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Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights? (Read 15658 times)

Offline chopiabin

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Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
« on: December 03, 2009, 11:38:33 PM »
Let me start by saying that I've searched the site for good info on this, but most of the threads are really short and don't really delve into this piece.

That said, I'm performing this and a few other pieces at recitals in Mid-December and January, and, though I'm happy with the bulk of the piece, I still have a little trouble going straight into the grace-note cadenza - particularly with the descending g - b - e - e in the left hand. I use 1 - 2/1 - 2/1 - 2 on those notes, but sometimes the right hand loses its mooring with this left-hand fingering. Any different fingering suggestions?

Also, if anyone plays or has played this piece and has any interpretive insight or interesting anecdotes about the piece (other than that it was his favorite ;) that would be great.

piano sheet music of Prelude


Offline svita

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #1 on: December 05, 2009, 05:33:11 AM »
performed this piece recently. I don't see  alternative to the fingering you play.
Also no anecdotes - it is too serious. YOu may think of it as an expression of fear and anxiety that was in the air in Russia's 1910. THe whole opus was written within 20 days in August that year.
Also #10 prelude goes well together with #11, they are like a storm and a prayer. 

Offline chopiabin

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #2 on: December 15, 2009, 10:33:14 PM »
I just performed this piece at a small student recital and considering how absurdly nervous I get about performing I'd say it went fairly well - though I was surprised by a few unexpected memory slips in some of the easiest spots!

In the DVD The Art of Piano, Benno Mosiewitsch (I think that's spelled correctly) plays the piece from the beginning of the chordal section marked pesante very beautifully, and relates an interesting bit of info on its history.

In a converstion with Rachmaninov, Mosiewitsch asks if Rach had a program in mind when he wrote the prelude, to which Rach replies "yes". Then Mosie starts to tell the story he percieves within the piece and, long story short, the two men agree that the piece represents "The Return".


That being said, I think my biggest problem when performing this piece (as opposed to playing it for myself or my teacher) is maintaining a narrative, organic line - something I believe the piece demands.

This is one of those pieces that IMO one shouldn't play if one can't play it well, so I get so pissed at myself when performance anxiety causes me to play something so majestically melancholy stiffly or shakily. For this most recent performance I was surprised that the tension didn't really affect me technically, but I was disappointed with the quality of my interpretation. Maybe it's the perfectionist in me, but, when I truly love a particular piece, I desperately want to give an entirely profound and unexpected interpretation.

Surely I can't be alone as a perfectionist, but could it perhaps be vanity that makes me believe that I - a talented (?) amateur - am even capable of producing a completely profound performance?

Sorry for rambling....
 
Chops     

Offline pianowolfi

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #3 on: December 15, 2009, 10:51:21 PM »
I find Rachmaninoff not at all easy to memorize, so I'm not surprised that you've got some memory slips in the "easiest" spots.

As for the narrative organic line I found it helpful to have as much time as possible, to search as much imaginative inspiring input as possible (like the Moisewitsch story) and to do many tryout recitals for friends. I find especially Rachmaninoff's works need a lot of time to "mature".

Offline berniano

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #4 on: December 28, 2009, 01:59:08 AM »
Hello,


      I played this gorgeous piece a couple years ago--- here's what I was told about the interpretation part of it. The melody that starts at the beginning, think of saying these words to provide clear phrasing: "List-en to me." Might get annoying after a while, but works (at least for me). Also, overall feeling for piece: I like to think of the wind rushing through the plain, imagine scenery such as mountains, etc. Actually, when starting this piece, my teacher told me to go online and look at pictures of Russia as this piece expresses the pain and regret Rachmaninov felt at leaving his beloved country land. Here's what I found, and I've enjoyed this site ever since.

http://www.shpilenok.com/index.htm

The photographer won the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award in 2006.

Hope this gets you inspired!

Offline solange4041

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #5 on: February 08, 2016, 11:43:05 AM »
I have a question regarding page 3 of this piece, where the L'istesso tempo begins. In the 2nd and 4th bars of this section Rachmaninov delays the semiquaver by a quarter of a beat. If played strictly in time, this would make the following 'on-beat' notes (the F# and then the A) seem to come in too early. However, if we treat this slight delay as a written-in rubato, it means the bar is slowed down, or actually extended, by that quarter of a beat. The F# (or A) will sound as if it's in the right place, but will in fact be, itself, slightly delayed. It's kinda hard to explain, but if you look at the score you'll see what I mean. Any thoughts on which is the 'right' way to do it?

