\"\"
Piano Forum logo

hammerklavier opening. (Read 9977 times)

Offline lohshuhan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 74
hammerklavier opening.
« on: January 12, 2008, 03:44:19 AM »
for people who have tried this sonata, after the initial B-flat in the left hand, do you take the next chord in the right hand, or do you leap the left hand over?

if you use the left hand, how do you minimize the time lapse when leaping over? 

piano sheet music of Sonata 29 (Hammerklavier)


Offline quantum

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5577
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #1 on: January 12, 2008, 05:20:30 AM »
I haven't played it, but from dabbling with the opening I find using the LH and RH for the opening more reliable and also giving more control.

Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline etudes

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 812
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #2 on: January 12, 2008, 06:31:03 AM »
well..the really first one...if in concert I play with RH (but normal with the LH jump in the second time or wherever the same passages come) because i am never so sure of the openning at all (same goes with Chasse neige as well :P8)
and how to deal with the time lapse ..i just think about going to the top note of the chord(s) on the LH
Piano = my life
My life = piano

Offline richard black

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2104
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #3 on: January 12, 2008, 09:49:56 AM »
Cross hands, play the bottom B flat with RH, then proceed as printed.
Instrumentalists are all wannabe singers. Discuss.

Offline dnephi

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1859
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #4 on: January 12, 2008, 01:18:22 PM »
I play both with LH.  It's a matter of knowing exactly how far it is and what you have t do to get there right away and not taking time to think about it.  Takes a bit of practice and a good technique in that area, but it's far from impossible.
For us musicians, the music of Beethoven is the pillar of fire and cloud of mist which guided the Israelites through the desert.  (Roughly quoted, Franz Liszt.)

Offline rallestar

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #5 on: January 12, 2008, 02:02:02 PM »
Listen to Schiff on this. LH.

Offline ahinton

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12045
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #6 on: January 12, 2008, 02:26:37 PM »
Cross hands, play the bottom B flat with RH, then proceed as printed.
That's the most sensible solution!

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline franzliszt2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1003
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #7 on: January 12, 2008, 02:53:49 PM »
One hand all the time. You just have to practice it. You don't have to look at the bottom Bb, just stare at the top one, and practice formign the shape from the Bb. Practice it in all keys as well. It's isn't that hard. It's just this thing that people get into there heads. It can't be done with 2 hands in my opinion....that spoils it.

Offline general disarray

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 695
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #8 on: January 12, 2008, 04:39:12 PM »
Cross hands, play the bottom B flat with RH, then proceed as printed.

Best solution by far.  Why on earth would you do otherwise?  Who wants to blow the clarion cry of one of the greatest openings in Western Music?
" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline jabbz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #9 on: January 13, 2008, 12:13:14 PM »
As said above, listen to Schiff on this. LH is definately a better idea.

Offline counterpoint

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2001
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #10 on: January 13, 2008, 12:23:57 PM »
I'm wondering if someone already has a problem with the first two notes/chords of a Sonata (which are rather easy to play), how he will be able to play the rest of the piece...  ::)

edit

btw. it doesn't matter, if you play left-left, left-right or right-left
the important thing is, that the rhythm of the first two bars has a natural flow and is not broken up after the first 2 notes/chords
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #11 on: January 13, 2008, 12:25:56 PM »
Why not just use 3 in the L.H.?  It seems to me more of a gamble to use the R.H., given how much travel distance (and consequently, time) it adds.  Arrangements are fine, but in this case, I believe it is better as written, with no "m.d." over the low B-flat.

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #12 on: January 13, 2008, 12:27:20 PM »
I'm wondering if someone already has a problem with the first two chords of a Sonata (which are rather easy to play), how he will be able to play the rest of the piece...  ::)

I was asking myself this question.  If you get one "phone a friend" in this piece, shouldn't it be for something in the fugue?  Or possibly a question of interpretation in inordinately long slow movement?

Offline franzliszt2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1003
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #13 on: January 13, 2008, 04:00:50 PM »
But crossing hands looks sooo stupid! The gesture is the most important thing about the opening. It is supposed be hard, just practice it with your eyes closed and in all keys instead of being lazy! Also practice it with bigger leaps by moving the chord or Bb up an octave. It's only a 2nd inversion Bb major chord! I mean how hard can it possibly be to miss? You have to think like that! It's just a stupid mental problem people have.

