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#2093959 - 06/02/13 03:22 PM Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major
Jaak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Tallinn, Estonia
Hi,

I will record it in the studio on the 13th of June.

Just recorded it when practicing.

Best wishes,
Jaak

LINK

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#2094109 - 06/02/13 09:07 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Goomer Piles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 131
That was splendid. I can honestly say I enjoyed your performance of this beloved work as much as any I've ever heard. Your expressiveness is beautiful and you have wonderful control over dynamic range and harmonic nuances throughout.

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#2094398 - 06/03/13 08:59 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
This was awesome to wake up to. I haven't listened to this piece in over a year. Thank you!!

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#2094412 - 06/03/13 09:31 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Cinnamonbear Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3904
Loc: Rockford, IL
It's beautiful, Jaak! I really like your playing. Will we get to hear the pro recording?

--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#2094813 - 06/03/13 08:36 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
I'm about to listen and do commentary while I listen, as usual. (And go over it again at the end to edit.)
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2094821 - 06/03/13 08:50 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
You could sink into the keys more at the beginning. Your sound is a bit shallow.

Work on that little octave run - it's a little sloppy.

You're doing a few quirky things with ornaments I've never heard before. Interesting, but I'm not sure I like it.

With the arpeggios transitioning into C major, your tempo is dragging a bit.

Think about tempo more. I think you tend to rush in the "lilting" section.

I don't like the staccato chords at 2:22.

2:41 - you could have even more passion and drive here, but it's not bad. I think the section leading up to that is the problem - you need to work on a gradual build, instead of suddenly switching moods which is what it felt like. smile

You're arpeggiating a few chords now - if it's not necessary, I don't think you should do that.

Your section with the runs is not bad, actually. Try to work on getting a lighter sound in the runs, and when the arpeggios start in LH then bring out the melody more.

Consider more rubato at 4:53. Again, I think your mood changes a little too fast.

The C# minor section - I like the way you're playing it so far. But your tempo's dragging a little bit. Remember, this is an emotional climax (the chord-arpeggios). You may need a bit of technical work.

The section following that is again slightly slower than I'd like.

For the coda - try to make it sound more triumphant and majestic. Listen to the beautiful, colorful chromatic harmonies. With the repeated chords - it again needs to be a gradual build, until you explode into the cascading Ab arpeggios.

These last few lines could go a little faster. The final chords - sink into the keys more, and take them slightly faster. They're an outburst of joy - this is, by the way, the only ballade that ends in this manner. smile

Overall, a very good performance. Needs some work, of course, but shows potential.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2094923 - 06/03/13 10:38 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Polyphonist]
Goomer Piles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 131
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
You could sink into the keys more at the beginning. Your sound is a bit shallow.

Work on that little octave run - it's a little sloppy.

You're doing a few quirky things with ornaments I've never heard before. Interesting, but I'm not sure I like it.

With the arpeggios transitioning into C major, your tempo is dragging a bit.

Think about tempo more. I think you tend to rush in the "lilting" section.

I don't like the staccato chords at 2:22.

2:41 - you could have even more passion and drive here, but it's not bad. I think the section leading up to that is the problem - you need to work on a gradual build, instead of suddenly switching moods which is what it felt like. smile

You're arpeggiating a few chords now - if it's not necessary, I don't think you should do that.

Your section with the runs is not bad, actually. Try to work on getting a lighter sound in the runs, and when the arpeggios start in LH then bring out the melody more.

Consider more rubato at 4:53. Again, I think your mood changes a little too fast.

The C# minor section - I like the way you're playing it so far. But your tempo's dragging a little bit. Remember, this is an emotional climax (the chord-arpeggios). You may need a bit of technical work.

The section following that is again slightly slower than I'd like.

For the coda - try to make it sound more triumphant and majestic. Listen to the beautiful, colorful chromatic harmonies. With the repeated chords - it again needs to be a gradual build, until you explode into the cascading Ab arpeggios.

These last few lines could go a little faster. The final chords - sink into the keys more, and take them slightly faster. They're an outburst of joy - this is, by the way, the only ballade that ends in this manner. smile

Overall, a good performance. Needs some work, of course, but shows potential.

You are so off-base that it's not even funny. I think you love seeing your own words in print. Good, because you come off as a total buffoon. Who in the world are YOU to address someone like this who is in all likelihood more accomplished than you - or, in fact, most of us - could ever hope to be?

You're a real piece of work.

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#2094925 - 06/03/13 10:40 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Goomer Piles]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Goomer Piles
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
You could sink into the keys more at the beginning. Your sound is a bit shallow.

Work on that little octave run - it's a little sloppy.

You're doing a few quirky things with ornaments I've never heard before. Interesting, but I'm not sure I like it.

With the arpeggios transitioning into C major, your tempo is dragging a bit.

Think about tempo more. I think you tend to rush in the "lilting" section.

I don't like the staccato chords at 2:22.

2:41 - you could have even more passion and drive here, but it's not bad. I think the section leading up to that is the problem - you need to work on a gradual build, instead of suddenly switching moods which is what it felt like. smile

You're arpeggiating a few chords now - if it's not necessary, I don't think you should do that.

Your section with the runs is not bad, actually. Try to work on getting a lighter sound in the runs, and when the arpeggios start in LH then bring out the melody more.

Consider more rubato at 4:53. Again, I think your mood changes a little too fast.

The C# minor section - I like the way you're playing it so far. But your tempo's dragging a little bit. Remember, this is an emotional climax (the chord-arpeggios). You may need a bit of technical work.

The section following that is again slightly slower than I'd like.

For the coda - try to make it sound more triumphant and majestic. Listen to the beautiful, colorful chromatic harmonies. With the repeated chords - it again needs to be a gradual build, until you explode into the cascading Ab arpeggios.

These last few lines could go a little faster. The final chords - sink into the keys more, and take them slightly faster. They're an outburst of joy - this is, by the way, the only ballade that ends in this manner. smile

Overall, a good performance. Needs some work, of course, but shows potential.

You are so off-base that it's not even funny. I think you love seeing your own words in print. Good, because you come off as a total buffoon. Who in the world are YOU to address someone like this who is in all likelihood more accomplished than you - or, in fact, most of us - could ever hope to be?

You're a real piece of work.

What is the issue here, exactly? The fact that I spent 15 minutes writing a detailed, thoughtful, and informed response to this person's performance?

Oh, and I see you've run away and logged off - and your private messages are disabled. Interesting.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2095011 - 06/04/13 01:01 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Elene Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 1412
Loc: under monsoon clouds
Fight nice, kids.

Jaak, thanks for posting this, and best wishes for your studio recording. Even with just the Zoom, you have a big, dynamic sound, very attractive, and without crashing. I particularly liked the feel of the opening; you have a good "swing" to the rhythm, with plenty of energy and forward motion, but there's still a sense of ease.

Although there are areas that I expect you're not quite happy with, you're getting the job done. This is my least favorite of the Ballades, and I've heard it so very many times, but you got me to enjoy it quite a bit.

Elene
_________________________
Semi-Pro Musica

Blog: http://elenedom.wordpress.com
Website: http://elenelistens.com






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#2095030 - 06/04/13 02:28 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4779
Loc: USA
Polyphonist did nothing wrong, Goomer.

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#2095193 - 06/04/13 11:28 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: JoelW]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Polyphonist did nothing wrong, Goomer.

Thanks, but don't even bother, Joel. He won't listen to reason.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2095240 - 06/04/13 12:33 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
ansatz737 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 156
Bravo, this was beautiful! It's possibly my favorite Chopin ballade, even though the others may be more "epic" in character. The only comment I would make is that opening section (approx. the first two minutes) could be more coy and playful in character... it seemed a bit straightforward. But really an excellent performance.
_________________________
Student and shamefully occasional pianist
Currently attempting:
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 4 and 7
Deciding between Mozart K. 310 and Beethoven op. 10 no. 3
Albeniz - Almeria from Iberia book II

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#2095399 - 06/04/13 03:55 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Polyphonist]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Polyphonist did nothing wrong, Goomer.

Thanks, but don't even bother, Joel. He won't listen to reason.

I think there's room here for both Polyphonist and Goomer. Posting a recording is always a risky business, and one should expect anything from a simple thumb, to "It sucks", to no responses at all. It's the price you pay for going public. I'm sure Jaak knows all this, and is perfectly capable of handling both the accolades and the critiques.

Personally, if I were posting a recording (ain't ever gonna happen), I'd be more grateful for a single detailed critique like PP provided, than a string of "atta boys".

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#2095513 - 06/04/13 06:41 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Old Man]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19347
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Old Man
Personally, if I were posting a recording (ain't ever gonna happen), I'd be more grateful for a single detailed critique like PP provided, than a string of "atta boys".
I think it's really the tone(14 0f 15 comments were negative) of PP's post that was being objected to. Bruce often posts detailed suggestions and no one has ever objected to his comments.


Edited by pianoloverus (06/04/13 06:44 PM)

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#2096101 - 06/05/13 10:35 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Polyphonist]
DameMyra Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1958
Loc: South Jersey
First, I think this was an excellent performance. I know that there have been a few critical responses to the critique posted by Polyphonist. I tried listening and reading that critique at the same time to see if I understood and/or agreed with PP.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
You could sink into the keys more at the beginning. Your sound is a bit shallow.
I liked the sound. It was warm and captures what I always think of as the dreaminess of this particular Ballade.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Work on that little octave run - it's a little sloppy.
I didn't think it was sloppy. I just thought it was a little rushed.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
You're doing a few quirky things with ornaments I've never heard before. Interesting, but I'm not sure I like it.

