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Topic: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)  (Read 3086 times)

Offline dolcejen

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Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
on: September 12, 2005, 10:04:50 PM
Been working on this beauty for a bit now and have some technique questions:

Measure 3 (and throughout): Is it a requirement to play the notes in the bass cleff only in with the left hand or can I rearrange the notes to making for less tangle in the hands? For example, on the first chord play E G# C# in the LH and E G# C# in the right hand. I'm thinking that I shouldn't do that, that it would change the balance of the notes but just wanted to make sure).

Measures 7-8: Fingering suggestions? Do I need to make the slurs perfectly connected? If so, how do I do that?

That's it for now. I would appreciate any thoughts on this piece.

Offline bearzinthehood

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #1 on: September 12, 2005, 11:10:22 PM
Don't rearrange them.  For the three chords you mentioned, the first is RH over LH under, then it switches to LH over RH under and back to RH over LH under.  Shouldn't be a tangle, just cycle the hands.

Offline darkthrone666

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #2 on: September 13, 2005, 12:08:55 AM
This is the piece that actually got me started on the piano.  Started it as a hobby, since i was mainly a guitarist at that time, which is why it took me over 2 years to learn well
       Anyway, When I started this I was very unexperianced so, I actually switched the notes you're talking about so that the right hand would play 4 notes and the left only 2. (that actually prepared me quite a bit for the last section)  But I am going to have to agree with the former post, although as far as I am aware their is no strongly enforced rule on switching fingers.  I'm positive Rach had a reason for what he did.  It looks sweet anyway. 

Offline burobbi

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #3 on: September 13, 2005, 12:15:31 PM
yup. learn the score "as is" now. you would be really making ground-trembling changes to rearrange the notes for LH/RH. rachmaninov wrote this prelude in interlocking hands for obvious reasons. (: good luck with the prelude heh.

Offline sonatainfsharp

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #4 on: September 14, 2005, 01:39:34 AM
There are several published editions of this piece where the notes are reassigned to the hands, but WHY? I never did figure out WHY.

Offline dolcejen

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #5 on: September 14, 2005, 02:09:38 PM
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There are several published editions of this piece where the notes are reassigned to the hands, but WHY? I never did figure out WHY.

YES, can anyone explain why Rachmaninov placed the fingering in such a way and why it would make any difference if you reassigned it? Any theories or do we just explain it by saying "well, he MUST have wanted it that way for SOME reason". I suspect there is a reason but personally can't figure it out. In listening to it I can hear a slight difference in the balance of tones.

By the way, thanks everyone for the advise...

Offline rjm-uk

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #6 on: September 14, 2005, 05:13:35 PM
The fingering is like this to maintain continuity in the phrasing and colour of the later passages. I changed it when i first played it, now i stick with the original fingering, learn both and the difference becomes quite obvious.

Offline gaer

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #7 on: September 15, 2005, 12:48:36 AM
Been working on this beauty for a bit now and have some technique questions:

Measure 3 (and throughout): Is it a requirement to play the notes in the bass cleff only in with the left hand or can I rearrange the notes to making for less tangle in the hands? For example, on the first chord play E G# C# in the LH and E G# C# in the right hand. I'm thinking that I shouldn't do that, that it would change the balance of the notes but just wanted to make sure).
I don't believe rearranging the chords necessarily makes a difference in sound, because you can balance the thumb notes as you like, either way. Or if you do not have the skill to do this, it isn't going to matter. Not yet.

There is a larger problem. I would recommend that you learn the last page FIRST. Why? Because you have the same chords, only this time the are spaced an octave apart—no overlapping—and the missing notes in the chords (in the beginning) are now filled in. So if you master the last page (the return of the theme), you bascially have the same chords in the beginning, with a note left out ine the LH and RH. Since those big, powerful chords have to be nailed, since this is the climax, why not tackle this section now, since you will actually learn the whole piece faster AND it will allow you to play the biginning chords without rearranging them, since you will already have them "in the hands".
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Measures 7-8: Fingering suggestions? Do I need to make the slurs perfectly connected? If so, how do I do that?
In my opinion, yes, those chords must be connected as shown, but if you are having trouble doing so, it is most likely your pedal technique that is causing the problem. Are you careful to lift the pedal only as the new sound begins (often called overlapping pedal, really a misleading term). Then, if you want to show a slight break between phrases, you can do it by lifting the pedal a split second early, producing an effect much like a very quick breath, a change in the direction of bowing or a light tongue attack on wind instruments.

Gary

Offline bearzinthehood

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #8 on: September 15, 2005, 09:04:48 PM
Gaer pretty much got the gist of it there.  I might add that if you have a sustenato pedal then I would experiment with using it to hold the G#, that way you are free to cleanly connect the slured chords with the pedal.  This also works for measure 11 and through parts of the agitato and tempo primo.

Offline mrchops10

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #9 on: September 17, 2005, 12:21:08 AM
YES, can anyone explain why Rachmaninov placed the fingering in such a way and why it would make any difference if you reassigned it? Any theories or do we just explain it by saying "well, he MUST have wanted it that way for SOME reason". I suspect there is a reason but personally can't figure it out. In listening to it I can hear a slight difference in the balance of tones.

