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#934667 - 07/07/07 01:42 PM Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Teachers, I am confused on this issue. Please give me your educated thoughts. In the 1960's when I studied classical piano, both teachers had their Master's in Music Ed. IN REFERENCE TO ONLY CLASSICAL PIANO...they told me not to play as I felt but as they, the teacher, was teaching me. The reason they gave was because this is close to the intention of the classical composer... coming down through time traced back to the composer, from linage{ the student of the student of the student of Chopin himself concept}, the told me. I would so love your input as some younger classical piano players tell me they play the way they feel the classical piano composition. Thank you so much in advance. I am so confused about this. Sandy B... Member...
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#934668 - 07/07/07 01:46 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
yes, it is really makes a difference when you play something as the composer intended. My teacher always asks me to do that, that it is always advisable to add in your own spark to the piece but always keep the composer in mind.

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#934669 - 07/07/07 01:59 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
My take on this is that you should play the music the way you FEEL the music. If these teachers REALLY wanted to stay true to the composer's original intent, then NO composition by Bach, or any other Baroque composer, should ever be played on a modern piano, since the piano did not exist in its current state when these composer's were writing. Unless people are paying to hear you play the piece as written by the composer, then you have no obligation to anyone to do this. Even among the world's finest pianists you will hear tremendous differences in speed, interpretation and inflection in any given piece. Listen to the difference between the Rach 3 played by Kissin versus Abbey Simon.....how then, could there be a "right" or "wrong" interpretation of these pieces if there is such immense variation even among the world's finest?
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#934670 - 07/07/07 02:09 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
The 'world's finest' are often too busy to look into any work in great depth unlike an amateur who could spend months or years on a work. I remember playing Rachmaninoff's recording of a grade 4 Grieg waltz to some pupils. As an interpretation it was appalling. He obviously had not looked at the sheet music for years. Totally unsubtle. But style and expression - pure Rachmaninoff. I know which I would choose.
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#934671 - 07/07/07 02:09 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Thank you so much for your input and I remember Horowitz in interwiew on TV once, he said, "I play what I feel." He added, "No one has corrected me yet." This really surprised me. Liberace your take on his clowning around with the classics? I loved him. Sandy B, Thank you again so much.
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#934672 - 07/07/07 02:13 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
You play what you feel, but you still have to think about the composer and how that composer would have interpreted the piece. Even better get recordings of Chopin& Rachmaninoff etc playing so you get a clear view of the style.

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#934673 - 07/07/07 02:18 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
You've got recordings of Chopin playing? That I'd like to hear.
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#934674 - 07/07/07 02:25 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Why does this only become an issue with classical composers? I have never once heard any of the Beatles complain that Joe Cocker had "butchered" "With a Little Help from my Friends". Quite the opposite, I think they are probably thrilled that other talented and creative people have used their foundational work to embellish and build on in order to lend their unique form of expression to it. For most deceased composers, you, or I, or your teachers, for that matter, have NO way of knowing what the composer REALLY intended. None of you have addressed my point about modern pianos and Baroque period music. Was Glenn Gould defiling Bach by playing his music on a modern Steinway? After all, we know for certain that Bach never intended for his music to be played on such an instrument, since it did not exist yet in his time!!!
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#934675 - 07/07/07 03:08 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Beethoven Fan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/07
Posts: 191
Although majority of his was not for piano, I do believe Bach did live long enough to write some piano music. If you have the composer in mind, when thinking of beethoven then play it as written. Whenever someone came back from a concert in which his music was performed one of his first questions he asked was "how were the tempi?" According to account, although he used rubato a lot himself especially in his own works this was not something he gave to his students as freely. But to get to my opinion on the matter, I think that you should know how to play it exactly as the composer intended but you should perform it in any manner you want. The whole idea of 'you should know the rules before you break them'. James Booker performed wonderful chopin compositions with a latin rhythm and they were very well received. His black minute waltz in my opinion is just as good if not better than the original. If everyone played music as the composer intended then there would be even less variety as there is today. I respect the pianist who is able to improvise on various themes by beethoven and bach.

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#934676 - 07/07/07 03:24 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Very well put Beethoven Fan...............
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#934677 - 07/07/07 04:23 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10749
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I do not think that composers expected their music to sound all the same from whoever performed it. Chopin wanted others to play his msuci ebcuase he liked the way they played it better then he did. When a composer composes, he desont' think in terms of half note, quarter note, whole note, he thinks a somewhat long note, then a shorter one, then a really long one, and finds the equivalents in music notation. Quite often, the greatest composers were also great improvisers, and would improvise then write down what they played. One does not improvise thinking of note values, dynamics, or even pitches. They hear a sound and try to match it on the piano. Having said that, I think the it is a pianist's obligation to try and understand what the composer was getting at with the notes, rhythms, dynamics and articulations chosen. It is always important to know what was added by an editor and what the composer actualyl put in. But I do think that many of these things are there only to help clarify the composer's intention. But is a pianist only plays what's written, or worse, plays what someone else tells them to do, then they are no better than a midi file, frankly. I agree with what Beethoven Fan said. Music should come from your heart and feelings, not someone else's.
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#934678 - 07/07/07 05:07 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Sandra, I'm going to hazzard a guess that most classically trained piano teachers make a sincere effort to follow the score, and to teach their students to do so as well.

Analogies sometimes help, so let me use one (it's not perfect): in art classes (painting, drawing, etc.) a teacher may ask students to render a painting in the style of Renoir. If a student were to come up with a painting a la Picasso, he'd be criticized, not because it was bad, but it didn't meet the expectation of being in the style of Renoir. If I were to play Mozart in the style of Bartok, it would be an utter failure. Not that it would be uninteresting or "bad" in the sense of wrong notes, etc. But it wouldn't be Mozart's music any more.

In essence, when we are playing classical music, sometimes called art music, we are trying to reproduce the style and substance of what the composer wrote and intended. Of course, this is really illusive, being this distant in time from many of them.

All that said doesn't mean there isn't room for personalization of the piece you are playing. But classical musicians attempt to do so within boundaries.