I'm assuming PP is referring to the octave grace notes. I've heard a few different approaches to these. I tend to like them a little broader like you are playing them.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
With the arpeggios transitioning into C major, your tempo is dragging a bit.

I didn't think so. I liked how clean and precise they were. I feel you could make the crescendo and decrescendo a little more pronounced.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Think about tempo more. I think you tend to rush in the "lilting" section.

I like your tempo. I think some pianists sentimentalize this section a little too much. I've always though of it as dancing.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I don't like the staccato chords at 2:22.

Not sure what PP is referring to because of youtube's not precise time code. Some of the staccato chords are in the score.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
2:41 - you could have even more passion and drive here, but it's not bad. I think the section leading up to that is the problem - you need to work on a gradual build, instead of suddenly switching moods which is what it felt like. smile

I'm not sure of the phrase "not bad". It sounds a little dismissive. But I agree that the build up should be much more gradual and dramatic. I realize it's only four measures to build up to a ff, so it really needs to be well thought out.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
You're arpeggiating a few chords now - if it's not necessary, I don't think you should do that.

Once again, I'm not sure what PP is referring to here.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Your section with the runs is not bad, actually. Try to work on getting a lighter sound in the runs, and when the arpeggios start in LH then bring out the melody more.

I liked the sound of the runs, very clean and articulated. I think you bring out the melody just fine. One of the things I noticed is you slow down just slightly when you come to the trills.You start broadening at the first trill and you lose a little of your momentum. I also think you could bring out the accents on the off-beat more in that octave section.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Consider more rubato at 4:53. Again, I think your mood changes a little too fast.
I don't see this. One thing I was curious about in this section. You bring out the countermelody in the left hand in measures 150-153, but you didn't in measures 109-112. Was this a choice?

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The C# minor section - I like the way you're playing it so far. But your tempo's dragging a little bit. Remember, this is an emotional climax (the chord-arpeggios). You may need a bit of technical work.
I think the tempo is just fine. Too many pianists speed this up and it sounds ugly and out of place to me. Technically you don't seem to have any problems. Yes I noticed the slight missed notes earlier, but just saw it as a flub.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The section following that is again slightly slower than I'd like.

I think the tempo here is just fine. I hate when it is rushed. It loses its dreamlike quality.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
For the coda - try to make it sound more triumphant and majestic. Listen to the beautiful, colorful chromatic harmonies. With the repeated chords - it again needs to be a gradual build, until you explode into the cascading Ab arpeggios.
I love your sound and how you play the return of the main theme. I do think the stretto chords could be a little faster and start a little softer. I also think you pause just a fraction too long before you begin the final arpeggiated section. You lose your forward momentum.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
These last few lines could go a little faster. The final chords - sink into the keys more, and take them slightly faster. They're an outburst of joy - this is, by the way, the only ballade that ends in this manner. smile
I agree with PP here. You lose a lot of your forward momentum here. Your final arpeggio down is too safe sounding and the final chords are broadened a little too much.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Overall, a very good performance. Needs some work, of course, but shows potential.
This might be the comment that strikes other members as a little too negative. When I first read it, it struck me as kind of patronizing, especially the phrase "shows potential." I think this is a really excellent performance at a high level, that can only get better.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher
MTNA/NJMTA/SJMTA

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#2096107 - 06/05/13 10:43 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: DameMyra]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19347
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Overall, a very good performance. Needs some work, of course, but shows potential.
This might be the comment that strikes other members as a little too negative. When I first read it, it struck me as kind of patronizing, especially the phrase "shows potential." I think this is a really excellent performance at a high level, that can only get better.
For me, this last part was the only somewhat positive comment in PP's entire post. The 14 comments before this one were negative. I think some were objecting to the tone of his entire post.

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#2096110 - 06/05/13 10:45 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: pianoloverus]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5262
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Old Man
Personally, if I were posting a recording (ain't ever gonna happen), I'd be more grateful for a single detailed critique like PP provided, than a string of "atta boys".
I think it's really the tone(14 0f 15 comments were negative) of PP's post that was being objected to. Bruce often posts detailed suggestions and no one has ever objected to his comments.
BINGO!

And to lighten up COMPLETELY the tension here, beneath the video I'm getting the following ad "A Baltic Wife? Pretty women from Baltic countries are looking for love now.". What's interesting is that I'm more into Asian than Baltic, in which case I've no idea how THIS ad got into the youtube video! (joke).

So...

I'm listening, and typing while listening...

1. I do find that the sound could be better, but I have a very strong feeling that this is due to the recording equipment and/or the piano rather than the pianist. Jaak, you seem to be doing a great job and you've got a great feeling for the piece.

2. Dynamics stand strong and diverse, as needed, and as of yet (4:00) I've still to catch a wrong note that bothered me, or a rubato going the other way!

3. Same goes for the tempo. I'm VERY used to the Zimmerman recordings (in Deutsche Gramophone) but I find this recording very very much to my taste! There's great attention to detail (which is more than I ever offered to my own recording and performances).

4. The almost last section (the repeated G#) sounded like there was a tiny bit of trouble in the right hand. It felt a bit too detached. Not too sure if this would be an issue of studying more, or just using a tiny bit more pedal... The left hand after that with the like-trill ornament is doing fine...

In all a great recording.

________________________________

And now, for the real question: Why will you be going in the studio to record this? Is it for a commercial CD? For an audition? For yourself? for your dearest friend in the whole world?

Because it makes a world of difference for those commented!

In any case:

BRAVO!

Polyphonist: Your comments may be valid or they may not: Usually too many negative comments need to be countered with some positive in order to sink in somehow. You seem to be lacking that part of posting! wink
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2096114 - 06/05/13 10:47 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: DameMyra]
Cinnamonbear Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3904
Loc: Rockford, IL
Thank you, DameMyra. What a beautiful explication of PP's critique. (I say that as one who appreciates sensitive, well-informed critiques.) We know Jaak to be a gracious contributor and a very thoughtful musician. I wonder if he posted this, in part, to take our temperature?
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#2096129 - 06/05/13 11:12 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Nikolas]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Polyphonist: Your comments may be valid or they may not: Usually too many negative comments need to be countered with some positive in order to sink in somehow. You seem to be lacking that part of posting! wink

Haha, I tried to insert some encouragement into my posts - the thing is, I tend to focus more on what I hear that I don't like, and mentally gloss over the interpretations I think are correct. I should work on that.

(Check my similar commentary on the recent Rachmaninoff Prelude 23/4 thread. I think you'll like that one more. smile )
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2096255 - 06/05/13 02:25 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Thank you, DameMyra. What a beautiful explication of PP's critique. (I say that as one who appreciates sensitive, well-informed critiques.)
Absolutely. Dame Myra did a fabulous job of providing her own critique, while using PP's critique as a foil. Almost like Siskel and Ebert used to do with movies. (Maybe you two should go on the road!) grin But I think both of you have provided Jaak a very substantive commentary, which he is completely free to embrace, reject, or cherry pick whatever suits his fancy. It is, after all, Jaak's interpretation.

But, Polyphonist, I also have to agree with pianoloverus and Nikolas. After reading Plover's post, I went back and re-read your critique, and he was right: a very negative tone, followed by a couple of patronizing sentences at the close. Nothing wrong with negative remarks in a critique, but it's always helpful to temper the negative with the positive elements of a performance (and IMO, these positive elements far outweighed the imperfections in this particular performance).

I really wish someone could invent a "tone checker". I would personally find that a far more valuable tool than any "spell checker", especially on internet forums. smile

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#2096275 - 06/05/13 03:03 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Old Man]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Old Man
a very negative tone, followed by a couple of patronizing sentences at the close.

Patronizing sentences? I complimented the poster, and then said the performance had a lot of potential, but could of course be improved, as could just about any performance by anyone, at any time...
I didn't think my tone was too negative in any individual comment, except maybe a couple - the problem seems to me to be that there was too much criticism and not enough encouragement. smile
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2096305 - 06/05/13 03:27 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Thank you, DameMyra. What a beautiful explication of PP's critique. (I say that as one who appreciates sensitive, well-informed critiques.) We know Jaak to be a gracious contributor and a very thoughtful musician. I wonder if he posted this, in part, to take our temperature?

Temperature seem a bit above average, a touch on the high side. smile

Sounded fantastic. I do think recording device could be better but the playing sounded great.
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
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#2096349 - 06/05/13 04:17 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Polyphonist]
Cinnamonbear Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3904
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
[...] Overall, a very good performance. Needs some work, of course, but shows potential.


Polyphonist, you seem to have trouble judging how your own writing might be received by the person to whom your writing is addressed (as well as how it might effect the wider audience of readers on this world stage). After listing your critical points, your two concluding sentences drip with condescension that borders on disdain. You might as well have said, "C-. Please have your add/drop slip ready after class." I mean, how would you like it if someone said to you, "Your tweed jacket exudes the smell of stale pipe tobacco." frown

You know, we're all free to write what we want to write and say what we want to say, but the matter of looking for clues in the original post as to what kind of criticism (and how much) is desired in response to a given recording has been discussed at length several times, even recently. It is an interesting question to consider. Perhaps the topic needs to be revisited in a new thread?

