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#2186664 - 11/22/13 01:41 AM Rachmaninoff - Prelude in C# minor Opus 3 no. 2  
Joined: May 2005
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Carey Offline
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Carey  Offline
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Phoenix, Arizona
Yet another recording of this old "warhorse."

I started to learn this work when I was a lad of eleven - and can vividly remember butchering it in a student recital at age 12. Over the next 50+ years I dabbled with the Prelude from time to time - but never performed or recorded it. I finally decided to go for it - and in the process discovered that the piece isn't quite as "easy" as it is cracked up to be. smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJUJkM-tLkc&feature=share&list=UUhgp9Wg9ryMesmZyLgVqiCw









Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
#2186675 - 11/22/13 02:28 AM Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude in C# minor Opus 3 no. 2 [Re: Carey]  
Joined: Sep 2010
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FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013
FarmGirl  Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,292
Scottsdale, AZ
Bravo! Just listened to the whole thing. I thought it started a bit quietly or tentative but once started you played it so passionately that it took my breath away. At the same time it was masterfully crafted. Thank you for sharing the wonderful performance.


1) Bach c minor fantasy
2) Morzart Rondo in A minor, K511
3) Schubert Impromptu A flat D935 No2
4) Scriabin op11 prelude #2 and #14 (Re do #2, new #14)
5) kabalevsky Variations in A minor OP 40-2
#2186766 - 11/22/13 08:05 AM Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude in C# minor Opus 3 no. 2 [Re: Carey]  
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Cinnamonbear Offline
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Rockford, IL
Loved it, Phil. Yours is a very sensitive interpretation, beautifully played. The video aspect of your presentation is quite a bonus, too--again, sensitively done--a wonderful tribute to the composer and a reminder that life passes by very quickly. The fact that you have aged together with this piece adds a fulness of dimension to your video tribute. Well done, indeed!

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
#2186880 - 11/22/13 01:22 PM Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude in C# minor Opus 3 no. 2 [Re: Carey]  
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Hakki Offline
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Wonderful and powerful tone and beautiful phrasing on the outer sections.

But something is missing from the middle section.
Had it been more passionate with more rubato, this would be one of the most exciting performances I have ever heard.
But you play the middle section in a conservative way, with discreet pedaling.

Nevertheless, if only for the outer sections it was a wonderful listening.

Thanks for sharing.

#2186933 - 11/22/13 03:41 PM Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude in C# minor Opus 3 no. 2 [Re: Carey]  
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Louis Podesta Offline
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Louis Podesta  Offline
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Okay, now correct me if I am wrong, but one or two people on this planet have played this piece over the years. And, my overall impression is there is definite element of what is usually termed "barn burner," when it comes to certain sections of this work.

This rendering is far too conservative for my taste because it does not have that element. I have the composer's recording, which I will not present here (you can look it up for yourselves this time), and he has contrast throughout.

First, in the opening section, when he uses octaves on beats 1, 3 & 4, he makes a definite dynamic contrast when he hits the octaves. The chords are softer, and flowing, and the octaves are struck forcefully. Phil's recording plays them all dynamically pretty much the same.

Second, in the "Agitato" section, the composer starts of slow, and then takes off to the races. As I stated in another post, there is a piano teacher in my town who heard Rachmaninoff play this piece, and yes, he did play it that fast. Phil's rendering is far too slow.

The reason this is important is by waiting, like Phil does, until the "Tempo I" section to crank it all the way up, the climax does not make a lot of sense at that point. Why play soft, measured, and slow, and then boom, you let it all go.

Make no mistake about it, this is note perfect playing, with a beautiful tone to match. The only problema is that it is not Rachmaninoff, in my opinion.

#2186972 - 11/22/13 04:55 PM Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude in C# minor Opus 3 no. 2 [Re: Carey]  
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Carey Offline
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Carey  Offline
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Phoenix, Arizona
Farmgirl and Cinnamonbear - Glad you enjoyed it !!! Thanks for your kind comments.

Hakki - Glad you enjoyed the "outer sections." smile Re: the middle section - for me, it is the most difficult part of the piece - especially with the added pressure of a recorder running !! For years I simply plowed through the agitato section with "passion" and over-pedaling - but this time around I chose a more conservative approach and tried to adhere very closely to the directions in the score. If it comes off as too restrained and laid back, so be it. I've heard others play the agitato section in a similar manner - so I'm in good company.

