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A Recording Project... #2851458
05/23/19 11:56 AM
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Apologies for posting rather frequently...I know I uploaded Debussy's Clair de Lune not long ago.

To explain - I'm working on an ambitious project of recording about 30 pieces and putting them up on YouTube. I've gotten some really great constructive criticisms earlier here, so before I post them up publicly in a few weeks time, I'd just like to put them out here first. I don't want to hog up this subforum everyday, so I'm just going to upload everything I work through on this thread. I hope that is alright and that it doesn't take away from anyone else posting on this subforum.

Well then...my first upload on here: Chopin's Nocturne #20 in C-sharp minor (post.). Just audio:

Chopin - Nocturne No. 20 in C-sharp Minor (post.)

As always, comments/criticisms/suggestions appreciated.

Last edited by PianoYos; 05/23/19 11:57 AM.
Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2851466
05/23/19 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoYos
Apologies for posting rather frequently...I know I uploaded Debussy's Clair de Lune not long ago.

To explain - I'm working on an ambitious project of recording about 30 pieces and putting them up on YouTube. I've gotten some really great constructive criticisms earlier here, so before I post them up publicly in a few weeks time, I'd just like to put them out here first. I don't want to hog up this subforum everyday, so I'm just going to upload everything I work through on this thread. I hope that is alright and that it doesn't take away from anyone else posting on this subforum.

Well then...my first upload on here: Chopin's Nocturne #20 in C-sharp minor (post.). Just audio:

Chopin - Nocturne No. 20 in C-sharp Minor (post.)

As always, comments/criticisms/suggestions appreciated.


There is no reason not to post as much as you like in this forum. That's what this forum is for.

Now, I'll listen to the Nocturne as soon as the contractor working here tones down the "noise."

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: A Recording Project... [Re: BruceD] #2851476
05/23/19 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
There is no reason not to post as much as you like in this forum. That's what this forum is for.


Thank you. To be honest, I'm rather excited (if a bit nervous) and looking forward to sharing what I've been working on and getting some feedback.

Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2851495
05/23/19 01:34 PM
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On the whole, this is a nice performance.

In one edition (Henle) measure 1 is repeated and Henle counts the repetition as measure 2; the first theme then starts at measure 3; that’s the counting that I will use.

The difficulty with this at the indicated tempo of Lento con gran espressione is to keep it moving without the accompanying eighth-notes becoming a little bit pedestrian. For the most part this is in good control; just be ever mindful of the fact that the left hand is not a series of individual notes but is made of up phrases that could be shaped a bit. Make sure that the top note in the left hand (which is usually comes on beats 2 and 4 don't sound louder than the notes around it.

Bad buzz from the D-sharp below middle C in the section starting at measure 31 (and elsewhere, but most noticeable here). You won’t want that recorded for posterity.

Measure 23: this measure is marked sotto voce; it seems to me it could be a little more subtle.

Measure 43: the top G-sharp is held much too long, in my opinion. Henle has no fermata over the G-sharp; Novello does have a fermata. If observing the fermata, I wouldn’t hold it for any more than 5 beats determined by the beats in the previous measure.

Nicely done.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2851499
05/23/19 01:46 PM
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Bruce,

As before, thank you for your thoughtful insights and encouragements. I will mind the things you've mentioned for my official recordings. On a sidenote, I do notice the bad buzz every time it happens, and I'm not quite sure if it's because of my technique or the piano I'm using? It doesn't tend to happen with the majority of other pianos I use, although I notice sometimes that if my wrist is too tense or I'm hesitant, it happens more frequently. I wish I understood what exactly causes it to happen.

Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2851501
05/23/19 01:51 PM
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One cause for the buzz could - I repeat: could - be that the hammer bounces back and lightly touches the string on rebound. If that is the case, it could be the result of the velocity of the strike causing the hammer to bounce back sometimes but not at other times. Again, if that is the case, a regulation of the mechanism could correct that.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2851503
05/23/19 01:59 PM
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That makes sense, thank you - I will play around with some of the notes and see if there's something going on with the hammers.

