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Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo #2687961
11/08/17 03:24 AM
11/08/17 03:24 AM
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Vladimir Dounin Offline OP
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The only recording in the world of Schumann's "Traumerei" at the correct, AUTHENTIC "Tempo = 100", indicated by Schumann instead of the usual "tempo for funeral".

Can we imagine that instead of light-hearted, joyful "Jingle Bells" everyone in the world played this song as a gloomy music for the funeral at the speed of a snail? This is exactly what is happening today with lovely Schumann's "Traumerei". It is only performed by everyone at a pace of a funeral march, it is often included in the funeral ceremony, and it even sounds round-the-clock over the memorial of one-and- a- half million soldiers that died in the Second World War's "Stalingrad Battle". But this is not something that is written for us by the composer at all.

Schumann's wife Clara Wieck was a wonderful pianist, judging from the feedback from many of her great contemporaries. Often she joked over Schumann that he seemed and behaved like a child. Those who have read the literary works of Schumann, will most likely agree with her. And there's nothing wrong with: many good people remain to be children until their last days - it had been noticed for long.


In response to these jokes of his famous wife, Schumann wrote "30 easy and amusing (droll) pieces for piano", from which he selected later 13 pieces and titled this compilation "Children's scenes" ("The Kinderszenen"). The "Traumerei" ("Daydreaming") - is just one of these "Easy and Amusing Pieces." Schumann probably meant precisely this feature of his own character. He described these songs as "more CHEERFUL, gentler, more melodic" than his earlier works.

To avoid misrepresentation of "Traumerei", Schumann specially indicated the EXACT TEMPO of performing: "Quarter note = 100 bpm ". Unfortunately, the nowadays' musicians prefer to copy the so-called "interpretation" of any celebrity, rather than to look at the score. Recently I checked all the recordings of "Traumerei" on You-Tube. No pianist has played this song at Schumann's authentic tempo of "100". Usually the tempo was only "50" or lower. At the same time, the most interesting rhythmic structure of this song is usually ignored completely and replaced by the pianist's own improvisation in the style "ad libitum" = "as you like".

And it is not random blunder of several musicians, but a modern "philosophy of performing". The most vivid presentation of this "philosophy" I heard from Mr. Richard Cock. He told me: "What is your Bach in comparison with me? Bach today - it is only a handful of dust in his grave. And I am an acting Principal Conductor of the Radio and TV of South Africa. Your Bach can not correct me, but I can correct Bach in any way I want."

With this my recording of "Traumerei" in the Schumann's authentic tempo I invite all the musicians to perform this song as it was written by the composer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3ktiKOITBw

I hope that among modern virtuoso pianists there should still be those who are able to record this most famous Schumann's song at the genuine tempo and with the authentic rhythm instead of the usual rhythmic disorder in every measure of this great music.

I hope sincerely that my "record at authentic tempo" will not be the only one in the world for a long time.

I would be grateful for the links to these new recordings.

Vladimir Dounin


Vladimir Dounin
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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2687967
11/08/17 03:47 AM
11/08/17 03:47 AM
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Eric399 Offline
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There are many points with which I most heartily disagree, I will choose only the most obvious, which is the metronome. Besides being not so sure if the marking is from Robert or Clara, I have seen so many metronome markings that are at least debateable - Eroica 1st movement, Shostakovich 2nd piano sonata, 1st movement are just the first two that spring to mind - that I think the thinking musician must be allowed to make adjustments rather than adhering to what he or she feels is an unsuitable tempo.

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2687970
11/08/17 04:23 AM
11/08/17 04:23 AM
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phantomFive Offline
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It's extreme to say they are playing it wrong. At best you can say, "I have found a way that sounds better." Because their recordings sound very nice, too.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2687972
11/08/17 04:31 AM
11/08/17 04:31 AM
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France
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For a less patronizing source, who does not call piano pieces "songs": http://www.henle.de/en/schumann-anniversary-2010/schumann-forum/traeumerei-reverie.html

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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2687986
11/08/17 07:18 AM
11/08/17 07:18 AM
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I'm not sure there's really any controversy here. Traumerei is hardly the only piece of music in the world where performers have become accustomed to playing at a different tempo than the written one. Like a lot of fine music, it can sound good when played in different ways. I guess we might be less free with tempo if it weren't for the fact that a lot of great music has no tempo indication at all, and isn't the worse for it.

