Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What I'm playing this week

I'm concentrating on recording the Chopin Nocturne Op. 27 No. 1. I spent several hours today practicing, recording, listening, and then practicing again. As I suspected, the left hand was much too heavy (as usual for these floaty Chopin left hand parts) and plunky. I worked a lot on making it more light and legato, yet still expressive.

I am at the point in my work on this piece that I think of as "engaging with the piece." This is when I know it, understand the structure, and have it memorized, and I can go farther than just trying to learn the notes. Sometimes I try to come up with a story, something I can narrate to myself and visualize.

I will probably embarrass myself by describing this, but for this piece, I am thinking of it (for now) as describing a man asleep and dreaming on a moonlit night that is beautiful but eerie (the music alternating between major and minor, with the third of the scale first E natural, then E sharp). The constantly murmuring left hand in the two outer sections are his breathing and the blood flowing through his veins. Thus, it should be dark but fluid, as smooth as possible, and not too slow. His dreams are bittersweet but not unpleasant. Suddenly, there is a sense of danger, and then the dreams turn into a nightmare. Perhaps he is trying to escape something. The sforzati in this section are his racing heartbeats. The nightmare morphs into the scene of a dance -- a short mazurka-like section -- but the danger is still present. The people (all familiar, but strange as well) dance faster and faster, and it all spins away into darkness and perhaps death. Then, as he dreams again, the music settles into an angelic C sharp major; he falls into a deep, peaceful sleep.

As I hope to do soon. Good night!

1 comment:

Clay Fink said...

That's exactly the dream I had last night. Wow!