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Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group

Posted By: zrtf90

Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/17/19 03:39 PM

After the success, the interest and the insightful contributions to Craig's study group thread devoted to Chopin's little Nocturne, it was decided to have another collaborative endeavour, this time investigating Tchaikovsky's Autumn Song, the October entry from his Seasons, Op. 37.

The technical demands of the piece are not great. Typical of Tchaikovsky, there is a lot of counterpoint going on so if you haven't reached the level of Bach Inventions yet and the ability to handle two concurrent melodies you might find the piece more challenging.

On the other hand you don't have to learn the piece to join or follow the discussion. It's likely that some of the topics raised are applicable to the learning process generally as much as this piece in particular, as was the issue of verifying the score and interpreting the directions in the Chopin thread.

The floor is open.
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/17/19 04:38 PM

A beautiful piece. I've suggested to my teacher a few times that we try it. I think she believes that it's a bit above my level.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/17/19 04:48 PM

I linked to Dumka1's performance of this piece for the Slavic recital just yesterday and I'll do it again here because I thought it was a wonderfully sensitive playing of it, and I definitely wanted to play it myself after I heard her performance.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/17/19 05:18 PM

I will watch this thread with interest and will try to offer some suggestions if I feel and hope that they might be appropriate.

I have recently performed this piece a couple of times. Having done so, I am now working on several other movements ("Months") from this set. The Seasons was a new discovery for me.

Regards,
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/17/19 06:45 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I linked to Dumka1's performance of this piece for the Slavic recital just yesterday and I'll do it again here because I thought it was a wonderfully sensitive playing of it, and I definitely wanted to play it myself after I heard her performance.



Thanks again, Tyrone, I'm a bit embarrassed if flattered smile. As I pointed out in a comment yesterday, I think I'm playing it now with more freedom and variety (+ from memory)--I had literally just learned it before that Slavic recital. And I agree with Tim Adrianson's comment on my Slavic recital submission:

"Briefly put, I think there are clear "A" and "B" sections, the "B" starting at 1:10 and continuing until 2:50 or so, and I believe I would inject some more forward motion and romantic yearning than I heard in your rendition. The "A" section, and the ending coda, I liked just as it was -- simple, sad, pretty much despairing at the end."

Overall, after working on it with my Russian teacher for a couple of months (and revisiting it occasionally), here are some points that she stressed:

1. Avoid playing it with excessive sentimentality or too much rubato when it's not justified by an overall "idea." Find a balance and stick to good taste (easier said than done).

2. Make sure to bring out all the voices separately. The middle voice is supposed to be basically a "cello" part.

I guess this is it for now... Good luck! I'm glad this piece is getting the attention it deserves. "The Seasons" are quite a staple of the Russian/ex-Soviet music education but apparently are less known in the West.

Originally Posted by BruceD
I will watch this thread with interest and will try to offer some suggestions if I feel and hope that they might be appropriate.

I have recently performed this piece a couple of times. Having done so, I am now working on several other movements ("Months") from this set. The Seasons was a new discovery for me.

Regards,


Yes, me too, I'm working on "April" now (for contrast) and would like to learn "June" next.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/17/19 07:29 PM

Thanks for opening this up, Richard - I’m looking forward to beginning the piece. I played with it yesterday just a little, but with a imslp version. I may purchase a Henle of the set - it seems like a good addition to the library.

This piece, unlike the Chopin, I am able to sightread, although not all that fluently. I recognize there is a danger in that, though, in that I must avoid the temptation to play it through before I am ready, at least not frequently. I think I will have to devise a way to break down the measures into chunks and avoid biting off more than I can chew so that I can learn each chunk properly from the outset.

First task will be to find the measures that separate the larger sections mentioned by dumka1. I don’t have it in front of me at the moment but will inspect it later.

Another thing I noticed is that there seems to be a fair amount of repetition of motifs, in melody, timing, phrasing, and chords which may prove useful in learning the piece efficiently. I guess this must be true of most music, though. I also notice it with the Satie Gymnopedies, once you get the left hand progression / jumps, you find they repeats quite a lot.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/17/19 07:43 PM

I'd like to follow as well. Thanks!
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/18/19 01:11 AM

Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/18/19 01:20 AM

Originally Posted by cmb13


Such a sublime and outstanding touch.
Posted By: Pianoperformance

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/18/19 02:08 AM

Ooh this is pretty, maybe doable- will follow and will check in with my teacher
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/18/19 02:14 AM

Originally Posted by NobleHouse


Such a sublime and outstanding touch.


Yes absolutely - this will be my model performance.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/18/19 02:11 PM

The piece is ABA form.

M1-16 is A, M17-33 is B, M34-49 is M1-16 repeated, note for note, as far as I can see. M50-56 is the coda.

The climax of the piece is in M21 and this is where I'd start my practise, working backwards in importance to M17. The first five measures of this B section build in intensity, using two voices in RH that need to be brought out separately, and leading to the climactic rolled chord.

After sorting out M17-21 I think I'd look next at M9-12 where the theme from the first four measures is played in the middle voice that I think needs to be brought out clearly against the RH counter melody.

If you can wrap up these two passages quickly I don't think there's much challenge anywhere else so playing through every day may not really be an issue. This is the sort of piece that might be better practised faster than it's eventual performance tempo.

With so few technical challenges there may be more to be had from looking more closely at the music and shaping the phrases. As you noted, Craig, there's a lot figures and motifs that get repeated, expanded and inverted, lots of shifting accents, and so on.

One of my first questions would be how much weight to give the top A in M6 compared to the one in M5.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/18/19 02:46 PM

Thanks for the early analysis. Yesterday I actually played with the first eight measures,taking care to get final fingering, voice them properly, make them fluid. Maybe I'll move on to the B section next. Funny, on my listening, I would have thought the B section started on M22, where there was a clear new theme....but I agree M17-21 differ from the prior measures. What do you think? Would it be fair to call M17-21 a transition section?
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/18/19 03:08 PM

Originally Posted by zrtf90
[...]This is the sort of piece that might be better practised faster than it's eventual performance tempo.


What I find interesting - if not curious - is that any professional I have listened to playing this piece (including the above link), play it as if the tempo designation were "lento" or even "adagio." Yet, Tchaikovsky marks it "Andante doloroso et molto cantabile." Yes, the molto doloroso certainly dictates a sadness of mood, but how slow can andante be and still be andante?

And certainly Buniatishvili's tempo starting at measure 17 is considerably faster than at the outset. Not that I disagree with this. In fact, it underscores what I had written in a previous thread, that often a piece's mood in a given moment almost requires a change of tempo even when no change of tempo is indicated by the composer.

Thoughts?

Regards,
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/18/19 04:00 PM

Compare the Andante for his fourth and fifth symphonies and his Andante Cantabile, Op. 11 with the Adagio of his sixth symphony.

Tchaikovsky uses a slower andante than most of us.

Pletnev's tempo, live in London, June '06, is slower still but he brings out the counterpoint very well and also picks it up at M17.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/18/19 04:21 PM

Originally Posted by zrtf90
One of my first questions would be how much weight to give the top A in M6 compared to the one in M5.

I think you could play it either way, placing more weight on the 1st A or the 2nd A. It conveys a different character. Building the sound from M5 to M6 and placing more weight on the 2nd A will sound emphatic and hopeful. Back off on M6 and placing less weight on the 2nd A in M6 will sound more wistful and resigned.

Since this passage appears twice in the piece I would not play it the same way. So in M5-6 I might build that phrase so the 2nd A has more weight and sound. Then in M 38-39 I might make that 2nd A softer. This is something definitely worth experimenting with and trying out different options. You can even change it up and not play it the same way each time. I think these kinds of choices are what makes each person’s performances unique.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/19/19 03:43 PM

I worked on M1-6 last night (as I had already started with this) and on 17-21. This is really a beautiful piece. I think once several small sections are in order, it will come together nicely. I'm planning on working on tone, note production, voicing on this piece.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/19/19 04:45 PM

Hi, Ellen, welcome to the thread! smile

Having introduced the very appealing figure in M5 I want to keep the crescendo going into M6. On the other hand, the bass line is descending, the pitch in M6 is not rising (relative to M5), the A is shorter and there's no dynamic indication, other than the accent, to give the note any extra weight (again, compared to M5) before the descent beginning in M7.

