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DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU (Read 11119 times)

Offline matterintospirit

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DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
« on: September 07, 2007, 04:26:34 AM »
a stone is cast into the water. an ever expanding storm of ripples ensues. The water returns to a state of rest.
"Music is the pen of the soul"

piano sheet music of Reflets dans l'eau


Offline thalberg

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 05:54:34 AM »
Hi Matter,

Good playing!  This is not an easy piece, yet you don't seem to have any trouble with it.  Bravo! 

If you're looking for maybe some advice, I'd say the rubato at the beginning sounds expressive, but in more of a Brahms/Rachmaninoff sort of way because of the expressive tension between the chords.  To make it more water-like, I'd perhaps give it more of a floating feeling--drift gradually up in tempo and gradually back down with each phrase, sort of a really relaxed rubato.  But that's only at the very beginning--elsewhere I like what you did.

Other than that your elements of style were really good.  Plus, the rapid fingerwork was really quite clear, which helps with the water-like atmosphere.  Very nice indeed!

Offline matterintospirit

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 01:06:20 PM »
Thanks for the enthusiasm Thal! I agree about the beginning---sounds too heavy. But I think it's partially me and partially the recording. When I listened to the recording with stereo headphones, the balance sounded a lot better, the chords in the beginning, lighter, so I don't know how it would sound to someone live. But I do agree that I need to lighten up there none the less. Actually I play it a lot better technically, but when I turn on the recorder I become a bit "self-concious" which intereferes, and I worry while I'm playing that I'll have to record it over and over! So I just record once.  I try not to  worry too much about "tecnically anyway", if there is enough music there it's good enough. Yes, I can't tell you how much I love this peice. Water mixes well with water. :)
"Music is the pen of the soul"

Offline rachfan

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #3 on: September 07, 2007, 04:55:40 PM »
Hi matter,

Yours is a very fine performance indeed.  I really enjoyed listening.  Bravo!

A few thoughts:

In the opening of the piece, the quarter notes in the LH really don't shine as much as they should.  They're hidden away in there.  Yes, they're marked tenuto, but only because of the severe limitations in our music notation system.  Debussy stated that what he really intended there was a "bells effect".  Thus, those notes are actually melodic so are to be more prominent in dynamic  than the RH.  To play them as such means to render a good striking accent and NOT to hold those notes to their full value. 

The bell motif returns again in the LH in part A2, au Mouvt on page 3, and needs to be treated the same way for consistency. 

In part B at the top of page 5, you have an extraordinary clarity and precise eveness in executing those 64th  notes.  (Hats, off, I wish I could do that!)  What Debussy said he was aiming for, though, was what he called a "wave of tone".   So the result, in my opinion, has to be produced by taking the liberty (which he would approve) to play the figures even more rapidly, such that the notes touch one another giving rise to a sonorous, harmonic, vibrating effect rather than a mathematically perfect and super-clean reading of the 64ths.  (One of the hallmarks of impressionism is that it's a departure from some of the rules of romanticism.  And notation was often inadequate to reflect that.  For example, Debussy detested melodic voicing of chords as usually done in romantic works.  He instead luxuriated in having all of the harmonic tones equally played to enrich the chords.)

Kudos on the transition, En animant, in having full control over the RH while producing the wonderful crescendo in the LH octaves.  For me, that is the hardest part of the piece, and I still struggle with it.  Great job! 

Finally, something more controversial: In the coda (despite performance practices), I've been experimenting with playing the broken octaves downward rather than upward--and I like it!  Same with the one in two hands in the second to last measure.  After all, doesn't water flow or drip downward with gravity?  Try it just to see see what you think of it.  If you dislike it, that's ok too.

Great playing!

Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline matterintospirit

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #4 on: September 07, 2007, 11:10:04 PM »
Hi matter,

Yours is a very fine performance indeed.  I really enjoyed listening.  Bravo!

A few thoughts:

In the opening of the piece, the quarter notes in the LH really don't shine as much as they should.  They're hidden away in there.  Yes, they're marked tenuto, but only because of the severe limitations in our music notation system.  Debussy stated that what he really intended there was a "bells effect".  Thus, those notes are actually melodic so are to be more prominent in dynamic  than the RH.  To play them as such means to render a good striking accent and NOT to hold those notes to their full value. 

