Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Audio and video recordings of the works of Agustín Barrios Mangoré
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lagartija
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Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by lagartija » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:07 pm

I've been working on this piece over the past six months and have put in about 135 hours of work on it. Obviously, it is still a work in progress! Usually I don't feel I can play a piece in performance unless it has been on the burner for about a year simmering in my fingers and brain, but my teacher is trying to teach me to accelerate this time line and acquire pieces faster and more thoroughly. :chaud:

So here is where it is at the moment. For the past few weeksI have been trying to record myself nearly every day or two to get rid of the inhibition with which I start a piece when I push the red "record" button or am placed in a performance situation. Sometimes it takes to the second repeat of the A section before I get rolling. I think I did a better job than usual in launching in right away in this recording, but let me know what you think. Do I sound too cautious in the beginning?

This recording is unedited, and I used my Zoom H4n without any post processing. It is not without flaws, of course! In fact, while listening this morning (the day after recording), I almost spit my coffee out when I heard my flub right near the end where I missed the D at the peak of the phrase. :roll:

I remember as I played the piece, that while I was keeping all those plates in the air, I sometimes forgot where I was in the repeat, but was determined to keep going no matter what! I meant to play the piece as written as far as repeats go, but I tried for continuity first and foremost rather than stopping or trying to fix it on the fly. AA B A CC B A
I still feel awkward in some of the transitions such as the A to C section or the C to B section.

Tell me what I am missing. Any constructive critique is welcome.
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by richtm » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:10 pm

Very nice in terms of expression - and I like the tempo. You are missing a couple of tunes, the bussing here in there I know as a too little finger fittness/or precission.
My reference for this piece is: Judicael Perroy plays Barrios Choro de Saudade on the GSI channel on youtube. There are some critics about this interpretation but I find it very logical and natural... and one cane immagine the difficulty of the piece by watching.
You are asking of your beginning... yes, you sound a little bit careful und controlled at the beginning, but the listener forgets it after the second minute. At the end you are very clear and not to fast :bravo:
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by lagartija » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:23 pm

Thank you, richtm, for taking the time to listen carefully and comment. :merci:
There are a lot of slurs in this piece, and yes it is a challenge. The buzzing is due many times to imprecision in a barre where the string slides into a joint crease, or sometimes when I need to precisely place the little finger on a large shift.
I'll keep working at making the beginning more confident. Again, thank you for your comments.

PS: I have hair like Judicael Perroy....too bad I can't play it as well as he can! :lol:
richtm wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:10 pm
Very nice in terms of expression - and I like the tempo. You are missing a couple of tunes, the bussing here in there I know as a too little finger fittness/or precission.
My reference for this piece is: Judicael Perroy plays Barrios Choro de Saudade on the GSI channel on youtube. There are some critics about this interpretation but I find it very logical and natural... and one cane immagine the difficulty of the piece by watching.
You are asking of your beginning... yes, you sound a little bit careful und controlled at the beginning, but the listener forgets it after the second minute. At the end you are very clear and not to fast :bravo:
When the sun shines, bask.
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by oski79 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:28 pm

Lagartija... A great job with a challenging piece. You play the sixteenth note figures pretty straight most of the time. I think using rubato, sometimes a lot of rubato, is what gives the piece the impact it does. I heard Odair Assad play it from about ten feet away and was awed. One of my teachers, a friend of Odair, made a video of him playing it, along with the commentary that it taught to him by his father and he never played it without thinking of him. So the piece is intensely emotional for him. I think the more rubato, and dynamic variation, you put into it, the more effect it will have.

Let us know how the MC goes!

PS Just watched the Judicael Perroy video. Terrific. And... His nails! He must be really good at protecting them!
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by lagartija » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:07 pm

Thanks, Oski! Yes, when I first started the piece, I listened to Odair play it on El Caminante CD. For hours at a time. I like his interpretation *very* much....but I don't think I could be as convincing using the space and timing he uses. However, I certainly can use more rubato and dynamics than in this recording and have along the way as I worked on the piece, but that was when I was playing it at a much slower tempo. My teacher thought it dragged a bit too much and the pulse did not feel like it was in two. I think I've fixed that.
Now that I am playing it at this tempo, I feel like I have my hands really really full! I worked small sections at eighth note = 92 to even get it *this *fast, which is not all that fast, really. I just have to get my brain to process stuff faster! :lol: In another six months, I know it will be more solid and I will feel more in control of it. There are some parts that did not sound as legato as they should, which is what I've been focusing on this week, and so I have been playing it pretty much straight time trying to get pulse correct before adding rubato.

