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Topic: Help me with Waldstein  (Read 5087 times)

Offline thalberg

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Help me with Waldstein
on: June 22, 2005, 05:54:38 AM
Question--in the third movement of the Waldstein sonata, when the melody and a trill must both be played by the right hand, are you supposed to strike the trill note and melody note at the same time, or is it okay to leave off the trill for a split second and strike the melody note alone like my friend Pam does?

Offline quantum

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #1 on: June 22, 2005, 05:57:52 AM
It should be ok to substitue one trill note for a melody note.  Kind of like in Op. 111.
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Offline TheHammer

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #2 on: June 22, 2005, 09:14:19 AM
Well, depends, doesn't it? First off, always try to make a mental image of the sound you want to produce. Use the score and recordings to do so. How should it sound? Obviously, Beethoven tries to make the melody more interesting (because he introduces it like 31 times! in the third movement) and the trill only makes sense if it accompanies the melody the whole time. That means: it should sound as if the you are trilling all the time. If you can play it with stopping the trill for a split of the second and then rebegin and this stop is not audible, okay. It sure is much easier. If noone notices, noone cares. Nevertheless, personally, if I would play the Waldstein, I would like to play the Waldstein, AS PERFECT AS POSSIBLE. Always strive for perfection.

Edit: On the issue of the Waldstein trill, there is another thread, in which the suggestion is made of trilling it as a measured trill, that is, 32th-notes (or faster) so you play them really regularly.
https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,3159.0.html

I disagree that this is similar to the op.111. Whereas with the Waldstein the melody possibly will drown the stopping trill, this is definatly not the case with the trills in op.111. Here, anyone will instantly notice you stopping the trill. Stopping the trill might be considered okay with the Waldstein, but will be a lethal strike to you perfomance of such a delicate piece as the last Beethoven sonata. Here you have other aspects of music, it is not just about accompanying the melody, there is a philosophical statement between the fourth and the fifth variation in which the substance of the music dissolves into mere sound.
If you are talking about the Coda (where the trill changes between being above or under the melody, measure 160 (?)), that is another story. Here you could speak of a similar situation, but I still think that, if in any sonata then in this, perfection should be striven for.

Offline thalberg

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #3 on: June 22, 2005, 05:44:28 PM
I'm really sorry, I mis-spoke.....what I really meant to have asked was what you think SOUNDS better--does it sound better to play the notes together or to leave off the trill while you play the melody note?

Offline Paul Stefan Ort

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #4 on: June 22, 2005, 06:39:10 PM
When I studied the Waldstein last movement, my teacher told me to substitue the melody notes for the trilled notes.  It will help you to make the melody "sparkle," if you don't play the trilled notes, in my opinion.  It is similar to the the beginning of the cadenza in the first movement of the Tchaikovsky concerto.

So yes, I think it sounds much better to leave off the trilled notes in the melody.

Offline Antnee

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #5 on: June 23, 2005, 01:55:18 AM
Yeah, there really isn't too much of a difference in sound if you substitute the melody from the trill. It more difficult not too and hardly makes the difference at speed. I'm working on this piece to. Fun isn't it?

-Tony-
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky

Offline Barbosa-piano

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #6 on: June 23, 2005, 03:32:41 AM
 It helps the melody to stand out, and it is easier. I think it should be okay to do it. I'm not sure if Beethoven intended to make this passage sound like a 3 hands passage, while the melody plays the trill plays at the same time... It depends on the person's taste and point of view. ;)

Mario Barbosa. 
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Offline thalberg

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #7 on: June 23, 2005, 06:08:03 AM
Okay.  I guess substituting the melody note does sound better.  You're right.  Playing the two notes together sounds kind of clunky.  And yes, Tony, this piece is super fun!

Offline TheHammer

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #8 on: June 23, 2005, 05:04:50 PM
Ah, well, let me say that this is an interpretational issue, which means it is really up to anyone. For me though, you have to trill the whole time. Explanation:

Let us do some analysis. The Waldstein sonata represents the "new way" of Beethoven piano composition, together with the Appassionata it forms the inner core of his middle period. Obviously, he has changed some things in his writing. Look at the first movement. The first theme is a steadily repeated C-Major chord, no melody, just a sound sphere, a "Klangfläche" (sorry, translation, anyone?). Also notice the "drum roll" at measure 142 and so on. What I mean, Beethoven uses the piano as a mean to produce sound, not to produce a certain melody (he does this too, of course, but these other techniques become quite predominant, considering they have not been used before). Even the runs (bar 9/23) are more a mean to display the whole "attitude" of this movement, and that is break-up, a start, a real beginning (also first theme!). The entire movement, even the rather moderate second theme, represents this impatience, again and again you find a composed accelerando in the accompanying figures, and of course the grande scene at the end of the development (after the drums...), you know, the fanfars. Anyway, this movement, for me, aims at only one thing, and that is the entrance of the Rondo-melody. Incessant on-going of the music in the first movement, the only destiny: the future. This changes witht the second mov.
Here, the impatience changes to quit and pleasant anticipation. That is also the reason, why the Introduzione has substituted the Andante Favori. Not because it was too large, that would actually fit better with the proportions of the other movements. No, it is just that after this first movement there is no room for other ideas. The music urges to this melody, now, in the second movement, it realizes that the moment is not far away and therefore it can only wait.

