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Beauty and Hope in the 21st Century

The recently published compilation “Beauty and Hope in the 21st Century” contains contemporary solo piano pieces from many internationally renowned composers. Nikolas Sideris and Editions Musica Ferrum generously give access to complete scores of new piano pieces from the compilation that are available to download and print for Piano Street members. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Chopin Ballades 1 & 2, video recordings  (Read 2147 times)
thesixthsensemusic
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« on: October 05, 2013, 04:47:18 AM »

Hi everyone,

This week I got a visit by my friend who has (unlike me) a good video camera, and this is the result. The only thing I myself are rather unhappy with is the wrong note at the end of the first scales upwards at the end of the 1st Ballade. Might be just a small albeit stupid mistake but apart from that I was quite happy with both of them.




I do know the video quality of the 2nd Ballade is bad, that was due to it being recorded under dim light around midnight so we couldn't really help it I'm afraid...

I do hope you all enjoy hearing them as much as I enjoyed rehearsing them.

Kind regards from Holland,

Peter
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piano sheet music of Ballade 1

piano sheet music of Ballade 2
awesom_o
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 05:24:23 PM »

You've done some very good work getting this together. I would say overall your touch is a bit brutish for the style but it could be partially the instrument. You had some very creative musical ideas, I must say.

Congratulations on your performance of these challenging works! Now time to work on numbers 3 and 4, and let these ones hang out on the back burner of the stove for a little while. The low simmer might improve the flavour over time more than anything else.
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swagmaster420x
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 06:16:21 PM »

this is just from the 1st ballade
sometimes it feels like you're pressing the keys too harshly, but at other points in the song you have a more delicate touch, i suggest you apply this kind of articulation more often in your playing of the ballade - maybe you can accomplish this by loosening your wrist more?
great playing, though
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thesixthsensemusic
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2013, 12:33:32 AM »

Thanks! Yes, my touch can be a bit brutish sometimes, it's something I always had issues with, although I do pay a lot of attention to avoiding it. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Mostly due to my ineptness at being able to concentrate myself long enough I guess.

But another problem is the recording: I actually recorded both pieces directly from my piano earlier on, when I compare the waveshapes in Adobe Audition it shows the camera flattens out all dynamics (e.g. overcompression, without real distortion so it's some kind of setting,) except in the softest parts, unlike the audio recordings.

Glad to see some kind words being said about my playing! I will defo study and record Ballades 3 and 4 too at some point, no.4 would be the ultimate challenge to my patience and resourcefulness I  must say though, so it will be a matter of at least a few months. Smiley

But, first things first, I got to finish my current projects, Schumann's Carnaval and Beethoven's op.81a.
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j_menz
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2013, 02:51:52 AM »

Nicely done on both.

I think both need to mellow somewhat, but you're off to a great start.

That said, in both of them the start is the easiest, seemingly, but in both cases is actually the hardest to get right. You need to practice both more - you've devoted most of your practice to the more technically "flashy bits", but both Ballades depend on a thoroughly well though out and realised opening section and in each case yours didn't convince me.

The piano and the recording technology aren't doing you any favours, but they are both doing a reasonably good job.

With these Ballades, perhaps especially the first (though maybe I just haven't heard a fully satisfying second), you should at least give the impression that you've opened your chest and bled your soul out through the piano. You looked like you'd sweated a bit, so not quite there yet.

Your technique is up to the job, so get to work on that feeling. Play around with them, and don't be afraid to go slower. Don't be afraid to completely stuff them up at times (in practice). They're remarkably robust, as it happens.

If it's any consolation, I've always thought that those bloody scale runs at the end of the first were about the most annoying thing Chopin ever wrote. Perhaps he needed to justify the dodgy ending of 25/11?

You've managed highly creditable performance of these, and I do hope you keep them going. Let them mature with you - they will reward you, and you them, for the time.
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"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant
marcuse
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2013, 09:13:02 PM »

Very nice playing! (Only watched ballade no. 1)

Although sometimes I had the feeling that you were slightly rushing and needed to slow down a bit.
And some parts I felt needed some more subtlety.

You should have a look at Rubinstein teaching a bit about the first ballade here (watch part 2 aswell):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlBmdNm3uhc

Anyways, good luck with your further practicing of these masterpieces.

Kind Regards,

Eric
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thesixthsensemusic
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2013, 06:31:16 PM »

Glad you guys liked it.

There's plenty left to work on, both pieces are close to the limit of what I'm currently capable of, the ideas are there but my technique just is not good enough to leave me any manoevering space musically during difficult parts. And even during easier parts I'm often too anxious to play wrong notes that I sometimes lose track of the big picture so to say.

I guess I'll just need to let them ripen a bit indeed, and keep working on them periodically for another few months, or years even. But the responses here are very good sources of motivation to me Cheesy

@ Eric:

Would you care to check Ballade 2 too? I think that was actually better than the no. 1, I'd be interested to see what you think of it.
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