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Verdi, Strauss & Debussy (Read 3187 times)

Offline lava

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Verdi, Strauss & Debussy
« on: November 26, 2005, 02:25:56 PM »
Hi all,

I've got 3 live recordings I'd like to share.

Two weeks ago I did a competition (my very first) together with a soprano. We just met 1 month before so I learned 2 pieces (Verdi and Strauss) quickly. The competion was for amateur musicians only (the girl and I have both studied law). Unfortunately we didn't win, but might come back next year.  ;)

"Caro Nome" is a beautiful aria by Verdi from the opera "Rigoletto". The performance itself was ok, but has been much better during repetitions. In Verdi we were too nervous so we went wrong a few times.   >:( If I think back Verdi was a little bit too difficult for both of us to learn in a short period.

"Spiel ich die Unschuld vom Lande" comes from "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss. This piece has several musical sections in which the soprano sings 3 different characters.

Dr. Gradus ad Parnassum (piano solo) comes from the Children's Corner by Debussy. This was not played for public. It was just an unprepared recording test and it has too much reverb because of my pedalling and the church in which it was recorded. There are 1 or 2 wrong notes. 

Comments welcome!

Lava

Offline kelly_kelly

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Re: Verdi, Strauss & Debussy
«Reply #1 on: November 26, 2005, 06:23:32 PM »
I listened to the Debussy, and my main complaint was that it was a little slow for my taste. However, I liked it in general.
It all happens on Discworld, where greed and ignorance influence human behavior... and perfectly ordinary people occasionally act like raving idiots.

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Offline lava

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Re: Verdi, Strauss & Debussy
«Reply #2 on: November 26, 2005, 06:42:42 PM »
It can be played at different speeds. Usually I would play it a couple of times untill it goes REALLY fast and perfect.  ;D

Offline gaer

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Re: Verdi, Strauss & Debussy
«Reply #3 on: November 27, 2005, 03:44:10 AM »


Dr. Gradus ad Parnassum (piano solo) comes from the Children's Corner by Debussy. This was not played for public. It was just an unprepared recording test and it has too much reverb because of my pedalling and the church in which it was recorded. There are 1 or 2 wrong notes. 

Comments welcome!

Lava
Lava, I don't have measure numbers in my score, but check out measures 7-10. I'm pretty sure you are playing an extra note in the RH ascending, a G, and that makes it a tuplet, a group of 5 on beat two. This is the only real "mistake" I heard, because I'm assuming any other wrong notes are just things that happen when you are recording live.

I do think you will want to play this faster, later, but I always think it is great that people play a little slowly to make sure that things are right. Speed usually comes in time. I realize the sound is very live, but I would recommend less pedal. The first measure says "egál et sans sécheresse", which technically might indicate a good deal of pedal (evenly and without "dryness"), but I think Debussy is usually over-pedaled.

You see, the problem is that no notes are marked to be held except the bass note in the beginning, then in measure 3 and 4 there are clear indications that the top notes should not be held with the pedal, since they are eight notes followed by rests. Yet in measures 5 and 6, suddenly the stemmed up notes are quarters, and if you add pedal HERE, it clearly shows the contrast between two touches. In many other places, choice of not to pedal or to pedal is totally up to the performer, I think. You might experiment with playing the whole piece with no pedal, then the whole piece WITH pedal, then try no pedal in some measures and lots in others. I think this adds a great deal of tone color and contrast.

What do you think?  :)

Gaer

Offline lava

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Re: Verdi, Strauss & Debussy
«Reply #4 on: November 27, 2005, 09:53:15 AM »
Thanks for your comments, Gaer.

Lava, I don't have measure numbers in my score, but check out measures 7-10. I'm pretty sure you are playing an extra note in the RH ascending, a G, and that makes it a tuplet, a group of 5 on beat two. This is the only real "mistake" I heard, because I'm assuming any other wrong notes are just things that happen when you are recording live.

HAHA  You might be right. ;D I always play this piece from memory and then these mistakes come into it unnoticed. My teacher has pointed at the same measures, she thought that I didn't count well enough. If I play slow I don't make the mistake.

I do think you will want to play this faster, later, but I always think it is great that people play a little slowly to make sure that things are right. Speed usually comes in time. I realize the sound is very live, but I would recommend less pedal. The first measure says "egál et sans sécheresse", which technically might indicate a good deal of pedal (evenly and without "dryness"), but I think Debussy is usually over-pedaled.

This was played on a Yamaha grand in a empty church. I am used to play it on a dry piano in a small room where pedalling gives a warmer sound. Normally I play dr. Gradus really fast without pedal (except middle section, measures 24-44). But if I had to perform this for public, I would choose a nice average speed. I know some recordings which are really too fast. 

You see, the problem is that no notes are marked to be held except the bass note in the beginning, then in measure 3 and 4 there are clear indications that the top notes should not be held with the pedal, since they are eight notes followed by rests. Yet in measures 5 and 6, suddenly the stemmed up notes are quarters, and if you add pedal HERE, it clearly shows the contrast between two touches. In many other places, choice of not to pedal or to pedal is totally up to the performer, I think. You might experiment with playing the whole piece with no pedal, then the whole piece WITH pedal, then try no pedal in some measures and lots in others. I think this adds a great deal of tone color and contrast.

Well thanks for your advice about the pedal in the first measures.  It's very difficult to play the different notes (4ths / 8th+rest) perfect without pedal.  I have also experimented with 4 short pedals per measure to achieve a similar effect. And I support the idea of pedalling freedom to the performer ;).
 
Please listen to the piano+voice pieces too! The girl is amazing.

Lava