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Thread: Cadenzas, cadenzas!

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    Default Cadenzas, cadenzas!

    So, basically I wanna hear anything you may have to on the subject...which are your favorites...which, if any, do you feel should never be changed from the original composer's...have you ever written any for a major concerto...and, so on...hmmm, a couple of my own thoughts on the matter...Mozart's d minor, I feel, should always be represented with the Beethoven cadenza...same for the c minor...and, I think it would be close to impossible to write a better solo for the Grieg concerto than the one the Norwegian master troll himself wrote...also, maybe the Tchaikovsky no. 1...don't know if anyone could really come up with something that would fit and work better...anyway, what do you think about this?

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    I love cadenzas, they can be the highlight of a concerto for me (& don't forget that many other types of works also have cadenzas written into them - many chamber works, for example). Yours truly has put up a thread on this very topic in the past, as has another guy (links below) but these are quite old & stale, so it's good to have a new thread, imo.

    Favorite cadenzas

    Favourite cadenzas

    My favourite cadenzas are the ones that kind of sum up the many ideas/strands in a work & maybe also give the listener new possibilities or ideas to go away & think about. Here are a three of many favourites that I can think of -

    Bernstein - Symphony #2 "The Age of Anxiety" - The second last movement labelled "Masque" has a cadenza for the piano soloist that speaks to the ragtimes of Scott Joplin.

    Saint-Saens - Piano Concerto #2 (the opening cadenza) - This is quite restrained & kind of old-style for this composer, who (at the time) was one of the young "radicals" centred around Liszt (who was a huge influence on Saint-Saens' piano concertos). But behind the strict counterpoint is a sense of tragedy and foreboding, there is something about this that is unusually dark and almost morbid for this guy, who was generally not like this, as far as I can tell.

    Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue - There are two cadenzas (if I remember correctly?) played by the composer in one of the two acoustic recordings he made during the 1920's with Paul Whiteman at the helm. I don't know which of the two recordings I have, it doesn't say in the CD notes (big bad Naxos!!!). Some other pianists omitted one or both cadenzas entirely - eg. I used to have one of Bernstein's recordings (at the piano & conducting) & I think he didn't play either of the cadenzas. I'm not even sure if these cadenzas were composed by Gershwin or the arranger of the Rhapsody in Blue, Ferde Grofe. In any case, it seems now, that the point is rather academic. If Gershwin recorded it, he must have approved of it, that's what matters. Anyway, as with the whole work, the cadenzas here speak to the influence of Liszt, combining that with the vibes of jazz and Broadway musicals...
    Genuine ersatz classical listener since 1981.

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    Senior Member Meaghan's Avatar
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    The cadenza in the Copland Clarinet Concerto is pretty cool, and is a very effective transition between the two sections of the piece (Copland did not label them as separate movements and the whole concerto is played without pause). The beginning of the cadenza sounds like a gradual awakening from the dreamy first section and then turns very wide awake indeed and leads seamlessly into the jazzy, up-tempo second section. It's also a lot of fun to play, and, like the rest of the concerto, shows off some cool clarinet tricks.

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kv466 View Post
    ..Mozart's d minor, I feel, should always be represented with the Beethoven cadenza...same for the c minor...
    Hi KV466!

    I recently witnessed a performance of your namesake without the Beethoven cadenzas. I know, it's unimagineable, but to give the performer his due, he felt the Beethoven cadenzas weren't suitable for the work, in the sense that they were typically large and Beethovenian, more or less implying that these were Romantic cadenzas on a Classical work. I'm not sure I agree, but then again, I'm not sure I disagree, either! I don't fully understand what he was saying, since cadenzas are a source of mystery to me.

    Aren't they the segment of the work where the performer gets to interpret the work, and also show their skill?

    Which C-minor are you referring to when you say "same for the c minor"? Far as I know, Beethoven only composed cadenzas for the d-minor, but not the c-minor - concerto #24...

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    Senior Member Il_Penseroso's Avatar
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    1. Joachim for Beethoven's Violin Concerto
    2. Schumann for his Piano Concerto
    Last edited by Il_Penseroso; Jul-16-2011 at 16:16. Reason: spell correcting !
    Tutto nel mondo è burla

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    Alkan's cadenza for his solo piano arrangement of first movement of Beethoven's 3rd PC:


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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    Alkan's cadenza for his solo piano arrangement of first movement of Beethoven's 3rd PC:
    Yeah, that is some cadenza.


    There is a significant (as a clue to his personality) quote from Alkan associated with this piece. If he hadn't had a career as an under-appreciated composer, he could have had even less popularity as a humorist. Humor-in-umbra.

    (No, I'm not going to quote the quote - 'you can look it up')
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Hi KV466!

    I recently witnessed a performance of your namesake without the Beethoven cadenzas. I know, it's unimagineable, but to give the performer his due, he felt the Beethoven cadenzas weren't suitable for the work, in the sense that they were typically large and Beethovenian, more or less implying that these were Romantic cadenzas on a Classical work. I'm not sure I agree, but then again, I'm not sure I disagree, either! I don't fully understand what he was saying, since cadenzas are a source of mystery to me.

    Aren't they the segment of the work where the performer gets to interpret the work, and also show their skill?

    Which C-minor are you referring to when you say "same for the c minor"? Far as I know, Beethoven only composed cadenzas for the d-minor, but not the c-minor - concerto #24...

    Yup, I was talking about the concerto 24...I guess I through the Mozart wrong out there...maybe even the Grieg and Tchai...if the performer can come up with something that is better or fits better and works with the piece then by all means, it is a lot more exciting than hearing a maestro like Ludwig van's take on it...with the two romantic pieces I don't know that this can ever be accomplished...however, for the classical pieces especially Mozart I think this is quite possible and if I were out there playing these to a public I know I would surely want to put my stamp on the piece and work out my own cadenza...but yeah, it's pretty much a space where you can reflect what's happened so far in the movement...and, get to show off a little because there should be at least a moment (in my opinion) where you place at a high level of virtuosity...thinking of it now, I don't like when I hear a different cadenza on the Beethoven concerti also, except maybe no.1 since I've gotten used to it already

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    Senior Member Meaghan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post

    I recently witnessed a performance of your namesake without the Beethoven cadenzas. I know, it's unimagineable, but to give the performer his due, he felt the Beethoven cadenzas weren't suitable for the work, in the sense that they were typically large and Beethovenian, more or less implying that these were Romantic cadenzas on a Classical work. I'm not sure I agree, but then again, I'm not sure I disagree, either! I don't fully understand what he was saying, since cadenzas are a source of mystery to me.

    Aren't they the segment of the work where the performer gets to interpret the work, and also show their skill?
    As cadenzas in Mozart's day were commonly improvised by the performer, I don't think a cadenza should necessarily be disqualified for bearing the mark of someone other than the concerto's composer. I see your performer's point, though, about a romantic cadenza in a classical work. But to me, the d minor concerto sounds almost romantic, so I think it's fine.

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Hi KV466!

    I recently witnessed a performance of your namesake without the Beethoven cadenzas. I know, it's unimagineable, but to give the performer his due, he felt the Beethoven cadenzas weren't suitable for the work, in the sense that they were typically large and Beethovenian, more or less implying that these were Romantic cadenzas on a Classical work. I'm not sure I agree, but then again, I'm not sure I disagree, either! I don't fully understand what he was saying, since cadenzas are a source of mystery to me.
    This reminds me (again, as I think I talked about this on the earlier "Favourite cadenzas" threads I created ages ago) when I was at a performance of Beethoven's 4th piano concerto with Dejan Lazic as soloist. I remember that after it I thought that I enjoyed his performance very much overall, but I was quite critical that he didn't play the composer's own cadenzas, Lazic played ones that he'd composed (or maybe it was a bit of extemporisation/improvisation?). After the performance, I said to a friend who was there with me "If Beethoven's cadenzas were good enough for Rudolf Serkin, why weren't they good enough for Mr Lazic?" I may have been a bit too critical & complicating matters, but I felt that Lazic's cadenzas sounded more big-boned & beefed up "late romantic" - Brahms camed especially to my mind - than Beethoven. This brings me to the point made in this quote -

    Aren't they the segment of the work where the performer gets to interpret the work, and also show their skill?
    So what this talks to (& member Meaghan's points made above are in line with this) is that maybe we shouldn't take cadenzas too seriously. In a way, they are often about virtuosity & showing off rather than strictly about content (funny how the word virtuosity comes from the word virtuous, but do they have the same meaning?). There is also the issue that often cadenzas are omitted entirely from a performance (or at least severely shortened). As I said above, I don't remember Leonard Bernstein playing the cadenzas in Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (I last listened to his classic recording ages ago, though, I'm pretty sure Lenny didn't play either of the two cadenzas originally in that work), & the same goes for a 1960's recording by pianist Alfred Brendel of Haydn's Keyboard Concerto in D (& I was actually surprised when I first heard a later recording with Trevor Pinnock on harpsichord playing exactly the same piece, he included the cadenzas, but I don't remember who wrote them). So maybe cadenzas are a bit like "the icing on the cake," more an "added extra" than really integral to a piece (but this can vary depending on the work, I guess)...
    Genuine ersatz classical listener since 1981.

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies! Interesting stuff. Now, what's the difference between a cadenza and an eingang? An eingang is a lead-in piece of music, is it?

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    The most memorable cadenza I have ever heard is the Concertgebouw Orchestra with Jarvis and Gutierrez's performing the Prokofiev No.2 piano concerto. Here is the YouTube link I found. Enjoy!

    Horacio Gutierrez plays Prokofiev piano concerto No.2 (Cadenza only) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_mDG2TRv5I

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    Senior Member Op.123's Avatar
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    Schumann piano concerto,cadenza
    “Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”

    - Mozart

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    It's hard to believe Kreisler wasn't channelling Beethoven directly when he wrote the first movement cadenza for op61...
    GG

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