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#1942208 - 08/13/12 08:37 PM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: BruceD]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
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Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Unless, of course, that teacher is a recognized "specialist" in the interpretation of 17/18 century music on modern instruments and has done all the reading and research that such a designation would require.

Regards,


Well, if he does something stupid like pedaling Mozart, maybe you need to find a new specialist.

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#1942377 - 08/14/12 04:39 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Entheo]
peterws Online   content
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"i believe mozart played fortepianos with a damper pedal (deployed with the knee), so it should be okay"

A guy in the 30`s I rthink, used a knee pedal on a piano. He was famous for his "Dancing Duck", tethered to the top of the piano, so paople thought. It was tethered to a hotplate on top of the piano; the knee lever determined the amount iof heat, which determined the velocity of the bird`s movements . . . I don`know if Mozart was part of his repertoire. But k331 would give it an easy time. Until Rondo a la turca came up on page 21. . .
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#1942384 - 08/14/12 05:20 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Maybe someone will correct me, but I believe that Glenn Gould is the only well-known pianist who refuses to use the sustain pedal in Mozart. And we all know what he thought of that composer....


Disagree. Consult the many recordings by early music specialists on fortepianos. They have done the research and usually offer the most accurate interpretation. The literature would seem to indicate that 1) Mozart's pianos had much less sustain than the modern grand to begin with, so pedaling the modern grand is overkill, and 2) Mozart indicated pedaling where necessary, and 3) according to Beethoven, Mozart's playing was more detache than he would have expected, much like the standard harpsichord practice, thus Mozart was probably not one who liked a lot of sustain.

Listening to Badura-Skoda, who recorded all the Mozart sonatas on both the modern grand and a period piano, is very revealing.


Fortepianos of Mozart's time (Walter etc) and grand pianos of the early 19th century (Erard, Pleyel) have less sustain but also less efficient damping, which means notes carry over even when the key is released. I've played on fortepianos c1780 and Erards and Pleyels c1845, and can attest to that.

BTW, I've got CD recordings of Paul Badura-Skoda and Jörg Demus playing Mozart Sonatas for piano duet and K448 for two pianos on Bösendorfer Imperial 290, and someone is definitely pedalling in the slow movements.....

It's usually unnecessary to pedal in the fast movements of Mozart (though most concert pianists do it, even in passagework and especially in concertos), but in the slow movements, the sound can be too dry on modern pianos, with their super-efficient damping mechanism.

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#1942387 - 08/14/12 05:52 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Otis S]
sandalholme Offline
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Registered: 12/31/09
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No-one yet has pointed out another factor: early pianos did not indeed have the sustaining power of modern pianos, for long held notes for instance and they did indeed have relatively light damping mechanisms, but a) the sound was richer in higher harmonics and/but (another but, this sentence is out of control) b)the treble register was relatively weak. These two factors work against each other to a degree. So there are quite a number of factors which differentiate the sounds that Mozart heard and that we hear on our instruments.

I have played a number of early pianos and a friend makes very good copies of Stein instruments - used by professionals - which I have played quite a bit. This leads to an inevitable conclusion for me: we realise Mozart's music on the modern piano, as we do for Bach etc. We cannot make a modern piano sound like a Stein, Walther etc. If we want to play Mozart truly in the way we believe Mozart wanted, from his instruments, then we need to use his instruments.

Re legato and also the harpsichord. I played the harpsichord for many years. Yes, the sound decays quickly, but is even richer in the higher harmonics. On the harpsichord, early piano and modern piano it is perfectly possible to play legato without any pedalling. In fact, one harpsichord technique, applicable on other keyboard instruments, is overlapping legato. As long as the next note can be reached whilst holding down the previous one there will be no gap at all, and a fullness of sound different from pedalling. Many in this forum will be very familiar with this.

The piano came in to provide dynamics, especially to play softly. If composer/performers had not wanted the ability to sustain via knee lever (tricky to operate btw) or pedal, they would not have developed. (Pedals,for different purposes, had already been introduced to the harpsichord)

I cannot believe Mozart eschewed the use of the pedal. Composers tend to experiment/enjoy novel ways of using instruments.

