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Topic: Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto no. 2 (2nd mvt.)

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto no. 2 (2nd mvt.)

    I can't think of any other piano concerto movement as sparkling and light hearted as this one. It has a lightness of touch in the scoring, and the virtuoso piano part is brilliantly crafted for the player, demonstrating the composer's mastery of the instrument.



    http://indigo.ie/~edolan/Demo19.mp3

  2. #2

    Re: Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto no. 2 (2nd mvt.)

    I've gotta hand it to you, Eugene, you know no fear,
    taking on something like this!

    And a darned respectable showing, at that -- well done!

    You know, I've read that he wrote this concerto in 17 days;
    but it remains one of his most balanced compositions, most
    remarkable for its lucidity and clarity -- which you've brought
    out wonderfully well, Eugene.

    One time I sight-read this as second banana (the guy who
    sits in during rehearsal for the real pianist), and .. I did note
    the conductor really struggling with getting tempi just right.
    I might suggest a little more thought on that.

    Much applause on a fine job with a work not heard nearly
    often enough... you've come a long way toward capturing
    the vivacious exuberance so often present in Saint-Saens'
    earlier work.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  3. #3
    Senior Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Re: Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto no. 2 (2nd mvt.)

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    One time I sight-read this as second banana (the guy who
    sits in during rehearsal for the real pianist), and .. I did note
    the conductor really struggling with getting tempi just right.
    I might suggest a little more thought on that.


    David

    .
    Thanks for your feedback David - very much appreciated. As you say, the balance of the work is remarkable, and the craftsmanship is of course second to none. Re the tempo, do you mean the overall tempo needs to be quicker, or that there should be some variance, e.g. a slowing down when the lyrical second subject comes in? I don't think there was any tempo change indicated in the score - but I can't confirm this as the score is not to hand just now. Anyway glad you enjoyed it - I will investigate the tempo possibilities and see what emerges!
    Regards
    Eugene

  4. #4

    Re: Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto no. 2 (2nd mvt.)

    Eugene, it must have been a tough job to render this piece. You did your job well, but I agree with David. This brilliant sparkling piece needs an overall higher tempo. Obviously the score is the first reference, but if you don't have it to hand, listen to a good recording of it. Listen and relisten and use your ears. Listen to the variances, when has the piano to speed up a bit, and when to slow down and how much. And listen how the piano interacts with the orchestra, to the dynamics that goes from pianissimo to fortissimo and so on, and you'll find the right interpretation. English is not my native language but I hope I'm clear enough.

    Regards

    Gerard

  5. #5
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    Re: Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto no. 2 (2nd mvt.)

    Eugene,

    You have invested a tremendous effort into this supurb work and it really speaks with the intended spirit of the work.

    My only comment is that it sounds a little dry, the releases of the orchestral instruements are very abrupt, slightly un-natural to my ear. I don't know if it is the ambience setting that you have chosen.

    But overall I give it two thumbs up.


    Gary

    www.garybricault.com

  6. #6

    Re: Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto no. 2 (2nd mvt.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene
    Thanks for your feedback David - very much appreciated. As you say, the balance of the work is remarkable, and the craftsmanship is of course second to none. Re the tempo, do you mean the overall tempo needs to be quicker, or that there should be some variance, e.g. a slowing down when the lyrical second subject comes in? I don't think there was any tempo change indicated in the score - but I can't confirm this as the score is not to hand just now. Anyway glad you enjoyed it - I will investigate the tempo possibilities and see what emerges!
    Regards
    Eugene
    Eugene, I differ with my colleague Gerard on overall tempo (which I found
    fairly amenable); but I concur entirely on his comments about more flexibility
    in tempi, paying more attention to approaching and departing cadence with
    ritardandi or accellerandi as appropriate, and so on. This piece demands it;
    and it is these fine points of performance that breathe life and vibrancy into
    what otherwise is merely notes on a page.

    There is also a certain matter that I believe every performer should have
    tattoed on a frequently observed body part:

    Tempi in score are suggestive, not conclusive, and virtually never complete.

    Many things influence tempo, Eugene -- from the hall to the overall tenor of
    the interpretation to the specific ensemble to... well, for heaven's sake, even
    the humidity in the performance hall on a given day. The tempi writ in the
    score simply suggest an approximation. Slavish adherence to them will, with
    regularity and predictability, produce a tempo that is... wrong. Take scored
    tempo markup as guidelines, but never as absolutes, ever.

    Further, it's an exceedingly rare score, indeed, that is complete in its tempo
    markings. (No, not even mine.) It's simply not possible to notate every single
    nuance of tempo in a piece because, again, it is the interpretation of the
    piece and the elements and circumstances of a given performance that
    determine these.

    Having said all that, please also replace the word tempo with dynamics, and
    repeat the last two paragraphs... as the very same can be said of dynamics.

    In short, Eugene, get in there and have some fun with this absolutely
    delightful piece -- give it is own head, and let the music tell you what it
    wants. I know you have the instincts for it. I can hear it. The trick is learning
    to trust and follow those instincts!

    With my best,


    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  7. #7
    Senior Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Re: Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto no. 2 (2nd mvt.)

    GerardR
    Yes Gerard I have heard it done faster, and the tempos vary with each recorded version I have listened to (about 6 in all). I initially favoured the more moderate speed, but I intend to experiment further in this area. It's all highly subjective! Many thanks for your reply.
    Garybric
    Yes I think the ambience might need to be tweaked here. Thanks Gary for your appreciation and suggestion here. It all helps!
    David
    Thanks for your detailed and interesting response! What you say re tempo and dynamics is of course basic common sense. Getting it into midi format was quite an effort, quite time consuming. Having done the rendering taxed my brain further. I will give it a rest for a spell, and return (hopefully) refreshed, and who knows what may emerge? Watch this space....
    Once again David many thanks for your feedback.

  8. #8
    Senior Member valhalx's Avatar
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    Re: Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto no. 2 (2nd mvt.)

    Eugene,
    Congrats a very fine rendering and what was certainly a lot of work. You work in Overture so I know exactly what was involved. I would encourage you to do two things. One take a break from this. By now you've heard it a couple hundred times and...well...can't hear it, lol. Two, when you resume, take David to heart on his comments concerning tempi and dynamics. This is a Romantic piece and, as such, the performance demands wider variances of tempo and dynamics. You've got a lot of feedback on this. That's because it's very good and standing on the threshhold of being exceptional.

    Bill
    Never look at the trombones. It only encourages them. Richard Strauss

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Re: Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto no. 2 (2nd mvt.)

    Thanks Bill - your words are sound advice! Actually I don't use Overture; I generate midi files from Personal Composer, which is the notation software I know best and can work most quickly in - not as advanced as other available software, but it works for me.
    So here's to a productive and well-rendered 2007!
    Regards
    Eugene

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