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LA LA LAND SPECIAL READER OFFER INSIDE

40 PAGES
OF SHEET MUSIC
WORTH OVER 20
APRIL - MAY 2017

WITH FREE AUDIO


No 95 & ONLINE LESSONS

ROCK LEGEND

RICK
BEGINNER
How to perfect
your chord playing
WAKEMAN INTERMEDIATE
returns to his Get to know your
classical roots trills and turns

Your guide to ADVANCED


Improve your
2017 SUMMER wrist position
COURSES &
FESTIVALS
LEARN TO PLAY

11 LEARN
The Very
PIECES TO Thought
Of You
ALL LEVELS AND ALL STYLES

All you need to know


IN-DEPTH LESSON
Grieg Melodie PIANO
Lyric Piece Op 47 No 3 RESTORATION

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18215 Steinway Pianist Mag (95)_Layout 1 14/03/2017 15:19 Page 1

I a l w a y s p l a y w i t h i m m e n s e p l e a s u r e o n t h e w o n d e r f u l s t e i n way p i a n o s .

JEAN-IVES THIBAUDET
s t e i n way a r t i s t

STEINWAY HALL L O N D O N 4 4 m a ry l e b o n e l a n e , l o n d o n w 1 u 2 d b
f o r m o r e i n f o r m at i o n o r t o a r r a n g e a p r i vat e a p p o i n t m e n t
at o u r l o n d o n s h o w r o o m s , p l e a s e c a l l :

0 2 0 7 4 8 7 3 3 9 1 o r e m a i l i n f o @ s t e i n way. c o . u k
2 Pianist 90

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Pianist 95
April-May 2017 CONTENTS
The next issue of Pianist goes on sale 26 May 2017

67
READER
OFFER

9
10

82 12
4 Editors Note 24 How to Play 3 Lucy Parham on 80 Understanding Theory Helping
Schuberts Impromptu in A flat D935 No 2 you grasp the building blocks of music.
6 Readers Letters Sight-reading tips (Scores page 60) This issue, the first of a two-part series on
and the joy of improvisation ornaments, dealing with trills
27 The Scores A pull-out section of
7 Reader Competition WIN the new 40 pages of sheet music for all levels 82 Piano Restoring Restore, repair,
Rick Wakeman Piano Portraits recording recondition: what do they really mean?
45 Beginner Keyboard Class And what do you get for your money?
8 News Fanny Mendelssohn premiere; Hans-Gnter Heumanns Lesson No 22: A special Pianist investigation talks
Imogen Coopers first Liszt on record; Finger fitness exercises to piano-tuners, technicians, craftsmen
new Bsendorfer models; what La La and customers
Land is doing for piano dealers; robots
coming to a piano near you
67 SUMMER COURSES 86 CD Reviews The special intimacy of
& FESTIVALS 2017 Cedric Pescias Schumann; ongoing
12 Rick Wakeman The rock pianist and Brahms cycles from Barry Douglas and
not-so-Grumpy Old Man in interview, Your 12-page guide to the best of Jonathan Plowright; unmissable rarities by
discussing his serious keyboard habit and summer courses and festivals in the UK Ginastera and Hlne de Montgeroult
his new return to classical piano and across the world, with a special focus
on piano courses, artists and events 88 Sheet Music Review New editions
16 How to Play Masterclass 1 of Fr Elise and Brahmss Handel
Mark Tanner on striking to the bottom Courses Five pages of courses for all Variations; a popular anthology by
of the note tastes and levels, including a special insight Melanie Spanswick, and new pieces for
into the sell-out Chethams Summer students by Mark Tanner
18 How to Play Masterclass 2 School for Pianists from co-founder
Graham Fitch on the drop-roll motion, Kathryn Page 89 Subscribe today for just 4.50 an
in the first of two articles on the wrist issue by Direct Debit and receive a copy
Festivals Detailed listings of more than of the La La Land sheet music (easy piano
20 How to Play 1 Melanie Spanswick on 30 festivals in the UK plus the cream of version) worth 12.99!
Streabbogs Distant Bells (Scores page 30) summer events for pianophiles in the rest
of the world. The founder directors of the 90 Classifieds
22 How to Play 2 Janet Newman on Oxford Piano Festival and the Husum
Griegs Melodie from his Lyric Pieces Rarities of Piano Music festival explain what
(Scores page 49) makes their piano celebrations unique
Images, clockwise from top left: Sarah Mason Photography; Sussie Ahlburg; Handel Pianos and Hamilton Pianos
Notice: Every effort has been made to secure permission for copyrighted material in this magazine, however, should copyrighted material
inadvertently have been used, copyright acknowledgement will be made in a later issue of the magazine.

p03_Contents95-FINAL.indd 3 17/03/2017 09:13


DONT MISS OUR FREE
TAP HERE TO WATCH ONLINE VIDEO LESSONS
A WELCOME FROM THE EDITIOR www.youtube.com/user/PianistMagazine

Editors note Pianist


D
o you like the new picture? Yes, its me with rock legend Rick
Wakeman in January. I had no idea what to expect before we www.pianistmagazine.com
met; as I mention at the start of my interview feature on page
PUBLISHER
12, he isnt my usual sort of interviewee. But I had the most Warners Group Publications plc
exhilarating time, and this picture will make a fun memento. Director: Stephen Warner
Theres no reason why classical pianists should always get top billing in Publisher: Janet Davison
Pianist. The pianos reach and appeal is far broader than that. Look at the EDITORIAL
6 Warrington Crescent,
film La La Land. The male lead is Sebastian, a struggling jazz pianist played London,W9 1EL, UK
by Ryan Gosling (we hear it took Gosling some three months to learn the Tel: +44 (0)20 7266 0760
piano full credit to him). The film has become an Oscar-winning success. Fax: +44 (0)20 7286 0748
Editor: Erica Worth
Read our news story on page 9 and youll discover how Pianist very nearly editor@pianistmagazine.com
had a role of its own in the movie. And find out how to buy the sheet music Deputy editor: Peter Quantrill
deputyeditor@pianistmagazine.com
at a special discount. Marketing: Lauren Beharrell
Back to Rick. Even if he chose to go where his enthusiasm led him and leave lauren.beharrell@warnersgroup.co.uk
the classical world, he knew that mastering the basics all the piano grades and a stint at the Royal College Senior Designer: Nathan Ward

of Music would stand him in good stead. The same is true for the rest of us. Theres lots of basic help at ADVERTISING
Gareth Macfarlane, Advertising manager
hand inside these pages. In his masterclass on page 16, Mark Tanner demonstrates how getting to the garethm@media-shed.co.uk
bottom of the note produces assured playing no matter how soft the dynamic. His advice will come in Tel: +44 (0)845 226 0477
handy when you try Griegs gorgeous Melodie inside the Scores section. Notice how the dynamics are often Fax: +44 (0)845 226 0377

piano and pianissimo and with lots of chord playing, thats not easy!
Janet Newman will help you further with technical and expressive insights into the Grieg in her in-depth READER SERVICES
lesson on page 22. There is more soft playing to master in the Nat King Cole tender classic The Very Thought Ed
UK & WORLD SUBSCRIPTIONS
Of You (page 34). I should know, because its me playing the track! I thought Id give it a try, and it wasnt (EXCEPT USA & CANADA)
easy; I take off my hat to Chenyin Li for the hours of work required each month to learn and record the Pianist Subscriptions Department
Warners Group Publications plc
repertoire on the CD. West Street
Graham Fitch offers further learning tips on page 18, where he talks about the importance of the Bourne, PE10 9PH, UK N
Tel: +44 (0)1778 392483
wrists drop-roll motion in the first of a two-part masterclass on the wrist. (Watch his piano lesson Fax: +44 (0)1778 421706 issue
Email: subscriptions@pianistmagazine.com
at pianistmagazine.com.) Without confident use of the wrist, were well and truly stuck.
For further soft-playing and wrist-movement inspiration, turn to our 12-page 2017 Summer Courses USA & CANADA SUBSCRIPTIONS Ba
You can subscribe online, via email,
and Festivals Guide which appears directly after Scores. Some of you will be drawn to a particular course fax or by telephone:
in the hope of improving your playing skills; others will prefer to take a back seat as festival audience Website: www.expressmag.com C
Email: expressmag@expressmag.com
members and watch the stars in action. Toll-free number: +1 (877) 363 1310
Above all, dear reader, when it comes to learning the piano take note of these wise words from Tel: +1 (514) 333 3334 EN
Fax: +1 (514) 355 3332
Rick Wakeman: No matter what age, have fun. Enjoy it, and be the best you can be. ExpressMag
8275 Avenue Marco Polo W
Montral, QC H1E 7K1, Canada
BAV
ERICA WORTH, DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
EDITOR http://pianistm.ag/digissues
Email: lauren.beharrell@warnersgroup.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0)113 200 2916

DISTRIBUTION H
Make sure that you keep in touch with me what Ive been up to, which To find a shop near you that stocks Pianist,
contact our distributor:
pianists Ive spoken to, exclusive extra articles and interviews by registering for Email: keironj@warnersgroup.co.uk A:
our FREE e-newsletter. All you need to do is go to www.pianistmagazine.com BACK ISSUES
Tel: +44 (0)1778 392483 EN
Email: backissues@pianistmagazine.com

COMPETITION ENTER ONLINE AT WWW.PIANISTMAGAZINE.COM FOR ALL OTHER ENQUIRIES


Contact Janet Davison, Publisher An
Warners Group Publications writ
Fifth Floor, 31-32 Park Row,
WIN THE NEW PIANO PORTRAITS CD FROM Leeds, LS1 5JD, UK Tidd
Tel: +44 (0)113 200 2929
RICK WAKEMAN! Fax: +44 (0)113 200 2928
Registered Address :Warners Group Publications,West Street, Bourne,
Answer the question below correctly, and you could be one of three lucky Lincs, PE10 9PH. Warners Group Publications plc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission strictly .
winners to receive Rick Wakemans Piano Portraits CD. Read how Wakeman prohibited. Every care is taken in compiling the magazine and no
responsibility can be taken for any action arising from information given
came to make it in his interview on page 12. on the papers. All information, prices and telephone numbers are correct
at the time of going to press. No responsibility can be taken for
unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or transparencies.
Printed by Warners Group Publications plc.
Rick Wakeman was keyboardist for which of the following rock bands?
Pianist ISSN 4200395 is published bi-monthly (six times a year in
A: Pink Floyd B: Rolling Stones C: Yes February, April, June, August, October, December) by Warners Group
Publications c/o Distribution Grid at 900 Castle Rd Secaucus, NJ 07094,
ENTER ONLINE AT WWW.PIANISTMAGAZINE.COM USA. Periodicals Postage paid at Secaucus, NJ. POSTMASTER: send
address changes to Pianist, c/o Express Mag, P.O. BOX 2769, Plattsburgh,
N.Y., U.S.A. 12901- 0239.

4 Pianist 95 ISSN 1475 - 1348

p04-editorial95-FINAL2.indd 4 23/03/2017 13:02


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Readers
Letters
Get in touch
WRITE TO:The Editor, Pianist, 6 Warrington Crescent, London, W9 1EL, UK
OR EMAIL: editor@pianistmagazine.com
STAR LETTER wins a surprise CD. Letters may be edited.

STAR LETTER If I fail to balance my skills against my dreams,


I may be disappointed or maybe even frustrated.
On the other hand, if I dont grow, this might
Sight-reading: dont give up! result in disappointment and frustration as well.
I feel compelled to offer support to your correspondent J Harris in issue 92 [The challenge of Un sospiro is certainly a challenge, but also a goal.
sight-reading]. As one who routinely goes walkabout round the circle of fifths every other day, Publishing this piece in your magazine is not
from memory, I empathise fully with her frustration. A few pointers from someone who has been disrespectful to readers: to my mind, quite the
trying for more years than I dare to admit: Do not attempt to sight-read ditties you are familiar with. contrary. In your answer to Mr Laredo, you use
Sight-reading books are all very well, but you subconsciously learn them and stop reading. You require the expression to overreach ones ambitions.
a huge pile of music scores that are never played publicly and have not been recorded: make six I may be doing that, but occasionally I succeed
attempts then turn the page or throw it on the floor. Do not attempt to learn them. Follow the in playing pieces I never thought I would have
beginners pieces published in Pianist and make sure you can see and hear every note. been able to. This is very satisfying. But for me
An ex-colleague of mine, who was a jobbing double bass player with the RSNO, advised me in this process, dialogue, as well as appropriate
I was probably trying to read what I was playing instead of playing what I was reading. Touch! feedback and encouragement from a good teacher,
Trying to read what you have committed to memory is even more difficult, as I have found out. cannot be valued enough.
We can take comfort from a previous article about Lucille Chung [issue 85], who never learned to Marianne Haugaard Antonsen, Solbjerg,
read fast enough theres hope for us yet. I learned to touch type when I was 17 and can type faster Denmark
than I can write, which proves the point one has to learn when still a youngster. I am getting better
every day, tiny bit by tiny bit, but it has been a long, hard road. Carry on and dont give up. We received several letters along the same lines and
Alistair J Marshall, Gourock, Scotland are only sorry that lack of space prevents us from
publishing them. But dont worry! well continue
Thank you for your helpful feedback. The subject of sight-reading is always a hot topic, and one that to publish a range of scores to suit every level of
we address frequently within the magazine. A CD prize is on its way to you! ability and, indeed, ambition.

