Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor

Posted by: a226

Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 12:52 AM

Hi everybody,

I have started to learn Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor.
I have two questions:

1- Beside the sheet music, as a reference, I've also chosen to take lessons from this performance, which I found pretty good:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9k5jOZ3_w0

How do you rate this pianist? Can I consider it as an authentic reference?


2- I can play Erik Satie's Gnossienne 1~3 pretty well (got acclaim from a couple of pianists), but I found this piece much more difficult. Is it really way more difficult than Gnossiennes? Or maybe it just needs practice?


By the way, I have been playing piano for about 5 years.


I appreciate your help.

Thanks a lot,
Mike
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 12:57 AM

Hello! I'll just deal with the Chopin and leave the Satie comparison to others.

Originally Posted By: a226
How do you rate this pianist? Can I consider it as an authentic reference?

Depends what you mean by "reference." If you mean making sure that you have the notes and the basic rhythms right, it's pretty good (at least for about the first minute, which is how much I listened to). If you mean a guide for how to play the piece -- "taking lessons," as you put it -- no way; it's not real good. I mean, it's OK smile but, I'd say the player is around low-level intermediate. He does a pretty good job at getting the notes for someone at his level, but that's about it.

BTW I can't imagine how he managed to get ADS on his page, but more power to him.
Posted by: a226

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:09 AM

By taking lessons I didn't mean the notes (because I play based on the sheet). I meant the dynamic and some technical issues like pedaling and finger positioning, etc... Thanks anyway smile
Posted by: daviel

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:11 AM

http://youtu.be/vB7_l8wSpz8
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:13 AM

Originally Posted By: a226
By taking lessons I didn't mean the notes (because I play based on the sheet). I meant the dynamic and some technical issues like pedaling and finger positioning, etc...

I figured, but I was trying to be kind to the guy. grin

It's lousy for that. It's sort of a "student effort," that's all.

What Daviel posted is excellent (of course!), but don't feel you need to copy what she does -- not just because some of what she does is a little eccentric (which it is, and actually I think some parts of it aren't real good but forget that) smile but because there's an unlimited number of possible good ways to play it.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:17 AM

It's not really bad, but I think there are much better performances than that (also on YouTube), particularly if you want to really learn from it and use it as a model, as you say...
Posted by: a226

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:20 AM

Thanks smile

So anybody has an answer to my second question? Actually this piece does not look too difficult, but the speed and the fact that it is in C# minor makes it difficult, I think.
Anyway, I'm at the beginning of playing it, but I'm kind of scared smile
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:20 AM

I believe this is the very best waltz Chopin ever wrote. Well, it's certainly my favorite... by FAR! It's much more than a show piece. And that middle section... don't get me started.

I believe it's much harder than the Satie. But try it and see if you can handle it. Do you have a teacher to help you assess situations like these?

This is my favorite rendition:

(Take note of his use of staccatos, and the relaxed middle section. Most people rush this IMO.)

Posted by: JoelW

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:28 AM

Originally Posted By: a226
the fact that it is in C# minor makes it difficult


Just be glad it's not in A minor.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:29 AM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: a226
the fact that it is in C# minor makes it difficult
Just be glad it's not in A minor.

Yeah -- and of course a lot of people wouldn't get that. smile

It's harder to read in C# minor, but easier to play.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:29 AM

It says here that the Gnossiennes are Early Advanced (SMP 8) level, which actually surprises me because I would have judged them much easier than the waltz - probably early intermediate.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:32 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: a226
the fact that it is in C# minor makes it difficult
Just be glad it's not in A minor.

Yeah -- and of course a lot of people wouldn't get that. smile


All white keys must be easy, right? wink
Posted by: a226

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:35 AM

ChopinAddict:

Yeah, like you, I would say this waltz is way more difficult than Gnossiennes. This is why I asked.

Let's see what others say!

Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:41 AM

I think you can do it though. Although I wouldn't have rated the Gnossiennes level 8, this waltz is not extremely difficult. But I think you should first try to play it on your own rather than looking at YouTube, really feel the dynamics and the phrasing yourself etc.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:43 AM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: a226
the fact that it is in C# minor makes it difficult
Just be glad it's not in A minor.

Yeah -- and of course a lot of people wouldn't get that. smile


All white keys must be easy, right? wink


On a very old piano it would be all black keys. smile
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 07:42 AM

The Chopin is quite a few levels above the Satie both technically and musically. The performance is what I'd call an somewhat average student performance so using it as a model for technique, fingering, or the musical aspects is not ideal although I guess the overhead view of the hands could be helpful for some. For this piece there are many YouTube performances by world class professionals with closeups(not overhead)of the hands, and those might be better models.

