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Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: Frozenicicles] #1421810
04/22/10 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Frozenicicles
I guess I wasn't being clear enough. I was told that > could be expressed in ways other than using dynamics (i.e. playing louder). For example, making a slight rubato, changing the articulation, or altering the touch instead. I had always assumed that you always played > louder.

I guess in this instance I have a simpler view of the markings. I view > and ^ pretty simply as accents, although a little different from each other and usually quite different from sf. Although.....I can imagine people interpreting them a bit more flexibly in some instances, as per what you said.

In your earlier post it seemed you didn't realize (or didn't think) that > and ^ are commonly taken to mean accents, which puzzled me, but I guess that wasn't so. I"m still a bit confused on what you're really wondering about here, because those two posts seem to go in opposite directions....

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Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: stores] #1421814
04/22/10 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
Like I said earlier in this thread, if your only argument in favor of the repeat is "Chopin said so," I invite you to pull out the Mazurka Op. 7/5 and observe the "D.S. senza fine" until you get my point.

This sonata was finished in 1844. The only precedent for an opening sonata-allegro to omit the exposition repeat was in Beethoven, but it's well documented that Chopin disliked Beethoven's music anyway. Schumann, too, was still writing entirely Romantic sonata-allegros with old-fashioned exposition repeats, as was Mendelssohn.

It was simply a customary thing at the time, because it gave the audience a chance to hear the music twice before hearing it developed. After all, it might have been the only time the audience heard the work, and you don't get a second chance at a first impression. Now, in the age of digital recordings at your fingertips - not to mention the decline of the pianist-composer and the meteoric rise of the purely interpretive artist - this practice is not as important. We no longer clap until the performer repeats the movement, so why should we hold onto the other related tradition blindly just because it was notated?


So, because of recordings it's now ok to delete repeats, yes? Umm, ok then.
Why should we hold to what the composer wrote? Because it's HIS composition...it's not yours, or mine. I didn't create it, thus it's my job to convey as best I can to my audience that which the creator envisioned. I'm quite sure if a man of Chopin's musical intelligence decided there were no need for a repeat, then he wouldn't have included it.


I just think that's a simplistic, one-dimensional and overly dry declaration to make. A century and a half of study, analysis and performance of the work has resulted in a consensus among performers and scholars that the exposition repeat is not necessary, in spite of a climate in which the personality of the artist is secondary to the composer's intent. To simply declare the printed page as sovereign in the presence of a number of arguments that it's not necessarily so - it's a cop-out.

Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: Mark_C] #1421825
04/22/10 02:12 AM
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What I meant in my first post was that most people view accent markings (-,^,>) as indications to emphasize those notes by playing louder. What I learned is that the only accent you're specifically told to do that is sf. With every other accent, you have a choice to accent the notes in other ways. An accent is a highlighting of specific notes, which does not necessarily have to be done by playing louder. Hope that connects my two posts better. smile

Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: Frozenicicles] #1421836
04/22/10 03:16 AM
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Yes it does.

I agree that what you had learned was an unusual view of those markings. In general (as you've seen) I tend to like flexible views of things, but in this case I've never felt any reason to doubt the simple view.

Of course that doesn't mean the more flexible view is wrong. smile

Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: jeffreyjones] #1421867
04/22/10 05:30 AM
04/22/10 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
Like I said earlier in this thread, if your only argument in favor of the repeat is "Chopin said so," I invite you to pull out the Mazurka Op. 7/5 and observe the "D.S. senza fine" until you get my point.

This sonata was finished in 1844. The only precedent for an opening sonata-allegro to omit the exposition repeat was in Beethoven, but it's well documented that Chopin disliked Beethoven's music anyway. Schumann, too, was still writing entirely Romantic sonata-allegros with old-fashioned exposition repeats, as was Mendelssohn.

