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Novelette Op 21 No 1 - take two #2740729
05/30/18 01:02 PM
05/30/18 01:02 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,746
Vancouver, B.C.
Vid Offline OP
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Vid  Offline OP
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Novelette take two

This is by no means my final say on this piece. I think its much improved and have tightened the screws on some sloppiness and oversight in the previous recording but there's a lot more to figure out interpretively.

1) constructive criticism welcome

2) please don't take an afternoon out of your day for in depth analysis and criticism (thanks again MikeN)

3) I hope at least in part I've responded well to previously received feedback

4) please enjoy


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Re: Novelette Op 21 No 1 - take two [Re: Vid] #2742940
06/08/18 12:56 AM
06/08/18 12:56 AM
Joined: Aug 2014
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Washington, DC
SiFi Offline
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I think your interpretation of the middle section, with the imitation motifs, is wonderful. Best part by far.

If you were looking to improve any particular part, I would suggest the ending. You gotta nail that for the performance to succeed.

The lyrical theme, and your big slowdowns, still aren't quite working for me. Those sections need to progress and the melodic lines need to live long enough to be picked up by the next ones.

Can you get the tempo up a bit? Not much, but enough to give the march sections real momentum.

Wish I could talk to you in real time about this piece, which I love so much. You obviously have a deep insight into it. As someone once said, or maybe this is me saying it for the first time, you need to go deeper. IMO.


SRF
Re: Novelette Op 21 No 1 - take two [Re: Vid] #2743073
06/08/18 02:42 PM
06/08/18 02:42 PM
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Tim Adrianson Offline
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Hi, Vid -- This is a piece that I, like SiFi, have studied pretty thoroughly. First, let me say that the second "take" is indeed a marked improvement over your first, in a lot of ways. I liked especially how you shaped the material throughout -- I could follow your sense of how the music should ebb and flow throughout, and some of your ideas were compelling to me. Personally, I find your stately treatment of the main theme to be too slow -- I tend to favor a greater contrast between it and the more intimate, lyrical "B" and "C" sections than you're providing here, and I prefer a more vigorous marching quality. And I would agree with SiFi that you need to establish this in order to make the Coda material work to full effect -- just a final declamation in the last 2 - 3 measures is not enough in itself. And I have to admit that those ingenious harmonic shifts in the Coda are my favorite part of the piece -- it just works so well as a finishing surge.

My only other comment is that there are seven other Novelletten of similar high quality -- I don't hear the Novelletten programmed much at all, but if do hear them, it invariably seems to be Op 21 - 1. The set as a whole is just vintage Schumann, but they sure seem to get overlooked, IMO.

Re: Novelette Op 21 No 1 - take two [Re: Vid] #2743120
06/08/18 07:53 PM
06/08/18 07:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
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Vid Offline OP
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Thank you for the feedback. I don't think there's anything I would disagree with. I'm going to let things ferment a bit with this piece before sharing another recording. I would like to get the tempo up which may take some time with the left hand octave triplets.

I may have to give up and roll those big chords in the coda section too.

Tim: I'll have to become more familiar with the others. I think the first one may be one of the easiest ones on the technical side. It would be pushing my ability to try some of the others but yes, its vintage Schumann and well worth exploring.


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Re: Novelette Op 21 No 1 - take two [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2743147
06/08/18 11:17 PM
06/08/18 11:17 PM
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Washington, DC
SiFi Offline
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Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson
My only other comment is that there are seven other Novelletten of similar high quality -- I don't hear the Novelletten programmed much at all, but if do hear them, it invariably seems to be Op 21 - 1. The set as a whole is just vintage Schumann, but they sure seem to get overlooked, IMO.

I could not agree more, Tim. I love all of them. I made some progress learning the very tricky (and not terribly pianistic) #2 and even posted something about it here I think. However, I got frustrated trying to find fingerings that would work for the RH repetitions and then moved on to something else.

Vid -- If you're reading this, I'd recommend No. 6 as a really nice project. I was able to learn it without too much hardship; it's probably the second easiest after #1. It's also absolutely gorgeous: poetic and lyrical in the best Schumann tradition. There are some technical challenges, but nothing that should give you too much trouble.

