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Ravel "Ondine" (Read 6377 times)

Offline fnork

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Ravel "Ondine"
« on: November 26, 2007, 12:18:46 AM »
25/9-07

Taken from a concert with mostly chamber music with the following program:

Prokofiev - Five melodies
Ravel - Ondine
Faure - Elegie for cello and piano
Poulenc - Violin sonata

- - - - -

Brahms - Pianotrio op 8


---


piano sheet music of Ondine


Offline thierry13

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Re: Ravel "Ondine" live
«Reply #1 on: November 26, 2007, 01:26:41 AM »
Very good ! I like the spirit and the mellow sound you do in this. In the first page, I think you could do the melody a bit more "sustenuto" ... If you know what I mean. I think you could do it more singing, you forgot that side for the sake of sound, but you could unit the two better ! Other general comment : the more "agitato" kinda lack that feeling. What I felt towards that is that you kinda kept the same dynamic for the whole first half of the piece, wich is not necessarily the case. When the motive of the main theme is there you allways take it very very calm(maybe too much), even in the parts where it shouldn't be. That's just my feeling towards this, but in general, awesome , very very good job and very clean!

Offline rachfan

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Re: Ravel "Ondine" live
«Reply #2 on: November 26, 2007, 02:21:07 AM »
Hi fnork,

This is a very fine performance of Ondine.  I particularly liked your phrasing of the plaintive cantilena, your leggiero articulation, the fluidity (no pun intended) of your playing, and your shadings.  You "spend" the long crescendos nicely too.  Your playing truly captures Bertrand's poem of the rain, the water nymph's seductive pleadings, descriptions of her watery world, her tears of rejection, and the splash of droplets as she disappears.  I enjoyed listening!

Have you ever watched/listened to Vlado Perlemuter's rendition on YouTube?  As you know he studied the piece with Ravel.  He never had a big technique actually, and when he did the video, he was already in his 90s, yet still acquitted himself quite well considering.  You get a sense of history just watching him play the piece.

Thanks for posting.  (I wish I could play it!)     
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline fnork

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Re: Ravel "Ondine" live
«Reply #3 on: November 26, 2007, 09:24:36 AM »
thanks for comments. yeah, perlemuter is just great (didn't I mention a long time ago that my former teacher studied with him? you probably remember the story about the big steinway D in his practice studio which he never used, preferring the old pleyel...) and his technique in his earlier years wasn't too bad - he played all chopins etudes in concert as far as I know. His sense for colours in "Ondine", still at age 90, is really rare, even though it's of course not perfect playing or anything.

thierry, I've tried this piece in so many different ways but found in the end that what works best is an interpretation very close to the text Ravel left us. The first PIANO dynamic marking (not counting one in the beginning which just lasts for two bars) appears about HALFWAY in the piece, so I like to play the first half of the piece under piano nuance but with careful phrasing of course and ups and downs in dynamics.

Offline fnork

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Re: Ravel "Ondine" live
«Reply #4 on: November 26, 2007, 09:26:55 AM »
sh*t. listening again, I feel I should go and practice thirds... still not comfortable for me. hey, was the climax too slow btw? just wondering.

Offline rachfan

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Re: Ravel "Ondine" live
«Reply #5 on: November 26, 2007, 05:35:50 PM »
Yeah, when Perlemuter was at his best, he could produce more colors in his playing than most other pianists.  I think I recall your mentioning too a typical lesson with Perlemuter as recounted by your teacher, and how he would sit across the room offering rather blunt comments, ha-ha!  The impression I've always had of him is that he was probably totally down to earth and very "no nonsense", yet having a great sensitivity inside.  Many people don't know that he was blind in his left eye from an early injury.  That he was able to learn so much repertoire in his time and execute those big leaps in the bass with accuracy without vision on that side is truly remarkable.  He was definitely one of a kind. 
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline fnork

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Re: Ravel "Ondine" live
«Reply #6 on: November 27, 2007, 06:35:16 PM »
-

Offline thierry13

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Re: Ravel "Ondine", Brahms etc live
«Reply #7 on: November 27, 2007, 07:53:03 PM »
thierry, I've tried this piece in so many different ways but found in the end that what works best is an interpretation very close to the text Ravel left us. The first PIANO dynamic marking (not counting one in the beginning which just lasts for two bars) appears about HALFWAY in the piece, so I like to play the first half of the piece under piano nuance but with careful phrasing of course and ups and downs in dynamics.

