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Ravel/Charlot, Les entretiens (Read 6720 times)

Offline rachfan

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Ravel/Charlot, Les entretiens
« on: June 07, 2006, 03:45:46 AM »
From Ma Mere L'Oye in the Charlot solo transcription.  The original four-hands piano version was published in 1910 by Durand and was dedicated to Mimie and Jean Godebski.  The first performance of the four-hands version was given by Jeanne Leleu and Genevieve Durony on April 20, 1910 for the Societe Musicale Independante at the Salle Gaveau in Paris.
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline rachfan

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Re: Ravel/Charlot, Les entretiens
«Reply #1 on: May 28, 2007, 05:09:54 PM »
This piece is is not a standalone, but actually Part IV of Ravel's suite Ma Mere L'Oye.  I excerpt it here as a fleeting sound of Ravel composing in a romantic idiom.  It has incredible charm and drama, and one cannot help but like this number.  The version that I present here is Jacque Charlot's clever and effective transcription compressing Ravel's original duo-piano work into a piano solo--except that the pianist has to play both parts, thus making the transcription best suited to large hands.   :)  Comments welcome. 
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Ravel/Charlot, Les entretiens
«Reply #2 on: May 29, 2007, 12:16:42 AM »
the hammers on your piano seem kinda hard.  but, the music itself is lovely.  some of the the notes are flat on the piano.  with impressionistic music - you wouldn't think tuning would be that noticeable.  but, actually what happens is that it accentuates odd notes here and there - so they become very very important.

because of the simplicity and lovliness of the piece - we should hear it again on a perfectly tuned piano.  and, i wish i could hear beethoven's suicide piece so i will never again be plagued by hearing piano tunings at the same time as listening to a beautiful piece played well.

Offline rachfan

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Re: Ravel/Charlot, Les entretiens
«Reply #3 on: May 29, 2007, 01:16:13 AM »
Hi pianistimo,

Thanks for your comments!

This recording was made quite awhile back.  Very recently though, my 1983 Baldwin L grand was rebuilt to new specifications (with advice from a former long-time Baldwin design engineer).  The hard hammers you refer to (and yeah, they were quite bright, if not shrill) were Baldwin-specified Renner hammers--a bad choice!!!  They have now been replaced with Ronsen Wurzen hammers.  The hammers are barely even grooved yet and require a finer voicing.  The piano was restrung as well.  The Baldwin SyncroTone strings were scrapped and replaced with Arledge Bass Strings, and the treble is now Mapes International Gold steel piano wire.  As I write this though, the piano has not yet attained tuning stability.  New strings have to stretch for awhile with several interim tunings to hit stability.  We not there yet, as the rebuild was completed less than two weeks ago.  Once the instrument settles in, I'll definitely consider doing some new recordings.  The ones I've posted here are analog technology, i.e., cassette tape recordings migrated to wav files, and then to mp3 format.  I need to do some reading on direct digital recording to the PC so I'll know what I'm doing (hopefully).  Right now I'm working on Debussy's "Reflets dans l'eau" and Bortkiewicz's Impromptu "Eros".  Maybe those can be my first new recording attempts once I have the piano fully up to snuff and the recording technical wizzardry down pat. 
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Ravel/Charlot, Les entretiens
«Reply #4 on: May 29, 2007, 01:43:48 PM »
wow.  you know a lot more about hammers and stringing than most people.  i am curious how it would sound with slightly softer hammers.  and, of course, the new strings.  i don't know much about various qualities of strings.  sure, i'd like to hear some or all of it again.  but, i know there's only so much time in the day.  maybe just the first page again.






Offline rachfan

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Re: Ravel/Charlot, Les entretiens
«Reply #5 on: May 29, 2007, 09:14:26 PM »
Hi pianistimo,

You question needs the "long answer" so here goes:

Well, the jury is not fully done deliberating yet, but from what I can hear during the breaking in period now is that the rebuild has definitely been an improvement.  Basically what happened in the early 80s was that Yamaha was poised to introduce its Model S4, another 6'3" piano to compete with the Baldwin L, same size.  The Yamaha had a more powerful sound--but not to say it was better.  The Baldwin engineers at the time decided to tamper with the signature sound of the L--thus tinkering with the scale design and changing to the harder Baldwin-specified Renner hammers, etc. 

Del Fandrich (of Fandrich Piano fame) had been a design engineer for Baldwin for years previous to that.  In fact, while there, Del found the original plans from the very early 1900s for the Model L in the Baldwin engineering archives and got management approval to build it right on the factory floor, which he did.  When it was finished and everyone gathered around, they were astounded by its sound and beauty.  Del's personal impression was that the L was originally intended not so much as a solo instrument, but more of a blending ensemble piano, e.g., for piano quartets, etc.  In 1983, the then designers threw all that out the window to try to compete with the Yamaha new S4.  Bastardizing the piano was not at all a good idea!  So I've done my best to restore the piano more to what the original designers intended, and the sound that I recall as a kid.  (In the million student recitals I played in, at any venue you were either playing a Steinway or a Baldwin.  At that time Mason & Hamlin was owned by Aeolian, and had gone way downhill.) 

FYI, the major hammer makers today are Renner, Ronsen, Abel, and Isaacs.  Del felt that the today's Ronsen Wurzen hammers would best approximate the original designers' intentions.  On bass strings, I wanted to get away from Baldwin's SyncroTone strings, as I found them rather dull and listless.  They, incidentally, are manufactured for Baldwin by Mapes, whose forte is really treble, not bass, strings.  Arledge bass strings are considered tops by most for American pianos.  Sonderson bass strings, which are also excellent, work better on European pianos, as they seem to emphasize the fundamental rather than the over- and undertones that we like here in the States.  For treble strings, Mapes IG wire is the best there is.  So I went with Arledge and Mapes IG.

Now... having said all that, the sound is a little darker and rounder rather than being piercing in the treble and tenor.  The bass is more vibrant too.  Of course, the scale design of any piano is the scale design--period.  There is nothing you can really do to affect that.  Also, where my piano is only 24 years old, there would be no reason or justification for changing out the soundboard, as it is in perfect condition.  Also, with the patented Accujust stringing system Baldwin uses, the string downbearings are much less than for Steinways or Mason & Hamlins, meaning far less string tension, such that soundboard crowns take less strain and last much longer on Baldwins. 

So... I've certainly wrought improvement, but have I worked a miracle with all this?  My piano now has a more vibrant bass and a hint of a nasal quality in the tenor, which is very nice.  The treble has extraordinary clarity without being too bright.  I'll be able to judge better once we do the first precision tuning (the strings are still stretching around the tuning pins, hitchpins and bridge posts right now) and a fine, customized voicing, which I'd like to be a tad darker.  The two ribbon felts at the tail of the piano on the treble and bass bridges need to be put in place too to kill spurious vibrations there--just a minor oversight on the part of the tech, no biggy.  So this is still a work in progress, but it's going well.   
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.