--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#2096428 - 06/05/13 06:17 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Polyphonist]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Old Man
a very negative tone, followed by a couple of patronizing sentences at the close.

Patronizing sentences? I complimented the poster, and then said the performance had a lot of potential, but could of course be improved, as could just about any performance by anyone, at any time...
I didn't think my tone was too negative in any individual comment, except maybe a couple - the problem seems to me to be that there was too much criticism and not enough encouragement. smile

Yes, you did "compliment the poster", but more in the manner of a "pat on the head".

If you need an example of how to do it right, follow Dame Myra. Her tone is perfect. She suggests rather than dictates, she praises what she likes, she inquires instead of presuming to know. For example, when comparing the two passages that were played differently, she doesn't automatically assume inconsistency, but asks, "Was that a choice?" Her tone is "collegial", (i.e. she considers the real possibility of interpretive differences), rather than "superior", which connotes more of a teacher-student relationship.

You contribute a lot of good stuff to this forum, Polyphonist, so please keep doing it! But if you could modulate your tone just a wee bit, you'll be far more persuasive. smile

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#2096692 - 06/06/13 01:19 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Goomer Piles Offline
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Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 131
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Polyphonist did nothing wrong, Goomer.

Well, Joel, it looks like a number of people besides me believe he or she did.

Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
After listing your critical points, your two concluding sentences drip with condescension that borders on disdain.

It's called 'damning with faint praise', and I wonder if the motivation is sheer jealousy (as was hinted at in Polyphony's similarly abrasive 'review' of Islamey recently). And as was also pointed out in that thread, there's a credibility gap when you have the chutzpah to make so many detailed negative remarks but no one knows your own credentials and you've never posted a recording of your own.

To those who think P. has made some great contributions here - where are they amongst 1550 posts (and counting) over a mere three months? That's nearly TWENTY posts a day - and the majority, from what I've seen, have been superfluous and gratuitious and unhelpful one-liners bordering on trolling.

When I was new, one of my first posts was about Op. 52. P. invited interested parties to discuss it with him. I took the bait, and ... nothing. When reminded, s/he sent me a message saying 'Well?' I replied with several paragraphs, carefully thought out, asking a bit about him or her, revealing a bit about myself, and then wrote of my observations and issues in learning Op. 52. In return for my good-faith efforts to communicate in a cordial manner with a stranger who was also a newbie here? I got a reply of TWO SENTENCES. Just sayin' - something isn't kosher here. Plenty of people can talk a good talk, but B.S. walks and and I'm putting P. on that Ignore thingie.

G.P.

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#2096697 - 06/06/13 01:27 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Goomer Piles]
Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted By: Goomer Piles
...I wonder if the motivation is sheer jealousy (as was hinted at in Polyphony's similarly abrasive 'review' of Islamey recently). And as was also pointed out in that thread, there's a credibility gap when you have the chutzpah to make so many detailed negative remarks but no one knows your own credentials and you've never posted a recording of your own.

I assure you that I am not jealous of anyone on this site, nor will I ever be. And here we are again with the logical fallacy that you must post a recording of your own in order to critique someone else's.

Originally Posted By: Goomer Piles
When I was new, one of my first posts was about Op. 52. P. invited interested parties to discuss it with him. I took the bait, and ... nothing. When reminded, s/he sent me a message saying 'Well?' I replied with several paragraphs, carefully thought out, asking a bit about him or her, revealing a bit about myself, and then wrote of my observations and issues in learning Op. 52. In return for my good-faith efforts to communicate in a cordial manner with a stranger who was also a newbie here? I got a reply of TWO SENTENCES.

I was indeed interested in discussing Opus 52 - apparently the same can't be said for you. I sent you a short post to clarify a few of the things you'd said in your original message, and you promptly removed yourself from the thread. Looking back, I'm indeed glad I didn't waste my time writing a long and detailed response to someone like you.

Originally Posted By: Goomer Piles
...I'm putting P. on that Ignore thingie.

Wonderful. Please do it as soon as possible.
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#2096703 - 06/06/13 01:38 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Goomer Piles Offline
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This is the text of the private message I sent Polyphony about Op. 52.

Quote:
Not sure if you read my latest entry to Devoted to Chopin. I mentioned that I've been learning the coda first, and I find myself working backwards from there a section at a time.

I have read through the entire piece, practicing all of it lightly after working out preliminary fingerings, but this one really seems to lend itself to moving backwards through it rather than forwards.

Sometimes I have technical difficulties in unexpected places - in this case in the transitional passage from mm 38 to 45. I'm having trouble with the LH legato octaves. I can reach an octave with 1 and 3 if needed, but it's just awkward here. I haven't found a pedaling scheme I'm really happy with for that passage. In fact, I think pedaling will be a challenge in many places in this Ballade except where the harmonic changes are clear-cut.

Is this a re-learning project for you, or your first time with it? I'm a first-timer. I guess I was putting off Op. 52 because I was put off by it, if that makes sense. Regarding the other Ballades, I learned most of the first when I was a teenager and messed around with the third one around the same time. No experience at all with the second, which always seemed less interesting musically to me. I have a strong suspicion, though, that I would come to appreciate it much better if I committed to learning it - for the reasons I mentioned in my post to Devoted to Chopin.

What are your own thoughts about Op. 52 (or otherwise!)? How far along are you and how are you approaching it? How much practice time are you able to devote to it? Are you working up anything else currently?

Sorry for all the questions - but being new here, I've only read your most very recent posts and know nothing about your interests or background.

In response, I got an answer to whether he or she was working on other pieces ('Yes') and a question about that octave passage from bar 38 to 45 ('What fingering are you using?). That was it. Nothing more. Zilch.

So this, from someone who actually solicited a discussion of this piece? Yeah right.

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#2096704 - 06/06/13 01:44 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Polyphonist Offline
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Did you ever consider replying to my questions, and then I might have given you a more detailed response?

Could you block me already, please, and stop messing up the OP's thread?
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#2096725 - 06/06/13 02:19 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
BruceD Online   content
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I really find it a very curious exercise and perhaps somewhat disturbing that some feel it necessary to derail the thread by telling another what s/he should or should not say to the original poster and also how s/he should say it.
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#2096742 - 06/06/13 03:12 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: BruceD]
Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
I really find it a very curious exercise and perhaps somewhat disturbing that some feel it necessary to derail the thread by telling another what s/he should or should not say to the original poster and also how s/he should say it.


Exactly - it really wasn't any of his business in the first place.

Anyway, back to the OP's performance - I've just listened to it again, and I think I still agree with most of my original comments - however, I think I got a more positive overall impression this time around than I did last time I listened, when I made the original critique (and I already thought it was pretty good last time). smile
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#2096745 - 06/06/13 03:44 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Jaak
Hi,

I will record it in the studio on the 13th of June.

Just recorded it when practicing.

Best wishes,
Jaak


Interesting how Jaak didn't ask for "feedback" in his original post. Nor has he engaged in any subsequent dialog.

If an OP says "suggestions for improvement are welcome" then we should definitely feel free to provide them. But why must we ASSUME that anyone posting a recording here is seeking such criticism - constructive or otherwise?? Sometimes folks just want to share their work ...and that's OK.
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#2096748 - 06/06/13 03:47 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Nikolas Offline
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Well... we're a 'family' over here, so when someone posts, we do tend to assume that they are looking for feedback. Especially when a recording is coming shortly and not already done!

It would be hugely different if Jaak was to post "here's my commercial CD, available here and there". But as it stands I think it's reasonable to assume that he is looking for feedback
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#2096754 - 06/06/13 04:03 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Nikolas]
Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Well... we're a 'family' over here, so when someone posts, we do tend to assume that they are looking for feedback. Especially when a recording is coming shortly and not already done!

It would be hugely different if Jaak was to post "here's my commercial CD, available here and there". But as it stands I think it's reasonable to assume that he is looking for feedback

This was my thinking as well.
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#2096828 - 06/06/13 09:00 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Nikolas]
Cinnamonbear Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Well... we're a 'family' over here,


Yes. As Carey has said, a huge dysfunctional one.

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
so when someone posts, we do tend to assume that they are looking for feedback. Especially when a recording is coming shortly and not already done!


And no, we don't all assume that. In my opinion, it is an unfair assumption. We've discussed this before, about the etiquette. Opinions vary, as always. Here are some guidelines I like to use, having learned as I go by watching the Member Recordings sub-forum develop, and after being on the giving and receiving end of things, as well as witnessing some unfortunate and messy thread wrecks:

1. If someone posts a recital recording and does not ask for critiques, I treat it like a recital and celebrate the accomplishment.

2. If someone posts a pre-recital recording and does not ask for critiques, same thing. Good luck. Break a leg. If he or she *does* ask for critiques, then a number of things come into play. How long before the recital? Enough time to make significant changes? Critique. Not enough time? Good luck. Break a leg. (I attribute this point to Mark_C.)

3. If someone posts a work-in-progress, and does not ask for critiques, be careful and ask, "Would you accept critique?"

4. If someone posts a work-in-progress, and does ask for critiques, it's open season. And then, as Dame Myra said, be collegial.

I remember one of my first "critiques" of a recording posted by Deburcey. He was working on some Beethoven. Basically, I came into the thread a burped in his face. If I could take that post back, I certainly would. It was arrogant and rude. Debrucy "forgave me," but I learned an important lesson regarding contrition and temperance.

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
It would be hugely different if Jaak was to post "here's my commercial CD, available here and there". But as it stands I think it's reasonable to assume that he is looking for feedback


Hard to tell on this one, Nikolas, though Jaak is such a gracious professional and natural teacher that were he to post a reply to the critiques, it would be to appreciate the feedback and answer the critiques, letting people know about his artistic decisions. My understanding of Jaak's approach is that he probably never considers a piece to be "finished" or "fully mastered," and that a review of a performance is *always* part of the game. Still...

Maybe Jaak knows us better than we think, and he put his hat on a stick for us to shoot at, so that when he posts his studio recording, we can all behave and give him a tidy thread.

Originally Posted By: BruceD
I really find it a very curious exercise and perhaps somewhat disturbing that some feel it necessary to derail the thread by telling another what s/he should or should not say to the original poster and also how s/he should say it.


The way I read it, Bruce, some of us were hoping for a teachable moment regarding diction. It seems to have gotten out of hand! frown

--Andy


Edited by Cinnamonbear (06/06/13 09:28 AM)
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#2096876 - 06/06/13 10:37 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Old Man Offline
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carey and Cinnamonbear, I too had always assumed that the purpose of posting a recording was to solicit critiques, comments, etc. But after reading the OP, there is zero indication that Jaak is soliciting anything. He's simply presenting. Thanks for the perspective, guys.

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#2096888 - 06/06/13 10:47 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Nikolas Offline
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Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Well... we're a 'family' over here,


Yes. As Carey has said, a huge dysfunctional one.
Well... a family with some 100,000 members MUST be utterly dysfunctional indeed!

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
so when someone posts, we do tend to assume that they are looking for feedback. Especially when a recording is coming shortly and not already done!


And no, we don't all assume that. In my opinion, it is an unfair assumption. [/quote]I'm not sure it is unfair or who assumes that. Obviously since I mentioned the word "family" I went for the "we" part of the post. It was a bit forward of me to mention that, but I hope this explains it.

On the etiquette I remember the thread and I do think that with the exception of PP my comments are almost always well received. It's the how you put things.

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
It would be hugely different if Jaak was to post "here's my commercial CD, available here and there". But as it stands I think it's reasonable to assume that he is looking for feedback


Hard to tell on this one, Nikolas, though Jaak is such a gracious professional and natural teacher that were he to post a reply to the critiques, it would be to appreciate the feedback and answer the critiques, letting people know about his artistic decisions. My understanding of Jaak's approach is that he probably never considers a piece to be "finished" or "fully mastered," and that a review of a performance is *always* part of the game. Still...[/quote]Remember that I'm someone who semi-frequently goes about posting commercial comments, posts, succeeded, finished results, etc. And I HAVE BEEN annoyed at silly comments over something that wasn't supposed to receive that... That's my point.

Jaak's post didn't come across as anything, to be honest. It just came as "here it is, do as you please". And the fact that he's not posted, implies that it wasn't all too important (especially if a studio recoding is coming up in a couple of weeks). In all truth, I can't think of another reason to post this, rather than receive feedback. Why else?

Quote:
The way I read it, Bruce, some of us were hoping for a teachable moment regarding diction. It seems to have gotten out of hand! frown

--Andy
I don't think it got out of hand. Exactly because I'm not sure it holds great value for Jaak. If it does, I'm deeply sorry and I'll be very ready to say that my assumptions were wrong and ask for my posts to be deleted if so, but otherwise it seems like a rather casual thread an it's good that we're discussing these things out in the open.

PS. I'm certainly not found of the negative tone in most of Polyphonists' posts of courrse! I hope this is clear. This and the previous post of mine is not coming to back him up about this...
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#2096914 - 06/06/13 11:20 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Polyphonist Offline
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I think we've exhausted the negative tone issue...I get the point. No need to perseverate. wink
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#2096916 - 06/06/13 11:21 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Old Man]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Old Man
carey and Cinnamonbear, I too had always assumed that the purpose of posting a recording was to solicit critiques, comments, etc. But after reading the OP, there is zero indication that Jaak is soliciting anything. He's simply presenting. Thanks for the perspective, guys.


Here's a link to the last post Jaak made in Members Recordings - back in November 2011. Note that his initial post was very similar to one in this thread (i.e., presenting mode). The responses he received were "general" and supportive - and Jaak chose to further engage in the dialog.

I'm not implying that we should "sugar coat" our comments to people who post their work here - but perhaps with folks we don't know all that well we should first try to engage in a dialog to learn more about them and determine how receptive they might be to our CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1782982





Edited by carey (06/06/13 11:24 AM)
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#2097074 - 06/06/13 02:53 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Polyphonist Offline
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I still feel that detailed and specific commentary, negative or positive, is much more helpful than a rather vague "Amazing performance! I loved it! You play this so well" - except for boosting the ego of the poster. ha
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#2097098 - 06/06/13 03:15 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Polyphonist]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I still feel that detailed and specific commentary, negative or positive, is much more helpful than a rather vague "Amazing performance! I loved it! You play this so well" - except for boosting the ego of the poster. ha
If you're saying your original post in this thread was OK, you still don't get it.

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#2097101 - 06/06/13 03:17 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Polyphonist]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I still feel that detailed and specific commentary, negative or positive, is much more helpful than a rather vague "Amazing performance! I loved it! You play this so well" - except for boosting the ego of the poster. ha


I don't disagree. All I'm suggesting that perhaps we should test the waters a bit before diving in. Or at least start with the positive, establish a dialog, and then qualify your constructive comments with "you might want to consider doing x, y and z." That way a relationship is established, your points are made, and everyone walks away feeling good about the experience.

I remember one poor guy (college student - non music major) a couple of years ago who, as a first time poster, offered a video of himself playing the Heroic Polonaise in a student recital. He was obviously proud of his accomplishment, but many good folk here immediately jumped in and pretty much ripped the performance to shreds (i.e., with comments like "you need to go back and start from the drawing board," etc.) At the end of the thread, the kid basically told us where to go - and he never (to the best of my knowledge) ever posted anything here again. I think the experience he had here goes against the real purpose of these forums - which is to foster a sense of community, share our love of playing the piano, and encouraging each other to be the best players we can become.
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#2097655 - 06/07/13 06:23 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
floydthebarber71 Offline
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edit: nvm


Edited by floydthebarber71 (06/07/13 08:07 AM)
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#2101121 - 06/11/13 07:09 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Louis Podesta Online   content
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As "Carey" has succinctly stated, the purposive nature of this forum is to learn.

Therefore, as I am a big believer in "show and tell," I will now furnish the following link of a concert pianist performing this piece, who learned it from his teacher (Emil Descombes) who was a teaching assistant of Fred Chopin.

Enjoy! And, notice the rolled chords, throughout.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb45wt8RXco

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#2101172 - 06/11/13 08:35 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Louis Podesta]
Cinnamonbear Online   content
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*rolls eyes*
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#2113565 - 07/06/13 05:52 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Jaak Offline
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Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Tallinn, Estonia
Dear All smile

First - thank you all for listening and commenting.
Time is the biggest value of one and knowing that you spent your time listening to my recording is a big honor. Especially big thank you to those who took the effort and listened more than once and analysed the performance.

About the recording in the studio - unfortunately the piano was a lot below the expectations and the pedal squeaked. That makes me a bit sad but is a good experience - never record without being exactly sure what type of instrument do you have there even if it is known as a "professional studio". So in a way it is my mistake as well.

Also I have to admit that I could not perform the Chopin perfectly at the level that I would like to play it and I do not want to have a "cut" version. So more work to do and probably a new recording in a better studio.

At the same time I could play the other piece (Estonian piece "Clocks" by Heino Eller) well enough to have it uncut but there is again the pedal issue. So maybe I will post it and share the link as well (if you do not mind the pedal sqeaks..)

Also when I have a bit more time I will answer all your comments personaly because I feel that I would like to do it very much.

Best wishes for now!
Jaak

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#2121054 - 07/21/13 02:48 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Jaak Offline
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Hi,

The response is not too thorough but I try to answer everybody who participated in the debate.

@Goomer Piles - Thank you very much! Positive feedback insires and gives energy and belief to go on.

@Orange Soda King - Thank you very much for kind words.

@Andy - Thank you Andy for your supportive and friendly (at the same time witty) behaviour.
I still remember your comments and our conversations well smile

@Ployphonist - Honesty is one of the most important elements in music. I do not think that you said anything wrong or intentionally bad.
I believe that you just said out your opinion and did it in a straight-forward way, which is the clearest one.
I thought about everything you said and considered your response thoroughlly.

I have my own musical taste just as Polyphonist. Before saying that something is good or bad I let it go through myself and then make my observations.
If I do not agree with something, I usually have a reason why and I never take it personally(or at least try not to take).

If there is something I can improve or I got a new piece of information I am very thankful to the person who shared his thoughts.
I think that sharing a sincere opinion is honorable and often quite a courageous act.

So thank you!

@Elene - Thank you very much for your kind words. And I agree, there are places that I am not fully happy with.
And it is not a performance of "pure music" yet.

@Ansatz737 - thank you so much for your good words. But I agree, the beginning could be more energetic.

@Dear DameMyra - your comment is full of tact and it reflects a person with high musical taste and clarity in thinking and ear.
Also leaves a very positive feeling. I considered everything that you wrote on the forum.
So thank you very much!!

