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#1967439 - 10/01/12 04:34 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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See the above edit.

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#1967446 - 10/01/12 04:43 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey
....What reason have you offered me to convince me that you know more about this than any of the other people I've spoken to about it?

OK, you asked for it and I'll give it. smile

This is a piece of great subtlety and depth -- very great. To say about any such piece that it's "not as hard as many people think" (or however you put it) inherently seems to reflect a failure to grasp that, and, to the ears of many serious musicians who know and love the piece, has the effect that I indicated on the last page.

And that's only about the musical aspects. I'll leave it at that, because I'm pretty sure you wouldn't put any stock in anything I might say about technical aspects, and in fairness they might not apply to you.

#1967449 - 10/01/12 04:46 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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That's just a statement of your opinion, not a reason to respect your opinion.

#1967450 - 10/01/12 04:48 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Mark, here's a radical thought: How about letting Debrucey decide for himself how difficult this piece is? You're beginning to sound as though it galls you that he might actually learn it in two months. If I were to use that yardstick, everyone in this forum galls me, including you. laugh

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#1967453 - 10/01/12 04:52 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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I guess we'll just have to wait two months to find out.

#1967506 - 10/01/12 07:06 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: Old Man]  
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Originally Posted by Old Man
....as though it galls you that he might actually learn it in two months....

No, it galls me that a serious pianist could have such a view of the piece.

#1967516 - 10/01/12 07:21 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey
I guess we'll just have to wait two months to find out.


You're right, but I do believe you won't be doing any of that waiting =P

#1967562 - 10/01/12 10:03 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Old Man
....as though it galls you that he might actually learn it in two months....

No, it galls me that a serious pianist could have such a view of the piece.


Since the thread has been you saying this over and over for a few pages, I thought I might come in with a different opinion laugh

Technically the 4th Ballade is perhaps a little tougher than the other Ballades. None of them are really exceptionally difficult pieces in that respect. I was able to play it through pretty smoothly in well under 2 months, and I'm not really great or anything. Other people I know who've played it learned it pretty quickly as well.

Musically everyone seems to agree that it's really hard, however everyone has their own idea of how it should be played. In my opinion, this actually means a short term performance should be less worrisome, because everyone seems to like this piece played a certain different way, and whatever you do you're guaranteed to make at least half the people who have an opinion on the piece unhappy. Thus, one can take a pretty "safe" approach, follow the markings on the score as closely as possible, and do a decent job. Whatever comes across as "unrefined" to one person, may be "genius" to another.

Last edited by trigalg693; 10/01/12 10:07 PM.
#1967593 - 10/01/12 11:37 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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I think one of the things Mark is saying is that there are some pieces which, regardless of their mechanical difficulty, are of such musical depth and organizational originality that one should really live with them for a time-- a long time-- before performing them. To me, the idea of performing the 4th Ballade after only two months carries with it a danger of not doing it justice that I wouldn't feel with, say, learning the first movement of Beethoven's op.2/3 in two months. (Trying to pick a piece of similar mechanical difficulty but which perhaps one doesn't have to inhabit in the same way.)

The idea of anyone doing this makes me uncomfortable. Not out of judgement, just out of oversensitivity. I wish db the best with it.

-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#1967596 - 10/01/12 11:56 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Jason,

That's true and I largely agree to that.

But to the opposite end some of us are saying that, exactly because one can separate the technical/mechanical and musical difficulty of a work, the first one can be mastered in two months, and as for the second one it remains to be seen. I don't know how insane one must be to work 6-8 hours per day in a single work for two months (I wouldn't be able to do it, personally. I'd gladly compose for 16 hours per day though for many months until I'd crumble) but it's not completely unreasonable to think that the work will come to a certain level (probably not at the Zimmerman level, but none the less a decent level).

The funny thing about the later pages of this thread is that the "THAT hard/difficult", etc is applicable only to what the other party thinks, in which case here Mark considers it "THAT hard" where debrucey doesn't think/believe it's "ThAT hard"... wink teeheehee...

#1967607 - 10/02/12 12:53 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Now that we've all chimed in with our opinions on the side issue suggested (to some) by the original post - some ringing louder, longer and more frequently than others - why don't we either
1 - respond to the original question about time management experiences or, if unable to do that
2 - drop the judgement calls which must surely be doing little to help debrucey in his enthusiasm for this project.

Join me in wishing him a productive two months in the hopes that it brings positive results.

Regards,


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#1967609 - 10/02/12 01:03 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Join me in wishing him a productive two months in the hopes that it brings positive results.
+ 1

As for time management it all relates to what one is used to.

From my own experience when I was called to compose a symphonic work in less than a month (unperformed sadly and not in a great shape admittedly) I decided to skip vacation in Greece (was living in the UK at the time with my family), but allow my wife and two kids to go. Thus I gained tons of free time which all was used to compose... Worked good enough (got the commission out of the way), and I was composing for double the time I was used to. The change in circumstances made this happen.

