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Topic: Apres un reve

  1. #1

    Apres un reve

    Hello friends,

    I do not even remember the last time I posted some music. Been busy etc etc but mainly trying to recover from a nasty right hand basketball injury, a 'long and winding road' including surgery, physiotherapy... still recovering actually (after one year and a half) and basically the hand will never be the same anymore. Musical.... aheemm... "skills" have been hampered but luckily not so much.
    Anyway, this is a humble attempt at Faure's "Apres un reve" for violin and piano. The piano is the CFX played "live", the violin is my acoustic, played of course live as there is no other way to play it . I played the piano part first but it is rather difficult to play an accompaniment of such an expressive piece without having the reference of the solo line, therefore I was forced to edit the timing a bit after I played the violin part... but mainly I had to play the violin part with a strange feeling of having to "connect the dots" rather than just follow feeling and inspiration.
    The result is not that bad, I am quite happy actually, except that I hate the sound of the violin. This is a combination of poor skills, bad mic and average violin. Ah, and 3 years old average strings, too.
    Now... there I call for your help. I know there are a few intonation issues on the violin, particularly in 2/3 passages. How bad they are? There is no need to be gentle, I know the problems are there so go on freely, I would just like to know how "disturbing" these are. I' ve listened to this thing so many times that my ears are so stuck and tired that I feel I can not have an objective opinion anymore.

    So... shoot the pianist, if you want to... but don't forget to shoot the violinist!
    Thanks to any "volunteer" .


    Greetings to all,


  2. #2

    Re: Apres un reve


    Good to see you back here, although it is sad to hear about your injury.

    This is one of my favorite pieces and it is packed with emotions.

    It takes courage to perform this piece with a combination
    of virtual and live instruments.

    I don't know which DAW you use for your work. In Cubase you can use a
    time stretch so that the piano can follow the violin.

    So the best result, in my opinion, would be to play the violin first,
    following feeling and inspiration, as you said, while hearing in your head
    the piano accompaniment.
    This is one piece that you have to practice a lot. Record your playing and
    listen to it to know what you have to improve.

    By not worrying if you are in tempo with the piano, you can achieve
    what you hear in your inner ear.

    Then you add the piano part and shift the notes so that they join the violin.

    There is of course the problem of hearing something so many times
    that you lose proportions.
    Letting one's ears rest for a whole day between work sessions
    can help a lot.

    There are good places and that's why I believe that you can improve the rest.

    All the best!

    ~ Yudit ~

  3. #3
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Canada,winter Mexico

    Re: Apres un reve

    Hello Fabrizio, nice to have you here again.
    You said we can be cruel with our "help". So I listened, and did not like your violin. Too many glissando's, the sound is very poor. If the recording would be better, the violin may sound better. Your piano is very good but this you know. Just to make my point, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbfz9zmMsOw try to listen to this. Unfortunately I have no constructive suggestion, and therefore maybe I should have just shut up, but your choice and your other work I admired, made me do this. You can just ignore me, please.


  4. #4

    Re: Apres un reve

    Thank you very much for your feedback to both of you! I very much appreciated.

    Ted, no reason for "shutting up", that's wrong in a forum like this one. I' ve asked for your opinion and that' s what you did, you posted your opinion. It is valuable to me to know what you think.
    I do agree with you about the sound of my violin. I actually mentioned this before you did, so no need to worry.
    Recording a violin is no joke, Ted. There are too many factors involved. The sound is first of all in the fingers and I am no professional violinist. But in this case this is not the main problem. Recording a violin requires experience, craftmanship and proper equipment. The violin has a very different sound whether you have it on your collar bone or if you listen to it at a distance, especially in a proper hall. Completely different. Plus, mic and mic positioning are an important part of this. I used a 30 euros condenser mic ... in my living room. Not the ideal situation, that is . I played a lot with mic positioning but I could not give any "body" to that violin, it remains shrill. Plus, just to be very technical and verbose, the first section, mainly played on the D string, is not that bad. It is when things move mainly on the E string that shrill armageddon kicks in. My E string does not suit the violin very well. E strings are the main problem with the sound of a violin. Most violinists choose strings sets of a specific maker and then take lots of care in the specific choice of the E string, the only string available by makers in "special", dedicated versions, gold plated and similar. Some take a particular care in choosing the A strings (Mutter, e.g.), too, but that's not that paramount as the E.
    I am familiar with that Panfili's recital, I 've listened to the whole thing more than once. She' s a very good professional violinist but I have to admit that her Apres un reve is not my favourite version. It is too "robotic" and uninspired. I prefer to turn to the "usual suspects". Vengerov for example (... genius):


