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#2154569 - 09/20/13 03:46 PM Love to hear some feedback on my Moonlight Sonata First Mvmt
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 199
I've been playing for three years now as an adult and would like to get some feedback on the first movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. I have a recital coming up in 2 weeks and am trying to get it as good as I can. Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Link to Recording

(Note that I recorded this on a Zoom H2N recorder positioned on a tripod at the curve of the piano about 8" above the rim. It is a grand piano with the lid up.)

Thanks!

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#2154587 - 09/20/13 04:05 PM Re: Love to hear some feedback on my Moonlight Sonata First Mvmt [Re: dcb]
FSO Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/12
Posts: 854
Loc: UK, Brighton
Um...I..maybe it's personal preference, but I keep the octave (e.g. 0.51) when playing melody, you omit it...also, um, I'm not so sure the broken ninth works (gosh, I feel so informed laugh )...I'm assuming your hand isn't large enough to do it? Otherwise...yeesh, I don't know, it's kind of sketchy...I...I recommend getting that gap as *smooth* as possible (not necessarily as quick as possible {though if you could do it *that* quickly that would be great...and you'd already be a great pianist laugh }, mind, but so that it flows...*so* much of this piece relies on that elusive bastar...vagabond "flow") , I mean, um, throughout there were drastic dynamic changes...I...it should...sorry, *I* think it should flow a lot more smoothly, evenly, um...you can have great dynamic variation with this piece, great tempo variance also (though some will swear bloody murder if you do), but your drastic shifts need either to serve more function, be more...I don't know, insightful, or they need to be smoother...in my opinion. Um...I'm sure your recital will go well; don't get me wrong, you're not doing *bad*, not by a long shot, but if you want just compliments and adulation...well, I'm sure you'll get them *at* the recital laugh Just...for a safe, enjoyed interpretation...people like what you're going for, all I'd recommend is that you practice as often as possible...I mean, work on those sections (e.g. 2.15 ...it...it *can* shift that dramatically, but it *needs* to carry with it that ambiguous, tenacious, slightly lost yearning) I indicated and just....get the feeling out there...I mean, um, it sounds....well, it sounds like grade A rubbish, but I recommend *feeling* the piece to be more important than practicing it so much; practice, of course, but feel also...let the narrative engulf you as you play, perhaps it will remind you of some point in your past, or present, or will make you think of Beethoven, wondering about what he felt, trying to hear the soul behind the piece, not just in front of it...um...I mean, it's really stereotypical, but this piece almost beyond any other begs emotion above technicality...and plenty here will tell you good technique is what creates emotion...I beg you to, if not ignore it, at least consider that how you feel might affect how you play and, strange as it is, what you feel will be the sound you create...just a bit; the frosting on the cake...um...not that the rest of the cake isn't important, but it's the delicacy that people most enjoy...usually...I don't know....I''ll shut up now laugh Good job; make it evener, practice, have fun, feel, you'll do great.
Much love,
Xxx
_________________________
Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3

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#2154590 - 09/20/13 04:16 PM Re: Love to hear some feedback on my Moonlight Sonata First Mvmt [Re: dcb]
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 199
Thanks for listening to it and giving me the feedback. You are right my hand is not quite big enough for the 9th. It's interesting your comment about the octaves with the melody. I'm trying very hard to bring out the melody. I feel like I'm playing the bottom note in the octave but just very softly. I may, indeed, be omitting the bottom note without even being aware.

I'll take the grade A rubbish feedback as a complement. I'm a beginner and this is the best piece I've every played so I think I must be getting better. My previous work, in my mind, has been much worse...maybe grade C-D rubbish. smile

I'll keep practicing. Thanks.

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#2154600 - 09/20/13 04:35 PM Re: Love to hear some feedback on my Moonlight Sonata First Mvmt [Re: dcb]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18031
Loc: Victoria, BC
There is some quite nice playing here.

Overall, I would like to hear a greater variety in the dynamics of your interpretation. This is no small challenge in this movement, because Beethoven asks that this movement remain sempre pp throughout. Nevertheless, it still needs some dynamic variation - although "shading" may be the better word - something I'm not hearing enough of in your playing.

