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3rd ballade tempo (Read 2425 times)

Offline paris

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3rd ballade tempo
« on: August 10, 2006, 10:33:51 PM »
hey!

i'm currently working on this ballade and i'd like to hear your opinions about tempo, in fact changing tempos. i tend to start quite slow, but i'm a bit confused because there are no markings by chopin and i was taught not to change tempos much. now i listened few recordings, zimerman, ashkenazy and overall very nice performances but they both play some parts too fast. since my teacher is on vacation i can't ask her and i'm curios..what are your opinions about it?
Critics! If one would be a critic, one should begin with self-criticism !
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piano sheet music of Ballade 3


Offline thalbergmad

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #1 on: August 10, 2006, 10:47:11 PM »
I do play this slow, there is so much beauty, so hang around and savor it.

I used to get over excited in the last 3 pages and found myself getting faster and faster. Sometimes you gotta hold back.

This piece is not a virtuoso warhorse.

Arrau/Van Cliburn speed i guess is OK if memory serves.

Thal :-*
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Offline brewtality

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #2 on: August 10, 2006, 11:01:53 PM »
hey!

i'm currently working on this ballade and i'd like to hear your opinions about tempo, in fact changing tempos. i tend to start quite slow, but i'm a bit confused because there are no markings by chopin and i was taught not to change tempos much. now i listened few recordings, zimerman, ashkenazy and overall very nice performances but they both play some parts too fast. since my teacher is on vacation i can't ask her and i'm curios..what are your opinions about it?

Slow playing ruins this piece. I'd recommend you listen to Cortot, Friedman and Cherkassky. Stay away from Richter and Kissin. Zimerman is so-so but much too careful. If you speak french or understand it, cortot's edition and masterclass recording are very insightful and he presents a very convincing interpretative argument. There is room for virtuosity in this piece, but you have to pick your moments; the climax would sound boring and flat if you didn't build the tension, however taking things too far would make it a fiasco. I think most people interpret this badly, there should be a naive/innocence and playfulness in the first and second subjects that is often substituted for 'moisture'.

Offline chromatickler

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #3 on: August 10, 2006, 11:50:05 PM »
Slow playing ruins this piece.
n every other piece, also true

Offline quantum

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #4 on: August 11, 2006, 03:59:36 AM »
n every other piece, also true

For slow playing for the sake of slow playing - this is true.  Slow playing with thoughfulness and meaning with direction towards the music is much more satisfying than an overtly fast performance.
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 invictious

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #5 on: August 11, 2006, 10:44:33 AM »
As fast as possible.

Joking, but I'd do it, at the higher speed limits, not too slow, but fast enough to bring out the elegance, the beauty, the chopin-ness and the poetry in it.
Bach - Partita No.2
Scriabin - Etude 8/12
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Offline brewtality

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #6 on: August 11, 2006, 12:00:45 PM »
Slow playing with thoughfulness and meaning with direction towards the music is much more satisfying than an overtly fast performance.

possibly. But I could count on one hand the number of pianists who can play well at slow tempi. Most sound like they are trying to convey to us their great musical profundity, however they are thoroughly unconvincing.

Offline paris

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #7 on: August 11, 2006, 12:28:17 PM »
Thank you ver much for your responses. However, I find this ballade somhow poetical, almost reminds me on nocturne, not that I think it should be played like nocturne of course  :P , but I've heard many people rush too much in such a beautiful places which I really don't like. On the other hand, I like powerful climax and ending..
Now, to put this all in one question, is it considered 'unproffesional' making so big differences in tempos, changing them, etc.? Because, there are no remarks by Chopin about it, so I feel I can do 'whatever' I like. But how much changing is too much? That was my original question, if I wasn't clear in first post.  :)

Critics! If one would be a critic, one should begin with self-criticism !
    -Franz Liszt

Offline brewtality

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #8 on: August 11, 2006, 12:51:27 PM »
Thank you ver much for your responses. However, I find this ballade somhow poetical, almost reminds me on nocturne

Sure, but this doesn't mean it has to be overly slow.

Quote
ow, to put this all in one question, is it considered 'unproffesional' making so big differences in tempos, changing them, etc.? Because, there are no remarks by Chopin about it, so I feel I can do 'whatever' I like. But how much changing is too much? That was my original question, if I wasn't clear in first post.  :)

You're not one of those 'the score is sacrosanct' types are you?

I don't think that the absence of markings requires one to play staidly. It is a matter of taste. If you feel big differences would help convey the meaning of the music, then by all means. Once you've got a really solid grasp of the structure, I think certain tempi will just 'fit' with certain passages (more or less). Hope this helps.

