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Angela Lear

Cinnamonbear - Beethoven Sonata No. 25 in G Major 79: Message Board

Cinnamonbear's Comments

"Beethoven Goes On Vacation: A night on the town"

In the first movement, Presto alla tedesca, (or, "faster than a speeding German," as david_a put it in another Piano World thread), Beethoven enjoys some time in the ballroom with a fast waltz.

In the second movement, Andante, he enjoys a lovely gondola ride down the canal by lantern light.

In the third movement, Vivace, he skips back to the hotel, playing merry jokes on people along the way.

This is recorded in my livingroom on my 36" Lester spinet, tuned by Bill Bremmer to his Equal Beating Victorian Temperament III (EBVT III).


Post your comments on Cinnamonbear's performance!

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What is one plus zero (numerical, 1)?


Name Date Comment
wouter79 2010-12-22 05:45:54 playing. Nice tempo! Part 1 is good, my only suggestion is to try a bit more dynamics. Part 2 is wonderful. Part 3, well I think Beethoven did not have his day there... even the ending is weak.

recording: fine, balanced, no noise, no clipping.

piano. Sounds really nice for a spinet! But I do miss a good bass sound.
Mattardo 2010-12-19 14:00:51 Great work, Andy! It came out wonderfully! Beethoven's head must have been spinning after that excellent first movement.
The entire sonata breathes life! Good job!
Carey 2010-12-18 21:14:12 Andy - Your comments remind me of the old Beatles song, "With a little help from my Friends." Quite frankly, this is what Piano World SHOULD be all about ---- members supporting other members. There's a lesson to be learned here - and the proof is the wonderful performances you ultimately recorded of both the Opus 79 and 49/2. I sincerely want to THANK YOU for the support you've given me over the past few months as well.
Cinnamonbear 2010-12-18 18:57:04 Thank you so much, everyone.

I really do need to acknowledge some Piano World friends who helped me shape this performance--Carey, Angelina Pogerelich, Mattardo, and, of course, Bill Bremmer, RPT.

Carey and I had just finished re-mastering his old recital recordings when he mentioned he was going to learn the first movement of Op. 78 for the e-cital. I messaged back that I thought I'd blow the dust off of Op. 79. I started asking questions about markings in different editions, since I just have the Schirmer, and had gotten burned a little by strange markings in the Pathetique 2nd mov. I admitted that I had never heard Op. 79 played before by anyone but me, having played the first movement (badly) for a recital when I was a teen. I said I had just played it that morning, and it didn't go too badly, so I committed to the e-cital. We talked a bit about the recent thread, "Interpretations based on recordings," and how I landed on the side of NOT using recordings to shape an interpretation, rather, communicate with the composer from the score and see where it takes you. In his wisdom (and I DO mean wisdom!) Carey sent me three links to YouTube performances and said, "Here. I offer you these JUST TO LISTEN TO. Don't study them, just listen to them once, then forget about them until after the e-cital." I was torn. Finally, I did listen to them, and wow did it open my eyes! I learned that the way I HAD been playing it was like Barenboim--all stodgy and serious. Brendel plays it all light and spritely and fun and definitely put the waltz into it. I was so taken with his approach! It made total sense! Then, I asked Carey some questions about markings in his score related to the second movement, which Carey coined a "Venetian Boat Song." THAT picture made total sense, too, and all of a sudden, I got a lesson in Barcarolle AND caught the vision of Beethoven on vacation! Ha-ha!

After I had practiced and practiced enough, about a month ago, I recorded a little of my practice session, which I called "da raggetty Beethoven," and sent it to Carey, Mattardo and Angelina.

I was complaining to Mattardo about the insanely fast tempo marking, and he sent me a nice summary of scholarship about Beethoven's tempos, and that the dotted half at 88 was probably right. He encouraged me to push the tempo of the first and third movements. He also sent me a whole bunch of his thoughts regarding appogiaturas, including his own hand-copied examples from scores that included colored circles and arrows! Then, he sent me a quiz to puzzle out regarding the principle appogiatura of the first movement (which I still haven't answered, yet, cuz I'm still thinkin' about it!) He also went to the library and scanned me a copy of the Schnabel edition of the Sonata! Then, we talked about whether or not to follow Brendel's lead in hitting a lower G in the recapitulation of the first movement, and decided that it made logical sense to do so, since that's where the notes are headed in the preceding measures (though my touch is different than Brendel's, who rolled the octaves up from that low, low G. I just hit the low, low G...) And pedalling! Mattardo filled me in on what the pedal markings probably meant, especially in the cross-hands section, and said the Beethoven was probably after a special effect, there, so MASH and PLAY!!!

Angelina had technical advice for me, which helped with Mattardo's encouragement to push the tempo faster. She shared the idea to keep my fingers curled in and very close to the keyboard during the runs, and to watch carefully how I was transferring weight from finger to finger. This helped immensly in the first and third movements, as well as with Op. 49-2! She also said to lighten up the pedal in places, which kind of contradicted Mattardo's advice, but made me realize, No, I was being sloppy and unintentional with my pedalling... Ha-ha!

Then, there's all the help I got from Bill Bremmer in preparing the piano to record and play. He re-shaped, re-spaced, and re-oriented the hammers. He lubed the damper rail and adjusted some wonky dampers (still have a lot of work to do there--he flew me though additional adjustments by phone the next day because we ran out of time to do more when he was here. Treating the recording with reverb helps to hide some of that remaining wonky unpleasantness). One thing that also helped with acheiving a faster tempo was adjusting the capstans on the piano to make the keys engage evenly and quickly. Plus, Bill lubed the keypins before we put the action back in. He instructed, "you really don't HAVE to do this when you're servicing a piano." I said, "Oh, yes, you do!!!" Ha-ha!!! Then, he put on a pristine concert tuning in his Equal Beating Victorian Temperament III (EBVT III) which really makes my little spinet sing! Bill is a master at tuning unisons and setting the pins. He treats my shabby little Lester like it was a Steinway concert grand and I really appreciate that attitude so much, because I love my Lester!

So, I had LOTS of really good help. And I practiced and practiced and practiced. So, yes, LisztAddict, it's really me! (Ha-ha! You crack me up : D ) I wish I had another month to practice the 3rd mov. I'd love to hear debrucey play the 3rd. mov. especially! I bet he'd do those left hand figures justice!!!

Thanks for listening!

Inlanding 2010-12-18 13:08:44 Andy, what an absolutely superb performance! You paint such distinctly wonderful images through your playing and it sounds like you are having some great fun doing it! I've never heard a true spinet that sounds so musical and magical like that - it is voiced and tuned to perfection. You bring vivacious life to music with that piano - a fantastic connection. Thanks for sharing your Beethoven. BRAVO! says it all!
LisztAddict 2010-12-17 23:02:04 WOW!!!!!!!!!! BRAVO!!!
Andy Platt 2010-12-17 14:18:51 Excellent! I loved your comments about the movements almost as much as I enjoyed listening to the music. It really helped me to have your map of Venice to steer by.
Carey 2010-12-16 11:36:23 Bravo Andy !!!!