I thought there were some less than good fingering choices in the video. I would get a good student edition of this piece that has extensive fingering and pedaling suggestions. This is a piece where there are many possible fingering choices especially on the first page so you need to experiment about which is best for you. You can also find many editions of this piece at IMSLP, and there will be a variety of fingering suggestions in those editions.

For phrasing and dynamics the first thing by far is to carefully follow the markings in the score and not worry about "interpreting". Finally, I think the second and last page(which will probably prove to be the hardest technical challenge) can be played somewhat slower than many professional performances and still sound good. So I wouldn't be overly concerned about matching the typical professional's speed there.

Here's an example of probably a good student edition:
http://www.amazon.com/Chopin-Waltzes-Complete-Masterwork-Editions/dp/0739016741
Posted by: a226

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 10:59 AM

Thanks. That was helpful.
Posted by: daviel

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 11:50 AM

Here's another version:

http://youtu.be/wTSu1jjKpgI
Posted by: a226

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:00 PM

Yeah, I've already watched the great performances like the one by Valentina Lisitsa and especially Horowitz several times. I know they are far better. I just wanted something with an overhead view of the hands smile
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:02 PM

Originally Posted By: a226
....I just wanted something with an overhead view of the hands smile

We might be able to help still better if you say what kinds of things you're looking for on that....
Posted by: a226

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:17 PM

Actually nothing special, I think I got helpful comments in this post.
Posted by: Thrill Science

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 01:39 PM

This piece has been recorded many, many times. You can go to Amazon Mp3 (for example) and purchase versions from Van Cliburn to Liberace. You should get a good feel as to the range of interpretations this way.

The performance you showed was reasonably articulate (though a little sloppy on the chromatic runs) and sound, but there are much more interesting interpretations. It's also on the slow side.

I'd listen to Rubenstein and Horowitz to get started....

What are you looking for in an overview shot of the hands? How it's fingered?

It's a beautiful piece and a great choice.
Posted by: Brad Hoehne

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 02:05 PM

Originally Posted By: daviel


Wow, I love how Yuja Wang brings out the melody in the last repeat section of the "8th note passage" (for lack of a better descriptor). I find it particularly striking how she moves the phrase of that melody from the right hand to the left hand. The Horowitz is lovely as well, I too like his use of staccato.

This waltz has long been one of my standard pieces. It's sort of my "Stairway to Heaven" for testing out pianos I come across in my day to day life. The OPs original link to the overhead video, seems adequate for getting hand position and rhythm down. However, the performance is, quite frankly, really boring. The left hand seems particularly un-dynamic, and just plods along. My advice would be to watch the video closely to get the hand position and reconfirm your rhythms, and then, once you've gotten those things down, never watch it again.

Don't worry about it being in C# minor, once you get the notes down, I think you'll find the black notes work as a kind of "crutch", helping you place your hand more precisely.

Posted by: a226

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 03:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Brad Hoehne


Don't worry about it being in C# minor, once you get the notes down, I think you'll find the black notes work as a kind of "crutch", helping you place your hand more precisely.



Yes, but I sometimes have difficulty placing my Pinkie on the black notes at higher speeds. I know this is because I'm really amateur smile
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 06:09 PM

One thing you should consider when looking at the professional renditions on YouTube though is that those pianists are professionals and have been playing for many years. Some people feel depressed when they look at top performances and think they will never be that good. Take them as an inspiration, an incentive to get better and better. Don't feel like you should reach their level now and that if you don't it is bad. I have read quite a few threads here at PW where people thought they should give up because they hadn't reached the level of some performance on YouTube in spite of all possible efforts. Take them as an inspiration and just do your best.
Posted by: a226

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 07:51 PM

Thanks for your advice. I hope I become a " Chopin Addict" like you one day wink
Posted by: RonaldSteinway

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 10:28 PM

Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
One thing you should consider when looking at the professional renditions on YouTube though is that those pianists are professionals and have been playing for many years. Some people feel depressed when they look at top performances and think they will never be that good. Take them as an inspiration, an incentive to get better and better. Don't feel like you should reach their level now and that if you don't it is bad. I have read quite a few threads here at PW where people thought they should give up because they hadn't reached the level of some performance on YouTube in spite of all possible efforts. Take them as an inspiration and just do your best.