Be careful that in measure 32 - and in all similar measures - that you keep the beat on the first note of the triplet; sometimes I hear a very slight accent on the 2nd, 4th, 6th, notes, etc., etc., rather than on the beat; that is: each upper note before the drop of the 3rd (or 4th, as the case may be) occasionally seems to get the accent. The result is that the four-beat rhythm is slightly lost.

Overall, I think that the underlying accompaniment has to sound a little more subdued, not quite as "notey" as it does. Remember, that in the original score and with his own piano, Beethoven wanted the dampers lifted all the way through this movement. That is something that most of us would not attempt to do on a modern piano because of the total blurred wash of sound it would create, but the suggestion is that this accompaniment needs to be much more in the background, and while not quite in a Debussyesque haze, the individual notes of the accompaniment should "blend" a little more than they do, I think.

It seems to me that, when the melody begins, you are being very careful not to let the octaves in the right hand sound as octaves; that is a good thing because the top note is the melody while the bottom note (octave or not) is the accompaniment and the two lines need to maintain their respective volume levels. When sounded as octaves without care for voicing, it always sounds as a jarring "bump" in the on-going line, so I commend you for avoiding that pitfall. That said, I am not sure that I always hear the first note of the accompaniment when it coincides with a note in the upper voice.

All in all, you are well on the way to giving this a good performance. Thank you for sharing it.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2154604 - 09/20/13 04:43 PM Re: Love to hear some feedback on my Moonlight Sonata First Mvmt [Re: dcb]
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 199
This is the first time I've posted a recording, so I'm really pleased that it is being listened to. This is great feedback thanks. It's interesting, I've struggled with the dynamics. At first, I was playing the whole piece as softly as possible as indicated in the score and it just seemed boring to me. In my mind, I was trying lots of dynamics so this must be a case of perception...I need even more variation/ shading.

The accent beat comment is really great. This is something I sort of realized but now that you point it out so clearly, I can hear it myself.

This is a tough piece for a beginner because the notes are difficult, but it is very difficult to get it to sound right. That said, I've learned a lot from trying. Back to practicing...

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#2154624 - 09/20/13 05:07 PM Re: Love to hear some feedback on my Moonlight Sonata First Mvmt [Re: dcb]
FSO Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/12
Posts: 854
Loc: UK, Brighton
Originally Posted By: dcb

I'll take the grade A rubbish feedback as a complement. I'm a beginner and this is the best piece I've every played so I think I must be getting better. My previous work, in my mind, has been much worse...maybe grade C-D rubbish. smile

No no no no nooo! laugh Um..I meant, what *I* was saying was a load of old twoddle; feeling, affecting anything? Pshaw...never! laugh Um...no no, you're not half bad...you're not a whole bad either laugh Um...bringing out the melody is, probably, very important. Well, it *is*, but it gets lonely... frown I've been playing...8, 9 years? Still, this piece is absolute murder; you will never do it justice. Ever laugh But you've got a decent foundation to be working on; especially for three years. Better than I was doing, at least <3
_________________________
Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3

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#2154630 - 09/20/13 05:13 PM Re: Love to hear some feedback on my Moonlight Sonata First Mvmt [Re: dcb]
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 199
I was just kidding around with my response...I thought your feedback was very useful. It's a tough instrument, and I've found that there is always something I can improve and finding those areas has been the key to my improvement. Thanks again for taking the time to listen to me play! smile

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#2154636 - 09/20/13 05:20 PM Re: Love to hear some feedback on my Moonlight Sonata First Mvmt [Re: dcb]
FSO Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/12
Posts: 854
Loc: UK, Brighton
Phew...I just...the thought of insulting someone shocked laugh Sorry... laugh Still, um, barring injury or illness I'll try to keep an eye out for any recordings you do in the future; I'm not good enough to give constructive comments on the rest of the geniuses' here work...here's work? Hmmm.... laugh It just ends up as "wow...so you're good...and things?" which, frankly, isn't helping anyone..um...so yes, anytime; I enjoyed it. I'd be interested in knowing how the recital turns out; I do hope you'll let me, if not all of us, know <3
_________________________
Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3

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