Tchaikovsky's The Seasons

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Maybe we need a Gould thread.

Maybe we need a Gould thread........

Thank you, Camaron, for the

Thank you, Camaron, for the Brahms suggestions - I will certainly review these pieces.  I was referring to pieces rather than recordings, but I'm glad of your suggestions.  They say that eccentricity and genius are closely related and this is certainly the case for Mr. Gould.

 

For those wondering, here is a link to my little boy playing Barcarolle / June, but note that we consider it to be a work in progress rather than definitive recording.  That said, just exposing him to the music is great, and much like a Bach Prelude and Fugue, he can begin work now and return to it years later:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liiCKqdi5Go

 

Best wishes,

 

Spring

 

camaron wrote:

My suggestions in terms of actual pieces or recordings? If you don’t know them, they are his Op. 116 to 119. Just start with his three pieces op 117 and you’ll see what I mean. Then follow with his op. 118. I’ve no idea how hard or easy they are to play, but I would imagine that mostly they are not hard, technically.

 

If you mean recordings…. Kempf, Joao Pires and Radu Lupu have all played all or some of this pieces nicely. I’m sure they’ll be many more, but my choice is Glenn Gould. He has a recording with Brahms' early ballads and a selection of these late intermezzi which I find exceptional. If you know and don’t like Gould (not a rare thing...) don’t be put off by it, this is the most un-Gould recording he ever made, of a repertoire that, at first sight, seems totally alien to him.

I will listen to Valentina, thanks for the suggestion.

 

 

Thank you Jane.  I will certainly look into this further.  Looking at the IMSLP content again I found the Schirmer version edited by Louis Oesterle - This usefully include pedal markings for some of the twelves pieces; interestingly, though, not for November, termed on that edition 'Sleigh Ride'.  I will persevere with this.  Your Beethoven comment makes perfect sense to me given piano technology development.  Hmmm... I wonder what Bach would have made of a Bosendorfer.

 

Best wishes,

 

Spring

 

janeeliotgardiner wrote:

 

spring3r wrote:
Is it common for composers or edition editors to ommit pedal markings (presmably leaving this open to musician's interpretation)?

 

I have seen other scores for Troika with pedal markings. You can get an idea of them from the first page of the score, if you search for "sheet music" and click on Images. You can then get the first page as a free view from several online publishers. 

Whether these are composer markings or editorial markings, I don't know. My guess would editorial. Some composers put them in, some don't. The first such composer markings come from Beethoven, I believe..........so absolutely none before that. After that, it is often hard to say just who is responsible for pedal markings........

I’ve just heard Valentina’s

I’ve just heard Valentina’s Seasons. Nicely played! She seems to be a bit of a celebrity in the internet, but I’d never heard of her myself.  I’ve noticed she has, in youtube, a concert with a selection of Brahm’s Romantic piano music, from his early Op.10 to this late music we are talking about. Maybe the place to start...

 

Your boys is doing alright!

Tchaikovsky's the Seasons and Brahms' Opp. 116-119.

Spring, Tchaikovsky's The Seasons are salon pieces of most beautiful miniatures, while it was a commissioned work. I mentioned these features to make the clear distinction with the comparison (or so) with Brahms' Op. 116-119. These are miniatures of profound beauty, of a quite intimate and very personal character and, as quite a few scholars point out, of the features of one Season: the Autumn. These are pieces of the finest music for the instrument with the utmost attachment to every aspect of the pianistic playing. They are very well crafted and utterly refined in their musical expression. Like, somehow with Mozart, they look, at face value, simple but they are quite difficult to master them at a professional level.

As for the recordings, for Tchaikovsky one should primarily look for a truly Russian account of the work. Try to get M. Pletnev's recording (originally on the already gone Virgin, most thankfully reissued by Warner on Erato) and you may see the difference (and a substantive one). From the non-Rusians, Hideyo Harada (on Audite) or Alexandre Paley (on Aparte) have done some extraordinary recordings. Finally, Bronfman and Ashkenazy have done some quite interesting and valuabl accounts of this work.

For Brahms' Op.116-119, there are plenty of quite good recordings, both on the modern grand and the period instruments of the composer's time. One of the most significant recordings comes from a marginal label, i.e. th MSR Classics, with the brilliant Gwedolyn Mok, performing them on two precious and significant instruments of the composer's time, a 1868 Erard and a 1871 Streicher Grand Pianos. Excellent production overall.

