Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

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Tom Poore
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Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Tom Poore » Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:32 pm

Yesterday I recorded the first movement of Giuliani’s Op. 15. After listening to it, however, I’ve decided to take a mulligan. But rather than trash it, I thought it might be fun to let others take a crack at it. So here’s your challenge. Why am I unhappy with this performance? Please don’t worry about hurting my feelings. I’ve already decided this performance doesn’t cut the mustard. (Although there are some things I like.) Nonetheless, I’m curious to see how closely others agree with me on the flaws of this performance.

By the way, I’m also not happy with the recorded sound. Even if I liked the performance, I’d still redo this recording. But I’m more interested in hearing your opinion of the performance itself.

For those who want the score at hand:
http://boije.statensmusikverk.se/ebibli ... %20154.pdf

Have at it.

Giuliani.mp3

And extra points to the first person who correctly identifies the two impossible notes.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Stephen Kenyon » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:21 pm

Well seems to me there's a discrepancy between the basically 'classical', objective sound most of the time vs the occasional semi-Segovian tenuto. They don't fit together very well for me.
You were getting a bit tired and slightly more buzz-prone by the end?

Wasn't following the score but did you add in a low D a couple of times - you got a 7 string?

What's a mulligan?
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Tom Poore
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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Tom Poore » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:32 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:Well seems to me there's a discrepancy between the basically 'classical', objective sound most of the time vs the occasional semi-Segovian tenuto. They don't fit together very well for me.

That, of course, is a matter of taste. I don’t believe classical music needs a metronomic approach. (Perhaps you don’t either.) But one man’s flexible is another man’s overdone. I’ll stick to my guns on this point, understanding that some will disagree.

You were getting a bit tired and slightly more buzz-prone by the end?

You hit on one thing I don’t like about this recording. I’m happy with the exposition. But after the arpeggios in the development section, my playing gets too ragged. I was surprised at how badly my takes for the development section went—I thought it was ready to go. So it’s back to the practice room.

Wasn't following the score but did you add in a low D a couple of times - you got a 7 string?

No, that was a strategic recording edit. (I tuned down to D# for a short take and dropped it in.) It always bothers me to hear the octave leap there. So I figured why not? Anyway, you win extra points for catching that.

What's a mulligan?

Not a golfer? That’s okay, neither am I. A mulligan is a do-over of a botched shot.

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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Yisrael van Handel » Sun Mar 06, 2016 4:55 pm

Tom, I first noticed your playing a few months ago, and I have been paying careful attention ever since. I have very high regard for your interpretations. And I feel that with a meaningful interpretation, a few technical glitches do not matter. The interpretation here is wonderful and very suitable to the classic period: the dialog between voices is very clearly and cleanly articulated, the voices have personality, the piece speaks to me. Tempo is satisfying; I have heard others play it faster, and completely lose the meaning of the piece. The ff arpeggios at the end of sections…um, to my mind, they do not fit with the character of the piece. I would try it without arpeggios, or much less arpeggiated. I listened to about 10 other recordings of the same piece, and I think this one is the best. It has classical charm and balance (meaning, understated emotional expression) and is the most musical and appealing of all that I listened do. Unfortunately, I did not have time to listen with the score. I am trying to finish writing a book that has a publishing deadline next month. Also read articles on your web site and found them useful.
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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Tom Poore » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:16 am

To Yisrael van Handel:

I appreciate your very kind post. I’d like to produce a recording equal to the quality of this fine piece. In time and with more work, perhaps I shall. So your encouragement is helpful.

And how many musicians can say their playing has been complimented by Handel?

The ff arpeggios at the end of sections…um, to my mind, they do not fit with the character of the piece. I would try it without arpeggios, or much less arpeggiated.

Presumably you’re referring to the E major chords at the beginning and end of the development section. To me, these are both compositional surprises. The first one kicks off the A minor episode, something we don’t expect after the sunny development. The second E major chord, at the end of the development, sets up a musical joke. After the stormy A minor section, the half cadence on A minor leads us to expect more of the same. But Giuliani instead springs on us an unprepared and surprising G dominant 7th. It’s a delicious gag, slipping us into the recapitulation before we expect it.

