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Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2 (Read 32102 times)

Offline chopinaninoff

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Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
« on: May 05, 2011, 04:11:54 AM »
Hello,
I'm new to this forum. I am not a professional pianist, I am still studying in school. I know this will sound like an extremely idiotic request as well as question to the top concert pianists...But I was asked by my school orchestra conductor to learn the first movement of Rachmaninoff 2nd...Now I have not played a long time, my technique is as advanced as I would like it to be..but this is one of my most favorite pieces ever. And I would love the the honor and privilege of learning it = and performing it with an orchestra, even if its no where close to perfect. So..I ask all of you professional musicians for help on this. Help in the sense that I need to know how to learn it, and make sure that it would be reliable to perform with. If I do decide to learn it, I will have 3-4 months to learn the first movement. So I would like to know..(please be as detailed as possible)
1. From the moment I open the cover of the concerto, how do I begin learning it?
2. How do I know that the way I am counting, will synchronize with the orchestra? After all, this is a romantic concerto, filled with rubatos.
3. The first few pages, have a lot of arpeggios... How do I count them? As triplets? In groups of 8? 9? etc.
4. Is it possible for an intermediate level pianist to learn the first movement in 3 months time?
5.  How can I learn some od the solo fast passages in order to have them reliable for a concert? I have had many cases of where I can practice a hard rapid finger breaking passage at home, do it perfectly, and on a concert, screw it up as if I had never opened the scores.
6. What are some of the hardest parts of the first movement, that I should give more time too? I know everyone is different, but there has to be a common ground on which places are more difficult to pull of with an orchestra.
7. I know you are all wondering at what level of a pianist I am. I have attached a few videos of me performing...
= Rachmaninoff prelude op 32 no 12 and Elegie
Scriabin preludes op 11 no 1-2-10
= Chopin etude op 25 no 12
And finally, I hate to say this, but keep in mind ive been playing for two and a half years.
Please dont take this post as a joke, I am determined to learn this concerto and I would apprecaite any word of advice...thank you
Richard

piano sheet music of Piano Concerto 2


Offline pianowolfi

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #1 on: May 06, 2011, 06:37:51 PM »
In principle I'd say go for it. But there is this time restriction...I think 3 months aren't enough time.
Regarding the eighth note arpeggios in the beginning, just make sure to place every group into one count. Sometimes there are more, sometimes less, but try to be exactly in time on the count with the respective bass note.
Since I haven't played this concerto myself (only messed a bit around with it yet) I leave the answers to your other questions to people who have more experience with it.

Offline omar_roy

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #2 on: May 06, 2011, 09:31:57 PM »
For only playing 2 1/2 years, you have quite good facility around the keyboard already.  However is your reading ability at the same level as your technique? 

Given these videos I have no doubt that you could probably manage the concerto physically, but learning the first movement in 3 months might prove to be immensely difficult if your reading holds you back.

If you only have 3 months to learn it, you'll want to have it learned and memorized in 2 months, so that you have one full month of it being memorized and allowing it to settle in your mind.

Of course if you have good reading ability and can learn the notes very quickly and then focus on the memorization, then I'd say go for it.  If your reading is not so good, then I would recommend against it this time.

If you do decide to go for it, you'll want to find the hardest parts and start working them early as you work through other parts of the concerto.  That way you won't be stuck at any roadblocks before moving on.

Offline chopinaninoff

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #3 on: May 07, 2011, 03:09:19 AM »
Hello,
My sight reading is not bad, but the concerto has some very awkward rhythms that requires me to sometimes pause and figure out...such as page 10, measure 35, it has 4 against 6 rhythms...Or even learning fingering for some passages, such as measure 63 (un poco piu mosso) or even measure 55, it has large arpeggios, and I don't know if some of them should be taken with the left hand or right hand..etc...
Thank you all for the replies.
Richard

Offline chopin1993

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #4 on: May 09, 2011, 03:57:21 PM »
Hi!

First of all, it's great that you were requested to play this piece!
I'd just go for it. It's not a bad idea to study a piece which is above your level. I did that too, and it took me way further than I ever expected.