@Nikolas - Thank you for listening and commenting and also for your good words. So thank you.

P.S. You are right - there are some wrong notes in the performance (they bother my ears too).


About the purpose of the recording - just for the sake of learning and for myself and my blog and for posting on the web.
You never know why do you one moment could need the recording for. Although it is a great memory later and when I perform it in the future
it is a good start to listen to the recording that I once did before warming it up.
I can not say anything wiser here smile

@Schubertslieder - thank you for your nice words!

@carey - thank you for your attention smile
I am very thankful for all the feedback.

@Louis Podesta - yes, I listened to that also before learning the piece. A good representation of those times, probably.
Interesting and creates thoughts.

Thank you all very much!
I love pianoworld and these forums.

Best wishes,
Jaak

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#2122827 - 07/25/13 02:17 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Louis Podesta Online   content
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I am currently in the process of polishing up this piece, so I am very familiar with it.

One thing that needs to be brought out about the Ballades in general is there is very much a story telling aspect to them. Therefore, a mechanical strict tempo really doesn't work in my opinion, and that is what we have with this post, unfortunately.

The young man has an enormous amount of facility, but facility does not necessarily equate with musicality. Otherwise, every DMA or Performance Certificate graduate would be a great concert pianist, and that, as we know, is simply not the case.

So, instead of critiquing this or that section, I will leave you with a version recorded by a student of Emil Descombes, who was one of Chopin's teaching assistants. It has all of the character and charm that this great piece should have.

And, just like I have been telling you for some time now, it has arpeggiation and asynschronization, which is the way most people played Chopin in the 19th and early 20th century.

Also, Carl Friedberg, who studied this piece under Clara Schumann, and also Jorge Bolet, play the small octave run with two hands. If you don't pedal it, it is a piece of cake.

Enjoy the link. And, as a matter of fact, I would recommend that you study it judiciously.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb45wt8RXco

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#2122862 - 07/25/13 03:26 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Louis Podesta]
BruceD Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
[...]So, instead of critiquing this or that section, I will leave you with a version recorded by a student of Emil Descombes, who was one of Chopin's teaching assistants. It has all of the character and charm that this great piece should have.


Perhaps a constructive critique - if you would make the effort and condescend to offer one - would have more meaning by pinpointing areas that need work than a recording illustrating a style of playing that is no longer in vogue.

Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta

And, just like I have been telling you for some time now, it has arpeggiation and asynschronization, which is the way most people played Chopin in the 19th and early 20th century.
[...]


Is not the assumption - which your frequent posts on this subject seem to suggest - that the fashion in which one played Chopin in the 19th century is the only way to play Chopin today somewhat misguided? It is beginning to wear a little thin, in my opinion.
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#2123050 - 07/25/13 11:43 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: BruceD]
Cinnamonbear Online   content
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
And, just like I have been telling you for some time now, it has arpeggiation and asynschronization, which is the way most people played Chopin in the 19th and early 20th century.
[...]


Is not the assumption - which your frequent posts on this subject seem to suggest - that the fashion in which one played Chopin in the 19th century is the only way to play Chopin today somewhat misguided? It is beginning to wear a little thin, in my opinion.


Bruce, I almost hate to disagree with you on this one, if not for this: As a house painter by trade, I would say Louis is laying it on a bit too thick.
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#2123089 - 07/26/13 01:26 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
....It is beginning to wear a little thin, in my opinion.

Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
....As a house painter by trade, I would say Louis is laying it on a bit too thick.

Of course both are true. grin
They were already the case about 3 months ago.

Louis, I think you'd do better in terms of the dialogue as well as (may I suggest) smile for the furthering of your own undestandings if you would try to engage in more of a give-and-take than just saying "this is how you should do it."


P.S. to CB: If you're a house painter by trade, then by what are you the rest of what you are? smile

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#2123146 - 07/26/13 03:37 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Louis Podesta]
Jaak Offline
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Hi,

Loius, thank you for listening and also you suggestions.

In 19. century pianists and composers were very much mixed. Great pianists were often great composers and vice versa. Because of that it was very common that the text was strongly changed on stage and the momentum altered the score very much. The author of the text could change it with no remorse.

Probably, due to that even the so called pianist-pianists had a tendency to look at the text as something changeable. There are recordings of great pianists still from the beginning of 20. cent. where even the note text of Chopin is very much changed and this kind of action was still considered as "wonderful" and "natural". Altering the original score and changing the text was considered as a normal part of musicians ability. (I also consider ignoring the authentical dynamic marks etc. as changing the text.)

Now let me ask this: "If the common way in these times was changing the text, (basically as one wanted. Even Liszt's own students changed the text of Liszt) is playing exactly according to the score and trying to understand all the details that are in the score and expressing them, less Chopin than playing of those who "did whatever they wanted" with the score at these times?

I do not want to say that "I do not like that recording of Cortot" as I consider it something interesting and great as historical evidence and there are also things that one can learn. At the same time I have no desire to develop my playing skills towards the style or way of his playing and I gues if one listens to that recording he/she will probably understand why.

Best wishes,
Jaak

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#2123815 - 07/27/13 01:56 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
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For the record, one of Carey's piano teachers, the late Richard Cass, chose to get his License de Concert at the Paris Conservatory. And, one of his teachers was Cortot.

Did Richard Cass play like Cortot? No, he did not.

Tens of thousands of students came from all over the world to study Chopin with this man because of his direct links to the composer, and his overall exquisite musicianship.

So, it seems that we have a few interested parties here. Therefore, let us take a vote on the Cortot rendering of this Ballade.

Finally, my goal is not to convert anyone to any particular method of playing. However, the original historically accurate method of playing the piano was being taught at Juillard until 1946 by Stojowski and Friedberg, and at Curtis until the 1990's by Horszowski.

I find it unconscionable that a certain set of, in my opinion, pseudo-intellectual musicologists got it into their heads that there should be a Urtext method of piano pedagogy. It did not exist in the 19th century because it would have be fraud to do so then, and it is fraud to do so now.

My goal is, however, to expose the world's pianists and the public in general to the manner in which the piano was originally played. To date, every person I have showed this to, whether they had piano lessons or not, found this type of playing to be beautiful. They notice instantly how musical it is compared to the sterile note perfect playing they hear on their classical radio station.

Because, nine out of ten young piano students quit after a couple of year, and my gut tells me that when they hear what it was originally supposed to sound like, the arguments presented here for the modern school of playing will no longer matter.

So, haul up the Cortot version, and while you are at it play Abbey Simon's which is supposed to be one of the best. It doesn't even sound like the same piece, and that is the point!

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#2123859 - 07/27/13 04:10 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Louis Podesta]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
For the record, one of Carey's piano teachers, the late Richard Cass, chose to get his License de Concert at the Paris Conservatory. And, one of his teachers was Cortot. Did Richard Cass play like Cortot? No, he did not.


He most definitely did not. smile (I once heard Cass play all four of the Ballades in a recital. Marvelous !!)

Quote:
So, it seems that we have a few interested parties here. Therefore, let us take a vote on the Cortot rendering of this Ballade.


Personally, I found the Cortot interpretation of the Ballade rather intriguing.

Quote:
Finally, my goal is not to convert anyone to any particular method of playing...... My goal is, however, to expose the world's pianists and the public in general to the manner in which the piano was originally played.


I agree it is important for folks to be aware of how performance practices have, indeed, changed over the years. Keep fighting the good fight, Louis !! thumb



Edited by carey (07/27/13 04:11 PM)
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#2123896 - 07/27/13 05:52 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: carey]
Mark_C Offline
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Carey: Maybe help us out in trying to help him fight the fight better. smile

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#2123905 - 07/27/13 06:13 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Mark_C]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Carey: Maybe help us out in trying to help him fight the fight better. smile


I think y'all are doing a good job of that without my assistance. grin
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#2123911 - 07/27/13 06:32 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: carey]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: carey
I think y'all are doing a good job of that without my assistance. grin

Maybe, but with virtually no success. I think you could help. (You, he might believe.)

Call me naive, but I think we can help people do better. smile

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#2123919 - 07/27/13 06:54 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Mark_C]
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
[...] P.S. to CB: If you're a house painter by trade, then by what are you the rest of what you are? smile


Remember the character "Bert" in Mary Poppins? Somedays it's chimneys... Somedays it's chalk drawings... Somedays it's kites... It's like that. By which I mean to say, I have lots of interests and manage to cobble together a living doing them. But that is not who I am. wink

Now, as to laying it on a bit thick or thin, I am reminded of a story. A painter called Jock, (no relation to Jaak) was interested in making a penny where he could, so he often would thin down paint to make it go a wee bit further. As it happened, the local church decided to do a big restoration job. Because his price was so low, Jock got the job. And so he set up the scaffolding and the planks, bought the paint and, yes, I am sorry to say, thinned it down with turpentine.

The job was nearly completed when suddenly there was a horrendous clap of thunder, which knocked Jock off the scaffold. The sky opened, and the rain poured down, washing the thinned paint from the sides of the church.

Jock was no fool. Soaked by the rain, laying among the gravestones, surrounded by telltale puddles of thinned and useless paint, and glad to be alive, he knew this was a judgment from the Almighty. So he got on his knees and cried: "Oh, God! Forgive me! What should I do?"

And from the thunder, a mighty voice spoke...

"Repaint! Repaint! And thin no more!"

But I still think Louis is laying it on too thick. That is my professional opinion.

