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#1109694 - 01/01/07 09:27 AM Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Are any of you looking for a piece to startle your audience? How about this famous Prelude Opus 3, No. 2 by Rachmaninoff? It has a little bit of everything in it--ppp sections, ffff sections, and even a place where there are so many notes that he had to write them all on four staves rather than just two. Have a listen to it (links below) before you decide; people over on the Pianist Forum swear it's not that hard.

This is going to be my major piece for the year and something I want in my permanent playing repertoire. It's only about four pages long, but I expect to be working on it through the summer at least.

Here are a couple of links to hear it. The first is just some random person on the web playing it, audio only. The second is a YouTube video where someone plays a recording of Rachmaninoff playing this piece while the camera follows the notes on the page. Even if this piece doesn't interest you to play, it's worth watching the notes go by while listening to it(take your Dramamine).

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/songInfo.cfm?bandID=51902&songID=1936154

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8ytY57u8_4

On YouTube it's about the 2:40 mark where you begin to play from two staves in each hand at once.

There are several things I like about this piece:
--It's gorgeous
--It's recognizable to anyone I might play it for
--It will help me learn to play louder, something that's definitely a problem for me
--It's short
--It will require I play with confidence (you don't come crashing down at quadruple forte without feeling pretty good about where you're going to land)
--Finally, why bother with aerobics when you could play Rachmaninoff instead?

Those of you that have played this piece--please check in with this thread from time to time to help any of us that might be struggling with it. I'm sure we'll have plenty of questions.

Nancy
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Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#1109695 - 01/01/07 11:16 AM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
I don't know...
Its very tempting to say ok and join, but I really don't know if I would flake out later.
I know it looks and sounds alot harder than it really is, but I don't think i'm ready for a piece like this. Its so beautiful though....
Mabey in a year...

Matt

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#1109696 - 01/01/07 12:46 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
joemoshi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 225
Loc: Canada
Count me in. It sounds great and impressive yet reasonably slow. It is something which I think I could learn over a period of few months.
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#1109697 - 01/01/07 12:56 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
LWpianistin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 500
Loc: VA/MD/England...long story...
I played it about a year ago. It's gone from my fingers, unfortuneatly.

It really does look 10x harder than it is. The finger patterns are quickly grasped, and it is predictable in it's harmonic progression. If you memorize it in small chunks, it's easier to play. It is very easy to read from the score and get lost!

Good luck!
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That's right...I have the same birthday as Mozart. If only it meant something and I could have one thousandth of his genius...in my dreams, i suppose.

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#1109698 - 01/01/07 02:31 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Thanks for your encouragement. I know there's no way I could play it without memorizing it. The chords just come too quickly after each other.

Nancy
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Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#1109699 - 01/01/07 02:49 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
I'd like to give it a try. Maybe I'll make a trip to the local sheet music store tomorrow and see if they have it (I think there's a Dover edition).
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#1109700 - 01/01/07 02:50 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
EJR Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 861
Loc: Bristol, UK
Hi,

Count me in as well!

This is a wonderful, atmospheric piece. It's way too hard for me so obviously I may flag a little, but it should prove a great project.

Can someone recommend a downloadable version of the score that we can work from?


EJR
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#1109701 - 01/01/07 02:52 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
frog52 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 65
Loc: Iowa
Count me in! I love this piece!

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#1109702 - 01/01/07 03:35 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
LWpianistin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 500
Loc: VA/MD/England...long story...
Funny thing is, before my teacher played it for me, I had never heard it before...I didn't know it was that famous!
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That's right...I have the same birthday as Mozart. If only it meant something and I could have one thousandth of his genius...in my dreams, i suppose.

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#1109703 - 01/01/07 04:26 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
It is really odd about some pieces like that. A high school student played it for me this fall, and I definitely recognized it but I have no idea from where. And then that very night it was on my radio from a classical station. I knew it was calling to me then!

By the way, there are two editions of this on Sheet Music Archives. I was planning on using my version from the International Library of Piano Music I have, though I'm not always satisfied with the editions in these books. I'll take a look at the free downloads.

LWPianistin, do you know what edition you used?

Nancy
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Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#1109704 - 01/01/07 05:00 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
LWpianistin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 500
Loc: VA/MD/England...long story...
No, I don't. I'll look at the two and see. What are the differences?

Edit: nevermind. I won't look, because I can't.

I used whatever edition is in here
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That's right...I have the same birthday as Mozart. If only it meant something and I could have one thousandth of his genius...in my dreams, i suppose.

