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Chopin Prelude Op. 28 No. 7 (Read 9162 times)

Offline marsippius

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Chopin Prelude Op. 28 No. 7
« on: July 26, 2008, 11:17:54 PM »
Piano is Kurtzmann upright built around 1920.

Recording setup is Windows pc, a small mic, and Audacity.exe.

1.  inner voices
2.  resonant lower tones
3.  surprise chord
4.  attacks and releases
5.  big things in small packages
6.  syllabification
7.  syncopation and its opposite



Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Chopin: Prelude, opus 28 no 7
piano sheet music of Prelude

Offline rachfan

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Re: Chopin Prelude Op. 28 No. 7
«Reply #1 on: July 27, 2008, 03:29:20 AM »
Hi marssipius,

I think you've made a good start on this prelude.  This short 16 measures of music is one of the most difficult pieces ever written by any composer.  It's very simplicity is the supreme difficulty--it treacherously leaves the pianist fully exposed with no place to hide.  The great pianist Moritz Rosenthal once remarked that he had been studying Prelude No. 7 for over 60 years and late in life was still discovering new insights. 

A few observations:

First, I'd mention dynamic.  Note that this piece is not only p throughout, but also dolce, or sweetly.  Right now you touch sounds heavy handed.  For example, at the end of the crescendo in measure 12, it almost sounds ff.  The context of the piece would call more for mf there.   See if you can quiet the entire dynamic down and play it more delicately.  Aim for a gentle lilting sound.

I believe you could speed up the tempo just a tad, but not much.  It is andantino, which means a bit faster than andante in romantic music. 

At the moment you've got a few wrong or shaky notes there.  The best way to solve that is to do some hands-alone practice to ensure that each hand independently knows its part cold.

This piece features a bel canto melody.  Thus, you need to work hard to voice the tops of the double notes and chords in the RH to allow the melodic line to soar above the accompaniment in both the RH and LH. 

Because it's songlike, going from the opening E up to the C# in the down beat of the first full measure, a soprano simply cannot manage that with the voice as simply as a pianist just depressing keys with the fingers.  Thus, to simulate the human voice there, it calls for a very subtle delay in leaping up to that C#. 

You tend to employ a diminuendo on all the repeated chords on the 2nd, 3rd and subsequent downbeats.  There is nothing, however, in the score to really justify that interpretation.  They should actually be executed equally in volume, but again at dynamic p and dolce.

In measure 13 I like the way you bring out the descending scale in the lower of the double notes in the RH in the 2nd, 3rd and following downbeat, yet still recognizing that those harmonic notes, while interesting, are still only accompaniment, albeit in the same hand as the melody.  You continue to voice the melody there, which is entirely proper. 

In the second to the last measure, there is some voice leading present there.  Notice that the bottom of the the 16th double note in the RH is a C#.  On the second beat, the middle note of that chord is also a C#.  What needs to happen there is that as the first C# harmony leads to the other C# harmony, the dynamic level must be exactly identical--think of twins.  Similarly, the A in the top of the 16th double notes leads to the top A in the second beat.  The top A in that second beat chord, being melodic not harmonic, can be played with a slight forzando accent.  (Don't bash it though--slight.)  One way to achieve that voice leading is to broaden the tempo just a bit to create a tiny bit more time to execute the grace note and ready the playing apparatus to prepare to execute that top A of the second beat.

Your pedaling needs to be more precise and clean.  The way it's marked is to pedal the first beat, lift the pedal, and then take the second and third beats in another pedal.  Right now, you've got some smudges of clashing harmonies because of run-on or poorly timed pedal changes.  Also be sure to use syncopated pedals.  That is, play the notes to be pedaled and while the fingers have the keys depressed and retained, THEN put the pedal down to catch them in the pedal.  Although Chopin did not mark it, the very last measure works best with it own pedal there for ultimate clarity.  Finally, a performance tip for you: At the very beginning of the piece, and given the fact that it is an atmospheric lyric piece, have the pedal ALREADY depressed before playing the first E at p and dolce.  Try it, you'll like it! 

Depending on edition, you might hear someone play a G# instead of F# in the RH at the top of the double notes in the second beat of measure 13.  The reason is that Chopin apparently wrote it into the score being used by his pupil Klindworth.  Many of us, however, have chosen to continue to play the F# instead as you do in your rendition.

If you're interested, here is my recording which will hopefully illustrate some of the pointers above.  If you play it, I suggest you turn the volume control to about the 9 or 10 o'clock position.  This is an older analog recording (these days my recordings are digital).  With the former, I had to actually play the cassette tape through the line-in connection to PC file creation software.  In so doing, I had to try to gauge both the volume bars on the cassette tape deck as well as the volume graph in the software-- which often did not agree.  Consequently, this recording transferred into a music file way too loud.  I should have gone back at the time to redo that transfer adjusting the volume down, but let it be knowing that folks could just turn the volume down when listening.  Nowadays, with digital technology, the file transfers occur instantly through a USB2 cable at the exact output level as originally recorded.  Progress!   



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