Incidentally, I have no objection to piano pieces being referred to as "songs," any more than I have to melodic lines being referred to as "voices."

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688043
11/08/17 12:19 PM
11/08/17 12:19 PM
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I enjoyed your recording, which I think shows that the piece can still have a dreaming quality at the tempo of 100 quarter notes per minute. However, we cannot be sure that the original metronome marks came from Robert Schumann. The first edition didn't include them but the reprint a month or two later (March 1839) did, at the same time as correcting lots of misprints. According to a contemporary Leipzig music dealer, Friedrich Whistling, the metronome marks were inserted into the reprint without Schumann's knowledge.

Things are also complicated because Clara Schumann in her "instructive edition" (volume 3 of Klavier-Werke von Robert Schumann, Breitkopf & Härtel, 1887) published metronome marks that differed from Robert's: only the first piece has the same tempo, while three pieces are marked faster in Clara's edition (Kuriose Geschichte, Glückes genug and Fürchtenmachen) and the other nine pieces are marked slower. Träumerei is marked at 80 quarter notes per minute. Just to make things even more complicated, modern editions calling themselves "Clara Schumann edition" were re-edited anonymously by Carl Reinecke and Wihelm Kempff many years ago, so they differ from Clara's original instructive edition! My edition consulted an original copy from the Schumann-Haus in Zwickau. [Source: Bärenreiter edition of Kinderszenen, BA 9639, published 2011]


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688049
11/08/17 12:46 PM
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The point (which I agree with) might have been better made had the recording provided been competent.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: kevinb] #2688052
11/08/17 12:54 PM
11/08/17 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by kevinb
Incidentally, I have no objection to piano pieces being referred to as "songs," any more than I have to melodic lines being referred to as "voices."

I would like to add to this, and offer a pet peve of my own:
When people refer to the top line - or worse, the 'right hand' - as the melody.


Michael

"Genius is nothing more than an extraordinary capacity for patience."
Leonardo da Vinci
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688131
11/08/17 07:17 PM
11/08/17 07:17 PM
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The "correct/authentic" tempo debate is one thing - but I don't understand why Mr. Dounin consistently plays the LH chords a half beat behind the RH melody. I find this much more distracting than the faster tempo.

Last edited by Carey; 11/09/17 01:09 AM.

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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688144
11/08/17 09:21 PM
11/08/17 09:21 PM
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Interesting topic. I was unaware of the faster tempo markings in Traumerei. I guess it is what your used to hearing as I have to say I really don't care for the faster tempo but respect it as it came from the composer himself!


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688271
11/09/17 11:14 AM
11/09/17 11:14 AM
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Good thing the OP didn't bring up the topic or ragtime tempo! smile laugh


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688300
11/09/17 12:57 PM
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Do you really like that tempo? I'm not getting the 'Träumerei' feeling from your version.

There is a lot of discussion about the speed of this 7th piece. Schumann indicates quarter note=100, which in later editions was changed to quarter note=84, but some say that the speed should be halved, that his metronome was broken, etc. I think that Schumann did have the right speed marking, but that this is the speed for the fastest parts, and that a lot of slowdown can be used where he indicates so.

My modest attempt at this was in the may 2014 recital (starts at 1:25)


träumerei from recital 34

Last edited by wouter79; 11/09/17 12:58 PM.

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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688342
11/09/17 04:12 PM
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from the perspective of this listener (still undecided whether to take on a work that' has unfortunately become cliche-d like fuer elise), the performances in the 80-84 b.p.m. tempi range are generally more appealing. the slower interpretations too often take on a sentimental or maudlin aspect for me.

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688348
11/09/17 04:32 PM
11/09/17 04:32 PM
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I imagine this song as a trireme, a type of rowing boat. You can hear when the sailors push the boat forward with their oars, then let the boat drift for a while as they prepare for the next push. You can hear the longing of sailors, out at sea, wishing they were back at home.

There's a 90% chance that Schumann actually meant Trireme by the name.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: phantomFive] #2688350
11/09/17 04:35 PM
11/09/17 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
[...]
There's a 90% chance that Schumann actually meant Trireme by the name.



