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Joined: Jun 2014
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I recorded this a few weeks back. Still a lot of things to work on, but I think it is starting to sound like music. Enjoy!


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This is wonderful! Love the amazing harmonies, the contrapuntal voices in the RH, the nostalgia and whimsical character. I imagine that it's very satisfying to play, and just as satisfying to listen to on my part. And despite the multiple dialogues going between the hands and the theme jumping all over the place I was still able to sing along as you've brought out the melody so clearly. By the way, I always appreciate it when the recording shows both the side view of the pianist and the view of the hands from the top; it adds a lot to the listening experience IMO. May I ask more about your piano and the recording gear you're using? The sound quality is superb. Many thanks for sharing!

Edit: Just realised that you've listed your piano as the 2013 Mason & Hamlin BB, what a beautiful instrument!

Last edited by Ravel1875; 06/29/20 04:25 PM.
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Hello Benjamin!

Very nice performance... I'd say the piece is well along its way! Not sure how I missed it... I've been so busy lately. Anyway, sometimes just recording a piece like this allows you stand back and hear the many things you are doing well and how to make them even better. I appreciate you sharing this wonderful work and performance. Ravel1875 is right... your melodic lines are clear and dialogs so distinct. I loved the camera perspectives as well and your Mason & Hamlin BB is sounding quite beautiful. Did you end up replacing the stock hammers with softer Ronsen or NY Steinway hammers?


Jason Solomonides
Mason & Hamlin 7' BB 93623
Yamaha 6'1" C3 (w/WNG) D3010008
My Piano Recordings:
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Thanks for the nice words! Glad you both enjoyed the recording.

Ravel1875 - I used two Oktava MK-102 microphones attached to a Zoom H6 for this recording - I did not use the internal mics of the Zoom. I've been gradually upgrading my recording setup over the years. In the beginning I just used a cheap camcorder which sounded flat dynamically, then I upgraded to a Tascam DR-40 which was a major improvement. Last year I upgraded to the Zoom H6 which was a slight improvement over the Tascam, and finally a few months back I purchased the Oktava microphones which have a fuller sound than the Zoom internal mics had in my opinion.

Jason - I decided to go with the NY S&S D hammers. We only replaced the hammer heads - the rest of the composite action is unchanged. The before and after can be heard at http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2855698/re-m-h-hammers.html#Post2855698

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I think it was Abram Chasins who remarked to Rachmaninoff after hearing him play it that it sounded very difficult. Rachmaninoff replied, "Difficult! It is impossible!"

You play it very well.

Rachmaninoff had a subtile sense of humor, which comes out in especially in his transcriptions.


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You say this needs more work. That may be true, but a lot of work has already gone into it which may not be as important as the results you have already obtained.

I particularly admire the - what shall I call it? - the flexibility, the suppleness, the give and take in tempo of the performance. This flows along with - to me - just the right amount of pulling back and moving forward; it sounds so natural and effortless. As others have mentioned, the complexities of the score don't overshadow the melodic line which is always in evidence.

I so enjoyed this; thank you for sharing.

Regards,


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This is really well played. Very, very well done - I greatly enjoyed it.

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Originally Posted by benjamink
Ravel1875 - I used two Oktava MK-102 microphones attached to a Zoom H6 for this recording - I did not use the internal mics of the Zoom. I've been gradually upgrading my recording setup over the years. In the beginning I just used a cheap camcorder which sounded flat dynamically, then I upgraded to a Tascam DR-40 which was a major improvement. Last year I upgraded to the Zoom H6 which was a slight improvement over the Tascam, and finally a few months back I purchased the Oktava microphones which have a fuller sound than the Zoom internal mics had in my opinion.

Many thanks for sharing your recording details, Benjamin! Another colleague had also recommended Zoom so that's +2 (...am now rushing off to search all the products on Google/Amazon grin)

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Thanks for the nice feedback everyone! I'm glad you all enjoyed this recording!

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Wonderful playing. I could listen to you for hours and never get bored. So much variation in touch, rhythmic gracefulness, creative dynamics, clarity of voicing, and a pronounced sense of forward motion, despite the relatively "laid back" style of the music.

Just one question. I haven't seen the score, but would it be in keeping with the notation of the initial theme to make the texture just a little more connected, perhaps an extra of touch pedal to make it sound more portato in places where it seems staccato? I love the clarity of your textures generally and the very discreet pedaling throughout, but the Romantic in me yearns for just a bit more lyricism and linear continuity in that opening. I guess it's more a matter of taste than anything else.

Your performance really makes me wish that I could play this piece!


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SiFi:

I think it's a matter of taste. The opening theme is marked with tenuto marks (didn't Rachmaninoff love tenuto marks!) on a couple of notes followed by staccato marks on subsequent notes. The whole is marked, however, Con Pedale, so I think it's up to the performer to decide to what extent each of these articulation marks is observed.

Regards,


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SiFi - Thanks for the enthusiastic support!

Regarding the connectivity of the melody, I've gone back and forth on the pedaling through my course of learning this piece - I've found it is easy on my piano for the pedal to get too thick and too loud very quickly in this work even when changing it frequently which is probably why I err on the side of using it less. That said, I can definitely understand and agree - the staccatos in the theme are in the context of portato (the slur is present). I'll definitely keep working on it. Truth be told, I'm struggling the most with the articulation, dynamics and timing of the the very first two measures of the piece.

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Originally Posted by benjamink
but I think it is starting to sound like music.


Definitely! I never played this little gem myself, but I'm very familiar with it, since I love a recording by great Jorge Bolet he made on an old Bechstein grand. So my expectations were high, but you didn't disappoint me, congratulations cool

Just a small suggestion:

Sometimes you could dare using more pedal, this would make the accompanying chords sound less dry, for example right at the beginning, or from 0:45!

But you got the wonderful bitter-sweet atmosphere surrounding this piece very well, and the technical difficulties don't seem to be an obstacle at all, that's great!

Best regards from Switzerland


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