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Piano Instruction: Pastorale in D Major, K. 415 by Domenico Scarlatti, a stepwise approach

The Pastorale in D, included in Margery Halford's Scarlatti, An Introduction to his Keyboard Works, poses significant musical challenges. In the technical realm, the composer has a tricky landscape of two-note legato figures as offbeats in the treble, and these are set against bass, dotted quarter rhythms. (This counterpoint is later inverted in the middle… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Pastorale in D Major, K. 415 by Domenico Scarlatti, a stepwise approach

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Learning a new piano piece quickly and thoroughly (Videos)

I challenged myself to quickly learn the shortest Scarlatti sonata on record (K. 431 in G) and share the principles of developing this piece to a level of fluidity with interested students. Perhaps it would help them navigate a new musical landscape. *** Looking over the two-page Scarlatti score, we notice a preponderance of broken-chord… Continue reading Learning a new piano piece quickly and thoroughly (Videos)

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Piano Instruction: Domenico Scarlatti Minuetto in C, L. 217 (Videos)

Many of Scarlatti's compositions are not within easy reach of most piano students, but Margery Halford, editor, has compiled an Introductory album published by Alfred, with technically and musically attainable works. And it's a blessing that she's eliminated ones with crossed-hand acrobatics. Yet trills, so emblematic of the composer, are an ever-present challenge. Wrist Flexibility… Continue reading Piano Instruction: Domenico Scarlatti Minuetto in C, L. 217 (Videos)

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Piano Technique: Here come the crossed hands in Mozart Sonata in A Major, K. 331 (Variation 4) Videos

Breathe a sigh of relief if you've managed to brave the difficult parallel octaves in forte legato! (Variation 3) Mozart is not done. He challenges you in Variation 4 with left-hand-over-right maneuvers. So be ready to relax your wrists and arms. Otherwise, you're in for a bumpy ride. Count your blessings that Domenico Scarlatti had… Continue reading Piano Technique: Here come the crossed hands in Mozart Sonata in A Major, K. 331 (Variation 4) Videos

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What “authentic” edition should a piano student use when learning repertoire of the Masters?

I'm thinking back to my ancient days studying with Lillian Freundlich in New York City. During this period, like any fledgling I relied on my teacher as an "authority" figure to recommend what Mozart Sonata edition, for example, I should buy down at Patelson's. (This was decades before the quaint hub for musicians seeking authenticity… Continue reading What “authentic” edition should a piano student use when learning repertoire of the Masters?

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Yevgeny Sudbin, another Russian Pianist topples my day!

I had my heart set on working out at the gym before noon, but as fate had it, I was stopped in my tracks by the breathtaking artistry of Yevgeny Sudbin. (only 32 years old) And it was merely 24 hours after I'd cried over Nikolai Lugansky's Schumann Intermezzo from Faschingsschwank aus Wien. Could these… Continue reading Yevgeny Sudbin, another Russian Pianist topples my day!

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The Piano Repertoire: Does making fingering/hand adjustments constitute a “swindle?”

Seymour Bernstein, author of With Your Own Two Hands, remarked that "Chopin wrote out an outline for an intended method of teaching piano. And when he died he left it to Charles Alkan who never finished it. Wouldn't you think that Chopin would stress at the beginning that everything depends upon a deep emotional involvement… Continue reading The Piano Repertoire: Does making fingering/hand adjustments constitute a “swindle?”