Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some advice!

Posted by: DieSchoneMullerin

Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some advice! - 01/02/13 11:55 PM

I'm struggling with some awkward phrases here and there. Don't know if a lot of people play the D960.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some advice! - 01/03/13 12:08 AM

Depends what you mean by "lots."
And also "play"!

Anyway.... smile lots of people here have played through it, and probably lots also have worked on it, at least a bit.

BTW the casualness of your post makes for a somewhat humorous contrast with the nature of the piece! Including that while indeed many of the parts are awkward to play, the main challenges of the piece are musical, not technical. This is one of the most profound and elusive works in the entire piano literature. But no matter.....good luck with it!
Posted by: DonaldLee

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some advice! - 01/03/13 09:59 AM

I haven't worked on it yet, but I can offer a couple broad tips that are definitely relevant to this work. 1) Remember to maintain a transparent, string quartet-like texture throughout the work, no matter how harmonically thick/complex it gets. 2) Really taper Schubert's phrases. That alone adds a lot of depth to this work. Finally remember that unless you are really connected to the work and trying to convey a message with all of your pianistic might, the first movement of this piece WILL put the average non-musical audience to sleep. I have heard this piece in a recital 3 times so far. I was bored to near sleepiness in the first two instances, but the pianists weren't particularly good. The third time, it was being played by Benjamin Moser (AMAZING pianist), and I was on the edge of my seat from the first note onward.

Edit: I'm not trying to say that most performances of this are boring, nor am I saying that yours will be, I'm just stressing the importance of musical interpretation with this work. It doesn't speak on its own. Best of luck, and happy practicing!

Donald Lee III
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some advice! - 01/03/13 01:03 PM

I think you really need to say more about what you feel you're struggling with and what you need advice on. (Donald's post is excellent but I think maybe it doesn't address what you were after.)

BTW, why I say "feel": Because with a piece like this, often people are struggling with more than they realize! smile
But what you feel you're struggling with would be a good start.

Donald: For example, I think especially the part about the phrasing is at a further level than what he's asking at this point. And BTW I think if we were getting into that, we'd have to talk about a lot more than "tapering," but sure, that's an example of the kind of thing we could get into.
Posted by: DonaldLee

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some advice! - 01/03/13 02:17 PM

It's true that tapering is just the beginning of good phrasing, but it's hard to describe what to do with a phrase. For me, I have to be breathing with the music and pretend that I'm blowing through the phrase. It also helps to imagine another instrument playing. Sometimes I also think about phrasing as playing in the natural decay of the piano.

And Mark, I definitely agree that it would help to know what exactly the OP is struggling with. Your point about struggling with more than what we realize is so true also. The more we know, the more we have to know!
Posted by: DieSchoneMullerin

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some advice! - 01/03/13 02:20 PM

@MarkC
Haha yeah I can see why my post might have come off as humorous grin The D960 is so deep, and there are so many contrasting interpretations (personal favorites: the classic slow tempo Richter and an underrated interpretation by Alicia de Larrocha).

From my experiences, his pieces appear simple - it's mostly a combination of simple baseline + melody, but there's always that "feel" to it that every pianist has to get right in order to achieve a certain "Schubertian" mood.

@DonaldLee
I totally agree with you on the interpretation part. The D960 is a subtle beast. Playing certain notes too hard or too soft can really ruin the mood of the whole sonata. From my experiences learning the D960, certain passages need to be played with just the right dynamics, otherwise the pianist would sound like a MIDI player.

And recently I'm not so sure about being connected to the piece, I've been listening to too much Creedence Clearwater XD. I want to hear someone play it live so bad, but there are never any concerts around here frown.
Posted by: DieSchoneMullerin

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some advice! - 01/03/13 02:25 PM

I'm having trouble with this awkward passage on the right hand starting at Bar 29. I have to use my RH pinky and ring fingers to play the first set of sixteenth notes in that passage, and it feels "weak". Like I said if anyone has experience playing the sonata, especially this part, I'd like to know what your fingerings are.

