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#2095230 - 06/04/13 12:24 PM Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4  
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ansatz737 Offline
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So I started feeling guilty that all my posts on this site have been in the Van Cliburn thread. I thought I might assuage that guilt by posting a recording so everyone can see just how hypocritical I am for criticizing pianists my age or slightly older who are a million times more accomplished than I ever will be grin

I've been playing this prelude casually for at least a couple of months now, but had one lesson on it recently. There are lots of things obviously wrong with it, but I'll let you guys figure them out instead of apologizing in advance. I will, however, apologize for the weirdly low volume [fixed in the second take], my out-of-tune piano, and the unfortunate timing of my clock's hourly chirp at the very end [also fixed]...

EDIT: This is different take with better volume

https://soundcloud.com/ansatz737/rach23-4-bettervolume2

Last edited by ansatz737; 06/04/13 01:45 PM.

Student and shamefully occasional pianist
Currently attempting:
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 4 and 7
Deciding between Mozart K. 310 and Beethoven op. 10 no. 3
Albeniz - Almeria from Iberia book II
#2095253 - 06/04/13 12:50 PM Re: Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4 [Re: ansatz737]  
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Mark_C Offline
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I had to go listen, including because of your mentioning Cliburn (even though it wasn't really about him!) and that it was from his LP recording that I came to know and love the piece.

The volume really is too low for me to say much, but I can say that it seems to me that this is excellent, with a great tempo, very good and relaxed pacing, and (yes, even with the very low volume I felt I could tell this!) ....and very good dynamic range, with good and interesting shaping within phrases.

#2095260 - 06/04/13 01:02 PM Re: Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4 [Re: ansatz737]  
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Cinnamonbear Offline
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What I hear in your performance, ansatz, is a degree of musical maturity and depth that is largely missing from a number of this year's Cliburn performances, despite the competitors' technical mastery and wide-ranging virtuoso rep. I know there are a ton of qualifying differences, but I also know what I'm hearing in the making and shaping of music.

Beautiful, sensitive playing. And I loved the bird song at the end. Thank you for sharing this. It takes a lot of courage to post to an international forum and throw yourself to potential wolves! smile

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
#2095287 - 06/04/13 01:43 PM Re: Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4 [Re: ansatz737]  
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ansatz737 Offline
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Wow, thanks Mark and Andy! I certainly wasn't expecting a positive reception. I adjusted the settings on my recording device and did another take, and the volume appears to be normal now. I edited out a short false start at the beginning, but otherwise didn't change the performance. The flaws in my playing will probably be more obvious now, but hopefully some good things will be too ha


Student and shamefully occasional pianist
Currently attempting:
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 4 and 7
Deciding between Mozart K. 310 and Beethoven op. 10 no. 3
Albeniz - Almeria from Iberia book II
#2095306 - 06/04/13 01:56 PM Re: Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4 [Re: ansatz737]  
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 21,584
Mark_C Offline
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Mark_C  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2009
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New York
Yeah. grin

It's still very good, even now that we can actually hear it ha ....but there's one 'new' thing (only 1!), which I couldn't tell before. You almost always PAUSE when the left hand has to leap downward, like at the ends of measures -- through most of the piece, except when there isn't such a leap. That's a very common 'amateur' thing with such figurations. I've been prone to it myself. I once played Chopin's E-flat major Nocturne (Op. 9 #2) as an encore, and then to my horror, my teacher pointed out afterwards that I had done this. The nocturne has exactly the same issue; it's easier there but the issue is the same. I didn't even realize I was doing it. I had gotten into it as a matter of convenience, or probably more accurately, laziness grin ....and just got used to it, so that I didn't even notice it; it just felt like part of my "rubato," but it wasn't. Of course it's OK to be flexible with rhythms and to have little pauses, and often a pause is probably intended by the composer when a hand has to jump like that. But it's not OK when it wasn't intended (as I doubt it was in this piece) and when we don't even realize it and just doing it as a technical concession rather than as an expressive choice.