To me, the thunderous E major sets up the joke, and the cheeky little G7 is the punch line.

A true story. Years ago, when I was a college student, I performed this piece for Jason Vieaux, who was filling in for my regular teacher. When I reached the G7 chord mentioned above, I heard Vieaux giggle. I’ll bet Giuliani would be delighted to know that, some two centuries after he wrote it, his joke still works.

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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Yisrael van Handel » Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:15 pm

Tom,
I still do not understand why the E Major chords at the end of the development sections should be arpeggios? Why not end with a big bang: ff block chords? I am not trying to argue; I would like to learn your reasoning.
I often think about how delighted some composers would be to know what we are doing today. Imagine Bach, who was considered old-fashioned in his lifetime, being aware that he is still the biggest name in music 266 years later, and that there are specialists in playing his music all over the world. Imagine Downland being aware that "Come Again" is still a hit song 400 years later, and that his music is as popular as ever.
I have discovered that I do not manage to learn much from listening to the most famous guitarists. They tend to play music that is so far beyond me that I cannot get guidance for my own playing from them. I study the playing of people that sound to me like very solid musicians who do not attempt he highest level of virtuosity, for instance Carlos Trepat, Tamaki Shibuya, and Tom Poore.
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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Tom Poore » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:46 am

I doubt anything I say would be convincing to anyone who hears things differently from me. It’s a matter of taste, I suppose. For me, rolling a chord is often a matter of weight. When repeated block chords drive toward another chord, rolling the last chord gives a sense of arrival—a sort of agogic accent, if you like.

For the E major chord at the beginning of the development section, I believe I’m on solid ground in rolling it. It is, after all, a six string chord marked double forte. One would have to go out of one’s way to not roll it.

For the E major chord at the end of the development, I’m admittedly on thinner ice. In fact, Giuliani wrote a four string chord—the six string chord I play is my own decision. All I can say is that I like the musical joke here, and this is how I tell it. Another player might tell the joke differently, or even deny there’s any joke at all.

It’s often argued that a musician’s job is to honor the intent of the composer. While I respect this attitude, it’s not one with which I agree. Rather, I believe a musician’s job is to mine the latent riches hidden in the score. A player must bring something to the process. If a player does this well enough, he or she may find things even the composer didn’t intend. Indeed, Beethoven once told a pianist who had performed a sonata of his: “That’s not exactly the character I wanted to give this piece, but go right ahead. If it isn’t entirely mine, it’s something better.” Of course, I can’t say Giuliani would feel the same way about my performance. But I like to think he would.

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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby JohnB » Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:49 pm

You obviously play this very well and have it totally under your fingers (to use piano speak). But in many ways this is quite a difficult piece to bring off musically and it can easily sound like musical knitting.

I came across this thread earlier today and it has been on my mind ever since. I apologise in advance for my comments - they are just my personal impressions, for what they are worth, but I have some questions you might like to think about:

- How can you use much more varied dynamics, and subtly varied dynamics (from the very soft to ff) to mold the phrases and distinguish between the various passages/phrases and to bring the piece to life?

- How can you bring out the melody from the accompaniment? For example, at the start of the piece the Alberti type base needs to be soft (p) and the melody, when it comes in towards the end of the second bar, needs to be a dynamic level up from that (say mp) - so that the melody is accompanied by the Alberti type base (for what I mean listen to the start of Mozart K545 played by Uchida or Barenboim on YouTube). (For what it is worth I would also very slightly point the first note of each of the first two bars, especially the second, in order to give the base line a little more life.) To me there is the same issue, where the Alberti type base line detracts from the melody, in other sections of the piece.

- How can you use more varied tone to mold the phrases and distinguish between phrases and the sections?

- How can you let the music breath a little more (perhaps using subtle rubato)?

