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Author Topic: Schumann's Kinderszenen  (Read 2735 times)
Binko_Binobo
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« on: August 07, 2002, 03:32:12 PM »

Not sure if I should put this in Repertoire or here, but I think here will do.

I've mentioned somewhere before that I've gone back to my classical roots after playing jazz/blues/rock for the last ten years or so. Interestingly enough, I've never played from Kinderszenen before, so I have plenty of questions. Let's just start with the first song, Of Foreign Lands and People (Von Fremden Landern...)

First, my sheet music has a tempo marking of M.M. quarter = 108. This seems wayyyyy too fast for me. Unfortunately, I don't have a recording to compare to (recommendations are welcome), but my musical Spidey sense tells me a tempo closer to 80 or even 50 or 60 seems about right. At least that's how I hear the music in my head.

Second, I know Schumann is funny about his pedal markings. Each song I have in Kinderszenen has the word "Pedal" written below the staves in the first bar. Now, Von Fremden Landern has two pedal markings after that. One at the end of the A section. One at the last bar of the B section. The second piece, Curious Story, has Pedal written, but no other markings anywhere. How is Schumann expecting us to play these? With the first song, it seems pedalling throughout sounds fine. (Obviously, lifting on chord changes and the such.) But it also sounds fine without the pedal except where expressly indicated. With the second song, I'm not sure. This one doesn't seem to need the pedal. Does it?

Interpretively, what would you suggest for Von Fremden Landern? It's a beautiful song, one that really requires great musical understanding to pull it off successfully, despite it's apparent simplicity. Other than what seems to be obvious to me (bring out the melody in the right hand in the first part, in the left hand in the second part; be gentle on the triplets, etc.) what can I do? I tend to emphasize the second melody note (on the diminished chord) slightly and play rubato at the end of each phrase (slowing down slightly before starting the next phrase.) I also tend to slightly crescendo at the middle of phrases and get soft, ie feminine endings, at the end of phrases?
Does this sound about right to y'all?

Any tips are appreciated, as I've never had a teacher explain this piece to me.



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Sheet music to download and print: Kinderszenen by Schumann
cantabile
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2002, 05:07:23 PM »

Hi there!
I am also playing Schumann's OP. 15 and I found that the Alfred edition has a very clear explanation on the pedaling, tempo etc of this piece. You can have a look!
Cantabile
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Binko_Binobo
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2002, 02:23:58 PM »

Well, I live in Budapest and it may be difficult for me to find the Alfred edition at the moment. So any general pointers to start with? Although it seems I've already made my decisions based on short snippets of various recordings I've heard.

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ggomes
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2017, 05:29:59 PM »

I've heard more than 20 interpretations of the beginning of the Kinderszenen in Youtube (including Horowitz, Argerich, Lupu, Cortot, Freire, Haskil, Lipatti, Maria-Joao Pires, etc.) , and in ALL of them the pedal connects the bass-notes to one another. Now, if Schumann had wanted the piece played this way, why would he have bothered to write every bass-note in the first part as an 8th-note followed by an 8th-rest? It would have been much easier to write them as quarters with no rests between them (as in the second part)! I find it more melodious, and at first sight more beautiful, with the pedal throughout, as everybody plays, but finally more delicate as Schumann seems to have wanted, lifting the pedal at every rest.
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louispodesta
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2017, 11:26:57 PM »

Not sure if I should put this in Repertoire or here, but I think here will do.

I've mentioned somewhere before that I've gone back to my classical roots after playing jazz/blues/rock for the last ten years or so. Interestingly enough, I've never played from Kinderszenen before, so I have plenty of questions. Let's just start with the first song, Of Foreign Lands and People (Von Fremden Landern...)

First, my sheet music has a tempo marking of M.M. quarter = 108. This seems wayyyyy too fast for me. Unfortunately, I don't have a recording to compare to (recommendations are welcome), but my musical Spidey sense tells me a tempo closer to 80 or even 50 or 60 seems about right. At least that's how I hear the music in my head.

Second, I know Schumann is funny about his pedal markings. Each song I have in Kinderszenen has the word "Pedal" written below the staves in the first bar. Now, Von Fremden Landern has two pedal markings after that. One at the end of the A section. One at the last bar of the B section. The second piece, Curious Story, has Pedal written, but no other markings anywhere. How is Schumann expecting us to play these? With the first song, it seems pedalling throughout sounds fine. (Obviously, lifting on chord changes and the such.) But it also sounds fine without the pedal except where expressly indicated. With the second song, I'm not sure. This one doesn't seem to need the pedal. Does it?

Interpretively, what would you suggest for Von Fremden Landern? It's a beautiful song, one that really requires great musical understanding to pull it off successfully, despite it's apparent simplicity. Other than what seems to be obvious to me (bring out the melody in the right hand in the first part, in the left hand in the second part; be gentle on the triplets, etc.) what can I do? I tend to emphasize the second melody note (on the diminished chord) slightly and play rubato at the end of each phrase (slowing down slightly before starting the next phrase.) I also tend to slightly crescendo at the middle of phrases and get soft, ie feminine endings, at the end of phrases?
Does this sound about right to y'all?

Any tips are appreciated, as I've never had a teacher explain this piece to me.





Once again, this is one the biggest BS Posts of all time.

1)  The level of detail in the OP is astounding.  Then, why does he need our advice?

2)  Adelina de Lara (in sound recording) stated unequivocally that Clara (not Robert) Schumann commented that "Pedaling" should only be done sparingly (with a soft sponge-like action).  There were never any pedal markings written in any of her original manuscripts that were not subsequently Publisher edited.

3)  Accordingly, I am stupid enough to believe that:  1)  the OP obviously has the intelligence to know minute details about a particular Edition of this Composer's work, and 2)  at the same time the OP knows nothing about the widely published intentions of the Composer's Spouse, who was the very first person to perform this great work.

3)  And, for the record, "I am from Budapest" has been used before.  Please pick another Country.

4)  I almost forgot:  "I play this piece."
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keypeg
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2017, 03:21:58 AM »

I didn't really find that much detail in the post, wordy as it might have been.  I truly dislike this negative atmosphere of attacking members and shrouding everything with the ugly pall of suspicion.  Somebody has asked for information about piano music, on a piano forum.  Any answer he gets may be of benefit to others, including myself.
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chopinlover01
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2017, 04:15:41 AM »

There are certainly a lot of fake posts on here by people who go "I memorized a chopin etude in 20 minutes should I play Beethoven tempest or hammerklav or liszt la campanella. also is fantaisie impromptu too hard?".

I don't think this is one, and I don't think it even looks like one. Louis Podesta is, not unlike himself, trying to pretend that he knows more than he does.

OP seems to me to have good musical sense, just without the actual practical knowledge of playing classical.

@OP your interpretation sounds fine. I would find as many recordings of the piece as you can; in the Schumann department, my top picks are Cortot and Horowitz. Cortot can be a bit of an acquired taste, however; you might listen to some less exotic interpretations before considering Cortot's ideas. The best interpretative ideas come from listening to the masters before us.
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Jazz Ambassador Cool
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2017, 07:53:20 AM »

It is doubtful the OP will read any of this: the OP was from 2002 and he has not logged on since 2002. Thank goodness he won't  see Louis' typical  paranoia about posters being fake. 
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louispodesta
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2017, 11:22:28 PM »

Then, why did the OP make the post in the first place?  That, in my opinion, is a legitimate question that no one anyone can disassociate itself from.

The OP pianist claims to not know anything about the minute details of this  piece (regarding pedaling), yet he/she has extensive knowledge about a particular Edition.  Oh, I forgot, he is from the planet Mars/Budapest, which is a country where no one has ever studied music, there are no University Music Libraries,  and most of the general population is illiterate.

I think not!
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keypeg
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2017, 01:03:45 AM »

Quote
Then, why did the OP make the post in the first place?
To ask a question!  Good heavens, that is what these forums are for!  There is nothing strange or suspicious about the post.  The question that was asked 15 years ago is by someone trying to understand how to interpret a score.  He has knowledge in some areas, but not in others.  That could be me asking such a question, except that I am fortunate enough to have a teacher.  I am working on a piece right now where I've been warned about how it's written versus how it's played.  I am learning about how scores can be misleading, pedal marks can be misleading, and tempo suggestions can be way off.  If I did not have that kind of guidance, I might well be puzzled about this and that.  My post would show a lot of knowledge in some areas versus confusion about the score - and you might ask "Is this person real? Why is this person asking these questions when they seem to be knowledgeable?"

These things POISON the atmosphere of this place.  It makes people uncomfortable, and it serves to intimidate people from even daring to post - especially those who may be in the greatest need of help.  There is not benefit to this kind of thing.  On the other hand, there is benefit to asking questions, because you never know how many people will end up learning from them.

I spent 50 years having no knowledge except what I could figure out by myself, some of it wrong, and I cherish the chance to learn and share the bit of knowledge I now may have.  I hate the negativity.
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mjames
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 02:59:15 AM »

Still arguing with the mentally ill I see...
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Pianism is my religion, Bach is my God, and Chopin's my prophet.
chopinlover01
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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2017, 03:47:02 PM »

I didn't realize that this post was 15 years ago... Wow, this forum has been around a while.
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louispodesta
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2017, 10:37:45 PM »

I didn't realize that this post was 15 years ago... Wow, this forum has been around a while.
From my post:
"Then, why did the OP make the post in the first place?  That, in my opinion, is a legitimate question that no one anyone can disassociate itself from."

Why?  Because they, "Pianostreet," figure (correctly) that most who post here were not even Members fifteen years ago.

