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Author Topic: Amédée Mereaux - 60 Etudes Op.63 FINALLY!  (Read 372 times)
cimirro
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« on: October 31, 2017, 11:03:31 PM »

Dear All,
I just want to share with you this news concerning the request made via "Youchoose Music Project".

My recording of the premiere complete set of Mereaux Etudes Op.63 will be published next year by Acte Prealable in 3 CDs, thanks to the request/sponsorship by Kenneth Derus.

Here is a small article about my experience in studying for this recordings:
http://opusdissonus.com.br/mereaux.htm

And here the first example of the CD 1:


Next weeks I shall add more tracks to youtube, so if you like this please remember to subscribe to my youtube channel.

So finally the "SuperCzerny", as he was once mentioned by a friend here  Grin,  is going to receive a deserved place in musical market and in musical history.
The pieces sounds far better than anyone may expect, and are as much musical as any Chopin's Etude.

Hope to hear from you all...

All the best
Artur Cimirro
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klavieronin
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2017, 02:05:15 AM »

Wow, that is a pretty mammoth project. Really looking forward to hearing more.
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cimirro
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2017, 08:00:22 PM »

Wow, that is a pretty mammoth project. Really looking forward to hearing more.
Indeed, if you look what is on my piano, you will notice a flock of mammoths waiting for the next months  Grin
Concerning Mereaux, the idea is uploading 6 tracks during the next months.
Thank you for the interest!

Best
Artur
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beethovenfan01
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2017, 12:07:20 AM »

Just curious ... when people say that Gaspard de la Nuit and Rach 3 are the hardest pieces ever written, do they imply that they are more difficult that THESE?
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cimirro
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2017, 12:50:15 AM »

Just curious ... when people say that Gaspard de la Nuit and Rach 3 are the hardest pieces ever written, do they imply that they are more difficult that THESE?

Anyone who claims Rach 3 or Gaspard de la Nuit are the hardest pieces ever written clearly has no deep experience/knowledge with piano repertoire. (a normal thing in Internet these days)

(Actually no concert for piano & orchestra impress me as much as some solo works, no matter how much notes are in the score. But Busoni's Op.39 is several light-years beyond Rach 3, as one example)

Gaspard de la Nuit is one of the most difficult "standard repertoire" pieces, no doubts, but there are hundreds of far more difficult pieces than this when it comes to technical demanding and musical requirements.

Mereaux 60 etudes are terrible, anyway still as much musical as Chopin's Op.10 & Op.25.

Best
Artur
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beethovenfan01
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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2017, 06:03:24 AM »

Quote
Anyone who claims Rach 3 or Gaspard de la Nuit are the hardest pieces ever written clearly has no deep experience/knowledge with piano repertoire. (a normal thing in Internet these days)
LOL that's totally me, I definitely need to do more deep exploring of these obscure, borderline-impossible pieces. Curious, though--do these peak your interest because you already play most of the standard repertoire, or because the standard repertoire just doesn't have much appeal to you?
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Auditioning to U of O school of music:
Bach WTC Bk 1 No. 10
Beethoven Op. 81a (I.)
Rachmaninoff Op. 32 No. 10
Future:
Liszt Wilde Jagd, Dante, HR 6
Chopin Ballade 3
Beethoven Op. 57
Prokofiev
toughbo
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2017, 11:53:10 AM »

Hope you also add videos of you playing, might be interesting to see how you solve technical problems.
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ahinton
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2017, 12:08:26 PM »

Anyone who claims Rach 3 or Gaspard de la Nuit are the hardest pieces ever written clearly has no deep experience/knowledge with piano repertoire. (a normal thing in Internet these days)
That's absolutely correct. Leaving aside the fact that difficulties of all kinds are in the fingers of the beholder and that they will accordingly vary from pianist to pianist, the toughest of Alkan's works give both of these works quite a run for their money in terms of the challenges that they present (and has anyone here ever noticed the remarkable coincidence between a part of the cadenza-like passage in the massive almost half hour long G# minor étude from his Op. 39 and the opening of Scarbo?! - indeed, I wonder to what extent it is mere coincidence!) and when, one considers some of Finnissy's and most of Sorabji's piano music, one faces different kinds and levels of difficulty altogether.

