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#2288981 - 06/12/14 03:52 PM Södermalm Fantasy Ballade in a reading by Tim Adrianson  
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 2,334
Michael Sayers Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Michael Sayers  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 2,334
Stockholms län, Sverige
Greetings Everyone,

After a very long absence I am happy to be posting here again.

Early last year I had the pleasure of listening to Tim Adrianson's competition recordings on youtube, and also his recording of Steve Chandler's Rhapsody, and felt that he is a pianist who plays with much communicative power. I sent him the score to Södermalm Fantasy Ballade which was, in time, recorded, though as a consequence of my absence I was unaware until this week of this fact.

I am very impressed by the interpretation and range of tone, and the revealing of some not previously considered dramatic elements in the work.

This is Tim's page with the mp3:


Thanks again Tim!


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#2289390 - 06/13/14 03:22 PM Re: Södermalm Fantasy Ballade in a reading by Tim Adrianson [Re: Michael Sayers]  
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 9,283
Polyphonist Offline
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Polyphonist  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 9,283
New York City
It's very, very similar to Liszt - I'm sure you already know this. You use small motives and repeat them a lot of times, like Liszt does. There are a lot of tremolos, and it stays very strongly in the bass section of the keyboard. Usually when even Liszt does this for too long it starts becoming irritating, and I do think your piece is too long - perhaps remove some of the repeating sections.

When you start getting to the chromatic scales after about the 4:30 mark, the channeling of the 2nd Ballade becomes a little excessive. The chorale section beginning a little before 6 minutes is a welcome relief. The section following that, with the repeated D#-C# - too long again.

As a whole - I enjoy the elements of your piece individually, but put together they become a bit too much. Suggestions - cut some repeats, and most importantly, take the LH OUT OF THE BASS. There need to be some contrasting sections that don't involve constant as-low-as-possible tremolos where we can barely hear what the notes are.

Thanks for posting. smile


#2289539 - 06/14/14 05:12 AM Re: Södermalm Fantasy Ballade in a reading by Tim Adrianson [Re: Polyphonist]  
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 2,334
Michael Sayers Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Michael Sayers  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 2,334
Stockholms län, Sverige
Often it does sound like rehashed Liszt, and in addition there are leitmotif elements connecting the sections, for instance the melodic content of the material which begins with the dotted rhythms and which is after the conclusion of the ff opening is very similar to that of the chorale which doesn't use a dotted rhythm. The chorale music was composed first though within a short untitled music sketchbook type composition. Someone observed that the chorale sounds similar to the opening material of Liszt's funereal work for Mosonyi:


Since the method of composing the Ballade wasn't a conscious one - except for inserting the chorale before producing the remainder - what may have happened is the conditioned result of years of obsession with Liszt's music starting when I was a teenager. At the time of compositon I wasn't aware of any of these similarities, in the same way that Kuhlau whenever he used an alberti bass probably wasn't thinking of any particular Mozart or Haydn work - it was just part of the natural rhetoric in piano sound for him.

I am hoping to break through these limitations. There is an earlier Homage to Debussy suite which is one such attempt - other than a lot of parallel motion in the first movement it doesn't resemble Debussy, and very much involves scale patterns and harmonies dissociated from the limited Major-minor paradigm. Some of it however is unplayable on the piano - as with a Theme and Variations as the second movement, one variation of which is centered around glissandos with more than a few ff double octave glissandos in both hands which is a good way to rip the skin off one's thumbs! - and at other times also it isn't totally piano-appropriate, focused more on the ideal sound than practical limitations. Deep bass use in the suite though is strategic and limited. One of the variations is entirely in the upper four octaves of the keyboard. Fortunately the movements of the suite except for the first one are designed to be playable separately - the last of the variations in the second movement is its own work, and is 115 measures - however this is the one entirely in the upper four octaves, and delicatissimo throughout, which might produce for some listeners an experience similar to that of never-ending deep bass!

You are right that the endless deep bass without sufficient contrast in a composition the duration of the Ballade is too much. It could be a symptom that much of the music I write isn't really intended for the piano - there can be choral and orchestral works but rendered for the piano if one is not attuned to all the ins and outs of orchestration and the many instruments. And of course an orchestra has a much larger tonal palette than the piano - it can involve the deep bass for extended periods and yet remain much more timbrally interesting.

Thanks for taking the time to listen Polyphonist and for the critique. There is more that might be possible to add such as the experiences related to Södermalm - the Fantasy Ballade is intended as descriptive music, with water connection in the roaring and surging chromatic scales to portray the dramatico fountains on one of the squares, and the nearby Maria Magdalena church in the religioso chorale - but maybe this already has become a bit too long of a reply.

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