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Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
#1295443 10/28/09 12:10 PM
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Faure's Ballade Op. 19, originally written as a piano solo, was subsequently transcribed by him for piano and orchestra. There's one YouTube performance of the latter, but none of the solo version. frown



I think the Ballade is a fascinating piece of music, and unusual among Fauré's solo piano works, too, in length and technical difficulty. Does anyone have any hands-on experience with it?

The only score I can find is public domain and appears to be identical to the original published by Hamelle. Is it reliable? Are there any alternatives?

All Music Guide has a nice article about the Ballade.

Steven

Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
sotto voce #1295457 10/28/09 12:32 PM
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Ah, the Fauré Ballade, one of my favourite works of this endearing composer. Right up there with the Requiem, the C minor Piano Quartet and some of the songs.

It seems to work better in the version with orchestra, and indeed that is how it is usually recorded, though Naida Cole made a very respectable solo recording several years back. With orchestra I've always favoured John Ogdon's effortless recording. He really captures its fleeting magic, IMO.

I have scores to both versions, but have never seriously studied the piece beyond a few read throughs, so can't help there. The Ballade is certainly not for beginners -some parts are quite difficult- though I've never believed the story that Liszt supposedly had trouble sight reading it. That makes no sense to me at all. There is nothing in Fauré's piano writing which would have been unfamiliar to Liszt, and indeed, a few parts could be termed 'Lisztian'. Why would someone concoct a piece of tosh like that? It's not like Liszt had to sightread some Prokofiev or Stravinsky.


Jason
Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
argerichfan #1295581 10/28/09 03:54 PM
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Interesting and beautiful piece. As I listened to the recording it occurred to me that the solo version was probably the more technically difficult of the two. The Music Guide article confirmed that.



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Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
sotto voce #1295760 10/28/09 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by sotto voce

The only score I can find is public domain and appears to be identical to the original published by Hamelle. Is it reliable? Are there any alternatives?



Grant Johannesen did an edition for International Music Co. that I used to have. I gave it to a friend who wanted to learn it, and he told me it was very difficult (he's conservatory-trained and knows "difficult"). It seemed like a decent edition, relatively recent (1993). There's also a very inexpensive edition by Richard Dowling published by Masters Music in 2007; I haven't seen it.

Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
wr #1295785 10/28/09 11:10 PM
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Thanks very much for the information, wr. I had done a search at Sheet Music Plus and come up with nothing, so I'm glad to know that there are a couple of possibilities after all.

Even if the downloaded one is musically sound, I really don't like using a printout of a pdf file as a study score.

Steven

Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
sotto voce #1295794 10/28/09 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by sotto voce
I had done a search at Sheet Music Plus and come up with nothing...

Did you you check IMSLP? The publisher info there (for the solo version) is given as: Paris: J. Hamelle, n.d.(ca.1879) Plate J. 1707 H. Do we know who did the editing, if anyone?

The 2 piano version on IMSLP is scanned from International, the same copy I've had in my library for several years, edited by Isidore Philipp. Following the score along with the recordings, those editions seem reliable enough. Is there a major fear that these are corrupt?


Jason
Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
argerichfan #1295801 10/29/09 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Is there a major fear that these are corrupt?

I'm not certain, Jason.

It was this old thread that gave me pause, though it's not crystal clear to which edition the person mentioning "incorrect or missing accidentals" is referring:

Fauré ballade (from 2003)

I haven't even looked at Philipp's two-piano transcription (yet).

Steven

Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
sotto voce #1295804 10/29/09 12:25 AM
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United Music Publishers have published it, don't know it's it for sale anywhere in the US though.

http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/0254788/details.html

Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
RogerW #1295806 10/29/09 12:32 AM
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Thanks for that, Roger.

I've never ordered from Music Room, but apparently I could have it imported here if I chose to. I just activated their currency converter, and it ain't cheap: $36.70 (yipes!).

Still, it's nice to have options. Much appreciated!

Steven

Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
sotto voce #1295811 10/29/09 12:40 AM
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I have ordered some scores from musicroom, they tend to be a bit expensive, but they have a lot of scores that I haven't been able to find anywhere else.

You could also try ordering directly from the publisher: http://www.ump.co.uk/

In their catalogue the Ballade is a bit cheaper than at musicroom.

Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
sotto voce #1295822 10/29/09 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by sotto voce
Thanks very much for the information, wr. I had done a search at Sheet Music Plus and come up with nothing, so I'm glad to know that there are a couple of possibilities after all.

Even if the downloaded one is musically sound, I really don't like using a printout of a pdf file as a study score.



I started wondering whether SheetMusicPlus actually had these, but they weren't turning up in your search for some reason. It turns out that they do.

Here's the IMP one. For some reason all of their IMP Faure listings say "For Oboe and english horn solo" as well as "Piano solo", which could mess up a search. And here's the Music Masters edition. I'm not sure why it didn't turn up, but neither of these listings include the opus number, so if you used it in your search, that would explain it.






Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
wr #1296084 10/29/09 01:20 PM
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Okay, this stinks and I haven't even gotten off of the first page. frown

These graphics depict measures 14 and 15. The first image is the original Hamelle for solo piano from IMSLP; the second image is from Isidor Philipp's transcription for two pianos, a "reprint/re-engraving" distributed by International Music, and also at IMSLP.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Needless to say, this part of the piece hardly contains the densest writing or most complex harmonies. It's definitely not a good sign!

wr, thank you so much for the additional information. It's not the first time that the search function at Sheet Music Plus has flummoxed me. FWIW, the IMP edition there has a preview of the first page; with respect to these three discrepancies that I've illustrated here, it matches the original Hamelle score rather than Philipp's two-piano score.

Steven

Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
sotto voce #1296288 10/29/09 06:57 PM
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I don't do much French school and though, from memory, the several performances of Faure's Ballade I have heard were very much in the late romantic style it is not a work I have sought to perform. The score is "busy"!

I do intend to do Poulenc's Toccata and a few of Massenet's solo works at some point, so I will have a crack at the ballade then. I do play one of the works of Faure's lesser contemporaries Schmitt. That work is a suite titled "les soirs" and one or two of the movements move away from stark impressionism to I guess what would be termed as neo-romaticism. Also some of the works of Chabrier and Charminade are "beautiful whilst hellishly difficult to play" I have been told.


You play it & I'll hum it, but currently rehearsing:

Bach WTC book 2 no 15 G major, no 20 A minor, no 22 Bb Minor
Mozart A minor Sonata K310
Mendelssohn Op 35 preludes and fuges
Busoni Carmen Fantasy
Rachmaninov Bb prelude OP 23 no 2
Lyapunov Humoreske Op 34
and others
Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
PartyPianist #1296565 10/30/09 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by PartyPianist
Also some of the works of Chabrier and Charminade are "beautiful whilst hellishly difficult to play" I have been told.

Of the Chaminade scores I've looked at, none of her very conventional piano writing looks 'hellishly difficult'. But if it was, would it be worth the time? I realize there are folks who like Chaminade, but to me it all seems so derivative. (Try the opening of the Concertstück: dead ringer for the Flying Dutchman.)

Chabrier, OTOH, is quite another matter. He can certainly be difficult (try the Bourrée fantasque), but I think very rewarding. Dix pièces pittoresques contains a number of real gems, some of them not beyond the capabilities of an amateur. And I must confess, next to Fauré's rather polite music making (always such impeccable manners), Chabrier's brashness, bordering on genius, can be a delightful tonic.


Jason
Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
argerichfan #1296577 10/30/09 10:03 AM
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It looks to me as if the two-piano transcription by Isidor Philipp is the less reliable of the two scores I presently have just based on the two sample measures I cited.

In bar 14, they seem to have simply removed the sharp sign from in front of the F while neglecting to remove the natural sign from the F in the last chord of the measure that would become rendered unnecessary. In bar 15, I have a strong feeling that the natural signs applied there are incorrect.

I have already ordered from J.W. Pepper the more recent editions by Johannesen and Dowling that wr so helpfully mentioned here.

Steven

Re: Fauré - Ballade Op. 19
argerichfan #1300204 11/05/09 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by PartyPianist
Also some of the works of Chabrier and Charminade are "beautiful whilst hellishly difficult to play" I have been told.

Of the Chaminade scores I've looked at, none of her very conventional piano writing looks 'hellishly difficult'. But if it was, would it be worth the time? I realize there are folks who like Chaminade, but to me it all seems so derivative. (Try the opening of the Concertstück: dead ringer for the Flying Dutchman.)

Chabrier, OTOH, is quite another matter. He can certainly be difficult (try the Bourrée fantasque), but I think very rewarding. Dix pièces pittoresques contains a number of real gems, some of them not beyond the capabilities of an amateur. And I must confess, next to Fauré's rather polite music making (always such impeccable manners), Chabrier's brashness, bordering on genius, can be a delightful tonic.


You are right. Chaminade’s Toccata (Op 39) is not that challenging, but interesting nevertheless. I have also tried a Chabrier Caprice which is much more challenging. However Faure’s Ballade is a different kettle of fish. I could not understand the music on a first read. The score is not outstandingly difficult, yet I find the interpretation an enormous challenge.


You play it & I'll hum it, but currently rehearsing:

Bach WTC book 2 no 15 G major, no 20 A minor, no 22 Bb Minor
Mozart A minor Sonata K310
Mendelssohn Op 35 preludes and fuges
Busoni Carmen Fantasy
Rachmaninov Bb prelude OP 23 no 2
Lyapunov Humoreske Op 34
and others

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