(Actually no concert for piano & orchestra impress me as much as some solo works, no matter how much notes are in the score.
I can't agree with you there, except to the extent that, in the cases of Chopin, Liszt, Alkan, Brahms and Busoni, for example, there's a lot more material for piano solo than concertos.

But Busoni's Op.39 is several light-years beyond Rach 3, as one example)
In terms of difficulty, I would agree that it's greater than Rachmaninoff's 3rd concerto (and in view of its considerably greater duration it requires more stamina than that work) but I'm not quite so sure about "light-years"! Both are wonderful concertos, though; I would have loved to hear each playing the other's concerto but that was sadly never to be, of course!

Gaspard de la Nuit is one of the most difficult "standard repertoire" pieces, no doubts, but there are hundreds of far more difficult pieces than this when it comes to technical demanding and musical requirements.
Indeed so, in both cases.

Mereaux 60 etudes are terrible, anyway still as much musical as Chopin's Op.10 & Op.25.
In this I can only partially agree with you. The Méreaux are for the most part immensely difficult, some more so even that Alkan's, but it is their absence of musical substance and an unsettling and unwelcome sense of creating difficulties for the sake of so doing that disappoints me; that's only an opinion, of course, but it's one that seems to be shared by most people whom I've encountered who have listened to and studied at least some of the Méreaux works. It's a pity that so little appears to be known about Méreaux because, more than almost anything else, I would love to know what Chopin, Liszt and Alkan (all of whom must surely either have known him or known about some of his work) thought of him. I really cannot perceive anything by Méreaux that I've read through or listened to as having anything like the sheer musical power of Chopin's Opp. 10 & 25 whereas, for example, Liszt's Transcendental Studies and Alkan's Études, whilst very different to Chopin's, are worthy of comparison with them.

Best,

Alistair
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cimirro
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2017, 05:39:46 PM »

Hope you also add videos of you playing, might be interesting to see how you solve technical problems.

Dear toughbo,
Yes, there will be a video, thanks to some events happened yesterday, but it will not be Mereaux as expected. But it seems it will be more than the necessary "prove" to all the people who wants to believe I'm "real". Nothing to be disappointed at all. I just need to wait some days in order to use a decent piano since at home I have a semi-dead upright used only for my daily study and I have no plans of filming myself in this instrument at any point. Also I'll need use a smartphone by someone, I don't have cameras nor I use cellphones myself.
Concerning the way of solving technical problems, I'm piano teacher, so anyone interested can find me for a class or two. Wink

LOL that's totally me, I definitely need to do more deep exploring of these obscure, borderline-impossible pieces. Curious, though--do these peak your interest because you already play most of the standard repertoire, or because the standard repertoire just doesn't have much appeal to you?

Dear beethovenfan01,
As you can check in the video of my "documentary" (2013) on youtube, I mention that I started too late for being a standard pianist, and my decision was to make a "retrograde inversion" of my selection of repertoire. I mean, I had to select the "most difficult" standard repertoire in order to, once I "finish" them, be able to play any other repertoire.
So these "lists of most difficult piano music" where the first things I played in life. I still play by heart Gaspard, Petrushka, Don juan, Norma, Chant de la mer, etc...

Anyway, not only difficult music is in my repertoire (as you can see in my recorded CDs there is Michalowski which is a kind of "Chopin" of late romanticism which hardly is known), I'm open to play any work by more than 300 composers which I love and I'm always trying to find new names. That doesn't mean I do not like the famous/favorites ones, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, I love them and I'm happy to play any of them when I have a chance/request.

Personally I just don't think we need one more CD with Chopin etudes if the idea is to repeat the same mistakes made by other pianists.
Anyway, you can check some of my views in my 2 master-classes (about Beethoven Op.13 and about Liszt Sonata) http://opusdissonus.com.br/masterclasses/index.htm  (just click their photos to access the site with the mp3 of each class).
These are part of a "standard repertoire", anyway there you will notice my views on music are related to my book "Scientific System of Interpretation or Musical Hermeneutics" and this makes my interpretation far different from what often you will hear in the most famous players and there (in the audios) I explain why I do so (as I also do in the book).