Yeah...11 days to go! :shock:
oski79 wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:28 pm
Lagartija... A great job with a challenging piece. You play the sixteenth note figures pretty straight most of the time. I think using rubato, sometimes a lot of rubato, is what gives the piece the impact it does. I heard Odair Assad play it from about ten feet away and was awed. One of my teachers, a friend of Odair, made a video of him playing it, along with the commentary that it taught to him by his father and he never played it without thinking of him. So the piece is intensely emotional for him. I think the more rubato, and dynamic variation, you put into it, the more effect it will have.

Let us know how the MC goes!

PS Just watched the Judicael Perroy video. Terrific. And... His nails! He must be really good at protecting them!
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by Cass Couvelas » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:43 am

Massive bravo for all the work you’ve put into this so far!

You’re at that enviable point when you’ve got a huge amount of the hard graft behind you and you can now really start to enjoy the storytelling (the most thrilling and rewarding part of the process, in my view). Saudade - the longing and melancholia implicit in that word - is so rich in interpretative possibilities.

If I was at this stage on this piece, I’d now probably allow myself a little time out to start really exploring the interpretative side of things. I find that allowing my mind to concentrate on things other than knotty technical issues releases me: let the technical chips fall as they may for a while!

I too need to let things simmer slowly and work their way gradually into my very bones and being. I honestly wouldn’t know how to speed that process up . . . . and I wouldn’t expect ever to be able to hurry the development of a piece as rich and complex as this. I’d be really interested to know what processes your teacher is suggesting for accelerating that time line.

I realise this isn't constructive critique as such. But I know your background in CG is very similar to mine, so I listen with great interest. And, once again - bravo!!
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by Erik Zurcher » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:57 pm

I concur with Cass Couvelas post above.
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by lagartija » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:19 pm

Thanks, Erik and Cass for listening. :merci:

Yesterday I had a tough day in the practice room....it left me a bit down. However, today I had my weekly lesson and that made a big difference in my outlook. There is nothing like having an excellent teacher to help you make a real breakthrough to lift your spirits! :D
This week, I will be working on the exercises he gave me to develop the control I wish to have with my rubato. I will record the piece again next week and we will see what the result is.

Funny that you should mention the storytelling, Cass. I went to an Oscar Ghilia masterclass a few weeks ago and he talked about what story the music is telling. As I asked myself about that with regard to Choro da Saudade, I realized I *did* have a story to tell. But how to communicate that story?

Yes, Oski is right....my feeble attempts at rubato in this recording were so "subtle" that no one but I knew they were there. :oops: Part of the problem was due to a few misconceptions I had about what was "allowable". My teacher helped clear those up today. So we will see how the piece changes in the next week.

Cass, you asked about the process my teacher was suggesting to reduce the time to bring the piece to performance. I will outline it below and emphasize that it was tailored to me in particular and it is not necessarily the appropriate solution for another student. Chris told me that this is what I needed to do....but he has another student for which he knows this would not be the right solution. It really depends on the student's difficulties and tendencies.
You mention that you are like me in that you need to let the piece work its way gradually into your bones and being and that is pretty much what I had to do. Or so I thought! :wink: This is the first piece that I have worked on in this way, so although it is much much further along at the same time point than the last piece I learned, it is still not yet ready. Although it is still a work in progress (and will be for a much longer time) it is better developed at six months than the last piece I learned.

How to work on a piece efficiently to bring it to performance in less time?

* Don't allow yourself the luxury of that long time line!
Having a deadline like a masterclass presentation in a shorter time than you are used to having will not allow you to be inefficient. [definitely this was good part of what I needed]

* More balance between technical and musical details (sometimes those details are small...but important).
Attention to dynamics and phrasing earlier in the process of learning the piece. Learning each section with dynamics and phrasing before learning the entire piece. My previous usual process was to learn the entire piece, get the worst technical problems solved, then go back and work on the musical elements. When I learned this piece, I first concentrated on the A section, worked on it phrase by phrase and brought it up to tempo (although it was still really too slow---more on that later. Then I concentrated in the same manner on the B section and then the C section.

