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#2372294 01/11/15 11:55 AM
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Hi Everyone,

This isn't jazz, but it doesn't properly belong at a classical music conservatory either. There have been discussions here of improvising, yet not through the harmonies of the old masters. Here, beginning a little after 50 seconds in, it deviates significantly from Bach's original. This was an improvisation upon the original in 1999, after which it became standard if performed anywhere as it was at a Bach festival in 1999, and at an economics conference in 2000 or 2001 where an Imperial Bösendorfer was owned by the group. Please note: this 2003 performance was only after one week's practice for an entire recital programme, and the last practicing was for some recording in 2002 - so technical issues with the playing are audible.

This is a one-off for posting like this here. It doesn't belong with the non-classical recordings, and in the classical recordings area there hasn't been any response to this one.

This is just one time to show the pianists who turn away from classical because of the "rules" that one can break the rules and not only in the fashion of Jacques Loussier and other jazz masters.


[video:youtube]An0bDaP8ySI[/video]


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Originally Posted by Michael Sayers


This is a one-off for posting like this here. It doesn't belong with the non-classical recordings, and in the classical recordings area there hasn't been any response to this one.



Greetings, Mr. Sayers-
Were you looking for impressions, here?
Best wishes-


phacke

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Hi Phacke,

Yes, I am hopeful here for impressions from jazz (and other) pianists.


Mvh,
Michael

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it all still sounds like classical to me, except that he decides to muddy things up by banging on the lower register in the second half. Probably nobody in the classical forum responded because honestly it sounds like cr*p.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 01/12/15 03:11 PM.
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
it all still sounds like classical to me, except that he decides to muddy things up by banging on the lower register in the second half. Probably nobody in the classical forum responded because honestly it sounds like cr*p.

"He" happens to be me wink .

I think you are right that no one really liked it, hence the lack of response though eventually there was one response.

Thanks for the honest observation.

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Originally Posted by Michael Sayers

I think you are right that no one really liked it, hence the lack of response though eventually there was one response.

Thanks for the honest observation.


Not suprising nobody in classical forum liked it. You'd get better reception in the heavy metal group, I'm sure some of them would dig it.

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So what rules were broken ??

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Michael S,

Good for you for, first of all, playing what you did in front of an audience and, second of all, posting it a forum and accepting comments. As for why no one said anything, or said little on another forum, well, who knows? We can conjecture. But conjecture is conjecture. It's not truth.

My opinion is, like everyone else who comes to improvisation, you've got a base from which to start–if you want to study improvisation. In terms of "a base from which to start" it's probably premature to declare that the style in which you're playing belongs or doesn't belong in a conservatory or is jazz or isn't jazz. I mean there are surface things in your playing that anyone can hear and comment on in terms of style. And there's the underlying fact that by and large Bach and jazz draw from the same well.

The issue really is how to develop and work with the skills you have in a way that's meaningful and enjoyable for you. Or if you just want to continue on as you're now doing that's fine too.

Related to what I've just said: we learn to improvise by improvising. So I'd say the "value" of value judgements such as have been offered already are slim to none. What is valuable are specific comments that help you (or anyone improve). Because when we get right down to it there's always "someone" somewhere who plays just a little bit better, who has just a little more experience, who has a little more technique, and a little more knowledge overall. And we all start somewhere.

Personally ... I think, just continue on and play as you think you should play. And of course you could find a teacher who interests you and who's interested in what you're playing.

I hope this helps ...



Last edited by Mark Polishook; 01/13/15 08:59 AM.
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Hi Mark,

That video is from a 2003 recital - between 1995 and 2003 I only did about one month total practice for various performances, so by then my playing had slipped quite a bit, and hence nothing virtuosic was attempted on that 2003 recital except for Leschetizky's Intermezzo in Octaves which is light fare and only somewhat tricky or challenging. When I am form and good pianistic condition I can do much better.

Most teachers, in my experiences, want to impose their own ideas of music interpretation upon a student - in the jazz world it probably is not that way, in the classical world it is very much so. So while one can learn many things from an accomplished classical pianist, one also is required to sacrifice one's individuality to do it, which in my opinion is too much of a downside for a pianist who already has been in the private studio of a concert pianist. Conservatory environments in particular are highly orderly, and music interpretations aren't allowed which challenge the established dictums of classical music interpretation starting back around the 1950s. For some reason, it was okay for pianists before then, and also for the composers of the past who themselves often were pianists, to issue new versions of compositions, and even to improvise new interpretations on the spot, but for some reason this freedom seems to be no longer tolerated.

I can't even count high enough accurately to tell you how many times a music professor has said to me, "but it is not in the score!".

I'll do better going forward, and have been rebuilding my technique back to the 1995 level, so maybe the next round of videos at least won't come across as amateurish.

There will be some jazz and ragtime as well, including an original jazz-type composition which really is just an outline/sketch of ideas as the basis of whatever a willing jazz or classical pianist would do with it, and those things definitely will be posted in the non-classical recordings forum here for critique.

Thanks for listening and for your advice with observations!


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Originally Posted by EM Deeka
So what rules were broken ??

Adding or removing notes, different dynamics including sometimes an inversion of the published dynamics, changing registers and part writing, modified pedaling including use of all three pedals, shortening or lengthening some beats and also the number of beats in some measures, not keeping to traditional methods of "steam roller" type phrasing, altering rhythms, and not having traditional tempos and not keeping to an unchanging tempo throughout a composition or movement.

