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Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2 (Read 8386 times)

Offline quantum

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Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
« on: September 24, 2005, 03:48:26 AM »
Recorded today. 

Piano was just tuned, and the hammers reshaped a bit.  The scale is now more even between the bichord / trichord break.  The tone changed a bit as a result, much more rounded.  The una-corda doesn't have as pronounced effect as before, I'm guessing as there is less a difference between the compacted areas of felt on the hammers.

I was trying to get some more variation in timbre within the phrasing, but not as much came out as I wanted it to.  Maybe it's just this new voicing on the piano?

Brahms - Intermezzo Op.118/2
Mic: (2x) Studio Projects B1
Interface: Edirol UA-25
Piano: Yamaha C3

Enjoy!
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

piano sheet music of Intermezzo


Offline randmc

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #1 on: September 24, 2005, 03:56:29 AM »
I liked it!!! ;D Just wondering, have you ever played Brahms Capriccio in F-sharp minor? (it seems to ignored by many pianists)

Offline gaer

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #2 on: September 24, 2005, 05:46:09 AM »
Recorded today. 

Piano was just tuned, and the hammers reshaped a bit.  The scale is now more even between the bichord / trichord break.  The tone changed a bit as a result, much more rounded.  The una-corda doesn't have as pronounced effect as before, I'm guessing as there is less a difference between the compacted areas of felt on the hammers.

I was trying to get some more variation in timbre within the phrasing, but not as much came out as I wanted it to.  Maybe it's just this new voicing on the piano?

Brahms - Intermezzo Op.118/2
Mic: (2x) Studio Projects B1
Interface: Edirol UA-25
Piano: Yamaha C3

Enjoy!

Beautiful playing.

A couple things I enjoyed: before the "B" section, in F#m, you held the last chord in the previous section a very long time. That left me hanging. Then in the B section, you barely showed the countermelody the first time, stressed it ABOVE the melody on the repeat, which I thought was very effective. I'm pretty sure I could tell when you were using the soft pedal, so unless you were unhappy with the dynamics, which seemed fine to me, I think there is no problem.

One possible misreading towards the end, bar starting with the big B7/D# chord, ABF#B in the RH. I believe you played a D natural on the last 16th, which differs from the score I'm looking at. I have never played this piece, only heard it, so I'm just scanning along. That chromatic movement sounds wrong. Could you have an error in your score? Or is there a discrepancy?

Good tuner too!

Gary

Offline didier_brest

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #3 on: September 24, 2005, 08:37:57 PM »
Nice music. Shouldf it afford wider modulation? You stay mp (I did not have a look to the score).
Anyway, I enjoyed your interpretation.

Offline zheer

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #4 on: September 24, 2005, 09:04:15 PM »
That was an outstanding performance,very expressiv,very romantic and i particularly liked the way you brought out the inner voices .I cant think of any negative things to say.This was a performance 100% about the music,please send more recordings.     

            Zheer
" Nothing ends nicely, that's why it ends" - Tom Cruise -

Offline gaer

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #5 on: September 25, 2005, 04:16:23 AM »
Nice music. Shouldf it afford wider modulation? You stay mp (I did not have a look to the score).
Anyway, I enjoyed your interpretation.
I cold not disagree more. All mp? That's absurd.

First, there is plenty of dynamic contrast. It's just not overdone. And you should look at a score before making criticism about dynamics in a performance. There are only three places where forte is in indicated. This is an introspective piece.

Offline didier_brest

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #6 on: September 26, 2005, 10:25:12 PM »
I was just expressing my own interrogation. I just listened to the same work interpreted by Hélène Grimaud. Look at both audio files here below: Quantum left, Grimaud right. Yes this work may afford more modulation. Is it better? Just a matter of personal appreciation.