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#1109705 - 01/01/07 07:22 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
Roger Ransom Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1282
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
I played this for a recital MANY years ago when I was taking lessons as a teenager. I loved it then and I love to hear it now. I would really like to try to learn it again now (50 years later). I think I even have the old yellowed music somewhere.

How does this work? I've never participated in one of these before.
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#1109706 - 01/01/07 07:35 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Welcome to our group, Roger. I haven't fully participated either, which means we get to make it up as we go along. It seems that what other groups like this have done is they start working on the piece, ask questions to each other on this thread when they have them, post recordings of their work as they get parts of it ready, etc. It's a bit like a regular school class where you're all learning the same thing, combined with some group therapy when you begin to have problems!

One thing that's very helpful is to number your measures and occasionally take the score to the computer with you. It's hard to ask/answer questions without it in front of you.

I bet your fingers will find these notes a lot faster than the rest of us. There's something about the learning done as a teenager that sticks with you. Maybe it's the hormones. I think you'll really enjoy recapturing this piece. It must have been so much fun to play!

The first question I would have had on this one is something Eeeff posted to the Pianist Forum a few days ago, which was "What's with the connected staves?" I am so glad I didn't just run into that without warning. I would have assumed it was where someone came in to help you play and made it a duet. But they said one person really has to play all that, but not to let it intimidate you.

By the way, that's the part I thought I'd start with first. I feel like I need to get a head start on the harder parts so I can know them more solidly than the beginning.

Roger (and anyone else who has played this), once you look over the score again, could you give us your assessment of the harder and easier sections? I do like to begin with the tough parts while I'm the most motivated.

Nancy
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Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#1109707 - 01/01/07 07:51 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
LWpianistin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 500
Loc: VA/MD/England...long story...
My score is at my apartment back at college, which I won't return to for another 10 days, so I won't be much use until then.

I think a quick analysis would make it less intimidating. Go through the score and note how many chords are repeated in different octaves, and take note of the relationship between chords...if that makes sense. It's very repetative.
_________________________
That's right...I have the same birthday as Mozart. If only it meant something and I could have one thousandth of his genius...in my dreams, i suppose.

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#1109708 - 01/01/07 09:52 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
joemoshi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 225
Loc: Canada
As EJR suggested, a downloadbale version would assure that all of us have the same version. This will make it easier to discuss problems.
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#1109709 - 01/01/07 10:08 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
There are three versions on SheetMusic archives at this link:

http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/single_listing.cfm?composer_id=54

One is under fantasy pieces, and there are two under miscellaneous. I downloaded the Fantasy version today, and since we're limited to two downloads a day, tomorrow I'll take a look at the other two. Anyone who is still reading this on Jan. 1 might want to go ahead and download two of the three, so then by tomorrow night we should all be able to have them on our computers. I can't imagine they're very different from each other, but you never know. I'm not even sure how we'd decide which one to use, but maybe there will be an obvious winner to one of us once we look at them.

Nancy
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Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#1109710 - 01/01/07 10:12 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
dannylux Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 1820
Loc: Connecticut
 Quote:
Originally posted by joemoshi:
As EJR suggested, a downloadbale version would assure that all of us have the same version. This will make it easier to discuss problems. [/b]
Here:

sheetmusicarchives

And here:

Misc Pieces

And here:

Op.3 No.2

Mel
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#1109711 - 01/01/07 10:14 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
Roger Ransom Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1282
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
If I remember correctly after I dug out my music - the one I'm using is in Volume 2 of the Scribner Music Library - the double staves are not as intimidating as they first appear. The hands parallel each other so you can practice the top 2 with just your right hand and the bottom 2 with just your left hand. The lower octaves appear to be the same in both hands.

It seems to me like the hardest part for me at that time was the middle agitato section which for some reason is labeled Andante on my music. I'm sure that would be too slow. Getting it accurate and fast enough was difficult and I don't think I ever got it up to full speed, whatever that is.

I tried playing it today and unfortunately not much falls into place and my fingers were pretty tired after I groped my way through part of it.

I'm excited about resurrecting it though, it's great and dramaticpiece of music to listen to and an audience pleaser. Not that I ever have an audience besides my wife and my Shihtzu \:\)

I think the double stave section might be a great place to use the sostunuto (sp) pedal. Alas, my piano does not have one.
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#1109712 - 01/01/07 10:23 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
Roger Ransom Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1282
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
I downloaded the two under Misc. and I think they are identical. They even have the same page numbers on them from whatever they are taken from.

