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At the piano: Exploring the Chopin Waltz in C# minor, Op. 64 No. 2 (Video)

I finally sat down at “Haddy” (my Haddorff piano that sings like a nightingale) and spun out a few ideas about the Waltz in C# minor. A slow motion journey through the composition underscored the suspensions and harmonic rhythm on the first page, then moved on to the piu mosso, 8ths with their rounded contour, and finally flowed into a reflective Db section. I summed up three sections that constitute the whole work. It’s one of Chopin’s gifts to piano students that they’re acquainted with the content of the complete Waltz in short order because of God given repetitions.

In this reading, I decided to play everything quite slowly with a semblance of a rubato even at practice tempo. (recommended) At least one does not experience an altered consciousness with each and every playing whether in tempo or not.

Ideally, I would start with a separate hands approach and parcel out voices. In this case, playing the Left Hand with great care not to have ponderous second and third after beat chords would be a major focus, along with dealing with those ties across measures in the right hand, where an unintended poke of the thumb would smother the melody above. These tied over measures are both melodically and harmonically poignant.

The 8th–16th rhythms in the Right Hand are also a challenge to be met..They can pop out at any moment or get drowned by pedal. My Haddorff is so resonant, that it appears like the pedal is down when it isn’t, but better than having a sustain-less piano.

Onto the piu mosso eighth notes that need the flowing arms and swinging elbows. I could have done better, but ideally one must patiently practice the Right Hand alone to get the sweep and shape, and then make sure the Left Hand is examined separately for its own color and contour. Chords can be “shaped” too, and not just tacked on to what’s in the treble.

The third section in Db, was my favorite in this video. I believe that it should be being played piu lento, (as noted) with a reflective approach. Feeling the transition from the preceding section in C# minor to the PARALLEL MAJOR but spelled in FLATS was the big event for me, and how that emotional shift was realized affected the course of the musical journey.

Finally, having played through the THREE sections in a slow tempo frame, I felt more prepared to lift the tempo in stages, when ready.

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