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OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
#2665072 07/30/17 05:04 PM
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gooddog Offline OP
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I'm slowly slaving away on this beautiful Liszt transcription. Figuring out a workable fingering that will hold up when I bring it up to tempo is taking a lot of work. I keep having to make changes, I've barely touched the voicing and I'm only up to page 3. My first lesson on it will be this Wednesday, when I'll find out if I've bitten off more than I can chew. If anyone has played this, can you please offer some pointers? I'm finding it extremely difficult.

(If you don't know me, some of the more difficult music I've performed decently are: Beethoven Op 53, 54, 110, Liszt Un Sospiro, Sonetto 104 and Funeraille )


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
gooddog #2665096 07/30/17 07:08 PM
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Is this your first liszt/schubert transcription? Well....they are ALL obnoxiously difficult! Just take it slow. It sounds like you're doing some good foundation work. They're pieces where it's hard to wrap your head around it because there's so much stuff going on but if you put in enough slow work one day it'll just "click". But it takes a lot of work and can be frustrating to get there.


"I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well."

J.S. Bach
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
Cheeto717 #2665106 07/30/17 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheeto717
Is this your first liszt/schubert transcription? Well....they are ALL obnoxiously difficult! Just take it slow. It sounds like you're doing some good foundation work. They're pieces where it's hard to wrap your head around it because there's so much stuff going on but if you put in enough slow work one day it'll just "click". But it takes a lot of work and can be frustrating to get there.

Thank you for the encouragement! Yes, it's my first Liszt/Schubert transcription. I'm forcing myself to keep it slow with occasional "a tempo" checks to verify the fingering. Yes, indeed, there is so much going on - the song and the finger-busting spinning wheel in the right hand, the treadle in the left hand, the arpeggios and large jumps plus handfuls of notes. I sure hope I can do this!


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
Cheeto717 #2665123 07/31/17 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheeto717
Is this your first liszt/schubert transcription? Well....they are ALL obnoxiously difficult![...]


Not ALL are THAT difficult. I know, because I have played half a dozen or so of the Schubert/Liszt transcriptions as well as the Mendelssohn/Liszt "Auf Flugeln des Gesanges" and the Schumann/Liszt "Widmung". They are so satisfying to play (particularly if one is a Lieder fan) that they are worth the effort required to master them and, as I have so often (too often?) said on this forum they are, for me, some of Liszt's best writing for the piano.

Apart from the ones that ARE fiendishly difficult - which I would never attempt - the biggest common challenge to almost all of them is one of voicing.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
gooddog #2665351 07/31/17 11:48 PM
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Ha, I just recently took a look at liszt/Mendelssohn auf flugeln des gesanges, and while it looked sort of workable, I decided most of the dancers I'd be playing it for wouldn't notice the difference between the Liszt version and the Lange version so guess which one I went for?

Let's just say that ONE of those is fully achievable in one day of practice. And that's the one I went with yesterday to play today for class. Still lovely!

Anyway, good luck gooddog! I am sure the work will be worth it. I love Schubert and Liszt together!

Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
gooddog #2665658 08/02/17 12:58 PM
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This piece is way above my pay scale!

Some general advice is 'divide and conquer'. You may have to break things down a lot into sections. For voicing you could play just the skeleton (work out what that is - bass and treble melody) and really get that into your ears. It may take a lot of patient 'unmusical' practice to iron out the technical difficulties.

Anyways, good luck! Maybe we will hear you perform it next year? Your Funeraille was a tour de force!


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Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
gooddog #2665695 08/02/17 02:35 PM
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No advice, but some encouragement that the effort will be worth it because this is IMO one of the very greatest of the Liszt song transcriptions.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/02/17 03:43 PM.
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
pianoloverus #2665704 08/02/17 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
No advice, but some encouragement that the effort will b worth it because this is IMO one of the very greatest of the Liszt song transcriptions.
Thank you, I agree, it is indeed lovely. I'm gradually making progress and it is rewarding but this will be a long term project.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
gooddog #2665789 08/02/17 10:54 PM
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Any sections you find particularly difficult? I learned this piece in 2011 and also found it surprisingly hard. The most problematic section for me was probably in the "B" section (if you consider the piece to be broadly in ABACAD form), where you have to juggle so many voices at once, though the hand crossing before the climax is also difficult. I couldn't ever find a clean fingering for pretty much the whole piece, so it's a finger-twister for me still.

