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Lowell Liebermann's Personal Demons
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Topic: gaspard de la nuit  (Read 5310 times)

Offline bannatyne

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gaspard de la nuit
on: May 22, 2004, 08:39:00 AM
I'm in my last year at conservatorium before studying abroad and for my final recital exam i'm playing "gaspard de la nuit' by ravel.  Has anyone else played this piece?  if so, how the f#$@ do you get throught scarbo without geting completly overwhelmed, mostly I think i'd just like some sympathy for having the kind of teacher who would inflict this kind of piece on their student.
so,.. either tips or sympathy would be nice.
thanks.

Offline JeffL

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #1 on: May 22, 2004, 06:02:23 PM
Sympathy, for having a teacher who gives a pupil  such an assignment and leaves his/her student feeling so desperate that they have to resort to an internet forum for tips. Surely, if you have reached the sort of standard which allows you to attempt Gaspard you ought to have acquired plenty of practice methods which should help you to deal with its difficulties.
If you feel completely overwhelmed by a piece the best advice would be not to play it.

f0bul0us

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #2 on: May 22, 2004, 08:20:45 PM
Quote
Sympathy, for having a teacher who gives a pupil  such an assignment and leaves his/her student feeling so desperate that they have to resort to an internet forum for tips. Surely, if you have reached the sort of standard which allows you to attempt Gaspard you ought to have acquired plenty of practice methods which should help you to deal with its difficulties.
If you feel completely overwhelmed by a piece the best advice would be not to play it.

Actually, the best advice is to break it down into individual sections that you can work with, at your own pace. Maybe you haven't mastered the technical demands of the other two? Seeing how Scarbo is a culmination of what's in both Ondine and Le Gibet you would have to know the technical needs of those two before you could expect to properly play Scarbo, since it is the most difficult out of all three (I.M.O). It has almost the same technical qualites with a few extras that the other two pieces don't, so if anything review those two (even if you already know them) and treat them as sort of a prelude that will in the end lead you to something greater. Something that you'll be ready for.

Good luck! :D

Offline JeffL

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #3 on: May 23, 2004, 12:33:58 AM
Quote

Actually, the best advice is to break it down into individual sections that you can work with, at your own pace.

It is good advice but I refuse to believe
that a pianist who is able to tackle "Scarbo"  hasn't already learnt this fundamental method of practising.
Like many who post on this board the original contributor seems to expect a diagnosis of the disease without stating what the symptoms are. It is really necessary to know which passages in particular are creating the difficulties for this player in order to try to suggest specific remedies (something the teacher should be doing!). If the piece really is completely overwhelming it suggests that it is beyond present capabilities  and the teacher has made a big mistake in prescribing it for the final recital. Presumably this can't be too far away and a piece of this difficulty ought to have been practically mastered by now. In the same position I would change the programme and play something I felt comfortable with.
It would be interesting to know what the teacher (or fellow-students) say about bannatyne's Scarbo. Perhaps the reputation of the piece is causing the anxiety and bannatyne is seeing it as a "test" rather than a performance of a wonderful piece of music.Often we feel our playing is worse than it actually is. If informed opinion honestly commends a practice-performance it goes a long way to making an artist feel comfortable for "the real thing".

f0bul0us

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #4 on: May 23, 2004, 01:05:50 AM
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...It is really necessary to know which passages in particular are creating the difficulties for this player in order to try to suggest specific remedies (something the teacher should be doing!). If the piece really is completely overwhelming it suggests that it is beyond present capabilities  and the teacher has made a big mistake in prescribing it for the final recital. Presumably this can't be too far away and a piece of this difficulty ought to have been practically mastered by now. In the same position I would change the programme and play something I felt comfortable with...

That's true, but realizing so late that Scarbo was beyond his technical abilities raises the even bigger question of what could he possibly learn and master within the time frame of a few months, or even weeks? I know for sure he won't be able to pull off a Prokofiev Sonata, or a Mirroir. Technically impossible or not, there's no exit from playing this piece.

Good luck! :D

Offline bannatyne

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #5 on: May 23, 2004, 05:51:43 AM
apologies, i perhaps should have been more specific.
it was more of an anxiety problem.
JEFFL-
"Perhaps the reputation of the piece is causing the anxiety and bannatyne is seeing it as a "test" rather than a performance of a wonderful piece of music."
This was what I meant, the piece is not so much beyond me as it is TERRIFYING to play.  I feel at the moment that whenever I play it that there are always people who wait for their favorite bits (usually the most technical!) and its more a problem of living up to eveyones expectations.
Also, at the conesrvatorium where I study, there arent that many people in our piano class.  Because of this I was constantly being placed in masterclasses and public recitals when I had only been learning the piece for two months.  I've now had it for three months and am playing it next week.
By the remark about my teacher I meant that he always seems to have more confidence in my abilities than I do, last year he had me play the Liszt sonata and directly afterward he told me how proud he was but all I could feel was guilty because i felt like i had completly fooled everyone into thinking I was any good.