On the general subject of legato/detache/staccato etc. We generally acknowledge that instrumental music grew up imitating the human voice and early keyboards were played alongside stringed instruments which can sustain and sing wonderfully. Whilst there is a place for short phrases, sharply detached notes etc, my belief is that the default position for music is legato, punctuated by non-legato notes for specific musical effects. IMHO

So, if we realise Mozart on the modern piano, we come back, as has already been said, to our ears and musical sensibilities. On pedalling, articulation, dynamics, speed etc etc. Are we not supposed to be creative musicians, discerning, from a particular instrument, how to create a sound world which we believe respects the composer's intentions, as far as we ascertain them, and which satisfies us musically?

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#1942388 - 08/14/12 06:05 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Otis S]
bennevis Online   content
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Mozart in one of his letters wanted his music to 'flow like oil'. That doesn't sound like non-legato, or détaché, let alone staccato. Though of course his phrase might have become lost in translation.... grin(with a doff to Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray).

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#1942400 - 08/14/12 06:38 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: sandalholme]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7424
Originally Posted By: sandalholme

We generally acknowledge that instrumental music grew up imitating the human voice...


This is news to me.

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#1942425 - 08/14/12 08:11 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Otis S]
sandalholme Offline
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Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 744
Loc: Dorset, UK
WR: it's so long since I was taught these sorts of things I looked up some sources:

"As Hans-Jakob Billinger states in the booklet the cornett was one of the most beloved instruments of the late 16th and early 17th century. Players of the instrument were in high esteem. In the prima prattica the cornett was often used in sacred music, to play either colla parte with one of the voices or to replace it. One of the reasons it was so much valued was its ability to imitate the human voice. When the seconda prattica arrived, and instrumental music started to develop into a genre of its own, the human voice was still seen as the top of the musical pyramid, and the cornett was still highly valued for the same reason as in the time of the prima prattica."
http://www.musica-dei-donum.org/cd_reviews/SwissPan_SP51-721.html

'“They [the German composers of instrumental music in the 17th century] thought more highly of difficult pieces than of easy ones, and sought to excite admiration rather than to please. They were more intent upon recreating the songs of birds, for example, those of the cuckoo, the nightingale, the hen, the quail, etc., than upon imitating the human voice.”

Johann Joachim QUANTZ
Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (Berlin 1752) (On Playing the Flute, trans. by Edward Reilly)



This rather negative opinion voiced by Quantz at the threshold of the Classical era underlines two fundamental aspects of 17th-century musical aesthetics: the effect as a means of stunning and “touching” the listener, and the partial neglect of the ideal that had been cultivated since the Renaissance, the ideal of the human voice as that which is most worthy of imitation in instrumental music.'

http://www.ilgiardinoarmonico.com/biber-battalia-locke-the-tempest/

Are 2 citations enough?

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#1942430 - 08/14/12 08:22 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Maybe someone will correct me, but I believe that Glenn Gould is the only well-known pianist who refuses to use the sustain pedal in Mozart. And we all know what he thought of that composer....


Disagree. Consult the many recordings by early music specialists on fortepianos. They have done the research and usually offer the most accurate interpretation.
I would base my opinion on what the greatest pianists did during the last 75 years or so. I think the huge majority used at least some pedal in Mozart.

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#1942489 - 08/14/12 10:49 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: pianoloverus]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
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Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I would base my opinion on what the greatest pianists did during the last 75 years or so. I think the huge majority used at least some pedal in Mozart.


Brilliance of technique should not be equated with knowledge of a musical style. Those you idolize played Mozart brilliantly, but incorrectly.

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#1942494 - 08/14/12 10:59 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Otis S]
Dave Horne Offline
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I just love reading pronouncements from silent profiles. smile
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#1942497 - 08/14/12 11:16 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I would base my opinion on what the greatest pianists did during the last 75 years or so. I think the huge majority used at least some pedal in Mozart.


Brilliance of technique should not be equated with knowledge of a musical style. Those you idolize played Mozart brilliantly, but incorrectly.
They not only had brilliance of technique but brilliance of musical mind. And I am including present day great Mozart players who I think rarely play Mozart with no pedal.

When playing the modern piano it is not necessarily correct that one should try to make it sound like a forte piano, and in fact, some would say it is inappropriate to play that way. The huge majority of great pianists do not approach it that way even when playing works originally written for a keyboard instrument other than the modern piano. Just like most modern pianists do not do a huge number of other things that pianists in the 19th century did(besides pedaling)which could be argued as more historically correct.

