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Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces #2779688
11/10/18 02:52 AM
11/10/18 02:52 AM
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California
AnotherSchmoe Offline OP
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"Self-taught" (many teachers via books and YouTube, just none personally) amateur returning to the piano after a 6 year hiatus.

I'm going to start working my way through these and I'll be posting recordings as I go along. No specific timeline, just as I get around to them. I would love it if some of you would join me in learning them and share your recordings, tips, musings etc.

"Friedrich Burgmüller (1806 – 1874) was a German pianist and composer who moved to Paris at the age of 26 and settled there. In addition to light salon music, he wrote three sets of études for young pianists. His 25 Easy and Progressive Etudes, op. 100 have been a mainstay of elementary étude repertoire for many generations – and deservedly so. Like all études worth their salt, the study of technique merges with attention to quality of sound and a musical purpose. The musical content of these pieces is on a level with the technical challenges they pose, so that the listener would not necessary realise they have any didactic focus whatever. Because each has its own descriptive title, the études inspire imagination and characterisation in the player, elevating the works to the status of real music." • Source: https://tinyurl.com/y9zpocw3

I'll begin with the first piece:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow6rdbFZZGU

Please reach out if interested. Thank you!

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Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2779764
11/10/18 10:53 AM
11/10/18 10:53 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 521
California
AnotherSchmoe Offline OP
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Off to a fabulous start, it's been brought to my attention that I somehow learned to play the wrong note consistently (and somewhat musically?) on the 3rd note of the 14th measure, I am playing an A natural and it should be a C natural. I'll probably rerecord it later on today when I'm feeling rested, been suffering from insomnia this week so I'll let that be my excuse this time. crazy

Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2779839
11/10/18 03:30 PM
11/10/18 03:30 PM
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I use these exercises for sight eading practice. They’re nice little pieces. I have never bothered to perfect them.

Last edited by cmb13; 11/10/18 03:30 PM.

Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune
Bach Inventions (in a not quite random order)

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2779967
11/11/18 02:55 AM
11/11/18 02:55 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 521
California
AnotherSchmoe Offline OP
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No time like the present cmb13! wink

As you are already familiar with them it probably would not take too much doing. No guarantees I'll even finish but I'm setting the goal. I was originally going to get the first piece to the point of being "playable" (didn't take long at all) and then move on but figured since I'm returning, not only are they good sight reading practice but it's a good excuse for me to work on bringing my expression, tempo etc. up to speed which is what I've been honing in on now. I figure there's no rush. I see you are working on the Nocturne in C# minor, it's quite a wonderful piece, I look forward to hearing you play it when it is finished. It was the last thing I recorded before I lost interest for awhile (what was going through my head!?)... I'd like to revisit it someday and polish it up. Thanks for the response!

I just rerecorded La Candeur without the error, here is the corrected version (I removed the first from YouTube):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v1sYEjlkhU

Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2779978
11/11/18 04:00 AM
11/11/18 04:00 AM
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Hi Schmoe, just wanted to encourage you on your return, I had a look and listen, very musical and nicely placed. I might join you on the Burgmuller journey. I’m working on some fairly big pieces atm, and I tried the “40 pieces” thing for a while to provide variety but couldn’t keep it up... working through Burgmuller might a nice reprieve and opportunity to focus on clarity and technique. I think I only ever learned one (Arabesque) as a kid, so they’re all basically new to me. I’ll give it a go and let you know how it works out.
Again, nicely played, I look forward to the second instalment. (PS, how did you record i.e. what equipment and how did you set up it? I like that angle).
Thanks
Cathryn


The difference between dreams and reality is action.
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2779987
11/11/18 04:57 AM
11/11/18 04:57 AM
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Alexander Borro Offline
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Hello, nicely played (and the joys of self teaching).

When I got my new Kawai piano few months ago it came with a book full of these, very enjoyable pieces. I am working on other stuff now but did have a go at the first few, Pastorale in particular struck me as wonderful. I'll be interested to hear what you'll make of that one since I didn't know it from prior listening, so I did not want to bias myself with other recordings beforehand. For me, this one came out rather differently than the way most play it when I was done with it.

