Piano teachers often welcome the opportunity to use student repertoire requests as a springboard to nourish new learning adventures. Such pupil-driven musical endeavors can lead to deep-layered immersions in short, Romantically framed character pieces. The value of dipping into miniature variety compositions encompasses taking on a learning challenge in compact form. For example, Schumann's Album… Continue reading The value of studying short Romantic era Character pieces
There's nothing more inhibiting to piano playing than being boxed in by ornaments--tied down by their inertia and lack of smooth resolution. For certain, if you're threatened by them, or anticipate the worst possible outcome, ENTRAPMENT, then it guarantees a hasty entry and debilitating departure. Sadly, breath-LESS and anxiety-prone pianists often impede their journey, leaving… Continue reading Ornaments, Romantic Style: Don’t be enslaved, but master them
http://youtu.be/y7Kry7-jrME 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, Elvira Madigan. Chopin's Nocturne in C# minor was a perfect match for Roman Polanski's… Continue reading Reviewing Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor, Op. Posthumous (MOVIE THEME, THE PIANIST)
Two musical offerings are grief-filled expressions of enduring loss in Newtown, Connecticut.
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."
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, though it can be argued that all contain unique technical challenges. Composed in the Romantic… Continue reading Piano Technique: Burgmuller’s Tarentelle, Op. 100-Fueling and shaping fast passages with a dipping, supple wrist (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 chordal Left Hand carrying a melody. It's plainly a bummer! For some players, the only… Continue reading Piano Technique: Re-arranging hands for speed and agility in Burgmuller’s “La Chasse” (The Chase) Videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibsna1UDJVU 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 right hand responds well to the supple wrist and curves of motion while the… Continue reading Pastorale by Burgmuller in lilting two: Op. 100, 25 Progressive Pieces
"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 afire. Extinguished by the revisit of Eb Major punctuations, the music drifts off by authentic… Continue reading Burgmuller’s “The Return”–like a light opera, with interspersed drama (videos)
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. As an example, think about how a singer would phrase these notes. She certainly wouldn't… Continue reading Burgmuller’s “Tender Flower” for rolling wrist motion (from 25 Progressive Pieces, Op. 100)