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I've been poking at this for the better part of a year at home, finally convinced myself to record it last weekend. Would love to know what you think:


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I'm surprised nobody has commented on this performance. I think it's beautiful. Excellent control, real attention to detail, and technically solid. This is not an easy piece; in fact, it's pretty monumental! But despite the challenges, you manage to bring out most of the expressive nuances and you capture the heartrending. almost Schubertian sadness of this late masterpiece.

One little thing that surprised me every time it happens: the E-D#-E motif in the first bar and elsewhere. Is there a reason why you double dot the E quaver/eighth note? I don't think there's any edition that has it written the way you play it. Maybe a teacher's suggestion? I prefer it played strictly in time, unless you have some insight that I'm unaware of.

Anyway, great job. This is one of those pieces that takes a really long time to perfect, so I think it's great you've been at it for a year. The hard work has paid off.


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Thank you for that.

Regarding the double-dotted interpretation — would you believe I've been playing it for a year and never noticed that I was doing that? I've tweaked just about everything I can think of in my interpretation, but I don't think it once occurred to me I was playing the D# late. Definitely makes me wonder what my other blind spots are 😶. Thanks for pointing it out — now I'm very glad I posted it here :-).

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Terrific playing! I was surprised by the big tempo change around 8:40?

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really outstanding performance!!!
I liked the last big tempo change.


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Originally Posted by zonzi
really outstanding performance!!!
I liked the last big tempo change.
But it's not marked in the score as far as I know.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by zonzi
really outstanding performance!!!
I liked the last big tempo change.
But it's not marked in the score as far as I know.

No it isn't, based on the Henle Urtext. There are several crescendos in that passage so I attributed the tempo surge to excitement and an attempt to create more drama. But I think it's too much; not what one would call "historically informed", perhaps?


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It is definitely not historically informed. It is a holdover from when I was playing the whole piece much too fast. I don't tend to think of Andante as a particularly slow tempo, and was trying to get each 3/4 bar to feel like a walking tempo, rather than each crotchet, which felt painfully slow the first several times I slowed it down.

As I reworked the piece at a slower tempo, I really liked how playing that final section at the faster tempo made it stick out much more as a cadenza of sorts — it is much more full of flowing semiquavers than the rest of the piece, and playing them quickly makes the return of the main motifs more prominent, rising above the flowing semiquavers in a way that I really like.

That said, there's no historical basis or argument for it, and none of the professional recordings I can find include it. My late piano teacher almost certainly would not have been impressed. And I doubt I would have really thought of that section as a cadenza if I hadn't been playing the whole piece too fast for months and realised how much those flowing semiquavers can really feel like one of the concertos.

Thank you for listening :-)

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Also, @SiFi, I just realised the semiquavers (and my faster tempo) in the "cadenza" force me to drop those double dots in the main motif, since I now have a rhythm to slot them into ;-) Even more of a mystery that I didn't pick up on that detail at some point.

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Originally Posted by Jun-Dai
It is definitely not historically informed. It is a holdover from when I was playing the whole piece much too fast. I don't tend to think of Andante as a particularly slow tempo, and was trying to get each 3/4 bar to feel like a walking tempo, rather than each crotchet, which felt painfully slow the first several times I slowed it down.

As I reworked the piece at a slower tempo, I really liked how playing that final section at the faster tempo made it stick out much more as a cadenza of sorts — it is much more full of flowing semiquavers than the rest of the piece, and playing them quickly makes the return of the main motifs more prominent, rising above the flowing semiquavers in a way that I really like.

That said, there's no historical basis or argument for it, and none of the professional recordings I can find include it. My late piano teacher almost certainly would not have been impressed. And I doubt I would have really thought of that section as a cadenza if I hadn't been playing the whole piece too fast for months and realised how much those flowing semiquavers can really feel like one of the concertos.

Thank you for listening :-)
I enjoyed your sped up last section(not meaning I preferred it to a traditional speed) although I knew from hearing other performances that this was not indicated in the score. As long as you're not playing the piece in a competition or audition, I don't see anything wrong with your choice, and I was sure it had been a conscious choice.

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Originally Posted by Jun-Dai
Also, @SiFi, I just realised the semiquavers (and my faster tempo) in the "cadenza" force me to drop those double dots in the main motif, since I now have a rhythm to slot them into ;-) Even more of a mystery that I didn't pick up on that detail at some point.