Now, let's talk about improvisation . . . . .
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#934679 - 07/07/07 05:12 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Just a quick PS. If you read through Mozart's letters to his father, you'll come across many bitter complaints about how others were playing his music - mangling his music - incorrect tempos, phrasing, etc. My guess is that many composers had something definite in mind, and within the limits of our notation system (where's btb when we need him?) and oral/written traditions, we should at least know how each piece was intended to sound.
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"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
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#934680 - 07/07/07 06:51 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
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Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
My teacher has recordings of Rachmaninoff playing Bach and Chopin. She has recordings of a few more but I have no idea who.

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#934681 - 07/07/07 06:53 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
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Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
that's right music should come from the heart but you should still follow what is on the score, if not what's a score for.

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#934682 - 07/07/07 06:53 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
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Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
and always listen to pieces that you play

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#934683 - 07/07/07 07:00 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
Nobody plays the way the classical composers did any more. If someone played Grieg the way he did in his recordings, they would be laughed off the stage. Listening to the Rosenthal recordings of Chopin at Project Gutenberg will give you an idea of what Chopin probably sounded like, but people do not play that way now. Rachmaninov's recording of Chopin's Funeral March is the way Anton Rubinstein played it, not the way Chopin wrote it.
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#934684 - 07/07/07 08:09 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
btw my teacher plays with the true art of the classical style, so do I and all her other students and my teacher's students are always among placed 1st and 2nd for competitions and do excellectly for practical exams. People may laugh but who cares, A person who laughs does not know how to appreciate the true classical art and it's sad that that's happening.
And you are implying that you would rather play music the new way? with so much virtuosity but no musicality, that's what music often is now

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#934685 - 07/07/07 08:14 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
If someone played Grieg the way he did in his recordings, they would be laughed off the stage.[/b]

I haven't heard Grieg's recordings (didn't know he made shellacs) but supposing them to be like other early recordings, then the fault is not so much Grieg's as it was the early recording equipment, which was so primitive, that it demanded players distort their normal playing in order to get a passable recording.
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"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#934686 - 07/07/07 09:07 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
btw my teacher plays with the true art of the classical style, so do I and all her other students and my teacher's students are always among placed 1st and 2nd for competitions and do excellectly for practical exams. People may laugh but who cares, A person who laughs does not know how to appreciate the true classical art and it's sad that that's happening.
I have news for you. Your teacher has no idea of the "true art of the classical style" and neither do the judges of those competitions. It died out years ago, and we can only barely get a glimpse of what it was.

There is nothing wrong with that. It is the style of our day. But it is not the style of the composers.

 Quote:
And you are implying that you would rather play music the new way? with so much virtuosity but no musicality, that's what music often is now
What people think is musical changes from time to time. There was a huge change that came about 100 years ago, when recordings came into being. If you listen to the very first recordings, like Nikisch's recording of Beethoven's 5th symphony, you hear a performance which is designed to hold your attention every moment of it, even if that means sacrificing some of the coherency of the piece as a whole. That might even mean rewriting some of the music. Today, everyone assumes that you have heard the music before, because most of the time, you have. If you have not, the performer undoubtedly has. You can read through the posts here and see how rare it is for someone to pick up a sheet of music and play it without ever having heard anyone else play it. That affects interpretation, and we cannot go back.
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#934687 - 07/07/07 09:12 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
"I have news for you. Your teacher has no idea of the "true art of the classical style" and neither do the judges of those competitions. It died out years ago, and we can only barely get a glimpse of what it was."

Seriously, you are the one who has no idea. My teacher is a world class famous piano teacher and pianists. Music schools every where are trying to give her jobs. She studied in Germany, London, U.S and Canada. You say she has no idea? I've never been so offended in my life.

You haven't even heard her play. There are many things that can be picked up when you hear Rachmaninoff's recording's etc. Oh really, all these are world class judges and teachers. Go learn more about what classical music is about.

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#934688 - 07/07/07 09:13 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
well you can get a glimpse of it, go read up music history, go listen to Rachmaninoff, Chopin's real recordings etc.

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#934689 - 07/07/07 09:14 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
maybe the recording of Grieg you listened to just was bad, meaning the quality was poor

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#934690 - 07/07/07 09:26 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
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Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
and i'm not saying that my teacher has stuck to the old classical style, she plays with and has excellent knowledge of the classical style.

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#934691 - 07/07/07 10:18 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
I will challenge you: Play the Chopin Etude in A-flat, from the three new etudes. It is a fairly simple piece, so it should not take you more than a couple of days to learn it adequately, you do not have to memorize it or anything like that, or even play it all the way through. Post a recording. Then we will compare it with an old recording, and we will see how well you know the old classical style.
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#934692 - 07/07/07 10:55 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10749
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
BDB: Have you heard Carl Reineke's recordings? He was born in 1824, but at the end of his life he was asked to make a piano roll, and he was close friends with the Schumanns. There is a website you might be intrested in that has many recordings that help illustrate the way musci used ot be played:

http://www.musicalratio.com/heartechniques.html

Reineke plays a Mozart Concerto (his recording is 3/4 down the page), and you'll note that the left hand falls behind the RH (just as Mozart said in his letters), or sometimes the LH anticipates the RH, and rarely do all the notes of a chord occur at once.
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#934693 - 07/07/07 11:10 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Amelialw:
well you can get a glimpse of it, go read up music history, go listen to Rachmaninoff, Chopin's real recordings etc. [/b]
Um...Chopin died 8 years before the phonautograph was invented. An early Brahms recording exists, but it is extremely distorted.

One of my favorite early recordings is Granados playing his "Valses Poeticos." It's notable because of the extreme deviation from the score. Some sections are completely rewritten. Interestingly enough, the pieces were written in 1887 and recorded in 1913, suggesting that Granados himself did not view the original score as definitive. How should we play it now? Follow the original score? Follow how Granados played it? Or follow the composer's spirit and reinvent the work our own way?

Eigeldinger's book on Chopin's instructions to his students shows that he interpreted his scores somewhat freely, and he even approved editions of his scores that differed from each other.

