Thoughts and Updates on Repertoire |
Sunday, April 05, 2020 |
Next recordings / upload update (to be determined):
"The Promise of the world", J. Hisaishi "Howl's Moving Castle"
Romance, P. Tchaikovsky
Album Leaf, E. Grieg (new piece - possible)
Sunday, March 29, 2020 |
For "Piano Day" celebration, here was my run-through of composers (in order):
J.S. Bach, Two-Part Inventions (select)
F. Lizst, Consolations No. 1 / No. 2
P. Tchaikovsky, Romance
S. Rachmaninoff, Moment Musical No. 1
F. Mendelssohn, Song without words (Posthumous) / Spring-song
F. Chopin, Nocturne Op. 9 No. 1
"The Promise of the world", J. Hisaishi from "Howl's Moving Castle"
R. Schumann, Scenes from a childhood
F. Schubert, "Wanderer" Fantasy
L.v. Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 15
W.A. Mozart, Piano Sonata K. 498a
Love these pieces. I hope all pianists played their repertoire or preferred pieces on this occasion. It was about 4+ hour runtime - it's been awhile with Bach, so needed to practice it again a few times. As well as finishing up or still practicing the K. 498.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 |
Today's repertoire / practice theme was "Fantasy":
Schubert, "Wanderer" Fantasy
Chopin, Polonaise-Fantasie (returning to it!)
W.A. Mozart, Fantasy K. 475
What's next, Beethoven's Choral Fantasy? heh. I have a fetish for "Fantasy" pieces.
I'm not sure when the next recordings / upload is going to be. But it'll be two pieces among listed below in the previous entry for sure.
As the world is quarantined and going through a crisis, we all need some kind of uplifting energy for the spirit. Other than humor, for me - music is the therapy.
Monday, March 09, 2020 |
Schubert's epic Fantasy piece is coming along.
Updated / revised:
"The promise of the world", J.Hisaishi from "Howl's Moving Castle"
W.A. Mozart, K.570 / 533 / 498a
L.v. Beethoven, Waldstein Piano Sonata
Mendelssohn, Folk Song
Chopin, Nocturne Op. 9 No. 1 / Op.32. No. 2
Monday, February 24, 2020 |
Franz Schubert's music might not be as mentioned or talked about as often as other composers, but they are absolutely noteworthy and melodic - he has Sonata's, vocal works, and some other piano pieces. I would consider the "Wanderer" Fantasy one of the more difficult C Major pieces out there. I'm returning to it to smooth it out (eventually) - the final section is quite the doozy. When it comes to technically difficult pieces, begin slowly and build up your stamina and precision. I think most of us (if not all) tend to be overly anxious and try to play at a regular tempo prematurely.
The current repertoire I'm working on or playing / practicing:
Mendelssohn, "Folk Song" / "Rondo Cappricioso"
Beethoven, "Waldstein" Piano Sonata
Chopin, some more Nocturnes
A Tchaikovsky piece / some Rachmaninoff Preludes
W.A. Mozart K. 498a (ongoing)
My practice / playing sessions changes depending on mood or inspiration. On another day, it can be a full run through of Studio Ghibli music, Tan Dun and just Mozart. At this point, any pieces I'm practicing can be up to record and upload again.
Monday, February 10, 2020 |
I'm also considering two more Chopin Nocturnes - Op. 9 No. 1 and Op. 32 No. 2. So what do the four Nocturnes have in common? I've listened to some performances from individual artists or pianists (for each piece - Horowitz, Lang Lang, etc), and was inspired to learn them as well - mesmerized is the word I guess. Op. 27 No. 2 is most likely one of my favorite pieces. There are two moments in the piece that stand out - in the middle, where an apparent climactic frenzy of triplets turns or resolves into "dulce", perhaps should have played it a bit more gently or softly. And at the end - after the complex ornamentation in the right hand, it resolves right into an "appassionata" to the conclusion.
Op. 72 No. 1 - quite dark and brooding. Op. 32 No. 2 might feel a bit waltzy, but it is the bunch of chords in the middle section that is intriguing. Op. 9 No. 1 - this appears to be well-known among listeners and pianists alike.
Overall, Nocturnes are melodic pieces that can evoke emotions of the night or evening - subtle, brooding, melancholy.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 |
Video recording list / pieces:
F. Chopin, Nocturne Op. 27 No. 2
F. Chopin, Nocturne Op. 72 No. 1 Posthumous
W.A. Mozart, K. 533 Allegretto
W.A. Mozart, K. 570 Andante
W.A. Mozart, K. 498a (as a bonus)
Sunday, January 05, 2020 |
New year, new decade - what new repertoire am I going to learn or immerse myself in? Music is eternal and never stops - the existing repertoire is always going to be with me. I might have to re-learn some, but they'll always be there. I was a bit rusty with Bach's Two-Part and Three-Part Inventions the other day, and had to go back and play them again. The Two-Part Inventions and some more Three-Part or Sinfonias (or re-do's) are possibilities. If you can master the left hand, you're all set for any kind of repertoire practically.
Piano Sonata K. 498a is a wonderful piece - I grew to love it. The third movement most likely inspired Schumann's "The Happy Farmer". The K.498 third movement has some nice key changes from B maj to G back to B-Flat in one sequence. It might be a possibility for a future recording or video. It's a Sonata that is not really known or out there - as I just found it recently. I'm not sure how many Sonata's are out there, and I'm curious to find out more. But I think that is it, other than other 20+ or so known ones. The third movement of K. 533 is most likely as the next recording I think (eventually the first as well).
Let's continue to share music, and if you are fortunate enough to perform or teach it - all the more power to ya. I choose not to memorize (although I could - the piano solo Piano Concerto No. 20 second mvmt for instance), it's just that it takes more investment and effort for me - hence, it would take much longer. In the end, music is music. For me, familiarizing and feeling the music helps a lot in memorizing notes.
Sunday, December 22, 2019 |
K. 498a and K. 533. Enough said - More thoughts to come...
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 |
K. 284 Variation #12. I'll have to upload that final variation separately - I still have to refine it up to tempo eventually. But the intention was to end the Variations on #11, which seems fitting since I consider it the most beautiful variation of them all anyway. But of course - the movement is not complete without all of its variations.
I had to record the Variations into two separate videos, since the repeats would make the runtime quite long. I don't have a video editor to include variation markings on the video, but I think the separation should be noticeable if anything.
Monday, November 04, 2019 |
K. 284 Variations. I think this'll be the next upload. A lot of movements (from Sonatas or Concertos) are standouts or can make standalone pieces, due to the sheer musical euphoria and beauty. A lot of the music expresses one of beauty, levity / playfulness, tragedy / sadness, etc. What's a Mozart without Variations, and I've been getting it up to par. Hopefully, the recording before Thanksgiving. Why stop there with Amadeus.
The video recordings in the Mozart page are pieces that I found the most inspiring and beautiful to hear in terms of musical orgasm or euphoria - not necessarily absolute favorites or the most fun / inspiring to play. Of course, there are quite a few them in terms of orchestral, ensemble or vocal music - but of course, I can only play or upload of what constitutes piano music.
Sunday, September 29, 2019 |
I'm sure Mozart has quite a few melodic, beautiful piano-only pieces (such as the Fantasies). However, K. 511 and K. 540 are the standouts for me. I intentionally sought out the more difficult ones, including the Fantasia. In fact, that might be the next re-do. I remember thinking that I wouldn't return to pieces that I actually did not really finish or refine, recordings or videos that were only partially finished or not refined at all. But I feel that I'm confident enough to unapologetically to go for it all (if time permits and for pieces that I enjoy) - basically starting over or beginning anew. Practicing, recording, and re-doing is a cycle - one that you can learn from until you become confident about it. It's been a transition, as I used to try too hard and was more tense or was not in the right frame of mind before (which did not allow the music to flow naturally). Thus, it was difficult to learn or understand the piece. Even now (and I'm sure it's similar with all musicians), it's still a learning process and we might never perfectly understand a piece.
K. 511 had intricate phrases in both hands, chromatic passages littered with accidentals (a cross between a Chopin and a Rachmaninoff - without a lot of chords. Mozart is not known for chords but beautiful arpeggios or passages). Such as Rach's "Moment Musical", I didn't think I would ever finish this. But it definitely required a lot of practicing - not hours at a time everyday, but spread apart within my practice repertoire. But I'm happy that I didn't give up on it. It still isn't perfect but then again, probably nothing is - plus, I still struggle with nerves and with the difficulty in relaxing - it comes with thinking too much sometimes.
I'm thinking about Piano Sonata K. 284 at some point - one movement at a time.
Thursday, September 19, 2019 |
K. 540 Adagio. It's a beautiful piece, in particular as a standalone in a non-Sonata format. It was just a matter of time in refining it - there were some troublesome phrases. It certainly is true in a sense not to think too much about the notes, but let the music flow or feel the music, let it be the guide. The next piece planned is K. 511. Wanting to record / upload that for some time, but it was on the backburner for awhile since there were other pieces I was inspired to practice or play more at that time. Eventually.
It's time for more.
Wednesday, September 04, 2019 |
Beethoven's 250th. The movement has begun (#Beethoven2020) - sounds like a damn presidential campaign for classical composers heh. For sure, L.v. Beethoven is one of the greats and probably the most well-known. His pieces are powerful, majestic and grand. I'm sure there are musicians who have performed Beethoven quite astoundingly throughout the world. Here is a website for Beethoven's playlist, recordings and "Top Ten Facts":
Might I add to the "Top Ten Facts" or "Fun Facts" is that Bill & Ted once "borrowed" Beethoven via a telephone booth for their history report haha.
On a serious note, I have my modest recording or rendition of Piano Sonata No. 15 (arguably my favorite) and a medley. More to come hopefully, although not soon (No. 2 or No. 5 perhaps).
Sunday, August 18, 2019 |
I'll be uploading Chopin's Nocturnes next (one or two at a time). They are all melodic and beautiful, but I have to say that Op. 27 No. 2 is the most beautiful and probably the most complex of them all. This is musical bliss or heaven for sure. The pieces are known for or characterized by complex phrasing with an odd-type ratio, where are there much more notes (decorative notes?) to be played on the right-hand than the left in a given measure. They are difficult to play evenly or at tempo sometimes, but it takes practice. I think there is somewhat of a leeway in precision playing, but it is imperative that a pianist gets the gist of it at the very least (if it's not way off).
Friday, August 09, 2019 |
Some possibilities for the next recording:
F. Chopin, Nocturne Op. 32. No. 2
F. Chopin, Nocturne Op. 37 No. 2
F. Chopin, Nocturne Op. 27 No. 2
F. Chopin, Nocturne (Posthumous) Op. 72 No. 1
F. Mendelssohn, Folksong Op. 53 No. 5
F. Mendelssohn, Six Children's Pieces (select)
L.v. Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 2 (still in progress, perhaps further down the road)
Wednesday, September 04, 2019 |
Beethoven's 250th. The movement has begun (#Beethoven2020) - sounds like a presidential campaign for classical composers haha. Anyway, Beethoven is certainly one of the greats - his repertoire his majestic, powerful and grand. I'm sure there are musicians who have performed or recorded Beethoven from all over the world quite astoundingly. Here is the website for a playlist, recordings and "fun facts":
Might I add to the "fun facts" is that Bill & Ted "borrowed" Beeth-oven for their history report haha.
On a serious note, my modest recording or rendition of Piano Sonata No. 15 (arguably my favorite) and a medley on my Beethoven composer page. Hopefully, some more later (No. 2 or No. 5).
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 |
What I've been working on this month: Beethoven Piano Sonata's No. 2, No. 4, and No. 7. Also, more Rachmaninoff - the next recording / upload might perhaps be a "Moments Musicaux" piece.
I have to say that No. 15 is one of my favorite Beethoven Sonatas, if not arguably the favorite. The third movements of the Sonatas seem to be more difficult than the first two (I guess that depends), but each movement has its own character and unfolds like a story. There can be new melodies and dynamics, and they can get intricate and complex. But through it all - it all comes together harmoniously and melodically. Although some might seem a bit odd or unorthodox (atypical for Sonatas), that's what makes them unique and challenging.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 |
I've been working on or refining the K. 281, 284 and 310 pieces, among others but as mains. It's been fun re-learning these and who knows, perhaps I'll be inspired to record / upload one or some of them. For sure, K. 511 piano solo piece is about ready to record / upload - most likely after some Beethoven Sonata movements.
Music is something to be shared by all, not always for competition. It's good to have a competitive spirit, but everyone (one would hope heh) can bring a unique perspective or interpretation to a piece or song (as long as you have a fundamental understanding or mastered the fundamentals / music first - that should be minimal). It can be on a social media platform such as instagram, or a personal site. If you have a career in music, all the more opportunities and avenues to share them.
The melodies to "Promise of the World" from Howl's Music Castle and the Chocobo them from Final Fantasy are also worthwhile and enjoyable.
Sunday, December 16, 2018 |
This year has been mainly about refining or re-polishing some previous repertoire, as well as adding some new ones (Studio Ghibli). I felt accomplished in that sense, but there's still more to learn, grow and to be creative about things. Coming up with, and recording more medleys, for example. It never happened, but that kind of project would take awhile. The idea of becoming the "Classical Medley" guy crossed my mind, but there has not been much development with that - so far, only two brief ones.
For next year, I feel that I'll have to get some Beethoven to record and upload (one movement per video). There's only that medley video on it, and I've been practicing and playing quite a few full Sonatas the past few months. Also, Schubert's four Imprompu's. After refining and getting into the Sonatas, other melodies feel less inspiring. But I'm sure I'll get back into it. A repertoire would never be complete without Schubert.
I'll decide on a few Sonatas, and might mentioned them here. Or just as a surprise. And as usual, finding an inspiring piece or two that would be quick to learn or memorize (if at all). The next uploads for now:
Mendelssohn, Song Without Words Op. 102 No. 3
J. Hisaishi, Merry-Go-Round of Life, Howl's Moving Castle
I feel that I've reached a certain level where I can naturally feel or know the music without trying too hard or overthinking (other than sight-reading - always could do that). Of course, it doesn't end there. It's always a learning and growing experience to become even more refined and find ways to improve even more. A lot of it has to do with finger and hand strengthening, as well as better focus and concentration. And of course, being passionate about it. I didn't have that earlier in my life, and I let my emotions take over - too much of it is never a good thing and can make playing messy and incompehensible. The next step is to figure out how to relax more. I still suffer from anxiety, and relaxation is important to either playing or performing. Nerves can affect everyone, but some can deal with it calmly or it can overwhelm someone.
Saturday, November 10, 2018 |
Now I'm at a crossroads in terms of decisions. I have some Beethoven Sonata movements ready, but they are not entirely memorized if at all. It's about time to record and upload a new one, but if I have to use the sheet music - I'll have to be careful about the page turning so as not to cause a pause or a stop in the music. It always has to be a seamless transition with fluidity and smoothness. I don't want to spend money on a tablet. Perhaps one movement at a time, but for now - there are no plans until I can figure it out.
The "Waldstein" is certainly a challenging Sonata. They all are, but some more so than others.
It's always nice to go back to Studio Ghibli music - there are still two left I'd like to record and upload. "Waltz of Chihiro" from "Spirited Away" - a piano arrangement of the orchestral score and "On a Clear Day" from "Kiki's Delivery Service" which is also Waltz-like.
Saturday, October 20, 2018 |
After some thought, I might record a few Schumann pieces for now. Currently, the repertoire I've been practicing is this:
F. Liszt - "Danse Macabre"
F. Mendelssohn - "Scherzo a Capriccio"
F. Mendelssohn - "Rondo Capricioso"
L.v. Beethoven - Select Piano Sonatas
W.A. Mozart - K.511
And other pieces here and there. In any endeavor, you have to have a passion for it. Eventually, it should become instinctual and you let the music flow naturally from within. You can teach what's written on paper, but you can't teach passion or talent.
I read that Mendelssohn was a meticulous composer, yet he just brushed off the "Songs without Words" pieces as trivial. Although a lot of the melodies or melodic structures have that familiarity with other composers, they are still standalone pieces worthy of playing or performing. In that sense, we should take ownership in that regard nonetheless, and play them as something meaningful.