Offline Nu-Steinway-Player

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #6 on: January 22, 2005, 08:12:31 AM
I performed the gaspard many times about 4 years ago.  I had worked on the piece off and on for several years with no teacher and then studied with a brilliant concert artist, zora mihailovich.  I had a very similar problem.  I remember the first time I performed the piece -- which was on a very insane program of Beethoven Op 111, the gaspard, and a couple rachmaninoff etude tableauxs.  I was so nervous in the Beethoven, and really stupid to open a program with 111, but my teacher was very unconventional and she let me do what I want -- anyway, you know what I did about my anxiety in playing scarbo?-- because ondine would come off well, and le gibet I really mastered first, of the three -- but when it came to scarbo, I would either start too fast and it would be a mess, particularly the first line of the main theme on page 2 of scarbo and then when it repeated 2 pages later -- the left hand arppeggios killed me there for some reason -- I didn't have much trouble with the repeated notes and the other sections -- anyway, I resorted to smoking a little weed before I played this piece.  I know I know -- I can hear you all screaming at me and this post may not make it or may be deleted.  I actually discussed it with my teacher.  After months of experimentation, I was able to adjust my dose before my lessons and before performing this piece where it would relax me enough where I could pull it off.  I'm sure this does not help you at all, but that's how I got through the anxiety of playing scarbo.  It was the only thing that would relieve my anxiety and make me relaxed enough to play it.  I have tension problems enough in life.  To play scarbo, you must be absolutely free of tension, absolutely.  This is a hard state to accomplish for me with this piece, especially when performing.  I went back to my alma mater - University of Oklahoma and played it there in 2000 at their new concert hall, and smoked a little too much and was a little too relaxed.  The performance went well, and I actually had it professionally recorded.  The only problem was the tempi were a bit slower than normal, particularly in scarbo, which when listening back was a real problem for my ear, but it sounded ok.  Good luck -- if you are adverse to this solution, I would strongly suggest some TM before the performance and during practice so you can work it in.  I don't care who is playing Scarbo, it is physically an incredibly difficult piece to play -- no if's, and's, or but's about it!!! :)  Good Luck.  Let us know how it goes.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #7 on: January 22, 2005, 01:10:46 PM
I have studied the Gaspard and peformed it many times, if you want any help send us an email with what bars or what sections. ;)

Tips? mmmm, find your ppp touch, especially in the opening tremolo in Ondine, people play it too loud all the time, that delicate shimmering touch is so hard to achieve. It would be a good idea when practicing the peice to play the melody or singing voice louder than you normally would. Le Gibet is blah easy so you shouldnt have problems with that if you are doing all 3, i guess timing issues come up. The Scarbo is a strange one what parts can i target there are so many to mention! I think keeping a good speed in scarbo is hard, if you play it slower it is easier, its the speed that makes it so tough and also the multiple fingering opportunities, hard to choose your choices sometimes.
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Offline whynot

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #8 on: January 22, 2005, 02:49:28 PM
I've only played through it casually, so no helpful advice from me.  I just want to tell you that almost everyone I know feels like a fraud waiting to be exposed.  There's a dissertation in there somewhere.  I have my own reasons for this, having had very few lessons and not being as educated overall as I'd like.  Other people, I have no idea why they think they're not the real thing.  We're all playing as well as we can.  We respect our teachers, audiences and composers.  And we probably worry way too much about what other people think, NOT that that doesn't matter, because I think it does (unless they're wrong, haha)... but because what they're thinking is usually much better than we suspect.  If we think about how we listen to other performers, how much good will we have for them and the genuine pleasure we have in them doing well, we have to give them credit for (hopefully) listening to us in the same spirit.  Not to mention that inexplicable mixing of sound that happens in the air that often smooths out messy spots and makes everything a little better.  Ever hear a recording of yourself playing something you thought was chaotic in performance, but the tape sounds good?  A great mystery, that.  Best wishes on your piece.     

Offline jlh

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #9 on: January 28, 2005, 06:52:23 AM
This is one of the pieces Ravel composed with difficulty in mind.  Ravel admitted to the fact that he intended Scarbo to be even more difficult than Balakirev's Islamey.
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Offline Skeptopotamus

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #10 on: January 31, 2005, 10:42:48 AM

That's true, but realizing so late that Scarbo was beyond his technical abilities raises the even bigger question of what could he possibly learn and master within the time frame of a few months, or even weeks? I know for sure he won't be able to pull off a Prokofiev Sonata, or a Mirroir. Technically impossible or not, there's no exit from playing this piece.

Good luck! :D


sorry for bringing up something old, but Gespar de la Nuit is gonna pop up everywhere on here anyways.  Mostly i just wanted to say that I'm kind of scared that this person thinks Miroirs is harder!  Man.  i don't even know what to say really.  And Prokofiev is easier too IMO, but i blow at Transcendental music.  Also, if you are having trouble with this piece try La Valse!  I think it is harder but some people think it is a LOT easier.  There are probably upwards of 10 different publications of this piece, and my advice to you is to find the one that is the flashiest, seeing as how this is a flashy piece.  But Miroirs is a LOT easier, so maybe you should check those out.  Or Debussy Image Suite No. 2 is equally impressive as any ravel.

Offline DarkWind

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Re: gaspard de la nuit
Reply #11 on: January 31, 2005, 11:24:08 PM



sorry for bringing up something old, but Gespar de la Nuit is gonna pop up everywhere on here anyways.  Mostly i just wanted to say that I'm kind of scared that this person thinks Miroirs is harder!  Man.  i don't even know what to say really.  And Prokofiev is easier too IMO, but i blow at Transcendental music.  Also, if you are having trouble with this piece try La Valse!  I think it is harder but some people think it is a LOT easier.  There are probably upwards of 10 different publications of this piece, and my advice to you is to find the one that is the flashiest, seeing as how this is a flashy piece.  But Miroirs is a LOT easier, so maybe you should check those out.  Or Debussy Image Suite No. 2 is equally impressive as any ravel.

Wow, just wow... You totally misunderstood that sentence. Super fun happy man clearly just said that, since the original poster took too long to realize Scarbo was so difficult, then what can he pull off within such a small time frame. Also, there aren't many versions of La Valse. One is Ravel's own Piano Transcription, which is, of course, the best. Then there is Lucien Garban's, a close friend of Ravel. Glenn Gould's is Ravel's in all actuality, and then there is the ton of editions for 4 hands.
 

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