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#2038231 - 02/23/13 11:54 PM Liszt- 2nd Ballade
RachelEDNC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 81
From my recital this past week. There is a memory slip in this, and obviously many things I could do better. Thoughts? I am auditioning for DMA programs with this. The beginning is a bitch. I never knew a chromatic scale could be so difficult. :-)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXot8eZQ6ow


Edited by RachelEDNC (02/24/13 12:00 AM)

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#2038257 - 02/24/13 02:04 AM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19798
Loc: New York
Splendid! smile

Let me put in a couple of disclaimers: I don't much care for the piece cry and (therefore) I only 'skimmed' through the performance. But I saw and heard enough to see that this is a great piece for you. I was enormously impressed in absolutely all respects, including wide ranges of dynamics, expression, and moods and a great feel for rests and silences, and I'd be interested to hear you play more pieces. I have to believe that you will be very successful with your applications. Good luck!

BTW great gown too. ha

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#2038358 - 02/24/13 10:10 AM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
Gerard12 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 758
Loc: South Carolina
Rachel, that was excellent. Congrats!

+1 to what Mark_C wrote.....I'm curious as to what else was on the program?
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Piano performance and instruction (former college music professor).

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#2038376 - 02/24/13 10:34 AM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
RachelEDNC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 81
Wow, thank you both!!! I was kind of afraid to even post this video because, well pianoworld consists of pianists and you guys aren't generally as nice as my parents are after a recital. :-)

I hope you are right Mark about the auditions. Auditions are so weird. You practice forever just to get a 20 minute slot in a day that the professors have been listening for 8 hours and... probably another topic altogether.

Gerard12, in this order-
Beethoven, Op. 109
Liebermann, Variations on a Theme by Schubert
Liszt, 2nd Ballade
The Liebermann was just published in 2011. I read a review of the score in a magazine and decided to be brave (no recordings available, just ordered the music).

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#2038392 - 02/24/13 10:53 AM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 952
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
Rachel, I also listened to your recording and really liked it - sensitive and passionate at the same time!! Good luck for your auditions!

I am quite curious about the Liebermann piece; are you planning to share the recording with us? (if not, maybe reconsider smile )
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#2038397 - 02/24/13 11:04 AM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1980
Loc: Salt Lake City
As my disclaimer, I adore the 2nd ballade, and feel quite strongly it's one of Liszt's unfairly neglected masterpieces, and very much admire the rhetorical qualities you brought to the performance. Best of luck with the auditions--
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#2038445 - 02/24/13 01:33 PM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19798
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC
....Auditions are so weird. You practice forever just to get a 20 minute slot....

It's even worse than that! -- but at the same time (for you), better. smile

They probably usually pretty much decide in the first few seconds what you are, or the first half minute at the most. Sure, they keep listening after that (at least sort of) ha but it's amazing how much can be told basically right away, and I'm sure most auditioners know it and use it. But the good news is that you make a tremendous impression right away.

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#2038575 - 02/24/13 05:18 PM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
RachelEDNC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 81
Thank you everyone! I actually felt really horrible after this recital, b/c I (like lots of others) just fixate on wrong notes/memory issues/everything but the positive.

Everyone's comments have definitely made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I will stop reading before I get a big head.

pianovirus- I will post the Liebermann. I have an audio only of another performance of that, but it is a better performance than the performance with video from the recital. I have to figure out how to get it on youtube with audio only. In the past I have just resorted to asking someone else to do it for me, so maybe I will do that.

MarkC- Thank you for your kind words. I agree with you that they decide right away. I agree so much that I bet I have spent the majority of my practice time on the beginnings of pieces... shocked blush shocked


Edited by RachelEDNC (02/24/13 05:18 PM)

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#2042877 - 03/04/13 02:05 PM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
Michael Sayers Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1158
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Hi Rachel,

I really enjoyed the recording. Don't worry about the wrong notes. For my part I don't listen for wrong notes or care about them when they happen - especially when the delivery is so beautiful and passionate.