Good luck!


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
Kuanpiano #2665875 08/03/17 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Any sections you find particularly difficult? I learned this piece in 2011 and also found it surprisingly hard. The most problematic section for me was probably in the "B" section (if you consider the piece to be broadly in ABACAD form), where you have to juggle so many voices at once, though the hand crossing before the climax is also difficult. I couldn't ever find a clean fingering for pretty much the whole piece, so it's a finger-twister for me still.

Good luck!

I'm not that far along, (only about 1/2 way) so I'm not sure where you'd divide it into ABACAD but I'm gradually settling on a workable fingering. I'm finding I need to make fingering choices that prepare the energy and direction of my hand for upcoming notes, for example, it works pretty smoothly to cross RH 2 over 1 in several places, (as opposed to Peter's suggestion to use RH 1-1) I redistribute between my hands in a few places too. Having smallish hands makes it hard to keep the melody cohesive without overdoing the pedal, while at the same time, keeping the spinning wheel legato. I find the voicing hard when both hands are playing fistfuls of notes. My lesson was postponed a week and I hope to have the first 3 pages solid by then. It's gradually coming together but I'd have to say it's one of the most difficult pieces I've every attempted.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
Vid #2665896 08/03/17 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Vid
This piece is way above my pay scale!

Some general advice is 'divide and conquer'. You may have to break things down a lot into sections. For voicing you could play just the skeleton (work out what that is - bass and treble melody) and really get that into your ears. It may take a lot of patient 'unmusical' practice to iron out the technical difficulties.

Anyways, good luck! Maybe we will hear you perform it next year? Your Funeraille was a tour de force!


Thanks Vid. Your advice is always right on the mark! I'd love to play it at VCM next summer - if I can actually learn the whole thing! Your Bach concerto was terrific !


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
gooddog #2665915 08/03/17 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by Vid
[...]

Anyways, good luck! Maybe we will hear you perform it next year? Your Funeraille was a tour de force!


[...] I'd love to play it at VCM next summer - if I can actually learn the whole thing! Your Bach concerto was terrific !


If you aim to play "Gretchen..." perhaps I'll aim to play "Auf dem Wasser zu singen" Would it be fun to have them on the same program?

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
BruceD #2665926 08/03/17 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by Vid
[...]

Anyways, good luck! Maybe we will hear you perform it next year? Your Funeraille was a tour de force!


[...] I'd love to play it at VCM next summer - if I can actually learn the whole thing! Your Bach concerto was terrific !


If you aim to play "Gretchen..." perhaps I'll aim to play "Auf dem Wasser zu singen" Would it be fun to have them on the same program?

Regards,


I second the motion!


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Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
BruceD #2665935 08/03/17 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by Vid
[...]

Anyways, good luck! Maybe we will hear you perform it next year? Your Funeraille was a tour de force!


[...] I'd love to play it at VCM next summer - if I can actually learn the whole thing! Your Bach concerto was terrific !


If you aim to play "Gretchen..." perhaps I'll aim to play "Auf dem Wasser zu singen" Would it be fun to have them on the same program?

Regards,

Go for it! Dueling Liszt transcriptions! Should be fun!


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
gooddog #2666031 08/03/17 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Any sections you find particularly difficult? I learned this piece in 2011 and also found it surprisingly hard. The most problematic section for me was probably in the "B" section (if you consider the piece to be broadly in ABACAD form), where you have to juggle so many voices at once, though the hand crossing before the climax is also difficult. I couldn't ever find a clean fingering for pretty much the whole piece, so it's a finger-twister for me still.

Good luck!

I'm not that far along, (only about 1/2 way) so I'm not sure where you'd divide it into ABACAD but I'm gradually settling on a workable fingering. I'm finding I need to make fingering choices that prepare the energy and direction of my hand for upcoming notes, for example, it works pretty smoothly to cross RH 2 over 1 in several places, (as opposed to Peter's suggestion to use RH 1-1) I redistribute between my hands in a few places too. Having smallish hands makes it hard to keep the melody cohesive without overdoing the pedal, while at the same time, keeping the spinning wheel legato. I find the voicing hard when both hands are playing fistfuls of notes. My lesson was postponed a week and I hope to have the first 3 pages solid by then. It's gradually coming together but I'd have to say it's one of the most difficult pieces I've every attempted.

