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Topic: Writing Cadenzas  (Read 2148 times)

Offline SDL

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Writing Cadenzas
on: March 31, 2005, 11:23:55 AM
Ive written my own compositions in the past, but Ive not written cadenzas.  Im also able to improvise but I never remember what I did to write it down and there are so many notes that in the moment I dont stop otherwise its gone from the flow! 

Anyway I want to direct 2 questions at a specific piece. - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody 2.  Now I presume when Rachmaninov, Volodos and Horrowitz wrote their own they included fragments of thematic material from the main core of the work. 

1) Has anyone tried writing their own and what criteria did you include so that you dont just write any old sets of flashy notes that aren't stylistic?

2) Does anyone have or know where I can get hold of Rachmaninov, Horrowitzs, Volodos cadenza to HR2?

3) How do musicians react to unknown pianists writing their own cadenzas?  For example would you do it in a competition?

Thanks
"Never argue with idiots - first they drag you down to their level, then they beat you with experience."

Offline brewtality

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #1 on: March 31, 2005, 11:54:28 AM
huh? Volodos plays Horowitz's version of HR2. Hamelin's cadenza is better than Rachmaninoff's imo.

Offline Radix

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #2 on: March 31, 2005, 03:36:34 PM
I wrote a cadenza for Beethoven's first concerto.  My only advice would be to do it away from the piano, if you can.  I did most of it just sitting on the couch watching TV or something.

Offline shasta

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #3 on: March 31, 2005, 04:02:57 PM
Anyway I want to direct 2 questions at a specific piece. - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody 2. 

1) Has anyone tried writing their own and what criteria did you include so that you dont just write any old sets of flashy notes that aren't stylistic?

I did my own cadenza for the HR2.  It pieced its way together in my head during my drives to/from work, born from me singing along with a recording of it in my car, harmonizing and hamming it up, humming counter-melodies and other oddities along with it.

If you're looking for ideas, try Godowsky --- he twisted and mirror-imaged the Chopin etudes so beautifully.  Inverted LH patterns, inverted RH patterns, hands inverted, waltz, mazurka, polonaise... 

Rach did similar things when creating his Paganini Variations --- the 14th and 15th variations are inversions of the main theme, with the famous 18th variation an advancement of the inversion.  One can do similar things with themes from the HR2.  The HR2 gives you so much to work with, given its structure and assortment of lines. 

I liked my HR2 cadenza, although I haven't played it in 10+yrs.  I never wrote it down, though, so I'd probably have to come up with something new now.  I also had a "special" cadenza that I'd use for my non-classical music friends/family which slowly morphed into "Chopsticks" and other gag-me novelty pieces (kept in the style of Liszt, of course) that would crack them up and make Liszt roll in his grave.   8)
"self is self"   - i_m_robot

Offline SteinwayTony

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #4 on: March 31, 2005, 05:33:35 PM
I did most of it just sitting on the couch watching TV or something.

Oh, I think that's how Beethoven did it, too.  ::)

Offline pseudopianist

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #5 on: March 31, 2005, 08:31:55 PM


Oh, I think that's how Beethoven did it, too.  ::)

No he couldn't have because there were no tv's back then.

DUH!
Whisky and Messiaen

Offline thierry13

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #6 on: April 01, 2005, 01:29:36 AM


No he couldn't have because there were no tv's back then.

DUH!

Are you serious there? Steinwaytony's post was sarcasm...

Offline lfischer

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #7 on: April 01, 2005, 01:40:07 AM
i've had just the same problem with trying to write down improvisations. however there is a ver easy way to overcome that problem. just record yourself improvising! that way you can very easily transcribe later at leisure. i've once or twice used an electronic keyboard plugged into a computer. Then you can play, and the computer writes out the score. however its not very good at putting it onto two staves as it doesnt know which notes are for left hand and which are for right. also its got super accuate timings for notes...

Offline SDL

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #8 on: April 01, 2005, 08:21:10 AM
Thanks for the tips Shasta.  Im not good at writing away from the piano though.  Did you extend Liszt's cadenza or did you start from scratch?

