Thoughts and Updates on Repertoire |
Wednesday, November 24, 2021 |
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 4 "Finale" rondo allegretto is almost there. Exciting, melodic or explosive / intense conclusion to what is one of the longest third movements in a piece.
In the meantime, a few more Variations. My top three Goldberg Favs: 11, 13, 21. Honorable Mention: 18, 3, 5, 10.
Friday, November 12, 2021 |
I've been inspired by Maestro Lang Lang's videos, stories and his recent concert tour on the Goldberg Variations, I've been practicing it regularly. Didn't think I would. Including repeats, it's a full-length concert (over 90 minutes at least). Some variations I can sense requires more sensitivity and delicate touch than others.
My favorite Variations for sure - Var. 11, 13 and 21 (which I might focus on more to record / upload for a section I would call "My Goldberg Favorites" under J.S. Bach page of course). All of them are interesting and definitely have individual personalities. Just a thought or a future project. They hit me in the feels so much, perhaps I have to.
In the meantime, I'm focused on finishing Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 4 final movement / section. The Finale section is quite a doozy - but getting there.
Wednesday, November 03, 2021 |
I'll probably focus on Beethoven for the rest of the year, studying / learning No. 25 and No. 26 further. No. 26 has a very interesting melody, sort of abstract in my opinion but serene / tranquil or slightly tragic.
Friday, October 29, 2021 |
Currently working on Beethoven's Piano Sonatas No. 4 and 5. I've been practicing these on and off over several years - my fingers couldn't really follow the tempo and pacing. But building it up bit by bit. Beethoven can get intense. By now, I have more of a sense or feel for them and my fingers are getting accustomed to the chords and intensity of it. Beethoven's third movements can be quite the doozy - they can get quite long, and might contain different sections of long, flowing melodies.
Sunday, September 19, 2021 |
Some pieces I would like to record / upload before the year ends or before the end of the year:
L.v. Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 5
J. S. Bach, a Fugue ( if there is time)
W.A. Mozart, K. 311 Piano Sonata (final piece in my collection)
F. Schubert, an Impromptu
Most likely I'll get to only two of them, but who knows. It'll be nice to return to Beethoven - No. 5 felt like a very passionate piece (among his earlier Sonatas - but most of them are). Liszt's Concert Etude No. 1 might be more subtly beautiful than No. 3 after further practicing. The frequent key changes can attest to that.
Friday, September 10, 2021 |
Yesterday was a Franz Liszt practice session - Consolations (some new ones), Liebestraum, Romance, and Concert Etudes No. 1 and No. 3. The No. 3 "Un Sospiro" is about ready for a test recording or rough draft.
I always had a difficult time with Liszt pieces, but it's been getting much more comfortable. Thanks to practicing and playing a lot of J.S. Bach - ironically, who was a composer I avoided early in my life because my left hand was weak at that time. And I couldn't hear the beauty in these pieces because I only thought about how complex or difficult the pieces were at that time. But now - I can't get enough of J.S. Bach.
Sunday, August 29, 2021 |
Piano Sonata K. 284 First Movement is a very energetic, dynamic movement or piece (that you could almost dance or move your body to). Tiring would be an understatement. I've come to realize that I enjoy these long, flowing melodies that unravels like a story or a poem. K. 284 and K. 332 are my favorite Sonatas - absolute. I believe that both are certainly the longest Piano Sonatas of W.A. Mozart.
It was between Beethoven's No. 5 or No. 7 Sonata. I'll focus on No. 5 once I return.
Thursday, August 26, 2021 |
L.v. Beethoven's music can be emotionally powerful. It's been awhile, since I've been focusing on J.S. Bach, F. Liszt, and W.A. Mozart mostly or recently. I'd like to return to Piano Sonata No. 5 - I had that in mind for the next Beethoven afterwards or eventually. My practice openers are usually J.S. Bach - either some Fugues, Inventions or Goldberg Variations. It is necessary for me to set the mood, continue working out / strengthening my hands, other than the music is just melodic and beautiful with multiple voices in these pieces.
Saturday, August 21, 2021 |
Liszt's Concert Etude No. 1 is nicknamed or sub-titled "Il lamento". The piece is a bit melancholy or what I call "sad or tragic beauty", but I probably would've nicknamed it something else. But it can also be very contemplative or dream-like euphoria like a Nocturne. It's a new piece for me, but I've attempted it before. No. 2 is over-played in my opinion, or is just more known. No 3. "un sospiro" is 85% memorized. My practices are spread out, so it's not everyday nor that often. But I'm studying the score or sheet music when I can, and still retain the melody. Although No. 3 is quite known or played, it's just too beautiful or inspiring not to work on it.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021 |
It's been awhile, but I felt bold enough to return to other epic pieces yesterday - Liszt's "Reminiscence de Don Juan" (a. intro theme b. Variations 1 and 2 c. Conclusion / end theme) and Chopin's "Polonaise Fantasie". Polishing and really focusing on "Un Sospiro" (as well as playing a lot of J.S. Bach frequently), has helped with hand strength and flexibility. Still - I don't have the reach to hit them big, fat chords haha (I have average sized hands). I just want to play them correctly (even if slowly). No shame in that. It's just for fun, not to record.
