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Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video) (Read 7125 times)

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
« on: March 11, 2007, 01:21:10 PM »
I've had an on-off relationship with this piece for a while now. I've played it a few times publicly, but I don't tend to be especially happy with the end result. (I must say it has tended to go down well with audiences, however).

I think it's one of the very best "theme and variations" of the 19th century; for some reason it gets disappointingly little public performance.

Here's a video, taken from a recital a few months ago. I didn't "play safe" in this performance and took some risks, as I wanted a committed performance. For those who know the piece, it will be embarassingly apparent how close I came to disaster from 4.16 to 4.46 ::) The only consolation is that I didn't lose total control.

Anyway, I would be interested in getting general feedback on the performance - I'm considering whether I should use the piece later on this year in another recital.


piano sheet music of Aesop's Feast


Offline tompilk

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #1 on: March 11, 2007, 01:36:27 PM »
more aggression in the descending octaves after your, how you put it, disaster. An excellent performance of definitely my favourite theme and variations.
My god, if I could play it as good as hamelin my life would be complete...
Tom

also I think it is a little too fast in parts... especially the end.
That said, i's never be able to play it as good as this. I'd love to have seen the audiences reaction...
Working on: Schubert - Piano Sonata D.664, Ravel - Sonatine, Ginastera - Danzas Argentinas

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #2 on: March 11, 2007, 01:47:46 PM »
Thanks for the comments; an interesting point re the octaves in variation 19. I used to play them much faster, but I've changed my mind. In the score it is marked lamentevole so I have decided to view that variation as a melancholic procession.


Offline soliloquy

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #3 on: March 11, 2007, 05:41:29 PM »
The no. 1 problem with this is your tempo fluctuates a LOT.  I guess maybe this is because you were nervous, but simply, you need to practice it more to become more comfortable with it.  I don't think pointing out 200 tiny little things is prudent at this point.  Post another rec in a month or so.  With more practice you could give a pretty solid performance of this piece.  But I would definitely say that at this point you were probably not ready for a public performance with it.  But don't feel bad or anything; it's a very nasty piece and I've seen much worse.


One thing though; are you wearing a red crushed velvet suit?  o.O

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #4 on: March 13, 2007, 12:53:33 AM »
Firstly, it's a burgundy velvet jacket.  Comfortable, and quite tasteful compared to some other suggested performance attire. I don't wish to compete in the sartorial chutzpah stakes with Feodor Amirov (aka Captain Jack Sparrow)'s effort in the Chopin Competition ;D

Secondly, I don't fully agree that it's not public performance-ready. I was concerned about a few passages pre-performance, but I was comfortable with most of the piece. Certainly, it could be cleaner, but I must say that the audience were most appreciative, which  was nice. Regarding the tempo fluctuations, I'd like to comment on two in particular, as they are different issues. The one at about 1.42, in variation 7, is involuntary, inexplicable and, ugh, really. The one that tompilk referred to, namely the fast tempo and accelerando in the last two pages, is an interpretative choice; possibly a bad one, but it is at least voluntary and a controlled one.

The criticism is appreciated; I know there are a few areas which need work. Variations 17 and 18 are a complete bete noire for me - and approaching the recital they got worse the more I practised them!

Offline jakev2.0

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #5 on: March 13, 2007, 04:59:13 AM »
Sorry, Ronde, you're a cool guy with a fair heap of talent and obvious skill, but I really do not think you give a proper account of the piece in your current performance.  I am a big Alkan fan who is familiar with the piece. For the majority of the performance, my shoulders were up to my neck. You can play isolated bits, but there are many occasions where the music is completely playing you...it gives the impression of a butler carrying tea down a flight of stairs who has lost balance and desperately scrambles to keep from tumbling the rest of the way down.

I admire your bravery for playing such a monstrous piece in public as well as your love of Alkan. However, I would easily accept your rationalization for the quality of your performance if I did not suspect you could play it much much better than you do in this video.

I wish you excellent luck, and know you can do a damn good job of it once you come to grips with where it currently stands.

Offline soliloquy

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #6 on: March 13, 2007, 06:07:32 AM »
Firstly, it's a burgundy velvet jacket.  Comfortable, and quite tasteful compared to some other suggested performance attire. I don't wish to compete in the sartorial chutzpah stakes with Feodor Amirov (aka Captain Jack Sparrow)'s effort in the Chopin Competition ;D

Secondly, I don't fully agree that it's not public performance-ready. I was concerned about a few passages pre-performance, but I was comfortable with most of the piece. Certainly, it could be cleaner, but I must say that the audience were most appreciative, which  was nice. Regarding the tempo fluctuations, I'd like to comment on two in particular, as they are different issues. The one at about 1.42, in variation 7, is involuntary, inexplicable and, ugh, really. The one that tompilk referred to, namely the fast tempo and accelerando in the last two pages, is an interpretative choice; possibly a bad one, but it is at least voluntary and a controlled one.

The criticism is appreciated; I know there are a few areas which need work. Variations 17 and 18 are a complete bete noire for me - and approaching the recital they got worse the more I practised them!


Your tempo fluctuates dramatically even in the Tema =/  I wasn't even thinking about the crescendo in the final variation; that was obviously artistic interpretation.