And then there's this story:

When I was playing the Brahms Handel variations, I had to figure out how the trill was done - start on the upper note or on the main note?

My teacher told me that Brahms was certainly aware of the Baroque convention of starting trills on the upper note and that he obviously would have played it that way.

Then I met an elderly pianist who studied with a student of Clara Schumann. By word of mouth, I discovered the opposite - that Brahms himself began the trill on the main note, explaining that it brought out the 1-2-3 thematic skeleton that permeates the work.

I mention this because I believe this is a complex topic with no black and white answers.

I even take issue with the idea that Rachmaninoff's recordings are definitive. They are interesting to be sure, but why might we assume that the way he played the 2nd concerto on the recording (in the 20's or 30's if I remember correctly) was the same way (better or worse) that he played it at the premiere in 1901? Every great pianist I know of developed a great deal - early Ashkenazy sounds quite different than late Ashkenazy. Same for Perahia, Arrau, Schnabel, etc... Why then do we assume that those Rachmaninoff recordings are "definitive?" Doesn't it do a great disservice to Rachmaninoff himself to assume that he never developed as a pianist and mechanically reproduced the same exact interpretation every time he stepped out on stage?
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#934694 - 07/08/07 12:44 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
I would take your challenge but I already have so many pieces that I need to learn and practise and i'm already practising 4 and a half hrs almost everyday + I have a lots of studying to do although it's summer now.

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#934695 - 07/08/07 12:46 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Sandra, you posed in your original post, a question about playing close to the intention of the composer. My current teacher, N. Jane Tan, studied with MIECZYSLAW MUNZ (1900-1976). He along with Rubenstein were the whiz kids of the early part of the 20th century; both originally studied in Poland, then in Berlin.

"Munz was an important Polish pianist who briefly worked with Busoni, then went on to teach Emanuel Ax, Ann Schein and many others. He made only one commercial 78 (for Homocord in 1928). It may be found on two CDs: IPAM 1206 (“A Multitude of Pianists”) and AMERICUS 20021022. The latter is especially noteworthy for its inclusion of two broadcast transcriptions in which Munz plays the Mozart D Minor Concerto and Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody."

see http://www.americuscd.com/cgi-bin/single.pl?id=AMR20021022 to hear Munz in a brief recording.

"Entering the Krakow Conservatory at the age of nine, Munz worked under the tutelage of Jerzy Lalewicz (1877-1951), who had studied in St. Petersburg with Leschetizky’s assistant (and second wife) Annette Essipova. Three years later, Munz made his debut in his native city playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto No.1. His teenage years were spent mostly in Vienna (where Lalewicz held a post at the Vienna Academy), and included a brief period of military service. The next stop was Berlin, home of Ferruccio Busoni. Munz soon became part of the famed Busoni “circle” and at the age of 20 he impressed the local audience by playing three concertos (the Liszt First, the Brahms First, and Franck’s Symphonic Variations) in one evening with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra."

Quoted from: http://www.lib.umd.edu/PAL/IPAM/IPAMmunz.html

Munz and others studied with the Greats of the 19th century, and certainly knew their style(s). As Munz dedicated himself to teaching, after injuring his hand, one would think he might teach his students how the masters played, not some other style.

Living both in Berlin and Vienna, the two musical centers of Europe, now and then, one can only imagine what and who he heard in performance.

I suspect that through great teachers, like Munz, we have a pretty fair idea of the 19th century playing style(s). How this coincided with or departed from the composers' intentions is subject to debate, and a lot of research.
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"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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#934696 - 07/08/07 01:02 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
besides Chopin is actually a romantic composer...

"Um...Chopin died 8 years before the phonautograph was invented."
thanks Kriesler, I think i made a mistake

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#934697 - 07/08/07 01:41 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Beethoven Fan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/07
Posts: 191
 Quote:
You can read through the posts here and see how rare it is for someone to pick up a sheet of music and play it without ever having heard anyone else play it. That affects interpretation, and we cannot go back. [/QB]
I think that this is a very interesting observation that I have thought deeply about. By chance, earlier today I had thought about how people living in the 19th century and how whenever they heard something it was always amazing because it was always a live performance since there were no recording devices. Every performance had been personalized by the performer and unless you were able to round up a symphony or perform the music yourself on the instrument you wouldn't hear it again as often. Today with youtube and all the CDs, we've probably heard pieces 10x more than anyone had during that period. I would also like to add that I think it would be interesting to teach a student popular concert pieces that they had never heard because I do agree that with our knowledge of a performance that is considered great, we let that influence our interpretation to some degree. For the most part, i haven't played that much from the standard repertoire and actually have had to try and learn pieces I had never heard which is makes things harder. But once my teacher demonstrates the correct way, I shoot for mimicing it before I add my own spice to it.

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#934698 - 07/08/07 09:13 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10749
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Beethoven Fan, that's a good point about recordings.
I also think it is important to point out that most people hear music via recordings and not live, and so the standard of expectation is to sound like a recording. This not only means no mistakes, but playing the same way each time. And as a performer, it is so easy to be influenced by another's take on a piece, and you're right, we tend to imitate it that way. With a recording, one can listen over and over again to get the exact nuances down, whereas before, it was largely up to the performer to figure it out from the implications in the score, and trust their own musicality. But these days, it's almost as if we are taught we aren't musically adept enough to interpret for ourselves, so it's bes tot listen to what someone else did, and the closer to the line of students to a composer or great pianist of the past someone is, the more authentic their interpretation is. All of a sudden, we're not musicians, we're parrots.

Personally, I think we need to get back to teaching our students that they are valid interpreters, at *any* age and level of skill. Let them develop their own musicality, without us squashing every ounce of creativity they bring to a piece by insisting upon our own. If we dont' let them develop their own musicality, then we can hardly expect them to stand on their own as mature pianists. This, I feel, would be closer to a composer's expectation, and not mimicry.
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#934699 - 07/08/07 09:29 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Morodienne, I agree 100%. Too many teachers are happy for their pupils to parrot the teacher's interpretation. The student's interpretation must still be based on sound knowledge of the relevant performance practice.