1. I'd start learning the hardest measures in this movement, at least that's how I study, and it works for me when I have to learn a piece in time.
2. I don't know how this will be done by the school orchestra, but in the "real ones" you'll meet with the orchestra before your performance and you'll play a couple of times with it, so you'll have the time to adjust to each other.
 3. I actually don't know an answer to this question, because I have never played this piece and I'd have a trouble with that too. I'm sorry for that.
4. If you want to, you can do anything! But you'll have to start within a week, I suggest. Indeed, it is a very hard piece to play, because it's full of emotions and we, as young people, won't have enough life-experience to play this with the emotions Rachmaninoff had to deal with, but technically it will work!
5. I had that problem too. Play these passages every day at least 10 times to really be sure of it.
6. The first passage might seem quite easy when you can play this alone, but with the orchestra the timing needs to be correct, and that's pretty hard.
7. You're a very good pianist!! :D

Have you ever played with an orchestra before? If not, I want to warn you about the difficult aspect to find the right balance between you and the orchestra. Don't forget that you'll be the most important part in this whole piece, and so you'll have to find a good way to phrase with the orchestra. You'll have to play louder than you're used to, otherwise the orchestra will overpower you.

I hope I could help!
Will you let us know if you're going to play it???
And oh, I'm sorry for any mistakes in my writing, I'm Dutch!!

Good luck!

Valerie

Offline mussels_with_nutella

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #5 on: May 09, 2011, 04:59:22 PM »
Congratulations for being asked to play Rachmaninov Piano Concert no.2!  that's my dream! hahaha

I cannot add anymore than what Valerie, omar and wolfi have said, but I am also learning it.
You are good enough to play it, enough enough. However, If I were you I would consider what pianowolfi has said. Not in the sense that you should leave the proposal, never! but in the sense that you should manage your time in order to learn it as soon as possible  :-\

My personal reason and advice for you about learning it early is: I have seen that you have a lot of technique but in my opinion you have a little lack of emotions while playing. This rachmaninov's concert is indeed one full of emotions, rubbattos or whatever is written and that kind of romantic material I love. You should have one month at least not only to pulish your domain over the movement but also to pulish your performing, and the rittardandos and dynamics as well. I suggest you taking in a lot of consideration the power of your hits: They must be strong (because of the orchestra, like others have just said) and also they should be changeable, up and down (in volume).

That's my personal advice. However, it's your performing! Feel and play, that's all! ;)

P.S.: If you want to know a fingering or some kind of that problems, I will help you. I have not been taught piano, thus I have more ease to solve my technique/fingering problems. You are a lot better than me in piano, but if you need something, just send me a message or something. I'll be there. And follow Valerie's instructions. I see them really interesting and useful. And she seems cool and friendly :D

P.S.: Sorry for my English, I am Spanish


Pablo

(or mussels with nutella... I'd prefer this one haha)
Learning:
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When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something
Shostakovic

Offline chopin1993

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #6 on: May 09, 2011, 06:14:59 PM »

 And follow Valerie's instructions. I see them really interesting and useful. And she seems cool and friendly :D


Thank you! ;D

Offline scj14

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #7 on: May 10, 2011, 02:51:43 AM »
Hi :) I'm also new on this forum, actually this is my first post.
I'm also practicing Rach 2nd right now and I've got the basics down for the entire piece so I think we can help each other out on this. You are amazingly good considering the fact that you only played for 2 1/2 years. When I was starting this piece, my friends said that I might not be able to play it because of the difficulty in technique but I managed to play every section on tempo so you might be able to do it as well. Just go for it man.
1. For me, I just start from the beginning. Well since you don't have enough time, it'll be a good idea to start from the hardest section but I like to start from beginning, learn the whole piece and be able to play it with final tempo, and then I start actually practice the piece and refine it.
2. Umm... This is my first concerto also so I can't give a solid answer for this but I don't think you should worry about that too much. Just make sure you are on tempo and on the right beat, then the orchestra will be able to follow you. On rubato sections, Orchestra's supposed to follow you, not you follow orchestra so be clear and solid on your interpretations so you don't change them every time.
3. You have to group them as a whole. For 8 notes, all the 8 notes are in one beat. For 9 notes, all the 9 notes are in one beat. etc.
4. If you work incredibly hard it might be possible. Just don't overwork yourself thou.
5. Have a solid practice on it. Work on it everyday even if it's already perfect. Get audience and play them in front of people so you experience the nerves. Perfect practice will make perfect performance.
6. The hardest parts in this piece considering technicality would be the Un poco piu mosso section in the 1st part and Un poco piu mosso on the 2nd part. Those are the fastest parts and require a lot of practice to get it to full tempo. I'm personally weak at octaves so acceler in the 3rd part is quite difficult for me  :-[
7. Practice, and you might be able to do it. It's a hard piece.