Last edited by PianoYos; 05/23/19 02:00 PM.
Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2851582
05/23/19 07:56 PM
05/23/19 07:56 PM
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I don't have the score in front of me, but most pianists play the repeated phrase in the intro softer the second time. Throughout the entire piece,the RH should probably be louder vs. the LH than you play it. Finally, I think the tempo should be somewhat faster. Almost all the YouTube recordings I checked lasted between 4:00 and 4:30

Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2851626
05/24/19 12:26 AM
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Pianoloverus,

Thank you for your feedback. I will take note of them, especially what you said about the introduction - I always felt something was missing from how I was playing it, and I think you've given me the key. I will listen to some recordings too - I certainly wish Rubinstein had recorded this as he has all the other Nocturnes, but I'm sure there are plenty of good recordings out there.

Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2851633
05/24/19 01:59 AM
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Recording #2/30 - Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"

I'm going to start numbering my recordings on this thread just to keep myself motivated and on track. Next up - Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca". I realize I'm covering only "popular" pieces right now, but I'll be attempting a wider range of music later on...

This recording is nowhere near the level of my previous recording of the Chopin Nocturne - apologies in advance. It really is a work in progress for me still. There are a lot of technical imperfections (mistakes and slips), and my dynamic palette is very limited. My problem with playing Mozart is...well, it's so different from the other styles of music I'm used to playing. So I'm having a lot of trouble getting the "feel" of the classical style. I am hoping I can get some useful pointers as to how to play this (overplayed) piece correctly before I proceed onto developing my technique on this further.

Audio Recording: Mozart - Rondo alla Turca

As always, comments/criticisms/suggestions appreciated.

Last edited by PianoYos; 05/24/19 02:03 AM.
Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2851659
05/24/19 05:27 AM
05/24/19 05:27 AM
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Hi PianoYos.

I like your recording, for me I would like the pace to quicken slightly. Your mazurka section is spot on. I hope to get mine to sound like this smile.

One other thing. In the edition I use, the runs that start at 1:08 and 3:18 in your recording. It seems you play them exactly the same. Which is fine. In my Henle edition however it changes them slightly.

In my edition the first one is:
3 against 4, 3 against 4, 2 semi quavers, triplet, triplet, triplet. https://youtu.be/rXH49RfKsUM?t=69 at 1:09
[Linked Image]

And the second:
3 against 4, 2 quavers, triplet, triplet, triplet, triplet. https://youtu.be/rXH49RfKsUM?t=191 at 3:11
[Linked Image]

From: https://www.henle.de/en/detail/?Title=Nocturnes_233

Just food for thought. I think playing them slightly differently adds a bit extra to the performance.

Last edited by WTM; 05/24/19 05:30 AM.

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Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2851671
05/24/19 06:25 AM
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WTM,

Thank you for your feedback and the Henle version photos! I think you're absolutely right about it enhancing the performance with the slight variation. It seems I'm playing from a rather poorly edited score with some major differences so I'll be getting the Henle version of the Nocturnes soon.

I will definitely try speeding up the tempo for the real thing too. I hope your practicing goes well!

Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2857537
06/11/19 02:32 PM
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Recording #3/30 - Bach-Busoni - Chaconne

It's been a while since I've updated my thread...I hope this piece explains why.

This is my first attempt at recording a titanic piece...I'm just happy that I was able to get through the whole thing in one piece (sort of). I don't know if your ears will though, should you choose to listen - I practically just managed to get through it today after really studying the score and practicing. There are many mistakes (sorry), but it would be great to know if I'm headed in the right direction or not in terms of interpretation and playing style. I hope you go easy on the criticisms - please keep in mind this is still in rough shape - although I still welcome them (and any comments/suggestions) as always.

