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The New Concept: Scores for All Stages of Learning

On the recent Music Education Expo in London, Piano Street presented a new concept for sheet music publication. Depending on your own level of experience and where you are in the learning process of a particular piece, you may need fingering, pedal markings, practice and performance tips, or perhaps the right opposite - a clean Urtext score. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Chopin Op 64 no 1 Trills  (Read 2427 times)
adaubre
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« on: February 18, 2010, 11:18:59 PM »

I have noticed that on a number of performances I have viewed online that there seems to be different interpretations of how trills are to be played in this piece.  In particular, the Bar 50 trill on C seems to take on two main forms as seen in the examples below:

[link expired]

(The C is essentially accented twice before playing the B natural)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWM-cQpqixU

(The C played then the trill leads to the B natural without an accent)

Any thoughts on this?  Is this strictly interpretation of the manuscript or are there
two different schools of thought.

daubre
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slow_concert_pianist
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2010, 02:11:37 AM »

I play it as a standard mordent (C/Db) with an accent on the 1st C.
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Currently rehearsing:

Chopin Ballades (all)
Rachmaninov prelude in Bb Op 23 No 2
Mozart A minor sonata K310
Prokofiev 2nd sonata
Bach WTCII no 6
Busoni tr Bach toccata in D minor
stevebob
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 04:44:08 AM »

It sounds like Barenboim plays the ornament as a four-note trill starting on the auxiliary (i.e., D♭-C-D♭-C), and Kissin plays it as a five-note trill starting on the main note (C-D♭-C-D♭-C).

There are a couple of reasons you may hear differing interpretations here (and elsewhere), including a third possibility already mentioned:  a three-note inverted mordent (C-D♭-C).

First, there's no hard-and-fast rule about whether Chopin's trills should begin on the main note or the auxiliary.  Sometimes one has a sense of which is intended from the context, sometimes a manner of execution has become accepted as standard performance practice, sometimes one guesses.

Second, Chopin frequently used the tr. sign and the zigzag sign of an inverted mordent interchangeably.  If tempo and duration of the note permit, tr. might indicate an extended trill with more than one alternation; on a note of relatively small value at fast speed, it's more likely to be the equivalent of an inverted mordent simply because, as a practical matter, there isn't time for a more elaborate ornament.

In short, there's latitude to play the trill in a number of slightly different ways.  The most important thing to know is that it must begin on the beat, regardless of the number of alternations or whether you start on the main note or auxiliary.  Playing the ornament such that it ends on the beat (e.g., C-D♭-C where the last C coincides with the bass note) would not be stylistically correct (although you may encounter that, too, in a professional performance by a pianist who's not well-informed).
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What passes you ain't for you.


The New Concept: Scores for All Stages of Learning

On the recent Music Education Expo in London, Piano Street presented a new concept for sheet music publication. Depending on your own level of experience and where you are in the learning process of a particular piece, you may need fingering, pedal markings, practice and performance tips, or perhaps the right opposite - a clean Urtext score. Read more >>

adaubre
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 08:22:54 AM »

Stevebob,

Thanks for your response.  It would appear that Kissin is better informed than Barenboim on the matter of where the trill
should start. 
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stevebob
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2010, 01:17:16 PM »

Now that I've listened to that passage again in each clip, I suppose one might justifiably conclude that.  I do think Kissin's trill is much more elegant!  I dislike that Barenboim accentuates the final note of the trill, which creates the impression it's being played before the beat; perhaps he would claim (or, in any event, should be permitted) some artistic license there.  Smiley

Here are the links once again, with deep linking to the passage in question:

Barenboim - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kfibWlWeP4#t=0m48s

Kissin - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWM-cQpqixU#t=0m58s

I've become conditioned not to be unduly upset by unsettling ornaments, though, or to judge an entire performance based on that point.  I would offer the example of an extended trill with a prefix or vorschlag (typically a double appoggiatura that leads into the trill), as in the beginning of Chopin's Nocturne Op. 55 No. 2.  Every source I've read about the execution of such a trill states unequivocally that the prefix begins on the beat; in every professional recording I've heard to date, even Rubinstein, it anticipates the beat instead.

A possible explanation I've considered is that the musician may be consciously choosing to play something the way he or she believes the audience expects to hear it.  It's a regular occurrence in the evolution of language that a decidedly incorrect variant becomes so widespread and popularly embraced that it's believed to be correct—and the erstwhile correct form would then be thought "wrong."  (I'm so inured to hearing "dissect" pronounced DYE-sect on television that I might fall out of my chair if I somebody actually said "dis-SECT" instead.)
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gali
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 04:46:20 PM »

I would love for you to check out my Inspirational PIANO Music.  I hope you like it.

http://www.itunes.apple.com/us/album/un-sonido-de-amor/id352878151
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