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Topic: Prokofieff Toccatta  (Read 3308 times)

Offline rmc7777

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Prokofieff Toccatta
on: May 09, 2002, 05:11:07 PM
I've been playing Prokofieff's Toccatta Op. 11 on and off for several years.  However, I now plan to learn it in earnest, memorize it, and make it part of my recital repertoire.  I was wondering if anyone has had an opportunity to play this piece, or heard any performers play it live.  I have numerous recordings but unfortunately have not heard it live yet.  There is a relentless drive in this music and one real challenge is to maintain an absolutely steady pace throughout.  There are some slight tempo changes here and there, but it's quite steady throughout.  Just wondering if anyone has experience with toccatta forms or this piece in particular.

Regards,
Richard

Offline ludwig

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #1 on: May 13, 2002, 03:34:35 PM


I have heard it played by one of my friends, she also likes rach toccattas too. Yes, it certainly has some driving force in it. I have unfotunately not learnt prokofiev's toccattas, although I have played his other piano works, suggestion diabolique, his sarcasms etc... The best way to tackle Prokofiev is to be precise. And bring out parts while also having contrast. I think that the toccatta has come a long way since the baroque period, its a great chance to show of some technical skills as well as enjoy an energetic and exciting performance.
"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."ÜÜÜ

Offline pskim

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #2 on: June 11, 2002, 11:16:49 AM
I played this piece when I was in college around the age of 21 and I love it.  First of all, this piece is a stamina piece so I actually started to work out and lift weights to build my arm muscles for endurance.  This is how I learned this piece to stay alive and not get tired by the time half of this piece is over.  

Have you heard Horowitz's recording of this?  It is hair-raisingly fast and demonic!!!  I have heard many recordings of this piece and so far his performance of it is far out the best!  It was his performance of the tocatta that I wanted to learn the piece.

Good luck learning it.  I think good physical exercise and some arm workout will do you good for the 5 minutes of endurance hell. (but you'll love every minute of it)

Offline rmc7777

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #3 on: July 12, 2002, 06:34:27 AM
Hi Pskim,

Yes, I think Horowitz's recording of this toccatta is brilliant - by far the best I've heard.  It's not recorded very often but Horowitz's driving energy is just remarkable.  

Offline MikeThePianist

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #4 on: August 07, 2002, 07:41:43 AM
I have not played the Prokofiev Toccata, but have seen several friends play it.  My recommendation for a recording is the Martha Argerich debut recital recording.  I think that it's absolutely incredible.  Her tempo is fast, but the effects the she uses in it are spine-tingling.  I love it.  :-)

As for lifting weights, I would be careful.  Consult your teacher and find someone to help you work out if you decide to go through with it.  I knew someone who lifted weights to prepare for a masterclass with my teacher and it actually ruined her performance.  Being an individual without naturally amazing technique (and one without the drive to go to the gym), I have found other alternatives to lifting.  You can swim (it works the muscles, but doesn't put any strain on your wrists, joints, etc.), or run.  You just have to remember that a lot of the power that goes into your playing comes from gravity (dropping your fingers into the keys) and the speed of the keystroke.  Building up the biceps, or whatever, will not (in my opinion) gain you a lot of power or control.  As for stamina, I'm not sure.  That's what your teacher, and perhaps a doctor are for.  

I hope that helps.  :-)

Mike
Michael Fauver is pursuing his bachelors degree in piano performance at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #5 on: October 19, 2003, 06:38:12 PM
Although I have only heard Argerich and Moiseiwitsch, I cannot imagine Argerich being topped in any repertoire let alone something that requires the stamina and speed of this toccata,
Ed

Offline guven

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #6 on: December 07, 2003, 03:28:13 AM
I've listened both Horowitz and Argerich on Toccata ..
(If you want,I can send you mp3 of Horowitz Ed)

They are extremely different :) In both, I loved somethings but if you ask which one would I like to play like ,I would steal Argerich's tempo and 5th finger marcatos and Horowitz's middle parties ;)

PS. Please do not forget that those both recordings' quality and date . Horowitz's an old record so not so clear as Argerich's .

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #7 on: December 07, 2003, 03:45:39 PM
Quote
(If you want,I can send you mp3 of Horowitz Ed)


That would be great  :). Feel free to add me to MSN messenger if you use it,
Ed

shark

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #8 on: December 30, 2003, 11:09:40 AM
I'm 17 years old, and I study at the Conservatory
Tilburg. (young talent class)
I've heard the toccata of Argerich too. It's really fantastic.  I like that piece, and I'd like to play that piece, but it's quite difficult, maybe too difficult for me yet.  
I've heard toccata of Khachaturian. That's nice too. What do you think about that piece?

And, do you have some advices for me about Prokofiev toccata? Thanks!  :)

shark

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #9 on: December 30, 2003, 11:10:23 AM
(my name's Sharon by the way)

Offline allchopin

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #10 on: December 30, 2003, 05:50:26 PM
Maybe I'm not a big Impressionist fan, but even now, listening to the Toccata (Op. 11 right?) I can hardly resist the urge to rip off my headphones and throw them out the window.  It is pure garbage- a big jumble of RANDOM notes and dissonance- and yes, it is being played correctly.  I have the Argerich recording, and it's nothing against her, just against Prokofiev.  Please explain the criteria this piece's greatness so I may be enlightened.