It is a good advice for those who do not enter amateur competitions. For those entering amateur competitions, it can be fatal to have this philosophy in learning a new piece. Performances by professionals posted in Youtube can be an excellent tool to gage whether we have the ability to play close to that quality or not. The judges even in amateur competitions will consider that we cannot play the piece if we play with amateurish qualities. Of course, very unlikely that we can match exactly the same quality as those of professionals. People play with amateurish qualities will not advance to the semifinal.

Amateurish qualities = scales are not played evenly, no dynamic (flat), inconsistent tempi, etc. Interpretations is a subjective matter. Usually real amateur pianists will have more problems than just unusual interpretation.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 10:32 PM

I don't think that right now (from what he said) he intends to enter a Chopin competition for outstanding amateurs because this is his first waltz. Maybe later, then he can raise his standards.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 10:54 PM

Originally Posted By: a226
Thanks for your advice. I hope I become a " Chopin Addict" like you one day wink


Chopin is the poet of the piano. 3hearts I hope you will learn to really love him. He will make you happy! thumb
Posted by: a226

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 11:04 PM

Yeah, I don't intend to enter a competition! I play just because it's fun. I don't feel depressed when I compare my performance to the top ones, but I try to take them as inspiration and improve myself. Besides, considering dynamic is always my priority, and I think I'm good at that part, compared to my hands abilities smile
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/19/13 11:21 PM

Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
I don't think that right now (from what he said) he intends to enter a Chopin competition for outstanding amateurs....

Yeah -- where the heck did that come from? grin

(Ronald, congrats for being probably the first person who has the amateur competitions as a constant frame of reference even more than I do.) ha

I do think there's a point to what Ronald said, but in a different way. I don't think most people would get discouraged by a video of Horowitz, but such videos wouldn't be any kind of useful model to follow, not just because of things like tempo but because much of what they do is very complex and sophisticated and of a whole different sort than anything that a beginner or intermediate player should think of doing. I agree with the posts saying that the best is to try just using the score as the "model," but if someone strongly wants to use a video as a model, it would be better to use a 'regular' advanced player doing a pretty standard rendition than a super-high-level pianist.
Posted by: RonaldSteinway

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/20/13 11:27 AM

By the way, I do not agree with the thought that people just play a piece. To me, I am not satisfied if I do not play well. Otherwise, I consider that I cannot play the piece if I do not play the piece well, and I'd rather not to play those pieces.

I paid attention to the teachers whose young students are very successful in competitions. These teacher will not allow their students JUST Play, they MUST play well.

I always wonder how people choose the pieces that they want to learn.
I personally do not pick a piece for competition purposes if I think I won't be able to play well (close to what I see in Youtube), because even pieces that I think I can play well, many times at the polishing stage, those pieces become annoyingly difficult.

Mark, yes, amateur piano competition is always my reference (I must be crazy about this). Honestly, it is very fun goal to achieve, winning or not is not important, but constant improvement is fun.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/20/13 01:38 PM

RS :

This seems somewhat of a no-brainer, to use a popular term. Does any of us choose to learn/play a piece if we think we are not going to play it well, eventually? Our initial hopes and ultimate results may exceed our grasp, when, as you say, we come to the "polishing stages", but surely most of us don't pick to work on pieces unless we hope and expect we will eventually be able to play them well.

I think some of us have enough musical judgment, too, to rely on our own standards, not competition standards - whatever that might mean (and how might competition standards differ from our own high standards?) - to determine how well we play; we play the best we can, and our musical experience, judgment and common sense tell us how good our performance may be.

As for "just play[ing] a piece" as opposed to playing it well, there are even times for that.

Regards,
Posted by: RonaldSteinway

Re: Questions about Chopin's Waltz Op. 64, No. 2 in C# Minor - 02/20/13 02:42 PM

The reason I wonder how people choose the pieces that they want to learn/practice is that many people with piano degree in amateur competitions chose pieces that are way beyond their ability. These people have decent knowledge of what good playing is.

Imagine the choice of people who do not have piano degree and do not have enough musical background, it can be very scary. I think many people often over estimate their ability, because they do not know what their limitation is.

We have a guy in our piano club who always plays difficult pieces. It was a painful 10-12 min of listening to his playing. If he had chosen something simpler, he could have played nicely. He has pretty good technique, but not for Winter Wind Etude level. One time, I asked him "Why don't you practice something simpler?" He said "First, I do not have the patience to polish a piece for a long time, and I knew that these pieces are too hard for me, but it is kind of fun to learn something difficult"