From the modern Piano recordings, Perahia is a safe bet, but E. Leonskaja (on MDG), H. Grimaud (on Erato), Geoffroy Couteau (on La Dolce Volta, from the complete Piano Music of the composer), G. Oppitz (on RCA), A. Gourari (on Berlin) or N. Angelich (on Erato) are of great importance. I left aside the older masters of the instrument, like J. Katsen, R. Lupu etc.

Anyway, good exploration in your quest for some good Piano music and my compliments for furthering the musical education of your descendants.

Parla

 

 

Thanks Camaron - I will watch Valentina's account of the Brahms works later today.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentina_Lisitsa

 

I am also considering beginning work on Chopin's Raindrop Prelude and have hope that this will be accessible to young Alex.

 

camaron wrote:

I’ve just heard Valentina’s Seasons. Nicely played! She seems to be a bit of a celebrity in the internet, but I’d never heard of her myself.  I’ve noticed she has, in youtube, a concert with a selection of Brahm’s Romantic piano music, from his early Op.10 to this late music we are talking about. Maybe the place to start...

 

Your boys is doing alright!

Thank you, Parla - I really

Thank you, Parla - I really appreciate the level of detail in your feedback.  Your encyclopaedic knowlege and expertise in this field speaks volumes to me and I appreciate your articulate and scholarly style.  I listened to Pletnev's account of Barcarolle and Troika.  In his playing I found real depth, sensitivity and feeling. I feel incapable of voicing my feelings on this in a concise manner, but I think that I hear Pletnev in Lisitsa's account of these works, and this is unsurprising and perhaps points to Russian style.  That said, Pletnev's account lingers and feels more contemplative, at least to my untrained ear.  I hesitate to make the comparison to Gould's later Gouldbergs here, but I felt that Pletnev brings a maturity to the piece that is unmistakable and delectable.  Thank you for your kind comment about educating the next generation;  we all have that responsibility, I think, and it is of the utmost importance.

 

parla wrote:

Spring, Tchaikovsky's The Seasons are salon pieces of most beautiful miniatures, while it was a commissioned work. I mentioned these features to make the clear distinction with the comparison (or so) with Brahms' Op. 116-119. These are miniatures of profound beauty, of a quite intimate and very personal character and, as quite a few scholars point out, of the features of one Season: the Autumn. These are pieces of the finest music for the instrument with the utmost attachment to every aspect of the pianistic playing. They are very well crafted and utterly refined in their musical expression. Like, somehow with Mozart, they look, at face value, simple but they are quite difficult to master them at a professional level.

As for the recordings, for Tchaikovsky one should primarily look for a truly Russian account of the work. Try to get M. Pletnev's recording (originally on the already gone Virgin, most thankfully reissued by Warner on Erato) and you may see the difference (and a substantive one). From the non-Rusians, Hideyo Harada (on Audite) or Alexandre Paley (on Aparte) have done some extraordinary recordings. Finally, Bronfman and Ashkenazy have done some quite interesting and valuabl accounts of this work.

For Brahms' Op.116-119, there are plenty of quite good recordings, both on the modern grand and the period instruments of the composer's time. One of the most significant recordings comes from a marginal label, i.e. th MSR Classics, with the brilliant Gwedolyn Mok, performing them on two precious and significant instruments of the composer's time, a 1868 Erard and a 1871 Streicher Grand Pianos. Excellent production overall.

From the modern Piano recordings, Perahia is a safe bet, but E. Leonskaja (on MDG), H. Grimaud (on Erato), Geoffroy Couteau (on La Dolce Volta, from the complete Piano Music of the composer), G. Oppitz (on RCA), A. Gourari (on Berlin) or N. Angelich (on Erato) are of great importance. I left aside the older masters of the instrument, like J. Katsen, R. Lupu etc.

Anyway, good exploration in your quest for some good Piano music and my compliments for furthering the musical education of your descendants.

Parla

Sticking my oar in

spring3r wrote:

I am also considering beginning work on Chopin's Raindrop Prelude and have hope that this will be accessible to young Alex.

Alex is certainly a very fine player..........absolutely outstanding for his age. I watched and enjoyed a few of his videos........

