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Originally Posted by jdw
Anything played too fast. I'm thinking especially of the 3d movement of Beethoven's Moonlight sonata. I know it's marked presto, but I hear a lot of prestissimo, so that you can't even really hear those dramatic repeated chords at the top of the opening runs.
There is no clear dividing line between presto and prestissimo. You may think a performance is too fast, but I think that's a different thing.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by jdw
Anything played too fast. I'm thinking especially of the 3d movement of Beethoven's Moonlight sonata. I know it's marked presto, but I hear a lot of prestissimo, so that you can't even really hear those dramatic repeated chords at the top of the opening runs.
There is no clear dividing line between presto and prestissimo. You may think a performance is too fast, but I think that's a different thing.

Well, of course, but obviously the point is that I think they're too fast. IMO you're pointing to a distinction without a difference. There's no clear dividing line between any of the tempo terms but we still use them to suggest differences in tempo.


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Originally Posted by BruceD
I wouldn't call it a "pet peeve" but I am aware - and not impressed when it's overdone - that some pianists are inclined to play the left hand a fraction before the right hand, even though both should come together, particularly on the beat. This happens more often in Romantic literature and, at times, can actually be effective when used quite sparingly. When overdone, it becomes a slightly annoying mannerism.

Regards,

In some schools of playing, pre-WW2 especially, this was regarded as correct. Mikuli writes about how Chopin taught it, Thalberg writes about it although he believed that it should be almost imperceptible. Leschetiszky does it, Rachmaninoff does it especially in Chopin, Horowitz did it all the time, even Mozart wrote about this kind of rubato.

The pet peeve for me is more that a lot of individuality in phrasing has been washed out of today's pianists.


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Regarding LH before RH playing, for me its all a question of degree meaning how often and how big a space between LH and RH. Even for Horowitz and Rachmaninov I don't notice it much except if I'm listening for it, and those examples would be kind of near my limit for what I find OK. There are examples of earlier pianists(Paderewski and others I can't recall) where the asynchronization is done MUCH more frequently and with a bigger space between the two hands and for composers of all periods, and that kind of playing drives me nuts. I find that I occasionally play LH before RH although I'm not sure if I do just out of carelessness or because I really prefer it.

I wonder if any of today's top pianists or contestants in major competitions occasionally play LH before RH? Anyone have any examples for contemporary pianists?

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Regarding LH before RH playing, for me its all a question of degree meaning how often and how big a space between LH and RH. Even for Horowitz and Rachmaninov I don't notice it much except if I'm listening for it, and those examples would be kind of near my limit for what I find OK. There are examples of earlier pianists(Paderewski and others I can't recall) where the asynchronization is done MUCH more frequently and with a bigger space between the two hands and for composers of all periods, and that kind of playing drives me nuts. I find that I occasionally play LH before RH although I'm not sure if I do just out of carelessness or because I really prefer it.

I wonder if any of today's top pianists or contestants in major competitions occasionally play LH before RH? Anyone have any examples for contemporary pianists?

I think it probably does happen but much less often. I'm doing a dissertation on this for my DMA, using Liszt's pupils, and Rachmaninoff as examples, but also looking at other pianists from that era. So far I haven't made any major conclusions except that the displacement of notes was done far more often back then, and that there wasn't only one school of playing. For example Schnabel did it far less often, and granted he played a particular repertoire, but it's notable nonetheless. Actually his slow movement of the Pathetique is quite a bit less rigid than we find today, not that I would call any famous pianist of today rigid, and especially not in an academic paper, apart from it being insulting it would also be wrong.

There was a lot of things influenced the piano playing of post-WW2 including the advent of recording itself, the early recording artists were playing in their live style, while later it became important to make the cleanest performance of a work that one could, and that spilled over into live performance practice. I think the influence of the USSR and the rise of the Russian virtuoso from that system can't be overlooked, and I've a few friends who were raised in the USSR who have said to me that yes, the Soviet pianists were incredibly well, it was the best system in the world for training pianists at that time (possibly still is? I don't know!), but that the Soviet penchant for uniformity in their artists which allowed major competition wins actually damaged a lot of individuality and musicianship. That would be hard to prove in a dissertation without primary sources so it may become a footnote if I mention it at all, but it's fair to say in a forum which is not peer-reviewed!


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Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
I'm doing a dissertation on this for my DMA....

How about that, folks!! thumb

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
I'm doing a dissertation on this for my DMA....

How about that, folks!! thumb

I've yet to defend it.... or even write it yet, let's see how it turns out! I'm backing it up with a recording of Liszt and Rachmaninoff done in the old style. This could either be very good or turn out extremely badly......