Btw, in her recording, the tempo is held quite well throughout.  (it's just the notes I'm worried about)
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #11 on: December 30, 2003, 06:37:06 PM
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Maybe I'm not a big Impressionist fan, but even now, listening to the Toccata (Op. 11 right?) I can hardly resist the urge to rip off my headphones and throw them out the window.  It is pure garbage- a big jumble of RANDOM notes and dissonance- and yes, it is being played correctly.  I have the Argerich recording, and it's nothing against her, just against Prokofiev.  Please explain the criteria this piece's greatness so I may be enlightened.


:o. Do you not find it insanely exciting?
Ed

P.s. What has your relationship with impressionism got to do with this piece?

Offline Hmoll

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #12 on: December 30, 2003, 07:11:26 PM
Quote
Maybe I'm not a big Impressionist fan, but even now, listening to the Toccata (Op. 11 right?) I can hardly resist the urge to rip off my headphones and throw them out the window.  It is pure garbage- a big jumble of RANDOM notes and dissonance- and yes, it is being played correctly.  I have the Argerich recording, and it's nothing against her, just against Prokofiev.  Please explain the criteria this piece's greatness so I may be enlightened.

Btw, in her recording, the tempo is held quite well throughout.  (it's just the notes I'm worried about)



If you like this piece, you'll love the 6th sonata.
You get to hear Stalin getting it with a machine gun at the end of the last movement. ;)
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #13 on: December 30, 2003, 07:32:17 PM
Quote

If you like this piece, you'll love the 6th sonata.
You get to hear Stalin getting it with a machine gun at the end of the last movement. ;)


Is that documented? I ask as I sit here at 1:32am writing a 3000 word essay entitled "With reference to the careers and works of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich evaluate how far musical life in the Soviet era was reduced to the service of the needs of the state.",
Ed

Offline allchopin

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #14 on: December 30, 2003, 08:59:08 PM
If I'm not mistaken, Prokofiev was an Impressionisttic composer... thus the connection.

[sarcasm] No, it is not exciting, because of all the random notes.  You know, it would be good, with a quick tempo and repetition of the D, with exception of all the random notes. [/sarcasm]

Hmoll: I don't get it.  Maybe that is because I don't like that piece :).
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #15 on: December 31, 2003, 03:33:53 AM
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If I'm not mistaken, Prokofiev was an Impressionisttic composer... thus the connection.


You are mistaken,
Ed

Offline Hmoll

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #16 on: December 31, 2003, 07:41:59 AM
Quote


Is that documented? I ask as I sit here at 1:32am writing a 3000 word essay entitled "With reference to the careers and works of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich evaluate how far musical life in the Soviet era was reduced to the service of the needs of the state.",
Ed


I knew that would get a rise out of someone.

No, just one of my pet theories after listening to Shostakovich too much.

I always thought of the opening motive of the 6th sonata as Stalin's theme, which reappears in the last movement, and the last bit at the end sounds like a machine gun over that motive.

I've heard other people independently - none of us musicologists by any means, mind you - say the same.

I'm sure it's a stretch, but I love the thought of a thumb in the eye to Papa Joe via old Sergei.

You're welcome to quote me in your paper, but your points for originality might be offset by what's taken off for lack of rigorous scholarship.

"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #17 on: December 31, 2003, 09:22:10 AM
It's a nice idea but unfortunately it is not based on any real evidence so I won't be using it in my essay. I will think if every time I hear it though - what a great piece!
Ed

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #18 on: December 31, 2003, 10:28:26 AM
Quote

If you like this piece, you'll love the 6th sonata.
You get to hear Stalin getting it with a machine gun at the end of the last movement. ;)


First of the so-called "War Sonatas", the Sixth has recently been recorded by the young Russian virtuoso Yevgeny Kissin, who scornfully dismisses the idea that the work had anything to do with the war:

"The Sixth Sonata was written in 1939, before the war, so the experience Prokofiev portrays is that of the period of Stalinist repression, the 'cult of personality'. He truly captures this in the bitter, pompous opening theme of the first movement, a sort of 'Stalin leitmotif' which returns in the finale. The second movement is a parody of a military march, full of Prokofiev's veiled humour, sarcasm and mischief.
"The finale is truly a 'big sarcasm' and in the middle section Prokofiev recalls the 'Stalin leitmotif', giving it a completely different, ominous character to create a premonition of impending doom. And listen to what Prokofiev does at the very end of the coda: he crushes Stalin with the very weight of his own pompous leitmotif!"

Ian MacDonald

Ed

Offline Hmoll

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #19 on: December 31, 2003, 03:58:51 PM
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First of the so-called "War Sonatas", the Sixth has recently been recorded by the young Russian virtuoso Yevgeny Kissin, who scornfully dismisses the idea that the work had anything to do with the war:

"The Sixth Sonata was written in 1939, before the war, so the experience Prokofiev portrays is that of the period of Stalinist repression, the 'cult of personality'. He truly captures this in the bitter, pompous opening theme of the first movement, a sort of 'Stalin leitmotif' which returns in the finale. The second movement is a parody of a military march, full of Prokofiev's veiled humour, sarcasm and mischief.
"The finale is truly a 'big sarcasm' and in the middle section Prokofiev recalls the 'Stalin leitmotif', giving it a completely different, ominous character to create a premonition of impending doom. And listen to what Prokofiev does at the very end of the coda: he crushes Stalin with the very weight of his own pompous leitmotif!"

Ian MacDonald

Ed



Well, what do you know. Ian and I are on the same page.
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

sharky

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Re: Prokofieff Toccatta
Reply #20 on: December 31, 2003, 11:16:47 PM
Jeezus, I get moodily of studying this piece of Prokofiev. Does anyone have tips?  ;D

(ok maybe it's a bit difficult...  :'()
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