Audio Recording: Bach-Busoni - Chaconne

Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2857698
06/12/19 08:12 AM
06/12/19 08:12 AM
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From an interpretation standpoint I do not always get the sense that you feel the Chaconne rhythmically. I think part of this might simply be that the tempo is slower than normal, and you are playing it quite straight.

I know that seems like a contradiction - on one hand, I'm saying I'm not getting the rhythmical feel of the Chaconne, and on the other hand I'm saying you're playing quite straight rhythmically. To me, that's one of the great challenges of the Chaconne - how do you structure the work to show the listener the lifeblood of the chaconne rhythm that runs through the work and connects all of the variations, but also embrace the romanticism, scale, and sense of grandeur that Busoni brings to the music? Other than keeping it in your mind, I think you really need to internally feel it on a physical level. This was hard for me and not a natural thing to do, but now I feel it as a real pulse that guides me when I play.

Pay careful attention to your opening theme - this is your critical foundation that determines how the rest of the work goes. Everything is built off if it, so it must be solid and strong enough to support what comes next. It is a declarative statement and you have our undivided attention - what do you feel the need to tell us?

This violin recording was instrumental in my understanding of the Chaconne - it was kind of a eureka moment for me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxuiPqeIJwU

Keep up the good work, the Chaconne is something that will be with you for your entire life if you choose it to, and it will grow along with you.



Last edited by computerpro3; 06/12/19 08:16 AM.
Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2857714
06/12/19 09:12 AM
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Computerpro3,

I just wanted to write you a quick message before I got home, I have so many things I want to say to you...

First off, thank you for taking the time to comment, and also introducing me to Kogan's Chaconne. I've never heard it played this way before, and it's quite brilliant - I don't know why I've never heard of his interpretation before, I had only been familiar with Szeryng's and Heifetz'.

Second, I was really, really grateful and surprised to find that you yourself had recorded the Busoni Chaconne as well and posted it up here a while ago - and it's absolutely, absolutely incredible. At this point I'm wondering if you're a famous concert pianist. I'm going to listen to it again when I get home, and your comments on my performance make a lot more sense when I listen to your recording.

For now, I just wanted to say thank you.

Last edited by PianoYos; 06/12/19 09:14 AM.
Re: A Recording Project... [Re: computerpro3] #2857836
06/12/19 03:03 PM
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Follow-up:

Originally Posted by computerpro3
I know that seems like a contradiction - on one hand, I'm saying I'm not getting the rhythmical feel of the Chaconne, and on the other hand I'm saying you're playing quite straight rhythmically.


I think it does make sense, what you're saying. I hope I'm interpreting what you're saying correctly, but I think what you mean by "rhythmical feel" is related to the rubato you use both to distinguish sections or blocks of variations, and also within a variation itself to give each phrase a distinct line. I notice in the first half of the piece (edit: actually, on second thought, in most places throughout the piece), a lot of variations are four measures long, with the last measure usually having a distinct uniqueness about it that distinguishes it from the other three - it seems you really emphasize that with your rubato, combined with dynamics and sometimes sudden pianos. I hope I'm not being over the top here (and I rarely get blown away by modern performances), but your interpretation really is brilliant, the way you do all of this. It's intelligent in its organization, yet also passionate in what it expresses - a really rare combination.

Originally Posted by computerpro3
Pay careful attention to your opening theme - this is your critical foundation that determines how the rest of the work goes. Everything is built off if it, so it must be solid and strong enough to support what comes next. It is a declarative statement and you have our undivided attention - what do you feel the need to tell us?


I love what you said about the theme here. I re-listened to my opening and I figure it could use some more...I'm not sure what the word is...conviction...? Also, "what do you feel the need to tell us?" That one really got to me. I've been listening to this Chaconne for a long time now. Hopefully one day I'll have the technique to play it the way I want to (you're right about it being too slow), but to me, the Chaconne has always been a piece that sort of channels the suffering of the world through you while simultaneously touching upon all that you've personally gone through as well, and at the same time somehow evoking/inspiring emotions of strength and courage that allow you to carry all that weight without breaking. That was a bit verbose. I'm not sure if I'm putting that as eloquently as I want to - good thing I never took up writing. I'm putting it out there though because I get the distinct impression this piece means something deep to you.

