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Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major #1439382
05/18/10 09:37 PM
05/18/10 09:37 PM
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Kuanpiano Offline OP
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I wonder why this prelude isn't as popular as the others? It always seems to be overlooked by the G minor, C# minor, B minor, G major and G# minor preludes. It's actually one of my favourites...but it's ridiculously hard...but it's definitely on my to-do-soon list!

My favourite performance is by Berezovsky....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Izoi4kR4idA&feature=

What are your thoughts on this piece?


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

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Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Kuanpiano] #1439400
05/18/10 10:07 PM
05/18/10 10:07 PM
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I love it, and wish I had the hand-size and courage to learn it!

-Daniel


Currently working on:
-Poulenc Trois pièces
-Liszt Harmonies du Soir
-Bach/Brahms Chaconne for Left Hand
Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Ridicolosamente] #1439412
05/18/10 10:25 PM
05/18/10 10:25 PM
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Absolutely beautiful - but what a handful !!

Good luck with it !!



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Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Ridicolosamente] #1439415
05/18/10 10:30 PM
05/18/10 10:30 PM
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This must surely be one of the most difficult of the Rachmaninoff Preludes; the size of some of the chords combined with the formidable leaps would make this piece a mine-field for all but the most secure players! With all that, making it sound musical at the same time is a challenge that I think few can rise to.

Notice how he varies the harmony for the first theme each time it appears : measures 1-3; 6-8; 18-20.

Good luck with those nine-note chords in the finale Grave measures!

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: BruceD] #1439423
05/18/10 10:45 PM
05/18/10 10:45 PM
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Personally, I think it's completely directionless. I can never make head or tail of it.

Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: jeffreyjones] #1439488
05/19/10 02:47 AM
05/19/10 02:47 AM
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Julian_ Offline
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
Personally, I think it's completely directionless. I can never make head or tail of it.

Themes from the C sharp minor prelude Op.3 No.2 (descending slow A - G sharp - C sharp, and flowing E - D sharp - D natural - C sharp) are put against the new, warm, reverential D flat major theme. It's an enharmonic battle. On the first page the "optimistic" D flat major theme makes its case. On the second page a "pessimistic" C sharp minor theme brings an ominous mood and serious doubt. This accelerates into an even more unsettled third page, where we can hear the descending minor 6th theme being pulled around relentlessly in the LH. On the fourth page the major and minor themes are played simultaneously (with the extra rising scales in the LH reminiscent of a section of Chopin's Ballade #4, which can also be felt as a struggle between contrasting elements). Finally, on the last page, the "pessimistic" falling minor 6th has been transformed into a glorious "optimistic" falling major 6th, but still with the C sharp minor anxiety throbbing away beneath. In the end D flat major "wins" emphatically, and, as per the title I give this piece: Faith triumphs over a crisis.

Many commentators see the piece similarly; hope this helps.


(Used to post as SlatterFan)
Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Kuanpiano] #1439532
05/19/10 06:24 AM
05/19/10 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
I wonder why this prelude isn't as popular as the others?
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
...it's ridiculously hard...

Good answer! laugh To bring off well, it's a doozy, and I think one has to be a real Rach lover to put in the effort.

Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
it's definitely on my to-do-soon list!

You have my admiration! It's on my "to-do-someday, I hope" list. My pipe dream is to be able to play the whole of Op.32. #4 & 13 are going to be the last ones I attempt to learn. If that time comes ahead of 2020, I'll be delighted. smile


(Used to post as SlatterFan)
Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Julian_] #1439767
05/19/10 12:59 PM
05/19/10 12:59 PM
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Kuanpiano Offline OP
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Haha...well "soon" means after my ARCT exam in august....so many other things to play right now for other things...not enough time!


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: BruceD] #1439845
05/19/10 04:00 PM
05/19/10 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
This must surely be one of the most difficult of the Rachmaninoff Preludes; the size of some of the chords combined with the formidable leaps would make this piece a mine-field for all but the most secure players! With all that, making it sound musical at the same time is a challenge that I think few can rise to.

Notice how he varies the harmony for the first theme each time it appears : measures 1-3; 6-8; 18-20.

Good luck with those nine-note chords in the finale Grave measures!

Regards,


Ruth Laredo's comments on this Prélude would corroborate this. However, her comments indicate that she feels Op. 32 No 4 is the most difficult of the set.

Quote
This is [sic] an heroic finale to an already grand set of pieces. Whoever wishes to plunge into this ocean of notes has a formidable task ahead of them. The lines are broad and long. Its dimensions expand the pianistic vocabulary. The large chords written at the end must be broken according to your comfort and ability. Obviously, they cannot be played as written.

Last edited by Horowitzian; 05/19/10 04:02 PM.

Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Horowitzian] #1439882
05/19/10 04:53 PM
05/19/10 04:53 PM
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the key word to this rather thick, full and complex piece is: clarity! Don't overdo the tempo, just make sure you're capable of letting everything be heard, and played, haha, the big chords at the end should never be a problem, big hands can play them effortlessly, really, other hands need a bit of arpeggiating, so what, who cares, as long as it sounds as the End of All Things, it'll be fine, just keep the instrument on it's legs, it's not the Inferno, just an invitation to a roar of applause..