First, there is the question of pedalling, or not, the score I have does have explicit pedal marks in this piece. Anyway, I consulted a few online teacher videos afterwards and to my surprise, on the whole I found their versions often too rigid, even a bit dull at times and no pedal at all. Some examples:

https://youtu.be/NvAHfg_n1Bc

Not so fond of where Josh is going with this .. despite this expertise and skill as a teacher no doubt.

or something like this, too rigid for me, "This is not Bach, it is Burgmuller, I would jokingly say to BachScholar" laugh

https://youtu.be/eHrrhiNIzQ0


Then I thought, am I the one that is mad to play it differently, I always follow my instincts with interpretation in terms of what sounds good to me, so then I came across this version which is much more along the lines I felt the way it should be played, and more how I like it,

https://youtu.be/ucuTNUtN_5I

or this

https://youtu.be/49BnDY3tBkk

Shirley Kirsten generally resonates with me where she goes with most pieces.

Anyway, there are clearly drastic differences in approach here, and you never know 'till you try some of these pieces where you end up ( without using recordings before hand). O' course I have heard some of them before anyway, so that can't be helped.

Good luck with them and my 02 on Pastorale .... FWIW

Have fun smile

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 11/11/18 04:58 AM.

Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Kawai CA78, Casio AP450 & software pianos.
[Linked Image] 12x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: Alexander Borro] #2780004
11/11/18 08:19 AM
11/11/18 08:19 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 521
California
AnotherSchmoe Offline OP
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Originally Posted by cathryn999
I’ll give it a go and let you know how it works out.
Again, nicely played, I look forward to the second instalment. (PS, how did you record i.e. what equipment and how did you set up it? I like that angle).


Hi Cathryn, glad to have you joining me! I figured this would be a good opportunity to start a new, if somewhat informal, study thread in the ABF. I appreciate the participation. As to my recording setup I'm playing on a Casio Privia PX-750 that is connected via MIDI to a laptop that sits on a stand just off-screen to the right of the piano. The laptop is running Pianoteq, and the audio that you hear is completely produced by the Pianoteq software, you are not hearing the Casio at all. I am extremely fond of this software and find it very impressive, especially considering how lightweight of an application it is. Takes up hardly any space at all on my older laptop and runs just fine.

I record the video using my cell phone on a tripod. After playing through a take that I'm happy with, I export the recorded performance from Pianoteq as an MP3 file. I then copy the video file from my cell phone to my PC and import both files into a free video editing program called HitFilm Express (also highly recommended). I remove the audio from the raw video file so that there is no background noise and then overlay the MP3 from Pianoteq, carefully lining up the audio and video so that they are more or less in sync. From there it's just a matter of saving the video and uploading it to Youtube.

I hope you found this helpful! I think it's a pretty great little apartment setup. I have a rather nice pair of Beyerdynamic DT-990 headphones plugged into a small amplifier (to account for the higher impedance of the headphones), and the amp is plugged into the headphone port of my laptop via stereo RCA cables.

I hope you found this helpful, and thanks again for posting! smile

Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
I consulted a few online teacher videos afterwards and to my surprise, on the whole I found their versions often too rigid, even a bit dull at times and no pedal at all. Some examples:

https://youtu.be/NvAHfg_n1Bc

Not so fond of where Josh is going with this .. despite this expertise and skill as a teacher no doubt.

or something like this, too rigid for me, "This is not Bach, it is Burgmuller, I would jokingly say to BachScholar" laugh

https://youtu.be/eHrrhiNIzQ0


Alexander, I've noticed the same thing looking up other performances on YouTube. I haven't listened to many recordings yet but most of the ones I have heard were pretty flat and uninspired. So far I'm most fond of the way Robert Estrin plays them, my goal is to achieve even 70% of his musicality. grin Like you I'm trying not to listen ahead too much to the pieces I haven't learned yet (seeing as these are meant to be instructional pieces), at least until I have it under my fingers. Then I may compare a few recordings with my interpretation. I will however confess that I watched the first Estrin video as a guideline before beginning these.