Doesn't matter to me which one we use.
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#1109713 - 01/01/07 10:26 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
dannylux Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 1820
Loc: Connecticut
 Quote:
Originally posted by NancyM333:

The first question I would have had on this one is something Eeeff posted to the Pianist Forum a few days ago, which was "What's with the connected staves?" I am so glad I didn't just run into that without warning. I would have assumed it was where someone came in to help you play and made it a duet. But they said one person really has to play all that, but not to let it intimidate you.

Nancy [/b]
The four staves make it easier to read.

If all of those notes were jammed together into two staves, it would be a nightmare to read.

Mel
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#1109714 - 01/01/07 10:57 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Hmmmm...if that would be a nightmare, which I'm sure it would be, I guess this is better than a nightmare. I'll keep that in mind!

Nancy
_________________________

Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#1109715 - 01/01/07 11:32 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
Eeeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/06
Posts: 192
Ok yea, so clearly I'm in on this.

I don't have the capabilities to record myself (although as much as I would love to), so bear with me there \:\)

The only real things that I am having trouble with is of course the middle section (can't remember that word on top).
Then it goes onto the FFFF section and you have to get those jumps in. It really throws off my time. Forgive me for not correctly labelling these areas.

I also find myself tripping up in the first few measure where it's completely like right hand over left, right hand under left, right hand over your head, etc....

So far those are the only difficulties I have come across.

The fast paced action part directly before the 4-stave-bananza is not quite so hard. Memorize the first few measures and then it just repeats. Agility and Accuracy is completely key so thank God (or Rachmaninov in this case) for inserting this part into this beautiful piece so that I may practice my weaknesses.

That's all I have to say for now.

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#1109716 - 01/02/07 02:03 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
What the Heck! Count me in. Danylux, you convinced me. I guess i'll give it a wirl...

Matt

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#1109717 - 01/02/07 07:37 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
Roger Ransom Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1282
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
I think I'm going to start spending some time on the Agitato section first. I can see that I will need plenty of time to try to get it fast enough and still be accurate so it doesn't sound muddy or strained.
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#1109718 - 01/02/07 07:38 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Great, Matt! Just don't make us look too bad!

I started working on it a bit yesterday, and I think it was encouraging. The chords really do fit easily under your fingers, but there are just lots of them.

Toward the end of the four staff section I show a long bar connecting the low and high LH notes and then the low and high RH notes. Even Rachmaninoff couldn't play these together. Are you all assuming we hit the low notes and then immediately go to the higher chords? I need to number my measures and keep a copy near the computer so I can be more specific.

Nancy
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Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#1109719 - 01/02/07 07:40 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Roger, maybe I'll work on that part also. My hand gets very tired stretching for these chords, but I'd like to spend more time on the piece than my hand has the stamina for. I'll work on the Agitato some and then on the four staves some.

Nancy
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#1109720 - 01/02/07 07:58 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
I believe the square bars connecting the low notes to the chords above them mean you are supposed to jump it. (Especially because there's no other way to do it.)

I bought a copy of the preludes today that includes a two-CD set (pianist Idil Biret).
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#1109721 - 01/02/07 08:11 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
joemoshi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 225
Loc: Canada
Hi Nancy

I see that some of you are jumping forward to the agitato and the 4 staves leaving us slower people behind.

Incidentally I have a Yamaha CVP-307 and I have downloaded the midi into it. As for the square bars connecting the low notes to the chords above them, I slowed down the tempo enough to hear that the low notes are played just before the chords above them. I hope that helps.
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#1109722 - 01/02/07 08:38 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
I'm only jumping ahead because I want to do the harder parts first. That said, I think I have a lot of choices in this piece!

Thanks, Joemoshi, for slowing that down. I figured that was what I was supposed to do there, but I hate to commit many hours of practice to something only to have to unlearn it. I really need some lessons on "jumping" for this piece.

Piano again, that's a great idea to have the CDs with the pieces. I have found that listening to someone else play something is a huge help.

Nancy
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Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#1109723 - 01/02/07 08:58 PM Re: Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor Study Group
jazzyprof Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2643
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Hey Nancy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! \:\)

Y'all have motivated me to learn this piece! Is it too late to join the study group? What do you consider the hardest parts of the piece? I haven't tried playing it through yet but I too usually start by learning the hardest parts first...some advice I gleaned from Charles Cooke's fine book.

By the way I saw your question in the Pianist Corner about strength needed to play this prelude and I was reminded of this guy Cambry on youtube:
Cambry plays Rach C# MInor Prelude
I don't think we need his upper body strength to play those crashing ffff's!
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