But if I can dare to offer some advice......which I shouldn't..........but anyway:

Speaking as someone who has spent much of her life learning to play (and occasionally teaching) different instruments (piano, clarinet, guitar, violin, mandolin, recorder......), my view is that Alex is playing pieces that are a too far above his fundamental level. I am not saying he can't get through them; nor that what he is doing isn't very impressive. But they are basically too hard, which means he cannot bring much musicality to them. 

He would learn much better if he played pieces that were just slightly above him, so he can move forward at a steady pace. He should master one set of techniques, then move to the next, then the next......and so on. The danger with reaching up for such difficult pieces is not that they can't be played, but that they can lead to long-term technical problems, since one is forced to confront too many challenges at the same time. You end up cutting corners or improvising, instead of building a firm bedrock of skill. It is also a highly inefficient way of learning. In a couple of years, Alex could knock these pieces off without even thinking about; and also play with them with real expression and panache. The music underneath the technical challenges would then open up to him, so he could truly enjoy them. Played now, they present too many difficulties for that.

Again, please forgive me for poking my beak in.........but I really do think he would learn to be a better musician if you both took a more gradual approach and worked your way slowly towards the greater heights. (The Raindrop, for example, is certainly playable for him, but I would stay away right now. It is deceptively difficult to play really well - with proper expression, that is. For one thing, it is in D-flat major: easy enough for an accomplished pianist, but a real pain for a younger one. It just wouldn't be a good use of his time right now.)

 

 

Hi Jane,

 

No need for hesitance in your response, nor for forgiveness, because it's really touching that you care enough to have taken the time to review some of Alex's videos, and to provide feedback here.

 

Thank you so much for sharing your experience, and as you might imagine, I can identify with much of what you say, particularly for Troika - This in particular is a technically demanding piece that will become easier with experience, not to mention larger hands. At this time, however, it is a formidable challenge, and one that after a useful introduction, we will likely choose to return to later.  Watching Valentina Lisitsa play this piece is a joy to behold.

 

We typically introduce these extra curricular pieces to Alex to supplement his ABRSM grades, which believe it or not, we are not rushing. We are looking to broaden and deepen Alex's exposure to and appreciation of beautiful music, and at the same time develop his repertoire. Perhaps the trick here is to find pieces that move and speak to Alex that are at an appropriate level of technicality?

 

Best wishes,

 

Spring

 

 

janeeliotgardiner wrote:

 

spring3r wrote:
I am also considering beginning work on Chopin's Raindrop Prelude and have hope that this will be accessible to young Alex.

 

Alex is certainly a very fine player..........absolutely outstanding for his age. I watched and enjoyed a few of his videos........

But if I can dare to offer some advice......which I shouldn't..........but anyway:

Speaking as someone who has spent much of her life learning to play (and occasionally teaching) different instruments (piano, clarinet, guitar, violin, mandolin, recorder......), my view is that Alex is playing pieces that are a too far above his fundamental level. I am not saying he can't get through them; nor that what he is doing isn't very impressive. But they are basically too hard, which means he cannot bring much musicality to them. 

He would learn much better if he played pieces that were just slightly above him, so he can move forward at a steady pace. He should master one set of techniques, then move to the next, then the next......and so on. The danger with reaching up for such difficult pieces is not that they can't be played, but that they can lead to long-term technical problems, since one is forced to confront too many challenges at the same time. You end up cutting corners or improvising, instead of building a firm bedrock of skill. It is also a highly inefficient way of learning. In a couple of years, Alex could knock these pieces off without even thinking about; and also play with them with real expression and panache. The music underneath the technical challenges would then open up to him, so he could truly enjoy them. Played now, they present too many difficulties for that.

Again, please forgive me for poking my beak in.........but I really do think he would learn to be a better musician if you both took a more gradual approach and worked your way slowly towards the greater heights. (The Raindrop, for example, is certainly playable for him, but I would stay away right now. It is deceptively difficult to play really well - with proper expression, that is. For one thing, it is in D-flat major: easy enough for an accomplished pianist, but a real pain for a younger one. It just wouldn't be a good use of his time right now.)

spring3r wrote: We typically

spring3r wrote:

We typically introduce these extra curricular pieces to Alex to supplement his ABRSM grades, which believe it or not, we are not rushing. We are looking to broaden and deepen Alex's exposure to and appreciation of beautiful music, and at the same time develop his repertoire. Perhaps the trick here is to find pieces that move and speak to Alex that are at an appropriate level of technicality?

 

 

Well, he is obviously in very safe hands! I needn't have said anything. Good luck.

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