The almost lost art of improvising


Easy on the pedal also in order to hear what the fingers are really up to. Derek Connolly writes in issue 93 about his
I am a self-taught pianist, about Grade 6 standard, In issues 83, 84 and 85 I wrote more about pedalling interest in incorporating improvisation into his
and I practise about one hour per day. From what (and my video demonstrations are available at playing. During the past year I, too, became
I can gather pedal is best avoided where possible www.pianistmagazine.com). interested in improvisation but I didnt really
for a player of my standard but where it should be know how to begin, and although I respect jazz,
used, what is the best approach? I am currently Un sospiro challenges I am more interested in the classical style.
learning Saties Second Nocturne. There are I refer to the letter from Joseph Laredo in issue 94. Happily, I found an excellent book that seemed
passages where pedalling seems the only way of I want to be continually challenged. I am happiest written just for me! Improvisation at the Piano:
creating legato, such as the right-hand octaves when working on music totally above my ability A Systematic Approach for the Classically-Trained
from bar 9. Is it a case of pedalling after each working note by note, bar by bar. I tell my Pianist (from Alfred Publishing) gets you started
octave this would seem very frequent or is it a teacher to challenge me, and she does. For me the with improvising at a very basic level from the
combination of better fingering and less pedal? end result is secondary to the journey. beginning and then systematically gives you tools
Jonathan Thorpe, Kent, UK I started work on Chopins Ballade No 1 about to add to your improvisational toolbox. It may
12 months ago, and after three months I put it seem odd that improvisation would benefit from
Graham Fitch responds: Some composers choose in my pending file. I have just resurrected it and systematic study, but Ive found that spending a
to leave the pedal up to the player (Debussy marks I am finding it less hard going, but with still a long mere 15 minutes per practice session reviewing
nothing and Rachmaninov very little). Others might way to go. This is the way I like to work, it keeps each chapter (the chapters themselves are brief )
write it in only when they want a particular effect. my mind active and focused. What appears has, over several months, really expanded my
In Chopins E minor Prlude there are only two impossible today becomes easier as time passes creativity and provided a lot of joy.
pedal markings, both telling us to sustain a bass and my skills improve. Pianist expands my Jason Kleps, Okahoma, USA
note by foot. We may absolutely use pedal elsewhere knowledge of composers and their music, and
in the piece, of course, or we are going to get a I love attempting the most difficult pieces. I hope Desperately seeking No 76
horribly choppy left hand and we wont connect you continue to provide us with a challenge. Reader Stephen R Gilmore
FREE
the chords at the end. David Kay, Doncaster from Florida, USA, has
FEBRUARY-MARCH 2014

WITH EVERY ISSUE


40 PAGES OF
SHEET MUSIC

We pedal for two main reasons to connect sounds been reading Pianist since Helping you become a better player
No 76 50 ONLINE LESSONS
PLUS TUTORIAL CD

that the hands alone cannot connect, and to add Ambition and encouragement IMPRO
the start, but recently lost your VE
 now!
playing
resonance and colour to our playing. In bar 9 of your Joseph Laredo raises an important issue of issue 76 in a house fire. EXPERT ADVICE
Satie Nocturne, I would suggest pedalling the main motivation or discouragement when looking at This issue is no longer Essential warm-up exercises
Perfecting your pedalling ANDRS
Why good posture matters
SCHIFF
beats (thus four changes). However, it is important to advanced pieces. When I look at Un sospiro as a available in print, and The icon at 60

remember that the pedal does not have to go all the whole, I am quite sure that I will never be able to Mr Gilmore asks if anyone 13LEARN LISTEN LEARN PLAY

13LEARN
PIECES TO PIECES TO All BEGINNER PIECES
WITH BAR-BY-BAR
TECHNICAL HELP
COLE PORTER
way down, and you can add dabs of pedal to liquefy play it. But could I learn to master the difficult has a spare copy they dont
ALL LEVELS AND ALL STYLES
ALL LEVELS AND ALL STYLES Learn his magical
RACHMANINOV NIGHT AND DAY
LessonTry
on his luxurious
BOOGIE- RACHMANINOV

your sound where necessary. details separately, and would this enable me to play mind parting with.
Etude-tableau in G minor
Lesson on his luxurious Second-hand pianos
WOOGIE Etude-tableau in G minor All you need to know
for yourself!

It is an excellent idea to practise on occasion the entire piece, someday, if I wanted to play it? Please email editor@ BOOGIE-
WOOGIE
LISTEN LEARN PLAY

Try
12LEARN brings
Every issue,
brings
PIECES TO
youPianist
40 pages
ALL LEVELS AND ALL STYLES

a CD
Every issue, Pianist

you 40
of scores
of ascores
tofrom.
topages
CD totolisten
learn and
learnand
listenIfand
and
BONUS
TRACKS!
Andrs Schiff
plays Bach &
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Shhhhhhhhhhh
Give sound-proofing a try

deliberately without pedal as a way of purifying the


learn

There are obvious limits to what I can do, and pianistmagazine.com and
for yourself!
BEETHOVENS your CD
STEP-BY-STEP LESSON ON
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ear from the luxury pedal brings to our sound, and sometimes almost no limits to my ambitions. well let Stephen know.
12/12/2013 10:58

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6 Pianist 95

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News All the latest news from the world of the piano

SECOND COMING BSENDORFERS NEW GENERATION


for Fanny Mendelssohns Two state-of-the-art models unveiled by fabled
Easter Sonata Austrian maker
A substantial piano sonata Top-end piano manufacture took a
by Fanny Mendelssohn leap forward on 7 March with the
has received its first public launch in London of the 280VC
performance and UK (Vienna Concert) Grand from
premiere, almost 190 Bsendorfer, alongside its smaller
years after it was written. sister, the 214VC.
Pianist readers will be Having played Chopin and Liszt
more familiar than most on the new instrument, Polish pianist
with the overlooked figure Aleksandra Mikulska reacted with
of Fanny. She gave only enthusiasm. It has a big sound,
one public recital and she said, and it gives the artist the
was discouraged both by opportunity to play this big sound
her father and especially with less power than you might
her brother Felix from need with other concert grands. And it gives you many, many colours! Theres the brilliant
making money or a soprano register and the voluminous bass. It gives you a lot of colours without big work!
reputation from her compositions. Nonetheless, she wrote Various upgrades to every aspect of the Bsendorfer model have been made in order to
music throughout her life: mostly songs and miniatures improve the stability of the instrument, whatever the context. Our aim is to make the life
such as the Melodie Op 4 No 2 from his Kinderstck, of a concert pianist as easy as possible, explained the companys chief technician, Ferdinand
which was published in the Scores section of Pianist 94. Bru. To stay true to the individual unique design and the unmistakable Vienese sound,
The 22-minute, four-movement Easter Sonata is of but meeting all the needs and expectations of the 21st century. Accessibility must be very
another order of magnitude and significance. In the diary easy these days venues dont have much time to sort things. Theres a demand for a certain
of his tour to Scotland in 1829, Felix recounts playing the spectrum of dynamic range at these big venues.
newly composed sonata on board a steamer moored in The 214VC has been designed to carry over the principles and technology of the 280VC
Liverpool docks. As recently as 2003, Felixs biographer to suit smaller contexts such as teaching classes and more intimate venues. Sir Andrs Schiff
R Larry Todd could still refer to it as lost, but in fact the has already given the 280VC a ringing endorsement as a singing instrument, comfortable to
manuscript turned up in Paris in 1970. The owner of play and great for the Viennese classics: he will use it in forthcoming recitals.
the manuscript was reported to have said, It cant be by
a woman. Its a masterpiece. However, the musicologist
Angela Mace Christian proved the authenticity of the DELIGHTED CLAVINOVA WINNER
sonata, which was performed at the Royal Academy of Reader Jayne Dawson is the lucky winner of the Win a Clavinova
Music in London on 8 March by Sofya Gulyak, winner of competition published in issue 93. Editor Erica Worth pulled her
the 2005 Leeds International Piano Competition. name from the hat a large one containing 1,868 entries.
The sonatas name discloses a dramatic narrative which Yamaha UK installed the new black walnut CLP-535 at Jaynes
comes to a dramatic head in the finale with an evocation of home in Lincolnshire (picture taken just after it arrived). To say
the curtain of the Temple being torn in two, followed by a I am delighted is an understatement, said Jayne, who had let her
calm and joyful, chorale-like coda. Gulyaks performance playing habit slip some years ago. To own a piano again will be
(broadcast live on BBC Radio 3) was as ambitious and fantastic; I shall probably have to have some refresher lessons, and
volatile as Fannys creative inspiration: The Sonata says a my husband is certainly going to learn. It will be a family affair.
lot about her as a composer, remarks Gulyak. We can feel Turn to page 4 for this issues competition. It might not be a
the influence of Beethoven and Schubert, but her voice is full-blown piano, but it is something that many will covet: cover
very much her own. artist Rick Wakemans new Piano Portraits CD!

Est 1910
C

CM
Sheila Rock (Tan); Jordan Strauss (Lang Lang)

MY

CY

CMY

7 - 8 chester court. albany st. london. nw1 4bu


020 7935 8682 www.marksonpianos.com
8. Pianist 95

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ITS ALL ABOUT PIANO!


Beethoven, Cage and keyboard comedy THE LA LA LAND EFFECT
at London festival 31 March-2 April Oscar-winning movie boosts piano
The action-packed weekend hosted by the Institut Franais in Kensington awareness
returns for a fifth season. Melvyn Tan (pictured, centre) gets the festival off to
a flying start on 31 March with sonatas by Beethoven and Liszt. He is joined The feel-good romantic musical may not have been Best Movie (though
the next morning by students from the Paris Conservatoire and the Royal it scooped up numerous other awards) in the eyes of the Academy Award
Conservatoire of Scotland for a masterclass. judges, but it captured the imagination of thousands of filmgoers. The
The CD reviews section in this issue of Pianist gives some exciting clues as impact has been positive for both commercial and cultural reasons.
to what to expect. There are recitals with Cdric Pescia (John Cage and more Piano dealers report an uptick in off-the-street consumers who want
Beethoven) and Barry Douglas (Brahms and Schubert, pictured left) as well to try out the instrument, inspired by the struggling jazz pianist Sebastian
as return visits from Ivan Ili (reviving the piano music of Anton Reicha) and (played by Ryan Gosling). Ive already noticed customers coming in
the cabaret duo of the Piano Brothers. to The Piano Shop and playing little snippets from the film that theyre
Its All About Piano! is about much more than the classics. There are cinema working out by ear, says Kent piano-dealer (and regular contributor
concerts with live accompaniment including the Oscar-nominated The Red to Pianist) Nigel Scaife.
Turtle and short comedies with Buster Keaton; late-night jazz, childrens For the role of Sebastian, Gosling learnt to play the instrument in just
concerts and family events; and Ulrich Gerhartz, Master Piano Tuner at three months and did not use a keyboard double. Wide awareness of this
Steinway (above, right), is on hand to talk about the art of preparing pianos may have enhanced the La La Land effect, and Faber Music reports that
with nails and rubbers rather than tuning forks before Pescia plays Cage. its volume of songs from the movie is already a best-seller.
Look out for the Your Time to Shine event on Sunday: editor Erica Worth We can now reveal that Pianist had its own small part to play in
hosts this special concert in which youll hear performances from five Damien Chazelles film. The production company contacted the magazine
amateur pianists (chosen by a jury of experts), with the audience encouraged a couple of years ago with a request to use a copy of the magazine as a
to give feedback after each performance! prop in one of the scenes. Consent forms were signed and magazines duly
For more details visit itsallaboutpiano.co.uk. provided. As far as we can tell, the scene concerned seems to have hit the
cutting-room floor, but its good to know that ours is the piano magazine
TECHNOLOGY CORNER of choice for Hollywood moguls!

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where a player-piano system has to get hold of the book? Go to fabermusicstore.com and use the code
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levels of individual keynote expressions UNIVERSAL
and 256 pedal positions. Perhaps, The multi-million-selling Chinese
however, Pianist readers need not be too alarmed that Arpeggio will pianist will reunite with Deutsche
take work or fun away from them. The robot as yet appears incapable of Grammophon the label which
wearing cocktail dress, flirting with customers or sending in an invoice. launched his recording career in
Readers without a current duet partner may find a temporary 2003 when he was just 20 for a
replacement in Googles latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) software project. series of new recordings which will
Sheila Rock (Tan); Jordan Strauss (Lang Lang)

AI Duet is an app for your PC or mobile. Connected via a desktop include Bachs Goldberg Variations.
or MIDI-compatible keyboard, the app listens to your playing and Lang Langs first release under the
responds accordingly. AI Duet was developed by programmer Yotam new agreement will be The Piano
Mann and collaborators at Google, using the companys TensorFlow Book, an album of popular piano
software library. The programme has been trained with examples music which is featured in his own pioneering Piano Method. On signing the
of classical music so it can produce harmonious chord sequences in deal, Lang Lang (pictured with Sir Lucian Grange, chairman of Universal) said:
the context of your playing; though whether it will take Secondo in This is exactly the spirit we need to promote classical music in the 21st century.
Schuberts F minor Fantasy must remain, for now, an open question. My dream has always been to share music with as many people as possible,
See pianosoftware.com/arpeggio-the-piano-superdroid/ for more details. and I cant wait to start working with the Universal teams around the world.

