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#2118261 - 07/15/13 10:00 PM Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1173
I'm bringing back Beethoven Op. 31 no. 2, and would like some feedback on it. Aside from the memory slips/wrong notes/hesitations that I'll be fixing, what else is lacking? I'm feeling like it's all kind of "blah" right now, and lacking direction. I've got a lesson on probably mvt 2 & 3 tomorrow that I'm hoping to fix a few things for.

Movement 1
Movement 2
Movement 3

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#2118273 - 07/15/13 10:36 PM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Arghhh]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
I listened to the 3rd movement because I was interested in one particular thing about it. It's something we've discussed on here a number of times, and it's a pretty famous thing that many people (arguably) don't do right, including almost all amateurs. I'm always very curious to see what someone does with it.

And you got it! thumb

It's about the basic rhythm of the movement. A little hard to describe, and we've had fights on here over and above any real disagreements, just because of the difficulty in expressing what we've talking about.

The movement is in 3/8 time, which means there are 3 beats per measure. * But, because of how the hands 'come together' on the 2nd half of the 2nd beat, it's easy for that to sound like a "beat" -- which will sound like 2 beats per measure, 3 notes per beat. Most people need to give this special attention to avoid having that happen. I don't know if you did or not, but whatever, IMO you succeeded wonderfully.

* The main problem about trying to express this is that we might more correctly want to say that there's just 1 beat per measure, not 2 or 3. But even if so, there are sort of 'sub-distinctions' within the measure, and so there's still the issue of how we're dividing it up in our mind (however subtly) and how it's coming out. And the problem is that many performances make it sound like there's a 'bump' on that 2nd half of the 2nd beat, making it sound like 2 groups of 3 notes. It's not that we really want it to sound like 3 beats per measure either, except perhaps very subtly, but to avoid having it sound like 2. Perhaps at its best, it's a bit of a hybrid, but with some slight impression of 3 beats and in any event without any cloddish 'bump' to make it sound like 2 -- and you're doing that terrifically.

How to do it, and how it is that you succeed: Besides just avoiding the 'bump,' probably a key thing is going nicely 'up to' the high note in each of those first few measures of the theme, i.e. the 5th note of each measure, the 3rd beat -- giving it a nice little emphasis.

That said grin .....as you know, there's a lot wrong with it. But you're doing this very hard thing very well, and there are other very nice aspects too, including a good dynamic range and some very nice dynamic contrasts. And, you've got a very good tempo. Good work, keep it up!

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#2118277 - 07/15/13 10:46 PM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Arghhh]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1173
Thanks MarkC - I have been focusing most on making it a 3/8 piece and not a 2/x piece. If "there's a lot wrong with it", what is the most important thing in your opinion that is wrong?

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#2118280 - 07/15/13 10:52 PM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Arghhh]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
....what is the most important thing in your opinion that is wrong?

Just the thing that you yourself know: You haven't finished learning it. grin

Besides that: There are places where you seem just to be playing figures without really 'going anywhere,' as though it were an exercise. Judging from the nice things you do elsewhere in it, I'm guessing you'll pretty much automatically be taking care of those places as you learn the piece more fully.

BTW see the edit of the above post -- I added a little paragraph (the next to last one).

Quote:
....I have been focusing most on making it a 3/8 piece and not a 2/x piece.....

How did you know about needing to do that? It seems that by far most people don't.

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#2118290 - 07/15/13 11:23 PM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Mark_C]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1173
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
How did you know about needing to do that? It seems that by far most people don't.


I'm a stickler for detail. My teacher has been telling me I pay too much attention to the details though, and lose the music!

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#2118305 - 07/16/13 12:10 AM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Mark_C]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18288
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
[...]
Quote:
....I have been focusing most on making it a 3/8 piece and not a 2/x piece.....

How did you know about needing to do that? It seems that by far most people don't.


You're saying, then, that "by far most people" who attempt this movement can't read music?
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2118344 - 07/16/13 01:44 AM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Arghhh]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6082
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Mark: I guess a good solution to that is to put a little emphasis on the the D before the F in the left hand, and back off on that F? And in the right hand, the high F after the first A? Of course, subtly, not sticking out like a sore thumb... When I read through the movement and looked at how to solve that issue, it seemed like that worked for me.

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#2118421 - 07/16/13 07:28 AM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
[...]
Quote:
....I have been focusing most on making it a 3/8 piece and not a 2/x piece.....

How did you know about needing to do that? It seems that by far most people don't.

You're saying, then, that "by far most people" who attempt this movement can't read music?

As I explained, the 'path of least resistance' results in a "bump" that most people don't realize is happening. They're thinking the piece in "3 beats" but it's not what's coming out. If you're not hearing the problem and if you've never been made aware of this issue, merely knowing the time signature won't do it for you.

Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Mark: I guess a good solution to that is to put a little emphasis on the the D before the F in the left hand, and back off on that F? And in the right hand, the high F after the first A? Of course, subtly, not sticking out like a sore thumb... When I read through the movement and looked at how to solve that issue, it seemed like that worked for me.

Yes -- in addition to making sure not to play too loud on that note where the hands come together. But it's all very hard, including because of the "subtly" (as you said). 'Judgment' and 'ear' are involved big-time. I was majorly struck by how well Arghh did it.