So perhaps there's a way for debrucey to do something like that with his living circumstances or something along those lines?

#1967623 - 10/02/12 01:49 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Now that we've all chimed in with our opinions on the side issue suggested (to some) by the original post - some ringing louder, longer and more frequently than others - why don't we either
1 - respond to the original question about time management experiences or, if unable to do that
2 - drop the judgement calls which must surely be doing little to help debrucey in his enthusiasm for this project.
Absolutely agree.
Originally Posted by BruceD
Join me in wishing him a productive two months in the hopes that it brings positive results.
I certainly do. Go, debrucey!


Du holde Kunst...
#1967626 - 10/02/12 01:56 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Thanks guys. I'm sure however crummy my performance of it in 2 months time is the whole exercise will be a positive one for me. It was much the same situation with Appassionata last year, which most people advised me not to take up (except for, crucially, my teacher lol). Sure, at the end of it all it wasn't the best performance in the world, but I learned a lot from forcing myself to do it.

#1967678 - 10/02/12 07:29 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: beet31425]  
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Originally Posted by beet31425
I think one of the things Mark is saying is that there are some pieces which, regardless of their mechanical difficulty, are of such musical depth and organizational originality that one should really live with them for a time-- a long time-- before performing them.-J
I think one could say that about any major work by any great composer. It would apply to numerous works by Chopin and any of the great composers. So if one has two months to learn a piece, I think the 4th Ballade is no different in this respect from countless other great works. But besides this, what a person can understand musically about a piece in two months is not the same for everyone.

Whatever his opinion there is no point to saying the same thing at least six times, especially when the OP has clearly that his mind is made up about learning the Ballade and he's interested other people's advice about dealing with difficult deadline.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 10/02/12 09:13 AM.
#1967695 - 10/02/12 08:22 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey
Thanks guys. I'm sure however crummy my performance of it in 2 months time is the whole exercise will be a positive one for me. It was much the same situation with Appassionata last year, which most people advised me not to take up (except for, crucially, my teacher lol). Sure, at the end of it all it wasn't the best performance in the world, but I learned a lot from forcing myself to do it.

Whether or not it's "the best performance in the world", I'm sure it will not be "crummy". Remember the old adage, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good". If this advice went unheeded, no pianist would ever play anything. They'd be stuck in a kind of "interpretive paralysis". As I pointed out in another thread, Horowitz struggled his entire life with Chopin's first ballade. He was continually revising it: changing dynamics, changing tempo, finding new voices to accentuate, and each performance was different. But even though he was never satisfied, that never stopped him. He played it all the time, and his audiences loved it.

And yours will too. So please report back and let us know how you thought it went. (That way we can rehash this entire subject one more time. cry )

#1967715 - 10/02/12 09:19 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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You'll be fine, debrucey.

#1967781 - 10/02/12 01:06 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey
Thanks guys. I'm sure however crummy my performance of it in 2 months time is the whole exercise will be a positive one for me. It was much the same situation with Appassionata last year, which most people advised me not to take up (except for, crucially, my teacher lol). Sure, at the end of it all it wasn't the best performance in the world, but I learned a lot from forcing myself to do it.


And you'll return to it many times no doubt over your pianistic career with new insights and understanding from working on it multiple times. I say go for it and good luck, debrucey!! thumb

Sophia

#1967844 - 10/02/12 03:48 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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The craziest example of last-minute preparation that I have ever heard of was Richter learning Prokofieff's 7th sonata in 4 days - by memory - for the premiere concert. Of course, you are not Richter, he was supernatural. However, I don't think it's so crazy for a pianist of your high level to do this. Sure it's a risk, but you can't always play it safe if you want to excel at something; sometimes your risks will pay off, and other times they won't. Let's hope for the former.

And if you want to be a concert pianist, you may wind up having to do this from time to time, so you might as well get used to working on short notice. Good luck!

#1967846 - 10/02/12 03:51 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: slava_richter]  
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Originally Posted by slava_richter
The craziest example of last-minute preparation that I have ever heard of was Richter learning Prokofieff's 7th sonata in 4 days - by memory - for the premiere concert. Of course, you are not Richter, he was supernatural. However, I don't think it's so crazy for a pianist of your high level to do this. Sure it's a risk, but you can't always play it safe if you want to excel at something; sometimes your risks will pay off, and other times they won't. Let's hope for the former.

And if you want to be a concert pianist, you may wind up having to do this from time to time, so you might as well get used to working on short notice. Good luck!
He also learned the whole Well Tempered Clavier in one month. That's one and a half piece of music a day. Insane.