I listened to Reineke. If Mozart is to be played like that, I shall go out and shoot myself.
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#934700 - 07/08/07 10:44 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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keyboardklutz:
That was my reaction as well when I first heard Mozart's Sontata K332 played in much the same manner! But please don't \:\) . It is really not that far from where you are probably now, but it is taking what you most likely do now a step further. This is *not* the modern aesthetic, and so that is why it seems so foreign to us. But if you listen to that recording of Mozart with yoru eyes closed, all presuppositions taken away of what it "should" sound like, then compare to a modern recording of Mozart, which one would cause the audience to "swoon in the aisles" like Mozart himself was able to invoke?

I have since played Mozart for musicians and non-musicians alike in this same manner: the way Mozart played, and the way we play Mozart now. Non-musicians are a lot more receptive to the the old aesthetic, and they simply cannot believe I'm playing the same piece of music! Generally those musicians I play for (I've played it for a few teachers) would rather ignore or dismiss it simply because they are too vested in their own way of playing it, the modern aesthetic. But it all depends on whether or not you wish to play Mozart, Bach, Chopin, etc. the way they most likely played it (and probably intended it to be played), or if you'd rather apply the modern understanding of it.

As a side note, playing the way Reineke played creates much more room for interpretation of a piece than the modern aesthetic does.
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#934701 - 07/08/07 12:42 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
BDB Offline
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Reinecke's interpretation is a product of his time. He probably uses more pedal than Mozart did, and his articulation is probably different. (Mozart's piano would have been tuned to some meantone, while the Reinecke is simply out of tune, but of course, that is not Reinecke's fault.)

We do not have many original performances of classical performances, just a few mechanical organs, so we have to rely on contemporary reports, which come in a variety of ways. There are things like Rosenthal's article on a concert given by Rubinstein with Liszt's reactions to it. From that we learn that Rachmaninov played like Rubinstein rather than Chopin from Liszt, who heard both of them.

We still do not have it all down. Even those people who play reproductions of period instruments do not break them during concerts like Beethoven or Rubinstein did. Nobody plays barnyard imitations on the violin upside down behind their back between movements of his violin concerto, even though that is authentic, too. We no longer sit on the keyboard to demonstrate the chord that opens the finale of the 9th Symphony, as Henselt was known to do. We live in a world of constant noise, which dulls our senses. Concerts do not last as long. All these change our experience of music in ways we cannot imagine.
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#934702 - 07/08/07 01:22 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
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Dear Piano Teacher Members ... Sandy B here ... Thank you so very much for your input. Very appreciated and I am printing now all of your comments, they will be treasured. Have view relaxed compared to when I studied classical piano 40 years ago? Thank you in advance for your input. Sandy B
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#934703 - 07/08/07 01:57 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Morodienne, there is simply NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that Mozart played like Reineke's recording. If you think you do have evidence post it please.
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#934704 - 07/08/07 02:14 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
ChrisKeys Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Morodienne, there is simply NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that Mozart played like Reineke's recording. If you think you do have evidence post it please. [/b]
Agreed. Morodienne, you yourself said Reineke was born in 1824, 33 years after Mozart's death. It's much more likely that Reineke played in the style of his time, as BDB noted, not necessarily in the style of Mozart. I think this is especially likely given his friendship with the Schumanns (as you note).

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#934705 - 07/08/07 02:22 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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before you post Moart's one comment on tempo rubato here is his dad:
 Quote:
1 A clever accompanist must also be able to sum up a concert performer. To a sound virtuoso
he certainly must not yield, for he would then spoil his tempo rubato. What this 'stolen tempo'
is, is more easily shown than described But on the other hand, if the accompanist has to deal
with a fot-sant virtuoso, then he may often, in an adagio cantabile, have to hold out many a
quaver the length of half a bar, until perchance the latter recovers from his paroxysms; and
nothing goes according to time, for he plays after the style of a recitative.
pp 224 from Knocker's 1948 translation of Leopold's Treatise on Violin Playing. There is no indication here that tempo rubato is anything other than an occasional exception to playing in time. Mozart would have strictly adhered to this.
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#934706 - 07/08/07 02:32 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
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Dear Teachers, Sorry I spelled lineage wrong. Senior moment at 68 years old? Forgive my spelling mistakes,etc. please. Strokes and a brain operation... but... I try. You are all musicial angels... I printed 30 pages of answers from you and I am so grateful to all of you who posted for each and every word...I have a lovely file cabinet just for sheet music , method books etc. that I treasure and you will be filed for reference and conversations with my friends... Thank You Again, Sandy B
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#934707 - 07/08/07 02:37 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Betty Patnude Offline
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I think distortion is a very possible thing when we play from the master composers works. The instruments have changed greatly, the differences in society changes is huge. We are not the same people that they were - their musical experiences came from a different environment. News comes to us in the present moment and agitates and stresses us on an international basis every moment of a 24 hour day, seven days a week.

I think to enter there music as they did, we would have to effect more than their music and characteristics. We would have to enter their lifestyle and reality to be exacting replicas of their music.

To capture their way of doing it, would a person not have to be a "purist" and "scholar" in search of the "prima vista" if that could be used as back to the origination point.

Evolution is a funny thing. You notice it in passing through it. Kind of a megatrends thing.

How exacting can we be? Perfection is a tightrope, excellance is a pursuit. I, myself, am happy to reach a close approximation from time to time.

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#934708 - 07/08/07 02:43 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Betty, you have a good point. Most 18th music was written for a highly educated elite who had an ear for complexity. This changed with the rise of the middle-class in the 19th.
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#934709 - 07/08/07 05:10 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
BDB Offline
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 Quote:
Most 18th music was written for a highly educated elite who had an ear for complexity.
There were cheap seats in theaters even then. Plus street musicians, music at bars and taverns, church music and things like that.
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#934710 - 07/08/07 05:11 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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I would have to pull out my research papers, which are currently buried in my attic for exact quotes. But I do know of things Mozart said in his letters regarding the left hand falling behind the right. I also recall quotes about Mozart's playing where the audience swooned upon hearing him play his own music. Who has ever done this in modern times?