Secondly, 5 bars from the end of the piece R marks 'dim'. I think the opposite would sound better here, like a dying soul suddenly trying to come back to life, then sinking slowly back again, only to suddenly raise up again, with a clenched fist, two bars before the end, only to finally die out. The justification for me wanting to change what R wrote is that R himself did a similar thing when playing Chopins Bb minor sonata, where when the funeral march theme returns he plays it ff instead of Chopin's marking of pp. Right or wrong? I don't know, it's convincing either way, but it does make me feel we can take some liberties with Rach's own markings. Wold he have approved, I wonder?

Offline akthe47

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #6 on: August 01, 2020, 07:33:09 PM »
I just found this gem of a piece. Thanks for the discussion.

For the L'istesso tempo, I think the timing as written sound perfect. Yes at first it does sound like the next beats come in “early”, but that adds to the impetuous nature that builds up to the point where the speed is doubled. I also think it’s worth taking extra care to play it differently on the 2nd measure  of the section (w 1/8th note) vs the 4th measure of the section which is slightly faster for both notes. These details build beautifully as written. Perhaps the 1 section where I often hear rubato in recordings is at the tail end of the double time section, leading into pp and cresc.

Re: 5 bars from the end, I see what you mean. It does seem natural to want to play a cresc there, but I also think the decresc adds to the interesting ending where it’s as if you see a glimmer of hope, but then a fall back down.

Such a beautiful piece.

Offline akthe47

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #7 on: August 01, 2020, 07:35:17 PM »
Also for the fingering of left hand for the “cadenza”, how about 1, 5/1,5/1 etc? Seems more natural to me, but maybe it’s hand-specific

Offline melodyadventure

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #8 on: August 06, 2020, 06:55:27 PM »
I'm currently learning this piece. I've pretty much got the notes under my hands but I need your advice how to refine these:

1. Voicing out the inner melody in the chords in the gorgeous middle chordal section. These are in bars 24, 28, 32, 35. When I still had a teacher (my last piano lesson was in 2007), I was taught to practice the melody legato and the accompaniment in staccato. However, this seems to work for me in non-chordal passages. One tip I saw in the forum (not for this piece) was to play the melody with a slightly forward finger when you strike the chord. I've been doing that this week but I can't seem to get the hang of it when I speed up. Should I keep at it? (or maybe I'm just getting impatient?)

2.  I like two interpretations of the chordal section: by Yuja Wang (slow, pondering) and by Moiseiwitsch slightly faster (trembling out of longing). Is there a difference in how I should practice either? I did try to make it faster but I tend to play forte all the way without dynamics (it is hard to get control over this section when I practice as I get carried away and play the entire section, my bad)

3. Counting in the L'istesso tempo. I count 1e&a, 2e&a but I get confused when the 6s comes in and then the double-dots and 32nd notes. I tried relying on the metronome on this one. It helps, but when I stop the metronome, I cannot get the pulse or rhythm of it. Any tips on counting this out?

Just to chime in too that I play the left hand in the cadenza as 1,5/1,5/1

I'm glad people are still posting here despite the thread being 2009-old.


(Yes this is my first post and I signed up to ask this question ;D)

Offline akthe47

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #9 on: August 10, 2020, 03:21:35 AM »
I'll give my 2 cents,  but admittedly I am still working on this piece with a teacher. I love that the piece has so many layers of depth beyond what one first encounters.

I'm currently learning this piece. I've pretty much got the notes under my hands but I need your advice how to refine these:

1. Voicing out the inner melody in the chords in the gorgeous middle chordal section. These are in bars 24, 28, 32, 35. When I still had a teacher (my last piano lesson was in 2007), I was taught to practice the melody legato and the accompaniment in staccato. However, this seems to work for me in non-chordal passages. One tip I saw in the forum (not for this piece) was to play the melody with a slightly forward finger when you strike the chord. I've been doing that this week but I can't seem to get the hang of it when I speed up. Should I keep at it? (or maybe I'm just getting impatient?)
I haven't given as much attention to the voicing of the inner melody in the right hand in the measures you mentioned, sans 32 and 35. For 24 and 28, the melody is easier to bring out through the left hand since it's the top note. For 32, the D is on its own (easy) you could bring out the E in the last chord in the right hand, but again, seems like bringing the melody out in the left hand is more effective.  For 35, its much easier given the B is on its own and the C can be played with the 2nd finger.

