Week 4: Romantic spirits! 💐

Welcome to the Main Thread for the fourth week of "The Romantic Era" challenge! 


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  • Mertz - Nocturnes 1 and 2 (Op 4)

    Jack Stewart shared a video up above of Daniel GIrdner playing Mertz' first nocturne much more slowly than I had. I really enjoyed that, so I thought I'd give it a try. It does make for a much sharper contrast with the piu mosso section at the end. I only wish I could play the piu mosso a bit piu mosso! 🙂

    And, just because Jack Stewart said he really loved Mertz' second nocturne, I thought I'd do that one as well.

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    • Jack Stewart I don’t think my students would describe me as stern and somber. Maybe boring, with dumb jokes. I’ve always been a “get more bees with honey” kind of teacher, though.

      I teach Theology at a Catholic high school. I teach a course on Ethics and a course on World Religions. Are you asleep yet?

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      • Jack Stewart
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      Eric Phillips Wow! That sounds pretty intense for high school. At least, it would have been for me in high school. I figure that "boring with dumb jokes" is the Provence of Dad-dom. My daughter would certainly attest to that. 

      Don't you run the risk of getting stung with more bees?🙂

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    • Jack Stewart I once taught a course on camping. Now THAT was INTENSE! (See what I mean about the dumb jokes?) 🙂

      And, yes, I get stung by bees daily when teaching (and when parenting). All part of the fun!

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      • Jack Stewart
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      Eric Phillips INTENSE! 🙄

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      • Moyses Lopes
      • Classical Guitarist and Electroacoustic Interpreter
      • Moses
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      Eric Phillips Both were great, Eric, I really liked the way you played. Thank you!

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      • Barney
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      Eric Phillips Beautiful Eric!  Wonderful tone, balance of melody and accompaniment, dynamics and color.  Great performance!

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    • Moyses Lopes Barney Thank you both!

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    • Eric Phillips so beautiful again, Eric. I agree with others that no. 1 is the more intense of the two nocturnes by J. K. You played both of them very musically, it was a joy to listen to them.

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    • Eric Phillips so cool!

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  • Gorgeous tone and musicality, Eric!  You seemed very relaxed as well!  Maybe those tremolo exercises benefit general playing as well.

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    • Marilyn Blodget Thank you, Marilyn. I don't feel much difference, but maybe you're right.

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    Chopin Op.28 Prelude #15 Complete rough draft

    Ok. I said I would have a full video of this Chopin Prelude this weekend. This is another on that is proving to be much more difficult than I anticipated. There is nothing that is overwhelming technically but it is really difficult for me to keep track of where I am musically. That is apparent in the listening
    (as painful as that is). I hope I can refine this by week's end but I am not sure.

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    • Jack Stewart I think that's coming along great, Jack. This is a gargantuan piece of music, and one that could easily be worked on for months or years.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      Eric Phillips Thanks Eric. I really need the encouragement on this one.

      I do have a tendency to be impatient and unrealistic in my expectations. Chopin presents little variations in each reiterated phrase and I keep getting lost as to where I am. I have to accept that I still need to grind out the details of the music.  

      I agree, this piece will take years to fully absorb and develop my understanding of it. In this piece in particular, I also find I have to be careful not to be overly influenced by the piano. The guitar cannot offer the dynamic range. 

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    • Jack Stewart this is great Jack! Well... there's a huge gap between «mastering» somehow the technical part and on the other hand the musical ideas we express. The latter takes time, even more with material we're less comfortable with (style, genre, form, ...). Personally I change my fingerings a lot at the beginning up to until my musical ideas are better served and the overall seems coherent. At that point I have experimented a lot of ideas and then I make fun of exaggerating most of everything to better feel up to where I can go before it becomes «of bad taste». You're on the right track!

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    • Jack Stewart well, this is definitely not a piece to conquer in a week (or 2). But you are doing great in maintaining the musical melodic lines and harmonic tension. Great achievement so far, and I would love to hear this prelude develop in your hands.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      Blaise Laflamme Thanks Blaise. My current frustration with this piece is keeping track of all of Chopin's variants in his phrasing. This is probably just my personal weakness, memory and concentration. I will say, my practice of the piece seemed to go much better this morning. Maybe I just needed to rant a little.🙂

      My interpretation has a long way to go but I am actually fine with that. I like growing into a complex piece. And even finding different ways to interpret it.

      Thanks for the encouragement. Your pieces are always so well played and presented.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      joosje Thanks Joosje. I actually do feel more encouraged today. I think I will be able to make a better recording this week. I'll be living with this piece a long time before I feel I have a firm grasp of it musically. But then, that is a lot of its attraction.

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    • Jack Stewart That is such a beautiful piece and it is coming along very well.  I love your musicality.  Looking forward to future posts!

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      • Derek
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      Jack Stewart Jack this is a great video. It's a massive work and you're doing a great job. Maybe a piece for a future Tonebase concert!

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      • Jack Stewart
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      Dale Needles Thanks Dale. I agree, it is a beautiful and spectacular piece. I'll have a lot to chew on for a long time.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      Derek Thanks Dale. I don't know about performing it 'in concert'. My performances are always so problematic!

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    • Jack Stewart You are making great progress Jack!  The melody is really starting to sing.  Do you sing when you play it?  My suggestion would be to really take time to enjoy it, and add more vibrato.  Lots of opportunities for golden moments.  I enjoyed your storm—very ominous!  And great dynamics!

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      • Jack Stewart
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      Marilyn Blodget Thanks Marilyn. I am finally getting the actual notes under control (I think). I'll start to focus on interpretation and will certainly take your suggestion of vibrato to heart. I need to focus on how to create the 'storm' on guitar since it doesn't have the dynamic range of the piano. Perhaps using rubato/ accelerando and vibrato will provide suitable compensation.

      And no, I don't sing when I play. The city of Oakland passed an ordinance that prohibits my singing within the city limits.🙂

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  • I have lived with Spanish Dance #5 (Andaluza) for quite a while, with extended periods of rest and revival.  Granados composed it in 1890 for piano, but I think it feels at home on the guitar.

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