9. Pianist 95

p8 news95-FINALish.indd 9 16/03/2017 14:03


News All the latest news from the world of the piano

LOVE, DEATH, DARKNESS


IMOGEN COOPER
A new album of Liszt and Wagner goes to the edge of human experience. Imogen Cooper talks
Peter Quantrill through a project that has been years in the making

Youve taken a long time to come to Liszt on record. And youve been very
selective about the moods youve chosen to explore.
I wasnt trying to do him justice. I was following a train of thought which
started because I wanted to give the Liebestod from Tristan another crack.
Then I looked out Zoltan Kocsiss transcription of the Prelude, which he
gave me in the late 70s. Its enough of a problem trying to sound like an
orchestra, but then are you really going to do what Wagner did, and play
them together, leaving out three and a half hours of opera in between?
On the piano, thats too much of a challenge. So I turned to Liszt, and to
La lugubre gondola which he wrote when he had a premonition of Wagners
death. It seemed to be a good link between the two parts of Tristan.
Love, death, darkness, all sorts of things.
That led me to the vaguely atonal late pieces such as the Bagatelle sans
tonalit. And I thought I needed something more light-hearted, so the
Valse oublie went in. It was like building a lorry out of Lego bricks. Bits kept
getting stuck on. And of course the Annes de plrinage are a dream to play,
theyre so beautifully written, and from a different period. What was fun
was deciding the order for the recording. My thinking could have made
no sense at all! But it feels right to me, theres a tale being told.

A tale in words or music?


Story-telling is what fascinates me about instrumental music. We dont
have the words but as Mendelssohn said, it doesnt matter, because the music
is more powerful on its own. I am fascinated by the unspoken link between
pieces. Alfred Brendel remarked on the long silver cord that is pulled with
tension all the way through a piece, and that should extend through a recital house in southern France. The young ones in the colleges have to get used
or disc. Im not saying the listener should necessarily be aware of it. to noise all around them. Then they come to Eygalires and find that the
passage of music from brain to fingers is so much quicker because theres
Brendel talked more than half a century ago about Liszt the nothing to get in the way, just birdsong.
misunderstood. Is that still the case?
People have a set idea they think its a certain way, too many notes. You didnt do the competition circuit. Is the Trust a way of offering
Alfred was one of the first to bring visionary imagination and dignity to an alternative to the circuit?
the music, and fire, and everything that Liszt the man was himself. A lot of The world when I was growing up was very different. It was Alfred who
others had used him as a pianistic vehicle. This has happened to Chopin too. was putting the brakes on my doing competitions. There were fewer of us
To free yourself, and find something fresh and personal, is very difficult. around, and there were far more music societies and clubs where we could
learn and ply our trade. Young musicians all do competitions now because
Youve avoided the B minor Sonata so far. its a way of being heard by managers, press, record companies. That is a
I would work on it if I ever took a sabbatical because I dont want to pressure for them now that I feel I had a choice about. The Trust is just
die stupid. Its such an enormous piece, I would love to go deep into it. something I want to give them. Im not looking for stars. I want people
Even when it doesnt sit so easily under the fingers, the music just shows who respond, who are sponges.
what a fabulous pianist Liszt was. The same is true of the Valse oublie.
Its just a gas to play, the speed and the wackiness of it. I hardly slept for Whats next?
10 nights when learning it. Im quite plunged into Beethoven. Between now and June 2018 I have three
recitals which have big Beethoven variations, all the Bagatelles, some Haydn
Liszt and his son-in-law Wagner had the kind of one-sided relationship and contemporary works by Thomas Ads and Julian Anderson. And there
where one person gives and the other takes. will be more things for Chandos. The more recording Ive done, the more
Liszt was such a giver. And the body of work is absolutely colossal. Even in Ive realised you can afford to take more risks in the studio, because you can
the context of one disc, that was an attraction. He was very generous except go back and do it again if it doesnt come off. What is difficult is if you have
when raised to righteous indignation. Im sure he was a very generous a patch or a period where something closes in, and you cant play a note,
teacher. There are pages and pages of people who came to work with him. because youve heard a take you havent liked, or done something four or five
times, and then your head gets into a terrible mess. If youre free of that you
And now with the Imogen Cooper Music Trust, youre passing on can take fantastic risks. Ive taken more risks as Ive got older. But it doesnt
something of your own experience. work if the producer is too active, saying, why dont you try this?, or that
My idea in setting up the Trust was to give unlimited time within six days crescendo doesnt work. I know what I want, and I keep trying until I get it.
Sussie Ahlburg

to one or two young pianists, once or twice a year, and do really concentrated
work, and for it to be somewhere of extraordinary beauty and silence. Imogen Coopers Liszt & Wagner release is out now on Chandos (CHAN 10938).
And Pat Ryan and Bryan Youl made the idea come true by lending their You can hear her recording of La lugubre gondola on this issues covermount CD.

10. Pianist 95

p10 cooper-FINAL.indd 10 17/03/2017 09:14


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11 Pianist 77

p11_pianist95.indd 11 16/03/2017 16:39


INTERVIEW

FIRST
Love
Rock star and Grumpy Old Man he may be, but
Rick Wakeman has always been a pianist at heart.
He tells Erica Worth about a KGB uniform, his
keyboard collection and his return to the classics

Things like the music stand were


missing. But the basics were there the
soundboard, the frame. Andrew said

J
he could make it into a real Blthner-
anuary 2017, and Im sitting in From that moment, I know its going Above: Rick Wakeman sounding piano. It took him a year.
a rooftop caf overlooking to be plain sailing. recording Piano Portraits at Now hes restoring a 1925, 7 6
Broadcasting House in central You can talk to Andrew about The Old Granary Studio, a Bechstein, which I absolutely adore.
London, waiting to interview anything to do with pianos, continues converted barn in Norfolk So at the moment I have the upright
the rock keyboard legend that Wakeman, fired up. I got to know him Bechstein, the grand Bechstein, the
is Rick Wakeman. Just another because I inherited my fathers Bechstein Blthner grand, and a Petrof in the
five minutes, Im promised by a text upright, which I used to play. When studio. I got it when they started getting
from his publicity assistant. Rick keeps I moved to Norfolk in 2005 I thought things right its about 20 years old.
stopping to chat to people. I can only Id get it restored. Andrew said hed Ive had a Yamaha B too.
imagine. As I set my recording device on come and have a look. He arrived, and And Steinway? I did have one of
the table and put my sheaf of questions I asked if it was still raining. To which he those said almost under the breath.
next to it, I feel a pang of apprehension. answered, Wheres the piano? And now That went in the first divorce. It lives
Wakeman is not my typical interviewee, he looks after all my pianos. near Trinity College now, with a very
and prog rock is not my everyday
listening. However, I do know a thing or
two about piano. And thats what Im
here to find out about Rick the pianist, I cannot walk past a piano without playing it. It is
who has revived his classical credentials
with a new album and tour, Piano
Portraits.
my greatest love, and I think it always will be
Wakeman strides in, larger than life,
offering a firm handshake and apologies How many pianos might that be? good pianist. I understand its still
for lateness. Not to worry, I reply, and Well, I like rescuing things, replies referred to as Rick Wakemans piano.
introduce myself in the expectation that Wakeman. Apart from my fathers I would love a Thomas Goff double
he doesnt know much about my Bechstein, there was a lovely 6 Blthner harpsichord I knew Tom well but
magazine. Oh, I do! he roars back. In from the old Boston Gliderdrome we dont have the room.
fact, my piano technician Andrew Giller [a 60s music venue in Lincolnshire]. No wonder: Wakeman also has around
was so excited that Im meeting the It was an early 60s model that started 150 keyboards. Im a real hoarder, he
editor of Pianist. He knows the mag. life in Lincoln Cathedral. It was in explains. This collecting thing started in
Hes a genius, a complete nutcase. appalling condition, almost skip-ready. the late 60s. Remember, Im old!
12 Pianist 95

p12_interview-FINALish CORRECT.indd 12 16/03/2017 15:09


Depending on what were recording and Wakeman laughs as he remembers
where were touring, we just go and sort the RCM days. I saw Basil Tschaikov
out the ones we want. years later, when I found myself on
Wakeman happily observes a move This Is Your Life with Michael Aspel.
among instrument-buyers from digital to At the reception afterwards, I reminded
acoustic instruments. Andrew Giller has him: Mr Tschaikov, you, a professor at
told me that people come in looking for the college, encouraged me to leave.
a piano saying: Weve got a digital. Now Why? To which he replied: The whole
were looking for a real one. object of doing this course is to reach the
stage where one becomes the professional
Early memories one wants to become. And if the door
We travel back to the start of Wakemans
life at the piano. I was born in 1949. In
the early 50s, childrens TV was Bill and
opens for you to do that, you go through
it, you dont miss the opportunity. My
only regret, I told him, was not getting
RICK WAKEMAN
Ben and that was your lot, so we had to
do something else. My parents were both
my degree because I hadnt finished.
Redemption arrived in 2012 43 years Up close
musical. When I was young, they held after he had walked out of the RCM
musical evenings in our tiny house, on when he became a Fellow of the college.
a Sunday evening. My Mum sang and Today he works closely with the students
Dad was a fine piano player. I used to there and is also Professor at London If you could play only one piece, what
climb out of bed, aged four, come down College of Music in West London. would it be?
the stairs and listen. I was in raptures. Its wonderful, he remarks, the diversity A piano arrangement of Prokofievs Peter and the
There were three girls who lived next and opportunities that students now Wolf. I love it. Prokofiev is my hero. When I was
door and they were having piano lessons. have, which they couldnt in the 60s. about eight, my father took me to a concert of
The walls were paper thin, and I could Peter and the Wolf. I thought Heres a man telling
hear them. I so wanted to play like my Exotic, erotic years a story.
dad, to be like my dad. During the 70s Wakeman gradually
I was lucky. One of the finest piano drew away from dependence on existing One composer?
teachers in southern England lived less formations such as Yes and pieced Mozart. On a desert island, if I had all the Mozart
than a mile away. But my dad earned together the ideas, the music and the sonatas with me, Id be very happy.
exactly this: one pound eighteen and personnel for his own projects. In 1973
six a week. And seven and six went on The Six Wives of Henry VIII was released, One pianist youd choose to hear?
piano lessons for me. So they went with its coruscating, Baroque-pastiched Vladimir Ashkenazy. Hes one of the few who
without. I went to Mrs Symes, and did opening keyboards cadenza (Wakeman has successfully made that great transition from
all my grades with her. He won a the performer at his most technically performer to conductor.
scholarship to the Royal College of brilliant) and clinching variations on
Music [RCM] where piano was his The day Thou gavest (Wakeman the Any technical hurdles?
first study, with Eileen Cooper. composer at his most ingenious). No, but Id love my left hand to be stronger.
However, Wakeman never made it The following year he embarked on I have to work hard at it, especially when
to the end of the course. I was on the the most ambitious project of his career, I bring out the classical pieces.
performer course, he recalls, but I was Journey to the Centre of the Earth. This
doing a load of sessions. The College was a 45-minute fantasy based on Jules If you werent a musician, what would
frowned upon this at the time Vernes novel and featuring the London you be?
especially if you were working on an Symphony Orchestra and choirs. The A politician. I think that if youre a musician, you
album that turned out to be a hit! live recording at the Royal Festival Hall like to make a difference to peoples lives. I was
The sessions were starting to conflict was famously fraught with technical asked to stand as an Member of the European
with studies at the college. My second issues, but the album was a worldwide Parliament. I was involved with a wonderful MEP
study was clarinet, and I went into my hit, and he toured it across the globe. and we stopped the cat and dog fur trade thats
lesson one day, and my clarinet teacher By 1975 Wakeman was obvious choice based in China. A lot of the fur would end up in
Basil Tschaikov asked, Whats on your to compose the soundtrack to Lisztomania the UK, in big shops, with names such as wild cat
mind? I said, Mr Tschaikov, I have a (billed as The exotic, erotic, electrifying or mountain cat, but actually it was little Tiddles
real dilemma. Do you want my rock fantasy), in which Ken Russell from around the corner.
advice? he replied. Leave here, go explores the parallels between mid-19th I also gathered support for a lot of Iraqi
down to your locker, empty it out, and late-20th-century notions of musical musicians after the coup, when they all got
walk up the steps over the road to the fame with characteristic imagination. drummed out the country, but tragically most
Albert Hall. Dont look back, walk round Wakeman himself appears on film as the of them ended up in Syria. Ive spoken in the
to the front of the hall, then look up and god Thor. The same year he released a European parliament about that. I learnt you could
say to yourself Thats where I want to concept-album sequel to Journey The make a difference.
be. And dont come back. Myths and Legends of King Arthur and
He didnt. Those sessions led to a stint The Knights of the Round Table, with What would you say to someone starting
with folk-rock group The Strawbs, then a opulent orchestral strings against wild to play the piano?
frantic period of moonlighting for David harpsichord and keyboard solos. No matter what age, have fun. Enjoy it, and aim to
Bowie, Elton John, Lou Reed and many Brahms, Liszt, the LSO: it should be be the best you can be. Even if you try two or three
others. In 1971 he joined Yes, and clear that an irreverent love of the classical teachers, find one who almost becomes your
contributed to the seminal prog-rock tradition remained central to Wakemans friend. The first questions they should ask are,
album Fragile notably the keyboard work. I ask how his classical training What do you want to do? What would you like to
break between the first and second songs, helped his career. My father played be able to play? Do you want to do Christmas
Cans and Brahms, where he plays his own classical and stride piano, he continues. carols? Sonatas? Obviously, if the student says I
virtuosic condensation of the Scherzo He said that if you want to make music want to be a concert pianist and theyre already
from Brahmss Fourth Symphony on your profession, you wont always be 36, then the teacher might suggest that they return
several of those 150 keyboards. able to play what you want to play. to the world of reality!