Offline gaer

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #7 on: September 27, 2005, 12:45:05 AM »
I was just expressing my own interrogation. I just listened to the same work interpreted by Hélène Grimaud. Look at both audio files here below: Quantum left, Grimaud right. Yes this work may afford more modulation. Is it better? Just a matter of personal appreciation.

It's one thing to say that a piece may be interpretted many ways, which is true, of course. It is another thing to say that a performance is all mp, which may not have been what you meant. Did you mean it that way? :)

As for the Grimaud, I'd be glad to listen to it. Where is it? Also, I don't know what I was thinking but I had typed "this is not an introspective piece". I meant that it is. And even that is only an opinion.

Perhaps I lean too much in the direction of trying to understand where each performer is coming from, but I think many people have a preconceived idea of how something should sound (a particular performance or a particular persaonl interpretation). I enjoy listening for what is unique in each performance. This is why I could not vote in the thread about "favorite pianists", because there are so many performance by so many people that I find amazing.

Gary

Offline quantum

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #8 on: September 28, 2005, 05:32:55 AM »
Well thank you all for your comments.  I really appreciate them. 

randmc, no I have never played the Capriccio in F-sharp minor.  What opus is it?

Gary, you have good ears!  Yes that was a reading mistake on my part.  For some reason I thought that D was natural because the following D in the next bar was sharp.  I just didn't look back two chords to find the sharp. 

As for the mp comment.  I think I know where you're getting at.  It may have something to do with the piano or mic placement.  In the recording I hear a contrast in volume, but without enough of a corresponding contrast of changing tone colour.  In many high quality pianos, when you increase the volume the piano also responds with a change of tone colour - it is this tone colour change that also greatly aids the listeners preception of loud and soft.  I'm not hearing enough of it in my recording. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline gaer

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #9 on: September 28, 2005, 07:10:37 AM »
Gary, you have good ears!  Yes that was a reading mistake on my part.  For some reason I thought that D was natural because the following D in the next bar was sharp.  I just didn't look back two chords to find the sharp.
I catch almost any mistake if I have a score in my hand except when I'm playing. My most frequent mistakes are unmarked (repeated) accidentals and ties. :)

Isn't it ironic that we are judged by the instruments we play on and the quality with which we are recorded? I truly believe that what you are lacking in "tone color" is really due to lacking tens of thousands of dollars. I've played on truly awesome concert grands in performance a handful of times (many years ago), and those great pianos just let you do so much more!

Gary

Offline rafant

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #10 on: September 28, 2005, 03:11:45 PM »
Wonderful! It's the next piece I plan to learn and I have downloaded your lovely recording to have it as a reference of what I wish to achieve. Thanks a lot.

Offline pianowelsh

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #11 on: September 28, 2005, 03:44:23 PM »
Im thinking your problem might be your tempo being a shade on the slow side. A fraction more flow in your tempo and im sure any expressive weak spots will straighten themselves out. I could want for slighly less finger in the forte's and more of a rounded orchestral sound (but its harsh to judge you on a recording like this). I would really examine the counter melodies i found sometimes that every note was a bit too present and that you could experiment shaping them even more. I liked your chords but i think you can change the colour more when you come out of that section and make it more urgent and insistant (it needs that really - lots of repeated material). Gernerally very beautiful weel controlled playing though - good full sound and sense of the music.

Offline leahcim

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #12 on: October 01, 2005, 05:54:53 PM »
Mic: (2x) Studio Projects B1
Interface: Edirol UA-25

Out of interest, have you messed with these in an wave editor much or is it more or less how it came from the mics + Edirol?

Offline quantum

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #13 on: October 02, 2005, 07:50:35 PM »
pianowelsh, thanks for the comments.  Could you elaborate more on your point on the countermelodies.  If it sounded to present to you, what kind of sound would you have liked to hear?  In the B section there many ideas in the music to suggest that there are two prominent melodies most times.  My idea was that there are two different vocalists and each one would sing their part in turn, and sometimes they sing together as a duet. 


leahcim, I didn't mess with the tone in the audio editor - no reberb or other effects.  It's pretty much what the mics + Edirol picked up.  I did however normalize to 100% in order to maximize the dynamic range of the wav file. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline leahcim

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #14 on: October 03, 2005, 03:22:08 AM »
leahcim, I didn't mess with the tone in the audio editor - no reberb or other effects.  It's pretty much what the mics + Edirol picked up.  I did however normalize to 100% in order to maximize the dynamic range of the wav file. 