--Andy


Edited by Cinnamonbear (07/27/13 06:57 PM)
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#2123946 - 07/27/13 08:01 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Louis Podesta]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta

Finally, my goal is not to convert anyone to any particular method of playing......My goal is, however, to expose the world's pianists and the public in general to the manner in which the piano was originally played.


Mark - I'm taking the above comments in Louis' most recent post at face value. Yes, he is passionate about this subject and can come off a bit strong when making his case. Yes, some folks here are put off by his (perceived) inflexibility. Yes, he might be more persuasive if he were to use a different approach. But ultimately how Louis chooses to communicate is his decision - and I respect that. smile

I'm currently preparing to record Chopin's Nocturne Opus 62/2....a piece that I started working on years ago when studying with Richard Cass. I've decided to arpeggiate a handful of chords in the Nocturne because it seems appropriate to do so. Until recently I wouldn't have considered approaching the piece in this manner - but Louis' arguments have persuaded me to give it a try in this particular instance.





Edited by carey (07/27/13 08:05 PM)
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#2123971 - 07/27/13 09:32 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Cinnamonbear]
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Bert of Mary Poppins? Nice! Do you also sing when you work? smile

Speaking of singing, Happy Birthday to You!! I just noticed the cake next to your name.
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#2124034 - 07/28/13 12:06 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
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Much thanks to my friend from Arizona.

One thing he realizes, because like myself he has experienced it as a student firsthand, is that when you are on a music school faculty and your name is on your chair studio door, you can be as "thick" as you want to be and everyone has to bow down before you. That is why Carl Friedberg (Clara Schumann, J. Brahms) got fired from Juilliard and Miecyslaw Horszowski (Leschetizky)had to keep his mouth shut under Rudolph Serkin when he was at Curtis for over 40 years.

So, in that this discussion has gone on in another forum "Is the score sacred? Apparently not." since 7/12/13 for over 12 pages, I will show you that this argument is not restricted to the piano. It instead has to do with the entire "larger than life" mythology associated with modern classical music.

There is a man in New York named Joseph Horowitz that Dr. Mark C. is very familiar with who has spent most of his entire adult life attempting to school anyone who would listen that the classical symphony music of the last 80 or so years is nothing remotely close to the way it was originally composed and performed in the 19th century.

In no uncertain terms, I am a rank amateur when it comes to laying it on "thick," as compared to Joe Horowitz. Accordingly, I implore you to read and associate for yourself some additional logic associated with historical performance practice.

Thanks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Horowitz

http://www.josephhorowitz.com/content.asp?elemento_id=62

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#2124491 - 07/28/13 10:35 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: carey]
Cinnamonbear Online   content
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Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta

Finally, my goal is not to convert anyone to any particular method of playing......My goal is, however, to expose the world's pianists and the public in general to the manner in which the piano was originally played.


Mark - I'm taking the above comments in Louis' most recent post at face value. Yes, he is passionate about this subject and can come off a bit strong when making his case. Yes, some folks here are put off by his (perceived) inflexibility. Yes, he might be more persuasive if he were to use a different approach. But ultimately how Louis chooses to communicate is his decision - and I respect that. smile

I'm currently preparing to record Chopin's Nocturne Opus 62/2....a piece that I started working on years ago when studying with Richard Cass. I've decided to arpeggiate a handful of chords in the Nocturne because it seems appropriate to do so. Until recently I wouldn't have considered approaching the piece in this manner - but Louis' arguments have persuaded me to give it a try in this particular instance.





Phil, I seem to recall that, sometime in the last two years or so, you posted a recording of yours in which you rolled some of the chords without realizing that you were doing it. I don't remember right now which piece it was. Then, when it was pointed out to you, you did a new recording of it without rolling the chords. Do you remember that? I'm sure it wasn't a technical issue. I think you just quite naturally played it that way without giving it a second thought.

What I am saying by bringing up this recollection is that sometimes, we "own" music a certain way when we play, and an arpeggiation here or there can come quite naturally in the flow of things. I would argue that it is not something to make a big deal about.

--Andy

(ChopinAddict--thanks for the birthday wishes, and YES, I sing when I work ALL THE TIME! grin )
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#2124598 - 07/29/13 03:14 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Cinnamonbear]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Phil, I seem to recall that, sometime in the last two years or so, you posted a recording of yours in which you rolled some of the chords without realizing that you were doing it. I don't remember right now which piece it was. Then, when it was pointed out to you, you did a new recording of it without rolling the chords. Do you remember that? I'm sure it wasn't a technical issue. I think you just quite naturally played it that way without giving it a second thought.

Good memory Andy. It was the Brahms Rhapsody Opus 79/2. BruceD pointed out that I was doing this...[i.e., "In this section, I also hear some left hand before right hand, almost as if you were playing an arpeggiated chord in the bass on the first beat on each of measures 65 through 77 and again in measures 79 through 82. I don't find that effect particularly satisfying."] I responded that it was an unconscious "bad habit" that past teachers tried hard to cure me of - and that apparently I'd slipped back into doing it. I also agreed that it wasn't appropriate...and I recorded the piece again.
Quote:
What I am saying by bringing up this recollection is that sometimes, we "own" music a certain way when we play, and an arpeggiation here or there can come quite naturally in the flow of things. I would argue that it is not something to make a big deal about.

In the case of the Brahms, it was sloppiness on my part. I've made a conscious decision to add the arpeggiation in the Chopin Nocturne because I think it enhances the music and I now appreciate that there is historic justification for doing so.

BUT - in general I agree with your comment. grin

(Now back to the 3rd Ballade....)


Edited by carey (07/29/13 03:21 AM)
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#2124764 - 07/29/13 11:43 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
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Sorry, but what is this thing going on about rolling chords?

I mean, if Chopin had wanted us to roll some of the chords he would have just indicated it in the score, wouldn't he? Or his students' copies would have them so, and there would be editions referring to those copies. But to my limited knowledge I am not aware of such a thing. Are you?

Probably, since LP is in my ignore list, hence I don't see LP's posts, I am missing some of the conversation.

I would be delighted if someone else could shed a light on the subject.
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#2124776 - 07/29/13 11:52 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Hakki]
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Originally Posted By: Hakki
Sorry, but what is this thing going on about rolling chords?

I mean, if Chopin had wanted us to roll some of the chords he would have just indicated it in the score, wouldn't he? Or his students' copies would have them so, and there would be editions referring to those copies. But to my limited knowledge I am not aware of such a thing. Are you?

Probably, since LP is in my ignore list, hence I don't see LP's posts, I am missing some of the conversation.

I would be delighted if someone else could shed a light on the subject.


The only light I can shed for you is a rather dim one. It amounts to, as I read it, that LP believes, from recorded and written evidence (particularly that preached by one expert on performance practice), that all performers in the late 19th/early 20th centuries rolled chords ad libitum.

He further suggests that, because that was the way performers and composers of that era performed, that is the only way to play pieces from that era. Those of us who play solid chords (as written), are simply wrong in our approach.

I am unable to follow the logic of this argument, hence my very unenlightened observation, but if it helps ....

Regards,
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#2124782 - 07/29/13 12:05 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: BruceD]
Hakki Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD

I am unable to follow the logic of this argument, hence my very unenlightened observation, but if it helps ....



Thanks Bruce. It sure helps.

No surprise that I didn't get what was going on, because it seems, it was just an insane claim on LP's part.
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#2124809 - 07/29/13 12:55 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: BruceD]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: BruceD

The only light I can shed for you is a rather dim one. It amounts to, as I read it, that LP believes, from recorded and written evidence (particularly that preached by one expert on performance practice), that all performers in the late 19th/early 20th centuries rolled chords ad libitum.

He further suggests that, because that was the way performers and composers of that era performed, that is the only way to play pieces from that era. Those of us who play solid chords (as written), are simply wrong in our approach.

I am unable to follow the logic of this argument, hence my very unenlightened observation, but if it helps ....


Bruce - Hakki -

I believe the expert that LP has referred to in the past is Neal Peres da Costa. Here's a synopsis of his recent book, "Off the Record." Personally, I find this subject very interesting. What we choose (or don't choose) to do with the information is another thing.

http://www.oup.com/us/companion.websites/9780195386912/book/



Edited by carey (07/29/13 01:00 PM)
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#2124843 - 07/29/13 01:55 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: carey]
Hakki Offline
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Originally Posted By: carey
Bruce - Hakki -

I believe the expert that LP has referred to in the past is Neal Peres da Costa. Here's a synopsis of his recent book, "Off the Record." Personally, I find this subject very interesting. What we choose (or don't choose) to do with the information is another thing.

http://www.oup.com/us/companion.websites/9780195386912/book/



But this is something very different.

Of course any pianist can play a certain piece in a certain manner he likes. And as with Elvis' sideburns, it can be adopted by other admirers for some period of time. Fashion, in other words. But fashion chances with time.

I am bounded by what Chopin has put on the score. He was as intellectual and wise man as it gets to know how to write his scores if he would have wanted. Everything else is pure speculation on Chopin.

Other evidences are all about a particular way of playing once was fashionable. So was Elvis sideburns. But it does not mean that all men must have Elvis sideburns now.
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#2124887 - 07/29/13 03:59 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Hakki]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Hakki
I am bounded by what Chopin has put on the score. He was as intellectual and wise man as it gets to know how to write his scores if he would have wanted.