I don't think there is anything wrong with historically informed performance, but to say it is the only correct way is IMO close minded and at odds with how the huge majority of great pianists play the piano.

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#1942502 - 08/14/12 11:30 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Dave Horne]
SirHuddlestonFudd Offline
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Registered: 06/08/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Cambridge, MA
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
I just love reading pronouncements from silent profiles. smile


Read it now. I can claim no professional competence: I'm not a professional musician, nor a musicologist. I have, however, read many books about early performance practice and listened to many many early music recordings. I don't understand those who point to the great pianists of the modern Romantic repertoire and suggest that they have something of value to say about Mozart's performance practice, simply by virtue of being a great pianist. That's all.

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#1942531 - 08/14/12 12:24 PM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Otis S]
bennevis Online   content
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There're quite a few historically informed performers (HIP) who also play modern instruments - Ronald Brautigam, Melvyn Tan, Robert Levin among them. They adapt their playing (of the same music) - which includes whether or not to use pedal - to the instrument they play, not to some idealized preconception of what they should or shouldn't do based on what some musicologist has said about performing practices of the period (which is of course presuming that one uses period instruments).

Would any of them, when playing the first movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata on a Steinway D, follow the composer's explicit instructions to keep the sustain pedal down throughout? Beethoven's Broadwood sounds great played like this but not a modern grand, which would turn the whole movement into impressionist mush which even Debussy wouldn't have contemplated....

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#1942534 - 08/14/12 12:27 PM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
I don't understand those who point to the great pianists of the modern Romantic repertoire and suggest that they have something of value to say about Mozart's performance practice, simply by virtue of being a great pianist.
The pianists I referred to were those who were considered to be great Mozart pianists although they usually were also in other repertoire. Perahia, Uchida, Anda, Brendel, De Larrocha, Schiff, etc. I think the most (and perhaps all) of those pianists did not play Mozart with zero pedal.


Edited by pianoloverus (08/14/12 01:41 PM)

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#1942570 - 08/14/12 01:14 PM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Unless, of course, that teacher is a recognized "specialist" in the interpretation of 17/18 century music on modern instruments and has done all the reading and research that such a designation would require.

Regards,


Well, if he does something stupid like pedaling Mozart, maybe you need to find a new specialist.


You would consider, then, Paul Badura-Skoda's careful recommendations as doing "something stupid," that he is not a recognized specialist, and to ignore his advice. I'll choose his advice over yours, thank you.

Regards,
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#1942579 - 08/14/12 01:38 PM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: sandalholme]
Entheo Offline
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Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 1111
Loc: chicago, il
Originally Posted By: sandalholme
No-one yet has pointed out another factor: early pianos did not indeed have the sustaining power of modern pianos, for long held notes for instance and they did indeed have relatively light damping mechanisms, but a) the sound was richer in higher harmonics and/but (another but, this sentence is out of control) b)the treble register was relatively weak. These two factors work against each other to a degree. So there are quite a number of factors which differentiate the sounds that Mozart heard and that we hear on our instruments.


actually, that was my point in an earlier reply regarding "an edition of chopin preludes that i have (in which) the editor notes chopin's sustain pedal markings (very long) and then his own, much more frequent, markings. one must be careful when comparing apples to oranges wrt the capabilities of the instruments of the times."
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#1942764 - 08/14/12 07:33 PM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: sandalholme]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7424
Originally Posted By: sandalholme


Are 2 citations enough?


500 citations would not be enough, for the simple reason that "we" is too inclusive. If you want to believe that theory about vocal music, you can. I don't.

One obvious reason not to: a great deal of music is based on dance, even within the narrow confines of Western art music, and any link between instrumental music and vocal music in that genre is too weak to be construed as vocal music being the source of instrumental. If you go back far enough, you could probably make the case that the source is beating drums and stamping feet.

But I'm not all that interested in that sort of thing as applied to Mozart, anyway - there's no intrinsic reason to be imitating anything in his music, IMO. If a pianist gets the results they want by thinking in vocal terms, fine, but that doesn't make it mandatory for all.

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#1942777 - 08/14/12 08:04 PM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Otis S]
ando Online   content
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I only play a handful of pieces by Mozart anyway, but I honestly couldn't care less if I play Mozart in the authentic style of his day. I use my instincts when it comes to pedalling. The thought that I had to observe some dainty tradition of the day would take away my already tenuous relationship with Mozart. I just let rip in whatever way I please. In the absence of pedal markings, there's no real definitive way to do it anyway. I think the decisions people make in this regard probably relate strongly to their level of passion and connection with the composer. For me, I'm a little indifferent to Mozart, but I might observe the traditions of a composer I really love a little more carefully.

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#1942787 - 08/14/12 08:30 PM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: ando]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
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Originally Posted By: ando
In the absence of pedal markings, there's no real definitive way to do it anyway.


There is a reason those indications are missing. I have to wonder, if you don't care for Mozart, why bother, if you're going to just do it any way you choose?
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"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1942797 - 08/14/12 08:51 PM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: stores]
ando Online   content
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Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3336
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: ando
In the absence of pedal markings, there's no real definitive way to do it anyway.


There is a reason those indications are missing. I have to wonder, if you don't care for Mozart, why bother, if you're going to just do it any way you choose?


Well, clearly I enjoy the particular Mozart pieces I do play. That's why I bother. I just don't care to go too far into the original playing style of Mozart as it would be heard on his piano. In the modern age, that is a valid decision to make - especially given the large changes to the instrument in the meantime. As far as the indications being missing, I was just acknowledging that they aren't there, not making any statement as to why. This thread has already discussed the why.

I consider the sustain pedal to be part of the performer's coloristic tools - the performer is free to apply it wherever he sees fit. It's up to the listener to decide if it has been applied effectively.

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#1942956 - 08/15/12 12:55 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: SirHuddlestonFudd]
Otis S Offline
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Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
Originally Posted By: SirHuddlestonFudd
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I would base my opinion on what the greatest pianists did during the last 75 years or so. I think the huge majority used at least some pedal in Mozart.


Brilliance of technique should not be equated with knowledge of a musical style. Those you idolize played Mozart brilliantly, but incorrectly.


The pianists mentioned by pianoloverus obviously have a deep knowledge of Mozart's musical style in addition to having great technique. Furthermore, it is quite presumptuous of you to accuse all of them of playing Mozart incorrectly; these are some of the greatest interpreters of Mozart's piano music since the advent of modern recordings.

It is inaccurate to say that a historical study of Mozart and performance practices of his time inevitably leads to the conclusion that pedal should be totally avoided when playing Mozart's piano music. Many experts have commented on the fact that Mozart used pedaling. For example, the following quote is from the beginning of Chapter 6 of "The Pianist's Guide to Pedaling" by Joseph Banowetz:

"some of their [i.e. Haydn and Mozart] earliest keyboard works were also intended to played on the harpsichord or clavichord, but as the early fortepiano rapidly gained acceptance, both composers soon began to write with this instrument in mind ... the omission of the damper pedal in performing Haydn or Mozart is not historically accurate. Virtually all the fortepianos of the last three decades of the eighteenth century [i.e. from the time Mozart turned 14] were equipped with a knee lever to raise and lower the dampers in much the same way as the modern piano's damper pedal does. ... he [i.e. Mozart] was enthusiastic about the pedaling mechanism of the Stein fortepianos."

Of course, we cannot definitively know what Mozart would recommend for pedaling on a modern piano (not to mention the fact that there is considerable variation in pianos) since these instruments did not exist during Mozart's lifetime. However, it is intellectually dishonest to claim that historical evidence strongly suggests that sustain pedaling should be completely avoided when playing Mozart.


Edited by Otis S (08/15/12 12:56 AM)

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#1942958 - 08/15/12 01:04 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Otis S]
BDB Online   content
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My belief is that the sustain pedal should be avoided in all piano music, not just Mozart. It should be used only when there is a purpose for it. There is a school of thought that the opposite is true. Ernst Bacon even wrote that piano should normally be played with the damper pedal. However, we have lost many nuances of articulation in piano playing due to excessive pedaling, and music is worse for that.
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#1942993 - 08/15/12 03:57 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: ando]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: ando
In the absence of pedal markings, there's no real definitive way to do it anyway.


There is a reason those indications are missing. I have to wonder, if you don't care for Mozart, why bother, if you're going to just do it any way you choose?