If you fix that, it'll be pretty close to perfect. smile
And if you need clues on how to work on it, we can help with that.

#2095311 - 06/04/13 02:02 PM Re: Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4 [Re: Mark_C]  
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ansatz737 Offline
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Posts: 156
Yup, that's definitely one of the major issues ha But I only really noticed it when listening to these recordings! Now it seems glaringly obvious and I wonder how I could have missed it before, but I guess that's how it works sometimes. I'll work on it smile


Student and shamefully occasional pianist
Currently attempting:
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 4 and 7
Deciding between Mozart K. 310 and Beethoven op. 10 no. 3
Albeniz - Almeria from Iberia book II
#2095601 - 06/04/13 09:36 PM Re: Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4 [Re: ansatz737]  
Joined: Mar 2013
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Polyphonist Online content
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Polyphonist  Online Content
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New York City
Here goes. I have not read any of the previous comments on this thread, so my opinions are unbiased. ha

I like your tempo starting out. There may be a little too much pause when your LH is leaping down at the beginning of measures - try to work on that.

Try to think about making the phrases a bit longer; you're cutting off a few of them.

2:13 is an amazing moment - maybe even use a little more rubato.

You could be bringing out the melodies over the LH a little more, I think.

I love 3:03 - 3:10 so much - you do a great job with that section.

You have excellent control of crescendi and diminuendi towards the end. Your LH is probably slightly too loud, but it's OK.

The chord at 4:39 - this is what I don't like so much. Try to work on the voicing, and maybe take a little more time before that chord and play it a little softer.

All in all - I'm impressed. One of the more musical performances of this prelude I've heard (and I've heard a lot of great ones). You're only in college? You have some serious potential as a pianist.



Regards,

Polyphonist
#2095614 - 06/04/13 10:07 PM Re: Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4 [Re: ansatz737]  
Joined: Jun 2005
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Derulux Offline
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Derulux  Offline
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I have a personal policy that I don't listen to a recording without commenting, and offering feedback when requested. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time right this second, so I may come back and post a longer reply later.

I liked this performance. A couple minor flubs which I think you already knew about, but nothing major. I agree with eliminating the hesitation. It really makes the line drag.

I would like to hear the middle melody more in the 2nd "section" with the triplets on top. Most of the notes come out clean and clear, but some of the trickier ones weren't as clear.

That's the major stuff.. really solid take. With a little tightening, this could be performance-ready. Good take! smile


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2096024 - 06/05/13 08:22 AM Re: Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4 [Re: Polyphonist]  
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ansatz737 Offline
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ansatz737  Offline
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Polyphonist - thanks for the detailed comments! I'll try to give a point-by-point response.

Originally Posted by Polyphonist

I like your tempo starting out. There may be a little too much pause when your LH is leaping down at the beginning of measures - try to work on that.


Definitely, as discussed before.

Originally Posted by Polyphonist

Try to think about making the phrases a bit longer; you're cutting off a few of them.


My teacher mentioned this too and I think I've improved in that respect, but I can work on it more.

Originally Posted by Polyphonist

2:13 is an amazing moment - maybe even use a little more rubato.


Yeah, you're probably right. But I think the effect of the rubato there was dulled by the fact that I was delaying the beginnings of measures far too frequently. So maybe if I fix that, I won't even need to slow down much more there, I don't know yet.

Originally Posted by Polyphonist

You could be bringing out the melodies over the LH a little more, I think.


Possibly. One of the things my teacher made a big point of was making the LH a bit more prominent since I had been keeping it overly light before. Maybe I've gone too far in the other direction.

Originally Posted by Polyphonist

I love 3:03 - 3:10 so much - you do a great job with that section.


I actually thought it was pretty good too!

Originally Posted by Polyphonist

You have excellent control of crescendi and diminuendi towards the end. Your LH is probably slightly too loud, but it's OK.


