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Angela Lear

Cinnamonbear - Alexandre Tansman Venus: Message Board

Cinnamonbear's Comments

Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986) was a French-based, Polish-born composer and pianist who toured world-wide, lived in exile for a time in the United States during WWII, but considered France his home. He was good friends with Stravinsky, and, in fact, "wrote the book" on him.

Tansman's work is regarded as "French neoclassical" by pigeonholers, though he always regarded himself to be a Polish composer in the tradition of Chopin.

This piece, published in Paris around 1939, is one of a series of progressive studies for young people, in set no. 4, "Au Telescope." I took some interpretive liberties with it. In the first and last sections, in order to create a "mysterious" effect, I held each chord WAY longer than its written value, and kept the sustain pedal down through each phrase, letting the harmonies and dissonances ring and mingle. I thought it sounded complex and beautiful and met my artistic target of portraying "Venus" as a mysterious and moody woman. But, being a man, what do I know about women? Especially women who are planets. ...Named after Greek goddesses... Well, it was just an idea... Other tunes in this series are equally beautiful in their composition.

This piece is played on my 1940 Lester spinet, a mysterious and moody instrument in its own right, tuned to EBVT III temperament (Equal Beating Victorian Temperament, 3rd version), a temperament developed by Bill Bremmer, who I met via PianoWorld in the Tuner/Tech forum. Part of my reason for letting the opening and closing chords sustain so long is to highlight the beauty of the EBVT III temperament. Please listen carefully to the sound of the piano between the striking of the chords!

Post your comments on Cinnamonbear's performance!

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Name Date Comment
Almahed 2010-08-26 01:30:08 Oh, sorry for the anonymous below!
anonymous 2010-08-26 01:28:54 I agree with Sorcerer88, the mysterious character is present and the piece definely does not sound chopinesque. Very good playing, you achieve very nicely your goal in bringing this mystery to us. But, as you said, nobody can understand Venus :)

Perhaps, the old and good Haddorff??? :D
Rachfan 2010-08-24 22:25:20 "Venus" is a very unusual piece. I believe it even has a few fleeting impressionistic moments. Very nice playing! I like the temperament and you achieved quite a blending of overtones in your approach to the music. Thanks for posting it.

gerg 2010-08-23 11:36:09 LOLOLOLOL!!!! :D
Cinnamonbear 2010-08-23 01:00:28 To Uncoceest, I wish you had listened to the whole piece before commenting.
Cinnamonbear 2010-08-23 00:59:47 Glen, you said you were curious about my motivation to pick such a piece. It's really simple--If it's pretty and I think I can play it, I do. LOL! Seriously, I've had this book of music since high school when my piano teacher gave it to me (or, sold it to me, more-like). She was teaching me "Mars," a piece that I LOVE. When I got older, I taught myself the last piece, which is a fugue. Then, about a year ago, I decided to read through the whole book, and fell in love with Venus (so to speak...).
gerg 2010-08-22 11:11:17 Wow, our VERY FIRST SPAM!!! :-)
Uncoceest 2010-08-22 04:45:12 Buy Cheap Lipitor Online
wr 2010-08-22 02:04:23 Luscious piece, and yummy playing. Very nice indeed.
gerg 2010-08-21 20:54:25 LOL!
heidiv 2010-08-21 20:37:40 "Being a man, what do I know about women?" Oh, that gave me a chuckle!
I like the effect created by holding those chords. What a lovely mood you create, dream-like. Nicley done!
Inlanding 2010-08-21 18:50:27 Andy, this very well played composition sounds like it has influences from the impressionists, romanticists, and modernists. I am always curious as to the player's motivation to pick such a piece of music. It is beautiful. Excellent work!
Cinnamonbear 2010-08-21 10:02:18 Thank you, everyone. I'm glad you liked it!

Sorcerer 88, I think if gerg gets his hands on this piece, you very well may hear "Chopin." The "impressionistic" quality is a combination of Tansman's polyphony and my divergence from the score! lol!

canonie, my spinet is an instrument with "high inharmonicity." I think that means it has lots of extra tones within and around the tones that are actually supposed to be heard. The EBVT III and Bill's method of stretching octaves calms things down considerably on this piano. The "cabaret" is probably Paris 1939 coming through, yes?
canonie 2010-08-21 06:38:30 That was a feast for the ears Andy. Those A's at the beginning have a most intriguing quality as if you have invented a new type of staccato. I suppose it must be your spinet. Your interpretation feels round and complete, as if you always have the whole in your mind. A surprising sort of piece, especially with the stretching at beginning and end. It sounds cabaret in the middle.
gerg 2010-08-21 01:06:40 Your EBVT III temperament is intriguing and I'm glad you specifically pointed that out. That probably adds to the character of the performance.

gerg 2010-08-21 00:04:17 I really enjoyed this piece. Sorcerer88 is right in that it is difficult to place. It has a modern feel to it, but is not cold and objective like Frank Lloyd Wright architecture but rather warm and conciliatory.

Thank you very much for contributing this, and your playing of it brings out the expressiveness very well.
Sorcerer88 2010-08-20 20:58:58 I think you did a nice job of bringing out a mysterious character. The piece sounds neither chopinesque nor classical, rather impressionistic in my mind. Nice one =)
Carey 2010-08-20 20:09:24 I really like what you do with this piece !! Certainly the best playing I've heard you do - and the Mighty Lester pulls its weight as well. Congrats !!