Plus playign it with 2 hands will make you play it to fast if you are not careful. AND it has to be ONE gesture, one arm mvt. With 2 hands it is obviously 2. And to make it even easier, use 5 2 1 on the chord, and keep the 2nd finger flat instead of curved, and you can't possibly miss it!

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #14 on: January 13, 2008, 05:33:06 PM »
But crossing hands looks sooo stupid! The gesture is the most important thing about the opening. It is supposed be hard, just practice it with your eyes closed and in all keys instead of being lazy! Also practice it with bigger leaps by moving the chord or Bb up an octave. It's only a 2nd inversion Bb major chord! I mean how hard can it possibly be to miss? You have to think like that! It's just a stupid mental problem people have.

Plus playign it with 2 hands will make you play it to fast if you are not careful. AND it has to be ONE gesture, one arm mvt. With 2 hands it is obviously 2. And to make it even easier, use 5 2 1 on the chord, and keep the 2nd finger flat instead of curved, and you can't possibly miss it!

It's true - the distance creates an automatic agogic accent on the downbeat.  Beethoven made it difficult to play in time for a reason!

Offline general disarray

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 695
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #15 on: January 13, 2008, 05:53:03 PM »
Okay, Left-Handers-Alone, well reasoned and certainly what Beethoven wrote. 

But, now:  The Real World of Performance.

You've actually had the boldness to learn this monster sonata.  You've even memorized it.  You walk out on stage fully aware that you are going to be scaling Mt. Everest -- and , unlike mountaineers, you're doing it before an audience. You've practiced this opening a billion times and rarely missed.  But, now you're nervous and if you're not nervous about this challenge before you, you are certifiably insane.  You have nearly insurmountable technical and interpretative challenges ahead of you.  Not to mention memory. 

With all that pressure do you want to deal with the possibility of missing that chord?  It's exactly that kind of screw-up that looms before performers when they sit down at the instrument.  Remember Horowitz's clunker at the outset of his Carnegie Hall return concert?  Why court disaster? You're hardly violating the spirit and soul of Beethoven here.

The "gesture is the most important thing about the opening."  What?  No, the right notes are and conveying the same effect with crossed hands to ensure accuracy when you are at your most nervous is just prudent. 
" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #16 on: January 13, 2008, 06:08:02 PM »
Okay, Left-Handers-Alone, well reasoned and certainly what Beethoven wrote. 

But, now:  The Real World of Performance.

You've actually had the boldness to learn this monster sonata.  You've even memorized it.  You walk out on stage fully aware that you are going to be scaling Mt. Everest -- and , unlike mountaineers, you're doing it before an audience. You've practiced this opening a billion times and rarely missed.  But, now you're nervous and if you're not nervous about this challenge before you, you are certifiably insane.  You have nearly insurmountable technical and interpretative challenges ahead of you.  Not to mention memory. 

With all that pressure do you want to deal with the possibility of missing that chord?  It's exactly that kind of screw-up that looms before performers when they sit down at the instrument.  Remember Horowitz's clunker at the outset of his Carnegie Hall return concert?  Why court disaster? You're hardly violating the spirit and soul of Beethoven here.

The "gesture is the most important thing about the opening."  What?  No, the right notes are and conveying the same effect with crossed hands to ensure accuracy when you are at your most nervous is just prudent. 

I am all for prudence, but at the same time, anyone who has learnt this sonata and mastered the piece following that dreadful pickup can likely  play the pickup in L.H., as well as have the control in performance to allow enough room for an accurate motion.  I am not completely against the crossed hands, as I think that in the end if the text as written is not possible, an arrangement ought to be employed, but I do believe that the L.H. shift is possible and preferable, and is not a completely idealistic notion.

Offline franzliszt2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1003
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #17 on: January 13, 2008, 06:09:30 PM »
Okay, Left-Handers-Alone, well reasoned and certainly what Beethoven wrote. 

But, now:  The Real World of Performance.

You've actually had the boldness to learn this monster sonata.  You've even memorized it.  You walk out on stage fully aware that you are going to be scaling Mt. Everest -- and , unlike mountaineers, you're doing it before an audience. You've practiced this opening a billion times and rarely missed.  But, now you're nervous and if you're not nervous about this challenge before you, you are certifiably insane.  You have nearly insurmountable technical and interpretative challenges ahead of you.  Not to mention memory. 

