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#2306271 - 07/24/14 02:42 AM Franz Liszt - Un Sospiro
sislermi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/13
Posts: 20

Pretty sure there's a lot wrong with it, but what do you think so far. Yeah, yeah, I completely screwed up the cadenzas, I got confused for a second and choked or something and had to either play it slow or not at all lol. And I think the last variation I accidentally played at a practice tempo (lol and I totally thought I was doing it correctly while playing it haha). These things will be fixed for next time since I already know them, what else should I take into consideration.

Edited by sislermi (07/24/14 03:00 AM)

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#2306408 - 07/24/14 10:46 AM Re: Franz Liszt - Un Sospiro [Re: sislermi]
Michael Sayers Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1562
Loc: Stockholms län, Sverige
Now there are two "Michael S" persons here . . . it reminds that there is a video of a Mike Sayers at youtube with the title saying he is the greatest piano player in the world! grin

(that other person is here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KATCtdXgiRs - it is NOT me!)

I don't care about wrong notes when I listen to music, what interests me is expression, what is done with the music, where does it transport me, what does it say . . . I can see you've worked on this etude, when the mechanics are more solid maybe you can relax the literalness of the playing - it is fine to linger over phrases, beats, individual notes, expand and contract the musical pulse, et c., and to push the dynamics, striving sometimes even for soaring surges of sound and all manner of sheens of colour.

I have a Roland F-110 here that I sometimes use to protect neighbors from being disturbed so I know it is possible to at least be allusive of this with a digital even though it can't have the nuance and the variation of tone quality of the real thing. It isn't necessary to be gentle with it. Though when it becomes overloaded at full fortissimo it might start buzzing and have to be turned off and then back on to be reset, I've never broken it. Unfortunately I can't say the same thing about real pianos I've played being undamaged.

Maybe you can connect a cable from it to a computer and record the audio that way with Audacity?

Keep up the effort, I am sure you can get it to where you want it to be!

#2306569 - 07/24/14 04:07 PM Re: Franz Liszt - Un Sospiro [Re: sislermi]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18527
Loc: Victoria, BC
I agree with what Michael was suggesting when he said that this was too "literal" an interpretation of the score; at the moment it lacks a sense of expansiveness that the very title suggests. Indeed, there are some places in the score that you could attend to more "literally" and still have a more musical performance as you work on this further.

The opening two measures should show a slight "swell" in volume towards the beginning of measure 2, and then a decrescendo before the melody starts. Similarly when the melody begins, there is a slight crescendo towards the top note of the phrase followed by a decrescendo. If you observe this more carefully, it will give needed shape to the phrase.

Starting at measure 13 where the melody is in broken octaves, makes sure that you play those broken octaves as triplets. The right hand is usually pretty close to triplets, but when the left hand crosses over, the first note is sometimes inclined to be a little short, making it sound close to a sixteenth-note. I would suggest practicing the two hand melody without the accompaniment until you get a real sense of triplets; then add the accompaniment.

Measure 21 is marked "appassionato" but I certainly don't hear that for the moment.

There are two things to note starting at measure 23:
- You have slowed the tempo when there is no indication to do so
- The left hand sounds too "notey;" blend the notes of the accompaniment more at this point. We should hear the harmony, of course, but should not be so aware of each individual accompaniment note.

Again, at measure 27: "agitato con passionato" You really need to give this a lot more drive and - literally - passion! Those descending octaves in measures 28 and 29 should really rush forward toward the D-flat on the third beat of measure 29 followed by even more of a crescendo into the F major chord at measure 30.

Notice that you are now back to tempo at measure 30.

I know it's difficult - for me, one of the more difficult sections of the piece - but you need to bring out the top notes of the left hand in measures 34, 35, 36, and 37; that's where the melody lies.

Make something of the rit. at the end of the first cadenza. Then, take a breath, a real breath, before beginning the next section; you rush into the section, in my opinion. And begin it as marked: "sotto voce" and "languendo"; these are very important directions to get the right feel for this section: there should be a dreamy, languid feel to these measures. It just sounds too "matter of fact" rather than the languishing, yearning sound that Liszt calls for here. Gently "place" that first chord of measure 40 and measure 42: i.e. give just a fraction of a second of hesitation before you play the chord so that your listener really is made aware of that lovely change in tonality.

Careful! There's some very careless pedalling in measures 38 through 42: the harmony is much too blurred.

I realize that this is not yet at performance level, but you need to aim for greater speed and lightness at measure 46 all the way through the end of the second cadenza, something I have never completely mastered!

Starting at measure 53, you need to work not only on bringing the melody notes out as the alternate between the right and left thumbs, but you need to give shape to the phrase that they create, just as you needed to at the very beginning of the work. Tone down the right hand arpeggios considerably, too.

Measure 62: Same problem with pedalling as I mentioned earlier!

In the three different editions I have of this work they all indicate, in measures 70 and 71, that the melody is in the left hand when it crosses over the right; bring it out, please. Don't release the pedal in the middle of measure 71, at least not until all of the E-flat minor chord has resonated.

Why do you suddenly accent the F-major chord in measure 76? I like to think of these last measures as a "chorale" gently rising to the F at the top of the D-flat major chord in measure 75 and then subsiding gradually to the final chord. Watch your timing in measure 75; that first note is a dotted half-note and you're not giving it its full value.

You are certainly well on the way to getting the notes of this etude in your hands; don't worry about the occasional wrong note at the moment, these eventually will be cleared up, won't they? Now you need to give some attention to what this piece means, musically and emotionally, and decide what you are going to do to realize those goals.

Thanks for sharing; I hope some of my comments may be useful.


P.S. This should have been posted in the member recordings section.
- - - - -
Estonia 190

#2306579 - 07/24/14 04:17 PM Re: Franz Liszt - Un Sospiro [Re: sislermi]
Art_Vandelay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/14
Posts: 127
Loc: Stillwater, OK
Wow, that was some detailed instruction! Clearly I need to move and take lessons from you, Bruce.
"If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis."

"If life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life'll be all like whaaaaaat?" - Phil Dunphy

#2306605 - 07/24/14 04:51 PM Re: Franz Liszt - Un Sospiro [Re: sislermi]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3870
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Contrasting the OP's original assessment ("I completely screwed up the cadenzas") with BruceD's criticism reminds me of a pattern I see all the time with my own lessons: We often correlate "how well we did" with "how many of the right notes we hit", while our audience is actually listening for, and judging us on, something completely different.

Beethoven op.111 first movement -- Liszt 11th Hungarian Rhapsody -- Rachmaninoff B minor Prelude -- Chopin first Ballade

#2306616 - 07/24/14 05:02 PM Re: Franz Liszt - Un Sospiro [Re: sislermi]
Art_Vandelay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/14
Posts: 127
Loc: Stillwater, OK
Good point. As impressive as the cadenzas are, in terms of overall importance to the piece I would place them last. I would rather hear a bad cadenza than a poorly phrased melody.
"If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis."

"If life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life'll be all like whaaaaaat?" - Phil Dunphy

#2306821 - 07/25/14 05:04 AM Re: Franz Liszt - Un Sospiro [Re: sislermi]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1233
Loc: California, USA
Since my ipad battery is almost dead I'll make this short, with just one idea:

In m21 and m22 there are several important musical directions. First the appassionato, which was already mentioned. Then the fermata. Then the rit., which works with the fermata. Next the smorz. Then the "in tempo" in m22, combined with a "p" and a "dolce." A very busy two measures. All of these are needed to shape the musical expression in these two measures.

Hope this is helpful - best wishes as you keep working on this beautiful piece.
Pianist and Piano Teacher


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