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My next set - working backwards still...

27. Jason Lenthe - Nocturne in G Minor Op. 15 No. 3 Well done! Not one of the ones I am familiar with - doesn't really come across as a nocturne does it? I see what you mean about the last section - excellent technique!

28. rwsavory - The Poet Speaks - Op 15 "Scenes from Childhood" Such an odd little piece - like Schumann. I have never successfully made much sense of it, but I think your take is very good. The only suggestion I have is that sometimes your pedal overlaps a bit too much and you are not clearing the previous harmony, so it blurs. But that's a little thing. Well done!

29. bSharp(C)yclist (Dan) - Consolation, Op. 30, No. 3 Lots of Mendelssohn this time. I have played this one too. I love those chords - love playing them and listening to them. Your playing and the piano sound great with those chords. I like the occasional short note you introduce - that's different from the way I played it. Well done!

30. Wie Waldi - The Entertainer Only 7 months! Very impressive - keep up the good work and welcome to the recitals!

31. winterflower - I soar now the embers have cooled Another improv - very cool. I love the melodies that you have going on - very effective. I am struggling with doing some improv myself - not going very well. I love the title too!

32. Maira713 - Op. 1 No. 4 ("24 Short and Easy Pieces for Keyboard") This is awesome for only 7 months. Loved the retard at the end!

33. joangolfing - Air Suisse Op. 36 No.5 Nice! There are some hidden gems in the Clementi pieces. I can hear the Swiss tune. Sounds like you are having fun playing it!

34. Moo smile - Songs without words opus 38 no 3 I love Mendelssohn too. You picked a tough one, and did a great job on it. I have never tried this one - I am afraid my arthritis couldn't cope! Don't forget the Mendelssohn themed recital next year. Well done!

35. KevinM - Songs Without Words Opus 19 No. 1 I have played this one - played most of op 19 except the hard one. It flows very well and balance between the hands is good. I have no problem hearing the top note melody. The LH could be a bit softer at the end though. One thing I missed was the famous "echo" in bar 9 - everyone who has ever heard or played this is listening for that echo. I heard a little bit of the echo on the repeat, but not the first time. The top falling g#-c# should be just a whisper. Keep up the good work!

36. Talao - Sonatina in G Major Anh. 5 (both movements) I have played this - and taught it in my brief experience at student teaching. I would be very proud of you if you were my student! One thing you can try, in the first mvt, a slight retard before the recap is common - experiment with it - you did one in the 2nd mvt very well. Don't worry about the little bobbles here and there - they are of no consequence. The grace note in the 1st mvt - you ply it like 99% of people play it - but I had one slightly pedantic teacher who insisted it be played on the beat, since that would be more historically accurate for the time period and style of this piece. Try it, but you will stand out as different.

Sam

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Originally Posted by QuentinP
Originally Posted by Sam S
Even your comment about comments is borderline insulting. What's wrong with being supportive and polite? ... The last thing we need is to scare people away from the recitals because they received negative comments. Or to cause someone to give up on piano because they thought they were doing well, but got a bunch of negative comments. Or to look at a recital thread, see a string of negative comments, hurt feelings, and bickering, and decide the recitals are not for them.

Thank you for adding this Sam. Whether intended or not, some of this recent discussion about comments comes across as pompous and sneering.

As a newcomer to the recitals, I definitely find these discussions off-putting and tiresome. I’m sure much of it is garden variety misunderstandings of tone, and I agree that the majority of posters have no malignant intent, but I would hate to think that someone might be discouraged by a random internet person’s remarks, or for them to assume that all authoritative technical advice is necessarily even correct, let alone helpful (however well-meaning). A little consideration when both giving and receiving goes a long way.

With regard to the remarks made in the discussion, taking umbrage at someone not liking the comment you made seems ironic and slightly ridiculous. And similarly, conflating 'positive' with 'meaningless' is bizarre. But maybe that’s just me.

Perhaps we can create a separate thread titled “The best way to critique” and watch the blood-bath unfold over there? grin

PS Thank you to ranjit and peterws for your comments - much appreciated!