Ive been having an urge to compose again after 10yrs+.  I think my Composition teacher put me off composing all together since he was obsessed that everything had to be atonal to be modern!  My string 4tet was played by a professional 4tet who gave good feedback but Ive thrown most of my stuff in the bin  :-\.  My first piece was a piano piece written at school in 1/2 morning for a mini play that afternoon Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" and that got good response also.  Has anyone else been put off/disolusioned developing their compositional skills?  I dont plan on being a composer since Ive always been more interested in performance.  But I dont think "composers" these days  (generally) can play piano that well to right decent stuff.... apart from pianist/composers (hamelin,volodos etc). 
"Never argue with idiots - first they drag you down to their level, then they beat you with experience."

Offline pseudopianist

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #9 on: April 01, 2005, 11:34:51 AM


Are you serious there? Steinwaytony's post was sarcasm...

I'm pretty sure mine was too.  ;)
Whisky and Messiaen

Offline shasta

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #10 on: April 01, 2005, 12:42:38 PM
Thanks for the tips Shasta.  Im not good at writing away from the piano though.  Did you extend Liszt's cadenza or did you start from scratch?

I started from scratch.

You don't have to "write away from the piano" though.  If you are familiar with the HR2, put a recording of it on and sing along to it.  Harmonize, sing some of Liszt's other HR2 mini-themes during other parts, add your own themes.  After a while, you will start to see consistency in your own "score" to the point that you will have solidified a unique tune of your own.  Now, either play it, or jot it down and play it.

You can directly overlap many of the HR2 mini-themes quite easily (playing one in the LH, another in the RH) even if Liszt didn't, since the underlying chords/progressions are nearly identical <-- HINT: this is really easy to do using all the mini-themes after the Friska.
"self is self"   - i_m_robot

Offline tocca

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #11 on: April 12, 2005, 02:09:41 PM
Waking up this thread for a bit...

I'm watching the Liszt competition from Utrecht on webcam (real nice!) and i see that for the final a required work is Liszt Rhapsody no2 and with a cadenza written by the performer!

Do anyone have any idea about writing a cadenza like this for a competition, are there any "rules" for it? Style/length and so on?

It will be interesting to watch/hear the finals (April 16th, check the thread: Liszt competition live webcam in the performance subforum for more info)

Offline pianomann1984

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #12 on: April 12, 2005, 07:50:07 PM
I would guess teh only rules are don't make it too long...and don't make it too short either!  ;D  I think in terms of style there are no rules really - be adventurous and write in the style you most like - if you like Baroque music, write a fugal theme based on the themes.  Even jazz would be great - do a really cool stride piano-type fatz domino impression!  I saw a wonderful video of Keith Jarret and Chick Corea playing the Mozart double concerto, and they played dead straight until the cadenza, where they let fly with a magnificently improvised jazz candenza across both pianos - and you know what, it fitted perfectly!  My argument is if Mozart or Liszt were alive today, they'd probably be writing jazz.  I think the thing with truly great music is it crosses all boundries - leaving you free to do anything you like in a cadenza and still make it 'appropriate' because anything is appropriate!!!  IMO, do whatever you like and enjoy it...and make them enjoy it!

Have fun!
"What would you do if you weren't afraid?"

Offline Derek

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Re: Writing Cadenzas
Reply #13 on: April 12, 2005, 08:11:53 PM
i've had just the same problem with trying to write down improvisations. however there is a ver easy way to overcome that problem. just record yourself improvising! that way you can very easily transcribe later at leisure. i've once or twice used an electronic keyboard plugged into a computer. Then you can play, and the computer writes out the score. however its not very good at putting it onto two staves as it doesnt know which notes are for left hand and which are for right. also its got super accuate timings for notes...

I have so much fun recording and listening to my improvisations that I rarely bother to write any out. Sometimes I sit down and try to piece together ideas into a composition, but I quickly lose interest in this. On occassion, however, using only Finale I can write out a little baroque composition.

Do you have your improvisations up on the internet as mp3 files or anything? Its often very fun to swap recordings and share ideas about improvisation and creativity.
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