#1967910 - 10/02/12 06:13 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: slava_richter]  
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Originally Posted by slava_richter
The craziest example of last-minute preparation that I have ever heard of was Richter learning Prokofieff's 7th sonata in 4 days - by memory - for the premiere concert.


I've heard of someone (pianist) who learned a whole movement (of accompaniment) to a violin piece during the 10 minutes of intermission...

Anyways, I completely agree with the person who brought up the "don't let perfect become the enemy of good" quote, there is absolutely no reason that one should necessarily wait a long time before performing something. I don't think any pianist is ever completely happy with how the piece is when it's being performed, but that shouldn't stop people from performing. 2 months is usually on the short side but a person with reasonable experience can pull off a decent performance in that timespan.

#1970945 - 10/09/12 05:48 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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I learned the 4th Ballade in a few months (can't remember the exact time frame, but I think it was 4 or 5 months). I wasn't in a super rush, so I'm sure you can do it in 2 months if you really focus. I would suggest setting a goal of having it learned and memorized up to tempo within one month, so that you have the whole next month to polish it and let it kinda "gel" in your mind and fingers.

One of the things my teacher always told me is that many works, including this Ballade, are "lifetime" pieces. You will play these pieces for years, and they will change and evolve just as you change and evolve as a musician. Note that this does not mean that you have to practice the piece for your whole life before you ever perform it! My interpretation of the Ballade at age 65 will not invalidate my interpretation of it at age 25.

If you refuse to do anything until every circumstance is exactly perfect, you'll never get anything done.

Good luck with your performance! smile

#1971009 - 10/09/12 08:16 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: trigalg693]  
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Originally Posted by trigalg693
....I completely agree with the person who brought up the "don't let perfect become the enemy of good" quote, there is absolutely no reason that one should necessarily wait a long time before performing something....

I think something from the 1st post has gotten lost (long ago). He implied that he had waited significantly longer than he should have to start working on the piece and therefore that it was going to be iffy. That seems to be either forgotten or treated as though it doesn't matter. When he additionally indicated that perhaps the piece isn't as challenging as is often said, which is a lot of wishful thinking, that seemed to accentuate it. Against that backdrop, I'm surprised that most people seem basically to be saying sure, go ahead, no problem. But whatever. Maybe you're right. smile

#1971060 - 10/09/12 10:03 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by trigalg693
....I completely agree with the person who brought up the "don't let perfect become the enemy of good" quote, there is absolutely no reason that one should necessarily wait a long time before performing something....

I think something from the 1st post has gotten lost ..............blah, blah, blah.......... I'm surprised that most people seem basically to be saying sure, go ahead, no problem. But whatever. Maybe you're right. smile


The only thing that is lost (and only by you) is that he never asked to be talked out of playing it. I think it galls you that he isn't showing the proper respect for your god. smile

#1971066 - 10/09/12 10:13 PM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
....he never asked to be talked out of playing it. I think it galls you that he isn't showing the proper respect for your god. smile

Sure, a big part of what galls me is what he expressed about the Ballade, but there's more, including that someone who views the piece that way isn't (isn't) appreciating what it is and is probably better off not playing it yet. Actually I don't believe that he truly thinks what he said about the piece and that it's just wishful thinking -- which is part of the problem too.

But, about what he asked or didn't ask: I assume you're a fairly sophisticated individual. grin
And that therefore you realize that people don't necessarily express things directly.

Let's take a look at what he did ask directly: If we are to take it at face value, the only reason he started this thread was because of abstract intellectual curiosity about whether other people have ever done similar miscalculations, and how it turned out -- with no wish, unconscious or otherwise, to express his concern about his miscalculation and to get reactions that might affect what he does.

If you believe that.....well I won't even complete that thought, because I'm pretty sure that if you think about it, you don't believe that. ha

He didn't do that.
People don't do that.
Sorry. smile

#1971149 - 10/10/12 02:16 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: Mark_C]  
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As an update btw, its coming along quite well. And most of what I've done so far was not as hard as I expected it to be.

Last edited by debrucey; 10/10/12 02:17 AM.
#1971152 - 10/10/12 02:24 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Originally Posted by debrucey
And most of what I've done so far was not as hard as I expected it to be.
ha

Now this haha is what I call a reall pun! hahahahaha!

Debrucey, glad to know this is working out for you. I'm hoping for a recording once done, right? wink

#1971154 - 10/10/12 02:28 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Absolutely :-).

Not sure I see the pun tho lol

#1971156 - 10/10/12 02:54 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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Well, Mark has been the one talking all the time on how difficult this work is and how you're basically underestimating its difficulty. And he's also the one to be using constantly the haha emoticon, so I quoted that with the haha... Probably not a pun, but fun none the less for me! grin

#1971157 - 10/10/12 02:55 AM Re: Two months to learn Chopin's 4th Ballade [Re: debrucey]  
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