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Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) #1453013
06/08/10 10:26 PM
06/08/10 10:26 PM
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Cinnamonbear Offline OP
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Back in April, I claimed to have "improved Beethoven" in the thread "Would You Do It?" Toward the end of the discussion, it went something like this:

Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted by Mark_C
...
Remember, we're talking about great composers. If they didn't think of it, it was probably for a reason.
...


Oh, huh! Who cares if they're great? Art is a creative process!


Originally Posted by Mark_C
...After all, we know that Beethoven (for example) re-worked stuff over and over and over, doing stuff that he presumably didn't think of in the first place. Which maybe means, ironically, that with this composer that we're probably the most reluctant to mess with, there's the strongest argument for what you said.



See??? You said it!!! laugh


Mark C,
I'm glad you mentioned Beethoven. I've re-worked a few measures of his myself! (Pathetique, 2nd mov., a Bagatelle, Ecossaises in B flat Maj...) grin (honestly!)

[...]


Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted by Mark_C
It would be a fun seminar/master class to have people playing what they consider to be improvements in great composers' works -- then let the leader and audience tear y'all to smithereens about it. ha

Even though I'm generally against obsession with "the score," I think it would be rare that many people would feel any change you make in a Beethoven score makes it better.

But good luck with it. ha

P.S. Despite what I'm saying, I love it when people think about what different things they might do with anything.


Actually, Mark, the changes are so subtle that I doubt anyone would notice.

I promise to post the Pathetique 2nd mov. and the Bagatelle Op.33 No.4 in the Members Recordings, then you and stores and anyone else (Bruce D?) can rip it to shreds! blush I can't promise exactly when, since my work is seasonal and is starting to pick up, but I really, really will do it before summer ends! smile

I value your opinion and think it'll be fun! Until then, I'm not revealing the secret recipe! grin



Well, the weather and my piano have not been cooperating--the humidity is wreaking havoc with my dampers. So I dove into the archives (thanks for the idea, carey!) and got a recording I made back in December '09 of Beethoven's Sonata Op. 13, 2nd movement to "prove" my point. I decided to post it here instead of Member Recordings, since the discussion started out here.

It was a fun discussion. MarkC was his usual affable self. Stores told me I should wake up and smell the coffee! grin I present this recording in the spirit of fun as well.

A few disclaimers:

First, the opening statement is far more "expository" than I would like. I meant to make it more introspective, not so dry. The rest of the playing is about as good as I can get it, and is a true expression of the way I hear the piece. I am not a seasoned performer like so many here in Pianist Corner. However, since I believe that those who make assertions should "put up or shut up," here it is. Second, the "improvement" is a subtle one. I did not re-write a melody line or move an important development or anything like that.

So, what do you think? Aside from the playing, did I improve Beethoven? ha Can you even tell what I did?

Beethoven Op.13 Sonata Pathetique, 2nd movement

I hope you enjoy it, anyway.

--Andy

P.S. This is my Lester spinet in ET. I still would like to record this in EBVT III, then we can compare temperaments! I am still practicing the Bagatelle in question, and will post it when it's ready, if it ever dries out around here and I can play again!


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
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Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1453051
06/08/10 11:32 PM
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OK, I listened. smile

I didn't follow with the score, just listened to see if I noticed anything.

I noticed a few things but I'm doubting those are what you meant. The only thing I noticed that I might call a "change" [edit: please ignore this next thing -- it's wrong] smile is that you played the last 2 chords too soon -- basically 'double' too soon. But I would guess you didn't know you were doing that. If that's the change/improvement you mean, I'd have to disagree. It doesn't sound good, even aside from not being right.

BTW......a friend of mine who doesn't really play the piano learned the 1st movement of the Moonlight Sonata, note by note, and can play though it pretty well. But he did that exact same thing with the last two chords of that piece -- and even after it was pointed out to him, he was so used to the "wrong" way that he either couldn't correct it or just refused. I hope you won't do the same thing with this ending. smile

I noticed a couple of other things about rhythm but had a definite feeling you didn't do those things on purpose and that those weren't what you meant. Also you seemed to make some changes with articulation, like playing some notes in a pointed kind of way -- but I don't think that's what you mean either.

So I don't know. I'm curious to know what you did mean, but even without knowing, I don't find it hard to stick my neck out and say it's extremely doubtful that you're "improving" anything. But I personally still wouldn't try to stop you from whatever it is. I'm for people doing their thing, even if it stinks. I mean, I do. smile

Last edited by Mark_C; 06/09/10 02:16 AM.
Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mark_C] #1453069
06/09/10 12:37 AM
06/09/10 12:37 AM
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Cinnamonbear Offline OP
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Ha-ha-ha! Mark!

Thanks for listening! laugh

The ending double too soon? My score (Schirmer, sorry) has 16th notes and 16th rests as the first four indications in the last measure, with a fermata on the last note. Unless some editor changed something, I think it's what Beethoven meant! ha

Articulation is expression, as far as I'm concerned. Rhythm? I'm interested. What did you hear?

The fact that nothing stuck out at you as you did not follow the score, means to me that, at least, I did not damage Beethoven, even if my playing is hash! grin Did it really stink? ha


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1453072
06/09/10 12:42 AM
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(No, definitely didn't stink.
I said "even if.") smile

And you're RIGHT about the rhythm of the last measure!!!
My apologies!!!

I'm thinking that I must have played it wrong when I played the piece, but I probably didn't or else my teacher would have screamed.

Last edited by Mark_C; 06/09/10 12:45 AM.
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Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mark_C] #1453074
06/09/10 12:44 AM
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Affable as always! laugh you ROCK!


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1453076
06/09/10 12:45 AM
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(Make sure you see my edit of that last post.....I added some stuff that I'm sure you'll like.) smile

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mark_C] #1453086
06/09/10 01:12 AM
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Actually, I used to play the last measure the way you wanted to hear it, too. But, then, when I was puzzling over the piece, I looked at the last measure, noticed it, and looked at the character of the last four measures. That's when I heard what Beethoven meant there. Your teacher probably didn't notice it, either--because of the Moonlight Sonata syndrome. smile

Last edited by Cinnamonbear; 06/09/10 01:14 AM.

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Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1453093
06/09/10 01:31 AM
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I guarantee you that my teacher would have noticed it.
That means I must have played it right, despite 'Moonlight Sonata Syndrome.'

BTW........great job on that phrase. smile

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mark_C] #1453241
06/09/10 10:22 AM
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"Aside from the playing" probably means that I need not comment on the voicing of the internal accompaniment figures?

The only thing I (thought I) heard was a doubling of the bass line with the addition of a lower octave at measure 53; I couldn't tell whether it started at measure 51 or not - that would make sense, if one were doing that - but I certainly think I heard octaves in the bass at measure 53. Other than that, I heard no differences from the score.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: BruceD] #1453405
06/09/10 02:02 PM
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The things I noticed that differed from my Robert Taub edition were mostly dynamic changes and articulation changes that I don't think were intentional or are maybe different in your edition compared to Taub. If you played dynamics that were intentionally different from what's marked in your edition, I think you should ask yourself why. If you think that your edition is true to Beethoven do you think you can improve on Beethoven's dynamic markings?

By far the most important thing I have to to say is that the inner voices, especially when the the theme returns with triplets, are too loud.

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: pianoloverus] #1453599
06/09/10 07:11 PM
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I'd do you the favor of listening, but whatever you've done hasn't improved what Beethoven penned and I'd be willing to bet my life savings on that. As a result, there's really no reason for me TO listen. No offense, nor do I mean to sound rude...I'm just not interested.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: stores] #1453772
06/10/10 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by stores
I'd do you the favor of listening, but whatever you've done hasn't improved what Beethoven penned and I'd be willing to bet my life savings on that. As a result, there's really no reason for me TO listen. No offense, nor do I mean to sound rude...I'm just not interested.


thumb

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: BruceD] #1453775
06/10/10 01:01 AM
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BruceD:
Correct as usual! Here's what I did:

[Linked Image]

I added octave lower echo notes in the bass in measures 51 and 52 and doubled the bass with octaves in 53. That's the "improvement." LOL! I know, I know, it's stupid! But I do have reasons for why I think it works. Pianoloverus, I made a conscious artistic decision to play that section "Broadly," not quietly.

