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#400258 - 11/23/07 04:19 PM Rach Prelude in G Minor
alvinward Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 27
I'm learning to play the Prelude in G Minor by Rachmaninoff, and I'm wondering does anyone have any tips that could help me on this piece?

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#400259 - 11/23/07 04:39 PM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Try to keep the tempo steady and even. This piece develops momentum, and you'll find yourself out of breath and fingers.

Form the chords before you land so you don't have to fiddle with your fingering when you're ready to put the fingers into the chords.

In the beautiful lyrical section, work for a really smooth even legato in the left hand with broad phrases in the right hand. You'll notice a little bit of dialog between the voices as well in the tenor and treble.

Good luck,

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#400260 - 11/23/07 06:00 PM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
Relaxation is the key.

Build speed with slow practice.

Keep your stamina to the end.

Dynamics won't hurt .. don't bang it all the way.

Do not drown the middle lyrical section with excess pedal .. but try to keep the melodic lines heard and clear.

It is easier to give advice than attempt the thing yourself ;\)

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#400261 - 11/24/07 06:19 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1276
Loc: Republic of Macedonia
Remember the begining is very silent and misterious,
and you must have a culmination not just banging all the time.

The middle:
careful with all the inner voices, and don't exagarate with the ritenuto at the end.

Practice all those jumps slowly and steadily build up in tempo.

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#400262 - 11/24/07 10:15 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18135
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by alvinward:
I'm learning to play the Prelude in G Minor by Rachmaninoff, and I'm wondering does anyone have any tips that could help me on this piece? [/b]
What sort of "tips" are you looking for? It's hard to give any without knowing how you are playing this or what the difficulties might be for you.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#400263 - 11/25/07 06:59 PM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Anders39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 188
Loc: Norway
I want to learn the thing myself. How hard is it compared to the Cis-minor prelude?
_________________________
"Silence is music too"

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#400264 - 11/25/07 09:36 PM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Cheeto717 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Pennsylvania
I think the key to playing this piece well is being relaxed. When i play this and start to tense up my hands just tire out and i end up with a lackluster ending.

I think the hardest part for me when i was learning this was getting the 4,5,4,5 fingering during the main theme. The jumps are pretty tricky as well, so you're gonna have to do a lot of slow practice.

It's very easy to play this whole piece fortissimo so be sure to make as much dynamic contrast as you can, and avoid "banging" as much as possible.

Ok, i think that's it for me, i'll post again if i think of something else.
_________________________
Working On:
Bach: Partita No. 6
Beethoven: Op. 26
Brahms: Op. 120
Chopin: Op. 10

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#400265 - 11/26/07 05:35 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Arabesque Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 553
Loc: Japan
I just started this one myself too. I am finding the chords and jumps a challenge too. Also the appreggios in the middle are awkward. I heard that it should not be played too militarily and the counter melodies of the staccato complement and connect with the counter melodies of the legato section in a very subtle way. You ought to listen to the Rachmaninov recordings of this.
_________________________
It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing

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#400266 - 11/26/07 06:45 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
F minor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/07
Posts: 35
Loc: Canada
Rachmaninov takes many liberties that pianists I have heard play the piece (Horowitz, Gilels) seem to avoid. His tempo in the beginning of the piece is much more adagio than anything I've heard from the performer-pianists. I think that, being a composer, he realized how free and flowing music needs to be.

I think I should stress that this piece cannot be rigid in tempo, as lyrical stuff usually (not always) sounds better a shade slower than the rest. His slow tempo in the beginning is made up for later by his drastically increased tempo toward the end, with the restatement of the opening theme.

This is only how Rachmaninov played it though! I don't believe in the Tyranny Of The Composer, but each one can offer his own hint. If you have not found it already, this video is a recording of Rachmaninov playing it in April 1920.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjcAXvnWPdM
_________________________
4 - 2 - 8

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#400267 - 11/26/07 12:43 PM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
The advice from John, ecm, and Bassio is quite useful.

My son has this piece about 90% "there." That final 10% involves fully mastering pedal technique to get the right shaping of the phrases, reducing the error rate in the rapid jumps, and polishing the very soft arpeggiated left hand in the lyrical middle.

In my view the G minor is a fair bit more challenging than the C-sharp minor.

The Gilels version is our basic model. His tempo is more appropriate (IMO) than the blitz pace of, say, Kissin. The piece should be more than an athletic exercise.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#400268 - 11/27/07 08:54 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:

In my view the G minor is a fair bit more challenging than the C-sharp minor.
[/b]
Not a bit, David. There is a pretty gap down there.

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#400269 - 11/27/07 03:06 PM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
The clue is a personal fingering that makes the piece easier. I can tell you that one forumist said she made more progress in two hours than during the whole week-end before, when she got my fingering suggestion, which of course not to 100 % suited her hands.

Chords can be redistributed between LH and RH Thus jumps are reduced to a minimum. The fingereing of each chord in a succession must be tested for maximum convenience.

Through unconventional fingering I can play the arpeggios of the LH in the middle section almost legato. I find this part far easier that the rest (and more beautiful too). It is important to emphasize the melodical lines.

IMO you should excercise very slowly without the sustain pedal at first in order to get the best control of the keys.

When you have learned the notes and overcome the major technical difficulties there are still the questions of dynamics, phrasing and use of the sustain.

As the score does not guide you on the pedalling, you had better listen to several interpretations.

Towards the end, after bars with FF, the music is sort of calming down. The final bars should be played with ease, pianissimo and slighlty increasing the tempo.

For those interested I can share my fingering, preferably by fax.