- How can you enjoy the scenery more as you go through the piece? For example, in the second subject the melody needs to sing above the accompaniment and be very legato, without obvious breaks and without feeling rushed or perfunctory (very difficult to do). Also, say, in the passage beginning in bar 39) there is a lovely little melody in the top notes that can be brought out more. Admittedly these are just details and you might well think (with some justification) I am nit picking and you might well totally disagree with me (most people do!).

Just a few thoughts - please consign them to the rubbish bin.
Last edited by JohnB on Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Max 61 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:57 pm

The notes are all there, and you have been good .... but Italian I must tell you that I have not heard Giuliani, I did not feel the dynamics and the colors of the Italian bel canto, the breaths, the slowing decreasing the accelerating and the difference between the plan and the fort is not quite exasperated
Believe me, you played well with a good technique, but I have not heard the Italian romanticism.
This is a questionable .... My point of view
You feel that you have an excellent technical mastery, and you can play these songs without any problems, but remember that you must find the poetry that lives in these works, and try to pull it out.
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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Tom Poore » Wed Mar 09, 2016 3:00 am

To JohnB:

Hey, I asked for a critique. So your comments are thoroughly appropriate to the matter at hand.

Regarding dynamics, you’ve hit the nail on the head, and it’s something I struggle with when recording. My recordings often leave me feeling that I’m not getting enough range in my playing. For example, consider mm. 25-30. I call this “crescendo alley,” because I want three crescendos in quick succession. And believe me, I really tried to do it in the takes of this section. And yet, listening to the recording, I keep wondering where the crescendos went. I hear the music crying out for crescendos. But I don’t hear myself delivering them. Sheesh.

In fact, it’s a main reason I want to redo this recording. And I also agree with your assessment of color in my performance.

Can’t say I agree, however, with all your points. For example, I perked up when you mentioned m. 39, because it’s one of my favorite passages to play. And I think I brought out the very things you wanted to hear, just not to the extent you would prefer. That, of course, is a matter of taste, and one man’s “too little” is another’s “too much.” By the way, whenever I play this passage I always lean to the left, as though the briefly slackened tempo is pulling me out of my chair.

Indeed, to my ears one of the strengths of this recording is my willingness to play with tempo. Another example is the repeated passage in mm. 53-54 and mm. 57-58. The first time I play it straight and choppy (admittedly ignoring Giuliani’s “dolce” marking)—the second time I milk it with legato, vibrato, and agogic accents (and this time honoring the “dolce” marking).

And really, I’m surprised no one has yet commented on how long I hold the loud E major chord at the end of the development section. (Although a former student of mine did single this out after hearing my recording.) Maybe I should hold it even longer.

To me, tempo fluctuations in this piece must defer to context. I consider the Alberti accompaniment as more than mere texture. It’s also motivic. The predominant context of this piece is to keep its chin up and keep on trucking. To yank the tempo about is to fight against what the music really wants to do. So to my ears, a little goes a long way.

Others may disagree, and that’s fine. My personal understanding of this piece is what I bring to the table—it’s what distinguishes my take from anyone else’s. For better or worse, I have to go with my instincts. If I have no particular feeling about this piece, then why bother playing it?

That being said, I enjoyed your take on my take. You offered your comments in good faith. I hope you accept mine as equally so.

And I’ll try to do better with dynamics and color.

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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Tom Poore » Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:26 am

Max 61 wrote:The notes are all there, and you have been good .... but Italian I must tell you that I have not heard Giuliani, I did not feel the dynamics and the colors of the Italian bel canto, the breaths, the slowing decreasing the accelerating and the difference between the plan and the fort is not quite exasperated
Believe me, you played well with a good technique, but I have not heard the Italian romanticism.
This is a questionable .... My point of view
You feel that you have an excellent technical mastery, and you can play these songs without any problems, but remember that you must find the poetry that lives in these works, and try to pull it out.