The bell motif returns again in the LH in part A2, au Mouvt on page 3, and needs to be treated the same way for consistency. 

In part B at the top of page 5, you have an extraordinary clarity and precise eveness in executing those 64th  notes.  (Hats, off, I wish I could do that!)  What Debussy said he was aiming for, though, was what he called a "wave of tone".   So the result, in my opinion, has to be produced by taking the liberty (which he would approve) to play the figures even more rapidly, such that the notes touch one another giving rise to a sonorous, harmonic, vibrating effect rather than a mathematically perfect and super-clean reading of the 64ths.  (One of the hallmarks of impressionism is that it's a departure from some of the rules of romanticism.  And notation was often inadequate to reflect that.  For example, Debussy detested melodic voicing of chords as usually done in romantic works.  He instead luxuriated in having all of the harmonic tones equally played to enrich the chords.)

Kudos on the transition, En animant, in having full control over the RH while producing the wonderful crescendo in the LH octaves.  For me, that is the hardest part of the piece, and I still struggle with it.  Great job! 

Finally, something more controversial: In the coda (despite performance practices), I've been experimenting with playing the broken octaves downward rather than upward--and I like it!  Same with the one in two hands in the second to last measure.  After all, doesn't water flow or drip downward with gravity?  Try it just to see see what you think of it.  If you dislike it, that's ok too.

Great playing!



   Thanks for all your feedback. Yes I agree that the quarter notes may not come through enough and I like the idea of a little more strike, almost detatched---bell-like etc. and I will try it. Of course there could be an argument for keeping those notes "veiled."
    As far as the "waves of tone", it works for me to keep all 32nd's, 64th's, whatever, clear and "relatively" steady in general. To me they are like"points of light on the water", and each and every note is important.  I try to keep the crescendos to a minimum, and save it up for the "big one." I purposely hold back the tempo a bit there in the section you mentioned, to create what i think is a dynamic tension with  what precedes and what follows. Maybe "waves of tone" in sonority could be pushed, a possible option, but not in speed I don't think. I always find that there is more control in Debussy than one would think, in order for the music to be effective.

Anyway, I'm very pleased that you enjoyed it---isn't that the goal? :)
"Music is the pen of the soul"

Offline matterintospirit

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #5 on: September 08, 2007, 12:42:11 AM »
OH, Rachfan--- in terms of the difficulty you were having in "en animant" section, in terms of RH, have you tried using different combinations of dotted rhythms and/or playing with metrenome and gradually move up one notch at a time, starting VERY slowly and progressing to ? With the metrenome thing, you in a sense trick yourself in that the transition in speed is so gradual that the "mind" does't "notice." In both cases you need to make sure that your fingers are absolutely centered on each and every key, especially the black keys---tricky little things.
"Music is the pen of the soul"

Offline rachfan

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #6 on: September 08, 2007, 01:05:09 AM »
Hi matter,

Thanks for the suggestions on that section in "Reflets".  Yes, I have done the dotted rhythms which help.  Also hands alone practice, but maybe not enough.  (That's when the crucial finger centering on the keys you mention could best be observed.)  I've haven't yet tried the escalating upticks with the metronome though (I recall that Ruth Schlenczynska advocates that approach too).  I do have a trusty Franz electric metronome sitting on the music desk, so I'll give it a try. 

But here's the problem: Somehow when I'm at that section, I'm concentrating on keeping the RH clear, even, accurate and subordinate to the LH so that the LH can move forward with its featured crescendo.  Then it messes up!  The derailing occurs in the fourth measure where the A's are natural (I penciled a bracket around that measure, ha-ha!).  Then once I'm distracted by the RH error, the LH crescendo fizzles.  May I ask what you use for RH fingering in that  particular measure?

 Thanks!
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline matterintospirit

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #7 on: September 08, 2007, 02:45:22 AM »
Hi matter,

Thanks for the suggestions on that section in "Reflets".  Yes, I have done the dotted rhythms which help.  Also hands alone practice, but maybe not enough.  (That's when the crucial finger centering on the keys you mention could best be observed.)  I've haven't yet tried the escalating upticks with the metronome though (I recall that Ruth Schlenczynska advocates that approach too).  I do have a trusty Franz electric metronome sitting on the music desk, so I'll give it a try. 