It seems to me that, in this movement, there is much introspection and reflection going on, and a poingant "coming to terms" with some sorrow or loss that is over but not done with--still very much in force in the soul. At the end of the minor section of the second theme, as it transitions to major, there is to me a sense of "overcoming." As though the emotional turmoil is finally being put to rest, with "good riddance." Measures 48, 49, and 50 are the final push to overcome the last of the nagging turmoil that has plagued the soul. Then comes an expansive sense of relief in realizing the release. That is why I decided to play measures 51, 52, 53 and 54 "Broadly," to convey the expanse of the release. I added the echo notes and the octaves to further convey the sense of wide open space--that huge sense of freedom--that comes with forgiveness/acceptance/letting go. What follows is a calm, joyous re-iteration of the theme, with a spritely "spring in the step" finish, as a complete walk-away from the past.

So, whether that's Beethoven, or not, it still seems to me to be in character with Beethoven. In my score, there is a footnote by the editors about a change in a cresendo mark from the original that occurs toward the very end of the movment. Who made the change? It doesn't say, but it is implied that it wasn't Beethoven. So what other changes were made in the markings, dynamics or otherwise, that aren't footnoted? Hmm. Certainly, Schirmer is not the definitive edition. But it is what I have to work with...

Upon listening to this again after hearing you comments: I agree about the concerns with the sloppy voicing. The articulation was mostly intentional. As to voicing and articulation, that's about as much control as I can muster at this point. grin BruceD, I would welcome any thoughts you care to share about the "playing," posted publicly or by pm. If you think it would benefit anybody to share it here, that's fine with me!

How do you like your seminar so far, MarkC? laugh

--Andy

P.S. I have another question about this movement, but I'll ask it a little later. Thanks, everyone!


Last edited by Cinnamonbear; 06/10/10 09:42 AM. Reason: Had to finish my thought!

I may not be fast,
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Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1454059
06/10/10 03:23 PM
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Yes, I heard the bass notes also in that recording - I think that was the most intentional change that stood out. The few other ares I noticed seemed to be just inerpretational, not rewriting or adding like the bass doubling. I did like how it sounded, though.

I'm not sure if it improved it or not, at this moment - I think both versions (original and yours) are fair versions, and if your bass-doubling was present in the original, it wouldn't seem that out of the ordinary.
I will say that Beethoven can definately be improved in places (I do not feel he is a god on a pedestal, like some people, and infallible - that's just babytalk and brainless worship), and pianists do it all the time, knowingly or unknowingly: very few people play his pieces as if they are playing an older piano-forte, and up until the Hammerklavier, this was a fine instrument for Beethoven. Pianists commonly double bass notes to make up for the smaller keyboard range, add an ornament here and there, all kinds of stuff.
Beethoven himself, at one point, wanted to 'redo' all his piano works to take into account the extended range of the newer pianos - so he didn't really think his works were gospel truth all the time, either.

But we still have people claiming Beethoven was a divinely inspired angel, or a pure genius incapable of mistakes or regrets or new ideas, slavishly bearing the flag of unchanging dogma, unchanging music, a dead musical idea that hits the wall. He changed so much through his life, musically, how could anyone possibly say that every single Sonata he wrote was PERFECT? Every composer, if they are worth their salt, regrets every previous composition! How many people want to hear crap they composed 10 years ago, when they considered themselves less musically developed? Bah.

I think it sounded great, though! If Busoni can get away with helping Bach jump to the piano, I think you're doing just fine.

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mattardo] #1454193
06/10/10 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattardo

Every composer, if they are worth their salt, regrets every previous composition! How many people want to hear crap they composed 10 years ago, when they considered themselves less musically developed? Bah.


Bah! I think Beethoven answers best with, "What I sh*t is better than anything you could ever think up". Obviously, that's not directed at your compositional capabilities (though it may as well be), but, clearly Ludwig considered his work more than worthy and rightly so. If he can be improved upon then why haven't we heard it from anyone? Why not you, since you feel in places there is room for improvement?