Finnissy's and most of Sorabji's piano music, one faces different kinds and levels of difficulty altogether.

Indeed a lot of Sorabji works requires much more technical elements than any other repertoire and this is why for more than 10 years I'm studying his music.

On the other hand, put Finnissy in the same level is absurd to my experience as pianist and composer.
I spent/waste some time in the past studying his "English Country Tunes" and "Song 9", and I was very disappointed by the "challenges" which are mostly related to visual effects than to selection of notes to be played. Actually there are huge differences between two interpretations of the same work as anyone able to read/play scores can check, also, there are several wrong timings in the score, expected beats without the "missing" notes/rests, so clearly more a result of a "will of impress others" than a result of a deep compositional process (which is what I see in Sorabji's music for example.)
So I can not take too seriously Finnissy music after studying this as a professional myself.


I can't agree with you there, except to the extent that, in the cases of Chopin, Liszt, Alkan, Brahms and Busoni, for example, there's a lot more material for piano solo than concertos.
Maybe I had not explained my view correctly.
I mean that, even if I really enjoy Brahms Concerto No.2 (or any of the mentioned),  I can't compare this in "technical challenges" to several solo piano pieces, so "Concerti" from standard repertoire are not between the "most difficult technical demanding pieces" for piano literatur, this is only valid for the people who do not know too much piano solo repertoire to compare.
Despite of the different kind of technical requests, no famous concerto for piano and orchestra will ask you to have all the technique you need for a long Sorabji Sonata or Symphony.

In terms of difficulty, I would agree that it's greater than Rachmaninoff's 3rd concerto (and in view of its considerably greater duration it requires more stamina than that work) but I'm not quite so sure about "light-years"! Both are wonderful concertos, though; I would have loved to hear each playing the other's concerto but that was sadly never to be, of course!
I'm not speaking about how wonderful they are, I like both.
Anyway It is necessary an analytical view as someone who will try to check what demands more practicing. And if we select the most difficult parts of both, you will notice why I mention "light-years". Technical elements are much more present in Busoni despite of being a extremely musical piece (and probably my favorite concerto)
Today any persevering trained monkey can play Rach 3, I have heard several inexpressive pianists playing this.
And despite of Busoni concerto being bigger, I can't imagine the result of the same trained monkeys playing Busoni - there are limits for the "fallacious-rubatos of standard playing" no matter how much "rubinsteinesque" you can be for public.

In this I can only partially agree with you. The Méreaux are for the most part immensely difficult, some more so even that Alkan's, but it is their absence of musical substance and an unsettling and unwelcome sense of creating difficulties for the sake of so doing that disappoints me; that's only an opinion, of course, but it's one that seems to be shared by most people whom I've encountered who have listened to and studied at least some of the Méreaux works.
The "absence of musical substance" sounds to me as result of a superficial view on some pages of the score.
I have been studying all of them and I can't understand for example:
-Why Schumann Toccata Op.7 (or Czerny Op.92 - as the great Raphael Joseffy would easily agree) is "musical" and Mereaux Op.63 No.20 is not?
-Why Chopin Op.10 No.1 (or even his Prelude Op.28 No.1) is musical and Mereaux Op.63 No.8 is not?
-Why Chopin Op.28 No.12 is musical and Mereaux Etude Op.63 No.38 is not?
-Why Mereaux Op.63 No.24 is futile and Liszt and Alkan UNNECESSARY crossing hands in several pieces/transcriptions are great?
-Why Glass, Pärt or even Feldman are musical and Mereaux not??? Let's be serious about compositional process...
(Mereaux Op.63 No.5 is as much musical as any minimalist work - all you need is to be expressive, this is not a "Hanon" exercice.)

