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#1534774 - 10/13/10 03:39 PM Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler  
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I have just made my first YouTube-Video (2 Parts) with the piano-arrangement by Andrey Schulz-Evler of the "Blue Danube Waltz" by Johann Strauss. You can find it here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/ArtandPianoTF

Who else here is playing this piece, and what are the experiences?

Thomas


Thomas Fischer
www.art-and-piano.de
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#1534781 - 10/13/10 03:49 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: art-and-piano]  
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Commendable work Thomas! Everything is very clear and articulate. Forgive me though if I say that I think it's not yet fast enough. I really think it should be about 50% faster, or at LEAST about 25% faster. I haven't played it personally, but I recognize the technical difficulties in it and I know its reputation, so I respect that even at a slower speed it is still challenging. Best of luck in your continued work on the piece!

#1534792 - 10/13/10 04:03 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: MarkH]  
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Originally Posted by MarkH
Forgive me though if I say that I think it's not yet fast enough. I really think it should be about 50% faster, or at LEAST about 25% faster. I haven't played it personally, but I recognize the technical difficulties in it and I know its reputation, so I respect that even at a slower speed it is still challenging. Best of luck in your continued work on the piece!


Thank you for your reply. It is my intention to play it not so fast, i think very often this piece is played much too fast, so that a lot of notes you can't hear anymore. I think that a transcription of an orchestra-work for piano is not only a transcription of the music, but also a transcription of the tempo. I think the piano as a solo instrument has to find its own adequate tempo.


Thomas Fischer
www.art-and-piano.de
#1534794 - 10/13/10 04:05 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: art-and-piano]  
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PW's own Jeffrey Biegel has recorded this work in one of the most delightful, scintillating performances I have heard.

As I have said before concerning his performance of this work, Jeffrey's performance exhibitus a wonderful balance of Viennese "schmaltz" clarity, and even humour where his virtuosity is at the service of the music in the most charming way. Biegel: Schulz-Evler

Regards,




BruceD
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#1534823 - 10/13/10 04:50 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: art-and-piano]  
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I think there's a range of reasonable tempi for a given piece whether in original form or transcription. Your transcription totals around 16:20 and Biegel's version is around 9:00(and is played at around the normal tempo for this piece).

Isn't this transcription meant to be a showpiece?

#1534966 - 10/13/10 09:38 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think there's a range of reasonable tempi for a given piece whether in original form or transcription. Your transcription totals around 16:20 and Biegel's version is around 9:00(and is played at around the normal tempo for this piece).


Biegel does not play the reprise of the first waltz, and he makes a shortcut from Waltz 4 to the finale, he leaves out the whole waltz 5 and most of the coda. Josef Lhevinne in his famous recording is also playing this "short version" (the whole piece wouldn't have fit on the paper roll). I have recorded the whole transcription with all repetitions.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Isn't this transcription meant to be a showpiece?


First off all I think it's a very good composition and transcription. To make a showpiece of it or not is an individual decision.


Thomas Fischer
www.art-and-piano.de
#1534979 - 10/13/10 10:10 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: art-and-piano]  
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I played the piece a while ago -- inspired by Lhevinne, although intimidated by how he played it, to the point that I just stopped playing it. smile

Which was the right decision. ha

I consider it even more demanding and difficult than Horowitz's "Stars and Stripes Forever." I dared to put the Stars and Stripes on a recital program, but I don't think I'd ever dare doing that with this.

I love this neat piece, and love seeing it getting attention whenever it does.


#1535033 - 10/13/10 11:38 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I played the piece a while ago -- inspired by Lhevinne, although intimidated by how he played it, to the point that I just stopped playing it. smile

Has his recording ever been surpassed?


Jason
#1535035 - 10/13/10 11:43 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: argerichfan]  
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by Mark_C
I played the piece a while ago -- inspired by Lhevinne, although intimidated by how he played it, to the point that I just stopped playing it. smile

Has his recording ever been surpassed?