I actually know that the best way to do it is as close to the text as possible : I read perlemuter's book. I didn't ask you to play softer or louder, it's just that your melody gets kinda loss in the sound mix of the chords, I only meant it could be more singing, in the exact same frame Ravel wrote it. As for the first piano marking arriving only after the first half, I didn't meant to play louder ... it's just there are other markings in the score and you can agitate some things more without changing the dynamics. I know I wasn't really clear and I maybe still am not but whatever.

Offline viking

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Re: Ravel "Ondine", Brahms etc live
«Reply #8 on: November 27, 2007, 08:52:37 PM »
Of course this is extremely beautiful music and you did such a fine job.  I heard that you really understand what it takes to play the piano like little bells - the sound was very good.  The only small suggestion would be to maybe play it at a slightly slower tempo.  I have always found that shaving a little bit off the tempo can really give you a richer huger sound, especially in the climax which you played quite nicely.  It will also almost put you in a trance in the quieter sections.  Overall, you can afford to take a "little" bit more time in places, but you do a very good job of letting the piece flow which so many people fail to realize is so important. 
Very enjoyable to listen to!
Sam

Offline fnork

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Re: Ravel "Ondine", Brahms etc live
«Reply #9 on: November 29, 2007, 07:23:32 PM »
good suggestions viking! I know what you mean, and the next concert where I will play it is in over a month so I have time to polish it.... it's a piece that both needs it and deserves it.

Offline faustsaccomplice

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #10 on: December 01, 2007, 05:28:16 AM »
bravo!

fine playing... i've got to learn this too.  ondine is just beautiful.

you really know what you're doing stylistically.  the few scratches are inevitable in performance...but you made some of them in some key places that are "hard" and are thus unattractive psychologically as well as aesthetically.   maybe you can savor the climaxes a bit more, take your time with them and revel in it.

great playing fnork. 

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #11 on: December 01, 2007, 10:17:41 PM »
Fnork,

This was really great!  I appreciated your comments about how the first real 'piano' dynamic (not counting two bars at the beginning) was halfway through the piece.  It gives the piece a much more 'watery' feeling - and mellow beginning.  Yet, I can't help but agree a little with Theirry13 because of the suddenness when the dynamics change.  All of a sudden what has been done before is kinda 'cancelled' because it sounds suddenly a bit less 'elegant' or something.  This isn't a major crit though- because I probably couldn't play it as well.  But, what might be better is just a slight less amount of dynamics even when the dynamics call for mf or forte.  A sort of subdued dynamics to go with what you just did at the beginning.  Unless halfway through a watershow of sorts begins. ?  I'm curious what exactly Ravel had in mind after the halfway point.  I don't think it would be any sudden shocks of dynamics as much as color.

You are EXCELLENT with color.  I liked the variations (and immediately heard it) with the opening.  Maybe more reigns on the dynamics slightly after the mid-point of the piece.  Ever so slightly - so it seems that it smoothly transitions in all directions.  Unless I mistake the intentions of Ravel and he wants sudden bursts - but, even in paintings - we are allowed to travel at our own paces with brilliance of color or subdued color.  It would be a much easier transition for the listener if the exact 'piano' wasn't watched as much as a gradual increase of color and slightly louder dynamics led us to the sudden changes (and the changes themselves might be subdued slightly) - so that we can 'follow' the music where it is leading us.  Perhaps even if there is no real melodic line - we can follow a perceived one.  It's such a mysterious piece.  It's like being in the dark (or under water) and being led by following a nymph.  What you do is guiding the listener.
 

Offline yerko

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #12 on: December 12, 2007, 08:29:37 AM »
Beautiful version, a great sensibility and fine touch... (it is one of my highlights in concert repertoire), you play it great, thanks for the post, regards and greetings from Spain!!




Offline shadow88

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #13 on: January 20, 2008, 07:14:44 PM »
omg great recording!!
is this piece playable? :)
My current pieces:
- Clementi - Gradus ad Parnassum - No. 9
- Liszt - un Sospiro
- Mendelssohn - Rondo Capriccioso op. 14

Offline soderlund

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #14 on: January 20, 2008, 09:55:09 PM »
Beautiful playing, truly! I listened while following the sheet music. You did a very good job, and I think this interpretation was very close to what Ravel intended for this.