13 Pianist 95

p12_interview-FINALish CORRECT.indd 13 16/03/2017 15:09


INTERVIEW
ROCKING OUT
The legend and his keyboards: Wakeman on The more experience you get playing The Berceuse was more tricky because I
stage at his various shows, including Myths different types of music, the better. From knew the original. I had to get that out my
at the O2 Arena in London the age of 12 I played trad jazz, modern head, except for the melodies, and pick the
jazz, dance, rock and blues. I did clubs, areas I wanted to come out.
churches, even strip clubs I played a lot It strikes me how many Pianist readers
of wrong notes there! weddings, funerals, would enjoy learning his arrangements.
absolutely everything. Funnily enough, my publisher asked if
Was that with or without the score? I would release them. Id prefer to do three
And what about transposing? Id play different versions of a certain piece for
with and without music. As for beginner, intermediate and advanced.
transposing, youd get a piece of music Then its up to the student to choose.
slung in front of you at a working mens Ive been told music teachers are desperate
club and theyd say, Well do this in B flat for this kind of thing. They could even be
now, and it was written in F sharp. It was graded. Were looking at this for next year.
a great apprenticeship! My father always Im too busy right now.
said to me: Your classical training will give Yes, every second counts in the life
you the tools to do your job. He likened of Rick Wakeman. His tour diary is
it to being a writer. A writer can have the more squeezed than ever thanks to
worlds greatest imagination, he said, but his increasing appearances on radio
hell only be able to put onto paper the (Just a Minute, The News Quiz) and TV
words that he knows. He encouraged me (Have I Got News For You, Grumpy Old
to go through all my grades: they would Men) as an affable, eloquent, likably
stand me in good stead. self-parodying Grumpy Old Man. I love
Wakeman has returned to those roots TV and the media, Wakeman tells me.
for his 100th studio album, Piano Portraits. It started in the late 80s. I did a lot of chat
Debussy, Faur and Tchaikovsky sit beside shows. But Id play on them, and then
Amazing Grace and Eleanor Rigby, Stairway nobody wanted to chat afterwards.
to Heaven and Life on Mars, in which the Everything changed with the Danny Baker
pianist pays tribute to the memory of his After All show one Saturday night in the
late colleague Bowie. The album is, mid 80s. Id just got back from Russia.
self-evidently, a labour of love. Id been arrested out there for stealing
a KGB uniform, which sounds hilarious
Respecting the melody now but wasnt funny at the time I was
Acoustic piano is still my favourite in real trouble. So I packed the KGB
instrument, confesses Wakeman. I cannot uniform and went to White City for the
walk past a piano without playing it. It is my show. In a flash of inspiration, Wakeman
greatest love, and I think it always will be. put on the uniform and walked onto the
Ive done a few piano albums before such set doing a Russian goose-step. I told the
as the Classical Connection albums made in whole story, on prime time. And when
reunions with members of Yes but not I walked off, instead of playing a bit of Yes,
one with so much thought behind it. they did the Russian national anthem.
The idea for Piano Portraits came about The following Monday, the phones didnt
when David Bowie died. I released Life On stop ringing. And from all the programmes
Mars for Macmillan Cancer Support in Id been trying to get on for years. Thats all
March 2016, and several labels got in thanks to Danny.
touch: We want an album just like this. Time is up. The PR assistant appears,
How weird is that? Or so I thought. and Wakeman vanishes, as if in a puff of
Anyway, Universal encouraged me to do it. prog-rock smoke. Im left with a snapshot
Im glad I waited until now to make a (see page 4) and memories of an
classical album like this, because I wouldnt exhilarating half-hour in the company of a
have known about The Old Granary rock legend.
[Gillers concert venue where Piano Portraits
was recorded], or Andrews concert grand
Steinway. Its a gorgeous Hamburg model.
After all these years, I thought a lot
more about the pieces. At college youd
take a work by one composer and write it
in the style of another, and I loved that.
Ive always loved playing around with
variations on other peoples music as the
exuberant fantasies of Henry VIII show. Its
nothing new: composers have been nicking
music for donkeys years. Everyone nicked Piano Portraits is available on CD and 2LP
from Bach. And he did some nicking too. sets from Universal Records. Wakeman
The key is a good melody. If youve got appears at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival on
a good melody, and youre honest with 29 April at the Town Hall, Cheltenham.
it and treat it with respect, you can do He tours the UK from the end of May to
almost anything. Some pieces on the early July with Piano Portraits in Concert.
recording were instantly easy to work on. See www.rwcc.com. Turn to page 4 for a
I played Clair de lune when I was a kid. chance to win a copy of Piano Portraits.

14 Pianist 95

p12_interview-FINALish CORRECT.indd 14 16/03/2017 15:09


Chethams International
Summer School & Festival
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Artistic Director: Murray McLachlan

Also featuring the 5th Manchester International


Many words
Concerto Competition for Young Pianists
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RESIDENTIAL
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Conference Theme:
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This years EPTA UK Conference promises to be particularly exciting. We are
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Keynote Speaker:
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The Perfect Wrong Note
Concert by Peter Donohoe, EPTA UK Patron

For more details, please contact the Administrator on


08456 581054 or 07510 379286 / email admin@epta-uk.org

www.epta-uk.org and click on conferences

De Vere
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Centre,
Nottingham

15 Pianist 77

p15_pianist95.indd 15 16/03/2017 16:43


play HOW TO

Lets get to the bottom of it


SOUNDING THE NOTE
Striking the keys with due weight and attention will produce the tone youre looking for, says
Mark Tanner, and give you control of your sound whatever the keyboard

F
rom our first lessons at Mark Tanner is a pianist, composer and writer. His work takes him
the piano, we learn the to five continents, giving recitals, masterclasses and presentations.
importance of striking to For ABRSM, Mark is an examiner, trainer, reader and international
the bottom of the piano presenter: he co-authored Teaching Notes, ABRSMs book to
key in order to get the full accompany the 2017-18 piano syllabus, and The Mindful Pianist
sound out of the note. (Faber Music) tackles many practical issues pertinent to pianists
Importantly, this should of all ages, abilities and persuasions. During 2017 Mark will be
not be confused with key-bedding, performing off the coasts of South America and Tahiti on MS Queen
a term apparently coined by veteran Victoria, presenting for ABRSM in China and examining in Turkey and
pedagogue Tobias Matthay a century Sri Lanka. His popular Piano Summer School at Jackdaws, Somerset
ago, whereby the player continues to takes place in late July.
dig pointlessly through the bottom
of the key after it has produced its note. with something brisk, but remember We should remember, and remind
Key bedding is a knotty subject, and one recoiling when some notes failed to ourselves often, that the pianos action
passionately argued from different sound I felt myself tighten up, and can only deliver a satisfying strike when
perspectives. Perhaps the discussion can it all went to pot thereafter. At the time properly controlled. Pianos come with their
be summed up as the difference between I put my dissatisfaction down to the fair share of idiosyncrasies and foibles,
a sense of momentary follow-through pianos treacle-like action, or so it seemed though these are nothing compared with
(desirable) and pushing against the key compared to my regular teachers easy our own! One truth we cannot escape is
after the event (undesirable). That sense instrument. Years later, I realised that the that if we dont encourage each key to
comes more from feel than by sight, issue was my incapacity to adapt on the fly. reach its bed, all manner of pianistic
since the part of the piano key visible It also pointed up an inherent deficiency mayhem may result. Poor attack results
to us never literally reaches the bottom. in holes in the musical line, unevenness
in running passages and non-speaking
Light versus heavy action notes in chords.
When we begin to experiment with loud
and quiet notes, and all the gradations in
Be decisive, but dont dig in! Tickle, prod and nudge
between, we get an early taste of what The term tickling the ivories has many
piano playing is all about. We quickly regrettable connotations. An unconvincing
grasp that the weight of the keyboard is in how I was imagining my fingers to cantabile that feeble, wispy sound is
critical to our success in refining the subtle be striking the keys. Although a good usually a symptom of pawing indecisively
business of touch control. Then we come teacher can help to alleviate this, it is at the surface. Though we may be aware
across other players who boldly advocate ultimately the player who must arrive of the need to attack confidently, many
a far heavier or lighter touch. Ive always at a workable psychological and of our problems as pianists stem from
felt that a very light action is hardest of physical solution. the unguarded tickle, prod or nudge.

5
all to finesse, though it can place us at a We might fluke an occasional perfect
certain advantage when moving at speed. note by jabbing at it uncertainly, but if
TOP
Similar discussions happen between TIPS consistency is what were after, well need
GOING ON STRIKE
golfers when comparing putters some to hone a dependable, repeatable finger
like a brick on a stick, others prefer a action. This relies upon the sensation of
feather on a ferrule. I remember watching
in awe how the Labque sisters chose their
1 A sense of follow-through is imperative, no matter how loud or
quiet the note needs to sound, whereas key-bedding slows us
down, causes overlapping and an ugly sound.
acceleration, for the act of reaching the
key bottom cannot happen by gravity
instruments for a forthcoming televised alone just as in tennis, delicate
performance they practically ran from
Steinway to Steinway in a choc-a-bloc 2 Aim for a continuous, accelerated motion through to the release;
this will ensure all notes speak firmly.
touch-play at the net is never about
flicking or swiping at the ball as if
showroom, reeling off impossibly slick swatting a fly; there will always be
chromatic scales, until finally they settled
on the perfect instrument to match their 3 Counter frail tone syndrome in cantabile playing by practising
the roll-over and follow-through avoid freezing up.
a backstroke and follow-through,
no matter how small.
individual techniques.
When it comes to piano-key weight, High finger-action practice
its by no means always the larger-framed
player who will err towards a brutish
4 Dont blame the piano! Whether youre playing an 18th-century
fortepiano, a perfectly regulated Steinway or a digital piano,
consistency is your responsibility, so adapt and respond.
Practising with a high finger action is
a good way of overcoming the tendency
action. At the age of ten I was taken for to play with a half-hearted attack.
a consultation lesson with the Mozart
specialist Allan Schiller (with whom 5 Trills, repeated notes and fioritura seem particularly prone to
tightening-up and key-bedding. Try not to tickle at the surface,
Ironically, even the most silvery effect,
such as we would want for Debussys
I went on to give two-piano recitals but play decisively and progressively. Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum or for
many years later). I chanced my luck Schuberts Impromptu D899 No 4
16 Pianist 95

P16 HTP Tanner-FINALish.indd 16 15/03/2017 11:00


MASTERCLASS

in Ab major, is best cultivated by up high, we can delude ourselves that


attacking every note sturdily and slowly we are doing a good job of playing MOMENTS OF GRANDEUR
at first. Initially, we simply want to feel decisively. This often leads to flat fingers Mark Tanner explores three scores in this issue for
confident that each note is going to and a shallow attack when encountering
sound; from here, we can gradually a real piano. their potential to train decisive key-striking
reduce the height our fingers rise
until they are actually touching the Roll-over and Jean-Louis STREABBOG (1835-1886) Streabbog Distant Bells [page 30]: This
1
S BEGINNER/
T MIS
DONMELA
NIEKS INTERMEDIATE
Distant Bells Op 63 No 6
SWIC
TRACK 3 ON
LESS
SPAN E
PIEC
THIS E
ON PAG
20

follow-through innocuous looking piece contains a great deal


is
much stronger and more sonorous sound
is the (which is tricky to execute by itself ). A
and Melodious Studies, Distant Bells the RH in every bar. The LH jump should

keys at rest, while still enjoying


Much the best-known of 12 Very Easy his needed in the LH, which has to pass over
Gobbaerts (who reversed his surname for You will notice there are two types of
work of Belgian pedagogue Jean-Louis be mastered so that it doesnt sound effortful.
in the cycle include the opening Pleasant works best for your hand.
nom de plume). Other attrractive movements suggested fingerings at the start: seee which
jaunty Chasing Butterflies, No 11. Spanswick is marked on the score.
Morning, No 3 On the Green and the Pedal tips: Suggested pedalling by Melanie
different to the Burgmller one that lesson on this piece on page 20.
Playing tips: Even if an exercise, its very RH Read Melanie Spanswicks step-by-step
about a calm, even and extremely quiet
features on the previous page. This is all

comparable control. Eventually, the An excellent way to avoid key- Andante q = 80


of musical interest. Though billed as a Very Easy
5 4
/0 < >
/0

and Melodious Study, the player is confronted


5 4 2 1

ff f ff f ff f ff f
4 3

& c ff f ff f ff f ff f
1

ff f ff f ff f ff f
3 2

imagined follow-through becomes bedding when playing lyrically, { ?c f


pp

&
^
F ?
f
&
^
F ?
f
&
F^ ?

