Week 1: Status check! (also pick your piece!)

Hello and welcome to the WEEK ONE Main Thread for this challenge! 馃ぉ

 


Alright everyone - this is the thread where we'll all be posting our daily updates.     

Make sure you've read the rules before replying (<- click)

 

Twice a week between January 23 - 30 I hope to be reading your daily updates in this very thread right here!     

 

Here is this week's assignment!

 

1. Pick your piece!

 

2. If a new piece, post your sight-reading of it (never hurts to practice this valuable skill!) If it is an old piece, let's try and dust it off, and play through what we can, to evaluate its current condition. Let us know what your "piece status" is!

 

3. Optional: Tell us WHY you picked this piece that you love so much!

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    • Tammy
    • TT2022
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Rach 2 first movement recap, the excerpt I practiced today. It鈥檚 improved compared to the first video from earlier this week for sure. Next step鈥攃leaning up the pedaling and inner lines, and more shaping. 

    https://youtu.be/n3Z4ybLcnzI

    Like 6
    • Tammy Beautiful playing Tammy! I love this piece and you shared a very moving portion within it! By the way, the iphone captured the sound nicely.

      Like
      • Randi
      • Randi
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tammy Very lovely playing!

      Like
    • Will Green
    • Mystic/Musician
    • Will_Green
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I love the emotionality of this piece; the various guises of the soul which Brahms clothes in the notes... the many moods of mixed exaltation and despair/exultation and anguish!!! 

    Like 3
      • Michael
      • Art Historian, Musculoskeletal Radiologist, Former Harpsichordist
      • MichaelP
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Will Green I so admire how you are able to launch yourself into concentrated, meditative realm when you play. I have wondered what is going through your mind in those few seconds before you begin to play.

      Like
    • Randall Wayne
    • Independent inventor
    • Randall_Wayne
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    My wife Kay Hanna, asked me to let people know that she has been following along with this challenge and the piece she will aim to record is a new/recently published piece by Ola Gjeilo entitled "Blue." For her, this piece evokes images of the sky, and she says it is her current most-loved piece of all that she plays.

    Because her practice time is limited by health issues, I may not be able to get a progress video from her, but rest assured she has been working on "Blue" regularly, along with a number of other pieces she is preparing for a small on-line concert for friends just before Valentine's Day.

    As for myself, I'm working on Cesar Franck's "Prelude" from the Prelude, Fugue, and Variation Op. 18, transcription by Harold Bauer - one of my favorite pieces of all time for its haunting melody.

    I did learn this piece some 15 years ago, but since then I have developed a significant physical tremor (apparently some variation of Essential Tremor), and I have had to rebuild my piano technique almost from the ground up to continue to play at all.

    As it happens, my tremor shows itself only when I am exerting muscular effort or dealing with nerves. So the challenge for me will be to learn to play the piece with minimal effort - such as is afforded by my new technique (a floating touch with no "arm weight" and no pressing the keys) - memorize it for fluency, and then record myself when I'm feeling more-or-less in command of it.

    The good news is that actually playing the piece is quite a bit easier with my new technique compared to my old. The bad news is that I find it harder to memorize things these days, and my sight-reading has always been torturous. Meanwhile, the recording situation can stir up self-consciousness, which can stir up my tremor. So I don't yet have any progress video prepared.  I'm slowly learning to stay focused when I record, to play without  tremor and maintain the flow of the music.

    Like 3
      • Will Green
      • Mystic/Musician
      • Will_Green
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Randall Wayne Wow Kay and Randall,, so beautiful to hear these thoughts... I love your sharing with us in such openness, just like the Blue sky :) 

       

      I will have to listen to Blue. Looking forward to the video... I pray to God for strength to record for us here on tonebase. I certainly love Kay's playing... amen. 

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      • Randall Wayne
      • Independent inventor
      • Randall_Wayne
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Will Green Thanks Will!

      Like 1
      • Michael
      • Art Historian, Musculoskeletal Radiologist, Former Harpsichordist
      • MichaelP
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Randall Wayne It is wonderful and reassuring to hear of your persistence in playing the piano despite physical impediments. Although frustrating, the reward remains great. I think most people at some point reach a crossroads, whether from injury or aging, where they can choose to focus on the rewards鈥攖he learning and interpretive process, the discovery and engagement with new music, the reliving of familiar works鈥攔ather than on the heightened bar to producing a fluent performance.

      Like 1
      • Randall Wayne
      • Independent inventor
      • Randall_Wayne
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Michael Thanks, yes, piano is one of my favorite things in life and I'm not  about to give it up unless I absolutely have to! Plus I have always been fascinated how some people could play with such ease, so trying to learn a better technical approach made total sense.

