Piano Forum



Master Teacher Christopher Elton Never Ending Impetus
With 50 years at the Royal Academy of Music and an international teaching career, Professor Christopher Elton has gained unique experience in how to coach accomplished artists. In this unique interview for Piano Street, Elton shares his insights and views on the big perspective. Read more >>

Topic: Help with interpreting Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 118/6  (Read 2228 times)

Offline marijn1999

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 170
Help with interpreting Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 118/6
on: October 27, 2016, 08:15:02 PM
Hi guys,

So, I'm learning the 6th pieces from Brahms' Op. 118 for a competition coming up in february 2017, the intermezzo in E-flat minor. Gorgeous piece but I'm running into a problem in interpreting the middle section in G-flat major.

I have an urtext edition by Henle Verlag and an edition by C.F. Peters which is scarcely edited however in this middle section a lot of pedal markings are given which where not written by Brahms himself. Listening to various recordings of this piece I hear that basically everyone plays the beginning of this section quite staccato, except for Glenn Gould. He plays this whole section much more legato and uses a lot of pedal.

I personally find it more beautiful and thinks the tragic-heroic mood in contrast to the first section comes through much better when playing it legato. However, do you guys think it is justifiable in this way and, if not, maybe in any other way? Would love your help.

BW,
Marijn
Composing and revising old pieces.
---------------------------------------
Visit my YouTube channel! (https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCR0LNNGEPY002W1UXWkqtSw)
Sign up for a Piano Street membership to download this piano score.
Sign up for FREE! >>

Offline visitor

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5294
Re: Help with interpreting Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 118/6
Reply #1 on: October 27, 2016, 08:27:48 PM
i would watch this and apply the concepts to your piece. late Brahms is more difficult than people give it credit for, and far more pianists , even at  high levels, don't exactly interpret the best way



Offline marijn1999

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 170
Re: Help with interpreting Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 118/6
Reply #2 on: October 28, 2016, 06:10:39 AM
i would watch this and apply the concepts to your piece. late Brahms is more difficult than people give it credit for, and far more pianists , even at  high levels, don't exactly interpret the best way





Thanks a lot!

I watched the video and it helps me making interpretive decisions, however I'm still having trouble finding a way to justify the use of pedal in order to capture a broader, more heroic mood.

Thanks anyway!

Composing and revising old pieces.
---------------------------------------
Visit my YouTube channel! (https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCR0LNNGEPY002W1UXWkqtSw)

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3928
Re: Help with interpreting Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 118/6
Reply #3 on: October 28, 2016, 05:07:55 PM
When I learned this masterpiece, my favorite recording was by Luba Edlina on Naxos, IIRC she played the middle part the way I liked it, w judicious pedalling.  Thinking back, I might have been subconsciously trying to cheat a bit, but primarily I then as now don't care for a real staccato there.

Eta I see u were talking about the beginning.  I've never heard anyone play the theme and the LH anything but a sumptuous legato.  aside from carefully clearing the damper especially in the very final reprise when required to harmony unsure what the issue is.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline marijn1999

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 170
Re: Help with interpreting Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 118/6
Reply #4 on: October 28, 2016, 05:50:32 PM
When I learned this masterpiece, my favorite recording was by Luba Edlina on Naxos, IIRC she played the middle part the way I liked it, w judicious pedalling.  Thinking back, I might have been subconsciously trying to cheat a bit, but primarily I then as now don't care for a real staccato there.

Eta I see u were talking about the beginning.  I've never heard anyone play the theme and the LH anything but a sumptuous legato.  aside from carefully clearing the damper especially in the very final reprise when required to harmony unsure what the issue is.


Thanks for your reply. I was talking about the middle section in G-flat major.

Composing and revising old pieces.
---------------------------------------
Visit my YouTube channel! (https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCR0LNNGEPY002W1UXWkqtSw)

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3928
Re: Help with interpreting Brahms Intermezzo, Op. 118/6
Reply #5 on: October 28, 2016, 08:19:04 PM
Thanks for your reply. I was talking about the middle section in G-flat major.

I was tapping on a tablet waiting for car repair, and I'm easily confused.  Back on a proper keyboard, I can type again.

Well, sure -- my opinions are IMHO good, about this piece, but no need to thank me.  I believe this was the last classical piece I played in a little junior grading-competition (I'm honestly not sure what it was -- there were a lot of people, and we got some score, and some comments, but it wasn't any kind of name competition. it was for high-schoolers and there might have been a few younger ones), up on a stage in an public auditorium.

Yeah, IIRC (I was like a Gould fanatic back then) it was quite a coup for me a few years later, I think when I was in college and found the LP of Gould's recording, which, I don't think, was out on CD yet.  I was mildly annoyed by the very staccato LH of the main ascending part in the middle.

Sorry I don't have the bar numbers, but I'm guessing you know what I mean....wait a second....I actually have my old Dover Brahms with me....checking....OK, there aren't any bar numbers in my Dover w/ my teacher's markings on it, so I'm going to stick with the "opening," "middle," and "reprise," terminology, in part because it's simple, and in part because it's sort of offensive to sound theoretical understanding of structure, but preserving of practical understanding.

The only parts in the "reprise" I have especially marked are the hemiola 13 bars from the end, and, remember when the main Dies Irae theme comes back in and you have those oddments in the LH?  My teacher marked under the slur in bar two of the "reprise" (getting more annoyed at that term, but OK, you know what I'm talking about), "legato."  

I believe in those two bars (that one and the one before it) I did indeed use legato, but with hardly any pedal.  I'm 100% positive the last note in each of those two LH figures were punctuated, like almost a sfz staccato, but I was a teenage boy, and I liked stuff like that.

I'm looking at the last page now and, man, I remember having almost nightmares about keeping the harmonies straight and working my right foot to the bone.  


ETA I decided to resize my little ramblings which, while genuine, are sort of reflective of the way I talk when I get an actual clavier under my hands, instead of some S***S@HH#&^%#*( touch screen.
 
Well, that was my little ramblings.  Good, I'm glad we're talking about the same part -- what I said in a previous post about the middle part still is what I think.  The Dover has pretty clearly indicated the staccato marks, and IIRC that's pretty much the way I like it -- it's convenient for the LH jumps from, e.g., the first bar of that section from the fifth in Gb to the fourth on Db back ... well, you know what I mean.  As for pedalling, looking back at the music, I remember using light pedalling -- not exactly half-pedalling, but being very careful to clear the damper at every "jump" in the LH.  
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.
For more information about this topic, click search below!
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert