Author Topic: Chopin's mazurkas  (Read 62709 times)

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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #140 on: March 22, 2020, 09:31:04 AM »
Quote
But the best thing is Olejniczak's piano, and it's hard for me to go back to a bland modern instrument after this. I keep thinking of David Tudor's comment that all a modern piano has is twelve notes and they're all boring. How much more rich in overtones Olejniczak's piano is.

That is an incredible sounding instrument, vibrant ringing tone, you can even hear some brief mechanical noises from it too which adds to the charm. It's an 1849 Erard, this might be it below.

I agree too - wonderful complexity of sound on this recording.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #141 on: March 22, 2020, 11:16:24 AM »
On Spotify it comes across as being overly reverberant.
Not in my opinion, that's what pianos sound like. Putting the sound of the piano aside, what do people think of the interpretation? Too much kick? The pulse overdone by sforzandi and rhythmic rubato?
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #142 on: March 22, 2020, 11:22:08 AM »
That is an incredible sounding instrument, vibrant ringing tone, you can even hear some brief mechanical noises from it too which adds to the charm. It's an 1849 Erard, this might be it below.

His interpretations on Op. 30 are very fine as well, I'm in agreement with what you wrote. BTW the least dance like performances I've ever heard in the Mazurkas were by Andrzej Wasowski, I love those interpretations.


Well I listened to some of the Wasowski and it is a different beast from Olejniczak. I don't know if it would be possible to play like Wasowski on Olejniczak's piano and vice verse, that's to say, the interpretations are to some extent a product of the instrument. If Olejniczak played a parody of Wasowski  on the lovely old piano it would growl at him and say "NO WAY!"
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #143 on: March 22, 2020, 01:22:21 PM »
Not in my opinion, that's what pianos sound like. Putting the sound of the piano aside, what do people think of the interpretation? Too much kick? The pulse overdone by sforzandi and rhythmic rubato?

For me the recording is a bit on the reverberant side as well, but this seems to be a common thing with this label's recordings, like they're more midhall presentation instead of more closely mic'd. I'm not sure if that's digital reverb or not, I have a hard time hearing the size of the venue which I associate with natural reverb. Still able to appreciate the wonder of that instrument.

As for the pulse and rubato I have only listened to Op. 30, it's just on the cusp of what I'd find too much. Maybe No. 4 is pushing it too much. A general comment, not specifically on Op. 30, Russell Sherman's recordings would be one where I thought many were pushed too far to the point of sounding broken down and pulled apart, a set I have little desire to revisit.

Well I listened to some of the Wasowski and it is a different beast from Olejniczak. I don't know if it would be possible to play like Wasowski on Olejniczak's piano and vice verse, that's to say, the interpretations are to some extent a product of the instrument. If Olejniczak played a parody of Wasowski  on the lovely old piano it would growl at him and say "NO WAY!"

I don't think you'd be able to play it like Wasowski on the Erard. His tricks seem to slower tempi, more use of damper and sustain, just hanging on notes at the right moment. Main difference is you'd not be able to get his darker tones, heavier bass and dynamic range on the Erard. There are some Debussy recordings of pianists playing Pleyels and it sounds not attractive when they are hammering on the thing trying to get more from it. I think Olejniczak could have got similar interpretive results on a modern piano, just not the same tone.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2020, 01:27:12 PM by hvbias »
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline hvbias

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #144 on: March 23, 2020, 12:03:50 PM »
Pietro de Maria- I skipped around a bunch of Op. 28 Preludes, my general impression is he is very subtle. He never really digs himself into the music, it's beautiful and restrained. Like in the Raindrop he just plays it on the lighter side (probably one of the lightest I've heard), quite the polar opposite of someone like Sokolov. No. 14 doesn't really have the tension I'd associate with the piece. He throws a good amount of heft in No. 24's rolling bass chords, but still a bit lacking in that something extra that makes some recordings really special

I've had the Lucchesini EMI CD in my very heavy rotation these last few months so maybe I have them too much on my mind even I am trying to give de Maria a fair chance. Lucchesini really throws himself into them.

I am very curious about how Volodos would record Op. 28.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 12:05:34 PM by hvbias »
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #145 on: March 23, 2020, 01:36:13 PM »
he just plays it on the lighter side (probably one of the lightest I've heard),

Yes that’s right for his preludes and his mazurkas I think, light, he’s a  lightweight, I haven’t explored further than that, or if I have I can’t remember. Well recorded though, and really sweet and undemanding to hear, I like it very much. No doubt he has an impeccable technique.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 01:38:09 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #146 on: March 24, 2020, 03:37:27 PM »
Another strange experience with my “new” amp, a Radford STA 25. I bought this recording when it came out nearly 10 years ago, I’ve never enjoyed it, but now, with the new amp, it sounds like poetical music.



