More chitchat about repertoire

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chrisw
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More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 04 Jan 2018, 12:29

The discussion regarding a piece by Einaudi in another thread has given me the thought of initiating a place where people can just throw in odd questions or make a point on any piece of piano music, perhaps in a light hearted way.
Apologies if such a thread has already been started and I have not noticed it.

A number of years ago my teacher persuaded me to have a look at Bartok's Romanian Dances. Hitherto I hadn't been keen on Bartok but as I learnt these pieces I became to like them and also better understand his music. I played some of them at a little concert organised by my teacher for her adult pupils. At the end of my little stint at the piano one of the other adult students present said; " What on earth made you choose those pieces...? " We all laughed.

Gill the Piano
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 04 Jan 2018, 15:36

A bit of discordant stuff is good for you (musical castor oil...) and as you say the more you play it the more you understand it. But I prefer stuff you can understand on first hearing - superficial, that's me!
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 04 Jan 2018, 16:44

I am liking the Einaudi at the moment perhaps because of the "stillness" of the piece, the odd discordant chord and it's more or less sight readable. I like a piano to be played.......piano with forte used sparingly when a score requires it. Even Rachmaninoff has his quiet bits. Perhaps this is the reason I only need to have the piano tuned once a year.

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 07 Jan 2018, 15:33

I've always thought it shows more pianistic control to be able to play very softly rather than loudly. When I got my new piano it was the quietness that it was capable of rather than its power that impressed me.
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 07 Jan 2018, 16:59

I have been looking at new baby grand pianos in the last month or so. Firstly the very low priced (at least for a new grand) Gear4Music.com Minister baby grand, a Cavendish baby grand still in the process of having its acton refined and then a Kawai GL10 I spotted the other day in our local music shop.

The Minster played OK but there were a couple of little faults, one with the music desk and one a larger than is normal gap between two specific white keys. The Cavendish was very nice indeed. The Kawai seemed also to be offered at a good price.

I bought my little Kemble Classic upright in 1994 and I do like it. It's only short comings are speed of repetition of notes say when trying to play a tremolando...maybe it is me that is the limiting factor. The Kemble doesn't take up much room in the dining room but to replace it there with a baby grand would cause a little furniture congestion. We do have room in our sitting room but the grand would have to go just inside some south west facing French windows and in summer it would get sunshine from mid day onwards.

Have you posted about your new piano Gill ?

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 08 Jan 2018, 17:24

An alternative for you would be a good upright rather than writing off a lot of floor space. Make a cutout of the shape of the baby grand and lay it on the floor to get a real idea of how much room it'll take up. A baby grand isn't much superior in tone to a good upright - tone is largely derived from string length. Some dealers offer an upgrade service whereby you can take your piano back to the dealer if your playing outgrows it, and they give you what you paid for the piano (less the VAT) off the price of the new one. Added attraction is one piano in, one out! Try some uprights of comparable budget before you commit.
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 09 Jan 2018, 10:44

Food for thought, it hadn't occurred to think about a good quality , say German, upright. Would they have better speed of repetition than the Langer action in the Kemble ? I am satisfied with the tone of the Kemble as it is always well tuned and the voicing was improved a few years ago.

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 09 Jan 2018, 17:27

How old is your Kemble? Are you sure it wouldn't benefit from a good regulation? I had my old Bluthner restored and whilst the new strings and hammers and so on made a difference, it was the regulation that impressed me, and I could play with far more control than before. My new German one is even better - but then so it should be. Don't discount the uprights; you can often get a far better tone than a short grand, without writing off the floor space.
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 09 Jan 2018, 18:21

The Kemble was new in 1994, so it has just had its 23rd birthday. It hasn't been regulated since the day it came through the front door so I will ask my technician to advise if it needs looking at when she comes to give it a tune at Easter.