by hand-crossing from the first bar. These


2

is what I call roll-over and follow-


5 2

undetectably minuscule; some imagine



5 2
p

accented minims can indeed become suggestive ff f ff f ff f ff f


4

& ff f ff f ff f ff f ff f ff f ff f ff f

a pull-in of the key, a smooth flick, through. Using a high finger-lift, { ? f &
F^ ? f &
^
F ?
f
&
^
F ?

or other subtle motion involving the and with the hand nicely curved

of a shapely melody, but they will need a decisive,

projected attack, albeit at a fairly subdued overall



1 2
7
f f F
& ff f ff f ff f ff f ff f f f f f f f f

palm, wrist or forearm. at rest, strike down clearly and, in { ? &


F^ ? f &f
^
?
f
&F
^ ?

dynamic. Allow the motion of your left arm to do


f
2

Of vital importance is the feeling one continuous action, roll-over:

most of the work for you it can be a nicely


10
F
f #F f #F f f

in other words, pivot the entire


2

of relaxation a fraction of a second


& f
1

f f f f f

{
f f
^ ^ ^ ?
? F ? & F
? f &F
f & f

forearm on the tip of the relevant rhythmic, full arch-shaped movement, in each
2

following each key-strike. In reality,


2

2

case culminating in a single downward


30 Pianist 95

the after-movement of a loudly played finger towards the piano strings by a


14/03/2017 10:07

30
P30 SCORES Streabbog-FINAL.indd

note (or thunderously loud chord, even) good couple of inches. Psychologically, progressive strike to the bottom of the keys. The repeated crotchet Gs
will be pretty much the same as it is we make it impossible to produce a in the RH at bar 16 also provide a really good mini-exercise in follow-
for a deftly produced quiet note. In both fragile tone by using such a technique, through control too, beginning at a level of, say, mf, and quickly
cases, we need to feel that we are left plus we get a reassuring sense of having dropping down to pp within a single bar: remember to allow the key
almost hovering on the key, though moved fully through the key. to rise in order to give a fighting chance of success, and hence avoid
the context will determine whether non-speaking notes.
we truly remain in contact with it. Dont freeze up!
Strange though it may seem, we can Another way to address Grieg Melodie [page 44]: I have always had
2
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
S
T MIS
MAN
S INTERMEDIATE
DONT NEW
ON
TRACK 9
LESS Melodie Op 47 No 3
JANE E
PIEC
ON PAGE
THIS
22

a special fondness for this Lyric Piece.


a recording by the legendary Russian pianist
such a sad, nostalgic quality. Listen to
this Melodie is drawn was first published mean. Try to emulate the still, introverted
The fourth book of Lyric Pieces from which

counterproductive digging into


Emil Gilels, and youll hear what we

relax our upper body directly after


it
in 1888. By then Grieg and his wife Nina
had settled into the home at Troldhaugen Our house pianist Chenyin Li also plays
atmosphere which Gilels brings to it.
foreign tours they gave together: he Keyboard Class, on page 49.
which would be a refuge from the extensive magically. Note: Melodie continues after
his songs. This schedule led to a more on the score.
playing his own music, she singing Pedal tips: Janet Newman has made suggestions
German titles of the later Lyric Pieces. on this piece on page 22.
cosmopolitan outlook, reflected in the Read Janet Newmans step-by-step lesson
favourite of editor Erica Worth. It evokes
Playing tips: This Lyric Piece is a personal

playing a majestic chord, while still the keys is to tell ourselves not to
Allegretto

6
& 8 f
>
f
5
f fj f f f f
>
f f f
j
f f f
f fJ f f fJ f
>
f fJ f
f fJ
The music often keeps its innocence intact,
5 4 5 3
4 5 4 3 5
4
2
5
2

f fJ f fJ f fJ f fJ f fJ f J

enjoying the feeling of a physical decelerate, or freeze up, just before { j


1
j
p la melodia ben tenuta
j j


j j j j
f f f f f f f
? 68 f f ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff f f f f f f f
f f

j
despite obvious moments of grandeur, such as are
j
4 5 4

to be found in bar 9, not to mention the wonderful



5

connection with the keyboard. You reaching the bottom. We can ensure 6

& f fj f f f f
> 5
1
3
2
3
1
f 5
>
f
f fJ f fJ
f fj f f f
f fJ f fJ
5 4 3 5

f fJ # F
stretto section, which enjoys its peak of intensity
{
f fJ f fJ # f fJ f f fJ f fJ

might also try imagining you are playing this is avoided if we make each ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff
f

j j j j j
? f fj f
2

ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff J J J
f J


f f f

at bar 33, marked ffz. The secret of success in


4 1
1 2 5
2 1 1

staccato, but refrain from releasing the downward strike a single


4

5 5 5


> >
3

>
5 5
2 3 1
4 4 3 1 2
j
4 3 5 5
j
5

f fJ f b fJ
f f f f
11
f f f f
f fJ f
f fJ ff f fJ # f
f
2

f f f fJ f
f
J f J
f
3

& f
4

note afterwards. This can help with uninterrupted movement from lift to {
f fJ f fJ

? ff ff ff ff ff ff ffthis piece is retaining its gentle but determined


ff f f ff ff f ffj ff
J
dim.

f f
J J bf
j j
ff ff ff ff ff
j

J J J 1

bounce going throughout, and I strongly suggest


1


1 2 5


1 5 4 5

achieving a light but crisp attack. strike and follow-through. In theory,


4

>
pi mosso
> 5

f
4 2
f
16 5

f
fJ f ff f ffJ bf fJ f fJ bf fJ f fJ
f
1
j f

practising the LH in conjunction with the RH


& # F f f f
f fJ f fJ f fJ f fJ

on a good instrument even the { j j


pp
f f
? f f ff ff bfff fff fff ff bff
f f J J
ff ff
fJ f
ff ff ff fff fff nfff fff fff fff
fJ b f fJ J J J

thumb in isolation from the tune at first. Pedal


4 1

Older instruments
5 5


2 2


2 5

quietest ppp note will speak if you


5

Continued on page 49

44 Pianist 95

Before we reprimand ourselves for not depress a key continuously to its P44 SCORES Grieg-FINAL.indd
44 is your best friend here, and to be honest an 14/03/2017 10:14

being able to control the action as we bottom; this should help you to tackle occasional inaudible note in this accompaniment is not going to be a
might like when we are faced with a the very last note in the Liszt Sonata. game-changer. Really feel the keys as they rise to their home positions
new, heavier instrument, we might I would advise you to rehearse this effect each time, and aim if possible for a caressing action downwards,
reflect for a moment on the far lighter when offered a few seconds warm-up on which will coax out the musics desired warm glow.
action Schubert or Mozart would have an exam piano. Similarly, assess the
3
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Schubert Impromptu in A flat [page 60]:
S
T MIS
AMS
ADVANCED
DONY PARH
ON
Impromptu in A flat D935 No 2

taken for granted on their fortepianos. level of volume both you and your
TRACK 11
LESS
LUC E
PIEC
ON PAGE
THIS
24

chordal structure alone, then adding the


her top learning tip is to try playing the
1827, with less than a year to live, Schubert singing in your mind. This works particularly
Shortly after completing Winterreise in melody either by singing, or by silently
Unlike all the sets of dances and

Written in what is quickly seen as a minuet


embarked on a second set of four Impromptus. for commercial gain from the use later on as well.
well at the start, and can be adapted for
composed Advanced knowledge of how to use the
eccossaises, these were self-evidently not Pedal tips: Pedalling has not been added.

One can only speculate how Bach might instrument can cope with, while still
no publisher came for them. Only when as the best guide.
lucrative amateur market; and indeed pedal is required. Always use your ears
later did they see the light of day. on this piece on page 24.
Schumann took up the cause a decade Read Lucy Parhams step-by-step lesson
lesson on page 24, you will notice that
Playing tips: When you read Lucy Parhams
5

j j
and trio form, this splendid work can still enjoy
2
Allegretto
j ff f
j
5

f f fj f f fj f f ff FFF f
4 1 3
3 2

b b 3Allegretto
sempre legato
Allegretto
f F ffj ff ff fff FFF f ff ff fffj ff ff ffj fff fff ff
4

have coped with playing his Chromatic retaining the sense of a controlled
fj
4 5
1 3

& bbbbb 43Allegretto


3

ff FF f
4 3
f ff Ff
2
ff legato
sempre legato
j
4

f FFf fj j ff f ffj f f ff FF f
4 1 3
fsempre Ff fj f fff ff FFF ff fff fff fff
3 5

& bbbbb 43 pp

{{
FFf fj ffff Ff
4 3

fff f fff ff ff ff ff
4 2

fsempre ff legato
4 3 4 1 3

& b b 43 pp f f fff ffff FF ff fff ffFf ff fffF


f F
3

f ffff FFf
4

b b ff fff FFf f fFf ff ffF ffff fff FFF ff


1 4 3

? bb b434 pp
& f fF FF ffF FFF fF f ff FF
1

{ opportunities to sound spontaneous impromptu


f f F
f F fF F fF
? bbbb 34 pp fF f fF f f FF f
1

f f F fF F
fF f f FF f F fF F

Fantasy and Fugue on a Bsendorfer motion through the keys. ? bbbb 34 f F fF F


1
fF F fF F f F f
f F fF F f f
? bbbb 34 f fF F f f F
5
4
fF F fF f F F f F
f F T
5

b j fjj f f T f
4
5 4 5 4

fj f
4 5

fj
f f ffj f f ff ff FF
4

f F F ffj fff fff T f


4 5 4

FFf fj nnfff Ff
Ff fjj f fff ff FF ff fff Ff
indeed. My advice would be to tackle the trio first,
5 4 5

b b fff fFFf fjj ffff Ff ff f F


4 4 5 4

f f T f
9 4 5

f Ff
9 & bbbb f fj nff FFf fj fff fff ff
f F

Imperial! Many gossamer-like effects,


9
f ff FFF fj f fff ffff FFFF f fff FFf F
b b f FFf
4 5 4 5 4

F fj ffff Ff ff

{{
9 & bb b f f f ff ff F f ff FFF
2

& bbb fff Ff nff FF f f f F


1

ff Ff f F
2

FF F 1

bb fF f ff FF
2

& fF f f F f fF F
1

fF F
1

? bb b f F fF F

{ partly to allay any initial suspicion you may have


fF f ff F
2
F F

The thrill of the trill


fF f f F f fF
1

? bbbb F fF F
1

f F fF F
fF f f F f fF F fF f f FF
1

? bbbb F fF F

not to mention the leggiero touch


fF F fF F
? bbbb f F f F f fF F fF f
1

fF F
4

b F
fF F fF f
f F f F 4

>. . j
4

j
fjj 17f f fjj f f fjj f f fff FFF ff fff >f>ff. fff . fffj fff fff ffj
4 4

that the piece becomes beyond reach, but also


5

bb
17 4

& bbbbbb fffj 17fff. fff. ffj ff. ff. fffj fff. ff ff f >ff. ff . ffj ff. ff. ffj
4

Trills are also an excellent way of


5

ubiquitous in Mendelsohn, have


f. ff
4
f. FF ff ffff ff. ff . ffj >>ff. ff.. ffj
4

f. fff

{{
5

& bbbb fffj 17>ff. ff. ffj >ff. ff. ffj ff. ff
4
ff. FF f .
ff ffff ff ff ffj >ff ff. ffj
f
4

& b b ff >ff. ff. ff >ff. ff. fj ff. ff f. fff ff. FF


4 5

& bb f .. fff >fff.. fff.. ffj f. fff fff ffff ff ff ffj >ff. ff ffj
? bb b ffff >fff... fff . ff f. FF
ff fffff fff. fff. fffj fff. fff. ffjj