You think?


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688367
11/09/17 05:53 PM
11/09/17 05:53 PM
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Sorry but you are all totally wrong. The only correct version of Traumerei ever recorded is this one :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXm2w55uRmA

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Bosendorff] #2688374
11/09/17 06:23 PM
11/09/17 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bosendorff
Sorry but you are all totally wrong. The only correct version of Traumerei ever recorded is this one :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXm2w55uRmA


That Clara Schumann sure took some liberties with Robert's music in her editions!


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Bosendorff] #2688387
11/09/17 07:02 PM
11/09/17 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Bosendorff
Sorry but you are all totally wrong. The only correct version of Traumerei ever recorded is this one :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXm2w55uRmA

Apparently it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing......... laugh


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688469
11/10/17 02:34 AM
11/10/17 02:34 AM
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Schumann had a lot of insane M.M. markings in his music, but I think we can have agreement that most musicians play slow movements - not just Schumann - far too slowly. This is consistent all the way across centuries' worth of generations from Bach to Barber. It's convincing if they have the spellbinding power of an Arrau or Richter or Horowitz, but slow tempi can also cause a great melodic line to disintegrate, or make an otherwise thought-out performance fall flat and feel dead.

I'm in agreement that this little character piece deserves to be played in a more flowing and lyrical way. I don't agree that it needs awkward and affected shifts in pace, wildly uncoupled hands and semi-rolled chords. But even that performance shows the potential to improve the melodic quality, and to illuminate the simple and tender nature of the piece, by increasing the tempo to around M.M. 100.

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688549
11/10/17 12:07 PM
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Just a couple of additional thoughts regarding this thread --

For well-deserved reasons, Traumerei has earned a place as a stand-alone piece in piano recitals -- but if you place it in the context of the Kinderszenen set, it at least makes sense to me to play it at 100, largely because the next miniature, in the same key, has a more overtly dance-like character that works well with Traumerei as a diptych within the overall narrative flow. Having said that, I think Clara Schumann's "second-guessing" of the tempo down to 80 is a more appropriate choice to allow the reflective nature of Traumerei to emerge.

I hope this comment is taken in the humorous spirit in which it is intended -- but the pianist's predilection for uncoupled hands evokes the ghost of the feared Louis Podesta, who relentlessly opined a couple of years back, in numerous posts, that the loss of this great Romantic tradition was responsible for the decline of interest in Classical piano performance, and that we could in fact recapture the Golden Age of Pianism by restoring this feature. Uhh, briefly put: Sorry, fans -- there's a lot more to it than that!

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2688588
11/10/17 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson
Just a couple of additional thoughts regarding this thread --

For well-deserved reasons, Traumerei has earned a place as a stand-alone piece in piano recitals -- but if you place it in the context of the Kinderszenen set, it at least makes sense to me to play it at 100, largely because the next miniature, in the same key, has a more overtly dance-like character that works well with Traumerei as a diptych within the overall narrative flow. Having said that, I think Clara Schumann's "second-guessing" of the tempo down to 80 is a more appropriate choice to allow the reflective nature of Traumerei to emerge.

I hope this comment is taken in the humorous spirit in which it is intended -- but the pianist's predilection for uncoupled hands evokes the ghost of the feared Louis Podesta, who relentlessly opined a couple of years back, in numerous posts, that the loss of this great Romantic tradition was responsible for the decline of interest in Classical piano performance, and that we could in fact recapture the Golden Age of Pianism by restoring this feature. Uhh, briefly put: Sorry, fans -- there's a lot more to it than that!


A chill just went down my spine!

Funny thing after some consideration with my teacher we settled on 80 being about right.


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2688589
11/10/17 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson

I hope this comment is taken in the humorous spirit in which it is intended -- but the pianist's predilection for uncoupled hands evokes the ghost of the feared Louis Podesta, who relentlessly opined a couple of years back, in numerous posts, that the loss of this great Romantic tradition was responsible for the decline of interest in Classical piano performance, and that we could in fact recapture the Golden Age of Pianism by restoring this feature. Uhh, briefly put: Sorry, fans -- there's a lot more to it than that!


I think Barenboim is doing his best to bring back that tradition. Happily not quite as extreme as the OP here, but his LH is fractionally behind his RH for quite a lot of the time in most of his performances if you listen closely. I find it rather irritating and distracting, personally, but I'm told people find it charming.


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688592
11/10/17 02:37 PM
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And btw, if we're now having to stick to composer's tempo markings, I think we'd better throw out every recording of half a dozen of Chopin's Nocturnes, amongst many others, because there are literally no recordings at anything close to the marked tempo for several of those.

Last edited by karvala; 11/10/17 02:37 PM.

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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: karvala] #2688609
11/10/17 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by karvala
And btw, if we're now having to stick to composer's tempo markings, I think we'd better throw out every recording of half a dozen of Chopin's Nocturnes, amongst many others, because there are literally no recordings at anything close to the marked tempo for several of those.


Yes, with the Op. 27 No. 2 being the prime example!

Regards,


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: BruceD] #2688655
11/10/17 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by karvala
And btw, if we're now having to stick to composer's tempo markings, I think we'd better throw out every recording of half a dozen of Chopin's Nocturnes, amongst many others, because there are literally no recordings at anything close to the marked tempo for several of those.


Yes, with the Op. 27 No. 2 being the prime example!

Regards,


Yes, indeed! Pollini's performance here, for example, is heavily criticised in the comments for being too fast, and indeed it's probably the fastest performance I've heard as well, but it's still some 30% slower than the marked tempo!


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: BruceD] #2688703
11/11/17 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by phantomFive
[...]
There's a 90% chance that Schumann actually meant Trireme by the name.



You think?

I don't know enough German to estimate frown

That way of looking at it gives me a good emotional image to go with the piece, though.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2688717
11/11/17 02:42 AM
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I have only heard Traumerei once or twice before. So, as I was reading the OP's post, I was not able to recall the piece at all. I listened to the piece at the original tempo on the Henle website and I loved it. To someone who is not familiar with the established tempo of the piece, the original sounds quite lovely. Now, I am afraid to listen to any other recording for fear of losing my good impression of Traumerei.

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: karvala] #2688795
11/11/17 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by karvala
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by karvala
And btw, if we're now having to stick to composer's tempo markings, I think we'd better throw out every recording of half a dozen of Chopin's Nocturnes, amongst many others, because there are literally no recordings at anything close to the marked tempo for several of those.


Yes, with the Op. 27 No. 2 being the prime example!

Regards,


Yes, indeed! Pollini's performance here, for example, is heavily criticised in the comments for being too fast, and indeed it's probably the fastest performance I've heard as well, but it's still some 30% slower than the marked tempo!


I'd be up to the challenge of trying to make that indicated tempo for Op. 27/2 work. I play it very much on the fast side anyway. It means that you have to be quiet in movement, so that it doesn't come off as agitated, and to be flexible with tempo. Just because there is a metronome marking doesn't mean that you should be able to turn on the metronome and follow along from beginning to end.. not in a piece that is highly vocally inspired, and has a lot of shifts in mood and texture.

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: jeffreyjones] #2688887
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
Originally Posted by karvala
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by karvala
And btw, if we're now having to stick to composer's tempo markings, I think we'd better throw out every recording of half a dozen of Chopin's Nocturnes, amongst many others, because there are literally no recordings at anything close to the marked tempo for several of those.


Yes, with the Op. 27 No. 2 being the prime example!

Regards,


Yes, indeed! Pollini's performance here, for example, is heavily criticised in the comments for being too fast, and indeed it's probably the fastest performance I've heard as well, but it's still some 30% slower than the marked tempo!


I'd be up to the challenge of trying to make that indicated tempo for Op. 27/2 work. I play it very much on the fast side anyway. It means that you have to be quiet in movement, so that it doesn't come off as agitated, and to be flexible with tempo. Just because there is a metronome marking doesn't mean that you should be able to turn on the metronome and follow along from beginning to end.. not in a piece that is highly vocally inspired, and has a lot of shifts in mood and texture.


Well if you can pull it off, I'd be hugely impressed and certainly very interested to hear it. I had a go myself yesterday out of curiosity more than anything, and there's absolutely no way I can get it to work at that tempo. The detail becomes flat, the nuance is lost and the whole thing sounds rushed. That could well be a limitation of my playing, so if you (or anyone else) can make it sound even somewhat convincing at the original tempo, I'd be very curious to hear it.


