Composers vs Editors: A Helpful Addition?

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John Ruggero
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Re: Composers vs Editors: A Helpful Addition?

Post by John Ruggero » 12 Feb 2016, 16:42

The celeste additions in Ondine give it the J. Williams touch, Knut. Don't you like Star Wars? :)

But seriously, I agree with all of your comments: harp harmonics would be lovely for the solo, somewhat like those in the 1st movement of the Ravel Piano Concerto. The Peters edition terminates the pedal editorially on the first note of that solo. The first edition has the termination a little after beat 3 of the previous measure as if silence were to ensue before the solo and as in the orchestration. I have always preferred some sort of resonance behind the solo, achieved by lifting the pedal gradually through the 1/4-rest before the solo, but leaving it slightly depressed so that the felt is barely in contact with the strings through the solo. Perhaps this could be achieved orchestrally with a few strings sustaining a D minor triad almost inaudibly behind the solo.

The orchestral version of the measure that started this thread would be very different from the original, but some sort of written ritardando effect seems in order. I don't care for what happens in the arrangement in that the accompaniment is indistinct, especially on the third part of the RH triplet.
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Knut
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Re: Composers vs Editors: A Helpful Addition?

Post by Knut » 12 Feb 2016, 19:19

John Ruggero wrote:The celeste additions in Ondine give it the J. Williams touch, Knut. Don't you like Star Wars?
Star Wars is fun, but I'm not John Williams biggest fan. Actually, my favorite score of his is for the movie Catch Me If You Can, a jazz oriented, pretty atypical Williams score. His influence on the orchestral film music since the 1970s is hard to argue with, though.
John Ruggero wrote:But seriously, I agree with all of your comments: harp harmonics would be lovely for the solo, somewhat like those in the 1st movement of the Ravel Piano Concerto. The Peters edition terminates the pedal editorially on the first note of that solo. The first edition has the termination a little after beat 3 of the previous measure as if silence were to ensue before the solo and as in the orchestration. I have always preferred some sort of resonance behind the solo, achieved by lifting the pedal gradually through the 1/4-rest before the solo, but leaving it slightly depressed so that the felt is barely in contact with the strings through the solo. Perhaps this could be achieved orchestrally with a few strings sustaining a D minor triad almost inaudibly behind the solo.
That's more or less exactly what I was thinking of! Louis Lortie's rendition (on Chandos) utilizes this to great effect, I think.

Ravel was very adamant about the sparse use of sustain pedal, typical for the french piano tradition. This is confirmed in Vlado Perlmutter's memoir According to Ravel, which feature the composer's own comments on performing his solo piano music. Half pedal seems to be something Ravel insisted on in several cases, to keep the music sufficiently dry, while at the same time retaining some smoothness. In his orchestrations, it is also clear that while Ravel uses dovetailing very frequently, it is always very sparse and transparent. With this in mind, Constant clearly goes overboard with his background on several points, at least if his purpose is to give the arrangement 'authentic' feeling.
John Ruggero wrote:The orchestral version of the measure that started this thread would be very different from the original, but some sort of written ritardando effect seems in order. I don't care for what happens in the arrangement in that the accompaniment is indistinct, especially on the third part of the RH triplet.
I agree that this, as well as the ascending run, sounds a bit too much like an afterthought in Constant's arrangement. Perhaps it is appropriate to write the lines out for woodwinds or strings, in a similar fashion to what OCTO did above, to get lines substantial enough, but I think including the harp is very appropriate as well.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Composers vs Editors: A Helpful Addition?

Post by John Ruggero » 12 Feb 2016, 21:38

Ravel was definitely the cool Impressionist (as opposed to the warmer Debussy). I once heard Guido Agosti, (the pianist, adjudicator and completer of the Cortot edition of Chopin) say that he was present when Ravel expressed a lack of approval of a performance of Ondine that was done Romantically.

The pedal I was describing could be called a 1/4 pedal, because there would be even less resonance than a 1/2 pedal.

For me, Williams is the builder of musical McMansions; in fact, his music makes me gag. But who can argue with his mastery of what he does?
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David Ward
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Re: Composers vs Editors: A Helpful Addition?

Post by David Ward » 13 Feb 2016, 08:07

John Ruggero wrote:… … musical McMansions… …
I've learnt a new word!

It's a nice term with which to mock a certain type of film music, though perhaps the word itself might not catch on here in Scotland (where names beginning 'Mc' or 'Mac' take up pages and pages in every telephone directory).
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Re: Composers vs Editors: A Helpful Addition?

Post by Knut » 13 Feb 2016, 11:01

John Ruggero wrote: The pedal I was describing could be called a 1/4 pedal, because there would be even less resonance than a 1/2 pedal.
I see. I've listened to Marta Argerich's recording of the piece as well. She adds a romantic touch and pedaling on the last solo similar to Lortie. Do you know of any recordings that feature the very slight pedaling you were describing?

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John Ruggero
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Re: Composers vs Editors: A Helpful Addition?

Post by John Ruggero » 13 Feb 2016, 14:18

David, haha, yes, "McMansion" would be lost in Scotland. I had wondered if the term had caught on internationally; that it has not is hopeful. Here, it is hard to buy a home without it being one or close to one. They have more gables than the House of Seven Gables, more turrets than a Medieval castle, and more square footage than anyone outside royalty has a need for.

I don't know of a recorded example of this pedaling, Knut, and I had better not start looking, considering what happened last time with the Chopin Sonata. ;) But you might experiment with it yourself. I term it a "background" pedal. There is another way to achieve this effect that just occurred to me: one could hold down a large low cluster silently with the left hand or arm while playing the solo to allow the harmonics to sound. Or the silent cluster could be held by the sostenuto pedal. There is even a rest to allow time for the preparation. I believe this technique was suggested by Donald Francis Tovey for the ghostly recitatives in Beethoven's "Tempest" Sonata, which are actually quite similar to the Ravel, at least in my conception of it.
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Re: Composers vs Editors: A Helpful Addition?

Post by Knut » 14 Feb 2016, 13:50

Thanks, John, I'll do that.

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