So, for me, the second A is softer in M6 than in M5 but not by much. So having filled my sails with wind do I soften the M6 triplets straight away, as an echo of M5 and soften the top A accordingly or do I continue the crescendo but leave the top A as a bit understated, prefiguring the descent of M7. The parallel measure, M14, is a more definite descent as the C on the second beat is already falling.

That's a good idea, Ellen, to distinguish the two halves. I think I might keep the crescendo going in M6 but not in the reprise when the cat, so to speak, is already out of the bag.

Glad you're enjoying the piece, Craig, and not having any technical issue build tension into it.

The counter melody in M9-12 is all on the off beats and the counter melodies in M17-21 are effectively in separate halves of each measure so the difficulties won't be as much as I thought.

While I've read through this a couple of times at the piano I'm still not ready to start working on it yet but I don't think this is going to take as long as the Nocturne.
Posted By: Qazsedcft

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/19/19 05:01 PM

Thanks a lot for starting this thread. I was thinking of doing this very piece next and my teacher is OK with it. Unfortunately, I don't have much time lately; I didn't post for a while and barely read the forums these days. But I will follow the thread and make notes for the future.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/23/19 01:52 PM

I've been looking a little more closely here this week. I don't think there's much by way of technical difficulty but there are places where extra care is needed.

I've mapped out my prospective practise sections and the likely points of interest.

Starting at M17-21 there are two voices in M18, 20 and 21. It might be worth taking each of the RH voices on their own, with the LH, just to make sure they're well phrased separately. The upper voices takes the climax so it needs to be brought out well.

In M9-16 the second voice is more a counter melody over the middle voice, the main theme from M1-4, and appears predominantly on the off beats so counting aloud should be enough to distinguish the two voices.

M22-25 and M26-29 have some interesting LH chords at the beginning of MM23, 24, 27 and 28, where I might experiment with taking the harmony in LH as a rolled octave with the two thumbs sharing the middle voice between them rather than risk the rhythm breaking up with the rapid bounce from the accaccs to the principal chord. This goes for M15 as well.

M1-8, M30-33 and the coda are all straightforward.

The predominant theme throughout this piece is descent, both doloroso and cantabile. If you still work your scales frequently you might make sure to include slow practise, hands separately, with carefully managed weight transfer and almost motionless fingers in your technical work while learning this piece. I neglected this for a long time when I was doing scales.

I'm planning on starting work on this in the coming week.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/23/19 02:30 PM

Richard, your post was 25 min too late! I just finished my scale practice for the day...I do the major scale, 4 octaves, hands together, then each minor scale (N, H, M) in the parallel key., and the major and then minor arpeggio of each. I do this for all 12 keys, so it takes a while. However, after reading your post, I went back and repeated F#min (N,H,M) slowly and with minimal finger movement, as you so articulately expressed, and what a different feeling! I need to start practicing like this. I see the professionals seem to have less extraneous movement, or should I say an economy of motion, and I understand why it's important.

I've worked on M1-8 and M17-20....I've gotten the fingering of these sections down. The melody line in 18 is fairly clear, but now that I study it carefully, it's interesting that the as the melody rises, it travels upwards through the second voice which descends in the C, Bb, then A.

Similarly, the second voice descends from D, C#, Bb then A in M 20, as the melody rises through it. To make things even more interesting, as if that were really necessary, the Bb's (and the D in M20) change roles as they are held form melody to second voice in each of these measures! How interesting!
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/23/19 03:08 PM

Ah, no, Craig! The Bb and A in M20 are the continuation of the five note figure preceding them.

The upper, primo, voice in M18 is the continuation of the voice from M17. In M18, M20 and M21 it has stems up. The Bb and A, stems down, belong to the five note figure underneath, the secondo. The stem directions separate out the voices when they're written on the same staff. Note how the main theme is also separated from the accompaniment in M9-15 or M22-24.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/23/19 03:58 PM

Oh! I see what you mean, with the 2 lines demarcated but upwards or downwards stems!

However, I just went back and listened to a few professional versions (Ashkenazy, Lang Lang) on iTunes at this point (M17-20) and to my ear, I hear the line I described above over the other. Eg in M18, E-F-F#-G-G#-Bb-C-B-D-C, and in M20, E-D#-D-F-E-Bb-D-C-E-D. I hear the other notes as softer. That's why I was thinking that the primary voice / melody jumped from one line to the other. Possible? Let me know what you think about that.

Btw I really do plan on practicing my scales differently after your post earlier today.....it makes total sense, and now the I have the notes, I think it's time to focus on upping my game in terms of softness, finesse, and economy of motion.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/23/19 04:39 PM

Chiming in here. In M 18, 20 and 21 I like to bring out the inner, alto voice..but.. that voice does not include the notes with the stems up. So in M 18 I bring out rest -E-F F#-G-G# Bb A. Ditto for the other 2 measures. The soprano voice (stems up) floats over it. But you should make your own musical choices. That’s what makes every interpretation a bit different.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/23/19 04:55 PM

I wouldn't be as comfortable with that, Craig.

The four note figure, C-B-D-C, stands out for me as separate from the rising voice (though not necessarily from the previous measure). It is introduced in LH in the second half of M13 and continues into M15, comes in again in M18, 20, 21 (where it constitutes the climax itself), both halves of M22 and 23, M24 (first half), M25 (last half), is continued through M26-29, then both voices in M30 and 31, where the last two notes continue as the thematic material of M32 before the descent to the reprise.

Glad to know you'll be doing scales HS again. They're so much more important than HT once you've got the coordination thing sorted.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/23/19 04:59 PM

Oh, hi, Ellen! smile I didn't see you there.

Yes, that's how I see it.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/23/19 10:52 PM

I just spent about 10 min on M17-18. Richard, you’re right that separating the voices brings out each one and clarifies it. It seems that Ellen and Richard, you both have similar takes on the fact that one voice should be brought out, yet Richard, you bring out the upper voice, and Ellen the middle voice - correct?

I totally see now how the theme is in each voice, so crossing over from one to the other (middle to upper) doesn’t make sense. Yet that’s how Ashkenzi and Khatia seem to play it! I’ll keep listening and working on it.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/23/19 11:55 PM

Both voices need to be brought out, that's why they're there. Only the accompaniment needs to be subdued. Ellen may want to bring out the alto as a separate voice while the soprano floats above it. I think the four note motif enters as an echo in M13 and M14 but during this B section it comes to dominate, takes the climax and pervades the rest of the section up the final descent in M32. I hear this with Khatia and Vladimir as well so it may well be a perception thing.

The voices may sound, to you, as one melodic line - especially if you're listening without a score in hand - but as you're about to embark on this journey as a pianist, it's relevant to notice that the second half of that melody was written, by Tchaikovsky, to be an independent voice. He makes it clearer by the D on beat one of M18 falling to C on beat two above the lower voice. That, for me, keeps them separate.

It may be that in playing the piece you can't separate the voices in sound, so they blend into one for the average listener, but it is pertinent to know that there are two voices there. As your technique grows it will become more relevant.

Have you tried playing the two voices in separate hands? Without the accompaniment they come apart much more clearly, like a Bach Invention. It may help to hear them that way.

ETA You might also play M13 and 14 but skip M15 and 16, going straight from M14 to M17. or even from M14 to M18.

Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/25/19 06:13 PM

Just checking in after a weekend of good practice. Slowly coming together. I really, really like this piece!

