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Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: Mark_C] #2739319
05/25/18 08:08 AM
05/25/18 08:08 AM
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Can't argue with the Chairman of the Board.

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Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: kbrod1] #2739765
05/27/18 02:49 AM
05/27/18 02:49 AM
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SiFi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by kbrod1
Can't argue with the Chairman of the Board.

I know. That would be wrong!

So would the chairman have preferred the first or the second of these randomly recorded samples of the B subject? I'm talking about my original question regarding the B theme, specifically regarding LH articulation and texture. (1) This is pretty close to the score (aside from the mistakes); hardly any pedal, restrained dynamcs. (2) More rubato, more passion, more pedal. More romantic, emotional. But less true to the score. (And please forgive the big thump at the end. That was a mistake.). Maybe this con passionato version is more how one should perform the passage in the final B section.

Anyway, I hear in advance the comments that are likely to come from certain sources. For example, "You must find a happy medium." "Somewhere between the two." That's all fine, but I would be really interested to hear a recommendation that is not not both of them. Leaving aside the fact that this interpretation is still in the embryonic stage, which of them represents a better way forward in the mind hive opinion?

Ciao







SRF
Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: SiFi] #2739775
05/27/18 04:10 AM
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Main thing: You're doing great.

Which way: I like the second way 100x more, but I'm not sure if it's that I really prefer your playing it that way or that I happen to like the way you did it 'that way' in this performance more than how you did it the other way.
BTW that doesn't mean you didn't also play well when you were doing the first way.

It's very interesting that you're so well able to do it both ways, but indeed I think that in this particular sit-down you "sold" the 2nd way much better. I suspect that if you committed yourself to the 1st way and had it solely in mind when you sat down to play, you'd 'sell' it better than you did here. That doesn't mean I think you should necessarily decide well in advance which way to go. As long as you know what your approach will be when you're playing the movement and have it firmly in mind, I think it will be fine -- either way.

Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: Mark_C] #2739779
05/27/18 04:40 AM
05/27/18 04:40 AM
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SiFi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Main thing: You're doing great.

Which way: I like the second way 100x more, but I'm not sure if it's that I really prefer your playing it that way or that I happen to like the way you did it 'that way' in this performance more than how you did it the other way.
BTW that doesn't mean you didn't also play well when you were doing the first way.

It's very interesting that you're so well able to do it both ways, but indeed I think that in this particular sit-down you "sold" the 2nd way much better. I suspect that if you committed yourself to the 1st way and had it solely in mind when you sat down to play, you'd 'sell' it better than you did here. That doesn't mean I think you should necessarily decide well in advance which way to go. As long as you know what your approach will be when you're playing the movement and have it firmly in mind, I think it will be fine -- either way.

OMG, what do I do now? Thank you, I think. Mainly, thank you for not saying "something in between". What's the quote? ?There is no first or second way, only do."

Right now I'm thinking possibly first way for B1 and second way for B2. In the latter case, Brahms specifically indicates "con passione". As Trump is fond of saying, we'll see what happens.


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Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: SiFi] #2739853
05/27/18 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by SiFi
Right now I'm thinking possibly first way for B1 and second way for B2.

I was going to say "Yecchhh" to that, before I saw the next thing....

Quote
In the latter case, Brahms specifically indicates "con passione."

Really? And not the first time?
Huh.

BTW, here's something else that I was thinking of saying before but I didn't want to make it too complicated.
You said not to say "Something in between." Actually it sounds to me like the 'first way' that you played it was sort of "in between." I mean, you did it in a way that we knew what you were doing, but to me it sounded as though you might have been having 'the second way' in your mind or body. Maybe because you were already thinking 'the second way' in anticipation, maybe because you had just practiced 'the second way' before starting that take (or maybe because you were coming from a prior take, which meant you had just played the second way). Or maybe I'm just wrong. ha

Anyway, as I said up there, I think you happened to do the second way much better in the recording. I don't think that means anything about how you should do it.