Yes, I did happen to notice that. Actually, I am highly impressed that you could control the melody so well when it transfers to the left hand, even to the extent of being able to shape the rising chromatic scale at the new speed. I still think it would sound better at the previous tempo, however; I'm sure you could preserve the drama without the velocity. But hey, it's your performance. You designed it, and you sell it well.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by zonzi
really outstanding performance!!!
I liked the last big tempo change.
But it's not marked in the score as far as I know.
I suppose the general rule is that you can do every thing that is not marked against.
I understand there are people who believe they can do only if they are told to do.


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Originally Posted by zonzi
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by zonzi
really outstanding performance!!!
I liked the last big tempo change.
But it's not marked in the score as far as I know.
I suppose the general rule is that you can do every thing that is not marked against.
That's definitely not the rule.

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Originally Posted by zonzi
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by zonzi
really outstanding performance!!!
I liked the last big tempo change.
But it's not marked in the score as far as I know.
I suppose the general rule is that you can do every thing that is not marked against.
I understand there are people who believe they can do only if they are told to do.
It's not quite so simple. Generally, you interpret what's written in the score, which means that you take all the expressive markings and try to recreate a coherent whole. This means that certain expressive markings will also not be taken literally, you might play piano at the volume level of a mezzoforte, for example. Or you'll need to figure out what staccatos under a pedal marking imply. And so on. At the same time, if you play using expressive markings as if programmed by a midi, you are actually more wrong than someone who simply takes some liberties with the score. After all, it was common to improvise or embellish pieces in the nineteenth century.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by zonzi
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by zonzi
really outstanding performance!!!
I liked the last big tempo change.
But it's not marked in the score as far as I know.
I suppose the general rule is that you can do every thing that is not marked against.
I understand there are people who believe they can do only if they are told to do.
It's not quite so simple. Generally, you interpret what's written in the score, which means that you take all the expressive markings and try to recreate a coherent whole. This means that certain expressive markings will also not be taken literally, you might play piano at the volume level of a mezzoforte, for example. Or you'll need to figure out what staccatos under a pedal marking imply. And so on. At the same time, if you play using expressive markings as if programmed by a midi, you are actually more wrong than someone who simply takes some liberties with the score. After all, it was common to improvise or embellish pieces in the nineteenth century.
One can follow all the markings in the score and still interpret the score and have a perfectly musical performance. That does not mean one has to, and small changes from the marked dynamics, articulations, etc. are done all the time by great pianists. The increased tempo used in the performance of the Mozart on this thread would be considered an extreme change from what's in the score and could cause a problem in a competition or audition. It's not a problem at all for a post on PW. It just becomes a point for discussion, and the OP was well aware of what he was doing.

A human would have a very difficult time playing like a midi because the would for starters mean an absolutely robotic tempo which most humans can't do or don't naturally do. It would also mean zero shaping of phrases which is again very unnatural. I think it would also mean very little voicing since at least the midi recordings I've heard don't do that. So following the score is not the same as playing like a midi.

If the composer has marked both staccato and pedal it means that he wants you to use pedal but use the hand and finger motions normally associated with staccato. Some think this gives a different sound than just using pedal without the additional articulation.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/14/21 04:11 PM.
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If the composer has marked both staccato and pedal it means that he wants you to use pedal but use the hand and finger motions normally associated with staccato. Some think this gives a different sound than just using pedal without the additional articulation.

That's because it does. smile


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For me the discussions above is the success of this approach.


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So cleanly played and so nicely articulated.

Thank you for sharing.

Regards,


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Very well played. The piece comes out beautifully. If I may comment on a couple of minor points, I think you could certainly give it just a little more of andante character. A very slight increase of tempo and accentuation would work just as well. Of course there are much slower versions as well. So it is just my preference.

In certain places like the beginning or when you repeat between 4:20 and 4:25, I sense just a little too much of a slow down. The melody is so simple and pure that you could let it flow and end very simply; I think an extremely small breathing is just enough. By slowing down, it sort of breaks the purity of it.

But thank you for this wonderful version.

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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Very well played. The piece comes out beautifully. If I may comment on a couple of minor points, I think you could certainly give it just a little more of andante character. A very slight increase of tempo and accentuation would work just as well. Of course there are much slower versions as well. So it is just my preference.

In certain places like the beginning or when you repeat between 4:20 and 4:25, I sense just a little too much of a slow down. The melody is so simple and pure that you could let it flow and end very simply; I think an extremely small breathing is just enough. By slowing down, it sort of breaks the purity of it.

But thank you for this wonderful version.

BTW, it is one of my favorite Mozart piece, and in fact one of my favorite piano piece in the whole litterature.

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