I posted some pictures of my piano in this post.It's the one with the black case.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9763&p=46337&hilit= ... sic#p46337

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 10 Jan 2018, 17:33

Depends on the amount of use it's had, obviously, It's a job for which I always recommend a colleague who is far better (and a hell of a lot faster) at regulation than me, having worked for a top piano workshop for many years. As leather and felt wears down with constant playing, levers which used to lift immediately develop a tiny delay on them - what we call lost motion. It translates to the pianist as wasted effort and reduced response. But 23 is quite young in piano years!
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chrisw
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 10 Jan 2018, 21:45

Thank you for the information. From what you say I would also doubt that my piano needs regulating. As I play it relatively softly there is very little indentation even on the hammers themselves. However if either yourself or colleague are visiting the Lake District you will be welcome to inspect it.

(Many,many years ago I was resident in the Thames valley and my wife's childhood home is the Windrush valley. I lived in a hostel not far from Didcot and got back into playing because there was a piano sat in the foyer. I even had that piano tuned a couple of times.)

Went for my piano lesson last night and teacher said she quite liked the Einaudi pieces in the book titled I Giorni but she is not keen on the more recent stuff in the other books. She has let me borrow Michael Nyman's "The Piano Collection".

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 11 Jan 2018, 18:15

Could be that your ear and touch are becoming more discerning; you are also now hearing/feeling the difference between your piano and your teacher's. I liken this syndrome to having your first car; it's the Best Car In The Whole World and you love and cherish it and are proud of it. Then you start to notice other cars, and perhaps drive them and think 'Oh...'! Do you like your teacher's piano? If so, what sort is it? Is it feasible that you might buy one?
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 11 Jan 2018, 21:14

Teacher has a Yamaha G1 grand which was new in 2005. The weighting of the keys is very similar to my Kemble so I could describe the touch as almost identical. Trills are easier and more musical to play on the G1 so the action is probably faster. My teacher is always the first to draw attention to the very powerful bass/tenor of this piano relative to the treble and I have wondered if voicing of the hammers could make the bass/tenor less pronounced. A little while ago teacher did say that she keeps a grand piano for teaching and if she wasn't teaching she would have an upright, in order to release floor space.

At the piano club, which is hosted by a public library, we play on a 120 year old, six foot (or thereabouts) Bechstein grand. Looking at the condition of the hammers and strings and also that it has been fitted with square legs I would venture a guess that it was substantially rebuilt say 40 or 50 years ago. It plays very well for its age and has a slightly softer touch than my Kemble. Repetition rate is better than the Kemble.

There is no evidence of cracking in the Beckstein frame.

Going back to my nagging feeling that a grand would serve me better when playing trills or tremolandos, I can remember visiting Forsyth's music shop in Manchester perhaps in the late 1990's when I was learning the Beethoven Pathetique sonata. On a Yamaha C1 grand I tried the left hand tremolando in the first movement.... ah, I can play this quickly on this piano.... then ....I can play this both quickly and quietly.

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 12 Jan 2018, 21:12

But how many uprights did you play at Forsyth's? Kick a lot of tyres before you decide!
Yes, toning would make a difference to your teacher's piano, I expect. Has she ever considered it?
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 13 Jan 2018, 10:59

I've decided not to do anything until I've had a look at some German and the Kawai uprights. (I know the Yamaha uprights).

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 13 Jan 2018, 19:37

Look at new Zimmermanns which are now under the auspices of Bechstein (like Volkswagen did for Skoda and Seat). I've been very impressed by the ones I've seen, although I think Barrie has come across the odd iffy one. Older Zimmermanns are Cold War East German and not half as well made .
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 14 Jan 2018, 17:23

Zimmermann appear to be good value for money but so far haven't found a dealership in the north of England.

We have a Skoda Citigo and all the parts are labelled VW. Good for local shopping but not quite quick enough for longer journeys. Luckily we have a quicker German estate car as well.

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 15 Jan 2018, 16:03

My brother and I were left money and he blew his on a top range Skoda (the Superb? Something like that) and he loves it to bits. I drive my smart about and spent mine on a piano!
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 15 Jan 2018, 16:18

Found a secondhand Zimmermann upright for sale at Rimmers in Bolton.

