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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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Canada
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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


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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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Posts: 54
France
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IgorLevit Offline
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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

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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London, UK
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kevinb Offline
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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
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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Posts: 321
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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
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
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
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!

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