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: dolce sfogato] #1439936
05/19/10 06:34 PM
05/19/10 06:34 PM
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This is one of those pieces that should have been mentioned in the "you don't have Beethoven hands" thread.
I'll probably never play this piece until I actually saw my piano keys smaller. Dam it.

Even with big hands, this prelude can be very daunting and always makes me just grab my head in frustration at my hands.

Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Mattardo] #1439940
05/19/10 06:39 PM
05/19/10 06:39 PM
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Kuanpiano Offline OP
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IMO, from what I've seen during some sight reading, it's not as bad compare to his etude tableaux op.33 no.4 in D minor. That one is real heck...some chords are almost 2 octaves and need to be voices very specifically in the left hand....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT1-RsP-uao


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Kuanpiano] #1439943
05/19/10 06:44 PM
05/19/10 06:44 PM
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This is one of the most difficult preludes. Op. 23 No. 2 seems pretty difficult too. Good luck learning it!

Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Mattardo] #1439991
05/19/10 08:15 PM
05/19/10 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattardo
This is one of those pieces that should have been mentioned in the "you don't have Beethoven hands" thread.
I'll probably never play this piece until I actually saw my piano keys smaller. Dam it.

Even with big hands, this prelude can be very daunting and always makes me just grab my head in frustration at my hands.

I honestly don't think that small hands should be a showstopper with this piece. For example, on the second-last page, where Grave is marked and the key signature changes back to 5 flats, if the RH chords on the last beat of each measure from the 4th measure onwards are too big to play simultaneously, play all of the notes except the top note simultaneously on the beat and then jump up ASAP to hit the melodic note separately. So in the 5th measure you can play the G flat major chord 1235 as usual on the beat, then quickly jump to 5 on the higher A flat. In the 6th measure you have an alternative if your LH can stretch a 10th, as you can take the lower B double flat with the LH thumb, which I think is what Ashkenazy does, because he breaks many larger chords in this piece but he plays all the notes simultaneously on that beat.

My conviction is that 95% of the difficulty of this piece has nothing to do with size of hands and affects us all, including the tricky LH leaps in the 5th to 9th measures of the section mentioned above. Please don't let the 5% deter you! With creative fingering and breaking chords where necessary here and there, where there's a will, there's a way. Hey, you've got the sense of struggle already!
D flat major theme = "I... can play... this... tri--cky piece."
C sharp minor theme = "But I... have small hands... [apologetic echo an octave lower]: I... have small hands. OH NO! [Oh no!] I... have small hands." grin


(Used to post as SlatterFan)
Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Julian_] #1440083
05/20/10 01:28 AM
05/20/10 01:28 AM
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Breaking chords... shocked
Well, sure, I suppose I could just roll every single chord that gives me trouble - but that would produce a different effect than what I would want to achieve. I've always seen this piece as benefiting from solid chords, whether I can play them or not. There's a Moment Musical of his that has a large chord, as well, and rolling that chord just doesn't sound right to me.

It keeps reminding me of a comment from Beethoven to a violinist who claimed a sonata was unplayable - "Damn your fiddle!"
Well, some people can play that sonata nowadays heh heh!

Even with my hands (which are not small) I have trouble with this piece's chords - as written. I don't know how they compare to other pianist's hands, but I can reach a 10th comfortably using either my thumb and 3rd-5th fingers, and an 11th - but not as comfortably. But that doesn't matter when there are certain notes in the way!

With that said - it's still a glorious piece, and a fitting end to the preludes.


Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Mattardo] #1440128
05/20/10 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Mattardo
Breaking chords... shocked
Well, sure, I suppose I could just roll every single chord that gives me trouble - but that would produce a different effect than what I would want to achieve. I've always seen this piece as benefiting from solid chords, whether I can play them or not.

I agree with you, and I'd hate to roll the longer chords noticeably in the Grave sections. When I said "breaking", I mean mostly "splitting" rather than "rolling". For borderline cases where I can very nearly play the chord "straight" (e.g. D flat - A flat - F with the LH), I roll very quickly and almost inaudibly. But where a roll would be more noticeable, I make a choice between playing the lower note by itself just before the beat, with the rest simultaneously on the beat, or playing all the notes except the top note simultaneously on the beat, and the top note by itself just after. For example, with the A flat - F - A flat - D flat in the LH a couple of times near the end, I hit the bottom note just before the beat, and the rest of the notes together on the beat with the RH. To me, this as far as possible gives the feeling of block chords.

By caring enough about this piece to be very concerned about how to realize the large chords, I think you are ahead of quite a few famous pianists, who don't even bother to play the RH split chord near the beginning as Rach indicates it! F and D flat together, then top B flat later. Most roll it instead (shakes head sadly).


(Used to post as SlatterFan)
Re: Rachmaninoff's Prelude op.32 no,13 in D flat major [Re: Julian_] #1440608
05/20/10 09:18 PM
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Kuanpiano Offline OP
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I think in the last chords of the prelude, you could either cut out the top A flats like Berezovsky, or cut the Fs at the bottom of the right hand....since it's not noticable.


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Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II


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