Offline point of grace

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #15 on: January 21, 2008, 01:20:59 AM »
omg great recording!!
is this piece playable? :)

same question here
Learning:

Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
Brahms Op. 79 No. 2
Rachmaninoff Op. 16 No. 4 and 5

Offline rallestar

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #16 on: January 21, 2008, 07:50:15 AM »
It's usually the case that if you have to ask about a piece, it's a no-go. At least that how it seems for me, and Ondine really is so hard, and this is such a good recording. You make me jealous, I think I'll go and practice right away in fact!

Offline point of grace

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #17 on: January 22, 2008, 01:48:42 AM »
It's usually the case that if you have to ask about a piece, it's a no-go. At least that how it seems for me, and Ondine really is so hard, and this is such a good recording. You make me jealous, I think I'll go and practice right away in fact!

ok, so iŽll keep on working on my ondineŽs debussy prelude
thanks!
Learning:

Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
Brahms Op. 79 No. 2
Rachmaninoff Op. 16 No. 4 and 5

Offline fnork

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #18 on: January 25, 2008, 03:26:19 PM »
thanks for the nice comments. I'm getting 'Ondine' ready for a national competition in 1.5 weeks together with some other pieces, let's hope for the best...with this piece, there will always be things to work on and improve, for me at least.

omg great recording!!
is this piece playable? :)
well...if you work hard :) however, it shouldn't be the first Ravel piece you ever played I guess. I was working on it for perhaps 2-3 months prior to an audition where I had to play it, and lots of slow practice did a lot of good for me. It could be recommended to practice certain passages forte and slowsly, or alternatively try to play EVEN SOFTER than pp or ppp, but again very very slowly. Listen carefully to the melody, make sure that it REALLY is heard clearly over the accompanying arpeggios and figuarations. And in all of the arpeggios and figurations - the touch is leggiero (sometimes almost staccato), this is very important to make it even. Don't go to the bottom of the key. You have the pedal down all of the time, legato playing would only make things heavy and not transparent enough.
Hope this helps.

Offline allchopin

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #19 on: January 26, 2008, 04:56:35 PM »
thanks for the nice comments. I'm getting 'Ondine' ready for a national competition in 1.5 weeks together with some other pieces, let's hope for the best...with this piece, there will always be things to work on and improve, for me at least.
Which competition?  What are your other pieces on the program?

Nice playing, it's a very middle-of-the-road, or "normal" recording.  Not a bad thing or necessarily good, just doesn't stand out from other recordings.  :P

Offline fnork

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #20 on: January 27, 2008, 10:53:37 AM »
Oh, just a competition that Yamaha organizes every 3 years for pianists, only a 20-minute program:

Bach - P&F G#minor
Lutoslawski - Etude no 2
Ravel - Ondine
Brahms - Rhapsody op 119 no 4

For pianists, it's just ridicoulus to "show a great variety of styles" in 20 minutes - it becomes impossible to play big pieces. I was thinking about all of Brahms op 119, or possibly all of Gaspard, now it becomes all chopped up. But, what can you do...

Offline allchopin

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #21 on: January 27, 2008, 04:04:09 PM »
Oh, just a competition that Yamaha organizes every 3 years for pianists, only a 20-minute program:

Bach - P&F G#minor
Lutoslawski - Etude no 2
Ravel - Ondine
Brahms - Rhapsody op 119 no 4

For pianists, it's just ridicoulus to "show a great variety of styles" in 20 minutes - it becomes impossible to play big pieces. I was thinking about all of Brahms op 119, or possibly all of Gaspard, now it becomes all chopped up. But, what can you do...
I wish I was more familiar with the music, maybe if you are able sometime you could post the rest of your program.  Best of luck fnork.

Offline fnork

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Re: Ravel "Ondine"
«Reply #22 on: January 27, 2008, 05:26:56 PM »
thanks. If I get a chance to record it, I will post it for sure. Did the entire Brahms opus recently in concert, unfortunately I think there's no recording of it...might record the competition, if it will be good enough I'll post it!