2.  I like two interpretations of the chordal section: by Yuja Wang (slow, pondering) and by Moiseiwitsch slightly faster (trembling out of longing). Is there a difference in how I should practice either? I did try to make it faster but I tend to play forte all the way without dynamics (it is hard to get control over this section when I practice as I get carried away and play the entire section, my bad)
I don't have much to offer here between the 2. I think this is a struggle for many pianists in this section, both to add dynamics and to not make it sound like banging. I hear you on getting carried away-- hard not to with this section. Focusing on 1-2 measures at a time helped me for that.

3. Counting in the L'istesso tempo. I count 1e&a, 2e&a but I get confused when the 6s comes in and then the double-dots and 32nd notes. I tried relying on the metronome on this one. It helps, but when I stop the metronome, I cannot get the pulse or rhythm of it. Any tips on counting this out?
What helped me is to set the metronome so it's ticking on each 1/8th note. This helps you to make sure you start the notes exactly on the beat, and also helps pace your triplets to finish in time. As you keep practicing that over and over for say the first few measures of that section, the timing sinks in, as does the difference between the 2nd and 4th measure timing. The part that's getting me now is that I have the timing down, but haven't been paying attention to the voicing enough as I worked on the timing. So now I'm going back and retrofitting the voicing in.

Just to chime in too that I play the left hand in the cadenza as 1,5/1,5/1

I'm glad people are still posting here despite the thread being 2009-old.

(Yes this is my first post and I signed up to ask this question ;D)
Isn't it wonderful? Someone 100 years from now can still look at this thread and find it useful. This is the beauty and staying power of classical music.

Offline melodyadventure

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #10 on: August 10, 2020, 05:20:55 PM »
I'll give my 2 cents,  but admittedly I am still working on this piece with a teacher. I love that the piece has so many layers of depth beyond what one first encounters.
I haven't given as much attention to the voicing of the inner melody in the right hand in the measures you mentioned, sans 32 and 35. For 24 and 28, the melody is easier to bring out through the left hand since it's the top note. For 32, the D is on its own (easy) you could bring out the E in the last chord in the right hand, but again, seems like bringing the melody out in the left hand is more effective.  For 35, its much easier given the B is on its own and the C can be played with the 2nd finger.

Thank you for this. You are right that the left hand contains the melody in the lower octave too. I haven't looked at that from that perspective.

Quote
What helped me is to set the metronome so it's ticking on each 1/8th note. This helps you to make sure you start the notes exactly on the beat, and also helps pace your triplets to finish in time.
I'm gonna try this next. Today, I tried setting the metronome ticking on half-beats so that I somewhat have an anchor whether I count by 1 2 3 4 or 1 2 3 4 5 6 per count. It helped in the first two lines but I got lost when the 32nds came in. I get lost in playing the outer melody and then jumping in the inner notes quickly (Aaaaaaggghh).

Quote
Isn't it wonderful? Someone 100 years from now can still look at this thread and find it useful. This is the beauty and staying power of classical music.
Agreed. I love it that we these century-old works are being enjoyed and played until today. 8) Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Offline akthe47

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Re: Rachmaninov - Prelude in B minor op.32 #10 - Insights?
«Reply #11 on: August 11, 2020, 01:22:10 PM »
Thank you for this. You are right that the left hand contains the melody in the lower octave too. I haven't looked at that from that perspective.
I'm gonna try this next. Today, I tried setting the metronome ticking on half-beats so that I somewhat have an anchor whether I count by 1 2 3 4 or 1 2 3 4 5 6 per count. It helped in the first two lines but I got lost when the 32nds came in. I get lost in playing the outer melody and then jumping in the inner notes quickly (Aaaaaaggghh).
 Agreed. I love it that we these century-old works are being enjoyed and played until today. 8) Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Glad to help. BTW what is helping me is to follow the melody throughout the chordal section. I suppose the same goes for any section, but it’s especially helpful here. With that, the melody could be brought out in the left hand and even weaved in from the right hand before going back to the left.

As for the L’istesse Tempo, it was much easier for me to work on the timing of individual measures first and not move on. Then group the section before the speed “doubles”. It is a lot to try to learn all of that at once and isn’t necessary to make fast progress (in fact trying to learn it all in 1 go will make progress slower).

Best wishes.