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W.A. Mozart Minuets: Valuable Journeys of Discovery

It’s easy to be dismissive of the Classical era Minuet form, though in the hands of a wunderkind like Mozart, a set of these 3/4 meter Binary dances springs to life with a myriad of embedded learning and performance challenges.

For example, the Minuet in F Major, K. 2 composed by Mozart at age 6, (1782) and notated by his father, Leopold, presents a motif of broken chords cloaked in repetitive rhythms of two eighth notes followed by two quarters. If these figures are played without a consciousness of harmonic function, they will march along lacking the expressive dimension they deserve. Given the composer’s formidable vocal signature that cannot be lost through permeating rhythms, the performer must nuance phrases guided, in part, by how each unfolding broken chord in the melody, flows into the next. (An economy of TWO VOICES still provides the very markers of harmonic expression that enrich a reading.)

In the first measure, the outline of the F Major Tonic leads into the second bar on the level of the Sub-dominant (Bb Major outline), yet an illusion of the first measure feeling like the DOMINANT of Bb Major to an imagined new Tonic in a related key sets up a nice dip from Dominant to Tonic. I found this nuance to work well in the harmonic universe of thinking and interpretation. Naturally, the vehicle of redundant rhythms also demanded a decision about second and third beat note repetitions. Instinctively, I lifted the third beat and therefore lightened the repeated note (last beat) of each measure. Suspensions and appoggiaturas suggested a leaning on the dissonant note with a wrist forward relaxation motion upon resolution and groupings of notes/leanings and detachments in tenuto style factored into interpretation.

Measures 5, 6, and 7 encompass a blossoming crescendo that has a directional shift UPWARD through the broken chord melodic outline as compared to the opening. With the added vitality of an inserted triplet figure, the music spills robustly into a semi-cadence at m. 8 with a LEAN/relax appoggiatura. This DOMINANT C Major Cadence at mid-point, is UP-lifting!

The longer B section (measures, 9-24) proceeds with a tad of operatic drama, though one cannot take this perception to an extreme given the concise confines of a charming Minuet. Yet, the very entry into these measures through a broken diminished 7th chord resolving to the “minor,” (g minor) creates a mood shift that suggests a feeling of pathos. Such should not be lost or overlooked. (The B section, in general will provide elements of “development” that will unfold, albeit briefly, in the language of key change or modulation.)

Finally, a pivot broken chord in G minor serving as the ii chord of F Major (the home key)–measures 13-14, gracefully sequences the music back to the refreshment of F Major and the return of a more lighthearted conclusion to the work, but with a heartfelt delay of a Deceptive cadence (vi chord) in measure 20. (A fermata gives emphasis to the unexpected, and this infusion of embedded emotion defers gracefully to a charming ending on the tonic in the last measure.

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The Minuet in F Major, K. 5, (1762) is almost a polar opposite in character when compared to K. 2. Its formidably bi-rhythmic dimension juxtaposes a division of the quarter note in triplets against a division of the same into 4-sixteenth notes. (and in reverse) Yet, as always, the SINGING dimension of this composition must be preserved through its outpouring of rippling notes while an awareness of SEQUENCES, particularly in the B section is paramount to a convincing musical interpretation.

Page 1:

My Tutorial: (Provides details of analysis and strategies of learning)

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Minuet and Trio in G Major, K. 1 represents a form that adds a 3-voice Trio section. The outer sections, in two voices, are notably permeated by parallel tenths, with still quicker inserted 16th flourishes in tenths evoking an operatic duet.

The tutorial below explores structure, voicing, and ways to nuance phrases using a supple wrist, singing tone approach.

According to Notes provided in the Alfred Edition, this Minuet is “unusual in its shifting phrases and rhythms.” The composition was Mozart’s creation at age five.

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Drawing room sonata, K.545, Mozart, Mozart piano sonata, Mozart piano sonata K. 545, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, piano sonata, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Would Mozart believe he was “banned” worldwide?!

Mozart

I thought it would never happen! An instant banishment from cyber-space! Mozart’s beloved Andante from Sonata K. 283 was the victim of pure and simple tyranny by the you tube police! The stand-in argonaut imperialist Hyperion, a recording company whose reach extended above and beyond PUBLIC DOMAIN, wrenched my upload from its earthly existence with a bundled threat to annihilate my Google Plus fueled Channel.

Should I be specific and name, Names? I’m sure the well-known pianist, who is one of hundreds to record the precious Mozart middle movement, had nothing to do with the iron fist of Hyperion, though I was made aware that his identity was woven into the plot to kill my posting. Perhaps he was innocently caught in the middle of a copyright infringement charge leveled at me, having no rhyme or reason to snatch my version of Mozart’s precious middle movement.