Those aren't the rules, they are some of the things I did to break them!

I was threatened with an "F" once for the way I played Beethoven, after which I withdrew myself from the school.

I'm not sure what the legality is of a music professor giving a student a "F" on the basis of personal, emotional and subjective reasons, nothing to do with a student's technical ability such as with scales and arpeggios, but I chose to go my own way . . . in life it often is important and wisest to just let things go.

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Thanks for the details. Could you tell us more about the audience reaction to such musical excursions ??

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The only people who have to do things by the book are the classical people. The rest of us know that it's okay to play how you want. The video you posted sounds like crap in a classical context, but outside the classical context it can be whatever you want it to be. Sometimes deliberately sounding discordant and harsh is the right thing to do at that moment.

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Michael,
playing Bach in a contemporany way is not just turning down the tempo, changing the volume etc.. Your are still playing originally the same notes. You did not improvise the theme nor nothing else.
You have to elaborate the thematic of the theme and the contrapunctus. If you don't understand this basic ideas of bach you won't be able to improvise over it.

Here is my idea of interpretation of Bach's wonderful ideas:
Bach Inventio #14

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Originally Posted by Cudo

Here is my idea of interpretation of Bach's wonderful ideas:
Bach Inventio #14


Nice. Great choice on the electric organ, keeping in the theme of pipe organ but modern

What I would add to what Armin said is that to do what he suggests, you need to know your harmony and your voicings. Armin includes this in his video so he's already done the legwork for you! Take a look at his transcription and study it.

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Greetings, Mr Sayers -

I thought the video was a work of art, with some key elements intrinsic to the experience provided by the moving camera and the distortion in the bass registers in the recording (or maybe my playback) as it got loud. Maybe the kind of video you might see exhibited at the centre george pompidou beaubourg (Paris).

I definitely got some mental imagery of a scene, maybe outdoor suburbia. Then, as you started to take it away (getting loud, distorted, etc), it's like Godzilla walking through the town, destroying things. Then, afterwards, things settle, but with a bent traffic light pole swinging derelict, and a fade out terminates the scene.

I don't know if that's what you were looking for, but, that's what I got out of it. Word of warning though, it is not the kind of thing I (personally) would go back multiple times to listen & view, but it had its effect when viewed.

Best wishes-


phacke

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Originally Posted by phacke
Greetings, Mr Sayers -

I thought the video was a work of art, with some key elements intrinsic to the experience provided by the moving camera and the distortion in the bass registers in the recording (or maybe my playback) as it got loud. Maybe the kind of video you might see exhibited at the centre george pompidou beaubourg (Paris).

I definitely got some mental imagery of a scene, maybe outdoor suburbia. Then, as you started to take it away (getting loud, distorted, etc), it's like Godzilla walking through the town, destroying things. Then, afterwards, things settle, but with a bent traffic light pole swinging derelict, and a fade out terminates the scene.

I don't know if that's what you were looking for, but, that's what I got out of it. Word of warning though, it is not the kind of thing I (personally) would go back multiple times to listen & view, but it had its effect when viewed.

Best wishes-

Hi phacke,

I am glad you liked it! You are right, there isn't much depth to the interpretation that would sustain repeat listening, it is more something just to surprise an audience and to make sure they are awake!


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Originally Posted by Cudo
Michael,
playing Bach in a contemporany way is not just turning down the tempo, changing the volume etc.. Your are still playing originally the same notes. You did not improvise the theme nor nothing else.
You have to elaborate the thematic of the theme and the contrapunctus. If you don't understand this basic ideas of bach you won't be able to improvise over it.

Here is my idea of interpretation of Bach's wonderful ideas:
Bach Inventio #14

Hi Cudo,

Thanks for sharing that! As you know, I am all for jazz versions of the classics.

You are right, the improvisatory elements from me keep fairly close to the essentials of form, harmony, et c., of the original. With the works of the old masters I try to preserve an image of the original. I do compose and also do pure improvisation - many of my compositions really are notated improvisations, though some music also is composed just sitting at a desk.

As with the video below, the composition really was an improvisation which diverted briefly in the middle into material from another improvisation/composition, and then proceeded with an improvised finale.

The pianist isn't myself, it is played by Tim Adrianson with some small changes. He is a fine interpreter of music and contributes to these forums.

[video:youtube]mqGnrcke7Dc[/video]


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Originally Posted by EM Deeka
Thanks for the details. Could you tell us more about the audience reaction to such musical excursions ??

Hi EM Deeka,

Reactions have tended to be quite positive although there is always the occasional music director who might act like I have the bubonic plague, and there is always the person in the audience who flails his arms about and is shaking his head.

Programs always either are hyphenated, e.g. "Bach-Sayers" for example, or the advertising indicates in advance that what will be heard are not standard interpretations - but then some persons come anyhow and get angry because it is not standard.

Going forward I'm just going to bill myself as a 19th century type pianist (and will be attired as one, too). Some persons still will show up, knowing this, and become angry. I can't make everyone happy, but I do need to be happy with what I choose to do.

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Michael you might want to check out Robert Levin who improvises on Mozart pieces in the style that Mozart himself improvised on his own pieces. He's part of a group that attempts to recreate 17-19th century classical music using original instruments and such. You could talk to Levin or study what he's doing in order to get your own ideas on how to do it.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 01/14/15 03:48 PM.
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Hi Michael,

Thanks for the suggestion!

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