Now, with the beginning of the Rondo the moment is there, and we hear this incredible melody. And from that point on, Beethoven tries to not let it go, forever. The whole movement seems to me the "taking hold of the moment", an eternal "not letting go". See how many times the theme is reintroduced, nothing changes with it, there is really not happening much in the whole movement (besides the second parenthesis (is this the right word?, you know what I mean, measures 175-312)). So, what to do with the melody? And now we are back to the original question. I agree, it sounds better to leave off the trill, considering you WANT to bring the melody out. Let's see what Beethoven does with it. The first two times he brings up the theme, he uses a strange RH accompaniment. Here, the melody indeed "substitutes" the bass figures. But then, where normally something would happen to the melody, Beethoven just transposes to the F. Still, he uses the same patterns in the RH. Then, the melody is heard in octaves in the RH, whereas the LH has another accompaniment pattern, much more interesting, scales, more movement, etc. Most important, the accompaniment is heard the whole time, no melody note substituting anything. Anyway, over this, the melody still reigns, but it is already the 8th time you get to hear it in bar 43. After this, there has to happen something "newer" than just another pattern. And indeed, Beethoven (re-)introduces this really cool idea of trilling a note under the melody. Mozart or Haydn didn't do this, it is part of his "new way". And, in the LH he comes up with an even more powerful accompaniment, with 32th notes up-rising from the depths of the bass. So, what do you think does Beethoven want? Does he want you to make the melody stand out another time (9th and 10th) or do you think he wants you to show his new super-cool trill idea? This trill is essential to the movement, it electirifies it, lets it vibrate and begin to "glow". Again, as many pointed out, it really does not make much of a difference. And you can show the trill even with substituting it with the melody notes. However, I think this dissonance created by the trill brings this movement its sublimity.
In the further development of the movement you see more proof for Beethoven's unwillingness to let this melody go. In the second parenthesis there is this huge relaxed end part, kind of improvised, then the theme again, the first parenthesis repeated, but with another LH pattern, and then, no, not the end, but a grand Prestissimo, repeating the melody countless times again. It is here where I find my ultimate confidence on the matter of how to trill. At the end of the autograph Beethoven shows you how to execute the Prestissimo trill, namely either playing triplet quarter notes (six per bar) or triplet eight notes (12), with the trill beginning on the upper note (illustrated as well with the fingering at measure 485:   21). And that does mean, trilling ALL THE TIME, no leaving off of the trill (it also contradicts the idea only the G should be played while playing the melody note for the sake of consonance, rather, it shows that you really have to create this dissonance), in my Henle editions you have the Ossia-picture where you can see the trill-triplets under the melody note.

You could now argue that the Prestissimo trill is another story, because after this whole movement you really do not have to bring out the melody as strongly as previously. Well, I disagree, but that is just my opinion.

I realise that this "interpretation" attempt is nothing near complete. It just shows the broad view I have on this sonata, and lacks many missing links (I could provide, though). So please don't rant that I have missed this or that. If you disagree with a point of mine, then we should have a discussion.

Offline anda

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #9 on: June 23, 2005, 05:42:55 PM
i was going to say something about why you should play the trill continuously, but thehammer has argumented it way better then i would have. absolutely right - leave no notes out!

Offline thalberg

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #10 on: June 24, 2005, 01:30:39 AM
Okay.  I'm willing to practice the trill in a continuous manner.  But first, I have to know, has anyone here played it successfully like that?  If so, I'll know it can be done and I'll feel better while practicing.

Offline anda

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Re: Help me with Waldstein
Reply #11 on: June 24, 2005, 05:40:37 AM
i did. the main idea is: do not try to emphasize the notes in the theme, that would make it much more difficult and it's not necessary - don't worry about it, the theme will be heard anyway because it's high enough in discant. technical advice: play trill with finger #1-#2, find a subtle circular motion of the wrist for the trill and integrate the notes in the theme in this motion. (don't know if it helps you, but it helped me)

best luck
 

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