Thanks.

It's outstanding imo - moreso considering the price of the mics - [I probably should have asked in the other thread though and left this for folk to talk about the music / playing]

Offline dreamplaying

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #15 on: October 03, 2005, 04:29:28 AM »
Dear Neil:

I  have a special love for this Brahms's Intermezzo, I have several recordings of it (along with the rest of the Op 118) and certainly want to play it all.

About your performance, I have to say that I liked very much, dinamic.. I felt p, pp crescendos, diminuendos, everithing was clear, phrasing, musicality, etc, everything was worked on detail....I felt you as you played, your character, your  temperament....well, I just have a little suggestion. I strongly think there is a little of excess in expresion, with your crescendos, just try to not play them in a Rachmaninoff way. this intermezzo is like a quiet lake in a grey afternoon, clear, melancolic, lonely, inspiring, yearning...

May be you shoud hear the complete series of the Op. 118 to undestand the place this piece plays in the suite. I recommend you Willem Kempff version (Deutch Gramophone).

Congratulations

Here you soon

sincerely

Dreamplaying

Offline classicarts

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #16 on: October 04, 2005, 06:07:34 AM »
hmm..this sounds just to perfect for a home recording with 2 cheap mics and a interface.  I have compared sound quality of professtionally done recordings and I couldn't tell.  Even at times, I even thought this recording of Brahms were just as good if not better.  Quantum, either your playing tricks on us, or your doing something we don't know/telling us.  It's really hard for me to believe you got this kind of sound recording at home with 2 cheap mics with interface.   :P

Offline quantum

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #17 on: October 04, 2005, 07:20:27 AM »
dreamplaying, thanks for the comments.  Yes I've heard the whole of Op.118, but decided to learn the pieces out of order (and it is still an ongoing project).  I've heard many people play Nr. 2 - both pro and amateur -  some people decide just to skim the surface and adore the "prityness" factor while others take time to find the inner meaning and the wealth of immagery it has the potential of conveying.  I just hope I've been able to convincingly present one possible view into the piece. 

I have Kempff with both Brahms Concerti and Op. 116. 



Classicarts, your reaction is the exact reason I decided to buy these particular mics.  I did a lot of reading on the web for potential mics, and Studio Projects stood out because there are many instances of pro audio engineers hearing little difference in sound between them and those $2000 mics. 

Tricks:  well it's spliced into several sections (just like what a pro studio would do).  Just that I am recording on my own time and can do as many takes as I want before I decide I like it - no time limit, no employees to pay by the hour, no audio engineer who wants supper. 

I had a eureka moment when recording this particular piece: I figuered out how to create a zero-crossing when there isn't one.  Fade out, then fade in, but do it a verry tiny amount - probably 1/100 of a second or less.  A zero-crossing is essential for click free edit points.  Most progarms would normally have an option to snap to the nearest zero-crossing, but when you want to do really fine editing, sometimes you just have to cut in the middle of the wave. 

You don't need a $10,000 studio to get pro sound.  Just a litte bit of reading and recording technique will go a long way.  Whenever I'm at a live concert I always observe what the tech guys do, how they place their mics, what mics are used in different situations.  I'll even talk to one of them if I have the chance.  I just gain a bit of knowledge every time I do, and all this knowldge adds up. 

Mic placement is a big issue, and can make or break the sound of a recording.  You have to experiment to where your mics are capturing the best possible sound from the instrument. 