It was simply a customary thing at the time, because it gave the audience a chance to hear the music twice before hearing it developed. After all, it might have been the only time the audience heard the work, and you don't get a second chance at a first impression. Now, in the age of digital recordings at your fingertips - not to mention the decline of the pianist-composer and the meteoric rise of the purely interpretive artist - this practice is not as important. We no longer clap until the performer repeats the movement, so why should we hold onto the other related tradition blindly just because it was notated?


So, because of recordings it's now ok to delete repeats, yes? Umm, ok then.
Why should we hold to what the composer wrote? Because it's HIS composition...it's not yours, or mine. I didn't create it, thus it's my job to convey as best I can to my audience that which the creator envisioned. I'm quite sure if a man of Chopin's musical intelligence decided there were no need for a repeat, then he wouldn't have included it.


I just think that's a simplistic, one-dimensional and overly dry declaration to make. A century and a half of study, analysis and performance of the work has resulted in a consensus among performers and scholars that the exposition repeat is not necessary, in spite of a climate in which the personality of the artist is secondary to the composer's intent. To simply declare the printed page as sovereign in the presence of a number of arguments that it's not necessarily so - it's a cop-out.


It's not at all a cop-out. I've not ever seen clear, concise declarations from anyone that makes a strong case for deleting said repeat (or any repeat). What I have read, however, are many opinions, with which, one does not have to agree. I need to be convinced by an argument stronger than, "I don't feel/I don't like/I'm sure he didn't mean", but I've yet to come across such an argument. To simply delete something from the score, because YOU don't think it works...now THAT is a cop-out.



"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

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Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: stores] #1421958
04/22/10 09:58 AM
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FWIW, both Argerich and Giles in their respective DG recordings observe the repeat. But -meh- I can take it or leave it. I consider myself a stickler for repeats, even the occasionally bypassed ones in the 3rd, 5th and 7th symphonies of Beethoven. I expect the repeat in the Chopin Bb minor sonata to be taken (where to begin the repeat is another issue), but I've never felt cheated without the repeat in the B minor sonata.

I'm not trying to convince anyone else -least of all Stores- but I agree with jeffreyjones that Chopin's repeat in the Op. 58 appears to be there as a matter of convention. I don't think my view is a cop-out at all. Omitting repeats in Beethoven and the Chopin Op. 35 have a damaging effect on the overall structure (maybe I should just settle for 'listening experience'), but leaving out the repeat in the Op. 58 seems to have little effect one way or the other.

Unless, of course, the movement is taken too slowly... then the repeat is just tedious...


Jason
Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: argerichfan] #1421968
04/22/10 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Omitting repeats in Beethoven and the Chopin Op. 35 have a damaging effect on the overall structure (maybe I should just settle for 'listening experience'), but leaving out the repeat in the Op. 58 seems to have little effect one way or the other.

I'm wondering why you find omitting the repeat to have an effect on the structure of the second sonata but not the third. Is it because the third is so much more loose and fantasy-like? (Isn't that perhaps an argument why the exposition should be repeated: to help solidify the "main argument" of the movement?)

I generally like taking repeats of the exposition. In fact, I'd make it a personal rule to always take the repeat (when marked), if it weren't for a certain Schubert Bb sonata. (Darn you Schubert, with your otherworldly sense of harmony and melody, yet your completely conventional sense of form! Did you really have to write a repeat?)


-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: beet31425] #1421998
04/22/10 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
In fact, I'd make it a personal rule to always take the repeat (when marked), if it weren't for a certain Schubert Bb sonata. (Darn you Schubert, with your otherworldly sense of harmony and melody, yet your completely conventional sense of form! Did you really have to write a repeat?)

Well that's interesting. I love hearing the repeat in the Schubert, especially when it's prepped by that dramatic 1st ending. As one commentator called it a 'commanding edifice'.

But I don't pretend to consistency, and I've never given a great deal of thought to what is basically an instinctive feeling. The wildly contrasting material of the Op. 35 benefits from a repeat, whereas the more homogenized material in the corresponding movement of the Op. 58 seems to work well enough once through. All IMO of course...