Haven't heard Lhevinne's, but I enjoy Byron Janis.

#1535038 - 10/13/10 11:47 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: argerichfan]  
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by Mark_C
I played the piece a while ago -- inspired by Lhevinne, although intimidated by how he played it, to the point that I just stopped playing it. smile

Has his recording ever been surpassed?

I can't imagine that it could be.
Although our guy Jeffrey Biegel gives him a good run for his money! thumb

Actually it seems as though Jeffrey was likewise inspired by Lhevinne and takes after him -- and I mean that in the most positive way.

#1535043 - 10/13/10 11:59 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon

Haven't heard Lhevinne's, but I enjoy Byron Janis.

I have not heard Byron Janis -I am sure it is very fine- though Lhevinne combined an aristocratic elegance with an absolutely insolent technical address. Sheer joy to listen to!



Jason
#1535045 - 10/14/10 12:02 AM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

Although our guy Jeffrey Biegel gives him a good run for his money! thumb

No doubt. And don't miss Mr. Biegel's YouTube of Rush Hour in Hong Kong. I just love it...


Jason
#1535057 - 10/14/10 12:34 AM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: art-and-piano]  
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Thomas :

I think some of us are not giving you enough credit for what you have accomplished with this work, as we have been concentrating our comments by lauding other performances instead of congratulating you on yours. This is, possibly, not quite fair to you. This is a fiendishly difficult work to carry off with both grace and panache, and you have achieved much in your performance of it. I particularly admire the clarity of your performance; following with the score, I am well aware that every note is there.

I do agree that - for my taste, at least - your tempi could be a little faster and, if possible, the whole texture of the piece could be lighter. This is dessert; it's not the main course!

I find that some times the intervening accompaniment figures (the triplets in Waltz No. 1; the octaves in Waltz no 2; the accompanying eighth-notes in Waltz No 4) sometimes are a little too obtrusive, and while they never obscure the melody they tend to fight with it.

Of course you've taken on a piece of monumental difficulty that must, for the most part, be as light as cotton candy - dessert, again! I would like it to sound a little more "Viennese" than it does, with a little more lilt, and I believe that one way that "Viennese" touch can be added is by bringing in the second beat of the bar just a fraction ahead of where it would normally occur.

I realize that all this is extremely difficult to accomplish and if yours is not my ideal interpretation of the work, it in no way diminishes my admiration for what you have already done with this piece. It's truly remarkable.

Thank you for sharing!

Regards,


BruceD
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#1535120 - 10/14/10 03:11 AM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD

I realize that all this is extremely difficult to accomplish and if yours is not my ideal interpretation of the work, it in no way diminishes my admiration for what you have already done with this piece. It's truly remarkable.


Bruce, thank you for your constructive remarks.
I begun practising this piece half a year ago, and I'm playing it at least once every day to keep up with it. Maybe I will record it in another half or one year again, and then I hope I will give more lightness to the texture.

But in one thing I persist in my viewpoint: I think this piece is worth to be regarded as "main course", not only as "dessert" - solely because a lot of performers do so.




Thomas Fischer
www.art-and-piano.de
#1535134 - 10/14/10 03:47 AM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
I think some of us are not giving you enough credit for what you have accomplished with this work, as we have been concentrating our comments by lauding other performances instead of congratulating you on yours.
Thank you for sharing!


Bruce is (as always) right. Congratulations!

However, I can't resist to recommend the marvellous live recording by Dimitris Sgouros
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvZWMSGLbe4


---------------------------


http://www.pianistenschule.de

#1535319 - 10/14/10 10:49 AM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: florhof]  
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Originally Posted by florhof
However, I can't resist to recommend the marvellous live recording by Dimitris Sgouros
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvZWMSGLbe4

Hey, that's the 12-year-old kid!
I meant the one who used to be 12. smile

That's real good, of course, but not nearly as good as Lhevinne or Biegel.