Originally Posted by computerpro3
Keep up the good work, the Chaconne is something that will be with you for your entire life if you choose it to, and it will grow along with you.


Thanks for this.

P.S. On a side-note, I liked how you rolled the 10ths in the beginning of the major section, I was wondering how to go about those because I can't grasp those chords with my left hand. I was wondering for a while how it would sound if it was rolled quickly enough so as to not break the rhythm too much.

Last edited by PianoYos; 06/12/19 03:06 PM.
Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2857947
06/12/19 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoYos
Follow-up:

Originally Posted by computerpro3
I know that seems like a contradiction - on one hand, I'm saying I'm not getting the rhythmical feel of the Chaconne, and on the other hand I'm saying you're playing quite straight rhythmically.


I think it does make sense, what you're saying. I hope I'm interpreting what you're saying correctly, but I think what you mean by "rhythmical feel" is related to the rubato you use both to distinguish sections or blocks of variations, and also within a variation itself to give each phrase a distinct line. I notice in the first half of the piece (edit: actually, on second thought, in most places throughout the piece), a lot of variations are four measures long, with the last measure usually having a distinct uniqueness about it that distinguishes it from the other three - it seems you really emphasize that with your rubato, combined with dynamics and sometimes sudden pianos. I hope I'm not being over the top here (and I rarely get blown away by modern performances), but your interpretation really is brilliant, the way you do all of this. It's intelligent in its organization, yet also passionate in what it expresses - a really rare combination.


Thank you for your kind words about my playing. I am far from a professional pianist, just someone who really loves the Chaconne and has put a lot of work into it over the years. It is the most personally meaningful solo work in my repertoire, and I have been playing it off and on for almost a decade. But it was not until this year when I felt comfortable with my interpretation of it - or comfortably technically. You might be surprised how much I struggled with it a long time ago - and it's still difficult today to play how I want to.

To be honest with you, I am not thinking that granularly in terms of rubato and dynamics other than in a few sections that I really try to plan well. There are a few main things I focus on, but more than anything else the feeling of the "chaconne" - one TWO three. one TWO three and the proper expression of the profound melodies. It is such a simple structure but so profound at the same time, and it is genius how Bach weaves this in so many ways into the score.

While this structure is normally associated with rhythm, there are so many other ways to show it. What about dynamically? What about the connection between 2 and 3? Is it a sighing legato 2-3 or is it a declarative statement? This is what I was talking about below when I mentioned two pay attention to your opening theme, since the way you build that will affect all of the other areas where it appears in the work. You don't always necessarily have to do the same thing, but you have to know what you were normally trying to do if you are going to purposely deviate for effect later.

The chaconne feeling is so hard to feel physically, or at least it was for me for years. I would always get emotional and rush. It is so interesting because Bach chose a dance form to portray such a serious work - sometimes it helps me to visually picture what someone dancing to the Bach chaconne rhythm would look like. If there is a single thing I still struggle with, it's precision in timing of the chaconne beats - it is so easy to rush or delay by a microsecond, which takes away much of the feeling of having your heart stuck in your throat.

This feeling is something that can be maintained either straight or in rubato - it's not really the tempo, but the proportion of time between each beat. Even today I keep finding more and more areas where the chaconne structure can be brought out in the score in different ways. I think showing this consistently but freshly (without always shoving it in the listener's face) is one of the keys to having a longer set of variations like this sound cohesive to the listener.

When it comes to connection between the variations and applying rubato and such, that is where the violin helps me. I have a tendency to remove my hands from the keys and start new sections rather abruptly, so remembering how a violin bows up and down helps me think of connecting the sections and it comes more naturally. I just hear in my head how the violin connects the different variations and it helps me be more organic about it.