Jason
Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: beet31425] #1422014
04/22/10 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by argerichfan
Omitting repeats in Beethoven and the Chopin Op. 35 have a damaging effect on the overall structure (maybe I should just settle for 'listening experience'), but leaving out the repeat in the Op. 58 seems to have little effect one way or the other.

I'm wondering why you find omitting the repeat to have an effect on the structure of the second sonata but not the third. Is it because the third is so much more loose and fantasy-like? (Isn't that perhaps an argument why the exposition should be repeated: to help solidify the "main argument" of the movement?)

I generally like taking repeats of the exposition. In fact, I'd make it a personal rule to always take the repeat (when marked), if it weren't for a certain Schubert Bb sonata. (Darn you Schubert, with your otherworldly sense of harmony and melody, yet your completely conventional sense of form! Did you really have to write a repeat?)


-Jason


Schubert's D.960 has several bars of completely unique material in the first ending, so it's an important repeat even if it's not a terribly popular one. Chopin's just falls on its face, then collects itself and starts over. It's not very attractive or effective.

It's interesting that you call Op. 58's first movement "fantasy-like," because it does seem to have a few things in common with the Fantaisie Op. 49. That piece also has a sonata-allegro style working out of the secondary themes, as well as introductory material that is alluded to (in the Lento sostenuto section), but that never returns in its original form. The difference is, of course, there is no exposition repeat, but no one bats an eye at it because it's called Fantaisie instead of Sonata.

The sonata-allegro is not a typical kind of form for Chopin, so why does he use it here, and in a piece titled Fantaisie, no less? Is it possible he wanted to experiment with a sonata movement without a double exposition, but without his experiment carrying the weight of the Sonata title? I think that it was indeed a kind of trial run, and that he built the opening movement of Op. 58 on the Fantaisie in F minor. The bones of it are fairly similar. But Chopin being Chopin, he could never quite be sure if he got it right. Perhaps he was unsure himself if it worked without the repeat as he planned, so he tacked on a repeat just in case his planning lacked the cohesiveness to carry the listener's interest through the entire work.

For that matter, the Allegro de Concert is also an attempt to write a sonata-allegro movement without a double exposition. In that case, when the "solo" comes in after the lengthy "tutti," instead of repeating the opening material, he simply takes off in a different direction, with baffling results. But it's clear that he loved the piece and was quite proud of it, in spite of (or because of?) its maddening and almost nonsensical structure. So it may be equally likely that he was confident in his ability to write a sonata-allegro, but because it was called a Sonata, he felt stuck with the conventions of the time.

Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: argerichfan] #1422047
04/22/10 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
.....Omitting repeats in Beethoven and the Chopin Op. 35 have a damaging effect on the overall structure (maybe I should just settle for 'listening experience'), but leaving out the repeat in the Op. 58 seems to have little effect one way or the other.....

I agree about Op. 35 vs. Op. 58, and I wouldn't know exactly how to articulate the difference either. Does that bother me? Not much. smile
I think you put it well enough.

Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: beet31425] #1422051
04/22/10 01:20 PM
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Don't make too much of his having said "structure"; as he said, he wasn't sure exactly how to put it. Think more of "listening experience." And tell me: If you're in the audience for a 2-hour recital, would you be glad or un-glad if the player got to the end of the exposition of Op. 58 and took the repeat?

Be honest. ha

Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: beet31425] #1422054
04/22/10 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
.....if it weren't for a certain Schubert Bb sonata. (Darn you Schubert, with your otherworldly sense of harmony and melody, yet your completely conventional sense of form! Did you really have to write a repeat?)

Speaking of the composer having taken the trouble to write a first ending: That first movement (unfortunately) smile has a great great great first ending. Would that make me take the repeat? No. But then again I would be hesitant to ever program the piece. I love it but consider it fairly deadly for a concert program, even in the best hands.

Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: jeffreyjones] #1422062
04/22/10 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
Schubert's D.960 has several bars of completely unique material in the first ending, so it's an important repeat even if it's not a terribly popular one. Chopin's just falls on its face, then collects itself and starts over....

I agree although I wouldn't put it quite so severely about the Chopin. I think I'd sooner take the repeat in the Schubert. IMO the most difficult decision about the Schubert is whether to program it at all, wonderful though it is.

Quote
.....It's interesting that you call Op. 58's first movement "fantasy-like," because it does seem to have a few things in common with the Fantaisie Op. 49.....

I don't much see it, although your analysis does make the point.

Quote
The sonata-allegro is not a typical kind of form for Chopin, so why does he use it here, and in a piece titled Fantaisie, no less? Is it possible he wanted to experiment with a sonata movement without a double exposition, but without his experiment carrying the weight of the Sonata title? I think that it was indeed a kind of trial run, and that he built the opening movement of Op. 58 on the Fantaisie in F minor.....

I don't much see that either although again you make an interesting argument. My best guess about the Fantaisie is that he was just taking and developing themes with "sort of" some of the structure of sonata form, rather than it being an experiment, any more than that everything new that he ever did was sort of an experiment. I don't see that it leads much to Op. 58, whose structure I see coming pretty directly from Op. 35.

Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: Mark_C] #1422126
04/22/10 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I think they're saying basically the same thing I was, but admittedly I'm taking "accent" to mean something different from the usual. What's my justification for it?
That they include, at the tail end of that sentence, "also with expressive significance."

I can make sense of what they say as long as we regard "accent" as meaning 'emphasis (with expressive significance).' If they mean accent as meaning simply louder -- sorry, I will gutsily say that I think they're wrong, or least only partly right; they're missing most of the story.

I agree with you, and I didn't take the editors as meaning simply louder.

Originally Posted by Mark_C
I'm truly surprised you think those "long accents" make sense as "accents" in the usual sense. You've clearly looked at this closely, and you know your stuff; I find if hard to believe that you would regard it as musical to play most of those notes "louder." (Really!)

I don't see the "long" accents as accents in the usual sense. To me, accent = emphasis, and with the long accents over multiple notes, that emphasis can be through volume, and/or articulation, and/or tempo fluctuations. In the 4th Ballade in those places, I'd use a bit of volume with a bit of rit. in combination. I sense an air of discontent, so it fits if the soprano lingers and is more reluctant to quieten than the orchestra. It's artistic discretion as to how to respond to Chopin's finger-pointing, "These are important notes." (In occasional rare cases, I might even play the expressive notes more quietly, if the accompaniment permitted.) What I find freaky though, and what I've been reacting against, is the suggestion that Chopin's hairpins are sometimes intended to mark changes of tempo. And I haven't seen anything to suggest that a widening hairpin is anything other than a simple crescendo. (Though Bernstein's book may persuade me differently.)

Originally Posted by Mark_C
I agree that the amount of source material is worthy of a lot of respect, but IMO it doesn't trump what our ears and musicality tell us. (Unless they found authoritative stuff that SAYS so-and-so means so-and-so, and I don't think we know that they did.)

I agree with this too. I was wondering whether Bernstein and Heidsieck were speculating from what appeared at the time to be rather a mess of hairpins, which has been admirably cleared up in the intervening years, due to increased availability of source material and intense scholarship working with it.

Originally Posted by Mark_C
But don't get me wrong......Even though we have some different opinions and different answers, I'm very glad that you're looking at this so seriously and knowledgeably. It's a good discussion.

Thanks! I've been enjoying it too.


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Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: Julian_] #1422141
04/22/10 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by SlatterFan
....I agree with you, and I didn't take the editors as meaning simply louder.

Wow. smile
Not because you're agreeing with me but because of looking at the word "accent" so flexibly.
That's unusual.

Quote
.....I don't see the "long" accents as accents in the usual sense. To me, accent = emphasis, and with the long accents over multiple notes, that emphasis can be through volume, and/or articulation, and/or tempo fluctuations.....