{
? bbbb ffJf >ff fff . fJf >ff. f f. fffj fff. fff. fff. FFF

arguably become harder for us today. calibrating your up-down action in


? bbbb Jff ff. fff . fJf ff. ff
? bbbb Jf f ff fJf ff ff ff ff. f. ff. FF
b J J
because its exquisite minuet melody is essentially
. j . f. . F
fff
. . .
ff ff >ff. ff. ffj >ff. ff. f
f ff >>ff. ff. ff >>ff. ff. f
. . U . .
. .> . U. > j
. F f bf bFF bfF f f .. fj
3

b b ff. bff. F f bbff bbFF bnfF f f f. F f r nbfF f f n fF.. F.. fF..F fU.. f fff f
. b r bf f
3 5

f
5 4

what the piece is all about; you can then really


4 2 5
23
F f f F F fj
3 2 3 3 5

23& bbbb f f Ff F fFF fU f ff Ff


f
b b ff. bbff. bff.. FFF ff bff bFF bnfF f ff f. F f ff ff ff ffr nbFfF
5
f
4
f f 5

f f f Ff
23 4 2
f

line with a particular instruments


F fj

If you ever get the chance to play


3 2 3 3 5

f n F. . u .FF fU. ppf ff Ff

{{
5 5 4

23& bb b f
f
4 2
F FF f
fF f f nppFfFF. F. fF
2

& bbb ff.. bffff. bffff FFF fff bff bffz FF bnFfpF f f f ffz
3 3

FF f f f f fr nbpF
3 5

f f f
5 4

u .FFF fU. pp
4 2 5

F
2

& b b ff. b f f F f bf bffz F nFp f ff ffz fFF F. fF


3

n pF n .F fU. ppf ff FF
bf bF
F
F f. F. fu
.
pp

? bb b f f fF F fFu . fU. ppf F


p
Fp f bbff bbffz FF fF F
? bbbb ff f bf FF ff fff ffz
relax and enjoy getting to grips with it. Though the
p
F f F
ffz pp
FF .
. b . . . f F
p
F F f
FF ff . b f F F f
F u F f
F f f

capabilities. A trill is just a series of


pp

Scarlatti on a harpsichord, Bach on


? bbbb f. ff. bbff. F f f FF
ffz

bf bF F fF F u fF f f F fF F
? bbbb f. f. bbf. F f f F F f bf. bF F F u F
b f. . b f. F f F f . u
. f. b f. f F

a clavichord or Handel on an organ, repeated notes played in alternation music teems with subtle articulation details, a60 Pianist 95

cantabile touch will serve you admirably


14/03/2017 10:18

jump at it you will never feel quite with an adjacent repeated note.
60
P60 SCORES Schubert-FINAL.indd

the same about getting to the bottom Thought of in this way, we can practice throughout. The bold interjections (bar 16, and its equivalent at the
of the keys again. each repeated note in isolation, ensuring reprise) calls for a very relaxed upper body and wrists, mostly keeping
every depression is happening decisively close to the keys after each follow-through and, at all costs, resisting
Digital pianos enough to produce a sturdy sound, even a debilitating dig through the key bed.
Similarly, those of us who regularly invest at an enterprisingly quiet dynamic.
time practising on a digital piano need
to be aware of the simulated experience Dont be defeated when notes
we are getting. The latest breed of are repeated La Campanella in both scenarios
instruments boast proper piano The repeated note (just like the trill) we need to a) imagine the sensation
escapement actions, which gives us is where we seem particularly prone before practising it, and b) aim to give
the reassuring feeling of working against to counterproductive digging in. each and every note its own miniature
a mechanical action, whereas the The relatively steady repeated chords in follow-through.
traditional model may possess weighted the opening to Beethovens Waldstein Getting to the bottom of the keys
or semi-weighted keys, leaving a Sonata are an excellent preparation for is how we ensure clarity and control,
somewhat spongy sensation with no the RH repeated-note variation (4-3-2-1 whereaskey-bedding, as Matthay
discernible escape-point. Moreover, with fingering on the black notes) in the suggests, achieves nothing and often
headphones on and the volume turned B major second section of Liszts proves counterproductive.
17 Pianist 95

P16 HTP Tanner-FINALish.indd 17 15/03/2017 11:00


play HOW TO

The Drop-Roll
WRIST CONTROL: 1
For smooth slurs, good legato and sensitively phrased accents, a liberated wrist is essential.
Graham Fitch gets down to the bare bones of improving your hand position at the piano

T
his article is the first in a two-part series on the wrist. In this Pianist, teacher, writer
issue I investigate how to incorporate the drop-roll movement and adjudicator Graham
into your playing to shape phrases by using the arm to control Fitch gives masterclasses
sound and textures. Using the whole arm and moving through a and workshops on piano
free wrist we find we are able to avoid tension and solve a variety playing internationally,
of pianistic problems as we apply the principles of the drop-roll in several and is in high demand
different situations [see Mark Tanners article on page 16, where he also as a private teacher
addresses the drop-roll]. in London. Graham is
When discussing technique, it would be convenient if we could isolate a regular tutor at the
the various muscles, levers, bones and joints that make up the mechanics Summer School for
of playing and investigate them one by one. However, piano playing doesnt Pianists in Walsall and
work like that! Sure, we might concentrate on what the fingers are doing in also a tutor for the
a given situation, or switch off certain muscles while engaging others, or Piano Teachers Course
stabilise one joint or lever while activating another to sense whats going on in EPTA (UK). He writes
our body, and so on. But this is not always helpful, because when we play we a popular piano blog,
tend to create a fusion of activity in which all the components of our playing www.practisingthepiano.
mechanism work together. We do this subconsciously, based both on how we com and has recently
have practised and on the sounds we hear in our imagination as we adapt to launched an online
the performance space and the particular piano we are playing. piano academy.
Do you recall the well-known spiritual song by James Johnson, Dem Bones?
It reminds us how interconnected the various bones in our body are (Neck the hand, forming a straight, unbroken line. However, there is a fair bit
bone connected to the shoulder bone; shoulder bone connected to the back of leeway here. A slightly raised and braced wrist provides a strong arch in
bone; back bone connected to the hip bone, and so on). As our fingers the hand. This is useful for many aspects of playing, not least big, thrusting
contact the keyboard they link to the wrist, which connects to the forearm, chords and virtuoso octaves such as we find in the first movement of Brahmss
upper arm and shoulder. It doesnt stop there we must include the sit bone D minor Concerto (from bar 226). There is a mistaken belief that the wrist
(ischium) as it supports the upper body on the stool, right down to our feet as must always be loose and supple; in fact, to bring off these famous octaves
they ground us and contribute to balancing and coordinating our whole body. we need to keep the wrist firm so that the power of the whole arm can be
In an article on the wrist it is therefore neither possible nor desirable to transferred to the hand in an unbroken channel:
exclude the fingers or the upper arm. Even in a piece such as Chopins
. >f . >f
Maestoso
Butterfly Etude Op 25 No 9, which seems to call for pure wrist action, there f
f f f fff ffffffff
will be energy in the fingers and plenty of involvement from the upper arm:
6 f f f f fff f
& 4 fJ fJ f f f fff fffffff
f ffffffffffff

{
f f ffffff
f f
Allegro vivace
. .
ff
ff ffffffff ff f
ff f. n f. j ff ff f f f. n f.
. . 6 j >f j >f
f ffffffffffff
4 5 5
f ffffff
j ff ff f
4 5 5

j
4
ff f
& 4 f f f f f f f
5
?
5

b b b 2 n f f j f ff ff fffff
&b b b 4 f f f f f nf f f f. f. f f f ff

{
> > > >
leggiero .
ff ff. ff. ff.
? bb b b 42 f. f.
Raise the wrist a little more and this time loosen it so that it feels like
f f .f f .f f a well-lubricated hinge, and we can shake light staccato chords or octaves
bb out of our sleeve (such as the Chopin example at the start). A very slightly
lowered wrist combined with curved fingers enables clear and precise
It is accepted by most mainstream teachers that we adjust the height of the articulation from the fingers, but we need to be very careful about dropping
piano stool so that the forearm is roughly parallel with the floor when we play. the wrist below the safe level. Some of the best pianistic traditions permit
The default position of the wrist is level with the forearm and the back of a dipping of the wrist when this is part of a continuous and connected
movement of the arm (such as the drop-roll, which were going to look at in

@ GET IN TOUCH a moment). Problems arise when we set the wrist below the safe level and
keep it there. The steep angle formed between the forearm and the back of
the hand causes the fingers to overwork like tight little pistons, thereby
pulling on the muscles and tendons in the forearm. This is both inefficient
Graham Fitch would like to hear from readers who and injurious, and definitely to be avoided.
have piano-playing questions, whether about a certain Lets look at how the wrist works, and how it doesnt. The wrist is both a
series of three joints connecting the forearm to the hand, and a flexible structure
technique or a passage in a piece of music. Please write to consisting of eight carpal bones arranged in two rows. We can move the wrist
the editor at editor@pianistmagazine.com. in two ways up and down, and laterally (from side to side). If you hold onto
one of your wrists with the other hand, you will discover the wrist itself cannot
rotate. The often-misused term wrist rotation is therefore a misnomer;
18 Pianist 95

P18 HTP Graham-FINALish.indd 18 14/03/2017 09:58


TAP HERE TO WATCH GRAHAMS ONLINE LESSON

while the wrist appears to be rotating, the motion actually comes from
Agitato e con fuoco
. ... > >
the forearm. (For further reading on anatomy as it applies to piano playing
#3 j
& #8 ff f f f
ff ff ff ff fff ff f f#ff#ff f f f#fffff f#fffff
I recommend Thomas Marks excellent book, What Every Pianist Needs f

{
to Know About the Body.)
p
f f fff
The whole-arm roll
? ##38 ffffff f f f f f f f f f f f ff ffffffff ff ffffffff
This movement is behind much of what we do at the piano. Sometimes #f f f
its presence is so subtle as to be almost imperceptible, but once we have
...> ...> . . .
experienced the power of the whole-arm roll to control tone while keeping ## f f f f f f f f f
us free we wont ever want to do without it. To experience the whole-arm roll, & J f
fffff fffff fffff#fffff # fff #f f f.
f

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play a chord (any chord will do) and allow your upper arm to move freely sf
forwards and backwards as you hold onto the keys (see what this looks like f f f f f ff ff ff ff ff f f f f f ffffff
in my video demonstration). Its as simple as that! Youll notice that the ? ## #ff ff ff ff ff f f f f f ff ff ff ff ff f #f f f f #f #ff ff ff ff ff ff
forward and backward movements of the upper arm (dont overdo these) are #f #f f
moving your wrist up and down, and youll experience a pleasurable wave
of energy from your shoulder through the arm to the tips of your fingers.
This movement is the basis for the drop-roll. Returning to the short phrases we find in Classical-period piano music,
there are often times when releasing into the air after the roll causes an
The drop-roll unmusical break in sound and makes a choppy effect, or where there is
The drop-roll is a classic movement used in piano playing and one that simply not time to make the release. Although we should closely observe
beginners can learn almost from the first lesson. It describes a down-up the articulation marks indicated by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven,
movement involving the whole arm and a very free wrist. The fingers assume I often recommend applying the close-to-the-keys version of the drop-roll
a subservient role in terms of articulation but they are, of course, fully to sculpt the notes under the short phrases into groups.
involved as they transfer the energy from the arm to the keyboard. For a There is a parallel here with the string players bow, in which our arm fulfils
two-note slur, drop the arm into the first note and grip the key with a firm the function of the bow as the fingers articulate. Lets explore how this works
finger. Make sure the finger that is going to play the second note is in touch in the slurs from the opening of Mozarts Sonata in B flat K570 (I have often
with the key surface, then begin the upward roll. This note will sound during noticed that these particular slurs cause confusion):
the ascending movement of the wrist and arm. If we thrust against the
Allegro
keyboard quickly in the upward roll, well create an accent on the second
b3 f F
3

&b 4 F F
2 1
note; if we release by lightly floating off the keyboard, well make a
f f

{
diminuendo indispensable for tapering off an appoggiatura (to avoid the F
second note not sounding, make sure to keep the fingertip somewhat taut). p
f F
? bb 43 F F
We can apply the same motion to three- or four-note slurs: down into
the first note, then up as smoothly as possible during the remaining notes f F f
under the slur, spreading the movement out evenly. According to Baroque 2 2
and Classical performance practices the first note should be stronger (even
if it occurs on a weak beat) and the last note slightly shorter than its printed In my video demonstration, youll observe that I drop into the first note
duration, and somewhat softer. Here are two examples from Mozarts Fantasy of each short phrase and roll upwards out of the key toward the second note.
in D minor K397: The roll needs to be gradual and smooth, and once we refine the motion
it becomes very small indeed. Personally, I do not like too much of a gap
Adagio Allegretto in sound but we need to respond somehow to the short phrasing that
ff Mozart writes. By all means make a gentle separation if you can do this
f f f ff f f #f f #f f ## f f f f f f f
&b f without breaking up the line; otherwise play using a strong-weak inflection.
R

{
A long legato line is unstylish, however.
In my next article I will explore how we use the drop-roll in strong,
#
& b Fff ffff Fff ff ff Fffffff F ffffff # ffffffnff ff f f ff f f
f sustained chord progressions, and then move on to demonstrate how lateral
movements of the wrist (and wrist circles) assist the fingers in achieving
virtuosity in patterns of notes that at first glance appear very finger-based.
I will also share a few tips on the role of the wrist in passing the thumb,
There are many situations where we can adapt the drop-roll, making use of which will certainly help to free up your scales and arpeggios.
the way it can liberate our wrists, but using a much smaller range of motion.
Rather than lifting the arm into the air at the end of the roll, we keep the
WATCH GRAHAM ONLINE
fingers very much in contact with the keys. I have chosen the opening of
Mendelssohns Song without Words in B minor, from the opus 30 set.
As I repeat the opening F#s, I sense a vibration in my wrist as it moves up
and down, forward and backward using a tiny arc from the drop-roll motion.
I choreograph these same down-up movements to the rest of the phrase while
retaining my hand close to the keyboard; the movements are very small but
more than enough to keep me mobile.

The drop-roll is a classic


movement that beginners can Dont miss Grahams video lessons, which youll find on the Pianist website,

learn from the first lesson www.pianistmagazine.com. Graham demonstrates everything he discusses
on these pages and more. His current lessons are filmed at Steinway Hall,
London, on a Model D concert grand. Theres nothing like watching an expert.