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2688959
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Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson
Just a couple of additional thoughts regarding this thread --

...I hope this comment is taken in the humorous spirit in which it is intended -- but the pianist's predilection for uncoupled hands evokes the ghost of the feared Louis Podesta, who relentlessly opined a couple of years back, in numerous posts, that the loss of this great Romantic tradition was responsible for the decline of interest in Classical piano performance, and that we could in fact recapture the Golden Age of Pianism by restoring this feature. Uhh, briefly put: Sorry, fans -- there's a lot more to it than that!




What happened to Louis Podesta? I have noticed his absence around here, and I miss his bright eyes and sweet smile.


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: karvala] #2688970
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Originally Posted by karvala
Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
I'd be up to the challenge of trying to make that indicated tempo for Op. 27/2 work. I play it very much on the fast side anyway. It means that you have to be quiet in movement, so that it doesn't come off as agitated, and to be flexible with tempo. Just because there is a metronome marking doesn't mean that you should be able to turn on the metronome and follow along from beginning to end.. not in a piece that is highly vocally inspired, and has a lot of shifts in mood and texture.


Well if you can pull it off, I'd be hugely impressed and certainly very interested to hear it. I had a go myself yesterday out of curiosity more than anything, and there's absolutely no way I can get it to work at that tempo. The detail becomes flat, the nuance is lost and the whole thing sounds rushed. That could well be a limitation of my playing, so if you (or anyone else) can make it sound even somewhat convincing at the original tempo, I'd be very curious to hear it.


It's going to lose nuance for sure, but what it should gain is the integrity of the line. If you try to plan it the same way that you would at 80 to an eighth note, of course it's going to sound rushed and busy. Increasing the tempo, you have to become more feline, careful with the touch and develop longer lines. I think it can be done, but I'm under no illusions that it will be easy or that it will work the first time I sit down with it.

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: jeffreyjones] #2689108
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
I'd be up to the challenge of trying to make that indicated tempo for Op. 27/2 work. I play it very much on the fast side anyway. It means that you have to be quiet in movement, so that it doesn't come off as agitated, and to be flexible with tempo. Just because there is a metronome marking doesn't mean that you should be able to turn on the metronome and follow along from beginning to end.. not in a piece that is highly vocally inspired, and has a lot of shifts in mood and texture.

Some of us discussed the tempo of this nocturne a few years ago on TP. Although there are a few tempi in Chopin that are significantly faster than the way they are usually performed, I think that the metronome mark for Op. 27/2 really stands out. I have read quite a lot about Chopin as a teacher but I have never read that he used a metronome when teaching his works, or discussed his metronome marks with anyone. I also believe that Op. 27/2 is the latest work that Chopin gave a metronome mark, which suggests that sometime soon after he no longer believed it was worthwhile to designate a metronome mark for his published works. My speculation is that Chopin made a mistake when writing the metronome mark for Op. 27/2. The scenario I envisage is that the metronome marks for Op. 27 were a last-minute addition before he sent his autograph to his publisher. He tests the pieces out with his metronome and decides on 84 quarter notes per minute for No. 1 and 100 eighth notes per minute for No. 2. At the last moment he decides to halve the numbers and writes down 42 half measures = half notes per minute for No. 1 and 50 half measures = dotted quarter notes for No. 2 before sending them off, not paying attention to the triple meter in No. 2.

The above is just a theory with no solid evidence, but I believe it is plausible. Op. 27/2 was an advanced work for its time, and I do not know how many music-lovers owned a metronome in those days. If someone had published a relatively easy piano solo piece in the 1870s or 1880s marked Lento sostenuto but with a surprisingly fast metronome mark, I expect it would have become a topic of discussion, and that a friend or fellow composer might politely query it. In my opinion, the published metronome mark for Op. 27/2 does not make sense musically, but I feel that 100 eighth notes per minute is an apt tempo for Op. 27/2 and also happens to match the same metronome mark given to Op. 10/3, which is marked Lento ma non troppo compared to the Lento sostenuto of Op. 27/2.