So, how is this helpful??
It tells you that you can do whatever, as long as you know what you're doing. smile

Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: SiFi] #2739896
05/27/18 03:44 PM
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I think that they are both viable interpretations of the section in question. Perhaps one thing to consider is whether one works better than the other with respect to what is going on in the orchestra (not much from my two-piano score) and how much support (or lack thereof) comes from the orchestral accompaniment.

Regards,


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Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: BruceD] #2739903
05/27/18 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
I think that they are both viable interpretations of the section in question. Perhaps one thing to consider is whether one works better than the other with respect to what is going on in the orchestra (not much from my two-piano score) and how much support (or lack thereof) comes from the orchestral accompaniment.

Yes -- always important to consider. (But) regarding this passage, I think the conductor and orchestra can adjust fine to either way -- but they have to know how the pianist will be viewing it each time the passage will be coming in.

Well actually they don't "have to" and I'm sure sometimes they don't. grin and that's not too good.
But provided they do....

Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: SiFi] #2742170
06/04/18 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SiFi
Originally Posted by kbrod1
Can't argue with the Chairman of the Board.

I know. That would be wrong!

So would the chairman have preferred the first or the second of these randomly recorded samples of the B subject? I'm talking about my original question regarding the B theme, specifically regarding LH articulation and texture. (1) This is pretty close to the score (aside from the mistakes); hardly any pedal, restrained dynamcs. (2) More rubato, more passion, more pedal. More romantic, emotional. But less true to the score. (And please forgive the big thump at the end. That was a mistake.). Maybe this con passionato version is more how one should perform the passage in the final B section.

Anyway, I hear in advance the comments that are likely to come from certain sources. For example, "You must find a happy medium." "Somewhere between the two." That's all fine, but I would be really interested to hear a recommendation that is not not both of them. Leaving aside the fact that this interpretation is still in the embryonic stage, which of them represents a better way forward in the mind hive opinion?

Ciao







Take this with a grain of salt-- I'm seventeen-- but as someone who plays this concerto and has a particular love for Brahms, I vastly prefer the first sample. Think about it: in that B section, your only accompaniment comes from pizzicato cellos. I play the left hand here as precisely and staccato as I can; it therefore blends with the cello accompaniment and contrasts with the legato, songlike right hand. Also, regarding pedal in early Brahms, less is almost always better. This piece was written from 1854-1859. A piano back then would not have had nearly the same sustaining capability as one made in the 1900s, so in my opinion, keep pedal usage to a minimum. Personally, I play the very opening of the third movement (the first statement of the rondo theme) without pedal!


"The piano is an orchestra with 88... things, you know" -Vladimir Horowitz
Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: notPaoloFazioli] #2742173
06/04/18 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by notPaoloFazioli
Take this with a grain of salt-- I'm seventeen-- but as someone who plays this concerto and has a particular love for Brahms, I vastly prefer the first sample. Think about it: in that B section, your only accompaniment comes from pizzicato cellos. I play the left hand here as precisely and staccato as I can; it therefore blends with the cello accompaniment and contrasts with the legato, songlike right hand. Also, regarding pedal in early Brahms, less is almost always better. This piece was written from 1854-1859. A piano back then would not have had nearly the same sustaining capability as one made in the 1900s, so in my opinion, keep pedal usage to a minimum. Personally, I play the very opening of the third movement (the first statement of the rondo theme) without pedal!

Good points -- but it sounds to me like you're talking just in the abstract -- i.e. in a general way about how you regard the piece -- rather than with reference to him and how he played them.

Since he asked about it, it means he personally believes and feels it can be done either way. It sounds like you're basically just disagreeing with that, which is fine -- but it didn't seem like that's the main kind of thing he was looking for. In such a situation, unless I think that the idea of doing it one of the ways is way way off (and I think that's clearly not the case here; either way is justifiable), I try to look at it in terms of that particular person and what he's doing.

Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: Mark_C] #2742174
06/04/18 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by notPaoloFazioli
Take this with a grain of salt-- I'm seventeen-- but as someone who plays this concerto and has a particular love for Brahms, I vastly prefer the first sample. Think about it: in that B section, your only accompaniment comes from pizzicato cellos. I play the left hand here as precisely and staccato as I can; it therefore blends with the cello accompaniment and contrasts with the legato, songlike right hand. Also, regarding pedal in early Brahms, less is almost always better. This piece was written from 1854-1859. A piano back then would not have had nearly the same sustaining capability as one made in the 1900s, so in my opinion, keep pedal usage to a minimum. Personally, I play the very opening of the third movement (the first statement of the rondo theme) without pedal!

Good points -- but it sounds to me like you're talking just in the abstract -- i.e. in a general way about how you regard the piece -- rather than with reference to him and how he played them.

Since he asked about it, it means he personally believes and feels it can be done either way. It sounds like you're basically just disagreeing with that, which is fine -- but it didn't seem like that's the main kind of thing he was looking for. In such a situation, unless I think that the idea of doing it one of the ways is way way off (and I think that's clearly not the case here; either way is justifiable), I try to look at it in terms of that particular person and what he's doing.


You're quite right! I guess, to revise what I said, it's important to keep things such as the accompaniment and the capabilities of historical instruments in mind when considering how to play it.


"The piano is an orchestra with 88... things, you know" -Vladimir Horowitz
Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: Mark_C] #2742175
06/04/18 09:52 PM
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BTW, about the pizzicato: Funny you should mention about that, because:
I was recently thinking about the different ways that two different violinists did a pizzicato passage in a little orchestra that I was in (long time ago), when they were first-chairs. One of them did the pizzicato in what we might call the usual way. The other, who was the usual first-chair and who was more advanced (the other one was first-chair just for a couple of rehearsals while the main guy was out), did it in a mellower kind of way (really!) and so the rest of the strings followed in kind.

The reason I've remembered it (for 50 years!!) grin is because of how striking it was -- not just that there was such a difference between the two but that it involved a "mellow" approach to pizzicato.
Pizzicato doesn't necessarily mean just one way.
And, BTW, this is a great example of why, as I said before, it would be important for the conductor and players to know how the pianist is going to be approaching the section.

P.S. Just saw your answer to the other post.
Nice job! -- and just want to say, that's one of the great things about this site. In all too many places on the net (not to mention in real life) grin there's little real give-and-take. Somebody says something, somebody else says something else, and if they disagree, they just keep disagreeing more and more, sometimes hardly listening to each other, and if it's on youtube, inside of 5 minutes it can degenerate into 4-letter words.
I'm glad this ain't youtube. ha

Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: SiFi] #2742792
06/07/18 11:23 AM
06/07/18 11:23 AM
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Gould has already been mentioned as having a really slow broad tempo and taking a lot of liberties with this piece, but I just started reading a book and this fact was mentioned along with a speech Berstein made which reminded me that I thought I read a thread about this on the PW forums!

In case other members haven't heard about this. Here's a link to the speech and performance.



As to the OP's original question, I do think that the slow tempo gets some getting use to, but it's still a convincing performance. However, I haven't listened to this piece more than once or maybe twice so for a more experienced listener who has a better idea of this piece it would sound more odd. Anyway Thanks Si-Fi for sharing your progress on the piece. Really enjoy seeing these type of posts!

Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: SiFi] #2742834
06/07/18 01:42 PM
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GG has played this concerto with other orchestras using a faster (“normal”) tempo which is probably not so well known:

https://youtu.be/1p-1hKY-ol0

https://youtu.be/CiIzsRh5fzE

He sounds fabulous, no problems with his “technique” here lol. I think the slower tempo with Bernstein has its own merits. Note that the Bernstein recording with Krystian Zimerman is only a tad faster, and Bernstein in his later years often adopted slower tempos in his conducting (a la Gould perhaps?).


The moment one feels that the finger must sing, it becomes strong.
-Horowitz
Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: Mark_C] #2742935
06/08/18 01:19 AM
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SiFi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by notPaoloFazioli
Take this with a grain of salt-- I'm seventeen-- but as someone who plays this concerto and has a particular love for Brahms, I vastly prefer the first sample. Think about it: in that B section, your only accompaniment comes from pizzicato cellos. I play the left hand here as precisely and staccato as I can; it therefore blends with the cello accompaniment and contrasts with the legato, songlike right hand. Also, regarding pedal in early Brahms, less is almost always better. This piece was written from 1854-1859. A piano back then would not have had nearly the same sustaining capability as one made in the 1900s, so in my opinion, keep pedal usage to a minimum. Personally, I play the very opening of the third movement (the first statement of the rondo theme) without pedal!

Good points -- but it sounds to me like you're talking just in the abstract -- i.e. in a general way about how you regard the piece -- rather than with reference to him and how he played them.

Since he asked about it, it means he personally believes and feels it can be done either way. It sounds like you're basically just disagreeing with that, which is fine -- but it didn't seem like that's the main kind of thing he was looking for. In such a situation, unless I think that the idea of doing it one of the ways is way way off (and I think that's clearly not the case here; either way is justifiable), I try to look at it in terms of that particular person and what he's doing.

First of all, notPaolo: Thank you for expressing your opinion, which I very much respect given that it (1) comports with the opinion of my teacher and (2) is based on your own personal experience and understanding of the music. You are absolutely right that a "pure" interpretation would render the music as written, i.e. staccato LH with no pedal and fingered legato in the RH. Very difficult to pull off, as you obviously already know, but a fully justifiable approach or, possibly, the only justifiable approach. The main point I would make about this choice, if that's the right word, is that it really only works with a rather brisk tempo, like Fleischer's or Sokolov's. And because of that, the passage becomes orders of magnitude more difficult because of the requisite LH acrobatics. My teacher was adamant about the need for note-perfect technical accuracy if the "clean" version of this passage is to succeed. (Interesting how this has come all the way back around to tempo again.)

Second of all, Mark: Thank you for your opinion also. And for your insights. You read between the lines, as it were, as well as anyone I know. Yes, I am more naturally inclined towards the second version and, yes, I was envisaging the second version when I played the first (how the fudge could you have known that????). However, I always practice version 1, simply because it's more "correct", at least with regard to the score. I suppose, given that this is Brahms, one could interpret the staccatos as implied portato, but there are no phrase markings whatsoever in the LH. I don't think there's any doubt at all about what Brahms intended here, and therefore I think notPaolo has it right. Version 1 is it . . .

. . . except I'm not Leon Fleischer or Yuja Wang and I'm not going to be performing this movement at quarter note = 108. Furthermore, I don't want the LH here to sound exactly like the LH in the first theme, which is marked "non legato"; I play the entire opening with no sustaining pedal, same as notPaolo, because that's the only way you can distinguish the non legato LH part from the actual staccatos in the RH part. But that LH part is significant line; in the B theme it really is not. In fact, the only quasi-melodic elements in the LH of the second theme are in the bass, which makes the argument for (discreet) pedaling even stronger. And finally, before I pass out from all this thinking, there's that "con passione" marking when the theme is reprised. The articulation is supposedly, actually explicitly, the same, but I think it is impossible to play the passage "with passion" if you don't use any pedal at all. And I don't think the composer wanted this recap to sound different in kind from the first statement. Ergo, I'm probably going with an approximation to version 2, but with very careful pedaling and clean, crisp staccato in the LH so the jury can both see and hear how much respect I am according to the musical score.

This has been hugely helpful for me, so thank you to everyone who has offered opinions. I'll try to respond to some of the other posts in due course. In the meantime, here is my favorite interpretation of the concerto, a performance by Clifford Curzon, who was a great friend of my great aunt Lilian (nothing I can do about the jingle with the "greats' there). The third movement starts at 35.02. Notice how he does version 2 plus some!



SRF
Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: SiFi] #2743061
06/08/18 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SiFi
I am cynically wondering what's the slowest tempo (equals least work) I can get away with.


I think Glenn Gould's performance of Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 on April 6th, 1962 should be examined closely in order to determine, to some extent, the slowest tempo a performer can get away with.

Gould was, unfortunately, criticised for his tempo which was apparently considered too slow:

Quote
“The Gould boy played the Brahms D Minor Concerto slower than the way we used to practice it. (And between you, me and the corner lamppost, Ossip, maybe the reason he plays it so slow is maybe his technique is not so good.)”