Btw it's definitely in the key of Dm, right? I only ask b/c it ends on F. Haven't gone through the chords to analyze yet. Starts on Dm, next in first measure is a mystery chord (D-A-C#-G-A). Love the Gm in M7, and really love the G#dim7 in the second half of M7.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/25/19 06:44 PM

Ends on F? Eh...the last left hand chord is D-F-D, the RH takest two measures to settle on A, so D-F-A.

It's D Minor - right to the end.

The mystery chord in M1 is A11; major triad: A-C#-E, plus seventh, G, and 11th, D. It's inverted with D in the bass and sweeter, for me, in M4 where the mystery missing third (will it be major or minor?) falls on the next beat.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/25/19 06:53 PM

That's odd...my edition has the last two measures trailing down to an F. I do have the DFD in M55, F in the R hand, alternating F-G-G-F-G-F-G-F then in M56, A to G to end on F. Regardless, I agree it's D min. Just struck me that the final note was F (at least in my version), and the DFD chord in M55 is not held until the end in my version (Henle).

Also, this might be a stupid question, but in M1, beat #3, I have no E until beat 4, but I guess that counts towards making the chord A (11) then? Just like in M4, I suppose. I'm still a little on the newer side .... if the 4th beat notes can count towards the chord on beat 3, I'm good with that.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/25/19 07:07 PM

What's the clef in M53, Craig? smile

Yes, the E is missing in M1 - sorry. The third and mostly the fifth aren't necessary for extended chords, just the first, the seventh and the extended note.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/25/19 07:22 PM

Originally Posted by zrtf90
What's the clef in M53, Craig? smile
.....


Sneaky, sneaky!!! I haven't actually played those measures yet, hope I would have caught that!
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/26/19 12:12 AM

How are you playing the L hand in M12 (and 13)?

Are you playing the A-C (and F-A in M13) with 4-5 or 3-5?
- 4-5 is awkward, but frees up 1-2-3 for the next few notes
- 3-5 is more comfortable but makes the next few notes trickier -
- they can be played 1-1-2-1-2 or
- by pedaling and letting off the C (or A in 14)

I’ve tried it all 3 ways but haven’t committed yet.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/26/19 01:43 AM

I play the LH with 4-5. Do what is most comfortable for you.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/26/19 01:43 AM

I have section A as 16 bars so I gather you mean M13 and 14.

I have 3-5 for the F-A, 1 and 2 for the F and E. I take the G in RH 2, and LH 1 for the F.
I do the same in M14, taking the E with RH 2 and the accacc in M15 with RH 3.
__________________________

I wanted to cover a couple of things from earlier.

Harmonic analysis is best done at the keyboard. If you actually play the chords you can often hear what you might miss on paper - such as the clef you're in (!) - or notes that are hanging on from a previous chord, bass movement and so on. You can also hear a chord change and just know what it's gone to by the sound - once you've developed your ear that much. Doing the same on paper isn't as practical and won't help your hearing.

Chopin, as an example, used simple expedience with chord spelling and makes the first few bars of his E Minor Prelude a bit of a jumble, but on hearing the chords a more appropriate spelling occurs for that sound.

The other thing is the harmony of extended chords - as you're still "on the newer side".

Western Harmony is built on thirds, notes stacked on the lines or the spaces of a stave. A triad is two stacked thirds.
A Major triad is a major third on the bottom, 1-3, and a minor third on top, 3-5. A Minor triad is a minor third on the bottom, 1-b3, and a major third on top, b3-5.

Two minor thirds result in a diminished chord and two major thirds result in an augmented chord.

The next third after a fifth is a seventh, a major seventh on I and IV, major third - minor third - major third, a minor seventh on ii, iii, and vi, minor third - major third - minor third. The chord on the dominant is unusual, neither a major seventh nor a minor seventh but a dominant seventh (because it only occurs on the dominant), major third - minor third - minor third.

Beyond the octave are the ninth, eleventh and thirteenth. When the seventh is present these are ninth, eleventh and thirteenth chords. In each case the fifth is likely to be dropped as might other extended notes. An eleventh might not have a ninth, for example.

When the seventh is not present they become added ninth, added eleventh or added thirteenth chords. If the third is not present the added ninth might be considered a suspended second and an added eleventh a suspended fourth but the distance from the fundamental note should really determine 2, 4 or 6 from 9, 11 and 13.

The time signature determines how many chords there might be in a measure. Later notes might reinforce or clarify a chord not fully spelled out on the beat. The second chord in M1 doesn't become A11 when the E sounds on beat 4. It's an A11 even though it doesn't have the fifth. It doesn't have the ninth either. It might even drop the third, though that might change the character of the chord, depending on what chord was sounding before it.

Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/26/19 02:21 AM

Yes, I must have meant M13; funny, that's my eyes, it looked blurry and I thought it said 12 initially. I hadn't considered taking that G with the R hand. I think I'll stick with the L as I'm afraid I won't be able to voice it properly with the R as I'm making the ascending run simultaneously with 3-4-5.

All interesting! I have studies extended chords, but the above is a nice review and adds some detail that I did not know (eg the distinction between an eleventh and an added eleventh without the seventh, which I don't recall having previously made). This review is particularly helpful and relevant, though, as the fact that the notes that make up the chord can occur on the next beat is nice to know. Additionally, while I also understand that not all the notes are necessary, I admit that I didn't take this into account when trying to figure out which chord this is. I'll have to keep this in mind.

And yes, I was looking at the sheet while not in front of the piano, as I had some moments of free time at work. I've played the Chopin 28.4, but I'm definitely not tackling naming all those chords!

And Richard, why aren't you sleeping - isn't it around 2 am in Ireland!?
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/26/19 02:21 AM

Ellen, have you recorded this one previously?
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/26/19 02:22 AM

And...do we have any others listening in? I'd love to hear of some others learning this with us!
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/26/19 02:51 AM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Ellen, have you recorded this one previously?


I just started playing it last week. I love it. The only other season I have played is June (Barcarolle).
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/26/19 02:57 AM

Originally Posted by cmb13
How are you playing the L hand in M12 (and 13)?

Are you playing the A-C (and F-A in M13) with 4-5 or 3-5?
- 4-5 is awkward, but frees up 1-2-3 for the next few notes
- 3-5 is more comfortable but makes the next few notes trickier -
- they can be played 1-1-2-1-2 or
- by pedaling and letting off the C (or A in 14)

I’ve tried it all 3 ways but haven’t committed yet.


I play 4-5 for A-C and 3-5 for F-A (although my edition has 4-5 for both).
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/26/19 03:04 AM

Originally Posted by dumka1
Originally Posted by cmb13
How are you playing the L hand in M12 (and 13)?

Are you playing the A-C (and F-A in M13) with 4-5 or 3-5?
- 4-5 is awkward, but frees up 1-2-3 for the next few notes
- 3-5 is more comfortable but makes the next few notes trickier -
- they can be played 1-1-2-1-2 or
- by pedaling and letting off the C (or A in 14)

I’ve tried it all 3 ways but haven’t committed yet.


I play 4-5 for A-C and 3-5 for F-A (although my edition has 4-5 for both).

Huh, interesting bc I see them as so similar, that you take them differently.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 02/26/19 03:08 AM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by dumka1
Originally Posted by cmb13
How are you playing the L hand in M12 (and 13)?

Are you playing the A-C (and F-A in M13) with 4-5 or 3-5?
- 4-5 is awkward, but frees up 1-2-3 for the next few notes
- 3-5 is more comfortable but makes the next few notes trickier -
- they can be played 1-1-2-1-2 or
- by pedaling and letting off the C (or A in 14)

I’ve tried it all 3 ways but haven’t committed yet.


I play 4-5 for A-C and 3-5 for F-A (although my edition has 4-5 for both).

Huh, interesting bc I see them as so similar, that you take them differently.


It wasn't a conscious choice--as Ellen said, I did whatever felt more comfortable, especially in terms of which notes I need to stretch for while holding those two.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/01/19 03:12 PM

I've decided to stick to 4-5 on both of those passages.