Yes

Quote
.....In the 4th Ballade in those places, I'd use a bit of volume with a bit of rit. in combination. I sense an air of discontent, so it fits if the soprano lingers and is more reluctant to quieten than the orchestra. It's artistic discretion as to how to respond to Chopin's finger-pointing, "These are important notes." (In occasional rare cases, I might even play the expressive notes more quietly, if the accompaniment permitted.)

yes squared smile

Quote
....What I find freaky though, and what I've been reacting against, is the suggestion that Chopin's hairpins are sometimes intended to mark changes of tempo. And I haven't seen anything to suggest that a widening hairpin is anything other than a simple crescendo. (Though Bernstein's book may persuade me differently.)

In view of the rest of what you've said, I'm surprised you have a problem with this part. Please take a look at the spot I mentioned in the slow movement of this sonata. I don't have measure numbers, but it's at 3:09-3:11 on this video -- Lipatti does it beautifully. Maybe part of the problem is that "tempo" is the wrong word -- and if you look back, I don't think I ever used that word (other people did); I only talked about "rhythm/rubato," and meaning it usually as just a slight barely-perceptible thing, not a tempo shift. The thing about this spot in the slow movement is that it clearly "proves" (IMO) that the opening hairpin absolutely does not necessarily mean what you just said (i.e. simple crescendo). We might want to play the next-to-last note a tad louder (along with lingering on the note a bit), but certainly not the last note, unless we don't care what we're hearing.



Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: Mark_C] #1422170
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Please take a look at the spot I mentioned in the slow movement of this sonata. (I don't have measure numbers, but it's at 3:09-3:11 on this video -- Lipatti does it beautifully. Maybe part of the problem is that "tempo" is the wrong word -- and if you look back, I don't think I ever used that word (other people did); I only talked about "rhythm/rubato," and meaning it usually as just a slight barely-perceptible thing, not a tempo shift. The thing about this spot in the slow movement is that it clearly "proves" (IMO) that the opening hairpin absolutely does not necessarily mean what you just said (i.e. simple crescendo). We might want to play the next-to-last note a tad louder (along with lingering on the note a bit), but certainly not the last note, unless we don't care what we're hearing.

I like the Lipatti! The hairpins come in 3 pairs in Paderewski and Henle:

Narrowing in bar 36 (3:09-3:11) and widening in bar 38 (3:17-3:19);
narrowing in bar 52 (4:04-4:06) and widening in bar 54 (4:12-4:14);
narrowing in bar 68 (5:01-5:03) and widening in bar 70 (5:08-5:10).

Lipatti plays a diminuendo on the back of a previous marked diminuendo in bars 36, 52, and 68; and a slighter diminuendo (very little in bar 38 especially) following an unmarked crescendo in bars 38, 54, and 70. So he finishes with a bigger tone in the latter bar of each pair, as would also happen following Chopin's indications strictly, but he gets to eat his cake too in shaping the ends of the phrases. I see it as an example of effective artistic licence.

My view of the pairs is that the first bar of each pair is a gentle sigh of relaxation, following the passionate descending melody. In contrast, the second of each pair is bated breath, expectation. I wouldn't get louder but I would maintain a steady tone. Relatively, if the natural expectation is a quietening at the end of a phrase, a steady volume feels like a crescendo. That's my artistic license, to assume that directions are relative to "what you would normally do here" or "what the listener would usually expect to hear next".


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Re: Chopin B minor Sonata, Op. 58 [Re: Mark_C] #1422175
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Good lord, I forgot how beautiful the Lipatti was. Why did I have to lose the disc frown

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Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 22,142
New York
....figured I ought to bump this thread too, because it was where we launched the "hairpin" debate.

Roberto Poli's new book ("The Secret Life of Musical Notation") begins with a long study of hairpins. He agrees with Heidsieck, S. Bernstein, and Hough that the markings often have a different and more subtle meaning than is usually supposed.

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