A lot of the melody notes can't be heard (i.e. don't come out), and some of the ones that do come out are too loud or too soft. That kind of thing usually isn't just a technical thing, but a manifestation of lesser sensitivity and attention to the melodic line -- while practicing, and therefore while performing.

And in this case, what's remarkable is that where a little melodic thing gets repeated immediately, if he "missed" a note the first time (I mean as described above), he virtually always misses it the second time too! (This happened about a dozen times.) IMO that goes along with the 'practicing' aspect I mentioned: it wasn't just a slip during performance; it reflected how he learned the piece. His ear didn't tell him well enough that he wasn't hitting the note properly to make him adjust how he was playing the passage, and it didn't tell him either during the performance to make him correct it on the 2nd try.

Also, and maybe more evidently, compared to Lhevinne and Biegel, the piece is totally just rattled off. It's very interesting to compare this performance with those others, because it's a great example of the difference between being a terrific pianist and a great one.

Sorry to be tough on him.
But when we judge top-level pianists, I think we should judge them on a high scale.

#1535443 - 10/14/10 02:47 PM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: art-and-piano]  
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Originally Posted by art-and-piano
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think there's a range of reasonable tempi for a given piece whether in original form or transcription. Your transcription totals around 16:20 and Biegel's version is around 9:00(and is played at around the normal tempo for this piece).


Biegel does not play the reprise of the first waltz, and he makes a shortcut from Waltz 4 to the finale, he leaves out the whole waltz 5 and most of the coda. Josef Lhevinne in his famous recording is also playing this "short version" (the whole piece wouldn't have fit on the paper roll). I have recorded the whole transcription with all repetitions.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Isn't this transcription meant to be a showpiece?




First off all I think it's a very good composition and transcription. To make a showpiece of it or not is an individual decision.


I think that even if the performances I mentioned leave out some sections, your tempo is extremely slow compared to any performance I have heard of this piece. I think it's almost beyond a doubt that this piece was written as a showpiece so that playing it very slowly is not what the composer intended.

The argument that some notes can't be heard when it's played faster could theoretically be applied to any piece where there are a lot of notes played quickly. I can't imagine you would apply your argument to all these pieces and say they all should be played more slowly than every other professional pianist.

I am not saying this piece is easy to play at any tempo, but I do feel your chosen tempo is extremely slow and that even at your chosen tempo it appears to be a bit of a struggle.

#1535844 - 10/15/10 07:31 AM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: art-and-piano]  
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Thanks so much for your too kind words!! I studied this with Adele Marcus, who was Lhevinne's pupil and assistant. At first, I was playing it a bit fast--she screamed! "Dear, he didn't play it like those recordings, and Madame Lhevinne said to her, 'Adele, you knowz, dees eez not how Mr. Lhevinne play deez piece'" So, I soul searched and play it my way. It ended up like Lhevinne's public way, with breadth, space, color and Viennese lilt, according to Marcus. I play the entire opening, usually do the first repeats--but I don't make it redundant with that extra repeat back to the first waltz. I also skip Waltz 5, although I liked it. Adele felt the piece just got too long. But if it works for you, do it.

#1535867 - 10/15/10 08:20 AM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: art-and-piano]  
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Interestingly, I have the Lhevinne recording and it is most admirable and eventually a friend made a CD for me of the piano roll of Cecile de Horvath's which is quite interesting and technically superb. Both she and Lhevinne studied with Safonoff and she said one of the attributes of Safonoof's teaching was that of facility. She matches, in my opinion, everything Lhevinne does but with her own interpretation. It is just as masterful. I, too, would like to play this but have only roughly worked my way through it. I need about another few years to get this done! smile

#1535877 - 10/15/10 08:40 AM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: art-and-piano]  
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I would love to hear Cecile de Horvath's Blue Danube!

#1538611 - 10/19/10 06:39 AM Re: Arabesques - Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss / Schulz-Evler [Re: art-and-piano]  
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Jeffrey:

PM sent. Will try to make a copy of the CD for you and will appreciate your candid opinion as well.

Ralph


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