poco piano: chamber music

This week was very busy for me. I had chamber music performances this week (sorry I didn’t record them! I think I will get the professional recordings soon). I played the last movement of the Mendelssohn c min piano trio in a performance on Thursday night and today (Saturday morning) for a masterclass. It’s a passionate movement that begins with a tumbling cello line, out of breath and crazed.

I chose to work on this piece because I actually played the first two movements when I was in high school. So, I wanted to finish the piece and get this glorious ending. My high school piano professor was in a professional piano trio that toured for many years and I remember him telling me that the ending of this trio is just so much fun to play. The flying fingers and rush of accelerating to the end is just so exhilarating. Mendelssohn’s music is…. a bit notey to be honest. He was a virtuoso pianist and he really shows it in the piano part. It actually works out so well because the piano excels at playing a lot of notes in a short amount of time but has a natural disadvantage to sustained long notes. In contrast, the strings excel at playing long sustained long notes. So while the strings play a luscious long melody, the pianist gets to fly around the keyboard, filling out the harmonies and the empty beats with arpeggios. Often this frantic frazzled feeling is unwelcome but here, it is quite fitting- though only if you stay in control and have all the notes under their fingers.

 

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