Posted by: jeffreyjones

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some advice! - 01/03/13 05:51 PM

I'd almost have to use 5-3 for those. It's not a difficult passage, though, and as I recall it's played piano. If it feels too weak, more likely your left hand is too loud.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some advice! - 01/03/13 10:06 PM

Indeed, that's tricky. smile

What Jeffrey said certainly works, but....I think this is a great example of how fingerings can be influenced by musical decisions -- and I think 5-4 could be quite fine. Ideally, fingering decisions aren't only about how the notes lay out; they're also about how you think of the passage and how you're going to be playing it.

You say the fingering feels "weak." I think I would want to play it "weak" (just talking about that first set that you talked about), in order to have lots of room to build from it. In order to make that work, you'd need to play the accompanying LH notes very soft (related to what Jeffrey also said). I've worked on the piece some, and that's how I've generally done it (and using 5-4). If I thought I might want to play that set more strongly, I'd definitely use 5-3 -- but I don't think I'd ever think of it that way.

This is also a great example of how deceptively complex and difficult this piece is. We could probably have a similar discussion about almost every note of the piece, and in most cases, probably an argument. grin


Edit: Forget what I said. ha
I played around with it a little more, and I think I might use the 5-3 fingering suggested by Jeffrey no matter how I want to play the passage. But 5-4 can work well also, provided you're conceiving of that beat as "weak."
Posted by: currawong

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/03/13 11:28 PM

Originally Posted By: DieSchoneMullerin
I have to use my RH pinky and ring fingers to play the first set of sixteenth notes in that passage...
Like others, I use 5-3 here. Why do you say you "have to" use 5-4?
Posted by: DieSchoneMullerin

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 01:02 AM

Whoops I was gonna say I use RH 5-3 to play the first set of 16th notes... no way I can' play RH 5-4 LOL.

Anyway it definitely feels "weak" in that I can't play it fast - I feel like my pinky has a speed limit. Another thing is that I'm used to playing the LH part loudly, so I'll definitely work on that based on your suggestions. The LH leap is definitely tricky to play softly.

>"This is also a great example of how deceptively complex and difficult this piece is. We could probably have a similar discussion about almost every note of the piece, and in most cases, probably an argument. "

I totally agree. This is such an awesome piano piece. Fun Fact: the fastest and slowest performances (that I've found) of the first movement are: Horowitz@13:08 and Afanassiev@28:27
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 01:21 AM

Originally Posted By: DieSchoneMullerin
....Anyway it definitely feels "weak" in that I can't play it fast - I feel like my pinky has a speed limit. Another thing is that I'm used to playing the LH part loudly, so I'll definitely work on that based on your suggestions.....

A couple of things:

-- Once you're playing the LH softer (I mean MUCH softer), the RH will automatically be 100 times less hard.

-- Rotate! smile
Play the 5-3 squiggle as much by rotating the hand back and forth as with the fingers; maybe more by rotating than with the fingers. That'll make it another 100 times less hard.

Let's see....we're up to 10,000 times less hard. That oughta do it. ha

Quote:
Fun Fact: the fastest and slowest performances (that I've found) of the first movement are: Horowitz@13:08 and Afanassiev@28:27

Things aren't always what they seem, not even facts. smile

I never heard of the second guy and don't know the recording, and I don't recall exactly what Horowitz does (although I have it on LP), but I'd bet the proverbial dollars-to-donuts that the disparity in their speeds isn't nearly that great, and that there's a fly in the ointment.

Won't say what it is. grin
I'll leave it for others to guess. I think most people reading this who know the piece will instantly know what I'm talking about.

And that they'd bet the same dollars to donuts on it.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 07:10 AM

Originally Posted By: DieSchoneMullerin
Fun Fact: the fastest and slowest performances (that I've found) of the first movement are: Horowitz@13:08 and Afanassiev@28:27
But Horowitz doesn't play the repeat right?
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 12:54 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: DieSchoneMullerin
Fun Fact: the fastest and slowest performances (that I've found) of the first movement are: Horowitz@13:08 and Afanassiev@28:27
But Horowitz doesn't play the repeat right?