Source: https://www.wnyc.org/story/battling-over-brahms/

Quote
In early 1962 Gould had called Bernstein from Toronto, excitedly reporting that he’d struck upon an unconventional take on the concerto, with glacially slow tempos in the first and second movements.


Source: https://nyphil.org/~/media/pdfs/program-notes/1718/Brahms-Piano-Concerto-No-1.pdf?la=en

Originally Posted by SiFi
Fleischer (1998) - 104
Zimmerman (1983) - 90
Kissin (2008) - 102
Sokolov (?) - 104/108/112
Katchen (1961) - 104
Grimaud (2014) 100/102 (awful performance IMO)
Rubinstein (1954) - 100/102
Ashkenazy (?) - 96/102
Brendel (1974) - 98
Wang (that would by Yuja!!!) (2017) - 100 (lovely performance IMO)
Curzon (?) - 98


Thank you for providing these figures.

Average lowest tempo = (104+90+102+104+104+100+100+96+98+100+98)/11 = 1096/11 = 100.

Average tempo based on figures less than 100 = (90+96+98+98)/4 = 382/4 = 96.

Therefore, I think 96 is likely to be a safe tempo. However, my answer is only one answer among many so it may not be the best answer. I hope the information I have provided is useful.

Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: SiFi] #2743088
06/08/18 04:17 PM
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[Irrelevant observation?]

When it comes to trying to find an "ideal" tempo for a work, or a movement of a work, I (personally) would not rely too heavily on what others do - except as a point of information and comparison. I occasionally, but with respect, disagree with tempi that my teacher sometimes suggests, although she is much more aware, informed and trained than I shall ever be.

Many works, as we become more and more familiar with them through study, it seems to me, set their own tempo in relation to our concept of them, and it is up to us to be convincing in what tempo we feel is "right", i.e. right for us.

I only mention this now because I have recently been bringing up to performance level a work whose tempi by some of the "greats," by comparison to what I feel, I simply cannot agree with. While they are doubtless much greater artists than I, I still have to go with what I feel rather than what their performances might tell me to do.

Regards,


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Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: BruceD] #2743094
06/08/18 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
When it comes to trying to find an "ideal" tempo for a work, or a movement of a work, I (personally) would not rely too heavily on what others do - except as a point of information and comparison.....

Agree completely.
Every player and every performance needs be heard (and judged, if you will) smile on its own terms.
And I'm confident that that's what the very great majority of listeners do. They hear the music -- and if it's music, it's music, and if they like it, they like it. They don't go "But so-and-so plays it faster" (or slower, or whatever).
It's not necessarily this way in competitions, or in a reviewer's ear and pen, but not many of us have to worry about that.

I mean, SiFi is. ha
But even when it comes to competitions and reviews and so on -- even on those -- I think that the great majority of us, if not all, are better off approaching it as you're saying rather than worrying a whole lot about other people's tempos. At least in the amateur competitions, quite uniformly the players are rewarded for making musical sense within themselves, whatever that may be, and nonrewarded for seemingly trying to stretch themselves to something that's not in technical or musical tune with themselves.

When I went to see what I thought might be the possible range of tempo for this movement, I didn't check anyone's performance. I grabbed the score and sat down and tried it, in various ways, to see what I thought, in my little opinion, grin might very plausibly work.

Re: Tempo For Brahms Piano Concerto I / 3 [Re: Mark_C] #2743107
06/08/18 06:15 PM
06/08/18 06:15 PM
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Roshan Kakiya Offline
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Roshan Kakiya  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 178
Originally Posted by BruceD
I have recently been bringing up to performance level a work whose tempi by some of the "greats," by comparison to what I feel, I simply cannot agree with. While they are doubtless much greater artists than I, I still have to go with what I feel rather than what their performances might tell me to do.


Originally Posted by Mark_C
When I went to see what I thought might be the possible range of tempo for this movement, I didn't check anyone's performance. I grabbed the score and sat down and tried it, in various ways, to see what I thought, in my little opinion, grin might very plausibly work.


Sound advice. thumb

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