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Julian_] #2689230
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Originally Posted by Julian_
My speculation is that Chopin made a mistake when writing the metronome mark for Op. 27/2.

He did not.

The development of the grand piano (greatly improved sustaining capabilities) since Chopin's day has enabled modern pianists to play these pieces at almost absurdly luxurious, dragging tempi. What Chopin marked makes much more musical sense.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Polyphonist] #2689350
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Julian_
My speculation is that Chopin made a mistake when writing the metronome mark for Op. 27/2.

He did not.

The development of the grand piano (greatly improved sustaining capabilities) since Chopin's day has enabled modern pianists to play these pieces at almost absurdly luxurious, dragging tempi. What Chopin marked makes much more musical sense.


I agree with that wholeheartedly. The technological advances in the piano that happened in the 19th century alone were profound, and it's important to remember that Chopin's instruments had different qualities to offer. Take something like Beethoven's C minor sonata No. 5, Op. 10 No. 1. The slow movement is marked Adagio, but it's common to perform it at an extremely broad tempo, such that the long notes last for an eternity. Then I tried that on a period piano from Beethoven's time. It sounded like complete nonsense - the melodic line didn't carry through at all. A faster tempo was an absolute given.

There's also the widespread availability of recordings - every student knows what Arrau, Richter, and Perahia sound like. And they were/are well known for good reason, but that doesn't mean we all have to play the music the same way as they did. If my life's goal was simply to play the same music that Rubinstein did, in the same way, I'm sure people would be happy with it but it wouldn't be original and I wouldn't be remembered the way that Rubinstein is.

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2689354
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Composers don't always have the perfect tempo in their mind. They experiment and find something that works. Dvorak's famous Largo started out as a Andante, it was crossed out in the manuscript. Kovarik reports it like this:

Originally Posted by Kovarik 100 years ago
"The master commented that Seidl [when he had a chance to play through the score on the piano] has 'quite drawn out' the introduction to the first movement, and also the second movement—then he paused in silence—but after a while he added:—"but it is much better in this way!" And when we reached home, he took his own score, prescribed a slower Metronome for th introduction of the first movement—in the second movement he crossed out 'larghetto' and prescribed 'Largo!"


So it shouldn't be assumed that composers have infallibly deep understanding of their own conceptions: instead, we should play what sounds good.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Polyphonist] #2689368
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Julian_
My speculation is that Chopin made a mistake when writing the metronome mark for Op. 27/2.

He did not.

The development of the grand piano (greatly improved sustaining capabilities) since Chopin's day has enabled modern pianists to play these pieces at almost absurdly luxurious, dragging tempi. What Chopin marked makes much more musical sense.

If you feel that 150 eighth notes per minute makes more musical sense than 100 eighth notes per minute when playing Op. 27/2, you are of course entitled to your opinion. I wasn't debating the appropriateness of Chopin's metronome marks in general (though I am not alone in noting that a Presto mazurka or two seem almost unplayable at the published metronome mark, at least on a modern piano). I too am not a fan of the modern tendency towards very slow tempi, especially in slower pieces and movements. A classic example is the tender, wistful slow movement from Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2, which can come across as a kind of deep tragedy if one has only heard or played it at a typically sloooooooow tempo.


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Julian_] #2689406
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Originally Posted by Julian_

If you feel that 150 eighth notes per minute makes more musical sense than 100 eighth notes per minute when playing Op. 27/2, you are of course entitled to your opinion. I wasn't debating the appropriateness of Chopin's metronome marks in general (though I am not alone in noting that a Presto mazurka or two seem almost unplayable at the published metronome mark, at least on a modern piano). I too am not a fan of the modern tendency towards very slow tempi, especially in slower pieces and movements. A classic example is the tender, wistful slow movement from Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2, which can come across as a kind of deep tragedy if one has only heard or played it at a typically sloooooooow tempo.




A great example of a very broad version of that movement, that doesn't get the tragic quality. That cello solo from Troester is just pitch-perfect.

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Julian_] #2689491
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Originally Posted by Julian_
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Julian_
My speculation is that Chopin made a mistake when writing the metronome mark for Op. 27/2.

He did not.

The development of the grand piano (greatly improved sustaining capabilities) since Chopin's day has enabled modern pianists to play these pieces at almost absurdly luxurious, dragging tempi. What Chopin marked makes much more musical sense.

