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Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Arpangel » Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:01 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:To quote the former BBC DG John Birt, I fear you are "tainted by experience". :D

Your expectations and presumptions of the work obviously don't sync with those of the performer and producer. But that's fine -- it's your point of view, formed by your personal experiences.

For what it's worth, my personal opinion is that I really like the intimate setting, which I think suits the works perfectly. And I like the interpretation and performances too -- staccato grace notes and all...

But the bottom line for me, is that it is the most enjoyable of the four CD versions of Satie's works I have available here.

Although those DC offsets are still very distracting... :lol: :bouncy:

First let me say that this is just my view, I'm not being critical of anything or anyone in particular, this isn't a general review!
I have preformed ideas in my head about all sorts of classical recordings, those ideas were shaped in the 60's/70's and I think the first recordings we hear of works we love are always the best, in our minds, and become yardsticks, and recording techniques, production and fashions regarding classical interpretations are always changing.
The way I see it is that Saties music is extremely ethereal, other worldly, and the production needs to reflect that, it needs a dream-like quality. Distant mic's, in a large space, and a very laid back smooth playing style.
This documentary has some excellent musical examples...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4LYRufaWpbk

I have an affinity with Satie, I know what he would have liked, I've always felt connected with him, in a very strange way, there's no need to call the "men in white coats" Hugh...

:)
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:31 am

But they've brought a lovely new Christmas jumper for you with really long arms that tie up round the back and everything.... :bouncy: :lol:
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby John Willett » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:40 am

Arpangel wrote:I just listened to this CD, lots to do, so just got around to it.
First thing that struck me was a lack of ambience, it's very dry.
Also the rendition is strange, the pianists grace notes are way too staccato, they need to be more legato.
Apart from that, the actual recording quality is difficult to judge, as there is so little ambience.
This approach doesn't suit Saties work at all, exactly the opposite in fact.
Sorry to all involved, but that's just my opinion.

The producer specifically asked for an "intimate" recording with close mics.

Satie's piano pieces are "chamber music" and written to be performed to a small audience, rather than in a large hall.

Personally, I find a lot of Satie recordings too reverbarant and want less.

This recording really needs to be listened to on loudspeakers in a room, where you get the natural reverberatiuon of the listening room as well.

I agree that on headphones it can seem too close - but played on loudspeakers in a room it really comes into its own.

When I listen on headphones I feel I want a bit more "room", but on loudspeakers I still find it magic and it is one of my most listened to CDs - just because of John's playing. And, most importantly the performer and producer were delighted and so were Classic FM as they bought the master from Earthsounds (the original record company).

But I agree with Hugh that if you are so used to hearing Satie in a concert hall or CDs made that way, then this one will seem a bit close on first listening.
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:36 pm

Another reason perhaps to listen on speakers and with some room reverb. It might help cover up some low level technical flaws I heard on headphones: a click around 0:01, a "plop" just near the fade out, a strange low level breathing sound through much of the track, something like analog DBX NR on some material, and right at the end, the sound of a vehicle accelerating.

A fine performance though by a fine pianist.
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Re: Recording Steinway grand piano - damper noise

Postby Arpangel » Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:19 pm

I did listen on speakers, in my room, but it's not particularly large, so.
I think Satie never really heard how he'd like his music to sound, half the time he got other people to play it in less than ideal conditions, he didn't even play the piano towards the end of his life, he had an upright, but he used it to dump mail in that he never opened.
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