But here's the problem: Somehow when I'm at that section, I'm concentrating on keeping the RH clear, even, accurate and subordinate to the LH so that the LH can move forward with its featured crescendo.  Then it messes up!  The derailing occurs in the fourth measure where the A's are natural (I penciled a bracket around that measure, ha-ha!).  Then once I'm distracted by the RH error, the LH crescendo fizzles.  May I ask what you use for RH fingering in that  particular measure?

 Thanks!

fingering: 542 421 213 532 312 124 245 123

but note that this fingering works for ME. everyone's hands are different. for instance, my hands are a little small for a male. maybe for a larger hand or longer fingers, someone might not need their thumb to pass under and over as much as I do. maybe they can take more notes with one hand, etc.

   The metrenome thing can be rather tedious, but it's worth it---guaranteed. Consider it meditation and an opportunity to empty out the thoughts in your head (don't know about you, but I could use a lot of that!)
   I wouldn't concern myself with putting that section hands together until you can play the right hand with some ease. also it doesn't necessarily have to be as fast as I played it to be effective. Once you have more or less mastered the RH up to tempo, , go back to the metrenome, and practice hands together at very slow calculated speed, and work up VERY gradually to tempo. Do not move to the next speed until you are comfortable. I guarantee that IT WILL BE 100% IMPROVED. It will require a GREAT DEAL OF PRACTICING, maybe more than you think! (or want to think!) ;) So this is my "RX" for your problem. (i'm anxious to hear it after you follow my directions and put in ALL those hours on that section ---Ha!Ha! ;)
"Music is the pen of the soul"

Offline rachfan

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #8 on: September 08, 2007, 03:18:53 AM »
Hi matter,

Wow!  That fingering is a LOT of changing of fingers!  I'll try it out tomorrow.  I do have a large hand though (which is why I play a lot of Rachmaninoff but no Mozart), and usually try to take figures like that in one hand if possible.  Anyway, I'll test it out.  If yours, as suited to a smaller hand, seems too busy or intricate, I'll reexamine other possibilities within a single hand position.  It might be one of those cases where what seems totally logical in slow practice simply cannot work well at faster speed.  We've all run into that conundrum.  Probably I tried stubbornly to stick with it regardless, rather than analyzing for it more closely.  I'll let you know what I discover.

Yes, those metronome drills for speed do take a lot of practice.  In the past using it, I found that on a given day, I'd reach a speed plateau that could not be exceeded, so I'd stop.  Then it would be a grind working up to that same tempo again another day and trying to get a notch or two beyond it without sloppy playing setting in.  Definitely tedious!!!  But with figuration like this in Reflets, maybe it's the only way.

Thanks again! 
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline matterintospirit

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #9 on: September 08, 2007, 03:25:39 AM »
  SURE THING.
   try it (you won't like it!) but you'll like the results. by the way rachfan, i'm working on "lilacs"---love it---and have a recording of rach playing it----blows you AWAY!
"Music is the pen of the soul"

Offline rachfan

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #10 on: September 08, 2007, 04:03:02 AM »
Hi matter,

Yes, I have the Rach recording of Lilacs too.  A short funny story prior to my buying that CD:  One day I was driving along and turned on NPR just as Lilacs started.  I was trying to figure out who the pianist might be.  The playing was sumptuous, yet a bit straight-forward if not businesslike for me.  I had already studied the piece, so knew it well and concluded that this recording I was hearing could be better in some ways.  Well... then the music host identified it as being played by Rachmaninoff himself.  Man, talk about that feeling of embarrassment!  Ha-ha!  That's when I bought the CD. 

Also on there, notice Melody Op. 3, No. 3.  That was his own recital version that may well have been the original score.  Unfortunately, he "simplified" some of his piano pieces later in life, believing that they were too complex and intricate.  The original 1913 and revised 1931 editions of his Second Piano Sonata are probably the very worst example of that destruction.  I believe the Melody suffered the same fate.  If you look at the sheet music available today or listen to a modern recording, the piece is a mere shadow of its former glory.

Anyway, here is my own recording of Lilacs.
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline matterintospirit

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #11 on: September 08, 2007, 04:30:42 AM »
some very lovely parts. you need to work on your 2 against 3 rhythm--- :)
"Music is the pen of the soul"

Offline prongated

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #12 on: September 08, 2007, 09:57:36 AM »
"matter",

I started listening, then I thought of a few things, then I was simply swayed. This is a very enjoyable performance. I am out of my place if I criticise this.

