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Pedaling Chopin Waltz No. 19 in A minor, Op. Posthumous

When considering ways to pedal Chopin's ethereal A minor Waltz, I think back to Stephen Hough and his teacher's comments about the learning process: “I don’t care how you’re playing the piece now, what I care about is how you’ll play it in 10 years.” (Gordon Green) Well as a segue way to this posting,… Continue reading Pedaling Chopin Waltz No. 19 in A minor, Op. Posthumous

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Intermediate Level Piano Repertoire: Album for the Young by Robert Schumann

I took a musical journey down memory lane yesterday, rekindling scenes of childhood as I read through a set of "old" Romantic era compositions. These weren't Robert Schumann's illustrious KINDERSZENEN, but colorful character pieces wrapped into the composer's Album for the Young Op. 68. (As I've said time and again, why give students arrangements of… Continue reading Intermediate Level Piano Repertoire: Album for the Young by Robert Schumann

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Romantic era piano repertoire: A murmuring stream and the supple wrist (Burgmuller creates beauty from simplicity)

"The Clear Stream" from Friedrich Burgmuller's Twenty-Five Progressive Pieces offers a student an opportunity to create limpidly beautiful phrases from unraveled broken chords spun out in triplets. In order to create the "mormorando" (murmuring effect) in the treble, it's best to first block out the "chord" patterns with a "spongy" wrist in slow motion before… Continue reading Romantic era piano repertoire: A murmuring stream and the supple wrist (Burgmuller creates beauty from simplicity)

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Burgmuller’s beautiful “Tendre Fleur” flows in and out of flower portraits (VIDEO)

On my walk from the El Cerrito Hills to BART Del Norte I snapped these pictures and interspersed them in my reading. Composed in the Romantic era, "Tender Flower" (English Tr.) is a gorgeous miniature that says so much in such a short space of time. A repository of nuance and expressive lines, it rivets… Continue reading Burgmuller’s beautiful “Tendre Fleur” flows in and out of flower portraits (VIDEO)

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Development of Piano Technique all bundled into one collection

Instead of pumping out Hanon and Czerny exercises to build so-called finger dexterity, try Burgmuller's Op. 100, Twenty-five Progressive Pieces. Here's a sample of the challenges posed by the composer in each of these showcased Romantic era tableaux: Harmony of the Angels: 1) Arpeggios, or broken chord patterns: for smooth execution and curvaceous lines. If… Continue reading Development of Piano Technique all bundled into one collection

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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, 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)

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A long distance Chopin Nocturne Makeover that might help others

It's amazing that at 3 a.m. in the morning, I'd be fussing around with the Chopin Nocturne in E minor (Op. 72, No. 1) that I'd previously embedded in a blog about revisiting old repertoire. Either my kind neighbors love classical music, or they've managed to double pack their ears with spongy stopples. (These can… Continue reading A long distance Chopin Nocturne Makeover that might help others