Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What I'm playing this week

On the piano:

I started working on the Bach c minor prelude and fugue from WTC II. I have to admit, these aren't as interesting as some of the others, but I'd still like to learn them. I'm hoping this set doesn't take me eight months! The other day I listened to the entire Book II on my Ipod while I was at work -- so many beautiful pieces there.

Gershwin preludes: getting a bit better. I still have a few crash-and-burn moments when I try to run through the first prelude.  This probably means I need more slow practice. (That's usually the answer.)

Brahms Op. 118: I'm kind of jumping around in these, working on the most difficult spots. For some reason, the first one is giving me tremendous trouble, even though I had memorized it earlier this year. So frustrating.

Chopin preludes: The other night, I played through the first seven. They are still pretty solidly memorized, though the faster ones aren't as good (3 and 5). I still can only play No. 8 very slowly.

This evening, I worked for a while on the piano part for Waldesruhe. It's humbling to think of all the pianists who accompany people; their parts are always much harder than those of the instrument they're accompanying, but they usually don't get many kudos for doing a nice job. I feel embarrassed about how I took the efforts of so many pianists for granted all those years.

I had a little taste of this last year two years ago (how time flies! I didn't realize it was so long ago until I looked at the dates on the recordings I posted). I expressed interest to the person who organizes those chamber music concerts (one of which I just bailed out on -- see yesterday's post) in reading through the Mozart trio for clarinet, viola, and piano. I practiced it quite a bit for several weeks -- not long enough, but that's all the time I had between when we set it up and when we got together. Considering that I've never played any chamber music on the piano (I think I can safely discount my teenaged Mendelssohn disaster), I didn't do too badly, though I had a tendency to rush. I know because I recorded it. I even fixed up the recording enough so it was audible (I had to put the recording device some distance from where we were sitting, so the levels needed adjusting, and I had to do things like cut out talking, etc.), posted it online, and emailed the other players about it. Response? Complete silence. No followup about actually performing it. Sniff. Oh well.*

On the cello:

Popper and Duport etudes: I'm still practicing some of these to see if they will help with playing in a not-comfortable key. I can't tell if it's working.

Dvorak: Still working on this, not sure if it sounds good or not. I'm wondering if I should go to someone for a lesson. (I haven't had a cello lesson since the early 1990s.)

Brahms 2nd symphony: Trying to figure out how to advise the other cellists on this when we get together on Sunday. It's really pretty difficult.

*Recordings here, FWIW:

Mozart 1st movement
Mozart 2nd movement
Mozart 3rd movement

No comments: