Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What I'm playing this week

This is getting awfully monotonous to read about, I'm sure, but I'm still trying to get the Bach prelude and fugue into a recordable state. I just don't seem to have the technique to play this complicated music quickly and cleanly. I had a really good practice session on it Saturday, but the past two days have not been so productive. I have the day off of work tomorrow, so I'll try to hone in on this somehow. This has possibly been the most discouraging thing I've worked on thus far, or maybe it's just that I've developed higher expectations of my piano playing.

My reference recording is the Naxos set by Jenö Jandó, who is a phenomenal pianist. He's recorded a huge number of works --  solo, chamber, orchestral -- and they are all wonderful. Sad to say, I would probably feel more inspired if I heard someone play it who was not so good, though I enjoy listening to this.

I'm nibbling a little at the Brahms Op. 118 pieces, realizing once again how difficult Brahms is to play on the piano.

On the cello, I committed myself to play a chamber music concert in the spring, and I'll be getting together with the group to read through the Louis Spohr Nonet (for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, and double bass -- quite a crowd, there!) next week. The TCO will be playing Brahms's Second Symphony on the January concert, and I decided to herd the cello section together for a practice session this month, which means I need to practice the part myself.

And of course, I need to practice the Dvorak Waldesruhe. What I'm finding difficult about this is that the piece simply requires beautiful tone and secure shifting, but because the notes are not that hard, I'm having a hard time pinning it down. That may sound strange, but I've found that when something has a lot of technical hurdles, they make me practice more, and more carefully, than when a piece is easier. I decided to try practicing some etudes in the same key (as it happens, the same key as the Bach I've been sweating over, or it's enharmonic equivalent -- D flat major) to see if that helps me get more grounded in the tones of the piece. So I'll see how that goes.

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