    But by far my favourite version is Janine Jensen's:


    This is a studio version, so it is absolutely another story... but nonetheless the recording is amazing and her playing so intimate, delicate, subtle, detailed, emotional. Brilliant.

    Ah... I actually do not play any glissandos in that piece. Those are slides, unavoidable when you play legato on a leap on the same string. Everyone does them, Vengerov's recording is full of them, Jansen's too. It is not a choice, it is just the way it is. Of course you do not play the violin so you could not know.


    It is good to meet you back here for me too and I am very very grateful for your very thorough feedback.
    You actually "unblocked" my clogged ears as I now see the piece in a completely different light. I was so lost in isolating the violin part that I had lost any perception of the piece as a whole. Incredible thing the brain, it has its own ways to function...
    You are right, most of the piece seems blatantly out of sync, amazing how I did not notice it. It actually seems the the piano part is mainly off beat, which is funny because it doesn't seem so if you listen to it in isolation.
    I' ll definitely rework the piece but, if you can, would you be so kind to tell me your opinion on this version, which is absolutely the same but with different, dryer reverb settings?


    It would be of great help in order to fully acknowledge the issues concerning the piece.
    By the way, you are also right with reference to the order I should have tackled the recordings. I had also thought I had to begin with the violin part. The point is that I was way more anxious about the piano part so I decided to face it first. I am not an extremely fast sight reader on the piano so I need to learn the part by heart in order to be able to play it, and you probably know how hard that can be. I sight read way better on the violin so to learn a part is way more comfortable. Plus, I have this thing with my right hand, which is not a problem on the violin (once I got used to a modified bow grip) but is a factor not to underestimate on the piano: I simply can not play complex chords that require big extension of the hand anymore, so this adds to the "fatigue".

    But for sure I'll think about reversing the recording order.

    Ah... I use Sonar but I basically use it merely as an old fashioned multitrack recorder. No "cheat codes", remember? Whatever I do, it HAS to come just from the fingers

    By the way... should I take positively that you both did not mention anything about the intonation issues? Are they not so bad after all ... or you simply forgot mentioning them?

    Thanks again to both of you.
    I'll get back to work on this!


  5. #5

    Re: Apres un reve


    My favourite version is also Janine's!
    Venegrov's version I find a bit exaggerated.

    I understand you wanting to record everything with your own fingers.
    Now, the piano part is an important part of course, but if you have problems
    playing it live, why not try the option of using a MIDI file of the score.
    Then, once you have recorded the violin, you can use Sonar's tempo options
    to sync both. I do this all the time. It takes time but is worthwhile doing
    and you will learn a new technique which will take off that stress of
    playing it yourself and you will be able to concentrate more on the violin.

    Here's the piano part in MIDI:

    I listened again to your recording and I can feel how passionate you are
    about the music and how eager you are to perform it.
    That's why I really want to help.

    Here are the places I find quite good and clean:

    1:00 - 1:04
    1:10 - 1:15
    1:30 - 1:38
    1:49 - 2:00
    2:06 - 2:15
    2:31 - 2:37
    2:53 - 3:00

    The rest is, unfortunately, out of tune with exaggerated glissandos.
    Dynamics are also exaggerated.
    There are also some mistakes in note lengths which I suspect are because
    you were trying to 'catch up' on the piano...