The big Kahuna is #8, which I vowed to myself I would learn someday. But as with so many of my pianistic aspirations, it's mañana, mañana, mañana. What can I say? Maybe something for my next incarnation.


SRF
Re: Novelette Op 21 No 1 - take two [Re: Vid] #2743150
06/08/18 11:39 PM
06/08/18 11:39 PM
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,671
Washington, DC
SiFi Offline
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Originally Posted by Vid
I'll have to become more familiar with the others. I think the first one may be one of the easiest ones on the technical side. It would be pushing my ability to try some of the others but yes, its vintage Schumann and well worth exploring.

Hey Vid. Not sure you will have seen my other post, but if you're looking to try another Novelette, I'd check out #6. Eminently playable for someone with your solid technical skills and a truly beautiful piece with enough interpretive open-endedness to make it really interesting.

Here's a pretty performance, with #7 and #8 as a bonus. You'll need to turn your volume up.




SRF
Re: Novelette Op 21 No 1 - take two [Re: SiFi] #2743152
06/09/18 12:04 AM
06/09/18 12:04 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,973
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Online content
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Originally Posted by SiFi
Vid -- If you're reading this, I'd recommend No. 6 as a really nice project. I was able to learn it without too much hardship; it's probably the second easiest after #1. It's also absolutely gorgeous: poetic and lyrical in the best Schumann tradition. There are some technical challenges, but nothing that should give you too much trouble.
I've played No. 1 and 2 - and have been working from to time on No. 7 - which is much shorter - and [for me at least) not as difficult as No. 6. smile The main challenge with No. 7 is the octaves. However, we'll see how I do if and when I ever get around to recording it. And I agree - No. 8 is beautiful !!

Last edited by Carey; 06/09/18 12:05 AM.

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Re: Novelette Op 21 No 1 - take two [Re: Vid] #2744301
06/14/18 02:40 AM
06/14/18 02:40 AM
Joined: Feb 2010
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Ohio
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MikeN Offline
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I just wanted to chime in, as late as I am, in agreement with everyone else that this is a great improvement over your last take.

Your improvements in shaping and balancing of lines in the Trio in particular are especially impressive. Really. It's night and day.

So, what can I say that might be helpful?

Well, first I'll somewhat agree with the rest of the comments encouraging a faster tempo, but I'll say it with a different intention. To me it's not so much the tempo that's the issue as much as it's the lack of a sense of the lines in the outer march sections being long and pushing forward or being on the front side of the tempo as opposed to being casually in tempo or the other extreme, lagging behind, which I wouldn't say your guilty of.

So in other words, you have a tempo. You can be pushing forward within the tempo. You can be casually moving along within the tempo. You can also be dragging behind within the tempo. Your casually moving along with the tempo. I myself, and I think also the others who have commented think you need be pushing forward so the march doesn't sound too relaxed or lazy.

I hope this makes sense.

My other nitpick, which no one else seems to have mentioned, is that you prepare us for every change of section in the the piece by either making a slight ritardando at the end of a section or easing into the tempo of the new section or taking a bit of time between sections. I'd get rid of this as much as possible. Maybe a tiny bit of time to let the phrase finish off at the end of the trio sections, but even there as little as possible. All these preparations make the piece feel long and a bit tedious. It's especially noticeable from the end of the choral to the recap of the trio in A major. Within six measures you have 2 very transitions which make me think, "Oh...greaaat. There's more." Don't allow me to think this. Don't give me time to think about what's coming next. Let's all be surprised by what Schumann has up his sleeve this time.

All that said, your doing great work on this piece, and I hope we'll hear some more Schumann from you in the future.

Re: Novelette Op 21 No 1 - take two [Re: Vid] #2744501
06/14/18 06:10 PM
06/14/18 06:10 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,746
Vancouver, B.C.
Vid Offline OP
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Vid  Offline OP
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Thanks Mike and the others.

It makes sense what you say about the tempo. If I understand what you're saying that section could use more sense of urgency and more shaping within its phrases too.

And yes, I hear what you're saying about the transitions. Actually they are one of more difficult aspects of it interpretively because you have to transition suddenly into very different moods. Maybe intentionally not anticipating what is coming next will help that flow a bit.

Nice that Schumann has garnered some attention on here!


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