Absolutely !!
Quote:
Everything else is pure speculation on Chopin. Other evidences are all about a particular way of playing once was fashionable.

True - but a particular way of playing that was fashionable during Chopin's lifetime....so it's feasible that Chopin might have understood that "liberties would be taken" by various performers. And speaking of speculation, is it possible that Chopin might have taken similar liberties when interpreting the works of other composers? grin



Edited by carey (07/29/13 04:01 PM)
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#2124896 - 07/29/13 04:18 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: carey]
Hakki Offline
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Originally Posted By: carey
True - but a particular way of playing that was fashionable during Chopin's lifetime....so it's feasible that Chopin might have understood that "liberties would be taken" by various performers. And speaking of speculation, is it possible that Chopin might have taken similar liberties when interpreting the works of other composers? grin



Yes, but, neither of us are Chopin, Brahms or Saint-Saëns are we?

I realize that there was a period when it was the "performer" rather than the "composer" who gathered crowds to the saloons. Where they would take all kinds of liberties and even improvise.

But, here, we, no name pianists, are not one of those pianists that have that kind of liberty.

I will better stick to the score.

Edit: But here I am taking all the liberties I wish. grin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew4x2ZRV3dg


Edited by Hakki (07/29/13 04:42 PM)
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#2124905 - 07/29/13 04:40 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
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This business of what is written and what is not written sure is getting a run on various threads here. If you have done your homework for a particular composer, you will many things that are expected to played that are not written in the score because it was a current convention. These things are not liberties, they are required. The fact they aren't in the score does not absolve you of not playing them.

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#2124911 - 07/29/13 04:55 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Hakki]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Hakki

Edit: But here I am taking all the liberties I wish. grin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew4x2ZRV3dg


Absolutely brilliant rendition !! The composer would be proud !!
grin
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#2124912 - 07/29/13 05:00 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Hakki]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Hakki
Yes, but, neither of us are Chopin, Brahms or Saint-Saëns are we?


No, doggone it !!!

Quote:
I realize that there was a period when it was the "performer" rather than the "composer" who gathered crowds to the saloons. Where they would take all kinds of liberties and even improvise.

But, here, we, no name pianists, are not one of those pianists that have that kind of liberty.

I will better stick to the score.


If by adhering to that philosophy you successfully produce amazing performances such as the one you shared with us a few months ago of the Chopin Nocturne Opus 62/1 - then I say "go for it and don't look back!" thumb



Edited by carey (07/29/13 05:01 PM)
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#2124928 - 07/29/13 05:33 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Mwm]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Mwm
This business of what is written and what is not written sure is getting a run on various threads here. If you have done your homework for a particular composer, you will many things that are expected to played that are not written in the score because it was a current convention. These things are not liberties, they are required. The fact they aren't in the score does not absolve you of not playing them.


The challenge comes in being able to distinguish between valid "conventions" and the not so valid "liberties." And the challenge becomes even greater when the information about the conventions is "anecdotal" rather than "first-hand." Too bad the phonograph wasn't invented 100 years earlier.
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#2125237 - 07/30/13 10:35 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
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A lot has been said about what Chopin wrote. There isn't a single human being alive who knows what Chopin wrote.

When Debussy was hired by his publisher to edit a version of the Chopin Etudes, he had to quit the project. He stated that he discovered three different editions of the collected works. His response was there could only be one correct edition, and there was no way to determine which one was that true score.

As I have stated before, Kenneth Hamilton says conclusively in his book "After The Golden Age (also a must read) that if someone wanted to know how to play a particular composer's work they would travel to a city where he lived or they would study under one of his teaching assistants. That is why people came from all over the world to study under Czerny (Beethoven, Hummel) or Leschetizky (Czerny) or Liszt (Czerny) or Cortot or Carreno, who were students of Chopin teaching assistants.

So, these people (Leschetizky, Cortot, Carreno) all made recordings which differ drastically from today's block chord/strict tempo playing.

Finally, everyone seems to think that myself and Dr. Peres Da Costa are talking about throwing caution to the wind and playing whatever you want however you want to. WE ARE NOT!!

What we are saying is that there is overwhelming recorded evidence to show that those who originally played this music utilized arpeggiation, asynchronization, and tempo modification. Did they learn the notes from a score? Of course, they did.

But, as referred to in Carl Frieberg's biography, once the basic notes, rhythm and dynamics were mastered, then the work began on making the music that the composer intended.

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#2125250 - 07/30/13 11:03 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
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There are many people who know what Chopin wrote, but there are those who insist that Chopin could only have written his pieces out only once in one version, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
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#2125311 - 07/30/13 01:02 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: carey]
Cinnamonbear Online   content
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Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: Mwm
This business of what is written and what is not written sure is getting a run on various threads here. If you have done your homework for a particular composer, you will many things that are expected to played that are not written in the score because it was a current convention. These things are not liberties, they are required. The fact they aren't in the score does not absolve you of not playing them.


The challenge comes in being able to distinguish between valid "conventions" and the not so valid "liberties." And the challenge becomes even greater when the information about the conventions is "anecdotal" rather than "first-hand." Too bad the phonograph wasn't invented 100 years earlier.



I am beginning to understand why my Dad, who had a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College and was a very good pianist and an excellent organist, always encouraged me to "play it any way you like!" grin
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#2125375 - 07/30/13 03:34 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Louis Podesta Online   content
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Quote:
Cinnamonbear
I am beginning to understand why my Dad, who had a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College and was a very good pianist and an excellent organist, always encouraged me to "play it any way you like!"


I would add what my late teacher taught me which was to play with you own voice, as long as it makes logical sense.

Toradze slows down, speeds up, and then beats the piano to death. That is not musical individuality: it is just weird for weirdness sake.

Paderewski starting the A Flat Major Ballade off at a crawl and then off the races at the end was not logical: it was just plain stupid.

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#2125391 - 07/30/13 04:05 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Louis Podesta]
Cinnamonbear Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
Quote:
Cinnamonbear
I am beginning to understand why my Dad, who had a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College and was a very good pianist and an excellent organist, always encouraged me to "play it any way you like!"


I would add what my late teacher taught me which was to play with you own voice, as long as it makes logical sense.
[...]


Exactly, Louis. I think that's what my dad was getting at. He said "play it any way you like" when I was starting to work on a new piece, and I said, "I don't know how it goes." He was trusting that in not telling me "how it goes," by wrestling with the reading of it, I'd find out not only "how it goes," but also whether or not the piece had meaning for me, and if it did, how to play it using my own voice.
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#2125476 - 07/30/13 06:31 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Louis Podesta]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
....Paderewski starting the A Flat Major Ballade off at a crawl and then off the races at the end was not logical: it was just plain stupid.

Louis, you don't seem interested in taking any advice from us, but sometimes I can't help giving you a little. grin

It would be good for you to realize that when you say something like this, Paderewski isn't the one that you're making seem stupid. Try to consider more closely what things you try to judge.

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#2126338 - 08/01/13 10:42 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Louis Podesta Online   content
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Well, I list the link so those who care can listen for themselves. He plays a slow andante for the better part of 5 minutes 30 seconds, and then he suddenly shifts into overdrive.

On second thought, I take back the word stupid because he knew exactly what he was doing which was hamming it up for his audience with a big flashy finish. It wasn't right, by his own admission, when Horowitz did it, and it is not acceptable for any other pianist to do it (Toradze!).

It is one thing to be rhapsodic like Cortot, but it is entirely different matter to play a certain way just for the effect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma1t7bTI-uQ

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#2126384 - 08/01/13 12:16 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Pogorelich. Offline
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Haha, all hail Podesta. There is no other better, cleverer pianist out there! He is the one and only god! Everyone else is a moron and stupid, clearly.
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#2126685 - 08/01/13 11:35 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Polyphonist Offline
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In this instance I do agree with Louis about Paderewski's performance; it doesn't make artistic sense. And it's not Chopin.
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#2126708 - 08/02/13 12:24 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Polyphonist]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
In this instance I do agree with Louis about Paderewski's performance; it doesn't make artistic sense. And it's not Chopin.

OK, you made me break down and actually take a listen to it. grin

I assume you're talking about this recording:



(I came across one other but it doesn't fit how you're describing it.)

And -- I see what you and Louis mean, but I couldn't disagree more.

Sure, it's unusual, especially to modern ears. But I find it very interesting and even captivating. It's from an earlier style of playing, but I love that earlier style, and to me, this is a very well-done example of it. Sure, very 'personal' -- but I love that too. I wish more modern playing were so personal and so unusual -- provided that it's well done.

And to boot, something else to keep in mind, which makes this somewhat of an unfair representation of how Paderewski actually played, almost certainly less beautiful and less convincing: Something that Paderewski focused on greatly, perhaps above all else, was 'sound' and 'tone.' We could say the same about many if not most of the other noted pianists of that era -- but big-time about some of them, Paderewski being one. That meant highly sensitive and infinitely nuanced attention to volume of each note, balance among them, shaping of phrases, and pedaling. But this is from a piano roll. Piano roll recordings can't ever be taken as more than a very approximate representation of the music of someone like Paderewski. When you take how a pianist struck the keys and depressed the pedals on one piano, and transfer that to another piano -- any other piano -- you're undoing some of what he did, and when you do it with someone like Paderewski, you're undoing a lot of what he did. And it's not a matter of how 'good' a piano is; like, you can't reject this point by trying to say "but this was a real good piano that they did it on." The point is, the piano is different; also the room is different. He would never have struck the keys or depressed the pedals in exactly the same way on different pianos or indifferent spaces.