19 Pianist 95

P18 HTP Graham-FINALish.indd 19 23/03/2017 13:04


play HOW TO
FULL SCORES ON PAGE 30
{
4
TRACK 3

& ff

? f

f
?c f

f
DON

f
f f f f f f f
T MISS
MELAN

ON THIS

p

5


IE
WICK

LESSON
SPANS
S

PIECE
PAGE
20

&

F^
Jean-Louis STREABBOG (1835-1886)

& F
2

?
Distant Bells Op 63 No 6

Much the best-known of 12 Very Easy and Melodious Studies, Distant Bells is the
work of Belgian pedagogue Jean-Louis Gobbaerts (who reversed his surname for his
nom de plume). Other attrractive movements in the cycle include the opening Pleasant
Morning, No 3 On the Green and the jaunty Chasing Butterflies, No 11.
Playing tips: Even if an exercise, its very different to the Burgmller one that
features on the previous page. This is all about a calm, even and extremely quiet RH

{
Andante
/05 4

& c ff f ff f ff f ff f
3 2

pp
1
q = 80

^ ?
/0 < >
5 4
4 3

f
5


2 1

ff f ff f ff f ff f

ff f ff f ff f ff f

&
suggested fingerings at the start: seee which works best for your hand.

&

F^
F
2

?
?
f

ff f ff f ff f ff f

f

&
&

^
F
2
BEGINNER/
INTERMEDIATE

(which is tricky to execute by itself ). A much stronger and more sonorous sound is
needed in the LH, which has to pass over the RH in every bar. The LH jump should
be mastered so that it doesnt sound effortful. You will notice there are two types of

Pedal tips: Suggested pedalling by Melanie Spanswick is marked on the score.


Read Melanie Spanswicks step-by-step lesson on this piece on page 20.

^
ff f ff f ff f ff f

F^ ?

STREABBOG
7

& ff f ff f ff f ff f
1 2

ff f ff f ff F

{
f f f f
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f &
? f &
f ?
f &F ?

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1 2

f #F f #F F

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f f f f f f f f f
^ ^ ^
? f F ? f F ? F ?
& & f &

2 2 2

Distant Bells Op 63 No 6
30 Pianist 95

P30 SCORES Streabbog-FINAL.indd 30 14/03/2017 10:07

Its time to tackle hand crossing with this Romantic miniature.


Melanie Spanswick advises a slow and steady approach
Ability rating Beginner/Intermediate Melanie Spanswick is a pianist, author and music educator. She
Info Will improve your recently selected the repertoire for The Faber Music Piano
Key: C major 3 Crossing of hands Anthology. Book 1 of Play It Again (Schott Music) the first in a
Tempo: Andante 3 Soft accompaniment two-volume course for those returning topiano playing after a
Style: Romantic 3 Even tone break is released in April. Her piano guidebook, So You Want To
Play The Piano?, is reprinted in a second edition by Alfred Music.
Melanie gives workshops in Germany and for EPTA, is a tutor at
What an odd name, you may be Jackdaws Music Education Trust and adjudicates for the British
thinking to yourself. Thats because it and International Federation of Festivals. She is curator of the
was made up. Streabbog is the pseudonym Classical Conversations series on YouTube, where she
used by the Belgian pianist Jean-Louis interviews pianists on camera. www.melaniespanswick.com.
Gobbaerts when he published his own
compositions such as the first set of
Twelve Easy and Melodious Pieces Op 63. steady pulse, and ensure the 2nd finger top notes sound together. Couple this with
lands firmly on the third beat of the bar. a light thumb (or 2nd finger depending on
The best known of the set is No 6, Its important to work at the jump back your fingering choice), as this should be
Distant Bells. It is sympathetically down from treble to bass, from the third
Learning Tip
written to enable early-intermediate beat of the bar to the first beat of the next.
players to get to grips with hand crossing
and the technique of evenly played The Distant Bells of the title can be One sustaining pedal change per
accompaniment as well as effective use of heard in the third-beat minims. These bar works for the majority of the
the sustaining pedal. The score may appear high notes should be played marcato piece, accumulating resonance and
simple, but it offers plenty of technical (well marked). They require a deeper intensity, but be sure to change
challenges and interpretative possibilities. touch (like an accent but without a sharp swiftly on the first beat of the bar to
attack), combined with articulation similar avoid smudging!
Choose a stately tempo, around 80 to that of staccato. Land on each marcato
beats per minute. Distant Bells has minim with a rich timbre, rolling off with
a straightforward ABA structure with an upward wrist motion as the finger leaves the softest part of the texture. In effect,
essentially diatonic harmony. the key. They should be clearly identified, weight your hand towards the right,
yet soft and distant-sounding. moving the wrist outwards, supporting
The LH crosses over the RH throughout the weaker 4th and 5th fingers.
the piece. Begin your practice by focusing The RH accompaniment should stay
on the movements necessary to execute soft, light and even throughout. Begin by Then try playing with hands together.
the hand-crossing smoothly and with a blocking the quavers in every bar as a chord Take it slowly until you can cope with
controlled tone. Starting with the LH, (such as the C major triad of C, E and G the continual movement of the LH while
work on the first line. Place your 5th in the first bar). Work through the piece maintaining an even rhythm and tone in
finger on the C (first note, bar 1), and assimilating the harmonic progressions in the RH. To get used to the hand-crossing
locate the minim C on beat 3 (two this way (its useful for quickly finding movement, play with a full sound and
octaves higher), with the 2nd finger. your way around the note patterns). perfectly even rhythm (count in
You could also use a 3rd finger for the semiquavers for accuracy, as each quaver
crossed notes, but the index finger gives There are two suggested fingerings for needs to be exactly in time). Once you
a more precise, deeper touch, and it the quaver patterns. The first fingering have learnt the muscle memory and
should feel comfortable to play. will be more suitable for those whose 4th sound of each hand-crossing movement,
and 5th fingers are yet to develop full you will feel confident and relaxed.
Look more closely at each LH jump. strength. The second option requires more At that stage lighten your touch to
A considerable movement is required balance and control but, if worked at produce soft and ethereal tonal colours.
during every bar (two octaves, in the case regularly, is comfortable and convenient.
of bar 1), so become accustomed to the Dont forget that the LH is the star of
feeling of the leap by landing firmly using Play heavily and deeply into the key bed, the show. The RH quavers should stay
the suggested fingers, using a relaxed using the full strength of your fingers. in the background, with the low LH
motion of the arm movement to go back Your practice of this RH figuration crotchet (mostly on the first beat of the
and forth between bass and treble registers. should be deliberately paced, so that you bar), slightly more prominent, making
To improve your confidence and accuracy, place each note with rhythmic precision. way for the minim on the third beat.
practise using much larger intervals than Work your way through the part playing The middle section (bars 9-16) moves
those written; for example, the lower note like this, more powerfully than is marked into G major, and needs a gradual
could be played an octave lower in each in the score, but keeping wrists and arms crescendo as it progresses towards the
case. When you revert to the written relaxed. Then lighten your touch: play chromatic RH figuration at bar 15. Each
Fabrice Rizzato

notes, the movement should feel easier softly and with legato, but make sure the RH G at bar 16 should be softer than the
and less daunting. Try practising the leaps G and E (bar 1), and all subsequent last. You may like to add the una corda
more quickly than marked. Now add a patterns, are balanced so that these two (left pedal) during the closing bars.
20 Pianist 95

P20 HTP Melanie-FINALish.indd 20 14/03/2017 10:49


Piano Street
2.0 is here!
Try out the
new features
for free at:

www.pianostreet.com/pianist-mag
21 Pianist 95

p21_pianist95.indd 21 16/03/2017 16:46


play HOW TO
FULL SCORE ON PAGE 44
{
6
TRACK 9

{
6
&8 f

& f fj f f f

?
f fJ f
j
ff ff ff
JANET

j
5
f
T MISS
DONNEWMANS

LESSON
ON THIS
PIECE
PAGE
22

f fj f f f f

? 68 f fj f fj f fj f
f
p la melodia ben tenuta

f f f f f f f
1

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j
5
1

fJ # ff f ff f # fF f f f
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ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff
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Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)

f fj f f

2
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3
1
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f fJ f fJ f fJ f fJ f fJ f fJ f fJ f f fJ ff f ff f
J J
4
Melodie Op 47 No 3

The fourth book of Lyric Pieces from which this Melodie is drawn was first published
in 1888. By then Grieg and his wife Nina had settled into the home at Troldhaugen
which would be a refuge from the extensive foreign tours they gave together: he
playing his own music, she singing his songs. This schedule led to a more
cosmopolitan outlook, reflected in the German titles of the later Lyric Pieces.
Playing tips: This Lyric Piece is a personal favourite of editor Erica Worth. It evokes

>
Allegretto
> 5

j
3


j
such a sad, nostalgic quality. Listen to a recording by the legendary Russian pianist
Emil Gilels, and youll hear what we mean. Try to emulate the still, introverted
atmosphere which Gilels brings to it. Our house pianist Chenyin Li also plays it
magically. Note: Melodie continues after Keyboard Class, on page 49.
Pedal tips: Janet Newman has made suggestions on the score.
Read Janet Newmans step-by-step lesson on this piece on page 22.

j j
4

ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff

f
f
5
>
f
f fJ f Jf

f f f f
f f f f
5 4 3 5

4
j

f fJ f
j
4
2

f f f f
ff f f f f

ff ff ff
5

f fj f f f
5

Jf
4
5
2
INTERMEDIATE

3
4

ff


2 1 1 4
f J J
1
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5 4 2 5
5 1

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5
3
11 2

GRIEG
4 3 5 4 5
j
5 3

ff fJ ff bf ffJ
3 1

& ff f ff f
1
f
4 4 3
j
2 5 2

ff fJ ff fJ f
f fJ f ff f ffJ # ff f ff f

{
J J J J
? ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff
dim.
f f f f f j j j j
J J J J
f f f
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f bf
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1 2 1 1


1 5 4 5 4 5
4

pi mosso
16 5
> 4
> 5

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1 2

f f f j f f f f
fJ f Jf f Jf f Jf f ff f ffJ bf Jf f Jf bf Jf f fJ

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f fJ f

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pp

f f f ff bfff fff fff fff bfff fff fff fff bfff fff fff fff nfff fff fff fff
2 1
2
J J J J J J J J 5 5 4
5 1


4 2
5

Melodie Op 47 No 3
Continued on page 49

44 Pianist 95

P44 SCORES Grieg-FINAL.indd 44 14/03/2017 10:14

This Lyric Piece needs time and space to express its restrained and melancholy character,
says Janet Newman: dont rush your playing or your practice
Ability rating Intermediate weaker 3-4-5 fingers to play their part. colours to your playing is to mentally
Info Will improve your This can distort your hand and actually orchestrate the piece. For example, think
Key: A minor 3 LH chord voicing prevent the fingers from becoming about how it would sound on a string
Tempo: Allegretto 3 Piano and pianissimo playing stronger over time. At bars 9, 41 and 81 quartet in fact, it would fit nicely or
Style: Romantic 3 Thumb control the LH spread chord might prove if the solo line was played by a flute with
difficult to manage without accenting it piano accompaniment. Just by imagining
or worse still, losing the bass note. the possibilities of other instrumental
Throughout his career Grieg wrote Take time over these chords and relax colours, we can play with greater
Lyric Pieces. There are ten books in all, into them: there is no need to play them imagination and sustain the melody with
containing 66 separate character pieces. strictly in time. For guidance, listen on a smoother legato.
Grieg invested much time and care in the covermount CD to the way that
crafting apparently straightforward house pianist Chenyin Li plays these Grieg is quite clear about his dynamic
melodies, and revealed his deepest, most tricky spread chords. markings. He shows us where he wants
intimate feelings in many of the Lyric the phrases to go, and as they naturally
Pieces. They embody the warmth, Then move on to the accompaniment. mirror the musical intensity within the
sensitivity and innate character of his Practise the LH and the RH middle part line, the dynamic markings make
compositional style in miniature. (which is mostly played by the thumb) at complete sense. At bar 21, the stretto
Although many of them are technically the same time. This will be helpful for marking (indicating that we should move
approachable by student pianists, you to judge the balance needed between on in tempo) reflects the growing,
they have a musical depth which the two hands. It can be easy for the passionate quality in the music.
makes them extremely rewarding to thumb part to be over-produced. If you Make sure you keep up a sense of drive
study and belies their superficial do this, it may make the LH chords until the climax at bar 33. From here,
simplicity on the page. heavier too, as the body tries instinctively
to match the force used in both hands.
This Melodie is characterised by a Learning Tip
mood of reserve and regret. The 6/8 Keep your fingertips weighted on the In a piece written in ternary form
time signature, which eventually needs to keys. If you lift off the surface of the key such as this, think about the
be felt as two dotted crotchets per bar too much, you will produce a heavy tone dynamic colours and changes
rather than six quavers, implies a lilting which will drown out the top line. which will characterise the different
sense of flow within the musical Imagine that the keys are doing the work sections. Otherwise the overall
direction. Choose a tempo that will give of bringing your hands and fingers performance may sound similar
the phrases momentum: dotted crotchet upward; maintain contact with the keys throughout.
equals 80 feels about right. as much as possible. If you are having
trouble locating the chords under your
The title Melodie tells us most of fingers, break them down by practising there is a gradual decline in both tone
what we need to know. Just by looking the bottom of each chord plus the and tempo until the return of the theme
at the score, you will see that there is middle note, followed by the top plus at bar 41, whereupon the music becomes
a prominent top line accompanied by middle. By doing this, and using submerged within the pensive mood
a repeated chordal texture throughout. consistent fingering throughout, you established at the start. There is a wide
From past How to Play articles, you should secure the patterns within your variety of dynamic colours to explore
may recall that this kind of music hands and your memory. Practice-work in this work and it offers a wonderful
demands practice of each separate part like this is well worth doing even though opportunity to practise tonal evenness
in order to get a clear delineation and the method may be time-consuming and and gradation, which should nonetheless
clarity of voicing. First take out the awkward at first. reflect the simple and sincere character of
melody line and take time to work on the work.
shaping and strengthening it. Always The tone you are aiming for is warm
use the fingers that youve decided upon but cushioned in texture. It should The pedalling moves in parallel with
(in this case, there arent that many always support rather than overwhelm the harmonic changes. It shouldnt
options!) so that with consistent use, the more projected RH vocal line. prove difficult to manage as long as
these weaker fingers become more When the LH chords change, take note you listen for clarity within the changes.
reliable and independent. of the fingering shifts and use them. Take time over lifting and depressing
They will enable you to connect the the pedal: think of squeezing rather
Janet Newman is Head
Even while working on the RH melody, notes smoothly so that there are no gaps than pushing it, and keep your heel
of Keyboard at the Royal
dont forget your silent thumb! Have in the melody from one bar to the next. firmly on the floor throughout so that
Grammar School in
it ghosting (or resting) on the key that By maintaining contact with the keys, you use it as a pivot. Sometimes in my
Guildford. In addition to
it should be playing. The hand shape will you can also judge the grading of phrases examining and adjudicating work, I
her teaching, she is in
then be representative of the position it with much greater control and shape. come across young pianists pumping the
demand as a freelance
takes once all the parts are introduced. This is an essential principle of good pedal from a great height and my heart
pianist and is an examiner
Dont pull the thumb away from the pianism: fingering reflects phrasing. sinks as the performance, however well
for the ABRSM.
keys in order to make it easier for the Another way to bring a variety of tone intended, is sabotaged by their foot!
22 Pianist 95