Quote

Originally Posted by computerpro3
Pay careful attention to your opening theme - this is your critical foundation that determines how the rest of the work goes. Everything is built off if it, so it must be solid and strong enough to support what comes next. It is a declarative statement and you have our undivided attention - what do you feel the need to tell us?


I love what you said about the theme here. I re-listened to my opening and I figure it could use some more...I'm not sure what the word is...conviction...? Also, "what do you feel the need to tell us?" That one really got to me. I've been listening to this Chaconne for a long time now. Hopefully one day I'll have the technique to play it the way I want to (you're right about it being too slow), but to me, the Chaconne has always been a piece that sort of channels the suffering of the world through you while simultaneously touching upon all that you've personally gone through as well, and at the same time somehow evoking/inspiring emotions of strength and courage that allow you to carry all that weight without breaking. That was a bit verbose. I'm not sure if I'm putting that as eloquently as I want to - good thing I never took up writing. I'm putting it out there though because I get the distinct impression this piece means something deep to you.


I pretty much feel the same way about it. It is intensely personal but universal - that is what is so remarkable about it.

Quote


P.S. On a side-note, I liked how you rolled the 10ths in the beginning of the major section, I was wondering how to go about those because I can't grasp those chords with my left hand. I was wondering for a while how it would sound if it was rolled quickly enough so as to not break the rhythm too much.


I have fairly small hands so I have to do that. I have found it helps me to roll slower and focus on the bass notes in the Chaconne, otherwise I tend to lose the feeling of the harmony - which is one of the indulgent pleasures in the Busoni rendition.

Last edited by computerpro3; 06/12/19 10:30 PM.
Re: A Recording Project... [Re: computerpro3] #2858162
06/13/19 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by computerpro3
You might be surprised how much I struggled with it a long time ago - and it's still difficult today to play how I want to.


That is definitely surprising...although I admit somewhat encouraging. I'm glad you weren't born playing the Chaconne the way you do.

Originally Posted by computerpro3
To be honest with you, I am not thinking that granularly in terms of rubato and dynamics other than in a few sections that I really try to plan well. There are a few main things I focus on, but more than anything else the feeling of the "chaconne" - one TWO three. one TWO three and the proper expression of the profound melodies. It is such a simple structure but so profound at the same time, and it is genius how Bach weaves this in so many ways into the score.

While this structure is normally associated with rhythm, there are so many other ways to show it. What about dynamically? What about the connection between 2 and 3? Is it a sighing legato 2-3 or is it a declarative statement? This is what I was talking about below when I mentioned two pay attention to your opening theme, since the way you build that will affect all of the other areas where it appears in the work. You don't always necessarily have to do the same thing, but you have to know what you were normally trying to do if you are going to purposely deviate for effect later.

The chaconne feeling is so hard to feel physically, or at least it was for me for years. I would always get emotional and rush. It is so interesting because Bach chose a dance form to portray such a serious work - sometimes it helps me to visually picture what someone dancing to the Bach chaconne rhythm would look like. If there is a single thing I still struggle with, it's precision in timing of the chaconne beats - it is so easy to rush or delay by a microsecond, which takes away much of the feeling of having your heart stuck in your throat.

This feeling is something that can be maintained either straight or in rubato - it's not really the tempo, but the proportion of time between each beat. Even today I keep finding more and more areas where the chaconne structure can be brought out in the score in different ways. I think showing this consistently but freshly (without always shoving it in the listener's face) is one of the keys to having a longer set of variations like this sound cohesive to the listener.

When it comes to connection between the variations and applying rubato and such, that is where the violin helps me. I have a tendency to remove my hands from the keys and start new sections rather abruptly, so remembering how a violin bows up and down helps me think of connecting the sections and it comes more naturally. I just hear in my head how the violin connects the different variations and it helps me be more organic about it.