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mattardo] #1454244
06/10/10 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattardo
I'm not sure if it improved it or not, at this moment - I think both versions (original and yours) are fair versions...
What's a fair version?

Originally Posted by Mattardo
I will say that Beethoven can definately be improved in places (I do not feel he is a god on a pedestal, like some people, and infallible - that's just babytalk and brainless worship), and pianists do it all the time, knowingly or unknowingly: very few people play his pieces as if they are playing an older piano-forte, and up until the Hammerklavier, this was a fine instrument for Beethoven. Pianists commonly double bass notes to make up for the smaller keyboard range, add an ornament here and there, all kinds of stuff.
Beethoven himself, at one point, wanted to 'redo' all his piano works to take into account the extended range of the newer pianos - so he didn't really think his works were gospel truth all the time, either.
I think the overwhelming majority of professional pianists, at least for the last 60+ years, play Beethoven without any changes to the notes. Playing Beethoven on a modern piano without trying to make it sound like an earlier version is quite different IMO. Where did you get the idea that Beethoven was thinking of rewriting all his piano works to take into account the extended range of the piano?

Originally Posted by mattardo
But we still have people claiming Beethoven was a divinely inspired angel, or a pure genius incapable of mistakes or regrets or new ideas, slavishly bearing the flag of unchanging dogma, unchanging music, a dead musical idea that hits the wall. He changed so much through his life, musically, how could anyone possibly say that every single Sonata he wrote was PERFECT? Every composer, if they are worth their salt, regrets every previous composition! How many people want to hear crap they composed 10 years ago, when they considered themselves less musically developed?
I think many/most would agree that Beethoven was one of the very greatest composers in Western music and that he was a musical genius. Just because a composer's style changes doesn't mean his earlier works are inferior. I find the idea that a composer should regret his previous compositions outrageous to put it mildly.

Originally Posted by Mattardo
If Busoni can get away with helping Bach jump to the piano, I think you're doing just fine.
Busoni was a musical genius and one of the greatest pianists of his era. So I think what applies for him doesn't apply to an amateur at PW. Despite this, his changes to the Bach keybaord works for harpsichord or clavichord are virtually ignored so I don't think it can be said he helped Bach "jump to the piano". I would put his transcriptions of Bach organ or violin works in a completely different category as they are rewritten for a different instrument.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/10/10 09:06 PM.
Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: stores] #1454256
06/10/10 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by stores
Bah! I think Beethoven answers best with, "What I sh*t is better than anything you could ever think up". Obviously, that's not directed at your compositional capabilities (though it may as well be), but, clearly Ludwig considered his work more than worthy and rightly so...

I really hate that quote. What is the evidence that Beethoven actually said it? I looked around awhile, and found almost none. (By contrast, when I looked for other famous Beethoven quotes (such as "What do I care for your miserable fiddle when the spirit moves me"), there was plenty of easily available corroborating evidence online.)

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: beet31425] #1454264
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I do stuff like this with the Franck sonata or rach 2nd sonata.. I find there's more freedom with romantic music but classical, not so much..

Lang Lang adds stuff to Mozart two piano sonata and it made me want to throw something at him haha



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mattardo] #1454291
06/10/10 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattardo
.....if your bass-doubling was present in the original, it wouldn't seem that out of the ordinary.....

I don't think it's very logical to begin it quite where he did. I think it makes more sense if you begin it a half measure later.

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: stores] #1454296
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Originally Posted by stores
Bah! I think Beethoven answers best with, "What I sh*t is better than anything you could ever think up"....

I basically agree. I think we need to be EXTREMELY modest and restrained about tinkering, and I would always be immediately biased against the soundness of any such change (even before hearing it) unless it came from an extremely expert performer or musicologist. Nothing against the OP -- I think I'm not 'good enough' to contemplate it either, and I don't know who I think would be.

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: pianoloverus] #1454363
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Mattardo
I'm not sure if it improved it or not, at this moment - I think both versions (original and yours) are fair versions...
What's a fair version?