A number of years ago one of our contributors was writing in depth comments on not only the piece but the sound of the piano, the recording quality and more. I took umbridge because he had only been playing piano for under a year and I felt was talking way beyond his ability. I asked him to not comment on my work and he stopped. Case closed. On the other hand I find the few people here that are taking the lengthy time to comment on the works in the recital to actually sound pretty knowledgable. I for one do not have the confidence in my musical knowledge to make comments more than just the general "I really like this", but wish I did. All this said, I think we just need to pay more attention to the "critique wanted" check mark when we put in our piece (I understand it was not working).

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Originally Posted by joangolfing
42. Amy H - Story of You Amy I loved the sound of your piece, "Story of You". I took your advice and ordered Alexis Ffrench's Sheet Music Collection. You play with such ease and mastery of this piece. I hope to find a new composer to study. Thanks for being part of this recital. I'm inspired by you and everyone else in Recital #63.

Thank you for your kind comment!

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Finally, here are my next set of comments. I began to wonder about the value of this exercise: whether the time invested in listening to and noting the background to every piece and then gathering, editing and posting my thoughts, was worthwhile when I had so little technical expertise to contribute.

I've decided it is, so I'll continue to post comments that are unashamedly subjective ‘pats on the back’ - but they are in no way ‘superficial’. They're meant to encourage and acknowledge the efforts made by fellow Adult Beginners to prepare and submit these snapshots of their current projects to a world-wide audience.

Personally, even knowing that someone has bothered to listen to my contribution motivates me to get back to the bench and polish something, or try something new. I hope my remarks do the same for others.


17. dumka1 - Prelude Op. 11 no 2 Your love of this piece is obvious, it was full of light and shade. And what an interesting ‘studio’ to play it in!

18. psyche23 (Edwin) - Le Piccadilly Wow - a side of Satie I’ve never experienced before, and I enjoyed listening as much as you clearly enjoyed playing it. it. Plenty of exuberance here already; you have just the right touch for ragtime.

19. Ted Jones - Wet Pavements To me this was evocative of a streetscape, impressions gathered from a wet night in a busy precinct. Rich textures - fascinating stuff.

20. QuentinP - WTK 1 Prelude 8 Eb minor Quentin, you’re right - this really is a beautiful prelude. Your performance captured a pleasant, tranquil mood.


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Originally Posted by Calavera
Originally Posted by QuentinP
[...] I would hate to think that someone might be discouraged by a random internet person’s remarks, or for them to assume that all authoritative technical advice is necessarily even correct, let alone helpful (however well-meaning). A little consideration when both giving and receiving goes a long way.

I'm with Quentin (and Sam) on this one.

For the most part, we're just internet strangers and whatever feedback is provided (including positive remarks, mind you) needs to be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt. In this particular context, harsh criticism is unnecessary at best, and unseemly at worst. Critical observations can be useful and relevant, but there is such a thing as a happy medium.

People who want thorough feedback are better off paying a teacher for that purpose. Your teacher can (presumably) give reliable feedback that is worth the pain of hearing harsh criticism. Furthermore, one of the tenets of teaching is arguably to praise loud and fix soft. The latter is much more difficult to do when you're commenting on a public forum than when you're teaching someone in a private session.

According to Sam's ABF surveys, some people refrain from taking part in the recitals because their level is supposedly 'not high enough'. It'd be a real shame to give them any more reason to miss out on the recitals.
Even if you have a teacher other people may have a different perspective and offer alternative opinions and I see value in that. Even uninformed opinions.

Short anecdote: I once played the Chopin E minor prelude and someone (not a teacher) blurted "That sounded angry not sad". Was it harsh? Perhaps a little. But I took a step back and analyzed and asked some questions to figure out why she thought that. In the end I concluded that I disagree with her idea of the piece but I'm still glad I received that opinion and learned something from it. It was a truly honest, unfiltered, unembelished comment from a listener. Those are the best ones.