I'm through most of the first two pages. One thing that's nice is that there are repeated measures, so this speeds up learning / practice considerably.

I'm wondering how to handle M30, 31 (exact duplicates). There is G-Bb tied in the L hand, and an E in between. Interestingly, the stem for the E points up. I'm wondering, should that also be played with the L hand as well? With the L hand, I can actually reach from the G to Bb, which surprised me. Adding the E is possible but tricky.

If played with the the R hand, the E-D reach is easy, but then the G-F#-A coming next gets tricky. I suspect it should all be L hand (G-E-Bb) and the stem change is just to reflect either a different voice, or the fact that the E is tied to the first E of the triplet on beat 3.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/01/19 03:43 PM

I take the Bb with my RH but play the E with my LH. That way I can hold both the Bb and D for 2.5 beats while I play the upper notes (G F# A G). I then take the A also with my RH, shift my 5th finger in the LH to the lower A and hold while playing those notes (E E D# F E) with my LH.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/01/19 07:49 PM

I followed my teacher's recommendation to play the G E Bflat chord as an arpeggio by LH connected by pedaling (I have to release the G but I hold the E and the B flat, and the pedal takes care of the G, although not throughout, since I have to adjust the pedaling to the seconds in the RH to avoid a blur). We looked at the option of distributing the notes between the LH and RH, if I recall correctly, but setlled on the arpeggio. Again, there's no one perfect solution here, it seems--whatever works better for the individual player.
Posted By: Moo :)

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 12:02 AM

I had a play with the score.



I think there are a lot of challenges with it that make it harder than it looks. I think it needs a teacher to go through it.

Even at the start you need to hold the notes for full value. The first bar you must for example hold the chords through the 2nd and 4th beats. This is repeated throughout and provides added difficulty.

The other difficulty is you have to play the accompany chords much quiter than the tune. this is challenging when the tune is quiet.

To maintain the legato in the passages is also a challenge. You need to be very strict with the fingers. You have to do finger changes (e.g. bar 1 45). Bar 7 you need to legato the run which means you have to play 1,4, 3 on the grace notes. I therefore would go through with your teacher and make sure you learn it correct to start with.

I actually found the off beats nature of the piece really off putting. It was a lot harder from there. I think it is a challenging piece and harder than it looks. Would be interested to see how you do. Good luck !
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 12:24 AM

[quote=Moo :)]I had a play with the score.



Even at the start you need to hold the notes for full value. The first bar you must for example hold the chords through the 2nd and 4th beats. This is repeated throughout and provides added difficulty. Although most would hold those chords, you don't have to hold the first one because it will be held in the pedal.

The other difficulty is you have to play the accompany chords much quiter than the tune. this is challenging when the tune is quiet. Yes, but remember that the p marking does not mean everything has to be played p. One could/should play the melody mp and the chords pp (or mf and p).

Bar 7 you need to legato the run which means you have to play 1,4, 3 on the grace notes. You could play 1, 3, 1.`
Posted By: Moo :)

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 12:55 AM

1,3,1 - yes I like that, excellent suggestion.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 02:03 AM

I just use 1-2-1 I believe although I’m not at the piano right now. I think you’re overstating the difficulty, Moo, with slow practice you can get the balance and fingering issues down in a few weeks.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 09:29 AM

A lot of challenges? Not if you've played piano before.

Holding notes for their full value? Playing softer for left hand accompaniment? Strict fingering? These are elementary, "my first piece" things. Finger substitution isn't uncommon once you start Bach's Little Preludes.

This piece wasn't offered as a new beginner's piece. My opening post notes that once you've reached the level of Bach Inventions this shouldn't be much of a challenge.

You might need a teacher if your teacher hasn't taught you how to learn (objective number one for a teacher) but this really isn't a difficult piece. If you've read through most of his Op. 39 and Op. 40, or reached a level at which you can, The Seasons collection would be your next step and this piece in particular is one of the easier ones.

Measure 7: I begin with 4, 3, 1, take the graces 2-3-2 using 1 on C#. Standard Bach stuff.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 03:50 PM

M7 - I have been hitting 4-3-2 then 1-2-1 then 2-3-5 for GFE DEDC# DF.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 04:06 PM

Originally Posted by zrtf90
A lot of challenges? Not if you've played piano before.
I think you've forgotten how someone with just a few years of experience feels.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 04:09 PM

Couple things my teacher pointed out that I had not realized - in case this helps anyone -

The grace notes and notes efE at the end of M8 are all timed as the final third of the 4th triplet. I was coming in too early.

The natural in M13 refers to the C. I assumed it was the B (bc the C should be natural but the B should be flat according to key signature) but he states it is to negate the C# of the previous measure. Of course I pointed out that accidentals are wiped at the end of a measure but he tells me it’s assistance from the editor in this case.

He’s allowing me slight rubato at the beginning of M15 to get from the g grace to the DGC chord, rather than start it just before the measure or take time from the measure. I guess I’ll get quicker w practice.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 04:15 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
M7 - I have been hitting 4-3-2 then 1-2-1


I've been doing the same.

As for the difficulty of the piece, as I mentioned before, technically it's not a hard piece but musically it presents a number of challenges (which is also why it's such a pleasure to work on it, because one can focus primarily on expression and interpretation). At the university where I work (not in music :)), somebody just performed it, along with "June", as part of their artist diploma exam in piano, which is, from what I understand, the most advanced non-degree level in piano education.

My teacher was instrumental in helping me focus on some nuances which I would have surely missed (I realize there are different opinions on this forum about how necessary it is to work with a teacher). When I listen to my Slavic recital submission of "October," I'm finding so many things I'm doing differently now, with more forward movement and variety. I kept bringing the piece to my teacher throughout the fall--early winter, and every time there was something that could be improved. My point is, in other words, while it's very playable for a (late-ish) intermediate player, it's not easy overall.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 04:29 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Couple things my teacher pointed out that I had not realized - in case this helps anyone -

The grace notes and notes efE at the end of M8 are all timed as the final third of the 4th triplet. I was coming in too early.

The natural in M13 refers to the C. I assumed it was the B (bc the C should be natural but the B should be flat according to key signature) but he states it is to negate the C# of the previous measure. Of course I pointed out that accidentals are wiped at the end of a measure but he tells me it’s assistance from the editor in this case.

I had the same problems when I started working on October last year. That natural totally threw me off.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 04:53 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13

He’s allowing me slight rubato at the beginning of M15 to get from the g grace to the DGC chord, rather than start it just before the measure or take time from the measure. I guess I’ll get quicker w practice.


That sounds like a workable solution. I ended up taking the C with my right thumb. When I tried playing the chords that are preceded by a grace note all with my LH (M 15, 23,24,27,28) there was a gap which I thought interrupted the flow of the piece. So I am taking the upper note with my RH in those measures.

As far as how challenging the piece is, who cares. Yes, some people on this forum have more years of experience than others so for those, this piece is easy to learn. I do agree with Dumka1 that it takes skill, control and musicality to play this piece in such a way as to get a “wow” response from the listeners (or even your teacher).
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 05:21 PM

Ellen, you really make good use of the R thumb! Maybe I’ll give it a shot on these measures. I already changed to break M31 into L G-E and R Bb-D and it works very well! I’m using 5-2 on the L so I can go 2-3-1-2 on the E D# F E.

Dumka, I’m glad I (or shall I say my teacher) caught that early on!

And I totally agree, this piece can really sing! I’m working hard on expression with each measure. I’m glad Richard choose it. Great exercise in time, delicacy, musicality.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 05:24 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by zrtf90
A lot of challenges? Not if you've played piano before.
I think you've forgotten how someone with just a few years of experience feels.

Originally Posted by cmb13
...I think you’re overstating the difficulty...
This is Craig's own response. His previous pieces include Liszt Consolation No. 3 and two Chopin Nocturnes (C# Minor and Op. 72/1). He also has a teacher who he's consulting with.