Originally Posted by Mattardo
I will say that Beethoven can definately be improved in places (I do not feel he is a god on a pedestal, like some people, and infallible - that's just babytalk and brainless worship), and pianists do it all the time, knowingly or unknowingly: very few people play his pieces as if they are playing an older piano-forte, and up until the Hammerklavier, this was a fine instrument for Beethoven. Pianists commonly double bass notes to make up for the smaller keyboard range, add an ornament here and there, all kinds of stuff.
Beethoven himself, at one point, wanted to 'redo' all his piano works to take into account the extended range of the newer pianos - so he didn't really think his works were gospel truth all the time, either.
I think the overwhelming majority of professional pianists, at least for the last 60+ years, play Beethoven without any changes to the notes. Playing Beethoven on a modern piano without trying to make it sound like an earlier version is quite different IMO. Where did you get the idea that Beethoven was thinking of rewriting all his piano works to take into account the extended range of the piano?

Originally Posted by mattardo
But we still have people claiming Beethoven was a divinely inspired angel, or a pure genius incapable of mistakes or regrets or new ideas, slavishly bearing the flag of unchanging dogma, unchanging music, a dead musical idea that hits the wall. He changed so much through his life, musically, how could anyone possibly say that every single Sonata he wrote was PERFECT? Every composer, if they are worth their salt, regrets every previous composition! How many people want to hear crap they composed 10 years ago, when they considered themselves less musically developed?
I think many/most would agree that Beethoven was one of the very greatest composers in Western music and that he was a musical genius. Just because a composer's style changes doesn't mean his earlier works are inferior. I find the idea that a composer should regret his previous compositions outrageous to put it mildly.

Originally Posted by Mattardo
If Busoni can get away with helping Bach jump to the piano, I think you're doing just fine.
Busoni was a musical genius and one of the greatest pianists of his era. So I think what applies for him doesn't apply to an amateur at PW. Despite this, his changes to the Bach keybaord works for harpsichord or clavichord are virtually ignored so I don't think it can be said he helped Bach "jump to the piano". I would put his transcriptions of Bach organ or violin works in a completely different category as they are rewritten for a different instrument.


1- What's a fair version? I think both 'versions' (not exactly the right word) of the passage in question (with the doubled bass) sound equally good for their own reasons, and each has a charm of it's own.

2- The idea of Beethoven rewriting his works? Beethoven gave me that idea. From James Sproul:
"In Beethoven’s later years, he made reference to wanting to recompose many of these compromised sections to take advantage of the extended ranges of these new pianos. Many pianists, such as Czerny and Schindler, were against any changes being made to these sections based on stylistic authenticity of the five-octave
piano for which they were conceived."
In various letters to various publishers (one in 1803, another to Peters in 1822 - for starters) he expressed his wish to publish a collection of his entire works, but only after major revisions to them. Why? Well, he obviously wasn't satisfied with many of them, for various reasons, whether they were compositional, piano-construction related, etc. The information is widely available in his letters and many books dealing with his life.
As for playing the modern piano like a piano-forte, well, it's not exactly easy. Almost 2 entirely different instruments are in evidence once the piano-forte's construction, action, delay, and almost strange separation of voices is taken into account. The modern piano is really a marvelous revision of it, and very different.

3- Composers regretting their earlier works:
Shostakovich wrote (one of them geniuses, I reckon):
"A creative artist works on his next composition because he is not satisfied with his previous one. When he loses a critical attitude toward his own work, he ceases to be an artist."
Beethoven suppressed many of his earlier works (again, this information is available with a little research), pilfered themes and motifs from them, reworked them into different versions, transcribed them for different instruments, even destroyed them, etc. Doesn't sound like the actions of a man whose every composition was some god-inspired, genius-birthed work of pure art, free from all flaws and blemishes, compositionally pure and ready to stand the test of eternal time. In his letters he makes references to some of his works which he considers mediocre and lacking, even charges publishers less money for certain pieces because of it. Even suggested the unimportance of the order, and even the content, of the movements of the Hammerklavier in talks with one of his publishers. Beethoven's earlier works are inferior to his later ones - just play some of them and do a simple comparison. One of the joys of the Piano Sonatas, for one example, is to watch his development as a composer through the years, see how he refines ideas, rejects ideas he once held in high honour, develops new ideas, and on and on.
Try composing - if you're still satisfied with the quality of what you compose today in 20 years down the road, well - you will have a much bigger ego than Beethoven himself.