There is no theory book or compositional class that can explain this, other than the result of "I don't like it" or "Mr.Nobody said that" which are statements related to someone's taste - and taste is enemy of art.
Mereaux harmonic progressions and developments of the composition are easily found in Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Liszt, and even Alkan. Any composer/student can check this.

At no point I think Chopin, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Alkan are not great - of course they are. But the result of this nonsense of labeling Mereaux music as "unmusical" is more related to the natural lack of interest in new repertoire and/or the laziness of people who already do not need prove anything to be called "genius of the piano". (or even a similar case to "The fox and the grapes")
Similar things happens to Sorabji, how many people listen to a recording (which not necessarily is a good recording) by Sorabji music and say "there is no music there!". Are they right using this superficial view? I do not agree with this in any sense.

(In my opinion, since he was the responsible for making the most famous statement about Mereaux, no doubts Hamelin is a poet while with the mouth shut - after studying the score I can't believe he really payed any attention to these scores)

It's a pity that so little appears to be known about Méreaux because, more than almost anything else, I would love to know what Chopin, Liszt and Alkan (all of whom must surely either have known him or known about some of his work) thought of him. I really cannot perceive anything by Méreaux that I've read through or listened to as having anything like the sheer musical power of Chopin's Opp. 10 & 25 whereas, for example, Liszt's Transcendental Studies and Alkan's Études, whilst very different to Chopin's, are worthy of comparison with them.

Best,

Alistair

On the other hand, being very interested in history as I am, I always notice that the fact of knowing today what Chopin, Liszt, Alkan, Mendelssohn, Schumann, or any other famous composer thinks about another composer can't be used as a "ruler" since the envy and jealous between some of them always proved their taste and friendship often speaks louder than their artistic views when speaking about some of their contemporaries.
So, of course, it is always nice to listen someone who was praised by Liszt, anyway that doesn't mean that something Liszt would dislike was necessarily something not good.

Also, I do not see any "sheer musical power" in Chopin's Op.10 and Op.25 that I can't find in Mereaux, Doehler, Sowinski, Thalberg, Wieniawski, and several others. Again Chopin is far more famous, and it is easy to be a trained monkey in Chopin music when you are in a world where every famous pianist make a recording of the complete Chopin etudes but never played any other big set of etudes.
Of course, my words will have a better acceptance when I arrive at 60/70/80 years, anyway, for the "connoisseurs". a video will be of great help quite soon.

All the best
Artur Cimirro
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2017, 02:41:15 AM »

This is very interesting news!

Whilst I have reservations about the quality of these pieces, it is certainly the case that forming an opinion on them on the basis of some midis is harsh. Likewise, I listened to some of the Katsaris recordings and in truth I don't think his performance of no.44 is very good: it seems heavy-handed and missing in innocent naivete.

I'm not going to write an essay on the issues surrounding artistic judgment and taste in art, not least because it's late at night! - but I will say that if we are to dismiss pieces as "negligible" or other such synonyms, we should also be able to make an attempt at rationalising that judgment. Having had a look at a few of the etudes today, I am inclined to feel that there is a certain over-regularity in the writing, and that I'm inclined to wonder if the defining feature of some of the etudes is the specific figuration being addressed, rather than the musical content; whereas I feel that Liszt, for example, generally but not always worked the other way round. On the other hand, I think it is also unwise to start from the perspective of Liszt and Chopin etudes and make a comparison on that basis. I don't think the style is particularly related to begin with; if anything I think there is more in common with Alkan, and in fact there was one etude where I thought he wasn't far from cloning Alkan's op 35 no 6. I'm going to reserve further judgment until I hear a more final and complete set of recordings. In any case, this project is evidently a remarkable achievement.
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cimirro
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2017, 05:47:01 AM »


and in fact there was one etude where I thought he wasn't far from cloning Alkan's op 35 no 6.
Dear Ronde,
Thank you for your comments as always!

Concerning what you mention in the quoted line, I can assure you there is no cloning there
if we call the use of similar writing a "cloning", then I'm afraid we also have several clonings made by Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, etc on works by Moscheles, Hummel, Steibelt, Eberl, Cramer, just to name a few.
and even Bach cloned then...? Sounds not right. Notes and harmony must be the real "view" for such observation.

