“Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.”

Friday, April 17, 2020

Concerto Accompanying

     My student asked for advice on playing the orchestra part to the Grieg concerto so that he could accompany several of his students. He showed me certain tutti passages that presented technical problems, which we solved. But we both
agreed that his main issue was that the notes weren't learned. I know. Bummer. Just because you can play the solo part doesn't necessarily mean you have the accompaniment in your fingers. When sight-reading is not your forte, there's no way around learning the notes. 
     Still, other considerations arose. An orchestral reduction is just one editor's opinion as to what
notes to include, even if that reduction is by the composer himself, it isn't necessary, especially for rehearsal, to be locked into those particular notes. So, pick and choose what to play. My suggestions are these: 

Cut tutti passages (unless the soloist really wants to feel a completeness). This will save note learning time. Play a few measures before the solo entry to give the soloist a running start.

Keep a steady tempo under the soloist, allowing his/her rubato to play off of your regularity. This is the most important. The second piano in this situation is both conductor and orchestra. Breathe with the soloist without disturbing the pulse. The orchestra is not allowed to adjust the tempo in order to search for the correct notes.

Play with sufficient sound so that the soloist feels  supported.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Bach Sinfonias for String Trio; Haydn Sinfonias for String Quartet

During this period of sheltering in place I have felt inspired to be better organized and review my publications, among other things. For my string-player friends, I can now offer transcriptions of Bach's keyboard Sinfonias at 15% discount. Each part is now $5.95. The score is $6.95. As an amateur cellist, I find these morsels both fun and inspiring, having played them all on
J. S. Bach
 the keyboard. Bach stated in his introduction that "...above all a cantabile style" is desired. What better way to realize Bach's objective that to play them with instruments whose primary goal is to sing. Click on the links below to visit Amazon:


Franz Joseph Haydn
In other news, selected early Haydn Symphonies are available in string quartet form for immediate digital download HERE. What! You say. No offense to our wind-player friends, but they work quite well as quartets.

To be used only after the all clear is sounded!

Monday, April 6, 2020

The Pianist in Isolation

    Today I finally finished all of my New Yorker back issues, all the way back to January of 2018. Yes. Then, thinking forced isolation shouldn't mean that my brain and all systems need to be shut down, I read through all the Haydn piano sonatas. Yes. This was very enjoyable. Next are the Mozart sonatas, then Beethoven. Probably then I'll finish all the oatmeal cookies I baked three days ago.
Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven

     It's very satisfying to go through "all of" something. My German friends tell me that finishing something, anything, is considered a good deed in Germany.
     So, my piano friends, during our isolation period, why not make a point of, say, reading through a complete cycle of something. Take some music at your level. Take music you can manage without struggle, even at a snail's pace. This can be very instructive. If you
don't have any complete cycles in your library, you can fill in the gaps for free at imslp.org.

     Do it. Start now.