There is so much wealth of information here it's incredible, thank you so much for taking the time to write this out. I don't think I'll get to all of them here, but I'll try to cover what really stuck out for me.

Now that you mentioned it, I can see how in many places throughout the piece, the second beat serves as the "point" of the phrase. Also the contrast in phrases where the transition between the 2nd and 3rd beats can either be legato or more declarative. It is so interesting to view the opening theme of the piece in the way you do - as serving as a benchmark for the rest of the piece. I can see how it gives the entire piece coherence and a structure, which was something I had been wondering about for a long time. I think the way you play it, you use the theme as more of a "declarative statement"; I wonder if it would work if was a legato opening - would it be too weak to hold the piece together? I also really like what you said about bringing the structure out subtly, or "freshly" as you say...I'm listening to your version as I'm reading through your insight and I can see how a lot of what you do is in "eye drops" (except in the more grander changes and shifts in moods, where bigger dynamic differences or rubato are more appropriate).

I'll be coming back to what you wrote again and again for some time, I think. It's like I never knew the piece before. I'll most likely end up replacing the piece with something "easier" because there's no way I can get it to a presentable level within a few weeks. The fact that you spend years on this lends some perspective.

I'll probably end up PMing you every now and then about the Chaconne, I hope you won't mind. Again, thank you for all of this.

Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2858565
06/14/19 03:05 PM
06/14/19 03:05 PM
Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 118
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PianoYos Offline OP
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PianoYos  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 118
Six new recordings:

#3: Debussy - Rêverie
#4: Chopin - Nocturne in E-flat Major (Op. 9, No. 2)
#5: Brahms - Intermezzo in A Major (Op. 118, No. 2)
#6: Brahms - Intermezzo in Bb Minor (Op. 117, No. 2)
#7: Tchaikovsky - Valse Sentimentale
#8: Tchaikovsky - "Barcarolle" (or "June" from "The Seasons")

As always, comments/suggestions/criticisms welcome.

(Crossed Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca" off my list; also putting the Bach-Busoni Chaconne on hold for now, and focusing on pieces that I can handle better technically.)

I think my method for learning a piece and recording it has really changed since I first started by posting Debussy's Clair de Lune a few weeks ago, thanks in large to the help of some members who guided me here. I take the score very seriously now - no more half-baked attempts at playing from memory. Preliminary recordings are done reading the score. I also keep a notebook in which I write down people's feedbacks/comments now (I do really value them), and my own criticisms on my "first draft" recordings. Finally, I've stopped posting things "on a whim". The six recordings I just put up are essentially "second drafts". I recorded them all initially yesterday, and spent the entire day today re-listening to them, following the score, looking for mistakes, criticizing myself, and finding places where I could improve my interpretation. I hope it all comes out, and that the quality of my recordings are better than previous ones I've posted here. They're not perfect, but presentable, I'd like to think.

On a side-note, I had a lot of fun playing around with Adobe Audition and editing my recordings - especially with Debussy's Reverie.

Anyway, I'm working hard. smile

Next up on my list: a dozen Chopin Mazurkas.

Re: A Recording Project... [Re: PianoYos] #2858588
06/14/19 04:22 PM
06/14/19 04:22 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 53
Bay area, CA
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RogerRL Offline
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RogerRL  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 53
Bay area, CA
I don't have anything useful to add about interpretation, but I really didn't like the amount of reverb/echo in the Debussy recording. It sounds very unrealistic even for a very large hall. It's fun to turn the knobs up, but I think we get ear fatigue and end up choosing settings that are far past realistic values.

Just so you know that's a personal bias of mine; I'm really put off when somebody has a youtube video of themselves playing an upright or digital in a small living room, and the sound is processes as if they are playing in a very large church cathedral with no acoustic damping. It is just jarring. So maybe I've overstated my position on your recording, I don't know.


Shigaru Kawai SK-2, Kawai MP11SE
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