I realize that you and Louis are talking more about the basic interpretation, the basic concept, than about sound. But with someone like Paderewski, when you take away the sound that he was working with, you probably take away a lot of what might have made his concept "work." I mean, it still works very well for me, even in this rendition, probably in large part because I love that style of playing and automatically sort of 'adjust' the sound in my mind to something that works better. But the fact is that piano roll recordings in general aren't great representations of what someone like Paderewski was doing; they're sort of like telling a good joke that depends on a certain kind of timing or intonation, but without the right timing or intonation. You'd think it's just an awful joke, or no joke at all.

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#2126712 - 08/02/13 12:32 AM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Polyphonist]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
In this instance I do agree with Louis about Paderewski's performance; it doesn't make artistic sense. And it's not Chopin.


A fallacious statement if there ever was one.

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#2126948 - 08/02/13 01:23 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Louis Podesta Online   content
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There is no one here who champions the original style of playing more than I have. And, I have subjected myself to immense ridicule, accordingly.

However, there is a big difference between the original vinyl transfers made in the early 1960's, like this Paderewski recording, and the Kenneth Caswell digital stereo transfers of this century.

But, in that the andante tempo lasts for over five minutes, it makes no musical sense to then speed it up at the end. And, it is not the piano roll's fault, either.

If you listen to this Paderewski recording of a completely different piece, you will notice a fairly even tempo throughout. The reason for that is he performed this piece in recital with the composer in the audience, who loved his rendition.

I absolutely love Paderewski's live on film performance of the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody, which is very well balanced throughout. But, what we are talking about here is the Ballade.

Enjoy the new link. The composer actually commented that he found Paderewski's playing to "pearly and refined." That should speak volumes about how the composer actually played himself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c_yZPIqoz0

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#2126950 - 08/02/13 01:26 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Louis Podesta]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
It makes no sense only within a particular view of the piece or the style. It makes sense within other views.

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#2127002 - 08/02/13 03:44 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Louis Podesta Online   content
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Dr. Mark C:

If you got up for your jury, at any accredited music school in the nation, and played it like this, you would be given a grade of C and disqualified as a piano major. And, you know it!

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#2127095 - 08/02/13 07:12 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Louis Podesta]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Louis Podesta
If you got up for your jury, at any accredited music school in the nation, and played it like this, you would be given a grade of C and disqualified as a piano major. And, you know it!

I agree!

But this has nothing to do with what we were talking about.

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#2127681 - 08/03/13 09:24 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
D. S. F. Offline
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Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 142
Though I'm way behind in this thread, I listened to the recording and enjoyed it, especially some of the different focus on voicing. I feel I should mention, listening between this and the Eller, that I prefer the sound the Zoom gets with the piano in the small hall to all that fancy studio stuff. It's a much more natural picture.
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#2128024 - 08/04/13 04:45 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: D. S. F.]
Jaak Offline
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Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Tallinn, Estonia
Thank you for your kind words D.F.S!

About the "conversation and dialogue" here about Cortot and the performances of nowadays, I would like to add my opinion if anyone is interested of my modest one at all..


I think that in the time of Chopin it was a lot more about performer than composer.

I write it here despite the fact that I do not like fiery and arguing-like debates where somebody takes a side that is very stiff and feels as somebody who knows the truth and needs to deliver that to others. So I usually do not like to say that "I prove you this and that" and far-more I do not like proving others as wrong unless being an extreme situation. In a way art is about different opinions, isn't it? Would there be art without contradiction?

But some ideas.

1) In the time of Chopin many composers were also great performers. So they felt free with text and changed the text and dynamics if they wanted etc.

2) The same attitude was among pianists. It is quite easy to find pieces of Chopin performed by top pianists from the beginning of 20th cent. who changed the text a lot and it was publicly welcomed.

3) In the field of opera it was even more so - almost nobody knew the composers of opera but it was all about performers (it was almost like the cult of great singers-actors). Maybe I overexaggerate a bit but for sure it was out of balance into that direction when compared how is it today.

---

When I listen to recordings of Cortot I can still sense a similar attitude. I am quite sure that none of his performances were alike - I guess they were all very different and I tend to believe that they were different not because he worked deeply with the piece and found a new kind of musical vision that was detailed, but I believe that he just "felt free" on stage and played it a lot how it "came on stage". This is also very much because it was more about the performer not so much about the composer. Why I dare to say that is because I guess his performances do not seem to be very polished and finished and I sense a lot of room for chaos. Still the musical idea comes clearly out in a "fog of something" and is quite crazy and interesting.

I can hear so much rushing in his playing and notice so many notes that are not listened out clearly that it creates a feeling of being very much improvisational with dynamics. I do not say that it is bad but I think it is a matter of aestethics of that time.

A big changer was Bartok and his simple and very natural style of teaching and playing without any "sugarcoating" or the attitude where the pianist was in "power position" on stage. It was more about music itself (composer) and putting the essence of music into the first place instead of admiring himself or herself on stage.

What is different because of putting the composer into the first place?

I think that if the composer is in the first place the deep core and musical idea the composer has put into the notes is "the holy grail". Of course you can not play it as the composer did, but still we have the urtext note that is exactly what composer wrote down. Chopin's scores are very considered and he worked deeply with them. So all the intentions he had seem to be there. The task of the interpreter is to be truthful with the author's idea and ressurect it and bring it alive.

But instead of imporvising and "demonstrating" himself/herself on stage the interpret can work deeply with the musical ideas (phrases, motives, sentences etc). And if the vision is once mentally formed in ones mind exactly according to the score, it is possible to not only bring it alive but polish it up to a very high level.

When to compare the kind of improvised and momentum-emotional performance with prepared and deeply polished performance - there is a very big difference. When you work with the same musical material for a long time and consider and sense it throguh you can be a lot more exact and detailed and also musically more logical when performing it once compared to "improvisationally emotional performance".

It is logical that when "just playing" on stage how "one feels" the execution on stage can not be that precise compared to a prepared one. And I think here is a very big difference due to a difference of aesthetics.

Also just saying that "play it with rolled chords and a-syncronisation" - for me it is too general. It is almost like saying: "Play it like they played it in these days."

I think that after being composed every piece starts to live its own life and starts to develop. All these years of research and collecting different materials by thousands of people in about 150 years is worth very much. It is our culture.

Even if the pieces were played freely and loosely emotionally a while ago, I see no reason why to turn back time. When the composers art on score is in the middle of making music maybe only then we can bring out the real essence of the composers heart and mind as truly as possible despite it is never fully possible.

Best wishes,
Jaak


Edited by Jaak (08/04/13 04:50 PM)

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#2128464 - 08/05/13 12:24 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Louis Podesta Online   content
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Registered: 02/05/13
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Jaak:

Thank you very much for making my argument. I could not have said it better.

However, you left out one important thing and that is the performers of latter 19th and early 20th centuries were just like the rock stars of today. They were worshiped by their audiences, which were enormous in number.

The most popular pianist alive today is a Greek named Yanni who can't even read music. And, given the opportunity to play classical repertoire the way it was originally played, the average concert pianist of today would enjoy the same stature.

Music is melody, harmony and rhythm, and when you put that into some straight jacket, you kill it just like the modern classical pianists of today are rapidly doing so.

Cortot studied your piece under Emile Descombes who learned it from Fred Chopin. The compositional style he used was centered around the tune/melody, and not some note perfect exercise.

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#2128649 - 08/05/13 08:26 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Pogorelich. Offline
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I guess pianists like Cliburn have killed music. Oh how terrible they are. Rachmaninov too. Yuck!
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#2133860 - 08/16/13 01:38 PM Re: Chopin Ballade 3 A-flat major [Re: Jaak]
Pathbreaker Offline
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Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1082
Loc: Massachusetts
Jaak,

Thank you for sharing your recording, I thought it was an outstanding performance. I'm currently studying this piece and make some different interpretive decisions but I very much enjoyed your interpretation.

I really like your treatment of the ornaments and grace notes, there was a natural quality that really flowed in most cases.

Your transitions seem to generally be smooth between sections and I don't see a need to increasing/decreasing tempo. I do agree that the coda could be a bit more convincing or "triumphant" as someone else put it. I say this as I have the coda nowhere near up to tempo myself!

In general I like the Jorge Bolet rendition which is taken at a much slower tempo than most. The slower tempo is not the primary reason I like it, I equally enjoy Pollini and Zimmerman which are much faster. I'm curious what others think of this since many are looking for a fairly rapid pace. Am I reading that right?

Thanks again for sharing. I will hopefully put up my version in a month or so now that I have it fully memorized. I don't expect it to be as refined as yours. Great job!

EDIT: I should add that I listened to the Paderewski and thought it was pretty great. Don't care for the Cortot version due to the lack of balance or "logic" between some of the varying tempos. For example, the runs in the middle of the piece are done so fast that it makes it impossible for the ending coda to be relatively faster. In this way I think the improvisational nature of the performance gets in the way of a broader architecture. Also on the second page of the piece the tempo speeds up abruptly and illogically. Just my opinion!
The Paderewski on the other hand was quite beautiful and the increased tempo later in the piece is not in poor taste.


Edited by tbuscuit (08/16/13 01:42 PM)

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