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Topic: Rachmaninov Paganini Variations  (Read 1965 times)

Offline Jamesb

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Rachmaninov Paganini Variations
on: January 12, 2004, 02:39:55 PM
I am currently learning the Rachmaninov Paganini Variations, and there are a few sections in my score that have the solo part printed in small notes and have ad lib printed above them. What does this mean? Is it that it is optional??  :)

Offline dreamaurora

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Re: Rachmaninov Paganini Variations
Reply #1 on: January 12, 2004, 04:51:11 PM
Errr, no offense. But if you do not know what an ossia is, I don't think you should be learning this piece.

Offline Jamesb

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Re: Rachmaninov Paganini Variations
Reply #2 on: January 12, 2004, 09:18:45 PM
It's not an ossia, there is only one printed part - it is just that there are some passages that say ad lib, and are printed in small notes. There is no alternative given...

Offline chopiabin

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Re: Rachmaninov Paganini Variations
Reply #3 on: January 13, 2004, 04:03:50 AM
Call me stupid, but what exactly is an ossia passage?

Offline Rach3

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Re: Rachmaninov Paganini Variations
Reply #4 on: January 13, 2004, 04:18:51 AM
Ossia is when the composer writes out an optional alternative way to play a passage; it is usually printed in small notes above the "normal" line. There is an ossia above the Rach 3 cadenza, for example, denoting the alternative cadenza.

I'm afraid I can't get to the score, but it sounds like it is some sort of cadenza-like passage with "ad lib" telling you to play with rythmic freedom and sometimes some interpretive liberties. Liszt scores have these often, a readily available example for comparison is the Liebestraum. I always looked at these as being written entriely in grace notes... the passages often aren't divided into bars.
"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them."
--Richard Wagner

Offline krenske

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Re: Rachmaninov Paganini Variations
Reply #5 on: January 14, 2004, 07:31:52 AM
Just to confuse the issue...

"Ossia" is derived from the Egyptian goddess "Osiris" - the goddess of the dead.
For example, if you learn the "Ossia" cadenza in Rach III concerto, you will probably be dead soon.
"OSSIA" is therefore used to denote alternative passages in music which are soooooo hard that they constitute musical and social suicide. The composers didn't actually intend anyone to learn these, although they do tend to crop up [albeit usually at half tempo] in Naxos recordings. They were written just as a musical "joke" between the composer and himself, and to make sure that any contemporary aspiring virtuosi spend more time in the practice room developing needless skills and giving themselves TENDONITIS. 8)
"Horowitz died so Krenske could live."
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