I will be happy to provide you with quotes, if you will be patient, as I am in the middle of other things.
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#934711 - 07/08/07 06:27 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
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Dear Teachers, Sandy B here again...The question you answered, "Should we play classical piano as closely as possible to what the composer intended from the lineage?" I have posed the question to our classical piano forum just minutes ago. I am anxious to hear their answers. All 30 pages of the teachers answers will be read carefully by me now. I briefed though earlier. Thank all of you again . Sandy B
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#934712 - 07/08/07 09:42 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
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Dear Teachers, Sandy B here and going to bed now so I will sign off tonight . You can give yourselves credit for making a "Golden Girl" lady very happy today. The 30 pages of info you wonderful members have emailed to me, and I printed out, have been read. I will research the excellent information and referrals to others sites. The lineage information was very touching and I treasure...I cannot wait to call my very close friend a piano teacher , Glenn Rapoport, semi retired piano teacher. His dad was a Concertmaster Violinist with the Portland Maine Symphony and one of the founders. Glenn grew up in this wonderful world of music at the concert hall. My dad was a Big Band, Society , band member for years too. We share, both of our dads were professional musicians. We love sharing musicial information and he will love input. I will read to him word for word very soon. Thank you again and good night. Sandy B
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#934713 - 07/09/07 12:39 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Beethoven Fan Offline
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Well Sandy, I would like to take this moment to tell you that you are welcome and I'm glad that my word was worth something. I myself was very pleased with the responses as well and have really thought deeply on the matter and some of answers to questions posed just caused more questions for me to ponder about. That's one thing I love about music, it's so deep and there is so much to explore and speculate that Rachmaninov was right when he said, "Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music."

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#934714 - 07/09/07 04:54 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
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My opinion on this has changed a great deal over the years. When I was a student I was constantly searching for THE correct way to play things. I listened to recordings, read books, followed my teacher’s suggestions etc. All of this was useful and I did well but sometimes I was not sure that my interpretation was right and as a result the performance was not convincing.

I remember the subject of ‘authenticity’ being very prominent at college. It was fashionable to attempt to play as the composer intended. I think this is a modern phenomenon. In the early part of the 20th Century, performers would have played how they wanted to with much less regard to the origins of the music. This is evident when you listen to early recordings. It also shows up in over edited scores. I teach students to adhere to what is on the page by and large but this only works if you use a reliable edition of the music.

It is virtually impossible to be truly authentic when you play on a modern piano. The sound is too far removed from the instruments used at the time of composition. I feel it is more appropriate to use your instrument in a musical way. This is why I use the sustain pedal when playing Bach. If I feel it enhances the music I will use it.

The solution I have found over the years is to go with what you feel. Take the time to gather all the information so that you can make an informed decision. I want my students to listen to my views as an experienced musician, learn about the characteristics of music through time, follow directions from the score etc. Then it is important that they add some of their own personality and individuality to the interpretation. If you try to play in a way which doesn’t suit you it will never work.

By the way, are we talking specifically about the piano or music in general? So much of the repertoire we play on the piano was intended to mimic vocal or instrumental music. You have to take this into consideration if you want to get to the bottom of what the composer was after.
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#934715 - 07/09/07 04:11 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Well said, Chris. I too, use the pedal for Bach in many places (though not to make it muddy), because I think if Bach had a pedal and a modern piano, he'd use it that way. And if it moves the audience, why not? That is the ultimate goal, isn't it? To communicate a feeling or expression to an audience? Even if we happen to be the only audience available. \:\)
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#934716 - 07/09/07 05:13 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
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Dear Morodiene and other Teachers. You have brought a soft smile to this old girls face so often with your responses to extreme laughter, some of you are really fun...The classical member students forum response were very interestig... They know this was asked of you on the Teacher's Forum and they very good sports to enter their thinking. Mostly I wonder if I am correct to now think the high middle road is the standard of the academics herein? Keep the composer in mind but do not be a parrot? I loved this remark. Input please? Thank you in advance for your input. Sandy B
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#934717 - 07/09/07 06:39 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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I think you'll find as many opinions on this as there are pianists \:\) . Do what works for you, and if you perform, what works for your audiences (within reason!). But I think you'll find a lot of people don't go to the extremes of either end of the discussion. Btu we have seen posted here some people who are very strict in adhereing to what they think the composer meant, and the truth of it is, we only have the notes on the page to go by. Perhaps that is a good thing, so we can be free to be musicians as well.
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#934718 - 07/10/07 07:39 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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As a further contribution to this thread, I am posting this interpretation of a very popular and famous Bach Prelude that, I am certain, will have some of you purists ranting and raving at me for defiling Bach's musical intent. However, oddly enough, it makes me, and most people who listen to it, feel very good. I feel the rubato, pedalling and dynamic changes lend it a certain emotional quality that the original is lacking. Maybe, if Bach had had access to the instruments we have available to us today, he might have written more like this.....we'll never know. Anyway, let the fireworks begin:

Bach Prelude #1
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#934719 - 07/10/07 09:27 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
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Hate it!

What is with the pausing at the end of each measure? It just sounds like poor sight reading. Rubato is all about push and pull. The borrowed time should always be payed back at some point and it should be clear what the time signature is.

It even has the extra measure. :rolleyes:

Not for me I am afraid, but if people enjoy it then who am I to argue?
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#934720 - 07/10/07 09:49 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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The pausing at the end of the measure is to allow the listener to hear, and enjoy, the tonal properties and sustain of the piano. Like I said, I knew this would elicit a firestorm, but, so be it..........I happen to hate the original version. Much too rigid and lifeless. But I do appreciate your opinion and input. (By the way, I wasn't sight reading). I do think, however, that this illustrates the difference between people who listen to music to analyze it for virtues or shortcomings, versus those that just "go with the feeling" it evokes. Of course, it can't evoke a good feeling in someone who can't get past its deviations from the "norm". I think that that is what this whole discussion comes down to, which is why I posted this recording.
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#934721 - 07/10/07 12:05 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
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OOOOOps, sorry.