BINGOOOOOOOO!! grin

I mean, I don't know for sure -- but that has to be it.

Not even facts are always what they seem. smile

There are some similar comments on a youtube post of Rachmaninoff playing Chopin's E minor Waltz -- a bit of oooh-ing and ahh-ing about how he plays this 3 minute piece in just 2 minutes, until somebody points out that he doesn't take repeats. I mean, it's still true that he takes a fast tempo, but not that much faster than others.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 01:23 PM

Does anyone play the first movement slower than Kissin?

Regards,
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 01:28 PM

Originally Posted By: BruceD
Does anyone play the first movement slower than Kissin?

I haven't heard Kissin in the Schubert, but I couldn't possibly imagine that it could be slower than Richter without the music coming to a complete standstill and lasting as long as the 2nd act of Walkure.
Posted by: ScriabinAddict

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 01:28 PM

Originally Posted By: BruceD
Does anyone play the first movement slower than Kissin?

Regards,

Richter grin

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
but I couldn't possibly imagine that it could be slower than Richter without the music coming to a complete standstill and lasting as long as the 2nd act of Walkure.

It's nearly Richter's speed, maybe a Tad Bit faster.
Posted by: dolce sfogato

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 06:32 PM

in D.960 Richter was insane, unmusically slow and rigid at that, he was probably making fun of his audience, and with a good deal of succes, but come on, who likes this really?
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 07:40 PM

Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
... but come on, who likes this really?

What is it about this piece which brings out the most perverse insanity?

Methinks the 'Molto Moderato' was a huge miscalculation on Schubert's part, it doesn't really mean anything at all, but I'll be damned if Schubert thought of it as an Adagio Sostenuto. Beethoven would never have been so sloppy, but OTH, Schubert was too busy writing too much music.

Sort of like the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. All the trouble that has caused, and will continue to do so, but at least with Schubert we aren't dealing with... well, never mind.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 08:56 PM

Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
in D.960 Richter was insane, unmusically slow and rigid at that, he was probably making fun of his audience, and with a good deal of succes, but come on, who likes this really?


It's not just in D960 (1) that Richter was very slow in: he's also very slow in almost all Schubert which isn't fast grin - like the Moments musicaux D780 No.2 & 6 and Sonata in G, D894 (1), which is monumentally slow. It might be his vision of Schubert as a valedictory composer......
Posted by: DieSchoneMullerin

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 09:06 PM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
... but come on, who likes this really?

What is it about this piece which brings out the most perverse insanity?

Methinks the 'Molto Moderato' was a huge miscalculation on Schubert's part, it doesn't really mean anything at all, but I'll be damned if Schubert thought of it as an Adagio Sostenuto. Beethoven would never have been so sloppy, but OTH, Schubert was too busy writing too much music.

Sort of like the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. All the trouble that has caused, and will continue to do so, but at least with Schubert we aren't dealing with... well, never mind.


From my experiences, D960 pianists who diverge from Molto Moderato get a lot of controversy but also popularity, with Richter being the prime suspect. Pianists who stick with molto moderato never get any attention, so there are a lot of underrated D960's out there like De Larrocha's.

Adding to the topic of recordings, I wanted to say that Horowitz's interpretation sounded bad to me - I feel like he missed the whole point of the sonata (which in my opinion is to create that "Schubertian" mood). Horowitz's unpredictable improv doesn't work well for the D960.

EDIT: errors
Posted by: DieSchoneMullerin

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 09:10 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
in D.960 Richter was insane, unmusically slow and rigid at that, he was probably making fun of his audience, and with a good deal of succes, but come on, who likes this really?


It's not just in D960 (1) that Richter was very slow in: he's also very slow in almost all Schubert which isn't fast grin - like the Moments musicaux D780 No.2 & 6 and Sonata in G, D894 (1), which is monumentally slow. It might be his vision of Schubert as a valedictory composer......