    I feel that this piece should be played in a more intimate sound
    rather than an extrovert one.
    I'm quite sure that if you play it as softly as you can, get
    higher at the climax and back to softly to the end, you will
    achieve a much better recording.

    Listen a lot to Janine's playing!
    Good luck!

    ~ Yudit ~

  6. #6

    Re: Apres un reve

    Yudit you are amazing.
    I sincerely thank for all the time you put into this in order to help me out with this.
    Your input is invaluable and I have plenty to think and work to do.
    I do agree on everything you say.
    No, midi files are "against the rules" . I feel I can make it with the piano part and all the quirks that come from playing it live, I just need more work. Only... I am afraid that just by listening to Janine won't help me with the violin part. I feel I've come a long way with the instrument but I am still not in the position to play whatever I want, the way I'd like to. Long notes are indeed a consequence of trying to catch up with the piano, but subtleties and dynamics are not 100% under my control, in my fingers.
    Again, more work to put into it (in general) but that's the story with musical instruments, I am sure you understand what I am saying.
    And, by the way, I listened to Janine's version A LOT.

    You make me want to take advantage of you as a strict and uncompromising reviewer much more (I'd have a few more for you...).

    Thanks again.


  7. #7
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Shelton, Washington State

    Re: Apres un reve


    Although there are some intonation and other issues at least you’re getting a pretty decent basic sound out of the violin. My younger brother was given violin lessons for some strange reason as he had inherited my father’s lack of musical talent and performing ambitions which could be an embarrassing situation when in the vacinity of either one at a public gathering.


  8. #8

    Re: Apres un reve

    Hi Fabrizio,

    Until 2006 I was a conductor of a chamber orchestra and had to deal a lot with violins and techniques, although I'm not a violin player. I know how hard it is to record a (solo) violin. Even studio engineers do have a lot of difficulties to have the recordings sound natural. It has so much to do with recording distance and equalising. Most string instruments produce a sound with lots of harmonics (upper and under tones) which are mostly inaudible, but create the richness of a sound and instrument. By positioning and by wrong settings of the microphones the sound can turn into a horrible noise...
    With that I didn't say that the sound of your piece is horrible, but it shows the shortcomings of a home recording with modest means. Next to that (and some already mentioned it), the violins sometimes plays out of tune and tempo.

    All in all, it was a decent and above all courageous attempt to bring such a piece here. I agree with Yudit that you should do the violin first and then timestretch the piano afterwards (as an audio file). But that procedure won't make it any easier, because you wouldn't have a reference instrument for the intonation anymore.

    As to the portamenti, they don't disturb me too much: they were often used in romantic solo music. But if one likes it, is a matter of taste. Too much is too much.

    Anyway, thank you for bringing this piece on the forum. Not many members would dare to perform live here...


  9. #9

    Re: Apres un reve

    Well.... after my singing performance in the role of .... CATHY , the only thing that you can not say about me is that I lack COURAGE.

    ... and don't' forget that I actually uploaded a few violin pieces that date back when I started to learn it. Now, that took some REAL courage.

    Thanks for stepping by and for giving a hand, I highly appreciated.
    Actually... I thought about it and I am convinced that reversing the recording order would not help. Intonation would not be a problem in isolation, the contrary I'd say. When you play over a pre-recorded accompaniment, you need to use headphones in order to isolate the background. This is physically disturbing (headphones and cable somehow interphere with the mechanics of violin playing) and isolates you from the sound you produce which spells trouble.

    The problem reversing the order is that if you do not have a rhythmic reference, a "beat", you let yourself too loose and begin to "interpret" too much, which is by the way the same problem I had playing the piano part first: I always tend to play in a loose way, interpreting everything, even an accompaniment. A bad habit that comes by always playing on my own. I simply needed to be stricter, more "metronomic" while playing the accompaniment. It can be easily done and I'll do it as soon as my fingers will get better.

    I know I can quickly improve in many areas.. except in the recording quality. For that I just need equipment that I am not interested in purchasing. My goal is simply to learn to play, not to produce professional recordings.

    Have a nice day, Jos.


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