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 15 Jan 2018, 16:22

Yes it's a Superb. If I were to buy a Skoda estate it would be the Octavia with a two litre diesel engine.

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 25 Jan 2018, 17:41

Einaudi went down well at last Saturdays piano meeting. For next month I have started to prepare some Michael Nyman from the film Diary of Anne Frank, then for month after that more Einaudi. A fellow member at the club who also plays violin has sent me the piano part to Brahms Hungarian Dance no.5 to learn for the next meeting.

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 29 Jan 2018, 21:27

Blimey...isn't the Brahms difficult? I never seem to find him very user-friendly. Probably because I don't like practising! Excuse radio silence computer's been awol.
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 29 Jan 2018, 23:53

I don't think that the piano accompaniment is too bad. It's mostly humpah,humpah all the way through even in the Vivace section. However piano teacher may advise differently if I have an opportunity to share it with her tomorrow evening. However have been suffering with head cold over the weekend so not had much enthusiasm to practise. Hope to get back into it tomorrow.

Teacher has much the same opinion of Brahms as yourself but he is one of my favourite composers. I think I got her to change her mind slightly when she helped me to learn some of the Op118 Intermezzi.

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 30 Jan 2018, 14:47

Glad it's not just me who's iffy about Brahms...we always referred to him as the Miserable Old Git at school! :D

I moved your Broadwood question to the Piano Advice bit, as I think it will find a greater audience there...sometimes I think it's just thee and me here! Good idea to get it evaluated; most Broadwoods are worthwhile instruments, but a lot depends on how it's been treated in its life. Looks to be 1930ish to me, but I'm sure someone will be able to help. Is there a serial number on it? That will date it more accurately. Look amongst the tuning pins, on the frame ir under the strings near the gap through which you can see the hammers.
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chrisw
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 30 Jan 2018, 15:22

Thanks for moving the Broadwood post. I was in two minds which category to pose the question opting for Idle Chitchat because it was an "idle" sort of a question. The serial number was given in the post and this led me to suggest the piano was made in 1938.

My wife calls Beethoven "old grumpy" but with so much joy in both Brahms and Beethoven's symphonies they both must have had some sparkle deep within.

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Gill the Piano » 31 Jan 2018, 18:20

That#s because LVB is ALWAYS depicted as a miserable old git. I have a small bronze of him as a young man - still brooding but gorgeous. Knocks Liszt into a cocked hat and women used to swoon over him!
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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 31 Jan 2018, 23:25

Well the Brahms Hungarian Dance no.5 got the thumbs up from piano teacher last night and I came away from the lessons with quite a few tips of how to tackle it. My piano part came from IMSLP and the violin part is too small to sight read so we (mostly she) sang the solo part as I tried to play accompaniment. The start and ending are in g minor so its not that suited to the violin and there is lots of double stopping. (Echoes of previous suggestion of not being user friendly are noted.)

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by Cooksen » 01 Apr 2018, 15:11

Is it difficult to follow that on the piano, Chris? It seems like it requires some practice at the very least. I could be wrong though.

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Re: More chitchat about repertoire

Post by chrisw » 01 Apr 2018, 19:20

The arrangement we were playing was transcribed by Joachim and is available on IMSLP. The piano part is "oom-pah" more or less all through so it is not terribly difficult to play. However I found it quite easy to get lost.

The first time we played it together in rehearsal was mid February and I got lost in three or four places so I brought it home and worked on it for another four weeks. Next rehearsal was mid March and we played it through without major mishap so we played it in concert that afternoon. It went OK but my violinist partner got away from me in the last five or six bars which was a shame. Still I think people enjoyed it.

So to answer your question it was tricky to follow but with enough rehearsal not insurmountable. We just live too far apart to be able to get together apart from the days we have the meetup.

For April's meetup my partner has sent me Bach's Arioso and Purcell's Rondeau from Abdelazar.

I am still enjoying pieces by Einaudi for solo performance although I am awaiting for a new book of Philip Glass' piano music.

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