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Topic: Brahms Rhapsody, op.79 no.1  (Read 6050 times)

Offline tb230

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Brahms Rhapsody, op.79 no.1
on: April 29, 2011, 07:59:50 AM
Just wondering about the tempo for the Brahms Rhapsody in b minor. It's marked agitato, and in my opinion it shouldn't necessarily be played very fast. (Argerich, as an example, has quite a speedy take on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VchnVmlYI04.) Has anyone of you played this - and what is your preferred tempo? Any particularly good recordings that I should look out for?

-thanks-
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Offline iratior

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Re: Brahms Rhapsody, op.79 no.1
Reply #1 on: April 29, 2011, 11:57:05 AM
Well, we have those thirty-second-note runs to contend with, so I don't think they can go faster than 1000 notes per minute.  Therefore, I'd say 120 quarter-notes per minute would be a good tempo.  Doing the F-sharp-major scale is difficult with Czerny-based fingering.  In the right hand, I prefer doing the scale (starting on an F-sharp) with the fingering 1231234, while concomitantly having the left hand do 3214321.  I tried it this morning but it wasn't a fair trial because my Parkinson's disease medications weren't working well.  But if you can do those F-sharp-major scales, you should be able to do the piece.

Offline tb230

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Re: Brahms Rhapsody, op.79 no.1
Reply #2 on: April 29, 2011, 05:51:14 PM
Yes, I agree that you can sort of calculate a max speed based on the fast scales. However, in this particular piece I view the scales more as separate elements, like an effect or motif than an actual scale. Based on this, I don't think they need to be mathematically correct related to the rest of the piece. (Would you even notice if these scales were played at 900 or 1000 notes per minute?) I will try to aim for 120 per quarter note, though, and I appreciate the advice on fingering.

It's quite an intense piece, I think, do you have any advice on how to create a good, focused tone?     

Offline iratior

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Re: Brahms Rhapsody, op.79 no.1
Reply #3 on: May 02, 2011, 04:18:43 PM
I was just looking over this topic and see that you were wondering about how to create the right tone for the piece.  I almost always find that Brahms reminds me of autumn, and this is no exception.  Respect the counterpoint -- where one hand imitates the other, make it good imitation -- and notice the fall foliage when a diminished seventh serves as the go-between for a B-major and and F-major chord. 

Offline tb230

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Re: Brahms Rhapsody, op.79 no.1
Reply #4 on: May 04, 2011, 10:24:37 AM
Thanks for the suggestions! I'll keep it in mind tomorrow when I'll be bringing the Brahms along to an 'audition' with a new teacher. Looking forward to it in a slightly nervous kind of way.

Offline gvans

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Re: Brahms Rhapsody, op.79 no.1
Reply #5 on: May 07, 2011, 02:32:24 AM
I read the above with interest as I, too, am just now working this piece up. Martha's performance is interesting, to say the least--she hits the agitato portions presto, and then slows down markedly for the lyric portions, and not just the B section in B major. She plays so clearly, and with such control, that it works. Glenn Gould's approach, on the other hand, is very Baroque in approach, he pretty much sets a tempo and sticks to it.

Tempo--IMHO, should be a personal decision, based on many factors, including the instrument at hand. Even if the composer writes an exact metronome tempo (e.g., Beethoven, Hammerklavier), this is to be taken with a large grain of salt. There are stories of Beethoven changing metronome markings on the same work. Do what works for you and your interpretation.

Best of luck with this great Brahms!
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