To provide some context, this was my OP.
Originally Posted by zrtf90
After the success, the interest and the insightful contributions to Craig's study group thread devoted to Chopin's little Nocturne, it was decided to have another collaborative endeavour, this time investigating Tchaikovsky's Autumn Song, the October entry from his Seasons, Op. 37.

The technical demands of the piece are not great. Typical of Tchaikovsky, there is a lot of counterpoint going on so if you haven't reached the level of Bach Inventions yet and the ability to handle two concurrent melodies you might find the piece more challenging.

And in that context all the difficulties mentioned might have been encountered in easier fare such as Grieg's Arietta, Op. 12/1, Mendelssohn's Andante Sostenuto, Op. 72/2, Bach's Prelude BWV 936, or Tchaikovsky's own Chanson Triste, Op. 40/2. All pieces of a lesser grade than we're looking at here and they would all benefit from greater expertise than we generally start them with.

You may have forgotten yourself how much enthusiasm we normally bring to new pieces when we only have limited experience and how much that helps us overcome the hurdles, without having all the pitfalls thrown before us.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 05:34 PM

Ellen, I tried what you suggested - it does shorten the gap. Not yet committed though. Question - do you then move off the chord to hit the following note (eg the E in M22) figuring there’s pedal anyway? Just curious.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 05:39 PM

Richard , those earlier Tchaikovsky opuses I haven’t learned, but think I’ll download for sight reading practice. In all fairness, I do actually have holes in my learning having probably jumped too far ahead, but they’re filling in.

And Moo can certainly handle this piece as well. I tend to look at new skills as a challenge and an opportunity. I wonder if Moo, with all due respect, tends to see them initially with more trepidation, although I know he too can get this piece down in a matter of weeks to a month.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 05:53 PM

Yes, I have to move my hands off the lower 2 notes. I figure the pedal will sustain those notes for the 2 beats.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 06:48 PM

I originally posted this on 23rd Feb. but it may have been lost because of the scale practise recommendation.

"M22-25 and M26-29 have some interesting LH chords at the beginning of MM23, 24, 27 and 28, where I might experiment with taking the harmony in LH as a rolled octave with the two thumbs sharing the middle voice between them rather than risk the rhythm breaking up with the rapid bounce from the accaccs to the principal chord. This goes for M15 as well."

Since we're discussing these now I can confirm that I take the octave in LH and share the melody between thumbs using pedal to cover any gaps, which is what I think Ellen is doing.

For M15 I use the RH 3 for the grace note.

The earlier Tchaikovsky, Craig, is wonderful stuff. His Op. 39 was inspired by Schumann's Op. 68, both of which should be in any classical pianist's library if not his history. Op. 40 shouldn't be essential before tackling The Seasons but is a good source of material before tackling his Opp. 10, 19, 51 or 72.

Oh, and you chose this piece, I just offered it, with others, as a suggestion.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 07:08 PM

Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by zrtf90
A lot of challenges? Not if you've played piano before.
I think you've forgotten how someone with just a few years of experience feels.

Originally Posted by cmb13
...I think you’re overstating the difficulty...
This is Craig's own response. His previous pieces include Liszt Consolation No. 3 and two Chopin Nocturnes (C# Minor and Op. 72/1). He also has a teacher who he's consulting with.

To provide some context, this was my OP.
Originally Posted by zrtf90
After the success, the interest and the insightful contributions to Craig's study group thread devoted to Chopin's little Nocturne, it was decided to have another collaborative endeavour, this time investigating Tchaikovsky's Autumn Song, the October entry from his Seasons, Op. 37.

The technical demands of the piece are not great. Typical of Tchaikovsky, there is a lot of counterpoint going on so if you haven't reached the level of Bach Inventions yet and the ability to handle two concurrent melodies you might find the piece more challenging.

And in that context all the difficulties mentioned might have been encountered in easier fare such as Grieg's Arietta, Op. 12/1, Mendelssohn's Andante Sostenuto, Op. 72/2, Bach's Prelude BWV 936, or Tchaikovsky's own Chanson Triste, Op. 40/2. All pieces of a lesser grade than we're looking at here and they would all benefit from greater expertise than we generally start them with.

You may have forgotten yourself how much enthusiasm we normally bring to new pieces when we only have limited experience and how much that helps us overcome the hurdles, without having all the pitfalls thrown before us.

It seems like you missed the point of my post. I think saying a particular piece doesn't have a lot of challenges "if you've played the piano before" is just plain insulting to whomever you addressed it.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 07:29 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Couple things my teacher pointed out that I had not realized - in case this helps anyone -

The grace notes and notes efE at the end of M8 are all timed as the final third of the 4th triplet. I was coming in too early.

The natural in M13 refers to the C. I assumed it was the B (bc the C should be natural but the B should be flat according to key signature) but he states it is to negate the C# of the previous measure. Of course I pointed out that accidentals are wiped at the end of a measure but he tells me it’s assistance from the editor in this case.

Craig, Thanks for pointing these out - I missed them!

Originally Posted by zrtf90
Since we're discussing these now I can confirm that I take the octave in LH and share the melody between thumbs using pedal to cover any gaps, which is what I think Ellen is doing.

For M15 I use the RH 3 for the grace note.

Richard, i’m splitting that chord between 2 hands but am not rolling it. Taking the lower grace note in M 15 with RH seems awkward.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 07:35 PM

Originally Posted by zrtf90
...

For M15 I use the RH 3 for the grace note.


Actually, it's an interesting idea....I did use the R hand for the very low Db in Liszt's consolation in some spots...
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 07:47 PM

Originally Posted by Moo :)
I had a play with the score.



I think there are a lot of challenges with it that make it harder than it looks. I think it needs a teacher to go through it.

Even at the start you need to hold the notes for full value. The first bar you must for example hold the chords through the 2nd and 4th beats. This is repeated throughout and provides added difficulty.

The other difficulty is you have to play the accompany chords much quiter than the tune. this is challenging when the tune is quiet.

To maintain the legato in the passages is also a challenge. You need to be very strict with the fingers. You have to do finger changes (e.g. bar 1 45). Bar 7 you need to legato the run which means you have to play 1,4, 3 on the grace notes. I therefore would go through with your teacher and make sure you learn it correct to start with.

I actually found the off beats nature of the piece really off putting. It was a lot harder from there. I think it is a challenging piece and harder than it looks. Would be interested to see how you do. Good luck !


I just reread your post.....I think you do have some good points. That's why I am practicing this very, very slowly, one to four measures per day, adding a couple per day as I go.

Over the course of about 10 days or so, though, it's coming right along. Although there are 56 measures, there are several repeated measures, so it's not as long as it seems. The first 16 repeat completely in 34-49, and 22-25 are duplicated in 26-29, and 17-18 nearly repeat in 19-20, so there are only about 30 independent measures to learn. That said, holding the chords while switching fingers or playing a melody with other fingers is a little tricky but learnable with slow practice.

Regarding the necessity to play the accompaniment softly, to let the melody float, yes this is a challenge. However, I find it a lot easier on a grand than an upright, as the grand allows much softer notes, so that is helping. Additionally, I have been working on this issue on several other pieces, so hopefully this skill is coming along, but I agree, it's a good point.

And finally, I have been writing in fingering before learning each measure, so as to drill it right from the start, with only a few changes along the way as outlined in the discussion of those measures above.

I hope you give it a try too!
Posted By: Moo :)

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/02/19 09:28 PM

No I won’t bother mate. His comments was just rude. Good luck.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/03/19 10:04 AM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think saying a particular piece doesn't have a lot of challenges "if you've played the piano before" is just plain insulting to whomever you addressed it.
You found one of Animisha's recent posts insulting as well when I didn't and don't believe she would have intended it that way. That's just you. (Perhaps you could provide a link to an ABF thread where your contribution was positive, constructive or enthusiastic. I didn't post in it so I may not have read it.)

If you put my response in the context of the post as a whole instead of in isolation, take your time, there's no hurry, you might find it reads differently. I looked at the issues raised and found most of them would have been met in much more elementary material. Holding a note while playing another, even in the same hand, is covered in Alfred's Book One. So that problem's not an issue if you've played the piano before. Certainly not for someone who's recently done two significant nocturnes and is working on a third.

The next difficulty is playing the accompaniment softer when the piece is piano anyway. Really, this is covered in Schumann's Melody, Op. 68/1, the Minuet in G from the Anna Magdalena Notebook. This is elementary stuff. It's in the first book of John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano. It's certainly in Liszt's Db Consolation and Chopin's C# Minor Nocturne. So this is also not an issue if you've played the piano before.

Maintaining legato in passages? Again I'd point to Schumann's Melody and the coda of each of the earlier nocturnes. In other words I don't think it would be an issue if you've played the piano before. And Craig really has played the piano before.

Craig has approached this piece in a spirit of collaboration on the back of a rich and rewarding experience with a somewhat harder piece. He's laying a solid foundation for this piece and approaching it intelligently. He has a teacher, with whom he's discussing the piece, and has a good pedigree for this material.

Moo played through the score of this piece and in a few minutes found himself faced with difficulties of an elementary nature and is now cautioning Craig not to tackle the piece without going through it with a teacher. I found that post negative but after looking at the wider context of the thread I now find it insulting and insensitive as well. Ah, me! What a negative soul I'm turning into!
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/03/19 10:05 AM

Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Richard, i’m splitting that chord between 2 hands but am not rolling it.
Yes, splitting not rolling. I'm sounding it as it's written.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/03/19 12:36 PM

Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think saying a particular piece doesn't have a lot of challenges "if you've played the piano before" is just plain insulting to whomever you addressed it.
You found one of Animisha's recent posts insulting as well when I didn't and don't believe she would have intended it that way. That's just you. (Perhaps you could provide a link to an ABF thread where your contribution was positive, constructive or enthusiastic. I didn't post in it so I may not have read it.)
There you go again with you insults. I have made many thousands of posts on the ABF that meet your "requirements" including one on this thread.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/03/19 12:43 PM

Alright now back to the topic at hand......please let’s not let this derail the thread any further. We all have good intentions and I truly believe no insult was meant by either party. Take it to pm I’d you must hash it out further.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/03/19 08:29 PM

Here's an interesting consideration to mull over:

The text indicates Andante doloroso e molto cantabile. When I played it for my teacher - who thought I could/should play it slower than I did, she asked me: "What tempo does dolorso convey to you." I thought that that was more an interpretive indication than one of tempo; for the actual tempo, I was concentrating more on the word andante.

Since "everyone" plays it slower than I do, perhaps I need to give my teacher's comment some serious consideration. She, by the way, is Russian and trained extensively at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, so I need to weigh her advice which I greatly respect.

Regards,
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/04/19 03:38 AM

Although doloroso is not a tempo indication I think the “sorrowful” mood indicates a slower tempo with opportunities for rubato and ritanrdando.I have been playing this piece for only about a week and it seems that a this time a good tempo is 60-64 bpm. I haven’t had a lesson to get feedback from my teacher but many of the performances on YT take it at a similar slower than andante tempo. I counted the number of measures that have triplets - 40 out of a total of 56 measures - which effectively speeds up the tempo since you are playing 3 instead of 2 notes per beat. I think at the 60-64 tempo the piece moves along and does not sound like a dirge.

Bruce, what tempo do you play it at? And if others chime in, that would be informative.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/04/19 12:22 PM

I find the counter melodies don't have room to breathe at 60 bpm. I'm at the 54 bpm area, even slower than that singing the melody on its own at my desk but much of that is more pausing before phrase climaxes while the main beat stays steady around 54. I thought I picked it up at M17 but it seems not. It just feels quicker. Also, I might have just kept time with the 'nome. I haven't started recording it yet so we'll see what happens later.
______________________________

I've been working on M17-21 this week and M9-16. The hardest parts, for me, are keeping the A, beat 4 in M18 and 20, softer than the Bb but close enough to it to keep the phrase intact yet not so soft that it disappears under the LH chord. In M9-16 I have to feel the offbeats better so I repeated the D as a temporary measure and it helped. I also started taking the M15 accacc in LH as well as it kept going that way when I played from memory instead of from the score.

I'll be looking at M22-23 this week and possibly M1-8.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/04/19 01:57 PM

Khatia's version is certainly under 60, closer to 54-56 I believe. That's good for me, as it allows for nice expressiveness, and gives me just a little extra time on the transitions.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/05/19 03:34 AM

I timed myself twice today and the both came at around 4.5 minutes. It is definitely on the faster side compared to the times posted by other pianists on YT. OK, time for reassessment and deep breaths. I want it to sound relaxed but not like a dirge.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/05/19 01:29 PM

My Slavic recital submission was 4:49. I'm playing the middle section a little faster now, but yes, the challenge is to preserve the melancholy mood, not to rush without putting everybody to sleep. smile
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/05/19 02:06 PM

Progress report - I've nearly completed the piece, aside from the closing measures. I'm working on smoothing out transitions now, and nailing those chords with the grace notes. I probably hit each of them for a few minutes last night and will do them all again daily for the next few days. Not 100% secure in all spots yet, but getting better.

Retrospectively, I find M9-12 a little trickier than some of the later measures, and I'm working on subtleties like holding that F# in M11 into the first eighth note of M12 while hitting the Bb and D. Slow practice really is the key here.

I also have to take care to remember tiny details, like releasing the Bb in the first beat of M11, as there is a rest before playing it again on the 2nd beat, or similarly holding the D in M9 for only an eighth note. I sometimes get sloppy on these details, but will try to be really precise here.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/05/19 04:49 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13[...

I also have to take care to remember tiny details, like releasing the Bb in the first beat of M11, as there is a rest before playing it again on the 2nd beat, or similarly holding the D in M9 for only an eighth note. I sometimes get sloppy on these details, but will try to be really precise here.


It may help if you concentrate on treating the D in measure 9 and the B-flat in measure 11, each, as the last note of a phrase. That note needs to be "lifted off" lightly, as would a singer at the end of a phrase, taking a breath, and then beginning the next phrase. Have you concentrated on playing those phrases by themselves, listening to the phrasing you want to produce, without cluttering your thinking with the accompanying chords in measure 8, and the upper voice in measures 9 through 11?

Regards,
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/07/19 02:25 PM

Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by cmb13[...

I also have to take care to remember tiny details, like releasing the Bb in the first beat of M11, as there is a rest before playing it again on the 2nd beat, or similarly holding the D in M9 for only an eighth note. I sometimes get sloppy on these details, but will try to be really precise here.


It may help if you concentrate on treating the D in measure 9 and the B-flat in measure 11, each, as the last note of a phrase. That note needs to be "lifted off" lightly, as would a singer at the end of a phrase, taking a breath, and then beginning the next phrase. Have you concentrated on playing those phrases by themselves, listening to the phrasing you want to produce, without cluttering your thinking with the accompanying chords in measure 8, and the upper voice in measures 9 through 11?

Regards,


Sorry, Bruce, just caught this post today...no I haven't actually done this. Maybe I'll give it a try when I get home later today. Thanks for the tip!

I spent some time last night practicing, again, the grace note / chord combinations. I think I'm going to stick with L hand only on them. The three follow a pattern - that is a grace note followed by a three note chord, with the grace note repeated as the middle note of the chord. The intervals are all the same. For instance, G, followed by D-G-C, which goes to Bb. Is that a Gm11? If so, the pattern is

Gm11: G -> D-G-C --->Bb
C11: C -> G-C-F --> E
Bb11: B -> F-Bb-E --D

I'm working a quick lift of the grace note followed by a soft landing on the chord, played with 5-3-1. I'm then using 1 on the next note, except on the case with the Bb, where I use 2.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/11/19 04:36 PM

Any updates?

