2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
25 members (36251, clothearednincompo, Adem, Georg Z., auflauf, Hannu T, foxy.au, Alex Hutor, 4 invisible), 442 guests, and 441 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
BruceD #2937033 01/22/20 09:41 AM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 599
A
acortot Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
A
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 599
Originally Posted by BruceD
Those of use who have lived through the better (?) half of the last century may have difficulty with this tempo, having been brought up as we were with the more "traditional" tempo from the likes of ... well, just about every concert pianist I can mention.

So many significant details, harmonic and decorative, seem to be tossed off as inconsequential. I have difficulty appreciating this Nocturne at this tempo. I find the sound of the piano very interesting and even quite appealing, however.

Regards,


Hi, Thanks.

A lot of the technical details of Chopin's music were intentionally there to give color but not to be in the foreground. I say this because Chopin did say that 1) 'it is up to the listener to complete the picture' 2) People who heard him say he sounded like an Aeolian Harp (a harp played by the wind), or a glass harmonica 3) people described his playing as being 'like water' or 'like waves' 4) Chopin insisted that his friends witness his concerts from as far away as possible from the piano.

As a result of the above information, and the overall softness of the sound, I am inclined to guess that he played very quickly and legato, as if to form flurries of notes with only a few 'lead' or vocal.like tones standing out, so that he would create separation between foreground and background.


The kind of detail he brought to the picture, was therefore, probably inferred and not stated outright, much like Impressionist painters did years later.

Needless to say, he must have been a very confident pianist to be content not to show all his work, because indeed, under these circumstances, incredibly difficult and speedy arpeggio work sounds like a blur of notes, which can sometimes pass unobserved to everyone but trained musicians.

Last edited by acortot; 01/22/20 09:41 AM.

Max di Mario
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937083 01/22/20 12:12 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,445
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,445
Originally Posted by acortot
Perhaps one of the principal reasons why Chopin and a lot of other composers are played at a fraction of the speed that they were conceived at.
Which other Chopin pieces are usually played much slower than the composer's indication? The only other one I know if is the Etude in E flat minor.

Most of the great pianists could play the D flat Nocturne significantly faster than they do if perhaps not quite as fast as on the posted recording. I think they choose not to do so even though most would be familiar with Chopin's tempo marking because they don't think it sounds good at that speed.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/22/20 12:22 PM.
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937141 01/22/20 02:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,293
M
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,293
Originally Posted by acortot

This is a recording, done with a small handheld Tascam digital recorder of an 1844 Pleyel I restored years ago, which belonged to me for a while.

The reason I am posting this is because of the sound, which most of you will think is quite odd, and not quite pianistic, but more like a Piano Shaped Object.

The sound is the way it is because the hammers are covered with the 1840's grey felt which was applied on the piano when it was new, and the felt wore out after a couple of years use, so it is extremely rare. I have plenty of documentation that proves that this veiled, dark sound is actually the sound that Chopin heard, so if anyone is interested, I can send you a PDF with all the information.

The tempo is 50 BPM for each dotted quarter note, which is the tempo indicated by Chopin. This makes it so that the left hand plays groups of 6 notes every BPM!

I am quite sure most of you out there would not like to play on this kind of piano, because of the muffled sound, but I have collected proof that this dark sound was what was in fashion from at least 1830 to 1850! Strange indeed!

The softer sound does have an effect on the overall interpretation, in my opinion.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWKl6e5BU8s&list=RDWWKl6e5BU8s

Lovely interpretation. Thank you!


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937164 01/22/20 02:50 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,109
M
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 1,109
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I have never heard any professional pianist play this piece nearly as fast as the video even though the Chopin tempo marking is cannot be a secret. IOW they apparently reject Chopin's tempo marking and play it much slower. Are there any YT recordings by any great pianist playing it as fast as this video? I also think the extreme use of asynchronization of the hands ruins the piece,


Actually, this was my intro to the piece. Of course a lot of recording sound like paint drying to me comparatively, and it's often a bit frustrating for me to sit through some of the really ponderous tempi.



Originally Posted by acortot


A lot of the technical details of Chopin's music were intentionally there to give color but not to be in the foreground. I say this because Chopin did say that 1) 'it is up to the listener to complete the picture' 2) People who heard him say he sounded like an Aeolian Harp (a harp played by the wind), or a glass harmonica 3) people described his playing as being 'like water' or 'like waves' 4) Chopin insisted that his friends witness his concerts from as far away as possible from the piano.


It's fascinating to me to learn of this because I always find myself striving for a similar effect. I just think a piano sounds nicer when played with these aesthetics in mind. Of course, I've had a lot of complaints about my tempi being too fast, but hey. I like it. ha

Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937282 01/22/20 06:40 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 277
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 277
I always got the sense that Pollini was in a big hurry to be elsewhere with that performance. Some of the runs are executed so fast I couldn't help but focus on his pure fingerwork, which in my opinion shouldn't be the center of attention for this music. This recording that he did earlier with a conventional tempo is infinitely more attractive to my ears.


Youtube piano recordings (classical music/video games/anime): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh9N3Xirs86USDQXE1WiwXg
Kawai Novus NV-10 / Yamaha Avantgrand N1 with Garritan CFX VST
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
MikeN #2937422 01/23/20 04:55 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,242
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,242
Originally Posted by MikeN
I'll be the minority and say that I love the nocturne played this way. I prefer the faster tempo, and the disjuct of right and left hand is incredibly expressive to me.

+1
I’ve spent a lot of time reading about Chopin and I’ve been recently obsessed with listening to some old masters such as Alfred Cortot (himself a student of a Chopin’s student), Ignaz Friedman, Josef Hofmann, Raoul Koczalski (student of Mikuli, the most dedicated student of Chopin, his first big editor) and to my understanding this is how Chopin used to play himself. I thoroughly enjoyed this interpretation and the sound of the piano.

Last edited by CyberGene; 01/23/20 05:00 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937445 01/23/20 07:00 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,242
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,242
Originally Posted by acortot

The sound is the way it is because the hammers are covered with the 1840's grey felt which was applied on the piano when it was new, and the felt wore out after a couple of years use, so it is extremely rare. I have plenty of documentation that proves that this veiled, dark sound is actually the sound that Chopin heard, so if anyone is interested, I can send you a PDF with all the information.

Sure, I'm interested in that! I'll send you a PM with my email. Great job, everything, really! 👏🏻


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937465 01/23/20 08:00 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,686
D
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,686
Add me to the group that prefers this faster tempo and the piano sounds lovely though the lower notes decay a bit too quick.

Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
pianoloverus #2937569 01/23/20 12:01 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 599
A
acortot Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
A
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 599
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by acortot
Perhaps one of the principal reasons why Chopin and a lot of other composers are played at a fraction of the speed that they were conceived at.
Which other Chopin pieces are usually played much slower than the composer's indication? The only other one I know if is the Etude in E flat minor.

Most of the great pianists could play the D flat Nocturne significantly faster than they do if perhaps not quite as fast as on the posted recording. I think they choose not to do so even though most would be familiar with Chopin's tempo marking because they don't think it sounds good at that speed.


If you look at Chopin's first editions, and browse through some of the earlier works, that usually had the metronome, you can find some examples.

Also, a lot of pieces have entire sections without the pedal, which works better at faster speeds, and with the smaller dampers of the old Piano Shaped Objects he composed on.


Max di Mario
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937580 01/23/20 12:12 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 599
A
acortot Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
A
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 599
Once again, here is the link to the Chopin First Editions Online site

http://www.chopinonline.ac.uk/cfeo/


Max di Mario
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937627 01/23/20 02:25 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,445
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,445
Originally Posted by acortot
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by acortot
Perhaps one of the principal reasons why Chopin and a lot of other composers are played at a fraction of the speed that they were conceived at.
Which other Chopin pieces are usually played much slower than the composer's indication? The only other one I know if is the Etude in E flat minor.

Most of the great pianists could play the D flat Nocturne significantly faster than they do if perhaps not quite as fast as on the posted recording. I think they choose not to do so even though most would be familiar with Chopin's tempo marking because they don't think it sounds good at that speed.


If you look at Chopin's first editions, and browse through some of the earlier works, that usually had the metronome, you can find some examples.
My point was that unless there are many pieces where pianists usually play much more slowly than Chopin's metronome marking, the situation with the D flat Nocturne is essentially a one off. Do you know of any other examples?

If the great ,with possible a few exceptions, basically all choose to play it much slower than Chopin's indication despite undoubtedly know what he marked, doesn't that mean something?

Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937635 01/23/20 02:47 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 1,370
S
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 1,370
Quote

If the great ,with possible a few exceptions, basically all choose to play it much slower than Chopin's indication despite undoubtedly know what he marked, doesn't that mean something?

Absolutely. But I’d think that what it means is that the established tradition for interpretation of this piece is to play it more slowly than the composer’s tempo instruction. I think it would be a bit of a leap to go so far as to say it is wrong to play the piece at the tempo indicated by the composer.

I think there are many examples of pieces played at a faster tempo than the composer’s intention due to technical showboating. Scott Joplin was unhappy that pianists played his pieces at fast tempos to show off their technique despite instructions that might read “Not fast” or “Not too fast”. He eventually resorted to including the following with some of his published compositions: “Notice! Don't play this piece fast. It is never right to play 'rag time' fast.”

At least the present case with the Nocturne would be motivated by artistic intent.

Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
Sweelinck #2937643 01/23/20 03:06 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,445
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,445
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote

If the great ,with possible a few exceptions, basically all choose to play it much slower than Chopin's indication despite undoubtedly know what he marked, doesn't that mean something?
Absolutely. But I’d think that what it means is that the established tradition for interpretation of this piece is to play it more slowly than the composer’s tempo instruction. I think it would be a bit of a leap to go so far as to say it is wrong to play the piece at the tempo indicated by the composer.
My point was that great pianists chose to play it slower and that has not changed for a long time. And they chose to play it much slower than Chopin's metronome indication. So yes, there is an established tradition, but that tradition represents the thinking of great pianists and probably not just not unthinking following. They consciously did not follow Chopin's marking which is probably quite infrequent.

Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937667 01/23/20 03:46 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 1,370
S
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 1,370
My current score for the nocturnes is Edition Peters. It shows Lento Sostenuto and Chopin’s metronome marking in parenthesis. Before recently viewing the PDF of the original manuscript, I always assumed the parenthetical metronome mark was a suggestion of the editor and that most pianists disagreed with the editor.

I assume nobody is advocating for a culture where a performer lacks the license to interpret a piece according to their artistic preferences as long as it is defensible. And I do think following a composer’s instruction is defensible. Listeners of course also have the right to dislike an interpretation or point out that it bucks established tradition,

When I have more time, I will try to post a new thread about a lecture I heard live through an interpreter of Lazar Berman describing the research he did regarding Tchaikovsky’s 1st Piano Concerto and why he believed that established traditions of interpretations went against the composer’s artistic intention.

Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937690 01/23/20 04:35 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,473
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,473
Is there recorded a slower version that this?



Some, particularly those who veer towards the tempo in the acortot's video, may even find this version "cringe-worthy." That said, and while I find it too slow, I do admire the control of phrasing that LL is able to achieve at this - what shall I call it? - rather slow tempo? Six minutes plus, as opposed to acortot's four- minute version.

Of course on Youtube, once can always increase the playback by 1.25 or even 1.5 times the video speed...

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
BruceD #2937697 01/23/20 04:56 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,445
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,445
Originally Posted by BruceD
Is there recorded a slower version that this?

I think most of the YouTube videos are around 6:00 so it's only a little slower than most(or at least the ones I looked at when this thread first appeared).

I have told a story about when I heard LL played this at Carnegie Hall quite a long time ago but I will repeat it because it's so funny. On the last line of the piece with the ascending sixths in the RH, LL started leaning further and further back with his eyes closed until he was almost at an angle of 45 degrees beyond vertical. Then, he paused in that position with his eyes closed at the end of the piece for so long I really wanted to yell "Wake up!" but did not have the nerve to do it.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/23/20 04:57 PM.
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937706 01/23/20 05:06 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 277
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 277
Lang Lang's tempo sounds ok to me, especially since I've played it myself at the same speed before, although now I prefer it slightly faster. For a truly broad tempo, I don't think you'll find any performance more extreme than this.


Youtube piano recordings (classical music/video games/anime): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh9N3Xirs86USDQXE1WiwXg
Kawai Novus NV-10 / Yamaha Avantgrand N1 with Garritan CFX VST
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937729 01/23/20 05:50 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,242
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,242
Acortot sent me the PDF with his analysis of hammer felting around Chopin time and not only it was very interesting and thorough read but also a real eye (and ear) opener! I think I’m totally convinced that Chopin really used to play on a piano with very soft and mellow tone. I’ve heard period Pleyels before but they were disappointing in that they sounded too honky-tonky. However this particular restoration with research about the hammer felting and the linked video are nothing short of stunning! I’m in love with this tone! It’s a pity the piano evolution in the last century and a half gradually went into bright concert instruments whereas I would have loved a mellow salon instrument with this velvety and almost aeolian harp-like quality.

My greatest respect to acortot for letting me experience this wonderful piano!

On a side note, I’m wondering (besides of course hammer voicing) which modern upright/grand has the least bright and powerful sound?


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937740 01/23/20 06:46 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 1,370
S
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 1,370
Because high frequency audio attenuates over distance much more so than lower frequencies, a piano designed to be played in a large hall would be well designed if it has a brighter rendition of tone that will sound natural at expected listening distances. The brighter sound of a modern piano reflects the larger halls in which they are played. Pianos smaller than concert grands may still be played in a church, small hall, theater etc. Even full-sized uprights may be used in that way. It is a design decision for the piano.

Re: Chopin Nocturne Op.27 as it sounded to Chopin
acortot #2937751 01/23/20 07:14 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,473
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,473
I have Moravec's recording of the Nocturnes on Elektra and I had forgotten his tempo on this Nocturne since I hadn't listened to it in some time. He "clocks in" at 7:23 on the recording which is consistent with this video. While it is slow, he does carry it off well, I think.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our October 2020 Free Piano Newsletter is Here!
---------------------
3,000,000+!
------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Keep playing no matter what
by Tom97 - 11/29/20 06:14 AM
K. Kawai piano. Best tuning,
by Maximillyan - 11/29/20 03:22 AM
Dual-sensor vs Triple-sensor Actions
by Almaviva - 11/29/20 12:14 AM
Disklavier parts needed for Yamaha Mark 3 Disklavier
by Dfrankjazz - 11/28/20 10:52 PM
Pandemic a boon for piano stores?
by doremi - 11/28/20 10:37 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics203,122
Posts3,028,379
Members99,409
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4