Category Archives: Romantic era music

Reviewing Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor, Op. Posthumous (MOVIE THEME, THE PIANIST)

We have to give credit to movie-makers for putting this hauntingly beautiful composition on the popular marquee of Classical music favorites. It shares notoriety with Mozart’s middle movement theme of Concerto no. 21 in C, which recurred throughout the film, … Continue reading

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Two musical Eulogies for Newtown’s fallen

Two musical offerings are grief-filled expressions of enduring loss in Newtown, Connecticut. Continue reading

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Old World piano playing (1949) with a pronounced wrist break

The supple wrist amounts to a “wrist break” that is discouraged among partisans of the Taubman approach. In the main, they adhere to a forearm-driven piano technique along with rotation, and relaxation . The videos embedded, however, contradict such rigid thinking about the wrist, as demonstrated by the performance of a Polish pianist (1949) A Chopin Mazurka is energized by redundant wrist breaks without incurred injury. As one colleague related in reference to Taubman/Golandsky, “how could decades of Russian teaching so easily be tossed aside.” Continue reading

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Chopin Mazurka in F Major, Op. 68 No. 3

Without a doubt, the patriotic spirit of a Polish Mazurka permeates the F major, Op. 68. The vitality of redundant dotted-eighth-sixteenth rhythms cajoles the player in musical directions. (Be sure to use a supple wrist–and shake out the rhythmic figures) … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Burgmuller’s Tarentelle, Op. 100-Fueling and shaping fast passages with a dipping, supple wrist (Videos)

Most piano students will have been assigned a Burgmuller selection or two during their formative years of study. And most likely, these would have been snatched from the composer’s Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces, Op. 100 that advance by steps in difficulty, … Continue reading

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Piano Technique: Re-arranging hands for speed and agility in Burgmuller’s “La Chasse” (The Chase) Videos

I used Burgmuller’s “La Chasse” (The Chase) as my springboard for this particular discussion. The opening section of this composition, at break neck speed, quickly builds to a forte dynamic with an ensuing spill of staccato broken octaves, against a … Continue reading

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Pastorale by Burgmuller in lilting two: Op. 100, 25 Progressive Pieces

A plaintively beautiful piece, Pastorale requires a lilting “feel” of two beats per measure. A flowing melody permeates the voicing, cushioned in sonorous chords. The challenge is not to upstage the treble line as it unfolds. The phrasing in the … Continue reading

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Burgmuller’s “The Return”–like a light opera, with interspersed drama (videos)

“The Return” from the composer’s Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces, Op. 100, is ear-catching. Like an Offenbach opera replete with an Overture, it delights in a set of lighthearted staccato chords that spill into a passionate MINOR sequenced interlude, setting the heart … Continue reading

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Burgmuller’s “Tender Flower” for rolling wrist motion (from 25 Progressive Pieces, Op. 100)

This charming Romantic character piece provides a perfect opportunity to practice the forward rolling wrist motion, especially with its motivic pairs of 8th notes. While the second one under the slur is notated as staccato, it should not be clipped. … Continue reading

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When sight-reading is not enough: Learning a new piano piece from the ground up so we can teach it to our students (Videos)

I’m reminded of a quote attributed to Sviatoslav Richter when asked how he approached a challenging new composition of virtuoso proportion: His reply– “I read a new piece and then start practicing the place that irritates me the most. After … Continue reading

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