Going off of that edition, the top of the second page and bottom of the fourth are super rough. I think in general, the hands have to stay fluid, because there are just too many notes to press comfortably. I'm sure you'll get it soon!

On the topic of "Auf dem Wasser zu singen"....that one was also really tough, though the voicing is more tricky than Gretchen. It lies under the hands better though, because the figurations are more pianistic.

This thread makes me want to re-learn both of these pieces again!


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
Kuanpiano #2666036 08/03/17 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
[...]
On the topic of "Auf dem Wasser zu singen"....that one was also really tough, though the voicing is more tricky than Gretchen. It lies under the hands better though, because the figurations are more pianistic.
[...]


Particularly devilish as far as voicing is concerned in "Auf dem Wasser..." is what one might consider the "second verse", starting at measure 35 (marcato il canto) where the melody is in the lower part of the right hand (mainly thumb) and the accompaniment is above it with fingers 3, 4 and 5. When the melody is only a third below the accompaniment, forget about trying to "voice" the melody!.

But back to "Gretchen..." The top of the second page in the Peters (measures 26 to 31) is indeed challenging, but I'm not sure, Kp, where you refer to the bottom of the fourth page. Most of the fourth page in the Peters, where the "spinning" accompaniment is in both hands, is a real bear, only to be topped by the sixth page where the left hand crosses over the right (which is playing the melody in octaves starting at measure 97) and while both hand "spin" the accompaniment. Let's not forget, too, that the eighth-note pulse (beats 3 to 4, and 5, 6 to 1) are along for the ride, too at this point!

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
Kuanpiano #2666039 08/03/17 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
But back to "Gretchen..." The top of the second page in the Peters (measures 26 to 31) is indeed challenging, but I'm not sure, Kp, where you refer to the bottom of the fourth page. Most of the fourth page in the Peters, where the "spinning" accompaniment is in both hands, is a real bear, only to be topped by the sixth page where the left hand crosses over the right (which is playing the melody in octaves starting at measure 97) and while both hand "spin" the accompaniment. Let's not forget, too, that the eighth-note pulse (beats 3 to 4, and 5, 6 to 1) are along for the ride, too at this point!

Regards,
Funny, but I found measures 22 and 24 to be the hardest on page 2. My solution was to drop the F4 in those measures because it gives me a better hand position. Purists might not like it but it works for me and I don't think it's noticeable. I haven't reached page 4 yet other than doing a quick reading of it. It didn't seem too bad. Yes, it looks like I'm in for more "fun" on later pages. Gulp!
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
I think in general, the hands have to stay fluid, because there are just too many notes to press comfortably. I'm sure you'll get it soon!
Oh yes, staying relaxed is vital.

Bruce, good luck with "Wasser"!

Thanks KP and Bruce for the advice. Much appreciated.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
gooddog #2666135 08/04/17 10:38 AM
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Kp and Deborah:

Surprise!

I have three editions of this work; Schirmer, Peters, and Editio Musica Budapest. Since it was handier at the moment, I was referencing the Schirmer since I had written in the measure numbers in that copy, but after Deborah's last post, when I couldn't quite understand what was giving her problems, I find that the Schirmer edition has four extra introductory measures that correspond exactly to the piano introduction in the original Lied. Those measures aren't in the Peters or the EMB. This probably has its origin in that Liszt often wrote - and published - more than one version of his transcriptions.

Now I see that I was four measures behind where you both were in our earlier posts. And, yes, Deborah, measures 22 and 24 are difficult!

If we all have the Peters, I'll number the measures in my copy of that edition and use it for further reference/discussion or use the EMB which has numbered measures already.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: OMG this is HARD: "Gretchen am Spinnrade" - suggestions?
BruceD #2666148 08/04/17 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Kp and Deborah:If we all have the Peters, I'll number the measures in my copy of that edition and use it for further reference/discussion or use the EMB which has numbered measures already.

Regards,


It's no surprise that you have multiple editions! smile It really burns me up when I pay good money for an edition and they don't even number the measures!


Best regards,

Deborah

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