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Belated London Premiere for Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel on International Women’s Day

As part of its special day of programming for International Women’s Day, BBC Radio 3 broadcasted a live performance of the Easter Sonata, a major piano work which until recently had been attributed to Felix Mendelssohn, but is now proved to be the work of his sister Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Quick question about Moonlight Sonata Mov 3  (Read 5739 times)
teran
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« on: October 25, 2012, 03:38:49 PM »

So I was just curious about what sort of metronome mark is sort of the absolute minimum to maintain the effect.

My old fashioned clockwork metronome says presto starts at 168, and I wouldn't say that's necessarily unplayable for me by any means, but when I play at such speeds I find any mistake really sends me crashing and burning.

So yeah I suppose back to the question of what the absolute minimum is in case I'm nervous when asked to perform and more likely to slip up.

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piano sheet music of Sonata 14 (Moonlight)
emrysmerlin
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 01:40:26 AM »

I've played moonlight mvt.3. It's not that difficult unless you have really small hands. It's also one of those pieces that I think you should play it fast than slow, even though it would then require a ridiculous amount of hand stamina.

I've known 2 ways of playing the movement. One is best demonstrated by Kempff's rendition, while the other is to hold the pedal down all the way, which is way easier in terms of musicality, though more straining for the right hand. Which one are you planning to do?
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j_menz
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 02:40:46 AM »

the other is to hold the pedal down all the way, which is ... straining for the right hand.

Shouldn't you be using your foot?
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"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant
chopin2015
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 02:59:03 AM »

Shouldn't you be using your foot?
Cheesy
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"Beethoven wrote in three flats a lot. That's because he moved twice."
ajspiano
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2012, 03:21:41 AM »

the other is to hold the pedal down all the way, which is way easier in terms of musicality

To be honest, I hardly see how pedalling over everything is easier in terms of musicality..  firstly, because doing so doesn't excuse you from exercising a level of control over the physical touch, and secondly.. because choosing to pedal everything, rather than pedal more precisely, would indicate a lack musicality in general.

...

OP, perhaps you should decide on what tempo you would like to play it at and then do the practice to ensure you can? do you have a performance coming up that you think you will be unable to adequately prepare for?

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teran
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2012, 03:25:24 PM »

I've played moonlight mvt.3. It's not that difficult unless you have really small hands. It's also one of those pieces that I think you should play it fast than slow, even though it would then require a ridiculous amount of hand stamina.

I've known 2 ways of playing the movement. One is best demonstrated by Kempff's rendition, while the other is to hold the pedal down all the way, which is way easier in terms of musicality, though more straining for the right hand. Which one are you planning to do?

Wait are you talking about the first or third movement? Asking because pedalling the entirety of the third movement seems well... flat out wrong. You wouldn't be able to distinguish the staccato accompaniment in the left hand, and it would detract from the impact from the big chords at thend of the arpeggio sequence, with regards to the main subject anyway.

@ajspiano: Ideally I'd like to play it at around 176bpm because I feel that gives the arpeggios a really nice flowing feeling up to the chords, but for now I'm only really comfortable playing it at 160. Thankfully I don't have an actual performance of it coming up (I'm way too jittery for something like that), but sadly people around me like to talk about whatever it is I'm tackling, and learning something as well known as this sonata basically means I will have to play it for someone at some point or another.

I'm just really really terrible at maintaining focus and precision when I feel any semblance of scrutiny, so I'd like to be able to at least feel so comfortable in my perfomance that my jittery hands won't go completely beserk trying to keep up with such a physically intense movement.

So yeah kinda why I was wondering what I could get away with.
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emrysmerlin
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2012, 11:00:47 AM »

No I'm definitely referring to the 3rd mvt. I would never, ever dare destroy the first mvt. like that. But yes, I have heard professionals who would completely hold down the pedal while playing the arpeggios.

Quote
firstly, because doing so doesn't excuse you from exercising a level of control over the physical touch, and secondly.. because choosing to pedal everything, rather than pedal more precisely, would indicate a lack musicality in general.

What I'm saying about putting the pedal down throughout the whole piece is an exaggeration of pedaling until one strikes the two chords at the end of each.... arpeggio? which is very annoying and difficult for me to describe. It certainly is less perfect if you put the pedal down the whole time, though the touch is actually much easier to execute, since it is only a whole glob of notes. The only hard bit is that you would have to alter the tempo all the time, but then that comes naturally.

Shouldn't you be using your foot?

 Tongue
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ajspiano
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2012, 11:53:50 PM »

It certainly is less perfect if you put the pedal down the whole time, though the touch is actually much easier to execute, since it is only a whole glob of notes.

My point was actually that you could use the pedal throughout (over the areas you describe) and not make it sound like a whole glob of notes..  ..if you maintain control over the touch, and regulate the use of pedal with any level of thought.

Depressing the pedal doesn't 'fix' the tone of the instrument, how you depress the keys still matters.. and the pedal can be used throughout a passage without it being completely depressed, or only depressed once.
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emrysmerlin
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2012, 08:38:16 AM »

My point was that there is a version where it sounds like a whole glob of notes, which, although was not what Beethoven wanted, is how some professionals do it.
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