Giving two examples (of hundreds) to explain what I mean:
- Chopin's Prelude Op.28 No.14 (or 2nd Sonata ending) would be a clone by Steibelt's etude Op.78 No.13
- Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu would be a clone of Moscheles Impromptu
Of course, both works (in both cases) are great in my opinion, and Chopin is not "less inspired" because of this.
And the notes are not the same, nor the harmony is, so no cloning, but an "inspiration" is very possible,
Rach 3 was inspired by Rubinstein's 4th - and this explains also why the dedicatee of Rach 3 is Hofmann, who several times played Rubinstein's 4th!

Concerning Mereaux, all I want is the people to pay some attention to the recordings when they become available, and see what kind of music is there.
Midis doesn't make justice to these works nor did Katsaris.

Soon I shall post more tracks.

Best
Artur
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2017, 09:29:20 PM »

For a long time I was convinced that you were fake, for the same reason I wouldn't believe someone who said they saw a flying pig. Now I'm starting to see that you are real, and I am struggling to comprehend how it's possible. How can someone who hasn't even seriously studying for a long time have such a huge repertoire of pieces that even the top pros can't play? It just makes no sense.

I can move my hands with plenty of speed and stamina. I can solve technical problems too, but I really have to work for it. Even if I know the notes, know the fingerings, and have found a pattern of hand movement that doesn't produce tension, my fingers still slip! I might have to repeat a small tricky passage hundreds or thousands of times before they stop slipping, so learning a big piece is a major time investment for me. Of course, I can't keep a big repertoire, because if I don't run through a piece at least once every few days it's gone. Why is it that some people don't have to go through that? Does anyone have any ideas?
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cimirro
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2017, 11:50:19 PM »

For a long time I was convinced that you were fake, for the same reason I wouldn't believe someone who said they saw a flying pig. Now I'm starting to see that you are real, and I am struggling to comprehend how it's possible. How can someone who hasn't even seriously studying for a long time have such a huge repertoire of pieces that even the top pros can't play? It just makes no sense.

I can move my hands with plenty of speed and stamina. I can solve technical problems too, but I really have to work for it. Even if I know the notes, know the fingerings, and have found a pattern of hand movement that doesn't produce tension, my fingers still slip! I might have to repeat a small tricky passage hundreds or thousands of times before they stop slipping, so learning a big piece is a major time investment for me. Of course, I can't keep a big repertoire, because if I don't run through a piece at least once every few days it's gone. Why is it that some people don't have to go through that? Does anyone have any ideas?
Thanks for your words.

I believe you are just missing one point.
Indeed I started late, my first contact with a piano was around 14 years old, and I'm "seriously" playing since 20/21 yo - but since I started I never stopped - and I'm 35 now. So it is not a "non working basis" that makes my results happen, you can be sure of this.

(Of course people are different, some things are quite easy to some and quite difficult to others. I can't learn too much from chemistry classes, but dealing with music is my daily life)

I always try to deal with the "final musical idea", no matter how I need to move my hand.
Of course I know several people love to spend time practicing hand movements, etc. To me it is not useful, I prefer "feeling it" more than "understanding it".

My standard practice is:
First - still on the musical score - I try to catch my own idea of how the music will sound (this is where starts my Scientific System of Interpretation - the idea of the book I wrote) Then I use several ways to get into it doing the sound I'm expecting to do always starting slowly, veeeeery slowly, much more slowly than what people often do.
And curiously with 3 or 4 repetitions in this "extremely slowly way" I'm ready to play that part as I wish (or quite near to it if the music is too difficult)

Then, of course, there are the repetitions - I think my "method of inversion" of repertoire (starting with very difficult stuff) has given me a better "view" on how to deal with technical elements in order to make music with this.

So, I don't think there are any "miracles" around it - everything is a result of years of experience.
There is no big mystery, all you need to do is mixing the best results you can get for your hands (and for your music) from the different ways of practicing.

BTW, I'm not a flying pig... Wink  Grin

Best
Artur
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