Essentially - having the music inside you already helps with the overall flow and progression. You want to use that as guidance as much as your brain (as far as the notes are concerned). Never think too much about the notes - and consistent practicing with a relaxed, inspiring mind is important.
Wednesday, August 04, 2021 |
Liszt's "Un Sospiro" (or Concert Etude No. 3) was a piece I thought about just giving up or abandoning (because of the technicality of it - at that time, too much for my hands). But it was a melody after much contemplation, was too inspiring to leave behind. Some melodies or pieces have that effect - it just sticks with you. Practicing and playing a lot of J.S. Bach has helped a lot in developing hand or finger flexibility / strength further. Still a work in progress - stamina and endurance is next (I still get tired easily after awhile). That is why J.S. Bach is critical for a pianist's repertoire in a sense (a long with the beauty of the pieces). Also - physical exercising or cardio definitely can help with endurance.
By now, I pretty much know the melody of the piece (but only have about 60% or so of the notes memorized). Still progress - it can be done, since it really helps in knowing and being able to feel the melody of a piece first. The notes are just details or fillers to be mastered afterwards. It just takes consistent practicing and studying - with more experience, memorization should come more naturally in the future. I think my "relaxed brain" just needs more training and experience.
K. 284 First movement is on hold (similar to how K. 332 third movement was put off for awhile) - to smooth out the page turning. K. 311 is on in the meantime.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021 |
Chopin's Etudes - I went through most of them the other day, and the term "rusty" is an understatement. They could be considered Chopin's toughest or most difficult works - or I thought his Scherzi and Ballades were (at least back then). I heard Chopin did not have a large reach or hands, but he certainly composed as if he did. He's known for big, fat chords as well, and intricate phrasing / triplets. But beautiful music.
The Etudes have plenty of nicknames - "Tristesse", "Black Key", "Winter Wind", "Ocean", "Aeolian Harp", "Butterfly", "Revolution", anything else? haha. Nicknames are definitely helpful marketing or advertising gimmick. Beethoven Sonatas have a few themselves. It would take awhile to regain form and get some at tempo. Not anytime soon - I'd prefer to work on more Nocturnes and Waltzes. I prefer them.
Some Liszt pieces have massive jumps or intervals - I'm still working on one section where there is such in "Un Sospiro" (approaching this section as if floating on clouds - lightly and delicately as if you were in a dream - that's my take).
Monday, July 12, 2021 |
There is progress for Franz Liszt's Un Sospiro. I have the melody in my head - it's a matter of getting the sections or notes down for memory. I'm trying to approach this as if floating on clouds, gliding on water. Of course, there are intense moments. The important thing is that you want the main melody notes and / or chords to shine.
There is the saying - "Work smarter, not harder". Similiar to practicing an instrument, in particular the piano - "Practice smarter, not harder". For me, beginning with major / minor scales before pieces. And not focusing too much on one piece, or over-practicing. I spread it out with a variety of pieces or themes of pieces. Whichever composer I feel inspired to.
Saturday, July 10, 2021 |
I'm going to say it now - K. 284 Variation 11 is just as beautiful as Goldberg Variation 13. I always thought No. 11 was the most beautiful Variation of them all - until I heard, listened to and learned the No.13 Goldberg Variation of J.S. Bach. Part II Var. 7 - 12 forthcoming. Cannot wait.
Thursday, July 08, 2021 |
I have to divide the K. 284 Variations movement into two video recordings. With the repeats, I wouldn't be able to fit its entirety since there is a time limit (need to upgrade camera or memory card I guess). I was debating whether I should do the repeats or not. Repeats can be tiring, especially if you want to make them a bit different or more interpretative. But I decided to do them, since I felt a movement wouldn't be really complete. Var. 7 - 12 forthcoming.
Sunday, July 04, 2021 |
Improvisation is a lost art indeed. I can't improvise for crap haha. But I guess I never really made the effort to. So which of the Big 3 composers (J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, L.v. Beethoven) Variations are favorites? They all have variation pieces. It's difficult to say - but I believe the standard is the Goldbergs (it's just monumental).
I've been re-practicing and plan to re-record the K. 284 Variations movement. Plus, the final No. 12 Variation is almost there - the trickiest one. My focus is also on Liszt's Un Sospiro - I need to eventually get back to Beethoven. Been meaning to, but have been just focused on J.S. Bach, Mozart and Liszt for now. More Chopin as well.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021 |
I'm still practicing Franz Liszt's Un Sospiro etude every now and then. I've been feeling possessed with J.S. Bach and W.A. Mozart's music recently. It happens when inspiration and motivation are the driving factors, not because of conformity. Liszt etudes are technically difficult - most of them do not stand out to me. Just a few, and Un Sospiro is one of them - beautifully lyrical, gentle and intense. It's fine and dandy to be able to play Liszt - it definitely shows a pianist's technical prowess, and there are plenty of them.
Whatever happened to the days of playing or learning a piece just for the reason of enjoying it or what inspires you the most - not because everyone else is playing or learning it. Oh wait - that never existed.
Saturday, June 12, 2021 |
I might return to K. 284 Piano Sonata - love the third movement Variations on this one. I need to re-polish this movement. The First Movement is also a doozy, but very catchy rhythm (you can actually or literally dance to). Love it haha.
J.S. Bach's Three-Part Inventions and Goldberg Variations. Difficult, epic pieces in their own right. I'm working on another Fugue (and will continue to play the Inventions and work on the Goldbergs some more). Pianists have their benchmark or inspiring Concert Pianists to go to for listening.
Friday, June 11, 2021 |
I read the Goldberg Variations in its entirety yesterday, but this time - with repeats, and comfortably. It just means that I'm gettin' used to the crossing hands - some variations still not at tempo and not quite there yet. But I realized - they are fun to play, and evoke a variety of emotions. I still say No. 20 is the most difficult technically (for me the wide jumps in crossing hands), with 25 (tricky rhythm but very emotive) and 26 close behind. The tips, tricks and lessons has helped immensely - and just watching Lang Lang's technique. It would only help even more by combining that with Glenn Gould's, and finding my own. But I enjoy the expressiveness.
Learning and playing pieces by ear is a method that can definitely help in learning pieces quicker. For me - knowing, feeling the melody of a piece by listening to a performance or a recording. The notes come naturally afterwards (or learning the notes become much easier) - at times, the fingers can automatically find the notes if completely immersed or relaxed.
Sunday, June 06, 2021 |
K. 281 First Movement is also a doozy, but hopefully soon. I no longer think that there is any shame in re-records. It is all a learning experience, and every take has different interpretative aspects. No two performances or recordings are going to be exactly the same. Otherwise - you would be nothing but a damn robot or a machine.
I've been always curious as to what various classical composers would think about the state of humanity today - all the Anti-Asian hate / violence, discrimination and racism that's been going on around this shit hole of a world. As I mentioned, intangibles such as music does not hate or discriminate - only people or humans do. Some might feel disgusted, while others might be too nationalistic to even give a darn. Music is an intangible that can be a unifying factor for everyone as an escape and therapy - if it's globally embraced, then nothing else matters.
Sunday, May 09, 2021 |
W.A. Mozart, K. 332 third movement - it took quite a while but well worth it. It's not easy - balancing the tempo, dynamics with interpretation. The long, flowing melodies or themes has that Concerto movement feel - sort of. There are a few tricky passages which til this day, is still troublesome (or not effortless at all). I just might not have the reach to comfortably do it - but I had to figure out a way to approach it differently. Lightly and playfully.
K. 332 could arguably be my favorite, but as mentioned before - all the Sonatas are beautiful in one way or another. I would not be able to absolutely decide. However, the Sonatas recorded are pretty much finalized as what moves or inspires me the most - K. 280, 332, 457 and 570. I'm workin' on K. 281 next. An odd-ball of sorts, but beautiful or catchy.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 |
It was about time to add some Schubert. The Impromptu No. 2 Op. 90 was a favorite, since there is a particular passage or phrase that is very inspiring and beautiful (when the apreggio decrescendos to a soft, delicate melody) - it was always the intention to try to play as gently or tenderly as possible. Sort of sad beauty. I approached this with more of an interpretative style as opposed to a very fast style. What can be seen as tricky, is that there might be a tendency to rush this piece or play it too fast. Although it is meant to be brisk or quick, I don't think a pianist should play the notes like triplets.
Til this day, I can continue to play or practice that beautiful, tender section and I consider it one of the most powerful, emotive sections or passages in all of music literature.