Are you pedaling the final measures, or using just finger legato? I began practicing it with pedal, but find it to be a little muddy, possibly b/c the notes are so close together in tone. Maybe I'll try again tonight with only legato.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/11/19 04:44 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Any updates?

Are you pedaling the final measures, or using just finger legato? I began practicing it with pedal, but find it to be a little muddy, possibly b/c the notes are so close together in tone. Maybe I'll try again tonight with only legato.


In measures 53 and 54, a touch of pedal on beats 2 and 4 for a little resonance and warmth and then finger legato only for the last two measures.

Regards,
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/11/19 05:12 PM

Sounds good to me, Bruce, thanks!
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/11/19 11:21 PM

Update here. Working on listening carefully to how my playing sounds, fiddling around with pedalling, phrasing, expression. It’s getting there but not satisfied yet with how it sounds. I am trying hard to follow my teacher’s advice of “Let the music speak” .
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/11/19 11:52 PM

Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
[...]I am trying hard to follow my teacher’s advice of “Let the music speak” .


Shouldn't that be "sing"? smile

Cheers!
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/11/19 11:57 PM

Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
[...]I am trying hard to follow my teacher’s advice of “Let the music speak” .


Shouldn't that be "sing"? smile

Cheers!


Haha. Sing makes perfect sense but she says “speak”. I think it refers to the same thing.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 12:23 AM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Any updates?

Are you pedaling the final measures, or using just finger legato? I began practicing it with pedal, but find it to be a little muddy, possibly b/c the notes are so close together in tone. Maybe I'll try again tonight with only legato.


For the last two measures, my teacher recommended that I pedal carefully, releasing the pedal on the As in the penultimate measure and using the "belated" pedal (not sure about the English term) on all the B flats and on every note in the last measure (along with the finger legato), to avoid muddiness. But sometimes I just use mostly the finger legato in the last measure, although I like it better with the pedal.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 01:02 AM

Ok, it's been a close call, but the number one favorite note is.....

That rolled Gm in the beginning of M11. I'm hitting the R hand G with the beginning of the roll. It's sooo beautiful!

Question for BruceD - you mentioned specifically the final D in M9 (of the phrase that began in M7-8). Now I've been pedaling that D with the D min chord below it, but wonder now if I should not pedal that D. This is tough - it requires hitting the D min chord and the D together, releasing the D on top before applying the pedal, to hold the chord without holding the D. Is that what you do?
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 02:18 AM

Originally Posted by cmb13
[...]
Question for BruceD - you mentioned specifically the final D in M9 (of the phrase that began in M7-8). Now I've been pedaling that D with the D min chord below it, but wonder now if I should not pedal that D. This is tough - it requires hitting the D min chord and the D together, releasing the D on top before applying the pedal, to hold the chord without holding the D. Is that what you do?


I guess you caught me out on this; I actually cheat a bit on this by catching the chord and the right-hand D with the pedal. That said, the volume of the right-hand phrase has diminished to the point that the carry-over of the D with the pedal is not that noticeable. What is more important than trying to negotiate what can be a bit awkward (as you indicate) is the sense that the phrase in the right hand has quietly ended on the D, however slightly it may be carried over.

I don't think it's a great crime. We see in a fair amount of Romantic music (Chopin comes to mind) where the composer actually indicates pedaling through a rest, and if I do so I hope Tchaikovsky won't disown my interpretation for that!

But it's a good question; let's hear what others say.

Regards,
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 02:51 AM

Beginning in M9 I transfer the melodic line from the D in the RH in the 1st beat to the F in LH 2nd beat until I reach M13. Does that make sense? I’m not sure, still experimenting. Not sure about calling it the melody but I am playing my LH louder than RH on those measures 9-12.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 10:59 AM

M15: G-D-G is G, we can't tell if it's major or minor because it's lacking the third but the key signature implies minor. The C is a fourth so the chord is a suspended fourth and it resolves on the next beat to G Minor. It's not an eleventh unless there's a seventh in the chord.

M23: same thing applies so the chord is C sus4 resolving on the next beat to C Major and M24 is Bb sus4 to Bb Major.
_______________________________

The melody from M1-8 is repeats an octave lower in M9-13 with a harmony above it that I don't think is strong enough on its own to call a counter melody. I begin the melody in M9 over the dying wash of the last one, bringing out the first F (which doesn't break the D Minor harmony) and carrying that melody through.
_______________________________

I did 22-33 and 1-8 last week so this week will be my last in the learning phase of this piece. The coda is easy enough so I'll work on M17-33 as one unit and M34-56 as another then I might take a week away from it to let it assimilate.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 01:15 PM

Wouldn’t you think the Bb on the next beat in M15 makes it clear that’s a G min?

Great progress. I’ve completed the sections but need to make it more fluid. Maybe I will try a preliminary recording - I am starting to realize this has value in exposing weak spots.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 02:59 PM

Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Beginning in M9 I transfer the melodic line from the D in the RH in the 1st beat to the F in LH 2nd beat until I reach M13. Does that make sense? I’m not sure, still experimenting. Not sure about calling it the melody but I am playing my LH louder than RH on those measures 9-12.


Yes, definitely. If you look closely at the score, you will see that the melody in the left hand in measures 9 through 12 is exactly the same - note for note, except an octave lower - as the melody in measures 1 through 4. It makes good sense, then, to bring out the melody in the left hand; the right hand being a sort of obligato line.

Regards,
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 04:30 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Wouldn’t you think the Bb on the next beat in M15 makes it clear that’s a G min?
Beat 1 of M15 is a change of harmony from the previous measure and the last B the ear heard was a B natural. What comes on beat two is the resolution but the ear can't hear what hasn't come yet so on beat 1 it's still a mystery as to whether it's major or minor.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 10:31 PM

Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Beginning in M9 I transfer the melodic line from the D in the RH in the 1st beat to the F in LH 2nd beat until I reach M13. Does that make sense? I’m not sure, still experimenting. Not sure about calling it the melody but I am playing my LH louder than RH on those measures 9-12.


Originally Posted by BruceD

Yes, definitely. If you look closely at the score, you will see that the melody in the left hand in measures 9 through 12 is exactly the same - note for note, except an octave lower - as the melody in measures 1 through 4. It makes good sense, then, to bring out the melody in the left hand; the right hand being a sort of obligato line.
Regards,


Originally Posted by zrtf90
..........
The melody from M1-8 is repeats an octave lower in M9-13 with a harmony above it that I don't think is strong enough on its own to call a counter melody. I begin the melody in M9 over the dying wash of the last one, bringing out the first F (which doesn't break the D Minor harmony) and carrying that melody through.


Funny, I was practicing the piece right now, and stumbled on this issue. I actually stopped, loaded Khatia's video, and opened the thread to review this point. I began experimenting coincidentally with the same....emphasizing the L hand over the R here, but it's initially tough for me. I think a few minutes of repeated practice on this per day will help. Incidentally, I don't think she (Khatia) emphasizes this point. It's at around 40-50 sec in. Just listened to Lisitsa and Pletnev as well. Lisitsa may emphasize the L more than the others.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 11:13 PM

Addendum: I spent 10 min on M9-13, playing L hand alone, then adding R hand. Its coming along, but this is definitely new to me, bringing out the L hand and softening the R. Just as I’m working hard on the opposite on my Bach Adagio! Will put it aside for now and come back to this again.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/12/19 11:58 PM

Yes, my teacher said that marcato refers to the melody in the left hand, although the voice in right hand should also be heard, obviously. She also reminded me to "sing" the melody in the left hand in M13-14--she said it's basically the "cello part" here.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/13/19 01:36 PM

Originally Posted by dumka1
Yes, my teacher said that marcato refers to the melody in the left hand, although the voice in right hand should also be heard, obviously. She also reminded me to "sing" the melody in the left hand in M13-14--she said it's basically the "cello part" here.