I'd encourage anyone to try out my equipment setup, as it can be done on a budget and  with a little experimentation you can achieve great sound as well.   :)
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline gaer

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #18 on: October 05, 2005, 07:50:55 AM »
I strongly think there is a little of excess in expresion, with your crescendos, just try to not play them in a Rachmaninoff way. this intermezzo is like a quiet lake in a grey afternoon, clear, melancolic, lonely, inspiring, yearning...
Ah, but here you get into taste, the personal view of the music and so on. I liked this recording. I might like the other recordings you mention too, but that's the great thing about the piano. It's not a competition (which is why all piano competitions turn me off totally and most of the winners, but that's another subject). :)

Too many people have already decided how something should be played while listening to a new interpretation rather than making an effort to understand a new (or different) point of view. I didn't hear Rachmaninov at all. I heard very clearly etched melody and countermelody, which might be overstated to some people, but I think it worked. Sounded like fine Brahms to me. :)

Gary


Offline dreamplaying

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #19 on: October 11, 2005, 03:15:39 AM »
Ah, but here you get into taste, the personal view of the music and so on. I liked this recording. I might like the other recordings you mention too, but that's the great thing about the piano. It's not a competition (which is why all piano competitions turn me off totally and most of the winners, but that's another subject). :)

Too many people have already decided how something should be played while listening to a new interpretation rather than making an effort to understand a new (or different) point of view. I didn't hear Rachmaninov at all. I heard very clearly etched melody and countermelody, which might be overstated to some people, but I think it worked. Sounded like fine Brahms to me. :)

Gary



Gary, thank you very much for your comments.
There are many points of view regarding how Brahms should sound, or how a particular piece of any composer should be performed. Do you have the same notion of Brahms than me, do I have the same notion as Kempff?, I don’t think so. I believe and feel something about this wonderful Quantum performance (based on analysis and no in just hearing recordings), and I post my comments to help the performer to reflect about some alternative ways of focusing some parts of the piece. I do not think people in the audition room listen to criticize performers just to make them to play as one likes. We  come here to discuss and to hear others’ opinion, so that we can open new horizons in piano playing. I mentioned Kempff recording because it is just an explicit reference of how I suggest approaching the crescendos issue. So let’s keep an open discussion of what we believe.

Congratulations again Quantum¡¡
 

Offline Torp

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #20 on: October 12, 2005, 03:17:14 PM »
In many high quality pianos, when you increase the volume the piano also responds with a change of tone colour - it is this tone colour change that also greatly aids the listeners preception of loud and soft.  I'm not hearing enough of it in my recording. 

Try moving the mics closer to the piano and you may pick up some more of this.  Experiment with it, but make sure you don't lose the placement and settings you've got now.  The tone that is coming across in this piece is wonderful, I'd hate for you to lose it.

leahcim, I didn't mess with the tone in the audio editor - no reberb or other effects. It's pretty much what the mics + Edirol picked up. I did however normalize to 100% in order to maximize the dynamic range of the wav file.

When you "normalize" the file you may be doing exactly the opposite of what you're saying.  Often, normalization is a form of compression that allows the overall volume of the file to be increased by 1) compressing the relationship between loud and soft, and then 2) raising the overall level of the file to a maximum output without distortion.  Double check and see whether the normalization feature also adds compression.  If it does it's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just a thing to be aware of to determine if it's doing what you want.  If it's compressing, it essentially is "limiting" (i.e. decreasing) the dynamic range which may be counterproductive to what you want.  Normalization is one of those words that gets thrown around in the industry and sometimes it doesn't mean or do the same thing between manufacturers.  Just another variable to consider.

Enough of the technical crap.  The playing is beautiful.  I enjoyed the performance very much.

Jef
Don't let your music die inside you.