Well, clearly I enjoy the particular Mozart pieces I do play. That's why I bother. I just don't care to go too far into the original playing style of Mozart as it would be heard on his piano. In the modern age, that is a valid decision to make - especially given the large changes to the instrument in the meantime. As far as the indications being missing, I was just acknowledging that they aren't there, not making any statement as to why. This thread has already discussed the why.

I consider the sustain pedal to be part of the performer's coloristic tools - the performer is free to apply it wherever he sees fit. It's up to the listener to decide if it has been applied effectively.


I'm not sure we've ever replied to each other, but this post is enough. You've landed yourself a solid spot on my list.
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#1942998 - 08/15/12 04:14 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Otis S]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5277
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Otis S
For example, the following quote is from the beginning of Chapter 6 of "The Pianist's Guide to Pedaling" by Joseph Banowetz:

"some of their [i.e. Haydn and Mozart] earliest keyboard works were also intended to played on the harpsichord or clavichord, but as the early fortepiano rapidly gained acceptance, both composers soon began to write with this instrument in mind ... the omission of the damper pedal in performing Haydn or Mozart is not historically accurate. Virtually all the fortepianos of the last three decades of the eighteenth century [i.e. from the time Mozart turned 14] were equipped with a knee lever to raise and lower the dampers in much the same way as the modern piano's damper pedal does. ... he [i.e. Mozart] was enthusiastic about the pedaling mechanism of the Stein fortepianos."


What an excellent quote! Thank you for finding it. Now I have a great excuse for the amount of pedal I add when playing Mozart.

I play and teach a ton of Mozart, and my Henle scores are filled with pedal markings I added. To me, it is inconceivable to play Mozart dry, maybe except for the dance-like movements of the sonatas or variations, and even within those movements I can find places where pedal is necessary. I don't just tap the pedal for chords. I use it to enrich the tone, to change colors of harmonies, and to alter the projection of the melody. Pedal infuses music with life.

I'm not talking about being historically informed. I'm playing Mozart on a modern grand, so I make my own judgment calls based on what I hear and how I feel about the music. Who knows what Mozart would have done on the modern grand piano??? I take his music and make it sound as good as I (think I) can.
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#1943003 - 08/15/12 04:31 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Otis S]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Otis S
the omission of the damper pedal in performing Haydn or Mozart is not historically accurate. Virtually all the fortepianos of the last three decades of the eighteenth century [i.e. from the time Mozart turned 14] were equipped with a knee lever to raise and lower the dampers in much the same way as the modern piano's damper pedal does. ... he [i.e. Mozart] was enthusiastic about the pedaling mechanism of the Stein fortepianos."



I don't care if Banowetz or Jesus said it. The fact that the fortepiano is equipped with dampers (of any kind) has nothing to do with the OMISSION of pedal indication(s) in the score. There ARE indications to be found (and famously so), but it speaks volumes that in so few places ARE these indications to be found. Mozart, can be as enthusiastic as he wants to be about the pedaling mechanism! Interesting that he still doesn't tell me to use the thing, however. Apparently Haydn and Mozart weren't being historically accurate within their own compositions! The nerve!
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#1943004 - 08/15/12 04:33 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: AZNpiano]
Dave Horne Offline
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Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
...so I make my own judgment calls based on what I hear ...

Yes, in music it would seem to be the deciding factor.
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#1943022 - 08/15/12 05:28 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: AZNpiano]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 423
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Otis S
For example, the following quote is from the beginning of Chapter 6 of "The Pianist's Guide to Pedaling" by Joseph Banowetz:

"some of their [i.e. Haydn and Mozart] earliest keyboard works were also intended to played on the harpsichord or clavichord, but as the early fortepiano rapidly gained acceptance, both composers soon began to write with this instrument in mind ... the omission of the damper pedal in performing Haydn or Mozart is not historically accurate. Virtually all the fortepianos of the last three decades of the eighteenth century [i.e. from the time Mozart turned 14] were equipped with a knee lever to raise and lower the dampers in much the same way as the modern piano's damper pedal does. ... he [i.e. Mozart] was enthusiastic about the pedaling mechanism of the Stein fortepianos."


What an excellent quote! Thank you for finding it. Now I have a great excuse for the amount of pedal I add when playing Mozart.