Thanks for confirming this issues. Great insight!
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/18/19 01:07 AM

I have been recording myself the last couple of days and I feel like my biggest challenge is how to make this piece interesting to the listener. I feel like the way I play it sounds like it drags and it’s kind of dreary. And I am not using a particularly slow tempo. What do you think of making MM 17-21 sound playful? Any ideas out there, and have the others working on this recorded and evaluated their playing?
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/18/19 04:53 PM

I definitely have been playing M17-21 (and the rest of the piece) with a healthy dose of dynamics, rubato, and I think it sounds great. Of course, some of this is a crutch as I'm not as fast or good as you are, but nonetheless the dynamics bring out interesting phrasing.

I'm happy that as a month has passed, I've completed the first stage of learning. I can play through the piece with few mistakes. I don't yet have it completely "in the fingers" yet, though, and sometimes have to double check to see what's next, or if the Dmin chord is F-A-D or A-D-F in the L hand, for example. I also have to become more comfortable with a few chords at the end, get the transitions down, and generally make it more reliable. Didn't yet record as planned. Getting there though!
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/18/19 05:11 PM

As I mentioned in the other thread about Lisitsa's recordings of the complete solo piano works of Tchaikovsky, I am a little disappointed in her performance of "The Seasons" and of "October" among them. In some of the works, she willfully ignores the dynamic and phrase markings in the score. While these pieces are - according to the commission from Bernard - of moderate difficulty, Lisitsa lets loose whenever she can to - in my opinion - exaggerate the tempo, making virtuoso works of some sections.

This may be poetic licence, but, exciting as it may be from a technical prowess point of view, I wonder if she doesn't go over the top in some of her interpretations. One can't help but admire the technique that she displays in some sections of some of the works, but I am not totally convinced.

I still prefer Lugansky's reading of the pieces in this opus.

I would be interested what others think if you get a chance to listen to Lisitsa's "October."

Regards,
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/18/19 07:33 PM

I have listened, although it was her YouTube recording of the entire Seasons collection, and I am not sure that the recording was the same. However, I do agree that I favor Katia's expression on the piece. I think Lisitsa really shines on some of her Beethoven sonatas and other pieces like Gaspard...maybe she thrives on the speed and the big chords?
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/19/19 12:57 AM

I listened to Lisitsa’s October from the entire Seasons recording also. At 6:10, I think her version is too slow, sounds plodding at times, and is 1 minute slower than Khatia’s. I prefer Khatia’s performance. I also like Yekwon Sunwoo’s version.

Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/19/19 03:13 PM

Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
I listened to Lisitsa’s October from the entire Seasons recording also. At 6:10, I think her version is too slow, sounds plodding at times, and is 1 minute slower than Khatia’s. I prefer Khatia’s performance. I also like Yekwon Sunwoo’s version.



I totally agree. In fact, it was Sunwoo's encore performance of this piece, which I was fortunate to hear live when he gave a recital in my town, that inspired me to learn this piece. I'm not a big fan of Lisitsa in general, to be honest, even though I do appreciate her virtuosity. I also find her manner of doing a finger dance and "stroking keys" (which many fans admire so much) somewhat pretentious and definitely unnecessary in a piece like "October."
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/19/19 03:51 PM

Originally Posted by dumka1
I also find her manner of doing a finger dance and "stroking keys" (which many fans admire so much) somewhat pretentious and definitely unnecessary in a piece like "October."

My current theory is that her professor at the Kiev Conservatory taught her to be a keyboard stroker. Since her husband appears to have given up his piano career in favor of hers, I can only find one Youtube video of him playing, and in this one he seems to also be a keyboard stroker, although a much lesser one than her, and he had the same professor. I might have missed some of his videos though since his name is a common one. Since their mutual Kiev Conservatory professor Ludmilla Tsvierko passed in 2006, I can't find a single Youtube video of her playing, although I tried in both Ukrainian and Russian.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/19/19 04:00 PM



I totally agree also....excellent rendition. I'm not familiar with Sunwoo.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/19/19 07:36 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13


I totally agree also....excellent rendition. I'm not familiar with Sunwoo.


He's the most recent winner of the van Cliburn competition (the only one I vaguely followed).

I also love Ashkenazi's rendition.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/22/19 03:18 AM

Here is my recording. Feel free to comment. This is a work in progress and am looking forward to hearing other interpretations from the group.

Tchaikovsky The Seasons, October
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/22/19 04:59 PM

PianogrlNW:

I think you have done a nice job on this.

Two things you might want to double check: At times - but not always - the measures with triplets, particularly measures 5 and 6 (and where that same pattern recurs), are slightly faster than the measures which precede, (1 through 4, for example). You might want to set your basic tempo based on the measures with triplets rather than set it based on the opening measures. That said, even some professionals do this as well, Lisitsa, among others.

Make sure that the last note of the phrase in the left hand at the second beat of measure 27 and the second beat of measure 28 is a "lift-off," a note which should be softer than the note before. It works better the first time, in measures 13 and 14.

These are small details. The overall effect is quite convincing and quite beautifully played.

Thank you for sharing.

Regards,
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/22/19 05:18 PM

Of course, the very introspective and reflective nature of this particular piece may not only justify but almost require flexibility of tempo. We certainly don't want it to sound metronomic. That flexibility should be organic, however, should flow naturally from the music and be convincing in its logic.

I "hate" this all-too-brief time limitation on editing posts!


Regards,
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/22/19 07:26 PM

Great job, Ellen! I like how it sounds. You played it beautifully, and clearly have all the notes. I am playing it more slowly, but I'm not sure if it's because I like slower (which I do, as I feel it brings out the desperation of the piece), or because I can't play it more quickly! Regardless, I'm not quite ready yet and I'm traveling this week, so there's a slight setback, but I'll get there in time.

I really liked the ending, the decrescendo and slowing. I wasn't sure how to pedal those last few notes, but I think finger legato alone is right, and that's how it seems you played them.
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/23/19 03:10 AM

Craig and Bruce, Thanks for taking the time to listen and comment. Craig, if you can play it more slowly that’s great. It was hard for me to slow the tempo down. I think it is harder to play a piece slowly because you need greater control to make it sound musical.

Bruce, Figuring out how to play rubato and make it sound natural is something I’m still working on. It needs to sound organic and somewhat spontaneous. I made many recordings and noted that in Measure 26-28 I needed to make that last note in the RH softer than the previous note but it did not happen in the recording I posted. I appreciate your insightful comments. Thanks
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/23/19 01:18 PM

Ellen, this was lovely. You brought out the melody in the left hand beautifully. The only thing I'd suggest (besides the softer "second" notes that Bruce has already commented on) is perhaps to add more rubato in some places. Some passages, especially in the middle part, sounded a bit too even to me, and it would be nice to add some variety, especially for all those repetitions. (I see that you've discussed rubato above, too, but I thought of this comment before I saw this).
Posted By: PianogrlNW

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 03/23/19 10:53 PM

Dumka1 - thanks for your helpful comment about the middle section needing more rubato. It’s a work in progress!
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 04/21/19 08:51 PM

I've finally completed it. After I thought I completed it, I tried to record the piece a few weeks ago, but it turns out that time, it was not as completed as I thought smile. A few weeks later and I can largely play through it error free. I recorded a take I'm happy with and will present it for the next recital.

Thanks again to Richard for all your help and introducing us to this piece, and to the others who learned and contributed as well.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 04/23/19 12:25 PM

Glad to hear this, Craig! I'll probably be submitting Tchaikovsky's "April," so "The Seasons" will be well represented.
Posted By: zrtf90

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 04/23/19 01:05 PM

That's great, Craig. Well done!

My part was rather small but thanks for the mention.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37 - Study Group - 04/29/19 04:52 PM

Thanks, Richard!
Dumka, looking forward to hearing it.
Hope some else finds this useful on the future. Lot of good info here!
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