P22 HTP Janet-FINALish.indd 22 14/03/2017 10:48


Help Musicians UK supported
our family when my husband,
a professional singer, was
left paralysed. Now he is
back home where he belongs
for which we will always be
grateful.

Your support means we can


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p23_pianist95.indd 23 FP.indd 1 11/01/2016 16:36:31
15/03/2017 10:19
play HOW TO

SCHUBERT
Impromptu in A flat D935 No 2
Singing the divine melody of this impromptu will help you to keep in mind the full drama
of this masterpiece from the last year of Schuberts life, suggests Lucy Parham
Ability rating Advanced The opening is reminiscent of a string ffz chord in bar 25; it should come as
Info Will improve your quartet. Each part has its individual a real shock before the heavenly subito
Key: A 3 Chord voicing voice, yet all of them should sound in piano. The effect is repeated in bar 27,
Tempo: Allegretto 3 Articulation perfect balance. The dynamic is where the turn, once again, should
Style: Late Classical 3S ense of line pianissimo. Observing it in your playing be melodic.
is important, as a strong contrast is
needed later in the piece. Keep your There are two crucial bars linking
Schuberts eight impromptus were all fingertips close to the keys, almost development back to reprise. The RH
composed in 1827. The first set (D899) brushing them. Theres a lot to digest Eb notes in bar 29 should be portamento
was published while Schubert was still regarding articulation: in the first bar, with slightly more emphasis on the
alive, including perhaps his best-known articulate the RH slurred dotted first of the two. Make sure the following
piano work, No 3 in Gb. The four crotchet/quaver as being distinct from bar (30) is perfectly graded in order
impromptus in the second set (D935) the first crotchet beat. Then in bar 3, to ease gently back into the main theme
are less often heard, and tend to be conversely, all three crotchet notes after the pause. At bar 35 ensure that
performed individually. These were should be linked with legato. In bar 5, the LH Gb is coloured in a way that
first published more than a decade the addition of the octave in the RH
after the composers death, once means the thumb line is also important. Learning Tip
Robert Schumann had redicovered Bring out the hairpin crescendo in
Try playing the chordal structure
much of his late music, and are bar 7 by leaning into the second chord
sometimes known as Op 142. a little more. You need a different, more alone. Add the melody either by
ethereal tone-quality when the melody singing it out loud, or in your mind.
No 2 in A flat major is in a minuet reappears an octave higher. The C major This works particularly well in the
and trio form. It is possibly the most chord in bar 14 is also important. first two lines of the piece and you
accessible of the set, technically speaking Lucy Parham will Repeat the first 16 bars making sure will be able to adapt it for use later
(the first and third of the set are full-scale perform Nocturne with both times that the turn in bar 15 is on in the work too.
fantasias, no less demanding than much actors Harriet Walter melodically phrased and not grabbed.
of Beethoven and Chopin). But if you and Henry Goodman at Think of how you would sing this: shows its difference from the first time.
enjoy playing this piece, I highly Kings Place, London, any faster is too fast! In fact, the whole section from here until
recommend that you become acquainted on 2 April. In April she the double bar needs to be embedded
with all the impromptus, including D899. tours Portugal with her Bar 17 needs a new energy. It is marked with a totally different feeling and colour.
They are gems of the piano repertoire Rachmaninov show, forte, but bear in mind this is a warm, Try highlighting both 5th fingers for a
and in composing them Schubert Elgie, with Henry string forte which should be appropriate clearer harmonic outline.
foreshadowed the genre of Romantic Goodman. On 23 April for Schubert and not too percussive. The
character-pieces which would within a they perform Elgie at slurs of the opening bar have returned, Bar 47 brings the start of the trio.
few decades be so richly supplemented the Stratford Festival. now with a portamento quality to them; It is important that the tempos should
by composers such as Chopin, Parhams CD, Rverie you will notice the staccato markings be aligned. The trio is not faster than
Mendelssohn, Liszt and Schumann. the life and loves of under the slurs. Distinguish them from the preceding minuet. Notice the
Claude Debussy, was the more separated notes in bar 19. accents in both hands. These are meant
Begin your practice with the chordal recently released on the Reserve a proper fortissimo for bar 21; to be leaned into and not forced or
structure alone. Add the melody by Deux-Elles label with use shoulder weight rather than just jabbed at. The RH accents use the 5th
singing it, either out loud or in your narrator Alex Jennings. wrists or forearms as this will help you finger and I suggest a small downward
mind. This works particularly well in the www.lucyparham.com to achieve a fuller sound. Head for the pull of the elbow to aid the finger,
first two lines of the piece and you will rather than relying on the fingertip
be able to adapt it for use later on in the alone. The swing and rhythmic
work too. propulsion comes from this accent.
Note the repeated Ab in the LH; this
Firstly, look at the tempo marking. will be played with your thumb and
It is important to distinguish between I suggest you use the side of the thumb
Allegretto and Allegro. Bear in mind and sink in to this note, so that it rings
that this is a minuet, with a lilting metre out like a bell. Spend some time
that should be elevated rather than becoming acquainted with the LH
earthbound. The sense of line is crucial in this passage. It would do no harm
at all times; Schuberts dance rhythms to memorise the part before even
are never heavy or pedantic. I suggest thinking of adding the RH. When you
that you continually think of playing do bring the RH into play, be sure to
over the bar line; by doing this you give the upbeat into bar 47 its full
should avoid landing heavily on the weight and value. Note the piano
Sven Arnstein

first beat of each bar. This is a different marking here, too: all the accents and
matter from observing the written hairpin crescendos should have a sense
accents; more of them later. of proportion within this dynamic.
24 Pianist 95

P24 HTP Lucy-FINALish.indd 24 15/03/2017 10:22


T MISS
DON PARHA
MS
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
LESSON
TRACK 11 LUCY ADVANCED
ON THIS
PIECE
PAGE
24
Impromptu in A flat D935 No 2

Shortly after completing Winterreise in 1827, with less than a year to live, Schubert her top learning tip is to try playing the chordal structure alone, then adding the
embarked on a second set of four Impromptus. Unlike all the sets of dances and melody either by singing, or by silently singing in your mind. This works particularly
eccossaises, these were self-evidently not composed for commercial gain from the well at the start, and can be adapted for use later on as well.
lucrative amateur market; and indeed no publisher came for them. Only when Pedal tips: Pedalling has not been added. Advanced knowledge of how to use the
Schumann took up the cause a decade later did they see the light of day. pedal is required. Always use your ears as the best guide.
Playing tips: When you read Lucy Parhams lesson on page 24, you will notice that Read Lucy Parhams step-by-step lesson on this piece on page 24.

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60 Pianist 95

P60 SCORES Schubert-FINAL.indd 60 14/03/2017 10:18

This is a minuet with a lilting metre


that should be elevated rather
than earthbound
You need to leave room at bar 55 for (marked fz) in the RH to be
a decrescendo to reach pp at bar 57. highlighted but not forced.
The lower notes of the RH in bars 55 This section should move forward
and 56 and, subsequently, the top with new energy until the piano
notes of the RH in bar 57 should be dynamic in bar 75. The LH trill in
highlighted as they are the moving bar 76 should feel as if it is almost
part here, harmonically speaking. underground, rumbling beneath the
The touch in the RH should be RH triplet figuration. Ensure you can
legato but not too heavy. hear the final notes of the trill in the
LH of bar 76; the turn needs to have
At bar 59 the colour, key and clarity and not be swallowed up.
dynamic changes. We are now in
the minor key and a darker quality In bars 76-90 the impromptu
is required to evoke Schuberts sudden gradually unwinds towards its
and striking change of mood. But conclusion. As we noted in the
the RH pedal-note of Ab remains previous instance of this figuration,
constant and is therefore the unifying the RH triplets at bar 89 need care
feature here. Through its insistent over the final note of each triplet.
presence, Schubert builds a tension
which can only be released by the
Gently lean into these notes (C, D,
Eb) with your 5th finger. FIFTEENTH
VAN CLIBURN
eventual return of the main section.
The last four bars form a miniature
The climax of the impromptu coda. There is a small crescendo in
approaches. As the RH climbs higher
up the keyboard in ascending triplets
bar 146 followed by a subito piano.
Play the penultimate note with a INTERNATIONAL
PIANO COMPETITION
(bars 66-69), play into the keys weighted staccato, before giving the
with increasing strength and finger final Ab major chord a warm sound
articulation. Notice the LH at bar 69. and focusing on your top finger.
What were Ab pedal notes have now The pause should ensure you do not
moved up a semitone. From bars 69
to 73 there are a lot of accents
end too quickly. Release the pedal
slowly for the perfect finish.
MAY 25JUNE 10, 2017
FORT WORTH, TEXAS USA
Two centuries of Impromptus
LEONARD SLATKIN, JURY CHAIRMAN
D one without being planned, says one dictionary. Extempore,
unrehearsed, according to another. You are unlikely to give pleasure to
yourself or others if you play impromptus that way, and neither Schubert nor MEMBERS OF THE JURY: ARNALDO COHEN (BRAZIL),
Chopin dashed them off in a morning. So why are they so called? CHRISTOPHER ELTON (UNITED KINGDOM), MARC-ANDR HAMELIN (CANADA),
The earliest traceable impromptus were written in 1817 by the Czech JOSEPH KALICHSTEIN (ISRAEL / UNITED STATES), MARI KODAMA (JAPAN),
composer Jan Vorek, apparently at the suggestion of his publisher, and these ANNE-MARIE McDERMOTT (UNITED STATES), ERIK TAWASTSTJERNA (FINLAND),
do convey a delightful feeling of freshly minted thought which can also be ALEXANDER TORADZE (GEORGIA / UNITED STATES)
heard in the first of Schuberts D899 set, even if the others are highly
organised. So are Chopins, but in such a way that each new impromptu takes ARTISTIC COLLABORATORS: LEONARD SLATKIN (CONDUCTOR FINAL ROUND),
seed from the last one, as though they hardly needed composing at all; an NICHOLAS McGEGAN (CONDUCTOR SEMIFINAL ROUND),
elegant illusion which could not survive long as Romanticism laid ever greater BRENTANO STRING QUARTET, FORT WORTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
stress on music as intense personal expression. Imagine Brahms writing an
impromptu, or Rachmaninov.
The form survived in the hands of Scriabin and a few others, but what it 30 COMPETITORS. 16 COUNTRIES REPRESENTED.
passed down to us was the more fundamental impulse of improvisation,
written down and refined without losing the initial inspiration of taking a
melody for a walk. Think of Dave Brubecks Take Five as an impromptu, or WATCH THE ENTIRE COMPETITION AT
CLIBURN.ORG
Count Basies Satin Doll. Better yet, sit down at the piano with a tune and
compose your own impromtptu. Peter Quantrill

P24 HTP Lucy-FINALish.indd 25 15/03/2017 10:22


26 Pianist 90

p26_pianist95.indd 26 15/03/2017 10:23


Pianist 95
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