(same reason for loud LH as explained earlier)

Originally Posted by Polyphonist

The chord at 4:39 - this is what I don't like so much. Try to work on the voicing, and maybe take a little more time before that chord and play it a little softer.


I will admit that I haven't given enough thought to how I want the last few measures to sound yet, so I may end up agreeing with you. But in my score that chord is marked mf, which is distinctly louder than much of what precedes it. I might decide to play it softer anyway, but IMO that's a distortion of the score, albeit a very reasonable one.

Originally Posted by Polyphonist

All in all - I'm impressed. One of the more musical performances of this prelude I've heard (and I've heard a lot of great ones). You're only in college? You have some serious potential as a pianist.


Thanks again! But I have to laugh at the "serious potential" bit grin I assure you that you wouldn't feel the same way if you heard me playing anything remotely fast or virtuosic ha My technique is extremely weak. I've played only sporadically over the past two years, and only started practicing regularly again a couple of months ago since taking temporary leave of absence from university.

Last edited by ansatz737; 06/05/13 08:24 AM.

Student and shamefully occasional pianist
Currently attempting:
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 4 and 7
Deciding between Mozart K. 310 and Beethoven op. 10 no. 3
Albeniz - Almeria from Iberia book II
#2096026 - 06/05/13 08:28 AM Re: Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4 [Re: Derulux]  
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 156
ansatz737 Offline
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ansatz737  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 156
Originally Posted by Derulux
I have a personal policy that I don't listen to a recording without commenting, and offering feedback when requested. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time right this second, so I may come back and post a longer reply later.

I liked this performance. A couple minor flubs which I think you already knew about, but nothing major. I agree with eliminating the hesitation. It really makes the line drag.

I would like to hear the middle melody more in the 2nd "section" with the triplets on top. Most of the notes come out clean and clear, but some of the trickier ones weren't as clear.

That's the major stuff.. really solid take. With a little tightening, this could be performance-ready. Good take! smile


Thank you for your comments! The hesitation point has been discussed enough by now, I think smile I was reasonably happy with the 2nd section you mention, but it's very difficult for me and there's always room for improvement. I will say though that I don't like the melody to be quite as loud there as I've heard some pianists make it. I think it sounds more beautiful and natural if it doesn't stick out *that* much (i.e. to the point of harshness) from the surrounding textures.

Last edited by ansatz737; 06/05/13 08:32 AM.

Student and shamefully occasional pianist
Currently attempting:
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 4 and 7
Deciding between Mozart K. 310 and Beethoven op. 10 no. 3
Albeniz - Almeria from Iberia book II
#2096153 - 06/05/13 11:50 AM Re: Rachmaninoff op. 23 no. 4 [Re: ansatz737]  
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,446
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Derulux  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 5,446
Philadelphia
Originally Posted by ansatz737
Originally Posted by Derulux
I have a personal policy that I don't listen to a recording without commenting, and offering feedback when requested. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time right this second, so I may come back and post a longer reply later.

I liked this performance. A couple minor flubs which I think you already knew about, but nothing major. I agree with eliminating the hesitation. It really makes the line drag.

I would like to hear the middle melody more in the 2nd "section" with the triplets on top. Most of the notes come out clean and clear, but some of the trickier ones weren't as clear.

That's the major stuff.. really solid take. With a little tightening, this could be performance-ready. Good take! smile


Thank you for your comments! The hesitation point has been discussed enough by now, I think smile I was reasonably happy with the 2nd section you mention, but it's very difficult for me and there's always room for improvement. I will say though that I don't like the melody to be quite as loud there as I've heard some pianists make it. I think it sounds more beautiful and natural if it doesn't stick out *that* much (i.e. to the point of harshness) from the surrounding textures.

I agree, but a couple times it disappeared into the surrounding textures. wink

You entered the 2nd section very well.. I was delighted by how soft you kept the triplets. Most pianists I've heard (including some pros) do the opposite and play the triplets way too loud.


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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