If you haven't heard Nyiregyhazi's recording of the piece I recommend locating a copy of the International Piano Archives Desmar LP (it isn't on youtube). Not with the suggestion that one should imitate his recording even if it were humanly possible. But he has great ideas on how to impart the work with a tremendous sense of urgency and also lyricism when needed.


Mvh,
Michael


Edited by Michael Sayers (03/04/13 02:13 PM)

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#2042935 - 03/04/13 04:12 PM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
Hakki Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2662
Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC

Everyone's comments have definitely made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I will stop reading before I get a big head.



Then, you might better not continue to read my below comments.

IMO, this piece is not suitable for you. Did you choose the piece or was it assigned to you?

I think, wide chords, octaves, broken octaves are really not your strong sides that you would want to show. And unfortunately this piece requires all of these to be executed at a very high tempo. But you take most of these at subpar tempos and that dramatically reduces the overall quality of the piece. Also the chords after the chromatics are one of those rare cases where when played broken changes the intent of the composer totally and it really does not fit the atmosphere of the piece.
I am really very sorry if my comments are too harsh, and not appropriate to say at such a late stage just before your audition.

However, despite all these drawbacks you are certainly a fine pianist. I wished you had just chosen a different piece.

Good luck with your audition. I hope it all goes well for you.


Edited by Hakki (03/04/13 04:21 PM)
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#2043019 - 03/04/13 08:27 PM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: Hakki]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19798
Loc: New York
My goodness!
Hakki, all I can say is that I felt she made a much better impression with it than you did.


Edit: Since I have a lot of regard for your opinions, I listened to the whole performance again with your comments in mind. I'm still completely comfortable with what I've said.

Of course these things are subjective, but even so, I have to say I'm surprised by how extremely you felt you could express what you said. While I can see a basic view like yours, I absolutely can't see it being held so extremely, like "this piece is not suitable for you."

I think the things you mentioned, even to whatever extent they are issues (which I don't think they are), are outweighed by the great positives, and what I consider to be an absence of any great negatives. I think she seems to have understood and absorbed the piece very well, and she plays musically and with a clear and coherent voice. That's saying a lot. Also she stays within herself very well -- which may sound like a positive spin on some of your criticisms but I don't mean it that way at all. I mean just that she projects a sense of being convinced and confident about her conception, and she's telling the story from within herself and in her way, and that it totally works. I much prefer it to a performance where there's more emphasis on breakneck aspects, especially if the player feels he needs to stretch beyond what he can really do, which happens not infrequently with Liszt, including among professionals. I know that you feel you're giving Rachel a needed warning. I hope it won't make her feel she's making a mistake in playing this piece nor that she's on some wrong track with it.


Edited by Mark_C (03/04/13 11:18 PM)

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#2043106 - 03/04/13 11:24 PM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: Mark_C]
RachelEDNC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 81
Hakki, comments are comments. I sincerely do appreciate criticism as it is the only way to improve. This being said, comments like this-

Originally Posted By: Hakki

IMO, this piece is not suitable for you. Did you choose the piece or was it assigned to you


...are a bit unnecessary. For the record, I have enough say in what I perform (and an excellent teacher) that potential repertoire is a discussion, not an assignment.

Now as to the piece not being suitable for me. I posted for responses that can be constructive towards performance. As I have already put considerable time into preparing this piece at this level, this comment is arbitrary and unproductive. Whether the piece is suitable or not, it is what I have.

MarkC, thank you for your defense and comment.


Edited by RachelEDNC (03/04/13 11:25 PM)

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#2043120 - 03/05/13 12:43 AM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
Damon Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6167
Loc: St. Louis area
That was pretty good. A little slow but that was okay. I have to say that I don't like the broken chords after the left hand chromatic scales.
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#2043123 - 03/05/13 12:49 AM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: Hakki]
Michael Sayers Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1158
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
Originally Posted By: Hakki
Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC

Everyone's comments have definitely made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I will stop reading before I get a big head.



Then, you might better not continue to read my below comments.

IMO, this piece is not suitable for you. Did you choose the piece or was it assigned to you?

