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Simplicity Meets Complexity in Denk’s Piano Boot Camp

When NPR invaded Jeremy Denk’s home he was seriously practicing the piano etudes of György Ligeti. His music is “continuous madness,” Denk says. “Wonderful, joyful madness.” Denk has a great talent for making you fall in love with the most complex music, letting it sound completely natural. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Chopin - Polonaise in F sharp minor, Op. 44  (Read 16947 times)
cherub_rocker1979
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« on: October 06, 2008, 04:29:03 PM »

This is what I will be playing in rep class today.  Wish me luck!

* Raul - Chopin Polonaise in F sharp minor.MP3 (14646.53 KB - downloaded 301 times.)
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piano sheet music of Polonaise
pianovirus
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2008, 08:48:27 PM »

Good luck! I enjoyed your playing.
It seems to me like it still needs some practice. In the outer sections I found it a bit too slow for my taste and the sound a bit too round or even too cantabile. I prefer something more rugged there and some more passion. I was also missing some climaxes. The repeated motifs throughout give good opportunity for (and also demand) shaping of long lines of crescendo and diminuendo. Also, I would like to hear more variety in touch, especially the section before the mazurka (the alternating 8ths-32ths) sounded a bit monotonic. But some of it may also have to do with the recording; the piano sounded somewhat muffled. In any case, I think with a bit more work it will be very good!!
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franzliszt2
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2008, 11:09:36 PM »

I think the opening could be more menacing. It must have something inevitable about it. It must start and then just take off. You stop in the ocatves, and I think it needs to propell forwards. Then when you get the top csharp it has climaxed.

I think the theme could have more dignity and much more intensity. You have to seperate the LH from the RH. You could have a stronger LH rhythm, with a really strong polonaise rhythm, and then the RH with a long legato line. I feel like it breaks every bar, but I think you need to play straight over the barline with the RH melody. Also on the second page, when you get the theme in the LH, I would voice that section and similar sections better to get a true sense of the independant voices.

When you get the ocataves, I think they need to be legato. It is hard work, but it sounds much better. I think I fingered it using 3 4 and 5 and crawling up, generating the power from the shoulder. For the fast ocatave scales, don't try to use the wrist, just keep it relaxed, and use the fingers, with the support of the whole arm. If you use the fingers more, the movements are much smaller, and the speed is much easier.

The demisemiquaver passage needs to be cleaner I think. I don't hear everynote as equal. I think that the quavers must push forward all the time and not hold back. It must keep moving all the time. Think of it as a much longer line.

Don't play the Mazurka in straight rhythm! You must elongate the 2nd beats, or it sounds more like a waltz. It needs more grace, and elegance. It needs to be so simple, and eloquent. I think you could shape it more in terms of dynamics as well. When the mazurka theme returns each time vary it, it gets bigger each time, I think you could point this out more.

Cresendo through the scales as well, its much more dramatic.

The theme must explode when it returns! It has to totally scream. But still remain the dignity.

The last page chords must be so powerful. Keep it ff. Especially the H chromatic scale, it must rise from the depths. Keep the rhythm all the way to the end, and the intensity of the line.

I think in general your sound could be much much bigger and rounded. I also think the rhythm could be a lot more solid, and that you should practice it a lot seperate hands focusing on the shape of the different lines and take care to voice the LH thumb more carefully.

I hope some of those ideas help!  Smiley

Good luck!!


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