With all that pressure do you want to deal with the possibility of missing that chord?  It's exactly that kind of screw-up that looms before performers when they sit down at the instrument.  Remember Horowitz's clunker at the outset of his Carnegie Hall return concert?  Why court disaster? You're hardly violating the spirit and soul of Beethoven here.

The "gesture is the most important thing about the opening."  What?  No, the right notes are and conveying the same effect with crossed hands to ensure accuracy when you are at your most nervous is just prudent. 

Real performance world you have the technique to jump a simple leap! When I watch a pianist play Hammerklavier I get annoyed when they "cheat". I'd rather get the musical effect and the wrong notes than teh right notes and boring effect.

The gesture is important of course! It's totally huge, grant, con brio!!

I would walk onto Carnegie hall stage NOW and play that opening and I am certain I would hit the right notes, and if I didn't I wouldn't care. I would create such an effect the audience would sit up instantly! They would just sit back as normal if I did it 2 hands, it's nothing special. But that huge gesture with 1 arm is so powerful. Stuff the notes. I trust my technique enough to walk out on a stage and play anything I've worked on, and if you don't, then you are nebver going to be in the real world of performance.


What about op111?? Thats much worse in my opinion. Should we do that with 2 hands? Chopin double 3rds etude..start with 2 hands?

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #18 on: January 13, 2008, 06:14:50 PM »
Chopin double 3rds etude..start with 2 hands?

How about Beethoven op. 2 no. 3, arranged?

Offline franzliszt2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1003
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #19 on: January 13, 2008, 06:18:00 PM »
How about Beethoven op. 2 no. 3, arranged?

Oh yes, most certainly!! I mean we wouldn't want to miss it would we? I mean that would be awful! I mean OH MY GOD we may miss it!! Thats it, careers over, the audience will boo us off the stage!

That opening is actually harder than Hammerklavier opening in my opinion, it's tricky to get perfectly clear at first.


Offline rallestar

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #20 on: January 13, 2008, 06:18:37 PM »
Speaking as a concertgoer, I'd rather see someone go up on stage, with all the nerves and pressure, and go for that jump, hell, is it not exactly what Beethoven intended, to start such a mammoth piece with that dramatic, risky opening blow?

Good point about it being one gesture, franzliszt2.

Offline general disarray

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 695
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #21 on: January 13, 2008, 06:18:51 PM »
Well, you're certainly passionate about theatricality!  Bravo!  

As for the two-hand cheats, I know lots of concert pianists who do it -- most notably in Chopin's A-flat Polonaise, Op. 53 -- at the entrance of the octave pattern, many use two hands there to conserve on energy.  That bothers you, I'm sure.  

It's not a pure world and to get some jobs done, you gotta do what you gotta do.   ;D
" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline franzliszt2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1003
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #22 on: January 13, 2008, 06:23:48 PM »
Chopins polonaise is notated for 2 hands at the start of teh octaves. It is not to conserve energy, so if the pianist you talk about are using it to conserve energy, they must have tense octaves. It's for the sound that they do it, you can do it with no pedal with 2 hands, and get a clear sound, then when the RH enters the pedal generally has to go down, so the octaves obviously change. It's a nice subtle little touch and makes it interesting. That is not a hard octave passage, so people do not need to cheat.

Theatricality is very important

Offline general disarray

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 695
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #23 on: January 13, 2008, 06:32:39 PM »
I really do know what you mean about integrity to the score, etc. 

I have no intention of being a concert pianist because I don't have that kind of talent.  So, to play these big masterpieces for myself, as an advanced amateur, I take cheats when I can.  It enables me to take on some big literature in a shorter period of practice time, since I don't have that much time to practice -- and, therefore, I don't have a technique as well-developed as you guys obviously do.

Still, it enables me to cut through some stuff and get a close approximation, plus I get the gratification of playing some wonderful music I ordinarily wouldn't have the time to play.

And, yes, I actually do begin the double 3rds Etude with both hands!  ;D  At least, I have the pleasure of playing it (my way, not Chopin's, of course) instead of mooning over recordings by my superiors. 

Edit:  thanks for correcting my inaccurate statement about the Polonaise.
" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline ramseytheii

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2515
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #24 on: January 14, 2008, 02:35:17 AM »
I think for me the main problem with the "cheat" as you call it in the Hammerklavier opening is not that it doesn't reflect the written page, but that it is uncreative.  The technical issue isn't a leap, but it's the issue of distinguishing orchestral sonority.  The b-flat has to be like a timpani stroke, and the chord has to be like accented brass.  Or whatever you want, I suppose.  To do this with one hand, to differentiate sonorities which are very close rhythmically, is a creative problem which should actually be very, very enjoyable to practice. 

The reason people break it up into two hands, is that they are so obsessed with the physical motion of "leap," - which actually is easily controlled from the lower back, not any joint in isolation - that they can't see the inherent musical issue, and they turn to uncreative solutions of non-problems.

Keep it as it is; just stop practicing the leap, and start improving the sound.  I think you will enjoy it a lot more, and improve your overall piano playing.

Walter Ramsey



Offline richard black

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2104
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #25 on: January 15, 2008, 12:50:16 PM »
No, the point of playing the opening note RH and the chord LH is that you have complete freedom to play all four notes (one solo B flat, three notes in the chord) at the dynamic you like, in the time you like, with no distractions like moving your arm. Plus you get to play the important notes (solo B flat, top note of the chord) with strong fingers. Why mess about? You screw that opening up, you've lost the audience for the whole first page.
Instrumentalists are all wannabe singers. Discuss.

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #26 on: January 15, 2008, 12:54:51 PM »
And, yes, I actually do begin the double 3rds Etude with both hands!  ;D  At least, I have the pleasure of playing it (my way, not Chopin's, of course) instead of mooning over recordings by my superiors.

Actually, there is a descending passage right before the recap, which on Pletnev's recording, I believe is taken in two hands.

Offline general disarray

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 695
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #27 on: January 15, 2008, 03:07:28 PM »
No, the point of playing the opening note RH and the chord LH is that you have complete freedom to play all four notes (one solo B flat, three notes in the chord) at the dynamic you like, in the time you like, with no distractions like moving your arm. Plus you get to play the important notes (solo B flat, top note of the chord) with strong fingers. Why mess about? You screw that opening up, you've lost the audience for the whole first page.

My point as well. 

But now, I fear, you've once again disturbed the sleeping "Tabernacle of Those Assiduously Faithful to The Score."  We won't be cleansed until our suffering matches Beethoven's.

Well, afterall, he did bequeath to us the martyr Artur Schnabel.  And for that I am indeed eternally grateful.   ;D
" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline franzliszt2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1003
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #28 on: January 15, 2008, 03:12:00 PM »
It's not becasue the score says it, it's because of the sound. Stop being lazy. You've even admited you're an amateaur pianist, so stop trying to claim you are right when you are not. Fair enough if YOU want to play it 2 hands, your not exactly going to walk out into royal festival hall and play the thing are you??

Offline gerryjay

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 829
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #29 on: January 15, 2008, 03:24:58 PM »
 excuse me because i'm neither an advanced player nor i do play this movement, but i can't understand the concept of cheating because to me it doesn't exist at all. music is about sound, so what matters in the end is the result. play with one hand, two, with the nose, the feet, what difference does it make per se?

 i agree with franz and ramsey in their point of views, but i think we should never forget what we're really doing. furthermore, who said that everything in the lower staff shall be played with the left hand?
 
 about the cheating i think it's much more about tradition and/or fetish than to actual music. the first example that come to my mind is ravel's concerto for the left hand. yes, i know the whole history about this work, but why not playing it with both hands? it's due to the visual effect? if so, what happens in an audio recording?
 btw, occurs me now that sometimes is very difficult if not impossible to tell only by the sound result (let's say a CD) if the pianist use what to play.

 however, i think every artist must do his/er own choices as far as they can affect the final product. again, it's a matter of what is produced and if that is great or not.

 returning to the point with a last comment, i am far from the level of this sonata, and i experimented a bit with the passage and now i am able to play it anyway i like (LH, RH, both starting with R or L) up to tempo. what cheat is that if it makes no difference about the fact that i simply can't play the whole movement?

 anyway it's just the humble opinion of a k 332 player.  ;)

Offline general disarray

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 695
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #30 on: January 15, 2008, 03:56:43 PM »
It's not becasue the score says it, it's because of the sound. Stop being lazy. You've even admited you're an amateaur pianist, so stop trying to claim you are right when you are not. Fair enough if YOU want to play it 2 hands, your not exactly going to walk out into royal festival hall and play the thing are you??

Ouch!  That was way harsh.