With a knee-jerk empowering reflex, I “disputed” the ban, checking pertinent boxes with an added typed footnote defending my right to play a dead composer’s creation that dated back to the 18th century. I reserved the RIGHT TO CLAIM that my posting had educational value, not redeemable in $$$…

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With satire put aside, scores of you tubing musicians are up in arms, rallying against prohibitions imposed on our Classical music uploads–We’re appalled at corporate ownership claims of long deceased composers. It’s basically a Citizen’s United crossover into the musical universe with the Corporate Recording INDUSTRIAL Complex (CRIC) using BRUTE FORCE to rid cyber of Indies, viewed as a threat to the MONOPOLIZING OLIGARCHY!

(DO I SOUND LIKE BERNIE SANDERS??! Who cares? He’s got my vote!)

Enough said.

My Online delivered defense against HYPERION’S CHARGES elicited a YOU TUBE channeled withdrawal of the world-wide ban.

In its place, a captioned “Disputed third party matched content” was affixed.

In conclusion, Regardless of bullying Big MONEY interests, musicians the world over won’t capitulate.

By example, I just posted another Mozart middle movement that narrowly escaped the Ban. So there!

UPDATE: November 10, 2105 at 8:38 a.m.
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Hi Shirley Kirsten,
Good news! Your dispute wasn’t reviewed within 30 days, so the copyright claim on your YouTube video has now been released.
Video title: “(HD) W.A. Mozart Sonata No. 5 in G, K. 283, Andante, movement 2”
– The YouTube Team

adult piano instruction, Classical era sonatas, classical music, Classical music blog, K. 283, Mozart, Mozart Sonata No. 5 K. 283, Mozart Sonatas, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano lessons, Shirley Kirsten, W.A. Mozart

Exploring Mozart Sonata No. 5 in G, K. 283 (First movement, Allegro)

The learning exchange between student and teacher is heightened when a new piece is introduced. In the case of Mozart’s charming, early period Sonata no. 5 in G, it became a revisit for me that brought new revelations that I shared during the course of weekly lessons.

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Mozart presents a challenge in capturing a singing tone that is emblematic of the opera. (From Wiki: “The work was written down during the visit Mozart paid to Munich for the production of his La finta giardiniera from late 1774 to the beginning of the following March.”)

At least when playing the opening allegro of K.283, even the Forte-pianos (f-ps), that might suggest more abrupt and decisive accents in Beethoven’s mid-period sonatas, are far more elegantly played in Mozart’s early sonata vocabulary so one should be able to sing them.

Bass notes in a parallel octave progression moving in an intensifying fashion seem to be yielding to those doubled in the treble, lest they sound too ponderous for the period. Therefore, one must respect a fine line of sensitivity in their execution.

Pianist, Murray Perahia speaks of the singing pulse in Mozart works, and I must agree. He states that a rubato lives within the composer’s music but not necessarily taken with such liberty as would apply to Chopin and the Romantics.

Finally, in my tutorial, I try to apply educated instincts and intuition to my exploration of the opening Allegro, K.283, with a focus on the singing tone, phrasing, harmonic rhythm and form.

The Exposition is naturally a springboard for my analysis of the whole movement that weaves in motivic and harmonic tie-ins.

Mozart Sonata K283 p. 1 Allegro 1

Mozart Sonata K283 p. 2 Allegro

Play Through:

Instruction:

From Wiki

“Piano Sonata No. 5 (Mozart)

“Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 5 in G major, K 283 (189h) (1774) is a piano sonata in three movements:

Allegro
Andante
Presto

“This sonata is part of the earliest group of sonatas that Mozart published in the mid-1770s. The first movement is a sonata-allegro movement that is concise, with an economy of materials. The development section is a mere 18 measures long. The shorter length and moderate technical demands make it an ideal piece for early-advanced study and performance.

“A typical performance takes twelve to eighteen (Richter) minutes.”

blogmetris.org, Classical era sonata, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Mozart, piano blog, piano blogging, piano teaching, piano technique, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, sonatas, word press, you tube

Applying technical skills to sensitive music learning, and reading between the lines

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.41.07 AM

Just when I thought my wellspring of blog inspired ideas had endured a drought, I had a nagging thirst to explore how technical tools (playing scales, arpeggios, chords, octaves, etc) are woven into music study. Allied to this undertaking, was the idea of inferences and how we make certain decisions about phrasing, articulation, etc. based upon a firm bedding of knowledge wedded to intuition.

So having introduced this post cloaked in abstraction and a degree of eclectics, I'm coming down to earth, digging deeply into an exemplary composition that's packed with inferences, (reading between the line opportunities) while it has a touch/tone universe of color and expression worth sampling.