P.S. I listened to the old recording of Rachnmaninoff himself. I have heard that the composer performed the piece in many various ways - depending on his mood? This interpretation did not speak to me - no part! Without going into details I definitely prefer the way Richter plays it.

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#400270 - 11/27/07 06:14 PM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
hopinmad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 1001
Loc: Eryri/Manchester
"Through unconventional fingering I can play the arpeggios of the LH in the middle section almost legato."

I assumed that these were meant to be 'legato' and that if they were not then they are not at all ready to be performed.
_________________________
Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin

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#400271 - 11/28/07 06:32 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
I mean leagato without using the sustain pedal, when excercising. There are, however,some leaps, where the finger span of my and most pianists' hands simply is not big enough.

Avoiding leaps as much as possible reduces the risk of hitting the wrong note. I make no mistakes.

When performing, and using the pedal, the section sound 100 % legato and feels very comfortable to play with the LH.

The chords in the right hand I play as chords - not broken - and rythmically at the correct moments simultaneously with the notes in the bass. IMO the music sounds and more simple and beautiful that way. Rachmaninoff's playing (the one on YouTube) disappointed me... but he has the right to do what he wants with his own composition.

So far I have not played this piece in public, because I honestly do not feel ready for it (except for the middle section). In stead I have performed the first of Arensky's six caprices, which has been very fun to learn. All his six caprices are nice and very short.

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#400272 - 11/28/07 10:09 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18135
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jan-Erik:

As the score does not guide you on the pedalling, you had better listen to several interpretations.

[/b]
I think it is much more productive to listen carefully to ones own playing and pedalling and adjust to the piano and the venue accordingly.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#400273 - 11/28/07 05:37 PM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
hopinmad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 1001
Loc: Eryri/Manchester
"I mean leagato without using the sustain pedal, when excercising"

That is what I meant too.
_________________________
Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin

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#400274 - 11/30/07 04:14 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
BruceD: You are free to use as much pedal you like. But how should it be played? There are different approaches to this piece. Rachmaninoff himself used much less pedal than many later pianists - short notes sound short or even staccato.

Tempo and 'banging' has already been dealt with. It is important to notice pianissimo parts.

hopinmad: I think we can agree on this. With intelligent fingering the leaps that cannot be avoided are minimized and LH playing is quite comfortable. In this middle section you additionally use a lot of sustain pedal making playing and sound even more fluent.

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#400275 - 12/01/07 06:58 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
timbo77 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 268
Loc: Singapore
I think it's a mistake to listen to Rachmaninoff's recording and see 'liberties' taken as those enjoyed by a composer. In fact, it probably more accurately represents performance practice of the early 20th century. He, and other pianists of his generation, would sometimes not follow markings in a score (sometimes contradict them or change the odd note) where they felt the interpretation justified it. People sometimes think that they are tinkering with the score but I think this looks at it the wrong way.

Rachmaninoff was particularly fond of exploring alternative dynamics to those in the printed score. This is evident in the recording of the G minor prelude itself at the climax of the B section, played by him as a delicious diminuendo: it's a more difficult effect to achieve than you might imagine, particularly with a slight emphasis on the inner voice (the rising scale).

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#400276 - 12/03/07 06:28 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Interseting thoughts.

At the end of the day you are alone with the score and must find your own way of playing this piece.

I think it is very important, however, not to forget the subtle nuances you can achieve in the diminuendos. Easily the emphasis is on the crenscendos and FFF.

A prerequisite is anyhow that you master the piece technically. As in many pieces, the fingering must not be overlooked.

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#400277 - 12/03/07 09:24 PM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Mike090280 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 159
Loc: Texas
I just started this piece yesterday. My edition has no fingerings. What edition would you recommend with good fingering? And is there one available for free online?

Thanks

Mike

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#400278 - 12/04/07 01:32 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Too often fingering set by an editor is inconsequents, not thouroghly thought over, or is not the most comfortable for you. Sometimes it can give valuable hints...

Studying a new piece, trying different fingerings makes you familiar with the score. And at the end of the day you have a fingering that is perfect for you!

Generally you should avoid jumps and awkeard repositioning of fingers and hence always consider notees and chords coming later.

For this piece I suggest redistribution of some chords between LH and RH. Read my earlier remarks. I gladly share my solutions, but it is easier at the piano or with the score in front of you and a pencil, than by writing.

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#400279 - 12/04/07 06:01 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
drumour Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 860
Loc: Scotland
While still in the slow practising stage of the outer sections, you might want to consider pedalling (lightly) all the repeated chord accompaniment figures. You need to listen like mad. There are occasions where these figures are pedalled anyway because the theme is pedalled and you don't want inconsistent colouring.


John
_________________________
Vasa inania multum strepunt.

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#400280 - 12/04/07 09:25 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
I did not grasp what is meant by 'the outer sections'.

But I think this piece is extremely difficult to pedal. I would not use the term 'correctly' because there seems to be many ways and interpretations. But the consistent colouring mentioned by drumour is one important aspect of this issue.

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#400281 - 12/04/07 10:50 AM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18135
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jan-Erik:
I did not grasp what is meant by 'the outer sections'.

[/b]
This piece is essentially in A B A form; the A sections (the first and last, march-like sections) being the "outer" sections and the B section (Un poco meno mosso) the lyrical, "inner" section.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#400282 - 12/04/07 09:00 PM Re: Rach Prelude in G Minor
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
My son and I just listened to Lisitsa playing this piece. As I said earlier, Gilels is our primary model. But what a technical gem her performance is. She has such a relaxed technique. She drops into those chords so lightly and crisply. My son thinks she plays too fast. I just admire how elegantly she pulls it off at that speed.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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