poco piano: conclusion

So I’ve been at school for a week to rehearse. This excerpt is a from the ending of the second movement and it is a grandiose and beautiful conclusion. I had a bit of trouble memorizing this because the harmonies. I’ve been preparing this concerto for the concerto competition at SMTD. The finals have to be 25 minutes and under but this concerto is around 33 minutes. I really want to include this part into my cut because it is such a satisfying part to play. I’m thinking this weekend I will finalize my cuts and really time my performance.

rachmaninoff rehearsals

This is from my first rehearsal back at school. I will be playing the concerto competition on Jan 26th and need to prepare all of the concerto. This is from the very beginning of the third movement. It is very grand and fast. Honestly playing the theme makes me very nervous. Its a flashy movement but I definitely need to rehearse it a lot more. I came back to Michigan 2 weeks early just to rehearse with my accompanist.

poco piano: sounds in the reflection

I’ve been home for winter break and something I’ve observed a few things: 1. the fridge is awfully close to the piano (10 steps). 2. my piano’s upper register is so very out of tune 3. the couch is always more appealing than the piano bench 4. my piano has a very shiny varnish (compared to all of the university’s pianos). When I practice, I’ve been looking at the reflection of my hands rather than my actual hands. Since I’m preparing to play this concerto (Rach 2) in January, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the melody fits and memorizing the piece so working on this video really helped with that.

Contrary to what the video might suggest, I think that the Solo piano part (B&W) is actually really lush and colorful. It has beautiful harmonies that blending parsimoniously and actually enhances the simple melody through metric displacement. The solo part is calm but almost acts like a motor, pushing the melody along. It’s rather like a swan’s paddling feet, aiding and propelling it along; the melody gliding gracefully above.

poco piano: schuby

This is a little excerpt from the Wanderer Fantasy by Schubert. The name comes from the second movement of the piece where Schubert uses his own song and creates a variation on it. The whole piece is actually a variation on the that song title “der Wanderer”. In the song, the wanderer is lost in a desolate place, mentally and emotionally.

This little excerpt comes a couple pages before the song quote so I imagine this is a traveling scene. It’s quite serene with some bustling underneath, almost like a smooth carriage ride through the country side with rolling green pastures.

poco piano: sleepy

This week was finals week and I haven’t had a lot of time to play the piano. I would take breaks from writing my portfolio (9,000 word min), and play a little piano to free up my mind from words and precision and give me some respite from the computer screen. The title of this one is “Child falling asleep” by Schumann. It’s a movement from Kinderszenen, “childhood scenes”. I played this throughout the week, just to feel some peace from the flurry of finals.

It’s a bit of a strange piece. One would think that a child falling asleep would be unfailingly sweet yet it seems rather bittersweet instead, almost troubled. The warm major section in the middle seems like dream, slightly out of reach. It’s subdued but peaceful and rocks like a cradle through the night.  It ends unresolved, as if in mid thought—the child drifts off.

poco piano: comforting

Amidst the final push of the semester, I’ve been revisiting some pieces that gave me comfort and made me fall in love with music. This little excerpt comes from the Franck Violin Sonata. I’ve played this piece with a variety of instrumentalists (including flute and cello) and over the years have become very familiar with it. Comfort was hard to find in this piece as the chords so big and stretched out, they are impossible to play and the voicing is very subtle and hard. I think I find comfort in this hyper romantic piece because my fingers have a memory of their own, the push and pull have a familiarity that this music lends itself to.

The opening of the first movement builds to this solo piano part and the grandness dissipates to a sweet melancholy sigh. There’s a tenderness and mellowness to the dulcet tones that brings to mind an empty room of billowing curtains with a once warm bed.