Yes, I am an amateur, i.e., by definition one who does not get paid for his performances (if any, in my case).  But I do have a masters degree in piano performance and I'm not so "lazy" that it will deter me from entering medical school this fall after my tutoring gig on this Bahamian yacht.

Still and all, if Richard Black (or his esteemed wife) walks out onto the platform of Royal Festival Hall and plays the opening with two hands, I do hope you won't boo his laziness.

And the sound issue?  The left hand in Mr. Black's version is STILL playing the same chord as Beethoven has written.  I'm sure even you have the ability to weight your left hand (without the leap) in such a way as to capture the same effect.  I mean, you are a professional concert artist, yes?
" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline pita bread

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1137
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #31 on: January 15, 2008, 07:55:39 PM »
Well, you're certainly passionate about theatricality!  Bravo! 

As for the two-hand cheats, I know lots of concert pianists who do it -- most notably in Chopin's A-flat Polonaise, Op. 53 -- at the entrance of the octave pattern, many use two hands there to conserve on energy.  That bothers you, I'm sure. 

It's not a pure world and to get some jobs done, you gotta do what you gotta do.   ;D

Honestly, if you can't make that opening leap, you shouldn't be playing the Hammerklavier.

Offline franzliszt2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1003
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #32 on: January 15, 2008, 08:28:12 PM »
Who is Richard Black?

I don't care if Gilels, or Richter, or Cortot, or any infinatly superior pianist to myself playus it with 2 hands, I will disagree with them. But I feel safe in saying they will do it with 1. I am seeing Baremboim play this this month, so I will see what he does.

Offline rallestar

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #33 on: January 15, 2008, 08:36:22 PM »
I'll spoil it for you, he uses one hand. ;)

Offline general disarray

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 695
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #34 on: January 15, 2008, 09:04:59 PM »
I'll spoil it for you, he uses one hand. ;)

Barenboim uses one hand simply because his page turner traditionally takes the low B-flat for him.  ;)
" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline Petter

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1183
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #35 on: January 15, 2008, 09:34:24 PM »
or you could bang your forehead against the lower b flat note. 
"A gentleman is someone who knows how to play an accordion, but doesn't." - Al Cohn

Offline gerryjay

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 829
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #36 on: January 15, 2008, 09:37:00 PM »
Barenboim uses one hand simply because his page turner traditionally takes the low B-flat for him.  ;)
  ;D
 is the same guy who helps him wiphing the 243 brass players in his wagner recordings?

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16615
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #37 on: January 15, 2008, 10:15:00 PM »
I have never understood people who don't want to make playing the piano as easy as possible. I have never played this sonata, but a few minutes messing with the opening bar, for me would indicate that it is far easier using 2 hands.

I do not agree with this "if you can't play it with your left hand you should not be playing it at all" bollox. My view is "if you can't work out easier ways of playing it you should not be playing it at all".

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline ahinton

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12045
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #38 on: January 15, 2008, 10:23:33 PM »
Who is Richard Black?
He's the person who has come up with the best solution to this question - and, by the way, anyone who suggests that the risk of taking the first note and first chord with separate hands (whether Richard's recommended way or the other way) purely on the basis that this allegedly opens up greater risk of launching into too brisk a tempo prompts me to say (in the manner of Thal in his message above) that a pianist who cannot control his/her tempi better than this shouldn't be performing Beethoven's Op. 49, let alone 106...

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline ahinton

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12045
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #39 on: January 15, 2008, 10:31:47 PM »
bollox.
Almost two score posts about how to play or not to play the first note and first following chord of Beethoven's most ambitious sonata; if only Beethoven knew anything about internet discussion fora he'd surely be killing himself laughing about the passion and earnestness with which a debate on so minor an issue has developed here and, I suspect, the word he might find the most appropriate with which to describe it all may well be "bollox" (although he may have spelt it a little differently).

"I can't believe what is said here;
I really cannot believe it"
(Beethoven, singing his thoughts on this debate to the first two measures of his great sonata)...

All that perhaps surprises me is about this at the present stage in the discussion is that Thal has yet to suggest that the first note be played by the page-turner on the contrabass banjo that he/she just happens to have handy...

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline pita bread

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1137
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #40 on: January 15, 2008, 10:47:31 PM »
I have never understood people who don't want to make playing the piano as easy as possible. I have never played this sonata, but a few minutes messing with the opening bar, for me would indicate that it is far easier using 2 hands.