Just remember, the audience is appreciative of Lang Lang.  The audience... is stupid.  Seriously, not trying to put you down, but you need to work on it a lot o.o

Offline ahinton

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #7 on: March 13, 2007, 06:56:29 AM »
Just remember, the audience is appreciative of Lang Lang. The audience... is stupid.
The day that Lang 2 plays an all-Alkan programme will be the day I go live on a desert island (at least until he stops); I don't mean to be mean, but can you imagine how he'd find the space for all those customary gymnastics for which he is so well known in the first movement of the Concerto, for example? - or in Mouvment Semblable et Perpetuel from Op. 76? the mind fair boggles! - and if I ever witnessed such a thing in concert, it wold boggle all the more. Perhaps someone should suggest to him that what his audience really would like to hear him play is Finnissy's Fourth Concerto...

Someone recently said that there would be no need for Lang 2 to direct a concerto from the piano, as he does this already.

He would surely have benefited from lessons with Rakhmaninov or Michelangeli - even if only in the gentle art of how to keep moderately still while playing...

Best,

Alistair

Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline hakki

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #8 on: March 13, 2007, 05:40:59 PM »
Don't bother at all ronde.
I advise you to completely ignore these posts.

It is as simple as this: Few people play and many others just watch/listen and talk.

Keep up the good work.
Congratulations.

Regards,

Offline mephisto

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #9 on: March 13, 2007, 06:35:57 PM »
It's very good Ronde, and it's a very difficult piece. I would just advise you to practice more in those places where you have the most difficulty, to increase the controll.

General interpretation seams fine. Just maybe a bit  more rythmic feel.


Offline tompilk

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #10 on: March 13, 2007, 06:53:34 PM »
Don't bother at all ronde.
I advise you to completely ignore these posts.

It is as simple as this: Few people play and many others just watch/listen and talk.

Keep up the good work.
Congratulations.

Regards,

this doesn't stop us providing valuable advise. Most professional coaches are not as good as the students.
Tom
Working on: Schubert - Piano Sonata D.664, Ravel - Sonatine, Ginastera - Danzas Argentinas

Offline jakev2.0

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #11 on: March 13, 2007, 07:18:12 PM »
Don't bother at all ronde.
I advise you to completely ignore these posts.

It is as simple as this: Few people play and many others just watch/listen and talk.

Keep up the good work.
Congratulations.

Regards,


I called your sloppy 10/1 sloppy. Grind your axe elsewhere.

Offline cmg

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #12 on: March 13, 2007, 07:22:53 PM »
You're a  brave man, ronde.  These variations are frightening and you have the technique and musicianship to pull them off.  More performance experience ought to do the trick.  I really admire this Alkan and your playing catches the piece's essence.

One thought:  I noticed that you were seated rather high at the keyboard, much higher, it seems to me, than you are in other videos, particularly the Thalberg, if memory serves me well.  I wonder if lower seating would help with some of the technical issues that trouble you with the piece.  Higher seating, for me, gives a false sense of being "on top" of the music:  in actuality, it creates tension in my arms and wrist.  That seemed to be the cause of your minor difficulties in some of the fingery variations.    

Worth checking it out.  Your playing, in other videos, strikes me as very fluent and relaxed.  In the Alkan, you appear less confident.  Of course, it IS Alkan!  Doesn't get harder, I know.

You'll own this piece.  Give it time and thanks for posting the recording.  
Current repertoire:  "Come to Jesus" (in whole-notes)

Offline zheer

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #13 on: March 13, 2007, 08:16:35 PM »
Very nice.
" Nothing ends nicely, that's why it ends" - Tom Cruise -

Offline pianowolfi

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #14 on: March 13, 2007, 08:21:26 PM »
I liked your performance very much so far. I am not an Alkan specialist like some of the others here (who gave some good advice btw which I can not give yet)  but I think you are in principle fully able to perform this piece. You got also a very positive comment from Koji and he is for sure one of the most competent performers on pianostreet. Keep it up! :)

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #15 on: March 13, 2007, 08:52:08 PM »
Thanks everyone for your comments, both positive and negative - there is much for me to think about.

Cmg, I watched the video again, and I think you make a good point regarding the height of the seating - thanks for spotting that.

Pianowolfi - I have to say it is deeply flattering for an amateur such as myself to have received such a positive comment from Koji, whose pianism I have tremendous respect for.

Offline pianowolfi

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #16 on: March 13, 2007, 09:15:59 PM »

Pianowolfi - I have to say it is deeply flattering for an amateur such as myself to have received such a positive comment from Koji, whose pianism I have tremendous respect for.

Well I am anyway a person who does not actually care about amateur or professional. It's music after all that counts. I mainly work as a teacher. I know how much effort is needed to give concerts. I do give concerts as far as I can but it is not my main occupation and it can never be. For I would have to give up my relatively safe living as a teacher and accompanist for a very stressful job full of dissappointments, false expecatations, illusions. I think (at least where I live) up to 90% of all professional musicians live like that. I admire very much what you do and what you are able to do, considering that you probably have a full day job and maybe other commitments. Respect!  8)

Offline hodi

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #17 on: April 07, 2007, 10:19:57 AM »
this isn't perfect (there are some tempo problems)
but this is alkan
and this piece is very very difficult.
you have done a great job.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Alkan Le festin d'Esope (video)
«Reply #18 on: April 09, 2007, 10:11:12 PM »
Thanks hodi! - yeah, the piece is very difficult  ;D