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Prokofiev: Sarcasms and Visions Fugitives

The Visions Fugitives, Sarcasms and Prokofiev’s own piano transcriptions of the March and Scherzo from his opera “The Love for Three Oranges” opus 33 have now been added to Piano Street’s sheet music library. Read more >>

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Author Topic: VIDEO: Bach: Goldberg Variations #1  (Read 6752 times)
kard
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« on: October 22, 2008, 10:11:50 PM »

So, this is it Smiley 
I've been recording my practices recently. I usually mess around and try and perform something every once in a while and this came out pretty decently (in my opinion...). And yes, I'm still cringing at the crossing hands flub, but, nothing's perfect :-/.

Critique please!! I would really appreciate it. It's only been recently that I've moved past technique problems for the most part to listening.



Recorder: Audio- Laptop Mic, Video- Generic webcam software.
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piano sheet music of Goldberg Variations
alessandro
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2008, 12:19:13 PM »

Very nice and very fast.  I'm actually learning the same thing.  It is so fun to play.  I'm let's say to three quarters of the work to play it without mistakes (don't know how many hours it took me, ten ? fifteen ?) but I can hear that there is a lot of musical potential in this score and I'm really looking forward to play it fluidly, so that I can focus on the sound...  I think that you're at a more progressed level  in this piece than I actually am, but at the same time I'm quite sure we have a different approach to it.  The first thing, and this is no critique, even if I would be "through" it now, I would play it slower, vivace, but slower.  Lots of interesting effects get lost in playing it that fast.   There are still a lot of 'slips and mistakes' in it, didn't count them but I think it could be easily like 6 or more.  That should for me be a sign that I'm still distant from a good interpretation...  It is in general slovenly.   A wrong note is always a pity, but, I don't know if you feel the same way about that, a mistake in Bach sounds always so terribly striking.  And certainly these smaller works (Goldberg Var., or preludes and fugues) have to be played totally faultless.   I also make a clearer cut between the two 'bigger parts', not a stop, but just a little more distance.  And then I can hear at least six inner sections in this variations, I also approach each of them differently, they have all their inner dynamics, their moods, that doesn't really come out in your rendition.  For me a different music starts at bar 5, at bar 8 at bar 13, at bar 17, 20, 23 etcetera.   And there is even a difference in mood between bar 14 and 15 etcetera...  A prefer also a more cristal, mineral, copper-brass sound to it, and I certainly don't mean overdoing staccato.  To end (you have African roots ?) there is a lot of let's call it 'funk' in this variations.  For instance, that bass in the left hand in bar 9... There lots of funny ways to play that line...  This variation really rocks. 
I'll now do some ironing and than I'll get back to study.   
Thanks for posting this, Kard, I love this music and I really enjoyed listening to you.
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kard
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2008, 04:30:20 PM »

Thanks for listening Smiley.
The very first time I heard this was this Gould recording (surprise Tongue) that ran really quickly (about 30 seconds). The thing that struck me most was the flow of the entire thing. It was like a quick little bite of rhythm, so I guess my core interpretation is still following that. Your approach is interesting because I've never really considered focusing on melodic value for this piece. I really think what you suggested (contrast of some sort) would be a good idea at least for the second half of the piece. I think that at this speed, the rhythmic effect becomes less striking over time, so I would need something more for the second half.
Great ideas Cheesy . Thanks again.
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alessandro
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2008, 09:37:30 PM »

That you mention Gould is indeed not a surprise.  That's perhaps the main reason why I was saying to avoid 'staccato' and 'speed'.  You perhaps heard his first recording of June 1955 for "Columbia" of the Goldberg Variations.  He recorded them for a second time in April and May of 1981 for "Sony".   That last one was a lot slower.  The variation you play, well he plays it in about one minute ten seconds.  So if you're talking of "30 seconds" I presume you heard his first recording.  Gould expressed himself in the context of that last record on the subject "of what one might call 'the discovery of slowness'...  The great majority of the music that moves me very deeply is... in a very ruminative, very deliberate tempo.  Firm beat, rhytmic continuity... has always been important to me.  But... I find many... of my own performances... too fast for comfort.   ...with really complex contrapuntal textures one does need a certain deliberation, a certain deliberate-ness... and it is the lack of that... that  bothers me most in the first version of the Goldbergs."  Dixit Gould.
 Again, you have to play as you like it, but there is really something magical in this music, I often have a strange-pleasant feeling while playing them cause there are lots of absolutely fantastic effects in it.  Effects that I don't know how to grab, how te recreate time after time.   I don't like all the variations but I'm also looking forward to play the really slow ones...
The 'melodic value' is not only in the second half Kard.  The whole variation is stuffed with it, from one bar to the other, and from one bar to the bar after the next etcetera.  It roars, yes with rhythm, but with music.  Really, listen to it.
Kindly.
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kard
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2008, 11:16:44 PM »

It wasn't my intention to seem as if I consider melody and rhythm separate. They certainly aren't. For me, the impact of this piece is in its ability to be so dramatic. The majority of my Bach experience was only the inventions, so to me it spanned a very large range for only two voices. In my opinion the whole contour of that is made even more unique by the rhythms, which is why I chose to emphasize it.
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ramseytheii
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2008, 11:35:30 PM »

I don't feel the rhythm of longer phrases.  It gives the impression of not breathing.  Think longer phrases!

Good fingers!

Walter Ramsey


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kard
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2008, 12:14:41 PM »

Thanks!
I'll look into that today.
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pianistimo
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2008, 01:19:00 PM »

You have a really nice solidity - and can make it even moreso with slightly less sharp staccatos if you wanted.  I guess that means the same as allessandro and ramseytheii are saying - by slightly slowing it.  It will make it sound less recorded and more 'live.'

I'd like to hear this version on a harpsichord, though - because a lighter sounding instrument would make your playing extremely palatable at this speed or as fast as the instrument could handle.
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kard
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2008, 08:58:39 PM »

Thanks Smiley and yes, it does sound better a little slower ^^"...
As far as harpsichords go, I saw my very first one a few weeks ago
Grin it was weird lookin.
Is it just me or do harpsichords just sound weird when recorded? (almost painful)


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blackoncampus
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2009, 08:22:27 AM »

Well done, on a fairly difficult piece. Just the right amount of expression. I felt like you really made it your own. Thanks for posting.
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