4-I don't know - to me, Bach on the piano never sounds correct in it's original version - they just weren't written for a piano. And they weren't written in some vacuum, either, where the instrument had absolutely no claim on the music and how it was written. If that's the case, and the music lived in some abstract sphere, it would not have been limited by the range of the keyboard, the tonal system, the number of hands and fingers Bach had, etc.
And it's not really fair to condemn someone's attempt at amateurish simply because he isn't a famous pianist. If it doesn't sound good, well, there should be better reasons than attacking the person's credibility - that's a bad logical fallacy to begin with: the truth of something never depends on the person demonstrating that truth.

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mattardo] #1454366
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Originally Posted by Mattardo
.....it's not really fair to condemn someone's attempt at amateurish simply because he isn't a famous pianist. If it doesn't sound good, well, there should be better reasons than attacking the person's credibility - that's a bad logical fallacy to begin with: the truth of something never depends on the person demonstrating that truth.

I don't agree. I mean, I do agree we shouldn't "condemn" the attempt, or "attack his credibility." But that's just quibbling about semantics. I disagree with your basic thing.

IMO assessing whether something is an "improvement" on what Beethoven wrote is inherently very complex, because when a composer like Beethoven wrote something -- maybe especially Beethoven -- there's a lot to it, probably way more than any of us would realize at first blush.

To give the proper recognition to that, IMO it's appropriate to start with a bias that unless someone is extremely knowledgeable and brilliant, it's unlikely that any change they make will be superior or even equal, because they're probably not fully appreciating what's there in the first place -- and because I'm modest enough to realize that I don't exactly either.

Which means I'm also starting with the bias that it's very unlikely someone could 'improve' on Beethoven anyway -- and I think that's an appropriate bias. If the change is coming from an extremely high-level person, I won't have such a strong automatic bias against it. But I'll still regard it as a hard sell.

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: stores] #1454369
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Mattardo

Every composer, if they are worth their salt, regrets every previous composition! How many people want to hear crap they composed 10 years ago, when they considered themselves less musically developed? Bah.


Bah! I think Beethoven answers best with, "What I sh*t is better than anything you could ever think up". Obviously, that's not directed at your compositional capabilities (though it may as well be), but, clearly Ludwig considered his work more than worthy and rightly so. If he can be improved upon then why haven't we heard it from anyone? Why not you, since you feel in places there is room for improvement?


Stores, are you seriously saying that Beethoven never made one single mistake in all of his compositions?
Get real! His autographs are full of mistakes, slips of the pen, omissions, compositional booboos, etc. I thought you owned some fascimiles? Have you even looked at them?
Why are there still people who think composers were born perfect, and never had to sweat when composing?
It's all part of that whole similar Mozart Myth that claims God dicated Mozart the music, and he just wrote it down - so of course it's all perfect music, when it clearly is not so on closer inspections. Even Mozart had to develop as a composer, and this can be seen in his music.

whome

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mattardo] #1454373
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I didn't think we were mainly talking here about "mistakes" that Beethoven made.

In fact, we weren't.

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mark_C] #1454374
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Mattardo
.....it's not really fair to condemn someone's attempt at amateurish simply because he isn't a famous pianist. If it doesn't sound good, well, there should be better reasons than attacking the person's credibility - that's a bad logical fallacy to begin with: the truth of something never depends on the person demonstrating that truth.

I don't agree. I mean, I do agree we shouldn't "condemn" the attempt, or "attack his credibility." But that's just quibbling about semantics. I disagree with your basic thing.

IMO what we have to understand going in is that assessing whether something is an "improvement" on what Beethoven wrote is inherently very complex. When a composer like Beethoven wrote something -- maybe especially Beethoven -- there's a lot to it, probably way more than any of us would realize at first blush.