For your 2nd post..
What I do with different beat right hand left hand is I divide up the note value and do the math on the exact beat on where the notes should be (if that made sense  :P ) Then I play it Extremely slow, getting used to the rhythm. After practicing slow for a while, I try it fast, by fast I mean medium to final tempo. If the rhythm is wavering, then I just practice them slow again.
When I was practicing this piece, I was really worried about the large arpeggios too. What I do is I put down my fingerings on every single note of the large arpeggios. And then of course the usual, practice slow than speed up.
One last piece of advise. It is essential to listen to the recordings. The 1 week I was practicing this piece, I listened to it for around 100 times. It is really important to know how each phrases go and what do to with it, and what Orchestra does at that time. Just put the music in ur phone or something and listen to it as you go to sleep. It's really effective. Trust me.
Well good luck on this piece!! This is my favorite piano piece after all  ;D

Offline scott13

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #8 on: May 10, 2011, 01:18:46 PM »
Hey there,

Rather new to the forum but am currently learning this concerto as well. I started learning it backwards. As the ending is (exception to the march theme) the climax of the movement and needs to be incredibly strong and powerful, so i started here and worked backwards. Also think that an audience impression is normally judged by the endings of pieces, especially concertos as most will not remember if you made a slight error in the beginning if your ending is fantastic.

From here i recommend you head to the march there in the middle of the piece, as this once again needs to be triple forte, which considering you need to raise your sound over an orchestra (also a high-school orchestra which, sorry to sound harsh, will not always be aware of the soloist like a professional orchestra is) will be a difficult task.

Personally however i feel 3 months is just not long enough to learn a concerto of this size. Rach 2 is one of the hardest to perform well. Have you perhaps thought about one of the concertos by Beethoven or Mozart ? Maybe one of the movements of Prokofiev's 3rd concerto ? These are all easier to learn and memorise than any of the Rachmaninoff concertos and could possibly be doable in 3 months.

Offline chopinaninoff

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #9 on: May 10, 2011, 07:04:28 PM »
Thank you all for your replies...
I would like to remind you all, that I am only doing the first movement..I would be out of my mind to attempt the third. Thank you all for your time to responding to my questions, I really do take every single word of advice into consideration.
Also, does anyone have a good fingering for the Un poco Piu Mosso in the beginning  (starts off C, e, F# G etc)

Offline etacarina

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #10 on: May 18, 2011, 07:17:06 AM »
Hi Richard. I am studying this concerto right now as well. And I have all the same questions as you. Actually I found this thread during my search for other people's answers for problem solving in this 1st movement!!
I wrote down my fingerings for this Poco Piu Mosso that you are talking about. I tried different fingerings until I found one that works comfortably for my hand and I could scan the two pages that contain this passage with my fingerings and send it to you via e-mail or any other media. I am also interested in knowing your ideas about several passages and how you dealt with the difficulties. For me, the hardest part technically is the left hand for this same Poco Piu Mosso. It's just so dangerous! If you want my fingerings, send me an e-mail and I will reply it with the scans. My e-mail is arthur4400@yahoo.com.br

Offline chopinaninoff

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #11 on: May 18, 2011, 06:55:50 PM »
Hi Richard. I am studying this concerto right now as well. And I have all the same questions as you. Actually I found this thread during my search for other people's answers for problem solving in this 1st movement!!
I wrote down my fingerings for this Poco Piu Mosso that you are talking about. I tried different fingerings until I found one that works comfortably for my hand and I could scan the two pages that contain this passage with my fingerings and send it to you via e-mail or any other media. I am also interested in knowing your ideas about several passages and how you dealt with the difficulties. For me, the hardest part technically is the left hand for this same Poco Piu Mosso. It's just so dangerous! If you want my fingerings, send me an e-mail and I will reply it with the scans. My e-mail is arthur4400@yahoo.com.br
Thank you I emailed you :D hope to hear from you soon

