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Topic: How should I interpret Chopin/Liszt for my college auditions  (Read 579 times)

Offline the_franzliszt

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Hi. I'm currently going to college next summer and have some pieces that I have perfected, but I interpret a couple of them differently than how some others may play them. I already have gotten called out on solo and ensemble before for playing the piece differently. But how did Glenn Gould get into the Royal Conservatory of Music playing how he did? Should the audition people mark me down because of their own interpretation?
Would love to hear what you all think.
Frédéric Chopin:
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Franz Liszt:
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Offline lelle

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Re: How should I interpret Chopin/Liszt for my college auditions
Reply #1 on: November 27, 2023, 12:13:36 AM
Tricky question to answer.

I believe a jury would expect you to be able to follow what the score says and make a convincing interpretation based on that. If your interpretation is eccentric/deviates from the score in significant ways I don't think it'll be a plus for you. The audition tests your craft as a musician, and part of that is being able to read the score and interpret based on what the composer asked for and what is generally known about the style. That doesn't mean you have to be an anonymous robot, there is still plenty of room to imprint your personality and authentic emotion in your playing within the confines of the score and the style.

I don't think Glenn Gould playing was the extreme version of the eccentric Glenn Gould we know of today when he auditioned. He had a teacher who coached him like everyone else.

Outside of auditions I would encourage anyone who wants to to test the artisitc limits and explore things in whatever way they want to. But for an audition I would focus on choosing a strategy that's good for an audition.

Offline pianistavt

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Re: How should I interpret Chopin/Liszt for my college auditions
Reply #2 on: November 28, 2023, 02:02:37 PM
Hi. I'm currently going to college next summer and have some pieces that I have perfected, but I interpret a couple of them differently than how some others may play them. I already have gotten called out on solo and ensemble before for playing the piece differently.
Would love to hear what you all think.

In general, new innovative interpretations should be appreciated.  I think you should post one of your interpretations here.  This crowd will not be as conservative as a panel of auditioners and you can get a variety of opinions.

Glenn Gould "interpreted" Mozart Sonata in A k.331 with all movements at the same tempo, on a recording for Columbia.  He wasn't introducing a new thoughtful reading, he was being reactionary/incalcitrant because he resented being obliged to record something he didn't want to...

Ivo Pogorelich gave new, unconventional yet brilliant interpretations at the 1980 Chopin Competition - but disqualified before the final round.  Martha Argerich vacated her seat on the judges panel in protest.  Now we look back at those recordings in admiration.

We need to hear you to know where you're coming from in your interpretations...



Offline the_franzliszt

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Re: How should I interpret Chopin/Liszt for my college auditions
Reply #3 on: November 28, 2023, 03:13:52 PM
Thank you for the responses, they really help a lot. I don't interpret them as how Glenn Gould would, but I would add slight ritardando that isn't written in, dynamic changes, and very slight speed changes.

Offline lelle

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Re: How should I interpret Chopin/Liszt for my college auditions
Reply #4 on: November 30, 2023, 06:39:43 PM
Thank you for the responses, they really help a lot. I don't interpret them as how Glenn Gould would, but I would add slight ritardando that isn't written in, dynamic changes, and very slight speed changes.

I mean, slight ritardandos and speed changes are allowed in the style if it's done naturally (rubato) and/or can be justified from the score. Like if there is a cadence at the end of a long section you might slow down a little even if it isn't explicitly written in the score. It really depends if it's done tastefully and in a way that can be justified by the score/style.

Dynamic changes I'd be more careful about. Can you write down what arguments/justifications/logic you'd provide for the changes you have made if someone asks?

Offline the_franzliszt

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Re: How should I interpret Chopin/Liszt for my college auditions
Reply #5 on: December 05, 2023, 05:44:44 PM
Yeah, I would be able to justify the changes I would make, but it's where dynamics aren't necessarily written in, and I wanted to shape the music instead of keeping the same dynamics that it has been on before.

Offline pianopro181

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Re: How should I interpret Chopin/Liszt for my college auditions
Reply #6 on: February 15, 2024, 11:59:13 AM
Hi. I'm currently going to college next summer and have some pieces that I have perfected, but I interpret a couple of them differently than how some others may play them. I already have gotten called out on solo and ensemble before for playing the piece differently. But how did Glenn Gould get into the Royal Conservatory of Music playing how he did? Should the audition people mark me down because of their own interpretation?
Would love to hear what you all think.

Yeah unfortunately college auditions/exams don’t appreciate deviations. I would suggest doing what you do interpretively so long as it doesn’t deviate significantly from the score in terms of metre/dynamics etc. at least certainly not for anything exam related. Exam panels are often very unfair on particularly anons playing like that even if is fantastic playing.

Offline jaquet

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Re: How should I interpret Chopin/Liszt for my college auditions
Reply #7 on: March 01, 2024, 04:54:05 PM
im in a similar situation. I dont plan to stick to such conventional intpretation. (of course you must still follow the notes and rythms). Why do you think that horowitz, glenn gould, stansislav neuhaus are so popular? Because they are unique! To play music, one has to be an artist and in the same way a landscape could be intpreted completely by various artists; us pianists will and have to intepret things differently (to be frank its in our surroundings and development why we play differently). I am playing the first ballade by chopin for a musical six form audition (something like highschool for americans), and i dont plan to play it normally because simply put, that would be boring!

Offline brogers70

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Re: How should I interpret Chopin/Liszt for my college auditions
Reply #8 on: March 01, 2024, 06:15:42 PM
Hi. I'm currently going to college next summer and have some pieces that I have perfected, but I interpret a couple of them differently than how some others may play them. I already have gotten called out on solo and ensemble before for playing the piece differently. But how did Glenn Gould get into the Royal Conservatory of Music playing how he did? Should the audition people mark me down because of their own interpretation?
Would love to hear what you all think.

I'd say that the question of what the audition people should do is not really in your control. They have their criteria, and that's their business. Their criteria likely reflect what the school will be like. You like what you like, just like they like what they like. The audition is one way to see if that's a good match. If it's burdensome and unpleasant for you to do what you consider to be a conventional interpretation for your audition, then think about how you'll like doing that all throughout your education. I would say the best way to find a place you'll be happy is to audition the same way you would like to play. The downside is that if the way you like to play is "out there" enough, you may not find a school that is a good fit.

It would also be totally reasonable to just approach it as learning a craft - ie the craft of playing traditionally, and then, after you finish the education, go out and use the skills you learned to do your own thing. That would require a certain amount of patience and self-control, doing things their way rather than yours, for a few years - that's not a cop-out, either, and could be a good strategy.

Offline ranjit

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Re: How should I interpret Chopin/Liszt for my college auditions
Reply #9 on: March 01, 2024, 09:41:38 PM
im in a similar situation. I dont plan to stick to such conventional intpretation. (of course you must still follow the notes and rythms). Why do you think that horowitz, glenn gould, stansislav neuhaus are so popular? Because they are unique! To play music, one has to be an artist and in the same way a landscape could be intpreted completely by various artists; us pianists will and have to intepret things differently (to be frank its in our surroundings and development why we play differently). I am playing the first ballade by chopin for a musical six form audition (something like highschool for americans), and i dont plan to play it normally because simply put, that would be boring!
To be honest, I think that if you played like Horowitz or Glenn Gould or Neuhaus, it would be considered fine for an audition. They observed the score astutely in most cases, and modern professors' ears may be attuned to the sound as well. I think many people who think they have an interesting unique interpretation don't really. That said, if you really do have a unique interpretation which works, it can be a dangerous proposition.
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