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Performance Practices of the Berceuse in Db

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Performance Practices of the Berceuse in Db

Postby Mark Smith on Sat Mar 04, 2006 12:07 pm

Hey all,

My name is Mark Smith and I am studying for the final year of my Music Degree at King's College London.

Part of my course is 'Performance Practice on Record' which follows how performance practices have changed, how this can be seen through recordings and even how the invention of recorded sound and its development has lead to a change in performance practices.

I have to write a 5000 word research paper for this course and I have chosen Chopin as my subject matter. There is an article I read regarding Chopin's use of virtuosity in his compositions; whether it was there for pure show-off or whether in fact it was an integral part of the music. (particularly the Bercuese, due to the fact it was a Lullaby, virtuosity cannot occur because of the pieces genre - it has to be musically important).

So I am trying to find more information to back this up, as well as recordings of the Bercuese which can illustrate it. I am particularly looking for extreme performances, ones which may be particularly fast or slow, or some which are overly virtuosic or really play down the difficulty.
If you have any suggestions or ideas I'd be most grateful!

Many thanks, Mark Smith
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Postby MindenBlues on Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:42 am

Only a remark:
Maybe the Berceuse is not bravura stuff, however I would not only check for very fast and very slow playing. I would check for very soft playing too. The combination from soft playing and fast playing (yes, there are VERY fast passages for the right hand) is what makes it really difficult. This is much more difficult than playing loud and fast.
I would also check for performances in which the fast passages are played without slowing down - a lullaby should maintain a steady groove, that's why the same left hand part throughout the piece.
I do not know if there if there exist a recording without slowing down on the difficult right hand passages. Maybe Chopin was able to, who knows?

I only have recordings from Cortot (who plays pretty fast) from about 1933 and Rubinstein (who plays amazingly soft)
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Postby PJF on Mon Jul 10, 2006 12:33 am

Maurizio Pollini's berceuse is technically perfect and musically profound.

Here it is:

I can't leave this link here for more than a couple days, so if you want it right-click and "save as" !
Per Sapientiam Felicitas!

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