If I had known it was your own recording I would have been much more tactful. In fact it might please you to know that I thought it was a professional recording.

No offence meant.

Aside from the pauses I did not have a problem with the more subtle use of rubato. Let me try to explain my views on the pauses. I feel that a pause is most effective at moments of harmonic tension or when a melodic phrase seems to pose a question. In this case I really feel that the music should be allowed to flow naturally.

If we were to..............

speak like this it................

could be a....................

bit irritating.

I did find moments in the recording, especially at the start, a bit like this.

I also don't think that this piece needs to be played in a boring and lifeless way. Some people seem to feel that baroque music should be very strict and lacking in any expression. "The harpsichord had no dynamic variation so you mustn't use the piano in this way.", is a phrase I have often heard. I could not disagree more. Use the instruments capabilities to the full as long as the result is musical.

You do play very well in general. I am afraid I just didn't find the pauses musical. But you know you can't please everyone. \:\)
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#934722 - 07/10/07 12:20 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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\:\) I took no offence. I appreciate your comments and do understand where you are coming from on this. Thanks.
Dan
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#934723 - 07/10/07 03:21 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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CC2: thank you very much for posting that! I have a few comments.

First, for Chris H.: Actually, rubato means literally to steal. There is no take and give back.

However, I agree that a flow must be kept in a piece, but bravo on the attempt to play this musically. Towards the end, it gets a bit repetitive, however. I quickly made this recording to demonstrate a different way of incorporating rubato (it is by no means definitive, just another view):
http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=EE6FD8560755C568

By the way, this was just a run-through, and not something I practiced, so forgive the mistakes \:\) .
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#934724 - 07/10/07 03:28 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Sorry for the double-post. But Chris H.: we do pause as we speak, but in appropriate places. We need to breathe, or allow a pause for better understanding. If someone spoke with no pauses, it would be harder to understand. Pauses are so important that we allow for them even in writing with commas and other punctuation. I dont mean to pick on you, but I don't think taking pauses is wrong, but it must be appropriately placed. So in a sense, I agree with what you said.
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#934725 - 07/10/07 03:48 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Morodienne, you performance was thoughtful for sure. The top line made by each high note of the figure was inconsistent though. Bach is a world within worlds.
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#934726 - 07/10/07 03:52 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Thanks! Good point about the top line. If I were to seriously record this, I'd make sure that was clearer. \:\)
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#934727 - 07/10/07 03:58 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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The initial half-bar is the beginning of 5 co-existent 1 note tunes. Some also combine to be 2 note themes. 3 note, 4 note and 5 note themes are also there. This is all in half a bar! And must be heard. Then add some affect.
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#934728 - 07/10/07 04:01 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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And how would you add affect exactly?
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#934729 - 07/10/07 04:13 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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By studying the performance practice of the period and Bach's intentions. To do it and not compromise all these tunes is a tall order. Sorry my quick analysis is unintelligible.

I forgot to say thanks for putting your money where your mouth is. We need more of this.
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#934730 - 07/10/07 04:28 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
Sorry for the double-post. But Chris H.: we do pause as we speak, but in appropriate places. We need to breathe, or allow a pause for better understanding. If someone spoke with no pauses, it would be harder to understand. Pauses are so important that we allow for them even in writing with commas and other punctuation. I dont mean to pick on you, but I don't think taking pauses is wrong, but it must be appropriately placed. So in a sense, I agree with what you said. [/b]
Don't worry about it. I couldn't agree more. I was just saying that I don't feel that those pauses were appropriately placed. This is just my opinion of course.

I know that the term 'rubato' means 'robbed' or to steal. However, it isn't just about pausing or slowing the tempo. I believe that good use of rubato should be balanced. A phrase may push on towards the climax and then hold back towards the end. The rhythm and pulse should always be clear though.
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#934731 - 07/10/07 04:38 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
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Loc: UK.
Morodiene, what are your thoughts on the chromatic fantasy? I find the notation for this to be very limited. Different editions vary dramatically. Is it really possible to notate it exactly how it should be played? There is huge potential to deviate from the score.
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#934732 - 07/10/07 07:00 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Chris:
I picked up a coupl eof versions of this piece, one edited by von Bulow, and another less "edited" version. The latter version may not be urtext (edited by Bischoff), but it is a lot less than what's in the Bulow one. One thing I noticed, for eaxmple, was that for the arpeggiated sections where Bach simply wrote the chords and left the arpeggiation up to the performer varied quite a bit between the versions, more rhythmic variations than notes. I prefer the Bischoff version in these sections because it arpeggiate the notes without really giving you rhythmic ideas. This I think provides enough information for me to decide where the rubato should be. The Bulow edition tries to notates the rhythm too precisely.

There are definitely decisions to be made, and I think by consulting with different performances and editions, you can decide for yourself what you like and what you don't like. Sometimes it's tough when you're given too much freedom. \:\)
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#934733 - 07/12/07 11:22 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
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Loc: Manassas,Va
Sandy B here. This is so very fun and educational too. I so appreciate educators, academics etc, who will strive to preserve classical piano music. To me classical piano music is a treasure to hold closely to my heart. Thank you so much for each and every post.
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#934734 - 07/17/07 04:22 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
MA Offline
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Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
By studying the performance practice of the period and Bach's intentions. To do it and not compromise all these tunes is a tall order. Sorry my quick analysis is unintelligible.

I forgot to say thanks for putting your money where your mouth is. We need more of this. [/b]
How do you like this recording?

Back Prelude 1

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#934735 - 07/17/07 07:44 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Well played, and, I'm sure, much closer to the liking of the purists, but, to me, it exemplifies how this music can be technically correct, and still be lifeless and emotionless. The lack of variation in dynamics and timing makes me want to sit and just rock my head side to side like a metronome. Maybe that's what Bach wanted, but it isn't my cup of tea. Mind you, I am not criticizing your playing at all.
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#934736 - 07/17/07 08:24 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
MA, I did not find anything lifeless and emotionless about your recording. In fact I found it delicate, intimate, personal and very beautiful. I heard your variation in dynamics and tempo; they were subtle just as they should be. This music is all about simplicity and I like the way you let it speak for itself.

