp of this Sonata is concerned. I understand your 'cringe-moments'; we all have them in performances both live and recorded. Those that you mentioned I was unaware of and they certainly wouldn't be the focus - I don't think - of any critique I might make.

I just need to educate myself further.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#1339599 - 01/03/10 01:16 AM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Thanks for all that -- and I'd love to see you do the nocturne and/or etude for L.H. alone. They're truly great pieces -- and of course part of the greatness is that if you don't know the piece and aren't 'looking,' you'd probably never know it's just one hand playing.

About the 9th Sonata.....not that you (or anyone) has to go and listen yet again smile but if you want to see whether "the performance" was the issue, you might want to check out this recording by Horowitz. If you listen to that and still don't much get it, then I really won't feel too inadequate. ha


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#1339698 - 01/03/10 09:04 AM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
heidiv Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/21/09
Posts: 579
Loc: piano bench, usually
Hi Mark,

I love the recording. I'm also not familiar with late Scriabin, though I have recently been playing through the preludes and etudes for fun (and making a "to-do" list smile ). What a pleasure to hear this Sonata.

You play with such clarity and maturity. I would imagine you've been playing this piece for years. Thanks for expanding our musical horizons. I do believe that our ears need several hearings to truly appreciate unfamiliar music.

I hope you are working on an entry for the next Amateur's Competition. thumb

You're a great addition here at PW. Your talent, knowledge, and enthusiasm are a joy. After 2000 posts, is it too late to say "welcome"? ha

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#1339843 - 01/03/10 01:04 PM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: heidiv]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19833
Loc: New York
Thanks very much, Heidiv! I appreciate that a lot. I've been playing the piece for 2 years -- don't know if that would be considered long. I am indeed working on an entry to next year's Cliburn competition -- very hard -- and my main goal is just to be admitted. I've always made it in the past, but it's never sure and at least once I just squeaked in. The standard for it is much higher than many people seem to realize.

Thanks for even just listening, and I'm thrilled that you liked it so much.

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#1342034 - 01/06/10 02:34 AM Re: Scriabin Ninth Sonata [Re: Mark_C]
Frozenicicles Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/09
Posts: 1324
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: MarkCannon
Thanks very much, Heidiv! I appreciate that a lot. I've been playing the piece for 2 years -- don't know if that would be considered long. I am indeed working on an entry to next year's Cliburn competition -- very hard -- and my main goal is just to be admitted. I've always made it in the past, but it's never sure and at least once I just squeaked in. The standard for it is much higher than many people seem to realize.

Thanks for even just listening, and I'm thrilled that you liked it so much.

Hi Mark,
Good luck on preparing for the Cliburn. Did you work on the piece continuously for the 2 years or take breaks? I tend to get sick of pieces after working on them for a few months and usually abandon them after they're polished, then revive them if I need to. It's amazing how many of you can practice certain pieces so much and still manage to love them. I guess I haven't reached that musical maturity yet.

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Keyframe corner rounded at una corda spring contact
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Yamaha Grantouch GT 10
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Hamelin plays Gershwin
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