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Performance issues (Read 1299 times)

Offline nitnav13

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Performance issues
« on: April 04, 2020, 03:10:04 PM »
In relation to Nocturne in F minor Op55 no. 1 by F Chopin, the question I am trying to find out is ‘what is the performance issue in interpreting music from this era?’ Since this is romantic era music, I would like to know what does this question asking to address? How to answer this question? What aspects of this piece needs to be addressed? Please help. Thank you.

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Chopin: Nocturne, opus 55 no 1
piano sheet music of Nocturne


Offline mrcreosote

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Re: Performance issues
«Reply #1 on: April 13, 2020, 07:10:18 AM »
Wow, if you are attempting a period correct rendition, is this for a competition?

If not, let your heart guide you - not what historians and critics conclude.  What experiences does the music resonant with?  If you use these experiences to fuel your interpretation, yours will be unique and people will want to listen to it.


Offline lowk-_-y

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Re: Performance issues
«Reply #2 on: August 06, 2020, 03:13:33 AM »
Of course I agree with Mrcreosote, creating an interpretation that resonates with you is the most important thing, but to answer your question, I think there are two major questions to ask, especially concerning the nocturnes of Chopin.

First, is the tempo. Many pianists play these nocturnes under tempo to get a melancholic or wistful (depending on the nocturne) atmosphere, which is effective but perhaps isn't the way Chopin conceived the pieces. Unfortunately, the nocturne you want to play is missing a metronome marking but even if we say Andante at it's slowest is 76 bpm, you will definitely find recordings which play much slower.

The second question could be seen as a sub-category of tempo: rubato.
If we examine the Liszt quote: “the wind plays in the leaves, stirs up life among them, the tree remains the same, that is Chopinesque rubato,” and try to apply this rule to modern recordings, it would be quite rare to find one that follows this. Its common nowadays for the Lh (the tree in Liszt's analogy) to fly away together with the Rh (the leaves) in a glorious accel, or an exaggerated rall.

It might be worth listening to pianists of older generations, Rachmaninoff for example left quite a few recordings of playing Chopin and although his 'tree' isn't totally robust, his 'leaves' are clearly and truly free, a much more natural rubato than is present in modern recordings.

This freedom fits quite nicely with a quote from Chopin himself: "A piece lasts for, say, five minutes, only in that it occupies this time for its overall performance; internal details are another matter. And there you have rubato."


In Rachmaninoff's playing you will hear many aspects that are possibly informative, things like excessive rolling of chords, hands purposely playing out of time with each other amongst many others.

These are just some things I imagine would be asked, if one were to ask about romantic era performance practice. Just theories though.

Also I hope it's not for a competition...I think you would get butchered if you played this way.