I really don't like it when performers feel that they have to make dramatic gestures in order to appear expressive. Yes of course it is important to add a touch of your own personality to a performance, but this doesn't mean that you should take liberties by adding things which are not stylistically appropriate or musical. What MA's recording does is transfer this music to the piano, using its resources, in a way which is sympathetic to what the composer might have been trying to achieve. That is what it is all about.
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#934737 - 07/17/07 08:46 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Just for the record, I do not make dramatic gesutres when I play. And there is evidence that Bach intended the playing to be more than just the notes on the page. Most people these days do not go far enough, and so Bach becomes simple-sounding, even though it is most complex.
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#934738 - 07/17/07 09:36 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
btb Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Sorry I came in late ... but couldn’t resist picking up on a Chris H comment ... with which I heartily agree.

There is a right way to play the piano and interpret what the composer wrote ... going rubato balmy as free-thinking CC2 ... in his iconoclastic distortion of the Bach WTC Prelude 1 ... is obviously loopy with his hilarious subjective holding of certain notes ... but then perhaps there are some who like to meddle with one of the axial components ... perhaps CC2 would like to see a jazzed up version of the White House ... a circus mirror grotesque from the addled scrapbook of Xxx Xxxxx.

web page

Crazy like I mean Wow!!

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#934739 - 07/17/07 10:06 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
btb,
Your ignorance is exceeded only by your highly offensive and insulting comments. Comparing me to Xxx Xxxxx, in ANY way, shape or form, is crossing the line. You have NO idea who I am and what I am about, and to personalize this discussion in such an inappropriate way is the mark of a real coward. It is easy to hide behind an anonymous tagline on a website and cast disparaging remarks at someone's integrity. If I had you here in front of me I could guarantee you would not have the courage to say that to my face.
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#934740 - 07/17/07 10:24 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Get real CC2 ... sorry to have unintentionally pressed a button ... but if you muck around with
the music of JS Bach ... perhaps the most respected of all musical composers ... you must
expect flak ... anytime you want to step outside ... be my guest ... I stand 6'2" and weigh
200 lbs and was an international sportsman and played to a 6 golf handicap ... lighten up old chap ... you lit the fuse.

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#934741 - 07/17/07 10:30 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
There's flak and then there's flak "old chap"....and you crossed a line. As far as your attempt at intimidation with your pathetic description of yourself as a big golfer, you would go down so hard and fast, you would hardly have time to know what hit you.
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#934742 - 07/17/07 01:35 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
rintincop Offline
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Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1492
It should be played in a way that expresses something. It should capture the imagination and sound fresh. Dynamics and tempos are negotiable. Nobody is calling for changing the actual notes.
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#934743 - 07/17/07 02:19 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Thank you for that voice of reason. You may not like my version, but at least you are open to adding some variation. These folks that are so riled up at the fact that I have violated Bach's intent for his music can't seem to reconcile the fact that they violate his intent every time they play his music on a modern piano. Having had no availability of a truly comparable instrument in his day, he could not have intended his music for one. So, technically speaking, they are all just as guilty as I am. The big difference is, I am fully aware that this is not the way Bach intended the piece to be played, AND, I am fully capable of playing it conventionally. I just don't think that it was such a big deal to post the recording that I did. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think I'd be compared to Bin Laden for doing so. People on this site can be REALLY whacky sometimes.
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#934744 - 07/17/07 04:25 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
 Quote:
Originally posted by CC2 and Chopin lover:
These folks that are so riled up at the fact that I have violated Bach's intent for his music can't seem to reconcile the fact that they violate his intent every time they play his music on a modern piano.
[/b]
CC2, I sincerely hope that you do not feel that I think anything of the kind. You are free to do whatever you like with Bach's music. I never said that you have violated his intent. If you re-read my posts on this thread you will see that it was only the use of dramatic pauses in your recordings that I did not agree with. The reasons I gave for this were nothing to do with what the composer intended. I have no problem whatsoever with anyone adding variation in dynamics, tempo, articulation, ornamentation, pedal etc. In fact, if you are to play this music on the piano (which I prefer) then there is no reason why you shouldn't make full use of its expressive capibilities. Listen again to the recording posted by MA. All of these pianistic qualities are present, they are just a little more subtle. If I prefer this style of playing it doesn't make me a bad person and it certainly does not make me 'whacky'. There was no need for btb to insult you in the way that he did. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, that's what makes these forums so great.
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#934745 - 07/17/07 05:30 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Honestly, I didn't hear any expressive qualities in MA's recording, unless your definition of expression are dynamics and voicing. Those things are good and necessary skills, but there's so much more to expression than just those two. Why would anyone think Bach played only what he wrote on the page, and nothing more? Wouldn't he have interpreted his own music, and expected that of other performers of his music?
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#934746 - 07/17/07 05:43 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
There is also so much more to expression than simply playing out of time.