Personally, this whole discussion is discouraging me from participating but not for the reasons stated above. I feel that if people cannot speak their mind freely and offer truly honest opinions (however critical) then there is no point in participating.

Maybe I'll submit my recording and shut up and that will be it.

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I think if one has a good enough self-assessment of one's playing, and has a clear view of their goals - it shouldn't be hard to accept AND rationally process all points of view, with that context in mind. However harsh comments might be, we can assume positive intent (at least I would.)

Having said that, this is an ABFers forum and unless someone states explicitly, I don't think anyone's goal is to become a concert pianist. Thus, I personally think overly harsh/very critical comments (like food critics or music critics writing in big name publications) will put off some ABFers from future participation.


A man must love a thing very much if he practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practice it without any hope of doing it well. Such a man must love the toils of the work more than any other man can love the rewards of it.
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I've seen some of these in-depth reviews and I'm insanely jealous.
I've not actually received any! I know my birthday's a couple o' months away but . . .(shrug) smile


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20. Quentin- Quite beautiful. A serene noble piece and played wonderfully and with feeling.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Personally, this whole discussion is discouraging me from participating but not for the reasons stated above. I feel that if people cannot speak their mind freely and offer truly honest opinions (however critical) then there is no point in participating.

Maybe I'll submit my recording and shut up and that will be it.

I plan to continue on as I always have. I hope you will do the same - your input is appreciated.

Sam

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42. Amy- Wow, what a lovely piece. i will most definitly check him out. You played it beautifully.

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Originally Posted by peterws
I've seen some of these in-depth reviews and I'm insanely jealous.
I've not actually received any! I know my birthday's a couple o' months away but . . .(shrug) smile

Maybe it's because you're that good Peter :-) No comments!


A man must love a thing very much if he practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practice it without any hope of doing it well. Such a man must love the toils of the work more than any other man can love the rewards of it.
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Originally Posted by Peyton
42. Amy- Wow, what a lovely piece. i will most definitly check him out. You played it beautifully.

Seems like a lot o' folk have thought the same . . .


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I really enjoy reading any kind of feedback - good or bad - so thank you!

vte, Wie Waldi, AndresVel, Rachtoven, lilypad, QuentinP, Sam S, joangolfing, peterws, and Peyton - Thank YOU for your lovely comments! I'm so please you enjoyed my recording. joangolfing, Enjoy learning and playing through the Sheet Music Collection book! smile

Ever since I found his music some years ago, I have wanted to introduce it to anyone that plays or listens to classical/contemporary music! Ffrench's music is a joy for anyone to learn - especially beginners, as I feel that most of his works are perfectly suitable for that level of playing.
If you have Spotify, here is a link to his playlist with all of his pieces - Alexis Ffrench Spotify Playlist.
You can thank me later wink

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Originally Posted by Sam S
I plan to continue on as I always have. I hope you will do the same - your input is appreciated.
Thanks Sam.

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43 selfishplayer

Missed you both out in error. Spledid job on this lengthy piece; I really don't know quite why folk put themselves through this; it's an obstacle course marathon! And you got through with no more than a grazed shin or two on the more intricate moments! Damn those hurdles! Well done.

44 Pika Pianist.

So effervescent and lively, with a bit of bite! Just so good to hear stuff of this quality!

Last edited by peterws; 08/20/21 12:18 PM.

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Originally Posted by peterws
I've seen some of these in-depth reviews and I'm insanely jealous.
I've not actually received any! I know my birthday's a couple o' months away but . . .(shrug) smile
Alright you asked for it... wink

23. peterws - Winter
You chose a really fast tempo for this! Not that it sounds bad at that tempo, mind you. You played it beautifully with a signing tone. The balance between the hands is very good. Also, I love the sound of your piano. But I tried following the music in your video and found it a bit strange. You seem to be almost stopping at the bars marked with thick pencil lines. I agree there should be some rubato but I think your tempo fluctuates too much and it's hard to follow. Still, overall it was very nice to listen. BTW, I laughed at the title of your video. It says "Winter morn Tchai". In Russian tchai means "tea" so I pictured someone drinking a cup of tea looking at a sunny winter scenery outside. I don't think this quite what Tchaikovsky had in mind though. wink

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
In Russian tchai means "tea"

So he's really been Teakovsky all along ... this begs the question what "kovsky" actually means. I'm not sure I dare to know the truth, however. smile


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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
In Russian tchai means "tea"

So he's really been Teakovsky all along ... this begs the question what "kovsky" actually means. I'm not sure I dare to know the truth, however. smile

Well, while chai/tchai is indeed "tea" in Russian, the composer's last name comes from Chaika ("a seagull")--that was the actual name of his Ukrainian grandfather who changed it to (T)Chaikovsky, probably to sound more "noble" in Russian.

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Another 10 or so - more to come.

17. dumka1 - Prelude Op. 11 no 2 Sounds great - especially the Church space. I confess to never really getting into Scriabin, but I can appreciate how hard it must have been to learn and perform this. Well done!

18. psyche23 (Edwin) - Le Piccadilly Wonderful! I never knew Satie wrote ragtime-ish type pieces. You really nailed this one!

19. Ted Jones - Wet Pavements I always look forward to your improvs Ted - they are such a blast. I wish you would make a video can we can see you do your thing!

20. QuentinP - WTK 1 Prelude 8 Eb minor Beautiful! Bach was such a master. Love the ending with the switch to major. I need to put this one on my list. But the key - well, maybe not. Thanks so much for playing this one.

21. Calavera - Theme of Love Beautifully played! I know nothing abut video game music, but this was really lovely.

22. mmathew - Waltz in a minor, B.150 Posth This is great for just a year of study. Preparing to play for others quickly teaches you to focus. Has anyone mentioned the pedal yet? The only comment I would make is that you are not quite clearing the pedal - the previous measure's chords are bleeding over into the next measure. I have a teacher who always tells me the pedal is not an on/off switch - there are subtle ways to use it. Maybe don't press it all the way down? And be sure to release all the way. Other than that, great work!

23. peterws - Winter Thanks for the video with the music, but now I know that you added an extra bass note at the end. You just had to do that didn't you? I like the approach you took - a bit loose. I haven't listened to a pro play it either, so I am not biased - but I don't know how its "supposed" to sound - probably a good thing. Thanks for playing it!

24. PianogrlNW (Ellen) - Sonata K331 1st Movement - Andante grazioso What's not to like about Mozart? Unless you are the one playing it, of course. I played a Mozart Sonata for school, and I could have picked this one. I really love it, but I thought it was just too hard for me, so I chose 332 instead, and I only did the first movement. That was enough! Bravo for taking this on - you did a great job. I know how long it probably took you to get to this point. Your hard work and dedication have paid off! I also loved the video with the slide show.

25. Ganddalf - Tango A very relaxed tango - I have never heard this, or at least I don't remember it. I can imagine a hot evening, the women fanning themselves, and a couple out on the dance floor doing a sultry tango. Well done!

26. lilypad - The Bass Man Walketh This is great! Love that walking bass! And you played it so well!

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I had zero music training as a child and started piano at 37. I’m truly an adult beginner.

My recording was a masterclass at a piano camp, so I guess I’m used to in depth comments. I know the form was messed up where it looked like no one wanted criticism. Some people won’t be used to that. None of us play anything perfectly. I just pick things to improve. I work and don’t have time to play scales every day or work pieces to perfection and accept that.

At one masterclass I was playing an invention and a Juliard professor (really LOL) wanted me to play a scale and I couldn’t on the spot and he said I should not be playing the invention if I can’t play the scale. I wanted to say “my life doesn’t revolve around this!” but I just shrugged it off. I’ve no desire to try to be perfect, just better.

I don’t comment much on pieces because I just don’t have an ear for classical music. But I enjoyed everyone’s performance!

I think if people can check they don’t want comments that will remedy most hurt feelings, though I suggest not to take criticism personally, and just use recitals as motivation.

Last edited by AlphaTerminus; 08/20/21 03:26 PM.

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