Haha I remember watching Richter's D894 on youtube. Worth watching if you have a whole day to kill grin
Posted by: DieSchoneMullerin

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 09:15 PM

Also on the topic on Schubert, I'd like to say that Kempff's Complete Schubert Piano Sonata cycle is in my opinion THE Schubert recording to own. It personally introduced me to D960 and a host of underrated piano pieces like D459 and D894.
Posted by: thomwalao

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 10:11 PM

And BTW I think if we were getting into that, we'd have to talk about a lot more than "tapering," but sure, that's an example of the kind of thing we could get into.
Posted by: DonaldLee

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 10:21 PM

Wallace, is there any particular reason that you've been copy/pasting responses all day?

On topic: I can't listen to Richter's first movement. But I agree with DieSchoneMullerin. He gets a lot of "recognition" for having such a slow first movement. I can give him credit for maintaining such a high level of concentration (at least I hope he's concentrating) throughout the sonata, seeing as it takes him 48 minutes to play.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 10:39 PM

Originally Posted By: DonaldLee
Wallace, is there any particular reason that you've been copy/pasting responses all day?

Huh....no wonder it looked familiar! grin
Posted by: Chopinlover49

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 10:41 PM

I think Richter played a lot of pieces slower than most would expect, especially the Rach 2, but some prefer this. I feel the D960 played by Wilhelm Kempff was the best recording I have heard (and I have heard a lot of them!) His playing is mesmerizing. This piece is sublime and I think he loved it as much as I do.
Posted by: DieSchoneMullerin

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/05/13 11:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Chopinlover49
I think Richter played a lot of pieces slower than most would expect, especially the Rach 2, but some prefer this. I feel the D960 played by Wilhelm Kempff was the best recording I have heard (and I have heard a lot of them!) His playing is mesmerizing. This piece is sublime and I think he loved it as much as I do.


I like that you used the world mesmerizing to describe Kempff's playing. I think that's the perfect word to describe his Schubert interpretations.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/06/13 12:45 AM

Brendel (whose Schubert I generally admire) is also very fine in the D960, but modifies the 'heavenly lengths' in bypassing the exposition repeat. He has his reasons -and has written brilliantly in defense- but I've never been entirely convinced.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/06/13 01:14 AM

Notwithstanding my love for every note of the piece, IMO the only reason to consider taking the repeat in public performance would be to not waste the great 1st ending.

I think that for what it's worth, if we polled AUDIENCES who come to concerts where the piece is to be played, the vote on whether to take the repeat would be pretty heavily nay.

BTW depending on the performer, I might vote yea. grin
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/06/13 01:19 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Notwithstanding my love for every note of the piece, IMO the only reason to consider taking the repeat in public performance would be to not waste the great 1st ending.

thumb

Quote:
I think that for what it's worth, if we polled AUDIENCES who come to concerts where the piece is to be played, the vote on whether to take the repeat would be pretty heavily nay.

What do they know? wink
Posted by: btb

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/06/13 02:59 AM

After having played through the opening 24 measures a few times ... (utter agony) ...
I am reminded why I avoid Schubert like the plague ...
it’s all so darn predictable .

Had you chaps noticed how the lad homes in on that inner F to his octave chords and doubles the dose in the LH with a galaxy of the same, tame, lame Fs.

My house has got a tin roof ... so go easy with the rocks ... but I’ve got two large dogs and they have been known to bite.

Just stirring.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/06/13 03:52 AM

Originally Posted By: btb
After having played through the opening 24 measures a few times ... (utter agony) ...
I am reminded why I avoid Schubert like the plague ...
it’s all so darn predictable .

Had you chaps noticed how the lad homes in on that inner F to his octave chords and doubles the dose in the LH with a galaxy of the same, tame, lame Fs.

My house has got a tin roof ... so go easy with the rocks ... but I’ve got two large dogs and they have been known to bite.

Just stirring.


I think you need reinforcements: a meteor the size of a baseball is coming your way from on high, from dear Franz. It may be small, but it's very fast, and don't forget E=m x v squared.... wink
Posted by: btb

Re: Can anyone here know SchubertD960? I would LOVE some adv - 01/06/13 04:07 AM

If it's from Franz (there have been so many) ...

I might by Haydn.