Nobody said anything about playing only what is on the page. This is a starting point. It is the job of the performer to give a musical and stylistically appropriate interpretation. I am afraid that there are limits and boundaries to this. If you start changing this that and the other then will you not reach the point where you are no longer playing the same composition?
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#934747 - 07/17/07 06:02 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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No one suggested that chaos is the ultimate goal. Everything must be done in taste. If it helps clarify the context of the music, then it is beneficial. If it confuses the context, then it is too far. My point is that many do not go far enough, and the result is making Bach sound simple, and he is anything but. As a result, much of the detail and context is lost.
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#934748 - 07/17/07 06:08 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
Everything must be done in taste. If it helps clarify the context of the music, then it is beneficial. If it confuses the context, then it is too far. [/b]
Are we not saying the same thing here?
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#934749 - 07/17/07 06:17 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Chris H.:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
Everything must be done in taste. If it helps clarify the context of the music, then it is beneficial. If it confuses the context, then it is too far. [/b]
Are we not saying the same thing here? [/b]
I don't think so, simply because my manifestation of what I call expressive is very different from yours, if you think that MA's recording was "enough."
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#934750 - 07/17/07 06:31 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Chris,
I don't count you as one of those who are totally inflexible regarding this subject, but I do happen to agree with Morodiene's perspective on it. I guess that's evident by the way that I played it. I readily admit that my recording pushed the boundaries way past the point that it could still be called "Baroque", or anything else, for that matter. But, sometimes, it's just enjoyable to stir the pot and see what comes out. The way I figure, as long as no one was paying to hear it played the "right" way, I wasn't doing anything that warranted the response it elicited from some people. I completely understand that it was not your cup of tea. Vive la difference!
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#934751 - 07/17/07 06:42 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
My point is that many do not go far enough, and the result is making Bach sound simple, and he is anything but. As a result, much of the detail and context is lost. [/b]
In the case of the C Major prelude I think 'simple' is exactly what Bach was after. Of course he was able to produce the most complex and intricate music but this is not it. It is a simple but beatiful harmonic progression. It doesn't need to be pulled about to make it work. Now, I know that doesn't mean you should play as if the metronome was ticking away. There is room for a little push when the harmonic tension builds, or a slight delay at the start of a new phrase, or a tasteful dwelling on a cadence etc. I think MA did this. For me, it was enough. For some it may not be enough. No interpretation can please everyone.
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#934752 - 07/17/07 06:45 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
CC2, I am glad you did post your recording.
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#934753 - 07/18/07 11:45 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
What is your opinion on this recording? ;\)

http://www.box.net/shared/75kp2s6p8l
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#934754 - 07/18/07 11:50 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
It sounds weird to me.

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#934755 - 07/18/07 12:33 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
It starts out with a playful affect, but then due to the repetition of the slur & staccato motif, it loses its effectiveness (or should I say Affectiveness? \:D ). An interesting interpretation, but similar to a child who says something funny and repeats it over and over again in hopes of getting the same response from the adults, only to find it is an exercise in diminishing returns. Towards the end you vary from this motif, which then brings interest back, and then return to the staccato right before the final cadenza. I would recommend more variations, but not too many as to be chaotic, but perhaps 3 or 4 more so it doesn't become pedestrian.

Of course, articulations are only one means by which someone can vary an otherwise repetitive pattern. You also worked with dynamics (a necessity), but also the timing of the 16th notes was quite predictable even after the first 2 measures. By varying that one can emphasize important scale degrees and harmonies better, create tension and release, etc.

What do *you* think about it, Chris H.?
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#934756 - 07/18/07 12:51 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
OK, I have to come clean...........it's not my recording! I wonder if anybody can tell who the mystery performer is?????????

Personally, I am not keen on this interpretation for exactly the reasons you pointed out morodiene. Although I do think that this pianist is amazing in many respects. It does just go to show that there is more than one way to skin a cat.
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#934757 - 07/18/07 12:53 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
By the way, even if I had the equipment or knowhow to record myslef I am not sure I would be brave enough to put it under public scrutiny. So I have to say very well done to ALL those who did.
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#934758 - 07/18/07 01:25 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Hmm, Glenn Gould? Although it seems pretty slow for him ;\) . There *are* many ways to do things (I prefer not to skin cats...they're so darn cute!), and this is what makes performing written music so much fun, finding your own interpretation of the notes on the page.
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#934759 - 07/18/07 02:24 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Got it in one. \:D

Sorry, I should've known by your avatar not to mention skinning cats. I too have a cat who would prefer not to be skinned.

It was interesting that you mentioned 'childlike' when describing Gould's playing. I always got the impression that he thought the preludes were a bit twee, especially this one. Maybe he is playing in a childish way deliberately? I agree that that articulation gets rather predictable after a few bars. I would not have dared tell him that though.
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#934760 - 07/18/07 02:42 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by Chris H.:

I have no problem whatsoever with anyone adding variation in dynamics, tempo, articulation, ornamentation, pedal etc. In fact, if you are to play this music on the piano (which I prefer) then there is no reason why you shouldn't make full use of its expressive capibilities. Listen again to the recording posted by MA. All of these pianistic qualities are present, they are just a little more subtle. [/b]
Chris, you truely understands what Bach (and this prelude of his) is all about. Your students are in good hands.

Bach was a very religious and conservative man. This prelude should be played more or less like the recording I have posted. It should sound peaceful. Rubato has no place in this piece, IMO.

One can jazz it up anyway he or she wants, but don't say that's what Bach intended. If one thinks it's boring, then play another piece or compose one of his or her own.

Here is another recording:

Schumann Traumerei

What do you all think of it?

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#934761 - 07/18/07 03:27 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
MA Offline
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Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by Chris H.:
Rubato is all about push and pull. The borrowed time should always be payed back at some point and it should be clear what the time signature is. [/b]
Bingo. Tempo rubato is defined as "a practice common in Romantic compositions of taking part of the duration from one note and giving it to another. It involves the performer tastefully stretching, slowing, or hurrying the tempo as she/he sees fit, thus imparting flexibility and emotion to the performance."

Liszt said of Chopin's rubato, "See that tree? See how the leaves move yet the shape stays the same?" It's said that Chopin played the accompaniment (usually left hand) with a strict, metronome tempo while playing the main melody with rubato. He only used rubato for romantic music but didn't use it when playing Bach and classical music.

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#934762 - 07/18/07 03:57 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
Honestly, I didn't hear any expressive qualities in MA's recording, unless your definition of expression are dynamics and voicing. Those things are good and necessary skills, but there's so much more to expression than just those two. [/b]
Such as? Rubato? Why don't you post a recording to demonstrate them? You can post another recording of your own playing. It's a short, intermediate-leve piece, and a good piano teacher can sight read it.

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#934763 - 07/18/07 04:47 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2125
Loc: Pennsylvania
With the turn this topic has taken I think the discussion would fare better in the Pianist forum. A closed copy will remain here.
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