Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte

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timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Hi all,

I record pieces that I'm practicing so that I can listen to (more) objectively and then improve. I thought this turned out ok, so I thought I'd share. :)

 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I thought that was beautiful. My only comment would be that you're using too much pedal, in my opinion. Too many notes are getting swallowed up, as it were, in the reverberation. Other than that, though - well done! (A beautiful piece with a depressing title.)

If you don't already, you should check out the Canadian classical pianist, Angela Hewitt, on Twitter. Once a day, she posts a short video of her playing a short piece usually, but not always, by Bach. She usually includes a short comment with advice for performing it.

Again - well done!
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I thought that was beautiful. My only comment would be that you're using too much pedal, in my opinion. Too many notes are getting swallowed up, as it were, in the reverberation. Other than that, though - well done! (A beautiful piece with a depressing title.)

If you don't already, you should check out the Canadian classical pianist, Angela Hewitt, on Twitter. Once a day, she posts a short video of her playing a short piece usually, but not always, by Bach. She usually includes a short comment with advice for performing it.

Again - well done!
Thank you for the comments. Yes, I may back off on the pedal for the final product. I've been experimenting with many "levels" of pedal with the goal of making pedal changes less obvious. This doesn't work for some pieces, but many of the slower French Impressionistic compositions sound better with pedaling easing in and out, at least in my opinion. I started rethinking how I pedaled after watching Leon Fleisher perform a couple years back. He used the pedal like I've never seen which has made me more experimental in my practice.

Again, thank you for the feedback! :)
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
One of the reasons I like Glenn Gould's recordings of Bach is that he used virtually no pedal at all, which helped to bring out all the inner voices of Bach's keyboard music.
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
Glenn Gould's recordings of Bach is that he used virtually no pedal at all,
@timfost

J.S. Bach wrote very little for the fortepiano itself and that instrument did not enjoy a sustain pedal then, at any rate. Gould and others play Bach without the sustain because Bach wouldn't have had it. Gould is legendary for his rendition of the Goldberg Variations, of course, and you may refer to these. These were not written for fortepiano but for harpsichord, so it's particularly appropriate, I think, to pedal lightly (if at all).

French impressionism is something else altogether. This pavane was an odd piece in so many ways, too slow for a dance, but Ravel wanted it fairly slow, though how slow has occasioned much disagreement: There's been lots of debate about the tempo.

I like how Tim plays it here, including his pedal work, which provides the right atmosphere for this musical style, I think.

Peace,
Alan
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
@timfost

J.S. Bach wrote very little for the fortepiano itself and that instrument did not enjoy a sustain pedal then, at any rate. Gould and others play Bach without the sustain because Bach wouldn't have had it. Gould is legendary for his rendition of the Goldberg Variations, of course, and you may refer to these. These were not written for fortepiano but for harpsichord, so it's particularly appropriate, I think, to pedal lightly (if at all).

French impressionism is something else altogether. This pavane was an odd piece in so many ways, too slow for a dance, but Ravel wanted it fairly slow, though how slow has occasioned much disagreement: There's been lots of debate about the tempo.

I like how Tim plays it here, including his pedal work, which provides the right atmosphere for this musical style, I think.

Peace,
Alan
Yes, Glenn Gould plays the Goldberg Variations incredibly well. Using the pedal with Bach is an interesting debate. Boris Berman of Yale University argues that because dampers in the harpsichord were not set to the same tension as the modern piano, that it warrants the use of some pedal. If you tap the side of a harpsichord, the strings will resonate. If you tap a modern piano, you won't get anything unless the pedal is pressed. I do agree with him and use a little pedal in Bach, yet I certainly agree that you cannot really compare French Impressionism to German Baroque keyboard music.

I believe that Ravel "recorded" a piano roll later in which he takes a similar tempo to the one that I took. However, since he wrote it so early, he might have originally played it slower.
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
I believe that Ravel "recorded" a piano roll later in which he takes a similar tempo to the one that I took. However, since he wrote it so early, he might have originally played it slower.
That's right, though even his own tempo on that roll was faster than he appeared to want it at other times. I think he went back and forth on the tempo.

I also agree that Bach's lacking the pedal pianistically does not mean that one shouldn't use it at all. I was seeking to explain why Gould and some others don't use it. I find those who slavishly and exclusively insist on original performance practice tiresome. Music is not a museum piece and while I can appreciate period instruments and performances, I've heard too many "small" Messiahs to think that GFH would not appreciate a bit more orchestral color and heft (without the overwrought approach of a Sir Thomas Beecham!).

Peace,
Alan
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
(without the overwrought approach of a Sir Thomas Beecham!).
Not to mention the fact that Beecham not only re-orchestrated, but actually re-composed, some of Handel's music in that piece. Apparently, he thought he knew more about how the music was to be played than Handel did! Fortunately, in these modern times, I don't think any conductor would be allowed to get away with that today.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Richard, I thought that you once told me that you were doing whatever you could to drown out the incessant inner voices that you battle. ;)

And Tim tries to help, and here's the thanks he gets! :rolleyes:

Peace,
Alan
Alan, I've decided that they're my friends. . .at least that's what they keep telling me in that soothing voice. . .such a soothing voice. . .
 
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