That's just it. Rachmaninoff was still a pianist of the old school, even though he lived in the recording era. He considered music a visual as well aural experience, because the only you could hear music was at a live performance. Many great composers write passages for visual effects. Those interlocking hands in that prelude just LOOK really cool. Take also, for example, instances of hand crossing in Liszt which are somewhat unnecessary. If you look at Rachmaninoff's prelude op. 23 #4, you'll maybe see what I mean. It begins with a sort of accompanying figuration in the left hand, and after two bars the right hand (melody) enters. It's an awkward, leaping accompaniment, so naturally many people cheat and use both hands. However, IMO this detracts from the visual effect of the right hand entrance. When preparing music for a performance, we might do well to think how we look beyond wearing fancy clothes.
"In the crystal of his harmony he gathered the tears of the Polish people strewn over the fields, and placed them as the diamond of beauty in the diadem of humanity." --The poet Norwid, on Chopin

Offline thierry13

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #10 on: September 17, 2005, 12:29:02 AM
That's just it. Rachmaninoff was still a pianist of the old school, even though he lived in the recording era. He considered music a visual as well aural experience, because the only you could hear music was at a live performance. Many great composers write passages for visual effects. Those interlocking hands in that prelude just LOOK really cool. Take also, for example, instances of hand crossing in Liszt which are somewhat unnecessary. If you look at Rachmaninoff's prelude op. 23 #4, you'll maybe see what I mean. It begins with a sort of accompanying figuration in the left hand, and after two bars the right hand (melody) enters. It's an awkward, leaping accompaniment, so naturally many people cheat and use both hands. However, IMO this detracts from the visual effect of the right hand entrance. When preparing music for a performance, we might do well to think how we look beyond wearing fancy clothes.

Take one of the slow part from Dante sonata. It is really long, and has the two hands crossed all the way. When reading i simply inverse staves, it is way better this way, and I personally don't think it really looks cool, since it's a slow part, so it seems like more of a dumb thing to watch.

Offline dolcejen

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #11 on: September 19, 2005, 09:45:04 PM
Quote
That's just it. Rachmaninoff was still a pianist of the old school, even though he lived in the recording era. He considered music a visual as well aural experience, because the only you could hear music was at a live performance. Many great composers write passages for visual effects. Those interlocking hands in that prelude just LOOK really cool. Take also, for example, instances of hand crossing in Liszt which are somewhat unnecessary. If you look at Rachmaninoff's prelude op. 23 #4, you'll maybe see what I mean. It begins with a sort of accompanying figuration in the left hand, and after two bars the right hand (melody) enters. It's an awkward, leaping accompaniment, so naturally many people cheat and use both hands. However, IMO this detracts from the visual effect of the right hand entrance. When preparing music for a performance, we might do well to think how we look beyond wearing fancy clothes.

Very good points here, things I hadn't thought at all about. I have never once considered the visual aspect of piano playing. Very fascinating to think about... shows that I am not a professional. It makes a lot of sense, though to be aware of the visual effect of the piece. Even though it might sound silly to some, I think it (the visual aspect) WOULD add to the whole understanding and absorption of the piece for the audience. Thanks for bringing this up.

Quote
I would recommend that you learn the last page FIRST. Why? Because you have the same chords, only this time the are spaced an octave apart—no overlapping—and the missing notes in the chords (in the beginning) are now filled in. So if you master the last page (the return of the theme), you bascially have the same chords in the beginning, with a note left out ine the LH and RH.

VERY GOOD point...I am already putting your advise into practice.

Does anyone know the history of the piece or the message Rachmaninov was protraying in it?

Offline a romantic

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #12 on: September 24, 2005, 10:15:46 PM
When he overheard me saying how much I liked this piece, a mentor of mine commented, "Yes, everyone does." He went on to give me his advice on playing it, but he feels that the piece is trite.  Do you feel the same way?

Offline dolcejen

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #13 on: September 24, 2005, 11:34:48 PM
When he overheard me saying how much I liked this piece, a mentor of mine commented, "Yes, everyone does." He went on to give me his advice on playing it, but he feels that the piece is trite.  Do you feel the same way?

I'm not quite sure what you mean...do I feel that this piece is trite? Oh definitely not! I think there is such a depthful beauty in it, and the fact that many love it does not trivialize it but rather confirm that it truly is a wonderful composition. I think there is such an unbearable sadness in it that is very beautiful. Some say that Rachomoninov had the fall of Russia in mind as he composed it. Any Russians out there who can help with the history of this piece?

Offline a romantic

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #14 on: September 25, 2005, 02:09:46 PM
Yes, I was asking if others felt that it was trite, and thx for your feedback.

Offline bearzinthehood

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #15 on: September 25, 2005, 08:39:43 PM
IMO the word that best describes this piece is hackneyed.  It almost means the same as trite but seems to be a more fitting description.

Offline dolcejen

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #16 on: September 26, 2005, 05:46:37 AM
Are you just trying to be argumentative?
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IMO the word that best describes this piece is hackneyed.  It almost means the same as trite but seems to be a more fitting description.
  :) :)
Why do you think it's hackneyed?

Offline bearzinthehood

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Re: Rachmaninov Prelude in c sharp minor (Op.3,No.2)
Reply #17 on: September 26, 2005, 07:22:07 PM
Why do you think it's hackneyed?

I mean exactly the definition, that it is generally overplayed among piano students.  Why do I think hackneyed fits better than trite?  Personal preference really, no reason other than that.

That being said, I still think it's a beautiful piece, and in a vacuum of exposure to classical music I suppose it would be much more interesting that it is now.
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