Many thanks!

prongated

Offline teresa_b

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #13 on: September 08, 2007, 12:24:12 PM »
Hi matter,
Lovely!  This is such a difficult piece, and you play it really well.  Beautiful clarity and rippling sounds in the arpeggios!  I have played Reflets, and have had all sorts of troubles with it, so I truly appreciate your accomplishment here.

Rachfan, interestingly, I have also done those broken octaves top-down!  I like them that way.

I have no concrete suggestions--it sounds a little self-conscious, which you mentioned happens when you set the recorder (Understandable! This exact thing always happens to me if I try to record myself.)  I would only say, think "looser" and a even bit more free with rubato such that the "impressions"--a swirl here, a reflected image there--really shine.

Great work!
Teresa

Offline matterintospirit

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #14 on: September 08, 2007, 02:26:34 PM »
"matter",

I started listening, then I thought of a few things, then I was simply swayed. This is a very enjoyable performance. I am out of my place if I criticise this.

Many thanks!

prongated

WOW Prongated!---you see, being "out of place' can be a GOOD thing! seems that here, "music" has "tamed the wild beast" (He!He!)---- ;)----)quite an accomplishment to "sway" anyone in an audience of classical pianists--- :o)
very glad you enjoyed it, and that the performance "spoke' to you. :) :)
That's always my goal, anyway, to take a piece beyond the "realm" of criticism and into the "realm" of "meaning."  Not so easy, me lad  :'(
 
                             Regards,

                                     matter into spirit----(if only for a moment)
"Music is the pen of the soul"

Offline matterintospirit

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #15 on: September 08, 2007, 03:46:55 PM »
Hi matter,
Lovely!  This is such a difficult piece, and you play it really well.  Beautiful clarity and rippling sounds in the arpeggios!  I have played Reflets, and have had all sorts of troubles with it, so I truly appreciate your accomplishment here.

Rachfan, interestingly, I have also done those broken octaves top-down!  I like them that way.

I have no concrete suggestions--it sounds a little self-conscious, which you mentioned happens when you set the recorder (Understandable! This exact thing always happens to me if I try to record myself.)  I would only say, think "looser" and a even bit more free with rubato such that the "impressions"--a swirl here, a reflected image there--really shine.

Great work!
Teresa

Thanks for your feedback teresa_b, and i'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, your suggestions line up with what Thalberg mentioned about lighter and more rubato in the opening. I'm experimenting with it, have to be careful not to go too far, often exaggerations take away from the music, so there always seems to be a "line" where not to cross. Anyway, changing the beginning will impact the entire piece, so I'll see what happens. Thanx again for your feedback. :)
"Music is the pen of the soul"

Offline rachfan

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Re: DEBUSSY----- REFLET DANS L'EAU
«Reply #16 on: September 08, 2007, 10:20:30 PM »
Hi Teresa,

Yes!  I think playing those broken octaves downward gives the coda a whole new, innovative and interesting sound. Debussy spent a lifetime bucking the system as a composer starting with his conservatory days.  So he would not at all resist this notion we're discussing.  In fact, I think he'd be fascinated by it.  Plus there is no law concerning directionality of rolls or broken octaves--it really depends on musical context.  So both hands can go upward, downward, toward one another, or in contrary motion depending on the situation.  Thus, nobody will go to jail playing these broken octaves downward.  And, I think my justification of water dripping downward with gravity makes all the sense in the world. 

I'm pretty conventional and seldom challenge performance practices.  But if I feel strongly about something like this, and as long as I can offer a cogent and reasoned argument supporting my interpretation, then I'm fine being the occasional maverick.  With all the Rachmaninoff I've played, I've only made two (2) judicious and subtle changes to his scores, one regarding an inner voice line, the other making a chord sound "more Rachmaninoff" than Rachmaninoff made it.  If he could come back, and if I could show and explain both instances to him, I know he'd be A1 OK with them.  Of course, if a pianist is entering competitions, he/she will predictably toss individualty out the window and opt for plain vanila ho-hum performances--which is why, unlike in previous decades, listening with a blindfold on, you can't tell one pianist from the next these days.   
 
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.