If you feel that 150 eighth notes per minute makes more musical sense than 100 eighth notes per minute when playing Op. 27/2, you are of course entitled to your opinion.

I feel entitled to Chopin's opinion.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2689496
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Piano writing is highly textural. Part of why he marked it so fast is to blend the accompaniment together. I also happen to think the melody sounds nicer at the marked tempo. The Rubinstein version is so slow at times it's hard to listen to.

I'm convinced that if the jury of the Chopin competition blindly heard a recording of Chopin, they would say the pianist is breaking all the rules.

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: JoelW] #2689500
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Originally Posted by JoelW
I'm convinced that if the jury of the Chopin competition blindly heard a recording of Chopin, they would say the pianist is breaking all the rules.

Chopin would have been a naive interpreter. In the time since then we've built up a lot of scholarship about how to interpret Chopin that he didn't have in his day. Nowadays we have people like Daniel Trifonov who have really mastered the craft of playing Chopin.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: JoelW] #2689529
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Originally Posted by JoelW
Piano writing is highly textural. Part of why he marked it so fast is to blend the accompaniment together. I also happen to think the melody sounds nicer at the marked tempo. The Rubinstein version is so slow at times it's hard to listen to.

I'm convinced that if the jury of the Chopin competition blindly heard a recording of Chopin, they would say the pianist is breaking all the rules.
I would assume most of the great pianists who play this Nocturne are aware of Chopin's metronome indication. But I don't think many of these pianists play it at Chopin's marked tempo. Same for Traumerai. Although part of this may definitely be tradition, I don't think all these great pianists are idiots. They apparently feel that these pieces sound better at a slower tempo. This feeling must be quite strong since many of these pianists do not disregard markings in the score lightly.

Many of the other Nocturnes have reasonably similar figurations in the bass and are played relatively slowly also, so trying to justify the tempo by saying that Chopin wanted to blend the accompaniment together begs the question "Why didn't he apparently not want the blending on the other Nocturnes"?

So for the Chopin Nocturne and similarly for Traumerai I don't think it makes much sense to dismiss these slower tempos out of hand. I think the question that should be asked is "Why do almost all these pianists choose a slower tempo?"

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: pianoloverus] #2689534
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Many of the other Nocturnes have reasonably similar figurations in the bass and are played relatively slowly also, so trying to justify the tempo by saying that Chopin wanted to blend the accompaniment together begs the question "Why didn't he apparently not want the blending on the other Nocturnes"?

Which ones?

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: JoelW] #2689539
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Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Many of the other Nocturnes have reasonably similar figurations in the bass and are played relatively slowly also, so trying to justify the tempo by saying that Chopin wanted to blend the accompaniment together begs the question "Why didn't he apparently not want the blending on the other Nocturnes"?
Which ones?
B flat minor, E minor Op Post., both in C # minor, E flat major form Op.55.

Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2689808
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Schumann's Traumerei is a polyphonic piece, in the O.P.'s version it isn't. It is Schumann's most polyphonic piece, apart from some fugues that we can put aside.The title of the piece forces some pianists to really slow down, just to demonstrate how 'dreamy' they can be after the slaughterhouse-drama of the recital (Liszt, Scriabin, Chopin et al). I do not need to point to some culprits...Metronomemarks are some of the most, AND least interesting features of music, the hilarious ones in Beethoven's op.106, or the uncomfortable ones in Chopin op.10/1, or the lacking ones in all of Bach. If a pianist really has a musical mind of his own, those markings just should be there for suggestion instead of prescription, like fingerings and dynamics, the really 'musically wise' performers stand out from the crowd just because of their understanding of the music without adhering too much to things like metronomemarks or fingerings. What really matters is the sounding proof of the sentiment the composer put in his work.