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#2118628 - 07/16/13 04:41 PM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Arghhh]
Vid Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 884
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Mark is right here. I've been guilty of playing this heavy with the thumbs and you lose necessary rhythmic pulse of the movement when that happens.

Its only until recently that I've worked this out myself and corrected it. Makes a world of difference.
_________________________
Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D

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#2118833 - 07/16/13 11:05 PM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Arghhh]
Opus 1 Music Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 81
I also recently performed this piece for a recital as part of my DMA program. I had a few little memory things, but nothing major, but I think what helped me is in the first movement - figure out where you want the overall direction to go toward. Where is the climax of the first movement. Try to find connections between the tempi throughout, don't let it suddenly fluctuate without a marking. The second movement I haven't had time to listen to your recording yet, and the third movement, try playing in all blocked chords and shape the harmonic direction. There is really a hierarchy among the chords, and you can almost thing longer ideas, in four bar segments in terms of how you want to shape it. Be free and loose and let it dance. Also, its hard to hear from the recording but are you doing the syncopation that Beethoven writes in the lh where the first note isn't held, but the second is? It is such a great piece and I'm glad to have heard you. It is always fun to revisit it!
_________________________
Justin NCTM

Working on:
Solo program
Grieg Sonata in e minor; Bartok Romanian Dances; Beethoven Sonata in A-flat, Op. 110; Mozart Concerto in d minor, K. 466

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#2118848 - 07/16/13 11:29 PM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1173
Originally Posted By: Opus 1 Music
but I think what helped me is in the first movement - figure out where you want the overall direction to go toward. Where is the climax of the first movement.
Try to find connections between the tempi throughout, don't let it suddenly fluctuate without a marking.

I was actually surprised when listening how much my tempo fluctuated. My teacher wanted me to play in a tempo slower than I'm used to, so that was part of it as I was never quite decided on which tempo I wanted to use.

However, I was really surprised when listening to recordings by Barenboim and Wilhelm Kempff how much their tempo fluctuated between the different sections of this movement. I use the tap function at a.bestmetronome.com to track the tempi.


I had a lesson on the second movement today. We worked on getting more direction in the phrases - it should help since before I wasn't even thinking in terms of phrases, but just disjunct ideas.


Originally Posted By: Opus 1 Music
the third movement, try playing in all blocked chords and shape the harmonic direction. There is really a hierarchy among the chords, and you can almost thing longer ideas, in four bar segments in terms of how you want to shape it. Be free and loose and let it dance. Also, its hard to hear from the recording but are you doing the syncopation that Beethoven writes in the lh where the first note isn't held, but the second is? It is such a great piece and I'm glad to have heard you. It is always fun to revisit it!

Third movement - I will take your suggestion to play it as chords. I have a feeling it will also help make more sense of the many cresc./decres. markings that I've been inconsistent on up to this point.
I am intending to do the "syncopations". At least I'm holding the second note as indicated, but I don't think it's always coming out as sounding like those two notes are connected. I put syncopations in "" because I wasn't sure what you meant. I don't think you mean the second note should be emphasized???

Thanks for listening and commenting!

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#2118849 - 07/16/13 11:35 PM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Arghhh]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
....I put syncopations in "" because I wasn't sure what you meant. I don't think you mean the second note should be emphasized???....

I'm pretty sure he did. Not hugely emphasized, but yes, emphasized -- and I agree. I didn't mention it but I do think that's what Beethoven meant. I don't see any meaning for how those notes are notated unless they are emphasized.

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#2118864 - 07/17/13 12:18 AM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Arghhh]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1173
Well then I'm going to be emphasizing the & of beat 1 in addition to keeping the 3 beats in a measure? Seems like a lot of emphasizing!

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#2118878 - 07/17/13 01:36 AM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Arghhh]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Well then I'm going to be emphasizing the & of beat 1 in addition to keeping the 3 beats in a measure? Seems like a lot of emphasizing!

Darn right it is (even if you're being a little sarcastic) grin -- and it's all part of why this is so hard, including how strong each emphasis is and how you do them. A real challenge on several levels. But I think you're already taking care of the hardest and most important part.

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#2119133 - 07/17/13 03:11 PM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: Arghhh]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18288
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Well then I'm going to be emphasizing the & of beat 1 in addition to keeping the 3 beats in a measure? Seems like a lot of emphasizing!


I don't think that the "& of beat 1" needs any particularly conscious emphasis. If, indeed, the first LH note is played staccato (although not so scored in the Henle Urtext, nor in the Schirmer/Bulow, nor in the Schnabel), then the break between it and the held note on the "&" is sufficient (IMNSHO) to give the "&" the (ever-so-) slight emphasis it needs.

I feel sometimes that the final sixteenth note of each measure gets lost or somehow almost disappears. Yours is a faster tempo than many I've heard (Bulow = 80 to the dotted quarter; Schnabel suggests 69!). That said, I like your tempo as long as no notes are lost in the process. And since you play this much better than I probably ever would, who am I to offer criticism?

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2119185 - 07/17/13 04:56 PM Re: Beethoven Tempest - rough, need comments [Re: BruceD]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1173
BruceD:
I wasn't thinking of the first LH note to be staccato, but rather the opposite so that I can hear the two lines in the bass (kind of like the three layers in Gretchen am Spinnrade).

I have no issue with you giving comments - I think you have a good ear and just because you say you can't play it doesn't invalidate what you hear.


Edited by Arghhh (07/17/13 04:59 PM)

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