Therefore, why not regurgitate a long-dead post and pass it off as new.  Fifteen years, fifteen years!!!
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keypeg
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« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2017, 10:48:31 PM »

Nobody "passed off" the post as new. It remains dated as it is dated.  Newcomers come to the forum, find something that interests them, and don't look for the date.  I've done that.

BESIDES THAT .... WHAT WE CARE ABOUT ARE THE TOPICS.  We are INTERESTED in the TOPIC.  We LEARN from the topic.  I don't usually shout.

I hate this poisonous, off topic, atmosphere, that you are creating through these kinds of accusatory posts.  You will intimidate some newcomers from posting at all, and that would really be too bad.
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louispodesta
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2017, 11:16:16 PM »

Nobody "passed off" the post as new. It remains dated as it is dated.  Newcomers come to the forum, find something that interests them, and don't look for the date.  I've done that.

BESIDES THAT .... WHAT WE CARE ABOUT ARE THE TOPICS.  We are INTERESTED in the TOPIC.  We LEARN from the topic.  I don't usually shout.

I hate this poisonous, off topic, atmosphere, that you are creating through these kinds of accusatory posts.  You will intimidate some newcomers from posting at all, and that would really be too bad.
As presented to its "Silver" and "Gold" Member subscribers, this Website is not supposed to be some PianoWorld "whatever" collection of Forums.

Accordingly, there are common rules associated with such.  That means that "We" care about legitimacy and also accuracy.

You, obviously disagree.
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keypeg
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« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2017, 01:27:45 AM »

A question being asked is not accurate or inaccurate.  It is a question.  The opportunity to learn through a question and the answers it receives is an opportunity.  The response is incomprehensible.
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chopinlover01
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2017, 05:10:11 PM »

As presented to its "Silver" and "Gold" Member subscribers, this Website is not supposed to be some PianoWorld "whatever" collection of Forums.

Accordingly, there are common rules associated with such.  That means that "We" care about legitimacy and also accuracy.

You, obviously disagree.

I didn't realize you ran the website. I thought we all agreed that you were just the fun guy that talks on all the posts, even the ones where he's explicitly wrong?
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louispodesta
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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2017, 10:53:33 PM »

"The reason" that most legitimate teachers do not weigh in on Pianostreet, with the notable exception of an occasional "Visitor," is as follows (as they have relayed to me):

1)  A "Whatever" (stream of conscious discourse) does not constitute legitimate musicological discussion.

2)  Trolling and its associated diatribe does not welcome serious discussion.

3)  Accordingly, the rest of the "Applied Musicologists" on this Planet have absolutely no desire to have anything to do with you!

4)  That is not Hubris.  That is a reality.
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keypeg
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« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2017, 11:54:31 PM »

The reality is, Louis, that a few decades ago many of us were left in the dark in regards to music learning.  The public school system did not teach music in any remotely real way, and so we were like the illiterate peasants of the "Dark Ages".  The result of that heritage is large numbers of people now trying to find their way out of that legacy.  Will there be ignorant questions, and off base speculations about how music works?  Of course there will be.  Do you want us all to go back into our little corners of ignorance and stay there?  You may be surprised if I say "us", because I probably seem knowledgeable at least in some areas.  But 10 - 15 years ago I was not.  I had to ask stupid questions, and at times display my ignorance when I thought I did know something, but it was a first learning and imbalanced.  Or mistaught.  I am GRATEFUL that we have these opportunities, and that the many others have these opportunities.  I am unwilling to stand by while those wanting to learn keep getting attacked and accused.

I am sure that you can find an elite corner where only people with high levels of training and knowledge will discuss things among themselves.  In forums we are here to help each other.  I deplore the fact that we have been plunged into the musical illiteracy as we have been. All the more reason to not intimidate and scare off people who want to learn.

In regards to folks showing both knowledge and ignorance in a strange mixture, this is also easily explainable.  In this age of the Internet, one can read up many factual things, and become strong in that kind of knowledge.  One can, at the same time, remain unskilled in areas such as interpreting notation and music, because these things need to be taught by a guide.  Not only that, by a proper guide, a decent teacher.

I believe the topic is Schumann's Kinderszenen.
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keypeg
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« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2017, 02:13:47 AM »

I just realized that this isn't even the teacher forum.  The reference to why teachers supposedly don't weigh in threw me.  There is no reason why students shouldn't post in the student section, nor is it implausible for students to be lacking knowledge - because that's what being a student entails.
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landru
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« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2017, 10:54:46 PM »

I love this piece and I am in the group of people who held down the pedal for all of the triplet phrase. I will try ggnome's suggestion and try lifting the pedal at the rest in the bass and see what it sounds like.

It goes to show you that reading the score with a literal, questioning eye can give you some insights!

(oh, as far as the other stuff going on in this discussion so far, all I have to say is "Rock on, keypeg."
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