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Topic: The Mozart touch  (Read 1948 times)

Offline Dikai

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The Mozart touch
on: January 27, 2005, 01:31:05 AM
Hmm... After going through all the technically challenging pieces by liszt and rachmaninoff, when I go back to Mozart, I found I'm stuck...  it's not the greatest feeling of all.  I sound so stupid.
great pianists have two ways to play it (as far as the pedalling is concerned)
1. as little padel as possible
2. lots of surface, well controlled pedalling
for me... without any pedals, the notes sound too dry
with some pedalling, no matter how frequenently i change (i usually constantly shake my foot to constantly get rid of the extra sound, still not working...
i truly think that a great pianist is one who can master mozart on top of all the other difficult pieces...
any suggestions how i can go about improving my "touch" for mozart??
even a simple sonata can seem rather difficult...

Offline brsmpianist

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Re: The Mozart touch
Reply #1 on: January 27, 2005, 04:26:14 AM
Yes I think your absolutely correct... some people underestimate Mozart because its not as "technically demanding" as say Liszt or Rach, but in actuality its just as hard to play.  (In my past audition, I had Bach, Mozart, Liszt, Chopin, Debussy, Rach but in the end the Mozart was the hardest!!! )  People tell me I have an excellent Mozartian touch and I think its because Ive played it alot more than any other rep... so for starters i think you should play a lot more classical music.  When I practice Mozart, I start slowly in small sections, with the metronome using staccato.  I never use the pedal until its almost a finished product... with Mozart the scales and arp. have to be so even and pearly!  Its not quite a detached sound like Bach but it is a surfacy, but clear sound.  Playing Mozart musically I think is the most important though... really go through the music and put in all the musical details you might use (eg even in the simple melody passages with quarter notes in the rh and a simple accomp. in the lh, playing more less more more most ...)  the dynamics should be deliberate, each note has to have something special, but not in an overly "flashy" way like you would do in Liszt...
This is for starters, I guess, I dont know how well ive articulated myself but I hope this helps somewhat... also, listen to some recordings to get more of a feel for Mozart... Mitsuko Ichida is really good, as is Brendel, Rubenstein, DeLarrocha, etc.

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: The Mozart touch
Reply #2 on: January 27, 2005, 05:05:46 PM
Yes it is!  It has to be clean, so like Bach, as little pedal as possible.  Myteacher has me learning the K576 with NO pedal at all, and at the end she'll have me add only a couple of touches.  Should be "almost" pedalless.  She claims that if you say I'll only use a little pedal, you are guaranteed to use too much, just through habit.
So much music, so little time........

Offline whynot

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Re: The Mozart touch
Reply #3 on: January 28, 2005, 02:09:42 AM
I think the best thing Mozart did was opera (by a wide margin, although I do love almost everything he did anyway).  Most of the sonatas seem fairly operatic to me, so I try to organize them that way in my mind with instruments and characters etc.  Not every moment, as I would get distracted, but enough to block out the overall piece as different events.  Actually, in the 4/4 allegro movements, which I think are the most susceptible to sounding like etudes (ugh), the first thing I do is decide which parts to think of in 4/4 and which in 2/2.  This makes a big change in character right away.  All this sounds like I'm avoiding the pedal issue, but when I do these other things, the pedal plays itself because I know the sound I'm trying to make at any given moment.  I do pedal almost every note, but it doesn't sound pedalled.  I check my recordings diligently for this because where I live is a no-pedal zone for Bach and Mozart, with people ready to criticize my feet before I've even played anything.  So I have to make sure I'm really doing just enough to open up the harmonics of the instrument but not long enough to sustain notes.  I got belted with heavy criticism once by someone before a concert who was aghast that I pedalled Mozart (he saw my feet while I was practicing).  In the concert, he heard me from the wings but couldn't see me.  He came up to me afterwards and said he was SO glad that he had convinced me not to pedal, and how beautiful it sounded, how stylish, how this and that.  Well, I had just played and pedalled the way I always do.  He became apoplectic when I told him that.  He said, "But I couldn't hear it!"  I said, "Yeah, that was the point!"  About touch specifically, if I think about my fingers too much and the physical aspects of touch, I find I just don't sound very good.  I have to think about big color changes, ritornellos (ritornelli?) and articulation.   If I'm really clear in my own mind about the overall sounds I'm trying to make, they usually come out.  I play a lot of Mozart and I agree with everyone who says it's the hardest thing to play well.  Except Bach, I guess, which I also play a lot of.  Why do I do that?


Offline jlh

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Re: The Mozart touch
Reply #4 on: January 28, 2005, 06:08:28 AM
with some pedalling, no matter how frequenently i change (i usually constantly shake my foot to constantly get rid of the extra sound, still not working...

What piano do you practice on?  It could be that the pedal mechanism is not as clean or responsive as it could be.

My Mozart experience is not incredibly extensive, but I've done enough to appreciate the use of little or no pedal.  Be sure that if you must use pedal, that you only press it down minimally.  Find the point at which the dampers START to come off the strings, and never press it further than that.
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