Sunday, April 11, 2021 |
I've been playing the Three-Part Inventions as a warm-up to my sessions. I'm convinced it's imperative to play some J.S. Bach once in awhile or often, as it can absolutely help. Considering that the composer's repertoire is quite complex and intricate, I can get quite rusty and might need to re-learn or re-polish pieces if not. It's been glorious.
I have to say that No. 20, 25 and 26 are the most difficult of the Goldberg Variations. There are other ones, with extended crossings that might push the limits of even your arms heh.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 |
Happy Birthday, J.S. Bach:
The third movement for K. 332 is almost there - it is quite the doozy. The dynamicism and energy of the piece can be tiring, but the beauty in of itself is self-sustaining and motivation / inspirational enough to perservere and let it flow. You mess up once you overthink, or try too hard. It's a work in progress.
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 |
W.A. Mozart Piano Sonata K. 332 First Movement - dynamic and exciting. Love this piece - flowing, lyrical / melodic lines that seem endless and timeless. If this was something, I enjoyed the third movement just as much or even more.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 |
W.A. Mozart Piano Sonata K. 280 First Movement - almost like a conversation taking place in its entirety. Kinda tricky and bouncy, like K. 457 First Movement. The second movement was inspiring enough to learn this Piano Sonata in its entirety. I remember watching a rendition of this First Movement on a classical guitar. That was something.
K. 332 is the finale - although how am I going to deal with the page turning, unless I crop down the sheet music to manageble levels, get a tablet, or memorize it altogether. It's possible, but I can't commit to that. Otherwise, it's a dynamic / exciting piece - one of my favorites for sure.
Friday, March 05, 2021 |
It's been awhile since I played or practiced Chopin. I might record / upload some Waltzes or Valses after Mozart.
I'm still incorporating J.S. Bach's Three-Part Inventions as a warmup or just part of the practice / play repertoire. The entire piece (all 15 of them) have been glorious and therapeutic for me. Thank you, J.S. Bach.
Tuesday, March 02, 2021 |
W.A. Mozart Piano Sonata K. 280 Third Movement - after what was a somber, somewhat dark second movement - this final movement is quite the opposite. Very festive, bright - something you can dance to. Certainly tricky as well. J.S. Bach has helped me prepare even more for all types of intricate passages and melodies. Thanks to J.S. Bach - the master in intricacies or complex beauty.
The first movement is up next - it sets the mood / tone well.
Sunday, February 21, 2021 |
W.A. Mozart Piano Sonata K. 280 Second Movement - very somber and melancholy (story of most of my life - until now, I couldn't feel anymore giddy since I love my identity). This piece of music also had a very potent / brooding effect on me - hauntingly beautiful. I decided to focus on K. 280. The first and third movements K. 332 need a bit more time to polish them out. Almost ready, but the page-turning might be a problematic since they are very dynamic, exciting pieces that should not be interrupted at any moment.
To me, Mozart might be the top or the ultimate "musical story-teller".
Sunday, February 14, 2021 |
W.A. Mozart Piano Sonata K. 332 - I'm thinking this'll be the next Piano Sonata for upload. It's a very dynamic / exciting, upbeat melody. Very catchy - I never really was able to play or practice it well before or in the past. But it's time now. It's damn time.
My new journey with W.A. Mozart's Piano Sonatas.
Liszt's "Un Sospiro" is the ultimate goal.
Monday, February 08, 2021 |
W.A. Mozart Piano Sonata K. 457 Adagio / Second Movement - this movement has what I call a "musical orgasm or euphoria". There are a lot of them in various Piano Sonata movements, but this affects me the most. Can't wait for the final and third movement, where there is a brief "hush" moment for me. After all, "music is also the silence in between notes".
Friday, February 05, 2021 |
W.A. Mozart Piano Sonata K. 457 No. 14 First Movement - tricky but it isn't as apparent when you look at the sheet music or notes. But it's all logically and beautifully structured. Bouncy and playful - characterizes Mozart well. It can get tiring by doing repeats, especially if you have chords bouncing around like in a conversation. Every piece is like a story. But I've enjoyed playing this - it is like a conversation or a story.
Monday, February 01, 2021 |
My first venture into Brahms - a fantasy capriccio. I never thought I would begin to take a look at Brahms' repertoire. There is dissonant beauty in the music - but to say that it might be too dissonant or the melodies might not be very pleasing might be a stretch. Or they are just not as pleasing as other composers or pieces. What is a classical repertoire without Brahms.
My plan in re-polishing some of Mozart's Piano Sonatas - to find melodies that actually inspire me. All of them are beautiful in one way or other other, so in reality - picking favorites is not easy. So I just need to go by what is the most inspiring to play or I enjoy playing a lot. And so it begins with K. 570. And one from 4xx, to 3xx, and 2xx, etc.
Thursday, January 28, 2021 |
W.A. Mozart - Piano Sonata K. 570. I practiced this often. I played this often. I believe it was about time. The second movement - there was a particular section that would resonate with me the most. This, and the Piano Sonata No. 14 - which might be next. Happy 265th to Wolfgang Amadeus!
Speaking of birthdays, congratulations to Maestro Lang Lang's newborn! They are going to be a very musical family.
Sunday, January 24, 2021 |
Here is the recap of the entire 15 "Three-Part Inventions" from J.S. Bach:
Sinfonia No. 1 - The first piece of 15 Three-Part Inventions. Energetic, brisk and fitting as an introduction
Sinfonia No. 2 - A melodic piece. Sustaining trills in the base or treble through many measures is never easy
Sinfonia No. 3 - Bubbly, playful. The piece is brief, but with a bit of intricate or tricky passages in terms of range
Sinfonia No. 4 - Beautifully somber, a bit melancholy
Sinfonia No. 5 - the "ornament" piece, or at least there is a version of it. I opted for this, since it gave the piece more personality
Sinfonia No. 6 - Melodic and feels waltz-y
Sinfonia No. 7 - Contemplative
Sinfonia No. 8 - almost Fugue-like, tricky / most difficult
Sinfonia No. 9 - very mysterious, dissonant piece but at the same time hauntingly beautiful
Sinfonia No. 10 - another brisk, energetic piece. Relentless right hand arpeggios. Sort of like an extension or Part II of No. 1
Sinfonia No. 11 - very contemplative, almost as if deep in thought
Sinfonia No. 12 - fun, and melodic
Sinfonia No. 13 - sounds mischievous and playful
Sinfonia No. 14 - To me, it is a like a solemn, tranquil / choir piece - the favorite
Sinfonia No. 15 - the finale that ends or completes the "Three-Part Inventions". As brief as it is, this sort of stands out with its fast passages and some cross-overs
And there you have it. I would certainly be confident enough to upload these on a public platform at anytime, anywhere. Who knows - but I just have not found anything worthwhile.
Monday, January 18, 2021 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 15 - the finale that ends or completes the "Three-Part Inventions". As brief as it is, this sort of stands out with its fast passages and some cross-overs! Crossing of hands is usually not easy, unless you're used to it or experienced with it. It is more common with the "Goldberg Variations", not so much with J.S. Bach's other pieces (at least not in his Fugues or these pieces).
Re-visiting and polishing / finishing off the entire "Three-Part Inventions" has helped a lot - and should continue to play them. Working on another Fugue or two. But onto another composer for the next recordings. J.S. Bach has become a permanent mainstay in my repertoire or practice sessions for sure.
A recap of all 15 Inventions forthcoming.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 12 - this was just as difficult as No. 8. I'm not sure how to describe this piece, except just - fun. My Journey with the Three-Part Inventions is almost complete, with saving No. 15 being the finale, quite fitting.
I should reminisce or recap the entire Three-Part Inventions afterwards, and listing my favorites. For now, it's No. 14.
Saturday, January 09, 2021 |
What a practice the other day. I believe Liszt's "Un Sospiro" is coming along finally. Eventually. I want to find more Rachmaninoff pieces - besides the standard Preludes (they are nice, but overplayed if you ask me). The Moments Musical ones for instance - love the Op. 16 No. 1.
No. 12 and No. 15 are the final two to upload for the "Three-Part Inventions". To say that Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 14's third movement has one of the most emotionally, impactful sections of all would just be my opinion or from my own experiences / interpretations. It definitely hits me all the time. I would go as far as to say that it is "unresolved" sounding, just leaves you feeling with that ache. J.S. Bach has plenty as well, and re-visiting the composer has been an awakening experience (which should have happened long ago). The originator of many beautiful melodies and intricate passages.
Monday, January 04, 2021 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 8 - I felt that this was the trickiest, or the most difficult to learn or play out of all the Sinfonias. My left hand just wouldn't cooperate for the longest time. But once you get it down, it's quite fun. Perky, bouncy, playful. Kind of Fugue-like. In learning any piece, it is imperative to have the desire or to be motivated / inspired to. And to learn with patience and poise.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 10 - another brisk, energetic piece. Relentless right hand arpeggios. Sort of like an extension or Part II of Sinfonia No. 1.
The difficulty in this is the fingering. There are certain passages or sections where it is necessary for proper fingering. It is usually the case where you use what is most comfortable for you to play it smoothly. But for No. 10, I think switching from thumb to pinkie (finger 1 to finger 5) quickly / smoothly is needed for particular sections. I'm sure there are other pieces like that.
Sunday, December 27, 2020 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 5 - the "ornament" piece, or at least there is a version of it. I opted for this, since it gave the piece more personality. The trick is to play ornaments lightly without compromising the underlying melodic lines. Ornaments have been one of my weak points, as well as pedal management. Well - practicing this helped a bit. I would say J.S. Bach was the "master of ornamentation".
Tuesday, December 22, 2020 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 13 - sounds mischievous and playful. This is another tricky, intricate piece - but nice rhythms or beats in certain sections.
I plan to re-upload Rachmaninoff's Variation 18 from Rhapsody on a Paganini theme again at some point.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020 |
Happy 250th - Ludwig Van Beethoven. I had a practice session awhile ago dedicated to the Piano Sonatas. Today, it was No. 6, No. 7 and a favorite - No. 15. Speaking of which, the third movement for No. 15 video recording should be soon.
I've been focused on J.S. Bach recently, which has given me a newfound appreciation and interest for the composer.
Monday, December 14, 2020 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 1 - The first piece of 15 Three-Part Inventions. Energetic, brisk and fitting as an introduction.
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 2 - What a melodic piece. Sustaining trills in the base or treble through many measures is never easy. Beethoven's Waldstein Piano Sonata is notorious for that.
Friday, December 11, 2020 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 6 and 7 - contrasting styles. No. 6 in E Major is melodic and feels waltz-y (mis-leading in the sense that there might be a tendency to play it as if the notes were triplets when they aren't). Thus, a gentle approach might be required. No. 7 is in E Minor, and is just another contemplative piece in a Minor key.
I've been putting the finishing touches on Mozart's K. 570 Piano Sonata. I am looking forward to this one.
Wednesday, December 02, 2020 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 3 - bubbly, playful. The piece is brief, but with a bit of intricate or tricky passages in terms of range. There is a fine line of trying to play it delicately or playfully, more energetically / accurately, or even altogether. Interpretations can be spontaneous, or it can be planned ahead (you would already have an idea of how you would like to play it). It depends on the piece.
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 4 - beautifully somber, a bit melancholy.
Thursday, November 26, 2020 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 11 - very contemplative, almost as if deep in thought. I approached this piece with that in mind, keeping the tempo at a gentle pace.
More to come on the journey in completing or refining the Three-Part Inventions - without any repeats, these are not long pieces. But must be approached in a way as such, to get the most out of them. Never rush short pieces.
Sunday, November 22, 2020 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 14 in B-flat Major - the intention was to make this piece really sing. To me, it is a like a solemn, tranquil piece (sort of like a choir piece). One of my favorites for sure. I'll be back to Beethoven, but the plan is to do most of the Three-Part Inventions (if not all).
Ultimately, I'm looking at Piano Sonata's K. 570 and 284 from Mozart eventually. I've been re-focusing on them.
The ability to play an instrument (playing or composing a melody as a bonus) with a physical condition or a debilitating condition is inspiring in of itself. Beethoven became deaf, but still composed (and some of his most glorious works I hear were from the late years). Never let it stop you from enjoying or learning music.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 |
J.S. Bach Sinfonia No. 9 in F Minor - very mysterious, dissonant piece but at the same time hauntingly beautiful. I used to be turned off by these types of pieces, only realizing recently that there is beauty to some dissonant pieces. It felt like a very somber or brooding conversation taking place. But at the same time, tranquil and peaceful. Thus, the mysteriousness of it all.
I'll have a few more select Three-Part Inventions uploaded eventually.
Sunday, November 15, 2020 |
I have some select Sinfonias (Three-Part Inventions) in mind for some more J.S. Bach (some new ones, some re-records). You find or discover more beautiful melodies in all kinds or types of pieces in different keys. As an on-going process or learning experience, it is imperative or necessary to take things with a patient / relaxed state of mind in learning pieces. Immerse yourself. I put off on J.S. Bach for so long, but I should have practiced them or got into them much earlier. It would have made learning other nuances in other pieces from other composers much easier.
Sunday, November 08, 2020 |
To celebrate Beethoven's 250th, yesterday's practice / play repertoire consisted of three Piano Sonatas: the popular "Moonlight" (the third movement was rusty, requires more practice again), No. 15 (finishing up the third movement anyway), and No. 7 ( which might be a possible upload).
Anyway, get yer Beethoven on!
Friday, November 06, 2020 |
I have some more J.S. Bach Fugues, as well as re-recording and / or some new Sinfonia (Three-Part Inventions). The process of cleaning up and refining old pieces is always a work in progress, and it's a learning experience. The ultimate test would be an actual performance. In a recording, one can do as many takes as one likes. It's a gradual process as well as to relax even more, to come to a point where over-thinking or trying too hard / trying too much would gradually be gotten rid of. I realize having J.S. Bach as a regular in one's repertoire is absolutely essential.
The Beethoven "Pathetique" first movement is a very dynamic, dark movement - it sets the serious or grave mood / emotion for the entire Sonata. The second movement is the lull in it, with its somber beauty. Now, I just have to finish up the third movement of No. 15. And then one more Piano Sonata.
All this has given me a new perspective on Mozart (and realizing the difficulty in expressing / playing the pieces. But again, you don't want to over-think things). I'm thinking of two Piano Sonatas I've been refining or working on (K. 284, K. 570). No timetable, just continuous practice / playing.
Saturday, October 31, 2020 |
What I've learned about J.S. Bach's epic "Goldberg Variations". It is comprised of various types / forms of pieces - dances, canons, lullabies, gigue, arias, etc. It's absolulately a keyboard masterpiece, one that I am certainly not going to try to tackle anytime soon (except for a few variations only). When approaching this, look at each variation with a different personality or character (somber, energetic, lonely, etc.). Like reading a book, you don't want to rush through it but take it one chapter at a time. 30 variations is quite daunting, and kudos to anyone who can tackle it.
It's time for the First Movement of Beethoven's "Pathetique" Piano Sonata. I always had trouble with the rhythm and pacing of this one. I used to rush it, or play it way too quick and unevenly. It's amazing how much more you can get out of a piece, once you can understand the overall structure or dynamics of it. It's always important to learn the sheet music first, and have a sense of how you want to approach the piece as a whole.
The third movement that I just uploaded recently - it can be a very emotional rollercoaster of a piece. Something that has a very addictive or catchy beat / rthymn. It was a dance beat or music in one of the dancing video games (Dance Dance Revolution), and one I enjoyed playing it as a dancing game as well.
Saturday, October 24, 2020 |
The third movement for Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 15 is almost there - the last section or the last few bars has been troublesome, but I think I finally got the notes. It's just a matter of execution now. Identifying or mastering the pattern or arpeggio is always a challenge.
In the meantime, I've decided to go ahead with the well-known "Pathetique" Sonata, beginning with the second movement. I uploaded the correct take - it took a quite a few takes (some a bit slower). Ultimately, I wanted the take to be as lyrical as possible. This second movement (Adagio cantabile) can be expressed very lyrically, as it has such an emotional, beautiful melody. Often times, grows dark or tragic as well.
There is one or two more J.S. Bach Fugue as well, before focusing on Schubert and Liszt again.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 |
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 15's third movement is in progress, and should be hopefully be ready for the final recording of this grand piece. I re-visited the "Pathetique" - one of the popular or well-known Sonatas from Beethoven (the ones with nicknames). I am already familiar with it, but just need to polish / refine it. It is something to consider as the next Sonata.
Some Schubert possibilities:
Adagio D. 612
Impromptu No. 2
I definitely have to add some Schubert.
Monday, October 12, 2020 |
I definitely plan on completing Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 15 - Second and Third Movements coming up next. I include the repeats as well, which can get tiring if you have to do multiple takes. Stamina or endurance is definitely a work in progress. One movement at a time.
Refining or polishing a piece includes not just the notes, but also others as well - rests, staccatos, crescendos, phrasing, accentuations, etc. They might not be a big of a deal at first, but can make a world of difference in terms of whether a piece is finished or not. I felt a lot of passion and emotion in this Piano Sonata, especially the first movement. The melody in the descending arpeggios in the bass (after the repeat) culminates into a powerful, emotional theme which I interpreted as dark with anguish. The movement begins gently and sweetly (dolce-like). And after the repeat, this second theme begins. It was what caught my attention or got me hooked.
I want to at least record or upload two Piano Sonatas. After No. 15, it could be the Waldstein or one of the earlier ones. I've been practicing some of these on and off.
I could only reach a 10th. Composers who compose pieces with large ranges between notes and / or big, fat chords might have such large reach (Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and now J.S. Bach?).
Sunday, October 04, 2020 |
I really didn't appreciate the value and greatness of J.S. Bach's music, until I began to get back into it (and watching the "Goldberg Variations" documentary on Lang Lang's Youtube). It's a vast, intricate repertoire. I think I'll include a piece or two in my practices as a regular (or as much as possible) - certainly, an important composer as a foundation for classical music.
Pedal management is a work in progress for me - proper usage of pedaling (soft, middle or damper) can make a difference in a performance or a recording. It's a continuous learning experience. I often play or practice certain passages or pieces intentionally more dry than others. Other than wanting to let individual notes stand out without diluting or blurring them too much, there needs to be some sort of balance or compromise.