PS: I see now that you reference the same video further down in the post, I had begun typing a response to the first half before I finished, I'll leave it. Great minds think alike and all that. wink

Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2780078
11/11/18 12:48 PM
11/11/18 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by AnotherSchmoe
No time like the present cmb13! wink

As you are already familiar with them it probably would not take too much doing. No guarantees I'll even finish but I'm setting the goal. I was originally going to get the first piece to the point of being "playable" (didn't take long at all) and then move on but figured since I'm returning, not only are they good sight reading practice but it's a good excuse for me to work on bringing my expression, tempo etc. up to speed which is what I've been honing in on now. I figure there's no rush. I see you are working on the Nocturne in C# minor, it's quite a wonderful piece, I look forward to hearing you play it when it is finished. It was the last thing I recorded before I lost interest for awhile (what was going through my head!?)... I'd like to revisit it someday and polish it up. Thanks for the response!

I just rerecorded La Candeur without the error, here is the corrected version (I removed the first from YouTube):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v1sYEjlkhU


Thanks - it’s a nice idea but I’m really spread too thin already. I really picked it up solely for one off sight reading practice. I’m finished with the Nocturne but have not recorded it yet. Needs some extra time to smooth / perfect it, given the trills and runs.


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune
Bach Inventions (in a not quite random order)

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2780178
11/11/18 06:31 PM
11/11/18 06:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
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Warsaw, Poland
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Originally Posted by AnotherSchmoe
I just rerecorded La Candeur without the error, here is the corrected version (I removed the first from YouTube):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v1sYEjlkhU

I had a listen. Your dynamics are good but you're doing way too much rubato and it ruins the whole flow of the music. Have a listen at how it should be played:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=0CatFeRJ1gg

Try playing it plain and flowing like that.

Also, when playing the right hand chord in the second section try to make it less harsh and bring out the left hand more.

Keep up the good work! thumb


[Linked Image]
Working on:
Mozart Sonata in G major, K. 283
Moszkowski Etude op. 91 no. 18
Chopin Nocturne in C-sharp minor, op. posth.
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: Qazsedcft] #2780184
11/11/18 07:05 PM
11/11/18 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by AnotherSchmoe
I just rerecorded La Candeur without the error, here is the corrected version (I removed the first from YouTube):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v1sYEjlkhU

I had a listen. Your dynamics are good but you're doing way too much rubato and it ruins the whole flow of the music. Have a listen at how it should be played:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=0CatFeRJ1gg

Try playing it plain and flowing like that.

Also, when playing the right hand chord in the second section try to make it less harsh and bring out the left hand more.

Keep up the good work! thumb


I personally like Robert Estrin for this piece more as well, and others in general in this series as I alluded to above in my reply, more so than BachScholar who doesn't really do it for me. I find there are more subtle nuances in the tone and dynamics with Estrin, I like his touch better overall, a bit more rubato, but you don't want too much.

IMHO there is balance in there somewhere, but to each their own and you got to be yourself as well. I often find that with BachScholar when I come across his other performances, it is all a bit too robotic/rigid sounding, in general, he could use some more rubato at times (IMHO of course) and more variation in tonal colours.

Spotify probably has some good performances as well and pianoped on youtube,the latter, while of high standard I find the interpretations a bit variable as well, I like some more than others.


Last edited by Alexander Borro; 11/11/18 07:08 PM.

Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Kawai CA78, Casio AP450 & software pianos.
[Linked Image] 12x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: Qazsedcft] #2780215
11/11/18 09:15 PM
11/11/18 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Your dynamics are good but you're doing way too much rubato and it ruins the whole flow of the music. Have a listen at how it should be played:https://youtube.com/watch?v=0CatFeRJ1gg
Rather harsh and IMO incorrect criticism. I prefer the OP's performance to the one you posted and don't think the OP uses too much rubato.

Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: pianoloverus] #2780221
11/11/18 09:43 PM
11/11/18 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Your dynamics are good but you're doing way too much rubato and it ruins the whole flow of the music. Have a listen at how it should be played:https://youtube.com/watch?v=0CatFeRJ1gg
Rather harsh and IMO incorrect criticism. I prefer the OP's performance to the one you posted and don't think the OP uses too much rubato.

I’ve yet to hear a recording of BachScholar that I would put in my ‘like’ category YMMV

Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: dogperson] #2780222
11/11/18 09:45 PM
11/11/18 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson

I’ve yet to hear a recording of BachScholar that I would put in my ‘like’ category YMMV


Agree


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune
Bach Inventions (in a not quite random order)

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: Alexander Borro] #2780225
11/11/18 09:53 PM
11/11/18 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
IMHO there is balance in there somewhere, but to each their own and you got to be yourself as well. I often find that with BachScholar when I come across his other performances, it is all a bit too robotic/rigid sounding, in general, he could use some more rubato at times (IMHO of course) and more variation in tonal colours.

I agree on BachScholar. I like using him as an initial reference when I am learning because his pieces are a bit more mechanical and plain. Sort of like starting with the easiest rendition. Haha...

Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
...pianoped on youtube,the latter, while of high standard I find the interpretations a bit variable as well, I like some more than others.

Do you have any examples of UIPianoPed being variable? Because in particular the ones that Dr. Alan Huckleberry plays have a high degree of musicality, unlike many of the BachScholar pieces which sound a bit like technical exercises. In particular, I think Dr. Huckleberry's performance of Candour has the perfect balance of technical and musical.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

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Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: Qazsedcft] #2780227
11/11/18 09:58 PM
11/11/18 09:58 PM
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California
AnotherSchmoe Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by AnotherSchmoe
I just rerecorded La Candeur without the error, here is the corrected version (I removed the first from YouTube):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v1sYEjlkhU

I had a listen. Your dynamics are good but you're doing way too much rubato and it ruins the whole flow of the music. Have a listen at how it should be played:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=0CatFeRJ1gg

Try playing it plain and flowing like that.

Also, when playing the right hand chord in the second section try to make it less harsh and bring out the left hand more.

Keep up the good work! thumb


I appreciate the feedback. Respectfully, I was trying not to sound like BachScholar. He is a very skilled pianist (light-years ahead of me, I'm very much an amateur), but I'm not fond of his interpretation most of the time. This comes down to personal preference. Keep in mind however that there are ritardando markings in the middle section that I feel BachScholar sort of plowed through, in that sense one could be justified in also saying that he is not playing it as "it should be", as in neither one of us played it exactly as penned down by the composer.

Perhaps a bit too much rubato in my rendition however, it is not Chopin after all. wink I'm not a professional and I'm not looking to make a CD, I'm happy enough with the way the first piece came out. I'll keep it in mind going forward though. Thanks again for joining the discussion!

Last edited by AnotherSchmoe; 11/11/18 10:08 PM.
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: pianoloverus] #2780294
11/12/18 05:14 AM
11/12/18 05:14 AM
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I knew posting a BachScholar video here would trigger negative reactions. The point is not about this particular interpretation (and actually now I found this one and like it much better) but about the piece not sounding right at all.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Your dynamics are good but you're doing way too much rubato and it ruins the whole flow of the music. Have a listen at how it should be played:https://youtube.com/watch?v=0CatFeRJ1gg
Rather harsh and IMO incorrect criticism. I prefer the OP's performance to the one you posted and don't think the OP uses too much rubato.

Did we listen to the same performance? Because I think the OP is just way off. It doesn't even sound like the same piece. It should flow forward not start and stop every few measures, which is how it sounds right now. Maybe that's harsh but I don't mean it to be harsh and I really think the performance can be made better by not "over-romanticizing" it like that.


[Linked Image]
Working on:
Mozart Sonata in G major, K. 283
Moszkowski Etude op. 91 no. 18
Chopin Nocturne in C-sharp minor, op. posth.
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2780342
11/12/18 09:25 AM
11/12/18 09:25 AM
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Texas
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Schmoe, I noticed you removed the video you linked, but I found your other video of the Candeur.

Here are my thoughts as a teacher (and one who teaches this piece). Take them or leave them. I can sometimes sound harsh, but I hope you will find my intentions constructive.

Overall, I think you're headed in the right direction with it. You have good tone, and I think you generally have the right idea about the dynamics. I also think that some rubato is appropriate for this piece - it should not be played in too strict a time. However, I don't really like how you've implemented your rubato. I would not linger so much at the high notes at the beginning of measures. I found it especially jarring in the B part, measure 13 (I think), with the half notes standing out way too much.

My suggestion would be the following: use this rubato more sparingly, and focus it on points in the music that you want to stand out a little. For instance, I would recommend using it on the D in measure 7, and the E in measure 15. Notice two things about these notes and measures: the contour of the melody, and what the chords are doing at the time. Both of the notes I mentioned are "local maxima" (to borrow a phrase from mathematics) - locally the highest pitched notes in the phrase. The melody builds up to them, and then comes back down. These notes are more interesting to me than the high notes at the beginning of the phrase. Also, what are the chords doing in those measures? In measure 7, we have a D7 chord, which leads us into G chord in measure 8. If we tarry a little in measure 7, it builds up tension that measure 8 will resolve. In measure 15, we have a G7 chord that leads us back to the C chord in measure 16. Again, we can tarry in measure 15 to build up tension so that we get a bigger payoff in measure 16.

And this should be something subtle. I don't think this piece can handle too heavy a rubato. As Qazsedcft said, this piece must flow. Consider a flowing stream - we want to flow around rocks and bends, not get stuck behind a dam. The little ricks and sticks in the stream add interest and, rather than interrupting the flow, they serve to emphasize that the water is flowing. (I hope that metaphor makes sense.)

Once again, just my thoughts as a teacher, and probably worth what you paid for them. As always and for everyone, YMMV. I'm not looking to get into any arguments about interpretation; there's always more than one way to skin a cat.

Good luck!


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2780345
11/12/18 09:45 AM
11/12/18 09:45 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,804
Florida
cmb13 Offline
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Great, well thought out response from a pro above!


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune
Bach Inventions (in a not quite random order)

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2780452
11/12/18 04:55 PM
11/12/18 04:55 PM
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J

Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 515
UK
Hi all - I just caught up with this thread and I am keen to join in on this task too (as I kinda started on my own late this summer).

I am currently on the 4th piece now (La petite Réunion) - it takes me forever to get to a point where I am happy with them, my recordings are here:

https://soundcloud.com/jamie-williams-746388266/la-candeur-jff-burgmuller

https://soundcloud.com/jamie-williams-746388266/arabesque-jff-burgmuller

https://soundcloud.com/jamie-williams-746388266/pastorale-jff-burgmuller

I am doing this as a side show to my ABRSM grading because I prefer the pieces over the ABRSM syllabus..and got sick of Hannon (just use Hannon for warming up). :-) Burgmullers etudes are great!

Look forward to hearing some more of the pieces as they get posted.

Jamie

Re: Burgmüller's Twenty-Five Easy & Progressive Pieces [Re: AnotherSchmoe] #2780456
11/12/18 05:17 PM
11/12/18 05:17 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,802
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline
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Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,802
Victoria, BC
jamie:

These recordings are quite lovely; I enjoyed listening to them.

May I make one suggestion? In the third, "La pastorale," I would like to hear a slightly stronger stress in the left hand on the first beat of each measure, a little less stress on the second beat (fourth chord) and the intervening chords much quieter than the first and the fourth. Or, put another way: make sure that the second and third chords in the left hand are much quieter than they are. All are at the same volume as I hear them. I think that this will give a better sense of two-in-the-bar (the duple time that the 6/8 time signature represents) and will also give more forward motion to the interpretation.

Thanks for posting; these are quite enjoyable and cleanly played.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
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