I think, wide chords, octaves, broken octaves are really not your strong sides that you would want to show. And unfortunately this piece requires all of these to be executed at a very high tempo. But you take most of these at subpar tempos and that dramatically reduces the overall quality of the piece. Also the chords after the chromatics are one of those rare cases where when played broken changes the intent of the composer totally and it really does not fit the atmosphere of the piece.
I am really very sorry if my comments are too harsh, and not appropriate to say at such a late stage just before your audition.

However, despite all these drawbacks you are certainly a fine pianist. I wished you had just chosen a different piece.

Good luck with your audition. I hope it all goes well for you.


I see nothing wrong with the tempos - and especially it is the application of tempo that makes Rachel's recording special.

Right at the start with the broad opening chromatic scales - that was very nice!

She should keep this work in her repertoire and perform it regularly.

The chords played broken just need a different and freer articulation than was given here.

Mvh,
Michael


Edited by Michael Sayers (03/05/13 12:51 AM)

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#2043690 - 03/06/13 01:04 AM Re: Liszt- 2nd Ballade [Re: RachelEDNC]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
I'm also part of the camp that prefers it at a quicker, and tempo that's more free. The opening line sounded like it was fighting against the chromatics, rather than floating on top of it, giving it direction. The underlying chromatic scales should serve to accompany the turmoil in the melody, rather than provide it alone.

The chords don't have to be played solidly, but I prefer a different and more subtle voicing - the octaves in the base, which are more eerie, can be brought out, while the right hand chords sound more like overtones. During the chordal part, the inflections were nice, but sounded forced and deliberate. I also think that the voicing there can be more bright, pulling out the top line. That section is again, quite vocal, rather than chordal (unlike the B-major section in alternating chords after those insane octaves).

The re-iteration of the theme in B flat minor should structurally sound more agitated than the first time. There is an ossia where instead of "Gb - Ab - Bb!" at the end, the Gb is paired with an F natural to create more dissonance. Again, the chromatics shouldn't be governing the drama, rather the melodic line should be giving that section momentum.

The "march" section I think needed more muscle, and the rising section that ends in descending arpeggios in the right hand needs to really bring out the desperation in the figurations. Again, I think it's too strict there - the alternating triplets in the bass, followed by those crashing arpeggios sounded too metronomic, and there wasn't any sense of "pushing" or agitation.

My favourite part to play in this piece is probably when the main them appears in F# minor, and those flying right hand arpeggios. Because this is the first real climax, it has to be big, and a huge culmination of the preceding moments. Again, playing it safe sort of takes away the effect that I want to hear in this section.

The proceeding section I think needs to sound lighter and a bigger contrast in tempo, dynamics, mood, voicing, and atmosphere, because you have a new theme showing up + the first instance of "tolling bells" in the right hand chords.

The next virtuosic section again I thought was lacking in muscle and agitation. I guess it's a pity that you had the memory lapse at probably the most intense segment of the piece, with the rising alternating octaves. That section should be the most violent and the chords that come about should be deafeningly desperate.

I don't really have any new comments for the rest of the piece, but I think that overall, some things that would make the performance better include:

1 - selection of voicing - making sections sound more "vocal", or more "chordal" as required.

2 - letting the melodic line govern the speed and phrasing of the section rather than the technical demands of the accompaniment. A good example is in fortissimo after the alternating octaves, where you have chords and scales underneath. The scales aren't as important as the melody, so bring the melody out more, and alter your tempo so that the melodic speed is the focus, rather than just having it in plain 6/4 time. Same thing with those big scales in the end.

3 - more bombast when required. Liszt asks for big technical equipment in this piece in several sections, and you need to play like that not only to bring justice to the more dark, agitated parts, but to also make the other sections contrast effectively.

4 - a less academic approach. I guess this sounds the most scathing, but the choice of tempi and the strictness with the beat meant that quite a few sections just weren't all that interesting. This is high romanticism, and you need to deliver a sense of urgency when required. Push and pull with the tempo, and your tone to get the right effects.


Overall I think you have a good sense of what the piece is about, but I think that there are still ways to go in terms of expression and really bringing doing justice to the drama outlined by the work. Best of luck with your auditions!



Edited by Kuanpiano (03/06/13 01:05 AM)
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