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#2224910 - 02/02/14 11:03 PM A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3836
Loc: Bay Area, CA

There seems to be some disagreement on how to transition from 3/4 to 9/8 in the last variation.




There are two schools of thought:

(1) Keep the measure durations the same. So in the 9/8, three eighth notes corresponds to one of the beats from the 3/4. To the listener, the 9/8 section therefore sounds like triplets.

(2) Keep the eighth note durations the same. This means the 9/8 measures take longer to play, because there are 9 eighth notes rather than 6.

A casual perusal of YouTube shows the great pianists quite divided on what to do here. For example, Arrau and Schnabel do (2) (and Schnabel writes about it in his edition), while Goode and Rudolf Serkin do (1). Personally I think (2) is more theoretically justified, but I haven't decided what I will do yet.

What do people think?


-Jason
_________________________
Schubert Immersion: Bb Impromptu; C# minor and Ab Moments Musicaux; accompanying four songs (Suleika II, Rastlose Liebe, Du Liebst Mich Nicht, Im Fruhling); listening intensely to Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise

Chopin: first Ballade; Mozart: D minor concerto;

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#2224915 - 02/02/14 11:12 PM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
I do 1.
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Polyphonist

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#2224917 - 02/02/14 11:15 PM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
I did 1 when I performed it last November. I always thought that 1 was more justified anyways, because the dominant pedal point is reduced from quarters, eighth, triplet eights, measured trills in compound time, measured trills in 32nds, then trills.

I see the pulse of the variation increasing towards the flying figures in the middle, rather than slowing down, which is what 2 implies.
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 3,4,6, op. 32 no.12
Franck - Violin Sonata

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#2224924 - 02/02/14 11:38 PM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
I've never had the impression of it being done in any way other than "1," and in my internal concept of the passage it's 1. If any performers that I've heard have done 2, I'd guess that at least it wasn't in a "straight" way, i.e. that there was some more complex aspect of the transitioning that disguised it.

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#2224925 - 02/02/14 11:40 PM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6160
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I do 1 too.
_________________________



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#2224926 - 02/02/14 11:40 PM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
I really can't see the justification for 2.
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#2224927 - 02/02/14 11:45 PM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
As it's notated (and it's a problem of the editor) one should give 8th = 8th if you were to keep the same 8th tempo. Otherwise it remains a little unclear and can be solved only by following the tradition, which in this case appears divided... :-/
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#2224929 - 02/02/14 11:57 PM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3836
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Lots of love here for choice (1). And, in fact, I'd never considered any alternative... until I read Schnabel this morning, where he calls changing the value of the 8th note "most unsatisfying"; he points out that the real triplets don't begin until later, when they are properly notated.

Barenboim does (2) I think (it's a little hard to tell from what I heard); Perahia and Uchida do (1).

I guess the more I think about it, the more I fall back to the way I always heard it, which is (1).


-J
_________________________
Schubert Immersion: Bb Impromptu; C# minor and Ab Moments Musicaux; accompanying four songs (Suleika II, Rastlose Liebe, Du Liebst Mich Nicht, Im Fruhling); listening intensely to Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise

Chopin: first Ballade; Mozart: D minor concerto;

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#2224932 - 02/03/14 12:05 AM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Lots of love here for choice (1). And, in fact, I'd never considered any alternative... until I read Schnabel this morning, where he calls changing the value of the 8th note "most unsatisfying"; he points out that the real triplets don't begin until later, when they are properly notated.

Then how does he explain bar 8?
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2224934 - 02/03/14 12:05 AM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19871
Loc: New York
Follow-up:

I went and listened to what Arrau does (on here), and I'd say indeed:

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
....If any performers that I've heard have done 2, I'd guess that at least it wasn't in a "straight" way, i.e. that there was some more complex aspect of the transitioning that disguised it.

Yeah.

He does essentially do "2," as you said, but I never would have heard it that way, because of what he does around it.

His rhythm is wonderfully flexible in this whole section, including what comes after. He starts the passage that you showed at a pretty consistent '42' per beat, but in the 4th measure, and in accord with what us "hairpin" activists say about hairpins grin ....he becomes very flexible with the beat as he leads into the 9/8; mainly he broadens/slows down (although it's more complex than that) -- and the way my ear hears it, the beat of the 9/8 essentially matches the tempo that he had arrived at with the previous measure -- i.e. the impression is still "1," but with a slowed-down tempo. And, he then very soon brings the tempo back up toward how it had been in the 3/4 before the hairpin measure, which pulls it all together, although that really is mainly just a brief accelerando.

So...even here, my impression is still "1." It might not have been if this weren't my pre-existing mindset -- I'm not sure -- but as it is, I would only have thought he was being flexible with the rhythm, rather than that he was doing something other than "1."

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#2224996 - 02/03/14 03:47 AM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8027
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Lots of love here for choice (1). And, in fact, I'd never considered any alternative... until I read Schnabel this morning, where he calls changing the value of the 8th note "most unsatisfying"; he points out that the real triplets don't begin until later, when they are properly notated.

Barenboim does (2) I think (it's a little hard to tell from what I heard); Perahia and Uchida do (1).

I guess the more I think about it, the more I fall back to the way I always heard it, which is (1).


In the measure where the time signature changes back to 3/4, the upper note on the last beat is notated as if it is still in 9/8 (i.e, it is a dotted quarter), while the other notes are notated in 3/4. To me, this says that Beethoven was thinking that the time per beat stays the same, rather than the time per eighth note. Extrapolating backwards, it would make sense that he thought so during the earlier shift to 9/8, too.

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#2225029 - 02/03/14 07:45 AM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3991
Loc: Rockford, IL
It's no. 1. Think "energy."
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#2226412 - 02/05/14 03:52 PM Re: A timing issue in Beethoven's op.109 [Re: beet31425]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3836
Loc: Bay Area, CA
I've come around, and am now definitely a proponent of keeping the measures the same length (which is how I'd really heard it my whole life anyway).

For those who like symbols and hieroglyphics, here are some symbols representing the number of notes per beat throughout the last variation.

The M row is melody; the A row is the accompaniment. The two A sections of the theme are marked A1 and A2; the two B sections B1 and B2. Trills are noted by "inf" ("infinity"), although I use parentheses when I've worked out the trill subdivision precisely. For example, the last column (B2) has an 8 for M (corresponding to the 32nd notes in the LH) and a trill in the RH accompaniment, which I actually subdivide into 6 notes per 8th, or 12 notes per beat.

I don't expect this to be useful to anyone else, but it was useful to me to work it out, and you can go through it and see if you agree if you're feeling bored today. smile


(A1)         |(A2)
M:           | 2   3
A: 1 2 3 6 8 | 8   inf (12)

(B1)   | (B2)
M: 8   | 8
A: inf | inf (12)

_________________________
Schubert Immersion: Bb Impromptu; C# minor and Ab Moments Musicaux; accompanying four songs (Suleika II, Rastlose Liebe, Du Liebst Mich Nicht, Im Fruhling); listening intensely to Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise

Chopin: first Ballade; Mozart: D minor concerto;

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