*Don't linger at a slow tempo for too long.
This was definitely a major problem for me. I now knew the piece, but had been practicing it very slowly. This can affect your musical model because you become accustomed to hearing the piece slowly. Chris had me bring small bits at a time up to and a bit past the tempo I planned to play the piece. This meant that I brought the bits of the A section up to 1/8 note = 92 before I started working on the B section. Then did the same thing with B and C sections. The "small bits" aspect is that when you play a passage, even if only a beat or two at a much higher BPM, you start to train your fingers to move faster. You might not get it on the first try, but you just start with the number of notes you can play at that tempo. You aren't trying to play the entire section at that speed, just a few beats. When you go back and play that phrase in the piece, the work you did on the bits is there in the fingers and it does bring up the tempo quicker than playing the entire section and slowly moving it up a few clicks.

*Goal oriented learning
Have daily, weekly and long term goals. One week, I worked on making the passages more legato, another it might be controlling the rubato. Basically, you are sitting down to practice and you are trying to accomplish a particular thing. You may not achieve it, but it is the focus of the practice. Know what you are trying to accomplish.

So that is what I have tried to do in this piece, and I have not been entirely successful...but it is the first time I have tried to learn a piece in this manner. Hope that answers your question!
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by Erik Zurcher » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:33 pm

Rubato is 'stolen' time. Perhaps you should mark the rubato points in your score and play towards them by accelerating. It is contrast that makes it interesting. Exaggerate the contrast, record these bits and listen back if you like the result.
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by oski79 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:04 pm

Erik Zurcher wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:33 pm
Rubato is 'stolen' time. Perhaps you should mark the rubato points in your score and play towards them by accelerating. It is contrast that makes it interesting. Exaggerate the contrast, record these bits and listen back if you like the result.
One of the best pieces of advice I've heard on this is to not be afraid of overdoing it when you're first learning. You can scale it back later as you see fit.
“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” --Florence Foster Jenkins

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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by lagartija » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:17 pm

Erik Zurcher wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:33 pm
Rubato is 'stolen' time. Perhaps you should mark the rubato points in your score and play towards them by accelerating. It is contrast that makes it interesting. Exaggerate the contrast, record these bits and listen back if you like the result.
Yes, that is exactly what we did in the lesson today. I played the A section after counting with John Williams’ recording of the piece. Played along with him (slowed down by 20%) to compare with how it felt different to how I had been playing it, turned off John and played it with my own rubato timing for a few minutes (emulating what he did but not replicating), then with an iPhone we recorded my version of the A section. We compared that to the recording I posted here. The result was amazing!! My assignment is to do the same thing with the B and C sections. I can hardly believe what a huge difference it made! The piece came alive and was more like what I had intended it to sound like. :-)
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by lagartija » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:20 pm

oski79 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:04 pm
Erik Zurcher wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:33 pm
Rubato is 'stolen' time. Perhaps you should mark the rubato points in your score and play towards them by accelerating. It is contrast that makes it interesting. Exaggerate the contrast, record these bits and listen back if you like the result.
One of the best pieces of advice I've heard on this is to not be afraid of overdoing it when you're first learning. You can scale it back later as you see fit.
Yes, Chris has said that to me a number of times. :-)
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:39 pm

Wonderful Lagartija! This piece is way beyond me. It's great to hear someone post a recording of a piece that's still in process--although well on the way! It's helpful somehow. I hope that you continue to post updates--it would be fascinating to follow how this evolves. And it's interesting to read the discussion too. It's 'on the ground' stuff. Good teaching.
Last edited by Jeffrey Armbruster on Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by lagartija » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:50 pm

Thanks for listening, Jeffrey!
:merci:

Hopefully, the commentary will help me and others learn how to listen critically and how to move forward with a musically challenging piece.
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Re: Barrios Mangoré, Agustín - Choro da Saudade

Post by Cass Couvelas » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:20 am

Thanks for laying out your teacher’s strategy so clearly. Yes, I see it all comes down to efficient practice – and clear definition of goals. And it certainly must help to have a specific end in sight! Are you preparing this for a masterclass?
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