More corroboration that the playback equipment matters as much to appraisal of the performance as the instrument matters to the performance itself.

Do the liner notes say if they used tube equipment in recording? Koroliov is such a perfect fit for Tacet with his beautiful clean tone and Tacet's impeccable recording standards. I was playing them at a healthy volume on the ESL57s, what I really enjoyed was the finite microgradiations of tonal color he brought to the pieces, was that similar with you after getting the Radford? This is one of the real strong points of these speakers and I'm usually left with my jaw open.

I passed them over on first listen as well, but then something was telling me he sort of reminds me of Michelangeli. I don't have all my Michelangeli CDs in hand so I was only able to compare them to the one DG CD that has some Mazurkas, 1st Ballade and the 2nd Scherzo (Op. 30/2, 56/2, 68/2). Their interpretations are very similar, both laid bare without any pyrotechnics, over the top agogics or rubato that really stands out. And both with incredible tonal color; Michelangeli's just a hair more bell like in 56/2.

Also been revisiting various CDs of the Waltzes, maybe a thread is in order for that, I couldn't find one on search.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 03:43:42 PM by hvbias »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #147 on: March 24, 2020, 09:51:04 PM »
I didn't keep the booklet -- which I regret now because I remember he wrote an essay for it, where he talked about the order of the recital, that was important for his conception.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #148 on: March 31, 2020, 12:29:12 AM »
For me the recording is a bit on the reverberant side as well, but this seems to be a common thing with this label's recordings, like they're more midhall presentation instead of more closely mic'd. I'm not sure if that's digital reverb or not, I have a hard time hearing the size of the venue which I associate with natural reverb. Still able to appreciate the wonder of that instrument.

As for the pulse and rubato I have only listened to Op. 30, it's just on the cusp of what I'd find too much. Maybe No. 4 is pushing it too much. A general comment, not specifically on Op. 30, Russell Sherman's recordings would be one where I thought many were pushed too far to the point of sounding broken down and pulled apart, a set I have little desire to revisit.

I don't think you'd be able to play it like Wasowski on the Erard. His tricks seem to slower tempi, more use of damper and sustain, just hanging on notes at the right moment. Main difference is you'd not be able to get his darker tones, heavier bass and dynamic range on the Erard. There are some Debussy recordings of pianists playing Pleyels and it sounds not attractive when they are hammering on the thing trying to get more from it. I think Olejniczak could have got similar interpretive results on a modern piano, just not the same tone.

Well I went back to Olejniczak, the second CD, and any reservations I had about the rubato and the strength of the accents have vanished. This time listening on a different system (JR149/Radford, before was ESL/Krell) and a different room, and the sun is shining, I suspect that makes a difference, as does my mood. And I just don’t hear any problem with reverberation at all, I don’t know what you and George are talking about there.
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #149 on: April 06, 2020, 12:16:26 PM »
Well I went back to Olejniczak, the second CD, and any reservations I had about the rubato and the strength of the accents have vanished. This time listening on a different system (JR149/Radford, before was ESL/Krell) and a different room, and the sun is shining, I suspect that makes a difference, as does my mood. And I just don’t hear any problem with reverberation at all, I don’t know what you and George are talking about there.

I've listened to more of the set, I don't find the reverb all that egregious, I still think the recording allows us to hear just how stunning that Erard sounds. It's far more obvious on many Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion releases. Like Paul Lewis playing D850 I was listening to earlier, far more reverb on that recording that really stands out.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2020, 12:27:49 PM by hvbias »
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #150 on: June 12, 2020, 11:03:49 AM »
I didn't keep the booklet -- which I regret now because I remember he wrote an essay for it, where he talked about the order of the recital, that was important for his conception.

A new Koroliov disc of Chopin:



I've only listened to the Mazurkas from it, once again making me think it's the ghost of Michelangeli :o I was on the fence about it since there are several pieces I don't like that much but decided to order it.

I also picked up the Brahms Intermezzi set as well, I really liked that one.
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #151 on: July 10, 2020, 03:45:08 AM »
A new Koroliov disc of Chopin:



I've only listened to the Mazurkas from it, once again making me think it's the ghost of Michelangeli :o I was on the fence about it since there are several pieces I don't like that much but decided to order it.