Louis - Again, this time around I tried to pay better attention to the directions in the score. After the initial three octave chords at the beginning of the piece - the dynamics are PPP - which (theoretically) applies not only to the octaves on beats 3, 4 and 1 - but to the other chords as well. As for reaching the climax of the piece at the Tempo 1, I can assure you that I was playing FF and FFF well before that - whether it comes across in the recording or not. Fortunately we do have recordings (piano rolls and actual live recordings) of Rachmaninoff playing the piece himself. While he did some things consistently over the years, other aspects of his interpretation seemed to change over time...which should be no surprise. Bottom line - I can play this piece any number of different ways - including the way YOU feel it should be played. This particular "take" on the Prelude (imperfect as it is) is very personal - and works for me.


Last edited by carey; 11/22/13 04:57 PM.

Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
#2187025 - 11/22/13 06:44 PM Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude in C# minor Opus 3 no. 2 [Re: Carey]  
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Louis Podesta Offline
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Phil, I am very glad you kept mentioning the reference to the Urtext philosophy of "meticulous attention to the score," which is what Maurice Hinson, Leon Fleisher, and every major music school does. That is one of the major reasons I made my original post.

So, for the record, the most devoted follower of Rachmaninoff was Earl Wild. No one, other than his wife or manager, heard him play live more than he did, and no one discussed his music with him more on a one to one basis.

Therefore, this brings up the following points: 1) Rachmaninoff told Earl Wild that he wanted Boosey and Hawkes to print a second edition of his works for piano and orchestra because of all of the changes that had evolved over the years.

2) In that he had played this Prelude about a thousand times in public, he figured that pretty much everyone knew what his interpretations were, as it related to the printed score.

I wasn't going to do this because people have complained about it in the past, but here is a link to a live performance of Emil Gilels playing this piece, which in no uncertain terms, shows the contrast I spoke about in the opening section of this piece, as well as the acceleration of tempo, which comes afterwards.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtuMVBLEWJU

3) Earl Wild makes a huge deal about how what Jorge Bolet termed the "Urtext mob" has hijacked the musical interpretation of classical pianism.

4) The beauty of Youtube, as well as the 57 examples listed in the companion website to Neal Peres Da Costa's book "Off The Record," is that you get to hear historical/early recordings of works with the so-called Urtext score in your hand.

It is a different philosophy of playing, which was the original philosophy of playing, starting in the 17th century, and which continues today in what is loosely referred to as popular music.

Hey, when I was a teenager, my pianist/father (born in 1905) heard Lenny Bernstein use Diana Ross' version of a work from the Anna Magdalena Notebook on one of his live broadcasts. From that point forward, all of a sudden rock and roll/popular music was more than okay.

Phil, and others, it, (a piece of music), has a melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic character, which has to be brought out through the playing. As Peres Da Costa says in his book, the score is crucial to learning any work, but there is no way a piece can come to full fruition by that method alone.



#2187053 - 11/22/13 07:46 PM Re: Rachmaninoff - Prelude in C# minor Opus 3 no. 2 [Re: Louis Podesta]  
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Carey Offline
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Carey  Offline
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Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted by Louis Podesta

In that he had played this Prelude about a thousand times in public, he figured that pretty much everyone knew what his interpretations were, as it related to the printed score.


Perhaps it is unfortunate that Rachmaninoff never re-edited the score to reflect how he departed from it in performance - to include the marked contrasts in the opening section and the rapid acceleration in the agitato section. smile

Quote
I wasn't going to do this because people have complained about it in the past, but here is a link to a live performance of Emil Gilels playing this piece, which in no uncertain terms, shows the contrast I spoke about in the opening section of this piece, as well as the acceleration of tempo, which comes afterwards.


I've heard this interpretation several times already. Yes - Gilels plays the opening just like everyone else (and how I've played it in the past) which differs from the markings in the score.

Here's another approach - which I only offer because it is so different from Gilel's.....(and strangely similar to my own)

http://youtu.be/tEgBDkHP8P0











Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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