No I'm remaining positive......

Ugh what have I got myself into....


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Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
... I'm doing a dissertation on this for my DMA, using Liszt's pupils, and Rachmaninoff as examples, but also looking at other pianists from that era. ...

I am sure you are aware of this essay (mentioned in "Chopin's Prophet")

https://www.lib.umd.edu/binaries/co...t-hands-together-article-pdf-5-15-12.pdf

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Joseph: Maybe don't forget Vladimir de Pachmann!!

He's a treat -- in that regard and many others.

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Originally Posted by newport
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
... I'm doing a dissertation on this for my DMA, using Liszt's pupils, and Rachmaninoff as examples, but also looking at other pianists from that era. ...

I am sure you are aware of this essay (mentioned in "Chopin's Prophet")

https://www.lib.umd.edu/binaries/co...t-hands-together-article-pdf-5-15-12.pdf

I think I love you. Thank you!


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Originally Posted by Mark_C


YESSSSSS! Thank you!


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Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
I'm doing a dissertation on this for my DMA....
I think that should be quite interesting. I remember going to the Juilliard bookstore maybe 40 years ago and in the record section there was a tiny subsection on historical performances. But now you can probably listen to many thousands on YT so you have a lot more source material.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
I'm doing a dissertation on this for my DMA....
I think that should be quite interesting. I remember going to the Juilliard bookstore maybe 40 years ago and in the record section there was a tiny subsection on historical performances. But now you can probably listen to many thousands on YT so you have a lot more source material.

Yes, and in fact the area of historically informed performance practice that gets least attention is that to which we can actually listen. We don't need to wonder how Rachmaninoff might have played his music because we can hear it, and in other pianists we can hear the parameters of what he accepted. We don't know how Liszt played, but we know how his students played. We know a little of how Leschetizky played from piano roll recordings and that's important because of his connection with Czerny. We know how Grieg played, we know how Debussy played, and yet these performances have often been overlooked as mere curiosity.

There's a lot more interest in the style now. My recording will be of the first Rachmaninoff sonata which was basically abandoned until John Ogdon recorded it in 1968, but there's no historical recording by Rachmaninoff or even Horowitz. I'm going to make an attempt to reconstruct what might have been heard had it been recorded before WW2. I'm going to do the same with the Liszt B minor because although we have two piano rolls (by Arthur Friedheim and Emil Von Sauer) and one recording of Horowitz from 1932, we have no *acoustic* recordings of the Liszt sonata in the old style of playing.


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Hi Joseph
What a unique, exciting project! I hope you will share the results 😊


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
The rhythm in Chopin's 3rd Ballade's main theme is not: ta-Boum ta-Boum ta-Boum, but the reverse, never done.

Well actually that is the "rhythm"!

I guess you mean it's not the "phrasing" -- and I agree with that.
But, I do usually hear it done that way -- i.e. the way I assume you mean it should be.
And when I've played it, I sure did.
Unfortunately I didn't do too much else..... ha

I prefer it:

YA-da YA-da YA-da YA-di-da-ta-di-da YA-da YA-da ....

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Not enough 'dotting' of the dotted rhythms in the first section of Chopin's Fantaisie in F minor.

Most people don't even not-dot them enough; they play them as though they were flat-out triplets.

I know that some people think that's what the dotting means....

I agree, and I would extend that to almost any dotted rhythm.

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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I prefer it:

YA-da YA-da YA-da YA-di-da-ta-di-da YA-da YA-da ....

Yes -- that's what he and I were saying.
Or trying to say. grin

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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I agree, and I would extend that to almost any dotted rhythm.

Me too -- to the point that I feel guilty when I occasionally think that the dotting does mean basically triplets!

Example, albeit not a classical one, nor a piano piece (not really):

Battle Hymn of the Republic (which, BTW -- did y'all know? I didn't -- was written by a woman!) is usually shown as a dotted rhythm -- despite which, I've always imagined it as triplets. In fact, back in the grade school days, I played it every week for "assembly," and never considered playing it any way besides that. Never really thought about, never thought "hey, it's written 'dotted' but I'm doing it as triplets" -- I just automatically did it as triplets.

Any classical pieces??
None that I can think of offhand.


P.S. My wife just asked, what is it that made me run so fast to the laptop to be posting about grin ....and so I told her, including about the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
She said she thinks that really should be dotted too. ha

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
[...]
She said she thinks that really should be dotted too. ha

We're all a little dotty, just by being here! smile


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