I also picked up the Brahms Intermezzi set as well, I really liked that one.

It’s very good, thanks for making me aware of it. Has anyone heard the one with the impromptus?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2020, 03:50:31 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #152 on: May 22, 2021, 07:29:19 PM »


The piano, which is well recorded, somehow gives each mazurka a distinctive bump, presumably because it’s slightly more percussive in the lower notes than a modern piano. Worth hearing for that, and the performances are fun, the recording rather good.

Yves Henry appears to be a serious pianist, but one who doesn’t record much and doesn’t concertise much. He teaches, he judges.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 07:30:55 PM by Mandryka »
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Online Que

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #153 on: May 22, 2021, 09:54:22 PM »


The piano, which is well recorded, somehow gives each mazurka a distinctive bump, presumably because it’s slightly more percussive in the lower notes than a modern piano. Worth hearing for that, and the performances are fun, the recording rather good.

Yves Henry appears to be a serious pianist, but one who doesn’t record much and doesn’t concertise much. He teaches, he judges.

My own comments, in response to Florestan asking what was "wrong" with it:

Wrong is a big word.

My golden standard in the Mazurkas is Rubinstein (preferably his 1st recording - fresh and brimming with energy) and Yakov Flier (Melodiya). I have 2 recordings on a Pleyel as well: Cor de Groot (pretty good, but rather old fashioned) and Fou Ts'ong (incomplete on one disc a part of "The Real Chopin" edition, also quite good but missing the magic touch).

The Mazurkas should be indeed performed dance-like, with appropriate tempi, rhythm and energy.
This is quirky and quite deconstructed in approach in places, with unnatural changes (lapses) in tempi and rhythm.
The Mazurkas should IMO be played straight with charm, going all philosophical about them is killing their character.

But I'm sure many would disagree!  :)

Q

Offline amw

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #154 on: May 22, 2021, 11:13:59 PM »
Based on those comments, and since I like Janusz Olejniczak, Patrick Cohen and Mirian Conti (and my gold standard is Witold Małcużynski), I assume I'll probably like Henry as well.

Online MusicTurner

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #155 on: May 22, 2021, 11:44:56 PM »
Yes, I just listened to the old 1938 Rubinstein a couple of days ago again - lovely.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #156 on: May 22, 2021, 11:52:22 PM »
I’m listening to it (it =Henry) now on a better system. The piano is just lovely, really colourful, distinct timbres in each register, not smoothed out by over restoration, more partials than you can shake a stick at. The performances are characterful - he’s got ideas, I think ideas which come off pretty well. The recordings are live and they were given in a small room, called the Salon Romantique de Croissy. To judge by the sound on the recording (now that I can hear it better) this room has wonderful acoustics.
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Online Que

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #157 on: May 23, 2021, 12:29:53 PM »
I’m listening to it (it =Henry) now on a better system. The piano is just lovely, really colourful, distinct timbres in each register, not smoothed out by over restoration, more partials than you can shake a stick at. The performances are characterful - he’s got ideas, I think ideas which come off pretty well. The recordings are live and they were given in a small room, called the Salon Romantique de Croissy. To judge by the sound on the recording (now that I can hear it better) this room has wonderful acoustics.

Playing Chopin on a Pleyel is definitely a good idea!

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #158 on: May 23, 2021, 06:43:04 PM »
Playing Chopin on a Pleyel is definitely a good idea!

The thing is that the Croissy Playel is special, whether it’s the instrument or the quality of the restoration I can’t say. It is, IMO, much better than the Playel for The Real Chopin, for example - as we once discussed here I think, I suspect that’s because the pianos for The Real Chopin are over restored - they’re made to sound more homogeneous and their tone is purer. Anyway I think Yves Henry has made an outstanding CD.
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Offline mabuse

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Re: Chopin's mazurkas
« Reply #159 on: May 24, 2021, 09:20:31 AM »
Unfortunately, listening every mazurka one after the other bores me a lot I must admit ...
I much prefer when the program is varied like on this album :

Chopin
Edna Stern, "Grand piano by Ignace Pleyel & Cie, 1842; serial n°9250"
Naïve / Cité de la musique (2010)

"The 1842 grand piano has come down to us in its original condition and still possesses its harmonic strings and its hammers covered with chamois leather."

But even without having delved into the question of the instrument making, I really appreciate what I hear  :)