W.A. Mozart’s final movement, Allegro Assai of Sonata No. 12 in F, K. 332, is a gorgeous mosaic of Classical era expression. The composer runs the gamut from impassioned strings of 16ths careening down in the opener, to sudden coquettish interludes with varied detached notes, some of which are press-lifted, and not calling for crisp finger releases. To complicate matters, both hands playing together, are not always synched in with matched detachments. Even the Urtext edition may not give precise directions about execution of staccato, non-legato, potato, or tenuto, etc.

And that’s where inferences and good musical instincts kick in. (Performance practice is without doubt a vital ingredient in the mix)

In my examination of this final movement, I explore more than what exists between the lines. My focus is primarily how our technical repository feeds repertoire–how we must take our well honed skills and apply them to our pieces so they have relevance to our total musical journey.

Rather than write about aesthetic decisions and the intertwined skills we need to grow as musicians, I will reference the video below as the best living, breathing example of satisfying a personal quest for knowledge.

Instruction: (Technique, inferences, etc.)

Play Through:

classissima.com, piano, piano blog, Vitalij Margulies, you tube piano performance favorites

Chiming in the New Year with my favorite piano performance picks!

Grigory Sokolov grabs a deserved spotlight in this bedazzling performance of Schubert’s Klavierstucke No. 1

Bruno Sainmangeon, producer and documentarian captured Sokolov in the same acoustically favorable Berlin space that Murray Perahia chose to deliver the memorable Bach Partita in E minor:

Add in Perahia’s most recent tour de force in Japan: Beethoven’s Appassionata

Irina Morozova melts hearts with this exquisite Chopin reading:

Check out the New York concert scene:

Faculty Recital – Irina Morozova, piano
Monday, February 23, 2015 at 8:00 pm
Concert Hall, Mannes College
150 West 85th Street New York, NY 10024
Faculty Recital – Irina Morozova, piano
Free, but first come first served

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And two forever favorites

No longer with us, but eternally present in spirit:

The late pianist, Vitalij Margulis beautifully memorialized Chopin’s Db Nocturne, OP. 27

And Tatiana Nikoleyva offered a heart-throbbing Schumann Interlude:

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Don’t miss!

Bruno Sainmangeon and Glenn Gould engaged in an amazing conversation about J.S. Bach’s genius. It opens with a playing segment from the Art of the Fugue, but continues with a generous serving of the master’s works interspersed with Gould’s treasured commentary and vocal accompaniment. (It’s a multi-dimensional exploration of the composer’s vast keyboard output, packed with theoretical and structural insights)

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Another riveting conversation: Murray Perahia and Denis Forman chat about Mozart’s Concerto no. 27 in Bb

A full play through

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And finally, an Alma Mater choice: George Li plays a challenging set of works at the Oberlin Conservatory Artist Recital Series.. Like old times.

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I’ve shared my favorites, so what are yours?

4-hand piano music, Mozart, piano, piano blog, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, word press, you tube

Mac, me and Mozart: a continuing 4-hand journey

Mozart

I haven’t mastered the split screen on iMovie 11, but I decided to aim my camcorder at Mac and Steinway to get the same effect. Basically I recorded Primo first and on playback added Secondo to Mozart’s final 4-hand movement, Sonata 1, K.318-Allegro Molto.

Needless to say, it’s valuable to learn both parts when contemplating a collaboration with a student or teaching colleague. In my case, I have two reliable partners who plan to play the composition with me, so we’re all in our practicing phase.

Unfortunately, while I had to turn my back on Mac due to a sparsity of space, a Live partner will sit beside me affording a true give and take that heightens the musical experience.

In any framing, however, Wolfgang’s music soars!

LINK

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/when-two-hands-play-a-4-hand-mozart-sonata/

4-hand piano music, Mozart, piano, piano blog, piano blogging, Uncategorized, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

When two hands play a 4-hand Mozart Sonata

Last night, I challenged myself to have a double duo identity. I separately recorded the bass and treble parts of Mozart’s Sonata No. 1, K. 318, scored for 4-hands at one piano.

Mozart 4-hands

Logistics-wise, I had to decide which part to render first as the playback for the other’s insertion. But that wasn’t fair to either pair of hands, since they sometimes interacted on equal footing??? or doubled their voices.

Quickly, it became clear that Primo had more of a solo role and needed a firm underpinning in Secondo to breathe phrases through harmonic shifts.

So once a decision was made, Camcorder captured Secondo on playback while Primo listened attentively and spun a beautiful melody above it.


A back room snatch of the Secondo..