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Estonia Pianos
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Joined: Feb 2022
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Hey everyone,

First post!

So I decided to test out a rather judicious left/right division with this piece. blush Please know that I did initially study this piece as written but later chose to experiment with the technical arrangement below. Fun fact: There's a live encore performance of Pletnev somewhere on YT where he sort of does something similar. It's possible Moritz is rolling in his grave. I'm not sure!

My inclination is that it's not worth it in the end... You gain speed but lose accuracy because of all the jumps/hand crossings, and you also lose control of the sonority, because the left hand can't remain on the underlying harmonies unless you catch it just right with the pedal (which I certainly did not in this play-through.

Please let me know your thoughts on revised technical arrangements of this nature - this piece or any other!

M


Last edited by MasterRaro; 02/01/22 11:07 PM.
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My first thought is watching in awe as you RUN up to the piano and start that piece without even taking a breath!
Wow!

As for redistributing, I'm of two minds.
For technical work, generally not. (There's a well-known cheat, for example, that uses the left hand in measures 32-34 of Chopin's Op. 10 No. 2 to simplify the passage.) Unless it helps you learn what the etude is trying to "teach", I'd prefer not to make such changes.

For "music", though, why not? Are you trying to paint a sound picture or to do something hard?
Watch videos of Horowitz and you'll see him doing some redistribution.
Pianotricks has some suggestions: https://pianotricks.net/master?tag=awkward%20passagework
This book has dozens of suggestions for redistributions: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08DLSXJ8H


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I essentially agree with JaneF's post. Spectacular playing, too!

Regards,


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I've worked on and played the piece. I never thought of doing that, but not because I don't think one should.

My opinion: You're playing it so great that it would be totally OK no matter what you were doing, even if you were playing some of the notes with your nose. grin

Really.

But, answering it more generally, i.e. if you weren't playing it so great:
I'd still think there was no problem with doing that kind of dividing.


Originally Posted by JaneF
....Watch videos of Horowitz and you'll see him doing some redistribution.

Yes -- he did it a lot!!

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......To me, the main issue about that kind of dividing is just that it's hard to do it smoothly.
Really hard -- for me, harder than just playing it straight.

Just that.
Not at all that it's "cheating," which IMO it isn't.

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I dont see anything wrong with doing the "arrangement", but as a pure technical exercise it is not what was intended by the composer.

You are playing really well. That said, you are a tiny bit late with your right hand a few times in the first 30 seconds. Other than that it is excellent.


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Thanks Jane! I totally agree with you and the other posters that rearranging an etude will not help one overcome the technical obstacles laid out by the composer. Just imagine the arpeggio's in Chopin's Op. 10 No. 1 played with both hands! ><

I guess I was of the mind that with a piece like this, which is pretty light fare and practically begging to be used as an encore, one could "get away with it" in performance. I am definitely a believer in trying out exactly what's written first, of course.

In terms of what the etude teaches, among other things: When played as written, this piece is very good for developing alternation and independence between 4-5 in the right hand. The "neighbor notes" in the beginning of each lick just get blurred together if you don't really lift and articulate.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
......To me, the main issue about that kind of dividing is just that it's hard to do it smoothly.
Really hard -- for me, harder than just playing it straight.

I really agree with this too, Mark. Jumping around between the hands presents its own problems. Control over sonority, timing, balance, and even accuracy in some passages is far easier when playing this piece as written! As they say, there's no such thing as a free lunch...

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If you play it purely as music, all that matters is how it sounds.

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I did a lot a redistribution playing this piece, starting on page 1 and 2 (as you do). Helping the left hand with the right hand in measure 1 on page 3 is especially clever (as most of us don't have Horowitz's Left Hand technique!!). And particularly there on page 3: if you divide the hands you lose the the held treble melody chord as written (and you can't hold it with the sustain or sostenuto pedals without catching the the bass with it also: the "just right" catch takes too long). Listen to Horowitz: he holds onto the treble melody chords as written, so the left hand sixteenths must all have been independent. I note you do a Horowitz ending (although not quite the same!). Overall, I think you've caught the mood quite well. Would prefer a little more legato and left hand melody (again, the sustain problem!) The accelerando at the end, starting from Presto, is very impressive. Not sure how you divided the hands measure 33 page 4, (but I think I saw the stars start to smear when you went to Warp Speed...) Bravo! Cheat on!

(The cheat champ was Rubinstein: didn't seem to hurt him much).


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Well if you were to play it this way in a competition you would probably get eliminated.

After all generally the main purpose of an etude is to focus on technique. Of course playing musically is as important. But still…

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I think not in an amateur competition! And maybe not even in a 'real' one -- provided that it was done extremely well.

(By the way: Always great to see you.
I am forever grateful to have met and heard you, and for the videos that you shared.)