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: dolce sfogato] #2689824
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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
Schumann's Traumerei is a polyphonic piece, in the O.P.'s version it isn't. It is Schumann's most polyphonic piece, apart from some fugues that we can put aside.The title of the piece forces some pianists to really slow down, just to demonstrate how 'dreamy' they can be after the slaughterhouse-drama of the recital (Liszt, Scriabin, Chopin et al). I do not need to point to some culprits...Metronomemarks are some of the most, AND least interesting features of music, the hilarious ones in Beethoven's op.106, or the uncomfortable ones in Chopin op.10/1, or the lacking ones in all of Bach. If a pianist really has a musical mind of his own, those markings just should be there for suggestion instead of prescription, like fingerings and dynamics, the really 'musically wise' performers stand out from the crowd just because of their understanding of the music without adhering too much to things like metronomemarks or fingerings. What really matters is the sounding proof of the sentiment the composer put in his work.
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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: dolce sfogato] #2689866
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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
Metronomemarks are some of the most, AND least interesting features of music, the hilarious ones in Beethoven's op.106...

Hilarious is not the term I would use.


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Polyphonist
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: jeffreyjones] #2689999
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
Originally Posted by Julian_
I too am not a fan of the modern tendency towards very slow tempi, especially in slower pieces and movements. A classic example is the tender, wistful slow movement from Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2, which can come across as a kind of deep tragedy if one has only heard or played it at a typically sloooooooow tempo.

[Fischer/Furtwängler performance link]

A great example of a very broad version of that movement, that doesn't get the tragic quality. That cello solo from Troester is just pitch-perfect.

I agree that it's a fine performance, and thanks for highlighting it. The performers greatly increase the tempo from letters B to C (measures 35-54), giving the passage the needed impetus and urgency, and they also play the Più Adagio section slightly faster instead of slower. They do this artfully and convincingly, but I still prefer an Andante to their Adagio at the beginning and end, not only to avoid exaggerated sentimentality, but also for how it influences the balance between the movements. The longer the slow movement takes, the more its mood dominates over the agitation and happiness of the movements either side. As ever and always, just my opinions! (While I will never play this work, I see in my score that many years ago I wrote in "[quarter note] = 72" above measure 25, and "Tempo I" above measure 35. I still like this: a flowing initial tempo but with room to breathe in the reflective piano solo, and without the need to suddenly speed up a lot at figure B.)


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Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Terry Michael] #2750252
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Please, take part in my musical test on this topic.


Vladimir Dounin
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A MUSICAL TEST FOR THOSE WHO CAN COUNT UP TO FOUR


I always say that a musician should be able to read sheet music and understand what is written by the composer.

But today people are laughing at such naive people, they say that it's much easier to take a recording of a celebrity and just copy by ear what sounds on celebrity's record.

Recently, five students decided to test me. They asked me to guess which of them had never looked at the notes of Schumann's famous short piece.

I listened to all five and guessed right away. I told this pianist: you played completely different music instead of what the composer wrote. Schumann wrote the Time Signature 4/4. This means that in each bar there should be a One-Two-Three-Four.

Instead, you have five quarters in one bar, six quarters in another bar, three in the next one and so on.


If we come up with some suitable words for 4/4, then they can be sung to this melody with the correct stressing. For example,

"One day brings opportUnity
and the dreamer is victorious and glOrious".


And with the fake, usually performed Time Signature, these words will have to be sung with a wrong stressing like this:

"One day brings opportunitY
and the dreamer is victorious and gloriOus".



However, this pianist did not give up. He invited me along with him to listen to all the records of this piece on You Tube and find at least one with the right, genuine Schumann's Time Signature.

We listened for a long time, but not a single record without this annoying mistake was found. All the pianists played anything, but not the Time Signature 4/4 that Schumann wrote.


I invite everyone who loves music and knows how to count to four, to go through the same test and find a pianist who can not count among these five. And if someone knows the record of Traumerei with the correct Time Signature - please, let me know in the comments.

I will listen with a great interest and I thank you in advance!

Good luck to everyone in the test! And thanks for watching.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4VKU_bWjd0




For comparison, I invite you to listen to the same piece performed by famous pianists:




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vajd0ypDYQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13g53OYFHyM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fhKaAX5dOc


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgu5NdnkrZ0


Vladimir Dounin
Re: Only Schumann's Traumerei at authentic tempo [Re: Vladimir Dounin] #2750277
07/08/18 06:53 PM
07/08/18 06:53 PM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 315
Z
Zaphod Online sad
Full Member
Zaphod  Online Sad
Full Member
Z
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 315
This is a video which is at least halfway relevant :

Schumann tempo

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