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 15 - it is arguably my favorite (among that are familiar to me that is). Although I am not very familiar with the late Piano Sonatas after 20 (or only heard a handful of them) - other than the Waldstein or Hammerklavier. A re-record is inevitable - everyone can always learn from, or improve on their previous takes or recordings through re-listening to them. You are your own best critic - everyone is going to have their own preferences, biases or opinions.
Sunday, September 27, 2020 |
Franz Liszt's "Romance" S. 169 - it's melancholy, expressive, dark / brooding. I wanted to play this somewhat at a Moderate pace, a bit rubato (in the middle section especially), and certainly express the brooding, dark atmosphere (definitely legato). I love this piece - it's becoming one of my favorites. I'm sure Liszt has plenty - but they are plenty difficult to tackle for sure. What I'm learning, or what I've learned, is that everything is doable or learnable. It's a matter of patience, technique and the desire to pursue it. I like the Consolations as well, but No. 2 is my favorite.
I'm continuing to work on polishing or refining "Un Sospiro". This is a piece I hope to upload or record one day.
It's also time to delve into some Schubert (Impromptu No. 2, and other pieces). Schubert is also an essential composer in any repertoire.
What I'm continuing to learn, is not to try to do too much too soon.
Sunday, September 06, 2020 |
Some Franz Liszt pieces as possibilities:
F. Liszt, Consolation #2
F. Liszt, Romance S. 169
F. Liszt, Un Sospiro
Franz Liszt is an essential composer in any pianist's repertoire - not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Technically demanding for sure - a lot of pieces where the reach isn't quite there for me. As in all endeavors, all things are possible - it just takes patience and practice. Know your limitations as well - tackling something that cannot be polished or cleaned anytime soon might not be worth the energy or time. More important for me, is the melody or theme of a piece - I need to be inspired or motivated by it, not because it's a popular piece or whatnot.
It goes without saying that J.S. Bach's Aria from "Goldberg Variations" is one of the most beautiful melodies ever - rivaling Mozart's melodies from Piano Concerto No. 21 second movement / K. 533 second movement, among others.
Saturday, August 29, 2020 |
I used to have the problem of my fingers not being able to hit certain notes consistently or negotiate tough passages, in particular with my left hand. Especially when it comes to endurance and stamina - which is still a work in progress. It takes awhile to overcome that - with practicing. The only advice that I can give is to begin practicing difficult pieces very slowly, and build it up over time. Never rush it as if to finish the piece in a hurry. If there is still trouble, then perhaps practicing or playing pieces as a finger exercise (or pieces that are meant for finger exercising - Hanon, Czerny, etc.).
I'm sure Lang Lang can give more alternative, practical advices.
Tuesday, August 11, 2020 |
Franz Liszt - I'm thinking of focusing on this composer after J.S. Bach. I plan to re-do some Consolations on the current piano that I have, as well as returning to "Un Sospiro", a "Hungarian Rhapsody" among others. Liszt is considered (if not the most) one of the most technically challenging composers for the piano - but from strictly composing piano pieces, certainly a masterful one at that. Some pieces require tons of patience, and need to be learned slowly at first - to get into the rhythm and pacing of the piece compositionally and correctly. Afterwards, you can feel free to add your own interpretation or experiences to it.
There are quite a few "epic pieces" that I've returned to (Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy, Liszt's Danse Macabre", Chopin's Polonaise-Fantasie, etc). They are just for my own enjoyment - no plans on recording them (unless I have the time or the desire to commit them to memory - they can be quite long).
Updated recordings / uploads:
J.S. Bach, Prelude & Fugue BWV 876
J.S. Bach, Prelude & Fugue BWV 884
W.A. Mozart, Piano Sonata K. 284 (second movement)
P. Tchaikovsky, select short pieces (album for the young)
Sunday, August 02, 2020 |
I agree that J.S. Bach is "one cool guy" haha, or the "Big Daddy Cool" of classical composers (same can be said of the other two of the Big 3 - Beethoven, Mozart - in their own diffierent or unique way). Updated recordings / uploads:
J.S. Bach, Prelude & Fugue BWV 876
J.S. Bach, Prelude & Fugue BWV 884
Sunday, July 26, 2020 |
Updated recordings / uploads:
J.S. Bach, Fugue BWV 956
J.S. Bach, Prelude & Fugue BWV 876
J. Haydn, Gypsy Rondo in G (eventually)
Right now, I'm focused on J.S. Bach - so the Haydn is on hold, perhaps after a few more Fugues.
Sunday, July 12, 2020 |