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Yes, I meant in a serious competition.

That aside, "cheating" makes it a different etude technically. I have not played this etude, maybe it is harder to play it the way he plays.

Thank you for the kind words.

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Originally Posted by Hakki
...."cheating" makes it a different etude technically.

Yes.

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Oh, Rubinstein! That video where he talks about totally botching Chopin’s op. 25 no. 11 certainly comes to mind 😂

Thanks for your positive feedback! When it comes to the fourth page, until the end, I’m definitely taking liberties with the notes as well, perhaps a la Horowitz. (You are the first to observe and comment on this).

I listened back to Horowitz’s recordings, and to be honest, it sounds like he’s doing some similar LH/RH redistributions in the middle E-flat section. He’s not really sustaining those chords above un-pedaled arpeggios… what do you think? I also discovered a rare performance of this, from his 1949 Carnegie recital, it’s a bit different than the later ones

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(Welcome!! And great first post.)

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Originally Posted by Griswold
I listened back to Horowitz’s recordings, and to be honest, it sounds like he’s doing some similar LH/RH redistributions in the middle E-flat section. He’s not really sustaining those chords above un-pedaled arpeggios… what do you think? I also discovered a rare performance of this, from his 1949 Carnegie recital, it’s a bit different than the later ones

Thanks! I hadn't heard the 1949 version until now. There he only does one "turn" at the top, instead of several as he does later, in his improvised ending. (Do you have a written transcription of any ending he does?) Measure 1, page 1: I think he actually holds all 4 notes of the bass Ab to C 10th fast-rolled chord, for 3 beats (same in line 3, Eb to G). No pedal (because he could hold the bass without it!!...reputedly could play a 12th). I thought this when I first heard it on an "Encores" cassette >50 years ago. (Could be wrong!!!). Seems like he uses pedal on page 3 to hold the treble melody chord (but I still doubt he "helped" his left hand by redistributing line 1 & 2 page 3). Later, no doubt he splits hands (and line 3 page 3, Moszkowski actually specifies the right hand m.d. continuing the left hand arpeggio); at times he eschews pedal for contrast.

However, AYE like the melody and intend to hear it even where it isn't. Compare the utterly astonishing Illana Vered (who recorded ALL the Etudes, and they are all stellar), who seems to hold the melody with pedal both page one and page 3. Sincerely doubt she did very much hand splitting. But why do I think so? It's a magician's trick, and if it's invisible/inaudible, the trick works!!!! The only other recording I've found so far that isn't at ho hum speed is Ren Zhang's, and he S L O W L Y rolls the bass chords (not a fan), but has an OK right hand.


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just out of curiosity I'll try what you did and report later.


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Originally Posted by doctor S
Thanks! I hadn't heard the 1949 version until now. There he only does one "turn" at the top, instead of several as he does later, in his improvised ending. (Do you have a written transcription of any ending he does?) Measure 1, page 1: I think he actually holds all 4 notes of the bass Ab to C 10th fast-rolled chord, for 3 beats (same in line 3, Eb to G). No pedal (because he could hold the bass without it!!...reputedly could play a 12th). I thought this when I first heard it on an "Encores" cassette >50 years ago. (Could be wrong!!!). Seems like he uses pedal on page 3 to hold the treble melody chord (but I still doubt he "helped" his left hand by redistributing line 1 & 2 page 3). Later, no doubt he splits hands (and line 3 page 3, Moszkowski actually specifies the right hand m.d. continuing the left hand arpeggio); at times he eschews pedal for contrast.

However, AYE like the melody and intend to hear it even where it isn't. Compare the utterly astonishing Illana Vered (who recorded ALL the Etudes, and they are all stellar), who seems to hold the melody with pedal both page one and page 3. Sincerely doubt she did very much hand splitting. But why do I think so? It's a magician's trick, and if it's invisible/inaudible, the trick works!!!! The only other recording I've found so far that isn't at ho hum speed is Ren Zhang's, and he S L O W L Y rolls the bass chords (not a fan), but has an OK right hand.


Oh for sure, he's definitely playing and holding the left hand chords in the opening. But once he gets to the "middle section" in E-flat major, the one that is meant to be very demanding on the left hand, I wonder if he's doing some similar kind of redistribution... I found a couple live encore videos of Pletnev where he does basically the same arrangement as I've done here. Although it looks more like he usually plucks just the first note of every group with the left hand, instead of two or three notes in each group. In the middle section though, it seems to be precisely the same way I'm doing it.

It's really worth checking out, as it generally always is with Pletnev!

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I’m simply amazed that there are humans on this earth whose fingers seem to move faster than what their brains should be able to process. My fingers could never move this fast. I don’t think I can think this fast either. Great job!

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