      Like 1
    • Judith
    • Judith
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    So I am late to the game.  Thought I'd try to manage Chopin's Waltz as I really loved Ben's tutorial.  I recorded this on the 24th.  Then, I came down with a horrible cold.  At 70, I can't fight these things as fast as I once could, and I have missed days of practice.  But, I am not giving up!  And, oh my gosh, so many talented people.  You all are amazing.  But, I need the practice, and I need the structure, and I will always appreciate anything helpful you can say.  Next week will be better I hope as I'm mostly back.  Here's my first try mistakes and all:  

    https://youtu.be/Cxx9biUJIOk

    Like 4
      • Judith
      • Judith
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

       Not sure why my link doesn't show the YouTube?  Any hints, just learning this.

      Like
      • Randall Wayne
      • Independent inventor
      • Randall_Wayne
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Judith It is showing for me! So I think you're good to go.

      Like
    • Judith Great choice! Love this waltz.

      Like
      • Michael
      • Art Historian, Musculoskeletal Radiologist, Former Harpsichordist
      • MichaelP
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Judith I like where you are going with this!

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    • Judith Excellent choice Judith and well done! Glad you're feeling better and I can't wait to see how all of progress as we continue to practice.

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      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Judith Very good job, great choice Judith!

      Like 1
    • Adriana L贸pez
    • Concertist in the making
    • Adriana_Lopez
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I鈥檓 a little late to this but鈥 Didn鈥檛 want to miss it. 
     

    In this video, I鈥檓 playing Scherzo no.1 of Chopin. I know there鈥檚 many things to get better but I鈥檒l have it, I think in a week or 2 (with practice) :). I like this melody because it always puts a fire in my heart. And the slow part (the lullaby polish song) it鈥檚 so beautiful and poetic (like Chopin knew how to do it).

    Like 1
      • Randall Wayne
      • Independent inventor
      • Randall_Wayne
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Adriana L贸pez I'm not seeing your video link. Try posting it again?

      Like 1
    • Alice Lin
    • Alice_Lin
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I鈥檝e chosen Chopin Berceuse op.57.  I鈥檓 coming back to it after a long break from the piano, and I鈥檝e chosen it because it is not a commonly played piece for Chopin I think.  He didn鈥檛 write many pieces like this-variations, later titled Berceuse (lullaby) by a publisher.  He wrote it while living with George Sand and it is said that this piece was inspired by a little daughter of an opera singer who was staying with them at the time.  It is one of the few Chopin pieces that are more peaceful in his rather tormented and short life.

     

    https://youtu.be/URNuMqXfX20

    Like 6
    • Alice Lin Great choice and playing! Love Chopin鈥檚 Berceuse.

      Like 2
      • Juan Carlos Olite
      • Philosophy teacher and piano lover
      • Juan_Carlos
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Alice Lin A beautiful gem of Chopin, excellent choice Alice!

      Like 2
      • Gail Starr
      • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
      • Gail_Starr
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Alice Lin Alice, I REALLY needed a lovely, calming bit of music now and your interpretation hit the spot.  (We just had yet another plumbing "challenge" this morning, and I was still tense about the repair cost, LOL!)

      Like 1
    • Alice Lin Alice, this was beautiful to listen to, thank you!

      Like 2
      • Hazel
      • Hazel
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Alice Lin Thanks for your kind comments on my Mozart. Just listened to your Berceuse and your playing is really lovely. I tried this piece a few years ago but didn鈥檛 manage it so well. You have inspired me maybe to try again!

      Like 1
    • Gail Starr
    • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
    • Gail_Starr
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Good afternoon, piano friends!

     

    The piece I've selected for this month is the Balakirev "Toccata".  I piece I REALLY love is his "Islamey", but I'm just not advanced enough (yet? I hope!) to tackle it.  

     

    Just for fun, I asked ChatGPT to write a paragraph of Balakirev's biography, just in case some of y'all aren't too familiar with his work.  I must say that ChatGPT did a very good job:

     

    Mily Balakirev (1837-1910) was a Russian composer and pianist who played a significant role in the development of Russian classical music. He was the leader of the "Mighty Handful," a group of composers who sought to establish a national style of classical music separate from Western European traditions. Balakirev's music blended elements of Russian folk music with classical forms and was characterized by its colorful orchestration and sweeping melodies. He composed several works including the overture "Russia," the piano pieces "Islamey" and "Toccata," and the orchestral piece "Tamara." Balakirev's influence can be seen in the works of several composers, including Rimsky-Korsakov, who went on to become one of Russia's most important composers.

     

    I'll post my video in a moment.

    Like 2
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