I do not agree with this "if you can't play it with your left hand you should not be playing it at all" bollox. My view is "if you can't work out easier ways of playing it you should not be playing it at all".

Thal

Right, and if you want to make your life easier all together, don't become a pianist.

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16615
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #41 on: January 15, 2008, 10:51:01 PM »
Thankfully that thought occured to me at an early age.

Anyway, lets move on. How about the B flat in the 3rd bar?

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2662
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #42 on: January 15, 2008, 11:07:42 PM »
The thought of using two hands for the opening had never occurred to me. If I saw a pianist play the opening with two hands in a concert, I'd find it hard not to laugh.

If it is really that difficult to do it left hand only, good heavens you're in trouble when it comes to the end of the 6th Hungarian Rhapsody.

Offline storyseller

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #43 on: January 15, 2008, 11:17:03 PM »
Rule : you do what you think serves the music best. Period.

Offline counterpoint

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2001
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #44 on: January 16, 2008, 12:08:45 AM »
if only Beethoven knew anything about internet discussion fora he'd surely be killing himself laughing about the passion and earnestness with which a debate on so minor an issue has developed here

Perhaps he would at once compose some "Wuth über das verfehlte B" or 333 Variations on a theme of Pianostreet-Forum   ::)
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline gerryjay

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 829
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #45 on: January 16, 2008, 12:43:39 AM »
The thought of using two hands for the opening had never occurred to me. If I saw a pianist play the opening with two hands in a concert, I'd find it hard not to laugh.

If it is really that difficult to do it left hand only, good heavens you're in trouble when it comes to the end of the 6th Hungarian Rhapsody.
  ??? + ??? = :P

 anyway, it's your opinion dude and i respect you (although i can neither understand nor agree with you).

Offline richard black

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2104
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #46 on: January 16, 2008, 04:07:30 PM »
Quote
Who is Richard Black?

He's a part-time professional repetiteur who would no more dream of playing Hammerklavier in public than he would of pogoing backwards up Mount Everest, but that doesn't stop me having moments of temporary insanity in the privacy of my own home. But if you play it differently from me I'm entirely happy - if you played it in all respects the same as me I wouldn't want to come and hear you, would I?
Instrumentalists are all wannabe singers. Discuss.

Offline general disarray

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 695
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #47 on: January 16, 2008, 04:21:32 PM »
And coming full circle on this highly entertaining thread we have this to report:

A Haitian friend of mine, a voodoo priestess, contacted Beethoven himself on The Other Side and asked HIM what we should do about this opening.

Quoth The Master:  "I'm not getting royalties on this bloody thing anymore so you can whack that low B-flat with a dead mackerel for all I care."

Guess that settles it.
" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline gerryjay

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 829
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #48 on: January 16, 2008, 04:34:44 PM »
And coming full circle on this highly entertaining thread we have this to report:

A Haitian friend of mine, a voodoo priestess, contacted Beethoven himself on The Other Side and asked HIM what we should do about this opening.

Quoth The Master:  "I'm not getting royalties on this bloody thing anymore so you can whack that low B-flat with a dead mackerel for all I care."

Guess that settles it.

  ;D  ;D  ;D

 could she ask to mozart about some minute details on k. 332? er, he probably have no idea what k is... let it go...

Offline ahinton

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12045
Re: hammerklavier opening.
«Reply #49 on: January 16, 2008, 04:53:36 PM »
And coming full circle on this highly entertaining thread we have this to report:

A Haitian friend of mine, a voodoo priestess, contacted Beethoven himself on The Other Side and asked HIM what we should do about this opening.

Quoth The Master:  "I'm not getting royalties on this bloody thing anymore so you can whack that low B-flat with a dead mackerel for all I care."

Guess that settles it.
Well, that would depend upon whether Beethoven said this in German (as one might expect him to have done) and how fluent your Haitian priestess is in the German language. Anyway, if what you report is true, we will now have to wait and see if any pianist actually follows Beethoven's latest advice. Had Sorabji heard this, I wonder if he'd have felt inclined to consult your priestess and ask her to contact Beethoven again just to ascertain whether he thought that a dead herring or cod would equally well serve the purpose? (those familiar with Sorabji's Some Sacrosanct Modern Superstitions, With Comments - thought not those who aren't - will know what I'm talking about here)...

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive