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#965115 - 10/16/05 05:19 PM How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
I'm performing the Prelude and Fugue No. 2 in C Minor, WTC I at my musicology audition next month... so here it is:

http://www.savefile.com/files.php?fid=4820271

(recorded 16 October 2005)


I'm also preparing Beethoven's Sonata No. 6 in F Major, Op. 10 No. 2 - I. Allegro:

http://www.savefile.com/files.php?fid=2556921

(recorded 17 October 2005)


Enjoy! (and comments appreciated, as always)
_________________________
Sam

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#965116 - 10/16/05 09:34 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Well, I had wanted to download the sheet music to follow along, so that I could give a detailed and informed response since this is for an audition, but alas, the sheetmusicarchives lists everything in the WTC by # and not by name. So, I only have the ears to go by.

First, let me say that it was good, and that you certainly are fortunate enough to have the brass to post the file here. ;\)

Now, I would like to say that it could be much better, given the talent I hear underneath the notes. If you listen to the recording, there are places (closer to the beginning of the track) where your hands play unevenly...that is, your left hand and right hand to not play together. I'm not sure if this very small separation is intended, should be removed, or should be increased, but the way it is currently played makes it sound like it is not intended. (I do not have the score, and as we've discussed, I'm not the biggest Bach fan.)

I think if you can fix just this one little thing, you'll nail the piece. \:\)

Also, I would like to say the following, in as loud a voice as possible:

POST THE BLOODY BEETHOVEN! ;\)
(I have the score for it, and am familiar with it, though I've never played it. But we could have a better discussion of it than the Bach. Some of the other posters will have to be more helpful with him.) ;\)
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#965117 - 10/16/05 10:01 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Haha, alright. Tomorrow I will post the Beethoven. I'm not perfectly happy with the recording I made this weekend, but I might post it anyway. Or else I'll record it again in the morning.


I knew someone would comment about the uneveness. \:\) That's the first thing that jumped to my mind when I first listened to this recording. You're right - I think if I can get this very even, then it will sound much, much better.
_________________________
Sam

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#965118 - 10/16/05 10:19 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Ugh...you're going to make me wait until tomorrow?! (What about a private screening? :p I'll send you a recording I made back in high school of the Friska from the Hungarian No 2 and you can tear that up. ;\) )
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#965119 - 10/16/05 10:36 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Suz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/05
Posts: 269
Loc: Midwest
Hi Sam, thanks for posting your recording! I have very fond memories of these pieces. \:\)
Just a couple of suggestions (to take or leave)-- I think of the prelude in 2 big beats per bar instead of 4. I think it sounds less like a finger exercise if you don't emphasize the thumbs so much. Also, to make it more interesting, you might consider putting in some tiered dynamics. In the fugue, you might think about making the articulation consistent (as possible) each time the fugue theme is stated.

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#965120 - 10/16/05 11:11 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Thanks, Suz.

You guys must know my teacher... There are two main issues with this prelude that we've been working on: (1) evenness and (2) not emphasizing the thumbs so much.

\:D


I love the fugue. I'll pay a bit more attention to the articulations.
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Sam

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#965121 - 10/17/05 01:58 AM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Yes, he called us and asked us to comment specifically on those two issues. And he said that you're late on your payments... :p ;\)
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#965122 - 10/17/05 08:39 AM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Suz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/05
Posts: 269
Loc: Midwest
\:D
I noticed the thumb thing mainly because my teacher has been trying to work with me on voicing. It ain't easy! trying to get my fingers under control after such a long break. Don't ever quit!

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#965123 - 10/18/05 12:18 AM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Ah, I missed the Beethoven because I didn't see the update! ;\) Let's walk through the piece (in an abbreviated fashion):

I thought you had good over all pacing. I like very much the quality you brought to it at the tempo you played it...more dance-like, a little bouncy... "bum-Bum" and then the light response, "diddle-e-um". (I can't say how I would play it myself, but I liked the pace I heard.)

One thing I think you need to get control of is touch. (I noticed this in the Appassionata, too.) Yes, Beethoven likes things loud. But there is such a thing as slamming the keys, and it would seem you definitely borderline on this in some cases. (Now, it could very easily be a harsh recording giving it a harsh sound...but only you can speak to that, since I only have the recording to base my opinions from.) I think taking a little off the 'edge' may help you get a better sound quality.

Along with sound quality comes balance, which is especially important now that larger groups of chords are being introduced (moving away from Bach and moving lines, and into chords and color). You'll have to start hearing the release of the chords, which is usually the release point of tension in the chord (dissonance to harmonic resolution). As you hit these large chords, keep in mind that the treble will stick out much more than the base (and this is especially true of harsh recordings), so you have to fit each sound into the lowest note to balance the chords. (There are times to modify it, but in general, this is one way balance is achieved.)

Now, look at measures 30-35. I think you use too much pedal here, especially with the rests. The sustain blows through the rests in the right hand. Looking at the same measures, notice now the reverse stem in the left hand. You bring these notes out well. The trouble is, you bring every other note out with the left hand just as well. Try to concentrate on subduing the rest of the chord in favor of the initial note... "BUM-do-do-do-do-do, BUM-do-do-do-do-do".

Don't forget that p and pp, while they have piano in the word, are not telling you what instrument to play. :p ;\) I would actually probably make the pp's, ppp's in your case, and the ff's into f's. (Of course, this is all based on the recording, which may or may not be at fault.)


Now, I think you have a very good handle on this movement. It's going to sound good when you play it. Continue to work out those little things, and the more little things you can work out, the better it will sound.

Also, if you wouldn't mind...how do you hear it in your head? If you could describe it with words, what would you say about how you want to play it? (You can describe a scene, a style, an idea...anything more than "well, softly"...what kind of soft? A little kid sneaking around the house at night? A mouse tapping along the wood? A muffled snore? etc.) This will help give me a better idea of whether or not what you hear/want to play is actually coming through your fingers. \:\)
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#965124 - 10/18/05 06:07 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Thanks, Derulux. That's great.


I'm not sure I can tell you exactly how I would like to hear the piece, because I'm not sure I really do know exactly how I would like to hear the piece! I have to think about it.
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Sam

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#965125 - 10/18/05 07:29 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Well, get back to me when you figger' it out. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#965126 - 10/18/05 08:07 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
I'm studying Neuhaus's book, The Art of Piano Playing. The first chapter is called "The Artistic Image of a Musical Composition."

Evidently, Neuhaus saw "artistic image", "interpretation", etc. as the most important factor of performance. As he writes in the preface, "In order to speak and to be entitled to be heard it is essential not only to know how to speak, but first of all to have something to say."
_________________________
Sam

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#965127 - 10/20/05 06:24 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Allazart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 389
Do you have a harpsichord stop on your piano!? \:D
It also has that twanginess to it that seems to suit your playing of Bach.

I don't usually comment on member recordings becuase I don't think some people like that anyway. However since you say you welcome comments I'll oblige :-p

Here goes...

Overall, I enjoyed your prelude and fugue. I liked the drive during the faster part of the prelude towards the end and I liked your handling of the ending. The tempo reduction at that point was organic and the sound was an expressive cantabile. Pretty!

I liked your tempo in the fugue. I think it was perfect. Not too impetutous and not dragging either. It sounded like a dance, which is the way I think it should sound.

Finally, here's something I didn't like. The articulation of the subject was a bit inconsistent. For example, the 3rd and 4th notes of the subject (2 quavers leaping down a fourth) were sometimes played legato and sometimes detached. I'd play the quavers in the subject more detached all the time they appear, the semiquavers more legato. That's just my preference but I think you might like the effect. Whatever you decide to do, I think you should do it consistently.

Good luck with the auditions and keep up the work!

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#965128 - 10/20/05 06:25 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Allazart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 389
Haven't listened to the sonata yet

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#965129 - 10/20/05 06:41 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Thanks Allazart.

I actually had a huge eye-opener this week. I was playing the fugue for my teacher, and afterwards he asked me to play a particular section. I couldn't do it. He asked for me to play just the left hand. I couldn't do it. Even with the score in front of me, I couldn't play it hands separate, and I couldn't play it hands together starting anywhere except for the beginning.

So this week I've been working a lot on hands separate work, and beginning at different points in the piece, always with the score in front of me. The other big shock: when I try to play from the score now, I notice how many wrong notes I had learned! (and how many notes/rhythms that I altered or even added in)

I've been working pretty hard on it this week, and now I can play the whole thing hands separate, and I can start from several places hands together. I think I should have much more control now over articulations: before I was sort of operating on auto-pilot, which isn't so great!
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Sam

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#965130 - 10/20/05 09:22 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
I don't usually comment on member recordings becuase I don't think some people like that anyway.
See, and I would find it more disconcerting if no one said anything. ;\)

 Quote:
I think I should have much more control now over articulations: before I was sort of operating on auto-pilot, which isn't so great!
Yeah, I sat my whole life on auto-pilot, and only in the last few months have begun to undo that damage (since the 2nd week of July). I've made progress, but there's a lot of clean-up left.

Let this new control settle a few days, and then re-record it... not only will it give you a better idea what's 'left', but I'll get to listen to it again. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#965131 - 10/20/05 09:27 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Well, I'd record it again in a few days, but...

All of the recording equipment that I used is at my parents' house, and I'm not at my parents' house anymore... ;\)

I am going home for Thanksgiving, though - so perhaps I'll record it again during the week of Thanksgiving.
_________________________
Sam

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#965132 - 10/21/05 12:39 AM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Rock. I'll be waiting...and hopefully sober...by then. :p ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#965133 - 10/30/05 01:51 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
troglodyte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 259
Loc: Uppsala, Sweden
The Beethoven: Wow, well done, that's quite a lot of energy you put into this piece which is often played much more mildly. I can almost hear the young Beethoven struggling to make career and show all he is the best!

Having said this I have to agree with derelux that you could work on your touch to make it even better. You might try it a little slower just to take better control of it (though I like your tempo). Also, you overuse the pedal at places making it muddier than it needs be.

In the beginning, note that the two first chords are staccato - it sounds as if you pedal the second one. I wouldn't mind it played portato but holding it as long as you do changes the mood of the piece (of course, that might be what you want). Also the first note in m 2 (the "um" in the "diddle-e-um" is staccato, I think you accent it and in similar places too much. In general your phrasing is quite rough, and you could get more melodic by playing the last tone of a phrase more softly - what you do sounds terribly aggressive (again, that might be how you want it to come out). Just an example: in m 17 you really slam down the phrase endings. I get the feeling of you towering over me, staring me in the eye and daring me to move!

In ms 41-43, watch the middle note in the RH arpeggios, it is easily lost. A good exercise could be to play the outer notes pp and the middle note f. Also here it sounds is if you rush it, giving a feeling of terror rather than power.

m 54 RH A sounds as if it played simultaneously with the LH chord.

In the coda watch the articulation of the LH, some notes get lost!

m 77 has fp, and I hear the f but not really the p - you could strive for more contrast. Same for m 83

On the whole I like the development, it is the best part of the piece and your power is well brought out. The recapitulation has the same issues as the exposition.

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#965134 - 10/30/05 02:00 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Thanks, troglodyte. I appreciate your great advice. \:\)


One thing that I like a lot about this sonata is that, to me, it seems very prankish (not Prokofiev-type mischief, but silly). For example, the beginning seems so light and pleasant - but then there are big rinf chords at 14-15 and loud m. 16-17, followed by some very lively (contrasting) progressions. Then it's sweet again in mm. 38-40, but then mm. 41-45 are the same thing in the minor key, with more notes, and fortissimo! Then it's somewhat playful and happy in the coda, but then the development is more serious (but the cadential motif is so ridiculous!)

This constant switching between moods is so brilliantly worked in, so it does seem like one big movement, but it's just so fun with all of the stark contrasts.
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Sam

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#965135 - 10/30/05 05:45 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
*pops in to say hello*

Hello.

*wonders where the 'few days later' recording is*

Hey, where's that 'few days later' recording you said you were thinking about making?

;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#965136 - 10/30/05 07:17 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Sam,

You're doing some nice things with the Bach. There's not much for me to say here because Allazart and troglodyte said it perfectly.

The Beethoven, I don't want to hurt feelings, so take this anyway you wish. You need to work on it a lot more. For starters I would slow down some, and make sure those notes are secure. I had a feeling you were rushing all the way through. There were some big snafus so you might want to go back over those sections some more.

The other thing too is your LH was too loud. I'm not sure if it was the placement of the microphone, your piano, or your left hand.

When playing the chords, try to blance them. Play the outsides of the chords so that the middle goes a long for the ride. The middle notes are played, but softer, and they add to the harmonics rather than make the chords crashy. This takes some practice, but once you do it, you'll be in heaven.

As the others have said, I find your dynamics to be a bit over done. I know Beethoven liked abrupt changes, but this was a bit too much. The sforzandos should be stressed rather than straight out FF or F. Think of them as little points rather than mountain peaks.

This is a great sonata. I've never offially worked on it, but I've played through it a number of times. When you get this under your fingers, you'll really enjoy it especially the last movement that is so much like the works of his teacher Haydn.

John
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#965137 - 10/30/05 08:59 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Derulux -

I said "Well, I'd record it again in a few days, but..." \:D

All of my recording equipment is at my parents' house, and I'm not there for another couple weeks. So maybe when I go home for Thanksgiving, I'll record again (I promise that both of the pieces will be MUCH more polished by then... plus the Grieg, too. And maybe some Bach inventions. You'll really get your ears' worth of music from me! :p )


John -

Thanks a lot for your advice here. I appreciate it. I think the loudness of the left hand is because of my left hand, not the recording or piano. It's something that I try to work on, but I get so frustrated because it's really hard to learn how to play fast and soft! I've been working quite a bit on chord tone and evenness, so hopefully with some more work the chords will sound a bit better (they already sound better... so I'm getting there!)
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Sam

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#965138 - 10/30/05 09:10 PM Re: How about some Bach? (and Beethoven, too)
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
You'll really get your ears' worth of music from me!
That's what I'm going for. ;\)


If I had good recording equipment and a good piano, I'd record some stuff and send you links, but alas...I don't.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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