I play and teach a ton of Mozart, and my Henle scores are filled with pedal markings I added. To me, it is inconceivable to play Mozart dry, maybe except for the dance-like movements of the sonatas or variations, and even within those movements I can find places where pedal is necessary. I don't just tap the pedal for chords. I use it to enrich the tone, to change colors of harmonies, and to alter the projection of the melody. Pedal infuses music with life.

I'm not talking about being historically informed. I'm playing Mozart on a modern grand, so I make my own judgment calls based on what I hear and how I feel about the music. Who knows what Mozart would have done on the modern grand piano??? I take his music and make it sound as good as I (think I) can.


well, the problem with reading books by modern scholars or experts is that their personal opinion is always mixed-in with the facts which are available

From the period writings I have read the viennese piano school was NOT a legato school like the british and subsequently the french

Kalkbrenner writes that this was partly due to the (substantial) differences between Viennese pianos and English pianos. French pianos were a refinement of the English pianos.

the viennese piano has a short sustain and because of the thinner soundboard and weaker tensions is not suitable for a legato style

English pianos which had higher tensions and thicker soundboards, as well as a deeper and stronger touch. Field was known for a more legato cantabile style.

Dussek was the first pianist to noteably use the pedal almost all the time, changing on chords, when playing concerts

Chopin hated constant and incorrect use of the pedal which is why his music (first editions) have all the pedal markings

Saint-Saens mentiones that Chopin intended for his music to be played as written in regards to pedal, but that publishers added pedal because it was too difficult to play

in the pianos made before 1860 or so the dampers were quite light, especially British pianos made before 1840.. they can be played comfortably with no pedal
_________________________
rhythm must be inborn

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

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#1943032 - 08/15/12 06:36 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: stores]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3336
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: ando


Well, clearly I enjoy the particular Mozart pieces I do play. That's why I bother. I just don't care to go too far into the original playing style of Mozart as it would be heard on his piano. In the modern age, that is a valid decision to make - especially given the large changes to the instrument in the meantime. As far as the indications being missing, I was just acknowledging that they aren't there, not making any statement as to why. This thread has already discussed the why.

I consider the sustain pedal to be part of the performer's coloristic tools - the performer is free to apply it wherever he sees fit. It's up to the listener to decide if it has been applied effectively.


I'm not sure we've ever replied to each other, but this post is enough. You've landed yourself a solid spot on my list.


I have no idea what that means.

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#1943044 - 08/15/12 07:28 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: BDB]
Entheo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 1111
Loc: chicago, il
Originally Posted By: BDB
My belief is that the sustain pedal should be avoided in all piano music, not just Mozart. It should be used only when there is a purpose for it. There is a school of thought that the opposite is true. Ernst Bacon even wrote that piano should normally be played with the damper pedal. However, we have lost many nuances of articulation in piano playing due to excessive pedaling, and music is worse for that.


Rachmaninoff, speaking about Anton Rubinstein: "One of Rubinstein's greatest secrets was his use of the pedal. He himself very happily expressed his ideas on the subject when he said, 'The pedal is the soul of the piano.' No pianist should ever forget this."

Originally Posted By: stores
I don't care if Banowetz or Jesus said it. The fact that the fortepiano is equipped with dampers (of any kind) has nothing to do with the OMISSION of pedal indication(s) in the score. There ARE indications to be found (and famously so), but it speaks volumes that in so few places ARE these indications to be found. Mozart, can be as enthusiastic as he wants to be about the pedaling mechanism! Interesting that he still doesn't tell me to use the thing, however. Apparently Haydn and Mozart weren't being historically accurate within their own compositions! The nerve!


from Karstein Djupdals' website: "Pedalling was very important in the playing of Debussy. Debussy marked however almost never any pedalling in the score. According to Dumesnil, he gave a reason for this: 'Pedalling cannot be written down,' he explained. 'It varies from one instrument to another, from one room, or one hall, to another.' [Nichols p. 162]
_________________________
diary of an amateur pianist

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#1943063 - 08/15/12 08:56 AM Re: avoiding use of sustaining pedal when playing Mozart [Re: Otis S]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I certainly would imagine that Mozart would use a sustaining pedal. That said, I try not to pedal during or through consecutive notes.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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