Consider the possibility that Giuliani didn’t set out to compose another typically Italian piece—something he was obviously well able to do. Rather, as an outsider in Vienna, he was intrigued by the distinctly Viennese approach to music. So he set himself to assimilate the examples of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. (Along with other now lesser lights.) His Op. 15 is one such result. Among his solo works, it stands apart as something more objective and architecturally rigorous. And one’s approach to playing it might appropriately be less Italian and more Austrian.

With his Op. 15, Mauro Giuliani showed himself to be more than one thing. This piece is durable enough to support something other than an overtly expressive approach. Yes, this makes its charms more elusive. But perhaps their very elusiveness makes them more enduring.

Wait, did I just lecture an Italian on how to play Giuliani? Tale arroganza!

Tom Poore
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Max 61

Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Max 61 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:29 pm

Tom Poore wrote:
Max 61 wrote:The notes are all there, and you have been good .... but Italian I must tell you that I have not heard Giuliani, I did not feel the dynamics and the colors of the Italian bel canto, the breaths, the slowing decreasing the accelerating and the difference between the plan and the fort is not quite exasperated
Believe me, you played well with a good technique, but I have not heard the Italian romanticism.
This is a questionable .... My point of view
You feel that you have an excellent technical mastery, and you can play these songs without any problems, but remember that you must find the poetry that lives in these works, and try to pull it out.

Consider the possibility that Giuliani didn’t set out to compose another typically Italian piece—something he was obviously well able to do. Rather, as an outsider in Vienna, he was intrigued by the distinctly Viennese approach to music. So he set himself to assimilate the examples of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. (Along with other now lesser lights.) His Op. 15 is one such result. Among his solo works, it stands apart as something more objective and architecturally rigorous. And one’s approach to playing it might appropriately be less Italian and more Austrian.

With his Op. 15, Mauro Giuliani showed himself to be more than one thing. This piece is durable enough to support something other than an overtly expressive approach. Yes, this makes its charms more elusive. But perhaps their very elusiveness makes them more enduring.

Wait, did I just lecture an Italian on how to play Giuliani? Tale arroganza!

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA[/quote

I'm sorry I did not mean to be arrogant and presumptuous criticism ..... if I have bothered you take off the trouble.
Bye and have a good day.
Max :desole:
Last edited by Max 61 on Wed Mar 09, 2016 3:19 pm, edited 11 times in total.

Max 61

Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby Max 61 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:31 pm

Ciao Max : :desole:

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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby JohnB » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:56 pm

Tom, thanks for your views.

We all have our individual take on music but for what it is worth -

What I was getting at about the passage beginning in bar 39 is that, for me, the melody in the top notes extends to the D maj chord in bar 42.

As far as yanking the tempo around - I was really meaning using subtle rubato to allow the music to breath a little and also for expressive purposes (definitely not à la Segovia though). Just my personal view.

By the way, I came across an interesting performance of the first movement by Ian Watt on YouTube. He does bring the 1st movement to life and that is worth listening to for that IMO. (I dislike his treatment of the 2nd movement - too fussy - and the final movement is a bit hell for leather.) You might not agree with some (or any) of his decisions (I don't) but his playing illustrates some of the things I was referring to, including what I meant about balance between the Alberti type base and the melody, and how the second subject is played, especially in the exposition. (On the other hand some of his decisions are a tad exaggerated and I have the gut feeling that he doesn't always sit comfortably on the tempo but would love to accelerate away, given half a chance - but, as I said, he does bring the music to life.)

Anyway, this is me done with my nit-picking. Apologies for going on a bit and please feel free to ignore this post (probably not a bad idea anyway!).

Ian Watt playing Giuliani Sonata Op 15:

Youtube
Last edited by JohnB on Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso"

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Re: Giuliani, Mauro - op.15/01 Allegro spirito

Postby JohnB » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:22 pm

A good thing about Tom's post and this thread is that it has lead me to start looking at this first movement again. I used to play it (probably not very well) some forty years or so ago but got tired of it, let it drop and never touched it again. I think I'll start start working on it again - though it will probably end up a bit on the slow side <cough>.
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso"


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