So.....in order to give the proper recognition to that, IMO it's appropriate to start with a bias that unless someone is extremely knowledgeable and brilliant, it's unlikely that any change they make will be superior or even equal, because they're probably not fully appreciating what's there in the first place.

Which means I'm also starting with the bias that it's very unlikely someone could 'improve' on Beethoven anyway -- and I think that's an appropriate bias. But if it's coming from a certain kind of person, I'll be apt to not be so strongly biased against it from the start.


Yes, I agree that the whole idea of "improving" on Beethoven is questionable, but I also feel it's possible, and a great learning experience.
Of course, if we feel that the mistakes, differing degrees of devlopment that Beethoven had to go through, and his little compositional quirks are all part of what we call "Beethoven" - then it might not be wise to try to improve.

It's all how you look at it, I suppose. But Beethoven was no god - he was human, and all humans make mistakes - ALL of them.

We seem to be getting back to the idea of slavish worship of the score, rather than active participation on the part of the musician in interpreting the music. That idea of musical freedom seems to be lost when someone, whether they are an amateur or not, interprets Beethoven beyond what others are comfortable with when they perform and they start slinging crap at them as amateurish apostates to the God known as Beethoven. I don't see anything wrong with being an active participant in a musical piece, rather than a person who merely is good at hitting the right notes at the right time, and too awe-struck at a man, a human dead for almost 200 years, to do anything even remotely interesting with the piece.

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mark_C] #1454375
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I didn't think we were mainly talking here about "mistakes" that Beethoven made.

In fact, we weren't.


No, it's merely to help illustrate that Beethoven was not the perfect, infallible untouchable many would like to see on a pedestal: an introduction to getting over one's fear of tampering with perceived perfection. That's all.

Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mark_C] #1454394
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Ummmm. I have a lot to say. It's going to take me a while to "tease apart" the messages and decide how to respond. I want to do that carefully.

But, at this point, I hope you all know that when I said, "I improved Beethoven," that was a light-hearted, somewhat tongue in cheek statement from the referenced thread concerning whether or not to make a change to a revered score. So this discussion is obviously on topic that way. laugh

Let me say, I really, really appreciate Beethoven. And, I stand by my reasons for interpreting this movement the way that I did, (the reasons for which, so far, have seemed to have fallen by the wayside) BECAUSE I really, really appreciate Beethoven.

My playing may be hash. My conviction about how this movement speaks to me, and my passion to communicate it, is not.

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Mark_C] #1454403
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Mattardo
.....if your bass-doubling was present in the original, it wouldn't seem that out of the ordinary.....

I don't think it's very logical to begin it quite where he did. I think it makes more sense if you begin it a half measure later.


Mark,
I'm following you. Which note would you start on?


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Pogorelich.] #1454417
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
I do stuff like this with the Franck sonata or rach 2nd sonata.. [...]


Because, Angelina...you heard something in there, and you went..."I get it! I get it!" Yes? No?

When you do stuff like this, do you plan it, or does it just happen, like an inspired improvisation that "fits"?

When I first riffed these Beethoven measures in question, it just happened. I was playing pretty much with abandon, letting the piece wash over me. When I realized what I did, I said to myself, "Why did that work?" Then, when I answered that question, I refined my playing of it as much as I could, because I had decided to keep it.

Which is why I am following Mark C's inkling that it would make sense to start a half measure later. Then, Mark can say he improved my improvement on Beethoven! laugh Kidding, Mark! Kidding! (I really do want to know your logic, there, though, because I wasn't thinking logically. I was feeling the expanse there, as I said...)


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: Beethoven improved (Mark C, stores, others interested) [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1454418
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
.....Which note would you start on?

Recognizing that I personally wouldn't do it at all.... smile what I meant was that if I were to do it......in the score shown in this post, you start the "echoes" in the second half of the 3rd measure. I'd forget about doing it at all in that measure and just start your thing with the next measure.

Because.....usually with such a meter, and I think certainly in this passage, the 1st beat is "strong" and the 2nd beat is "weak," sort of 'inhale-exhale.' By starting the "echo" on the 2nd beat, you're sort of turning the exhalation into an inhalation.

That's an oversimplification; don't take it too literally. I'm just trying to briefly convey the point.

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