Offline teresa_b

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #21 on: October 13, 2005, 11:06:14 PM »
Hi Quantum,

I have posted somewhere before about this piece--It's one of my very favorites.  I think you play it beautifully!  Having played it for many years, I have found it gets better with age.  I have no quibbles with your interpretation--I would only say, it sounds just a little bit careful.  Some restraint is fine...but I would love to hear you let go even more, have no self-conscousness, and allow that wistful beauty to wash over the whole thing.  The more you play it, the more that will happen.

Very lovely!

Teresa

Offline crazy for ivan moravec

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #22 on: October 15, 2005, 04:06:47 AM »
i have been playing this piece for 5 years now and i said to myself that the next time i play it again should be with the whole work op. 118 because i feel i im becoming sick and tired playing the same single piece, hahaha.

but after hearing your playing, it sounded fresh again to me. congratulations on it! u did a good job. but allow me to comment objectively. this will be according to my taste, so it's up to you to decide in the end.:)

i think of this piece to be a little moving, but just a little, so i would suggest the opening to be more direct- lead the A#-B to D. i wouldn't do a little rubato there because it's just the opening. maybe in the later parts, i would.

also, the rhythm of dotted 8th then 16th of the RH starting from the 2nd measure, try to make it as smooth as possible. actually i think i only heard once in which the 16th does not lead to the next chord. so i guess that's ok- just be careful on this part.

i love ur top notes. they sound just right for the piece.

i love ur build up from measures 25-30 and going down to get that dolce right there!

try to avoid making the first part sound like it was gonna end already (before the f#m). again try to be direct on this part so that people will anticipate something next- unless it was ur idea to mislead them.:) then ur ending of the whole piece will sound even more effective if you only did this at the very last 2 measures.

your voicings in the piu lento chords are wonderful. the atmosphere makes me feel like i was on top of the clouds!

on a new light, i found ur measures 82 and 83 to be interesting since i always thought that this was the part where it would be last heard, i like reinforcing the first part of the piece one last time. thanks for opening my mind to an idea of doing it. but i'd still stick to doing a crescendo there and head for that B7/D# chord:)

i love the way u played it as a whole. actually, it is better than most recordings i have heard of so far. my comments are just the minor things i would like to hear from a performance of this piece, they don't affect the whole performance's beauty. so, congratualtions on this very difficult piece to play.

play it with much warmth and love! the listenenrs will get a high with that in a live performance.

all the best!

>crazy for ivan moravec<
Well, keep going.<br />- Martha Argerich

Offline little_pinga

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Re: Brahms -
«Reply #23 on: November 10, 2005, 02:42:10 PM »
 this was very inspiring !! i wanna play this piece too. could you kindly send me this sheet of music???Intermezzo Op. 118/2 by brahms. Thanks <3

Offline src1

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #24 on: August 18, 2010, 10:16:31 PM »
Recorded today. 

Piano was just tuned, and the hammers reshaped a bit.  The scale is now more even between the bichord / trichord break.  The tone changed a bit as a result, much more rounded.  The una-corda doesn't have as pronounced effect as before, I'm guessing as there is less a difference between the compacted areas of felt on the hammers.

I was trying to get some more variation in timbre within the phrasing, but not as much came out as I wanted it to.  Maybe it's just this new voicing on the piano?

Brahms - Intermezzo Op.118/2
Mic: (2x) Studio Projects B1
Interface: Edirol UA-25
Piano: Yamaha C3

Enjoy!


Offline sashaco

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Re: Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118/2
«Reply #25 on: August 21, 2010, 12:54:43 PM »
I enjoyed this performance, and particulary the clarity of the voices in the middle section.  The pause before the entry to that section was surprising, but it certainly worked.
I will offer one comment, which can certainly be dismissed as a matter of interpretation.  In the fourth bar the right hand, to my ear, fails to breathe after the cadence.  Later you begin to breathe more "naturally,"  but at that point I got the impression that this playing would be a shade mechanical, an impression quickly dispelled by very delicate repeat of the opening. I would love to hear some more Brahms. Well done.  Sasha