Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What I'm playing this week

I haven't done one of these in quite a while, mostly because it was getting monotonous. But because I have a few new things, I thought it might be at least a little bit interesting to mention them.

On the piano:

I'm starting a new Bach prelude and fugue, WTC I/6 in D minor. I chose this to work on because it's simpler than the A major set, and I thought it would be good to learn something that I would not have such trouble memorizing so I could focus more on being musical. The prelude and fugue are also both appealing: the prelude has that fun forward-propelling texture with rhythmic bass in the left hand and fast triplets in the right hand; the fugue has some beautiful moments, and there are also some technical challenges with regard to playing the trills in the subject just right.

Beethoven, Op. 2 No. 3. I am continuing to make progress on this. Listening to Murray Perahia's recording has given me a lot more ideas on what to work on. I know I will not be able to play all the little technical flourishes as quickly and cleanly as he does, but it still helps to hear it done. I have a goal for this, which is to record as much of it as I can for a Piano World recital on Beethoven's birthday this December. I think I can do at least the first movement.

Brahms Op. 118 Nos. 3, 4, and 5. I finally came to the conclusion that No. 3 is just damned hard. What does it is all the jumping around, especially in the left hand, and having to land on thick chords at the ends of the jumps. It's almost impossible for me to play it up to tempo without looking at my hands.  No. 4 is interesting because it's the only one of the set that is not in A-B-A form, but sort of A-B-C instead. The A material does show up in the C section, but greatly altered. The B section is tricky because it requires precise pedaling. No. 5, the Romanze, has a pretty difficult B section, embellished with runs and trills, so I'm focusing on learning that first.

I have really missed playing Chopin, but I can't quite settle on a piece to learn. Another prelude? (I have really fallen down on the job of working my way through them.) Another Nocturne? Something else entirely?

And then there's so much more that's tempting . . . but I know my limitations.

On the cello:

Rehearsls for the second orchestra concert of the season start next weekend, so I pulled out the music and started looking at it. The program is Johann Strauss, Tales From the Vienna Woods; Rimsky-Korsakov, Capriccio Espagnol; Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on Greensleeves; and Borodin, Symphony No. 2. To be honest, none of it is that interesting to me. But I will do the best I can with it.

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