\"\"
Piano Forum logo

obscure facts (Read 2785 times)

Offline Tash

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2248
obscure facts
« on: September 18, 2004, 12:04:10 PM »
ok with my piano exam coming up sometime soon, a big part of it is general knowledge, and so in my efforts to blow the examiners away with my extended knowledge i want some really random facts about my composers and pieces, except i haven't actually gotten so far as to have found any yet.

so decided to start here, do any of you know any interesting, obscure facts about:

chopin and the fantasie impromptu

Rachmaninov and the prelude op.3 no.2

Khachaturian and the toccatta

or at least where i could find something about them?
thanks heaps!
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline cziffra777

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 105
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #1 on: September 18, 2004, 02:26:47 PM »
Quote
Rachmaninov and the prelude op.3 no.2


Rachmaninoff hated this piece. He was once asked what inspired him to write the work. I can't remember his exact reply, but it was very brief and to the effect that he did it for the money. Maybe someone else will have the quote.

Offline Motrax

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 721
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #2 on: September 18, 2004, 06:32:34 PM »
Regarding Rachmaninoff and The Prelude...

It was called "The Prelude" in many concert reviews. Rachmaninoff could scarcely play a concert without giving an encore of this piece. It was also called The Bells of Moscow, on occasion.

Rachmaninoff didn't dislike the piece. Late in his life, he said he did not dislike any of his compositions. His great regret was that he was identified by this prelude, written so early in his life, rather than being known for much of his better music.

When Rachmaninoff performed The Prelude, he would often improvise, adding notes, taking out whole measures, changing the tempo liberally, etc etc. I believe one reviewer (sorry I can't remember, but the book I got this from is about 40 miles away, and I'm without a car) lamented that Rachmaninoff's improvisations made it impossible for anybody else to play the piece correctly, since none of his additions were ever recorded.

Historically, the piece was not particularly popular in Russia or mainland Europe, but it really took storm in Britain. Later, it became vastly popular in America. Rachmaninoff sold the piece cheaply to some publisher (don't remember exactly how much), so he made very little money off of it despite it's vast success.

Rachmaninoff's favorite version of the piece was a swing arrangement he heard in a cafe one night. He frequented the cafe after concerts (I can't even remember which city it was in... I really do apologize!), and whenever he walked in the band there would switch to the prelude. He really liked this new arrangement of his music, much moreso than his own over-played piano version.

Don't know anything about the others.  Good luck!  :)
"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.

Offline thomas_williams

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 153
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #3 on: September 18, 2004, 10:58:26 PM »
The following is an excerpt from the notes included in an Alfred edition of Rachmaninoff's C-sharp minor prelude:

"The story is told about a woman at a cocktail party who asked a rising young pianist about his forthcoming New York recital.  When he told her that his program would include a group of Rachmaninoff preludes she replied, "Did you say Rachmaninoff preludes?  Oh, did he write more than one?"  The story may not be true, but it points up to the fact that when many people hear Rachmaninoff's name they think of the famous C-sharp minor prelude, and sometimes they know little more about his music.  This piece, written when the composer was just out of the conservatory, brought him early international fame, and it has become one of the most popular piano pieces written in the last hundred years.  [Slightly older now.]  Its immediate success can be explained in part by the fact that it was sold outright, for a fee worth about $20, to a publisher who didn't get an international copyright.  In a short time and ever since, it has appeared in all kinds of editions-- some of them titled The Bells of Moscow, The Burning of Moscow, The Moscow Waltz, and even That Moscow Rag.  For a time the piece was played too frequntly-- often quite badly-- and its composer grew to dislike playing it because it was demanded as an encore at all his piano recitals before the audience would leave the hall.  But there are reasons for its popularity other than its ready availability.  It is clearly an original, striking, efectively developed musical idea which makes a dramatic impact on the listeners when it is beautifully played."

I have also heard that part of the reason he resented having to play this piece may have been all the money he would have made had he not sold it outright and if an international copyright had been secured.
It's GREAT to be a classical musician!

Offline bernhard

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5078
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #4 on: September 19, 2004, 01:11:31 AM »
Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu was published posthumously by his friend Fontana. It was actually composed in 1835, before the first of the Impromptus op. 29. In all likelihood the title “Fantaisie” was Fontanta’s not Chopin’s. Why did Chopin never publish it? No one knows for sure, but there are two interesting theories.

1.      Chopin was embarrassed by it. Most critics of the work point out that it is repetitive, has a weak construction, lacks direction in the middle section, and is ultimately a frivolous piece. In short, it is a piece of drivel and Chopin knew it.

2.      A much more interesting theory is that Chopin was acutely aware of how much it resembled another Impromptu by Ignaz Moschelles and he was afraid he might be taken for a plagiariser. (Arthur Hedley- “Chopin” – Dent (Master Musicians) - p. 155 – 156).

Perhaps a good way to impress your examiners is to learn this Moschelles piece as well and point out the similarities and differences (by the way, does anyone know which impromptu is this? I heard the theory many times, but I have never actually got a proper reference to it).

Katchaturian’s Toccatta, as far as I know does not have a story as interesting as the other two. Perhaps the most interesting fact about it is that it is a student’s work: Katchaturian composed it while studying at the Moscow conservatory.

Although Katchaturian had a very musical environment,  as a child, surrounded by folk music, he only started taking formal lessons at the age of 19 – pretty late by most standards. At 18 he went to Moscow as a Biology student at the Moscow University School of Mathematics and Physics. However, he soon transferred to the Gnesin School of Music as a Cello student. There, he was encouraged to take the composition course, and finally he entered the Moscow Conservatory in 1929.

The Toccata itself was the first piece in a “Suite for Piano”. Composed in 1932 (he was 29 years old then), while he was still a student of Myakovsky at the Moscow Conservatory.

Finally, There are some who believe Khachaturian wrote this piece to satirize the heavy inefficiencies of the State bureaucracy in the Soviet Union of the 1930s.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline Tash

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2248
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #5 on: September 19, 2004, 07:14:43 AM »
yay thankyou all that's bril! good idea bernhard learning the moscheles piece, just have to work out which piece that is woo and then that'll be great!

thanks!!!
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline donjuan

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3159
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #6 on: September 19, 2004, 08:02:45 AM »
I read about this pianist who was a good friend of Rachmaninoff's (Bernhard, what's the name??), who knew Rachmaninoff hated the piece.  Rachmaninoff said he would come to this guy's concert so long as he doesnt play "The Prelude".  At the concert, after a few pieces, the pianist plays the beginning 2 octaves (A!........G#!!!....) and Rachmaninoff stands up and begins to walk towards the door.  Just as Rachmaninoff is opening to door to leave, the pianist slams down the C# octave and breaks into Fantasy Impromptu from the 2nd chord of the piece.Rachmaninoff then closes the door and returns to his seat.

I am SURE someone else here has heard this story.  I just cant remember the pianists name!
donjuan

Offline bernhard

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5078
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #7 on: September 19, 2004, 06:41:46 PM »
Quote
yay thankyou all that's bril! good idea bernhard learning the moscheles piece, just have to work out which piece that is woo and then that'll be great!

thanks!!!


If you work out which is the Moschelles piece, plese let me know, I would be very interested!
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bernhard

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5078
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #8 on: September 19, 2004, 06:51:21 PM »
Quote
I read about this pianist who was a good friend of Rachmaninoff's (Bernhard, what's the name??), who knew Rachmaninoff hated the piece.  Rachmaninoff said he would come to this guy's concert so long as he doesnt play "The Prelude".  At the concert, after a few pieces, the pianist plays the beginning 2 octaves (A!........G#!!!....) and Rachmaninoff stands up and begins to walk towards the door.  Just as Rachmaninoff is opening to door to leave, the pianist slams down the C# octave and breaks into Fantasy Impromptu from the 2nd chord of the piece.Rachmaninoff then closes the door and returns to his seat.

I am SURE someone else here has heard this story.  I just cant remember the pianists name!
donjuan


I don;tknow the story, but the pianist that Rachmaninoff most admired (and thought a best interpreter of his pieces than himself) was Beno Moiseiwitch.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline steve

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 37
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #9 on: September 20, 2004, 12:02:31 AM »
He was good friends with Horowitz, too, if i remember.

Rob47

  • Guest
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #10 on: September 20, 2004, 12:56:28 AM »
Quote
He was good friends with Horowitz, too, if i remember.



And Walt Disney also.

Offline DarkWind

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 729
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #11 on: September 20, 2004, 03:50:37 AM »
Quote
I read about this pianist who was a good friend of Rachmaninoff's (Bernhard, what's the name??), who knew Rachmaninoff hated the piece.  Rachmaninoff said he would come to this guy's concert so long as he doesnt play "The Prelude".  At the concert, after a few pieces, the pianist plays the beginning 2 octaves (A!........G#!!!....) and Rachmaninoff stands up and begins to walk towards the door.  Just as Rachmaninoff is opening to door to leave, the pianist slams down the C# octave and breaks into Fantasy Impromptu from the 2nd chord of the piece.Rachmaninoff then closes the door and returns to his seat.



That's hilarious!  ;D

Offline Tash

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2248
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #12 on: September 20, 2004, 07:28:25 AM »
Quote
I read about this pianist who was a good friend of Rachmaninoff's (Bernhard, what's the name??), who knew Rachmaninoff hated the piece.  Rachmaninoff said he would come to this guy's concert so long as he doesnt play "The Prelude".  At the concert, after a few pieces, the pianist plays the beginning 2 octaves (A!........G#!!!....) and Rachmaninoff stands up and begins to walk towards the door.  Just as Rachmaninoff is opening to door to leave, the pianist slams down the C# octave and breaks into Fantasy Impromptu from the 2nd chord of the piece.Rachmaninoff then closes the door and returns to his seat.

I am SURE someone else here has heard this story.  I just cant remember the pianists name!
donjuan


omg i'm so doing that sometime- yes in my exam just to confuse the hell out of the examiners!

ok i'm about to go on a treck in my uni library to attempt to find this moscheles piece wish me luck!
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline Tash

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2248
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #13 on: September 20, 2004, 08:20:08 AM »
hey bernhard just letting you know i've found which moscheles impromptu it was- op.89 in Eb!
so annoyed there was like 3 pages on the fantasie impromptu in one book and some freakishly annoying person has gone and ripped the pages out!
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline brewtality

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 924
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #14 on: September 20, 2004, 02:55:04 PM »
i always thought rachmaninoffs op 3 no 2 was called the "it" prelude. btw tashs are you doing A mus?

Offline Tash

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2248
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #15 on: September 20, 2004, 03:01:16 PM »
nah i've been shunned to Cmus as a 'bridge' between 8th grade and Amus- probably a good thing since i never have time to practice and thus would most liekly fail Amus if i tried doing it now!
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline brewtality

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 924
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #16 on: September 20, 2004, 03:16:57 PM »
ah ok, i didn't know that Cmus required general knowledge. Good luck with that hope you nail it  ;)

Offline bernhard

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5078
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #17 on: September 20, 2004, 04:45:23 PM »
Quote
hey bernhard just letting you know i've found which moscheles impromptu it was- op.89 in Eb!
so annoyed there was like 3 pages on the fantasie impromptu in one book and some freakishly annoying person has gone and ripped the pages out!


Excellent!

Tash you are the bomb! :D

Thanks heaps, ;)

Bernhard.

PS: By the way, what does it sound like? Did Chopin actually plagiarised it?
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline Tash

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2248
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #18 on: September 21, 2004, 01:17:27 PM »
aw the bomb that sounds so funny coming from this forum cos i only really hear a selected number of friends say it! hahaha.
well i sort of waffled around with a bit of the impromptu- just the first page, and you can tell how chopin's fantasie is similar to it- except this is in a major key and the notes aren't the same and stuff, but just the repetition and structure of the notes is really similar. i might scan some of it up for you to look at maybe tomorrow if you want
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Spatula

  • Guest
Re: obscure facts
«Reply #19 on: September 24, 2004, 03:25:31 AM »
Quote
aw the bomb that sounds so funny coming from this forum cos i only really hear a selected number of friends say it! hahaha.
well i sort of waffled around with a bit of the impromptu- just the first page, and you can tell how chopin's fantasie is similar to it- except this is in a major key and the notes aren't the same and stuff, but just the repetition and structure of the notes is really similar. i might scan some of it up for you to look at maybe tomorrow if you want


OH NO! GASP!!!
IT CAN"T BE! SACRE BLEU!

QUELLE HORREUR?!?!?!?!?!!?!?

Chopin is a plagerizer!!!?!?!?! Just like Handel!
Oh the humanity!!!  











hahaha oh well I rip off classical music from the library and burn it to my own blank cds...do do do do do