Offline paris

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #9 on: August 11, 2006, 01:03:17 PM »
I agree it doesn't have to be overly slowly, of course. Just I prefer it a bit, how to put it, calmer, not necessarily slower.

oh and I'm not of those 'the score is sacrosanct' types haha, just I always allow myself too much freedom which makes my teacher crazy lol (which is fine, because beethoven demands that approach)  ;D



Critics! If one would be a critic, one should begin with self-criticism !
    -Franz Liszt

Offline zheer

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #10 on: August 11, 2006, 03:09:20 PM »
    You know there is a recording where Rachmaninoff plays this Ballade, and he plays it a lot like a nocturne well the first half anyway, infact the way he plays chopin is very inspirational to hear if you are serious about the piano and you've heard recordings by Ashkenazy, Zimmerman  ect ect. He sheads new light on this Ballade.
" Nothing ends nicely, that's why it ends" - Tom Cruise -

Offline gruffalo

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #11 on: August 11, 2006, 03:51:48 PM »

just I always allow myself too much freedom


I think you should allow yourself a bit of freedom with Chopin. I think this is crucial in the experimentation stage of learning a piece of a composer who one might not be familiar enough with the style of the composer. Until you know that style, play around with the piece and then let your teacher correct you (even if it drives them mad), so then you will have made the mistake (or maybe not) and you will come out with either a greater sense of what is wrong, or a piece with better ideas.

Gruff

Offline burstroman

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #12 on: August 16, 2006, 01:56:59 AM »
Listen to S. Richter, and he will convince of the correct tempo.

Offline brewtality

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #13 on: August 16, 2006, 05:53:52 AM »
Listen to S. Richter, and he will convince of the correct tempo.

hell no

Offline Kassaa

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #14 on: August 16, 2006, 12:47:07 PM »
It should have a slight rocking feel, it should really move, like the Barcarolle.
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Offline crazy for ivan moravec

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #15 on: August 16, 2006, 01:57:55 PM »
feel it. i know it may sound funny to say that you have try to play naturally, but yeah, find out what's natural for you. it will come, but you have to do some research on it first. listen to similar chopin pieces like his nocturnes, barcarolle, etc, then listen to the extreme other side of the composer like his scherzi, polonaises, etc. it will help that you try to familiarize yourself with his moods because ballade 3 is a difficult mood IMO.
if you can find literature on the piece, go ahead.

but more importantly, "freedom" in this sense does not only pertain to chopin's rhythms. you can be free while still following the main pulse. i tend to keep the pulse in this piece because this is how i bring out the elegance i have in mind, however, without restricting myself to occasional 'breathing', or rubato, if you want to put it that way. my sense of rubato with a delicate piece like this is to able to highlight interesting harmonic or melodic progression (or other elements you find in the style of writing).

anyway, the main pulse does not necessarily impose only one tempo though. it can be your middleground, but it does not mean that you have to stick to it like a soldier.
you must analyze and think like a composer with chopinesque style and elegance.

here are some points that might help you. this is just a picture of how i played it, or at least i think how i did it 3 years ago:

1) how does he normally/usually treat 8ths in a 6/8 time? and 16ths, are they ornamentally melodic, simply passing by, or passing by with care and intention/meaning? these considerations can bring you to a certain "tempo change", without actually making it obvious that you changed the tempo. just dont overdo it, like they say play chopin like mozart.
2) where does he use "dolce", and why does he like that word so much? with chopin dolce can be a clue to your "current" tempo. with his works, taking time is more logical with that word.
3) the lightness of leggiero in m. 123 may require a little quicker tempo in order to keep the sound still harmonious. if you keep it in the same tempo as the previous section, it might sound boring.
3) "sostenuto" actually might be a tempo marking for chopin. after the leggiero part in m. 123, the sort of grandness and slowing down of m. 135 leads you back to m. 143 (before going to a different variation in c# minor).
4) the tempo of the section in c# minor (m. 156) will depend on how you treat the RH, do you want it moving or sitting down?
5) now in m. 172, if you want to emphasize the main theme before finally going to the coda of this quite repetitious piece, do so with a lot of virtuosity. virtuosity with chopin is not virtuosity for its own sake, it's an effect. it may be the only section where a pianist can actually show off. starting here, your energy must not fail you till the end. if you wish to push the tempo a little more on your way to the coda, do it with great control. we cant just let go right away, you might spoil the coda's effect.
6) finally, the coda has to be treated melodically. so try not to rush it, just sing it but BIG singing just like a romantic opera aria.
7) then the Piu mosso section has got to be the weirdest anti-climactic ending of all music i've ever encountered. just keep the energy, that'll do it.:)

just remember not to overdo your changes of tempo. keep it sane.:)
Well, keep going.<br />- Martha Argerich

Offline burstroman

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #16 on: August 18, 2006, 01:56:48 AM »
I agree with Thalbergmad.  Don't rush the beauty in this work!

Offline brewtality

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Re: 3rd ballade tempo
«Reply #17 on: August 18, 2006, 03:13:10 AM »
yes, but on the other hand, don't try to play slowly just because people tell you to. It must be natural. I find it more common for people to play pedantically slow than too fast nowadays. My friend zepp will no doubt argue that there is no such thing as 'too fast'  8)