Offline mussels_with_nutella

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #12 on: May 18, 2011, 07:06:35 PM »
Thank you I emailed you :D hope to hear from you soon

Me too!  :D
Learning:
Liszt's 3rd Liebestraum

When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something
Shostakovic

Offline pianocrazy64

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #13 on: May 29, 2011, 04:05:24 PM »
Hi Richard. I am studying this concerto right now as well. And I have all the same questions as you. Actually I found this thread during my search for other people's answers for problem solving in this 1st movement!!
I wrote down my fingerings for this Poco Piu Mosso that you are talking about. I tried different fingerings until I found one that works comfortably for my hand and I could scan the two pages that contain this passage with my fingerings and send it to you via e-mail or any other media. I am also interested in knowing your ideas about several passages and how you dealt with the difficulties. For me, the hardest part technically is the left hand for this same Poco Piu Mosso. It's just so dangerous! If you want my fingerings, send me an e-mail and I will reply it with the scans. My e-mail is arthur4400@yahoo.com.br


I just emailed you as well.  The un poco piu moso really messes me up.

Richard, the fact that you're learning this piece after 2.5 years of piano is absolutely astounding!  Slow, staccato practice without pedal is essential for, in your case, at most the first month.  I hope you'll have an excellent time playing the Rachmaninov 2nd.

Offline mussels_with_nutella

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #14 on: May 29, 2011, 04:48:29 PM »
Chopinaninoff, or whoever knows the answer, please.

In the first movement, I have discovered that in bars no. 32, 33 and 34, (counting from the beginning and being 32 the eighth of the second section) there is a note which is written twice in a row, once for the left hand and once for the right hand.

Should it be played both times, or just once with your favourite hand?

That's a problem for me because this kind of "double note" appears later and in the second and third movement, and if I memorised it wrongly...  :-\
Learning:
Liszt's 3rd Liebestraum

When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something
Shostakovic

Offline chopinaninoff

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #15 on: May 29, 2011, 06:28:57 PM »
Chopinaninoff, or whoever knows the answer, please.

In the first movement, I have discovered that in bars no. 32, 33 and 34, (counting from the beginning and being 32 the eighth of the second section) there is a note which is written twice in a row, once for the left hand and once for the right hand.

Should it be played both times, or just once with your favourite hand?

That's a problem for me because this kind of "double note" appears later and in the second and third movement, and if I memorised it wrongly...  :-\
No, you play both the notes...One with the left, then the right hand. For instance, bar 33, 2nd half of the measure has a repeated C, one in the Bass clef, then another one in the treble...play it with the left hand and then the right hand's thumb..
Richard

Offline mussels_with_nutella

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #16 on: May 29, 2011, 06:34:25 PM »
No, you play both the notes...One with the left, then the right hand. For instance, bar 33, 2nd half of the measure has a repeated C, one in the Bass clef, then another one in the treble...play it with the left hand and then the right hand's thumb..
Richard
Thanks Richard. That was my doubt :D
Learning:
Liszt's 3rd Liebestraum

When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something
Shostakovic

Offline chopinaninoff

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #17 on: May 29, 2011, 06:37:51 PM »

I just emailed you as well.  The un poco piu moso really messes me up.

Richard, the fact that you're learning this piece after 2.5 years of piano is absolutely astounding!  Slow, staccato practice without pedal is essential for, in your case, at most the first month.  I hope you'll have an excellent time playing the Rachmaninov 2nd.
I emailed that guy about a week ago, and he still did not respond..I have attached a photo of my fingering that I use..I think its quite nice, tell me how it goes.
Richard

Offline mussels_with_nutella

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Re: Rachmaninoff Piano concerto no 2
«Reply #18 on: May 29, 2011, 07:09:59 PM »
I emailed that guy about a week ago, and he still did not respond..I have attached a photo of my fingering that I use..I think its quite nice, tell me how it goes.
Richard
Thank you very much! I wasn't emailed as well. I will thank you more sincerely when I arrive to this section hahahaha
Learning:
Liszt's 3rd Liebestraum

When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something
Shostakovic