Sara Davis Buechner: Ask Me Anything!
Sara is here as our next featured "Ask me anything" guest!
Noted for her musical command, cosmopolitan artistry, and visionary independence, Sara Davis Buechner is one of the most original concert pianists of our time
Watch her exclusive tonebase lessons here:
With a variety of topics including: which edition to use, alberti bass, practicing scales and arpeggios, and much more!
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
- Ask your questions right here until October 10th!
- Sara will answer questions from October 10-15th!
Ms. Beuchner, your lessons on tonebase have been very helpful to me. I've been playing piano for about 8 years now, and unlike many of my peers, I'm really quite poor when it comes to classical period repertoire like Mozart. I'm able to get the notes under my fingers, but I am greeted with a very bright, dry, toy-like sound no matter what I do (and for Mozart who for the most part, already sounds quite happy - I end up stripping the music of its elegant and lithe quality in favor of an overly humorous one). I'm working on the K. 283 Sonata and I've begun practicing the K. 310. Neither is going particularly well. I would not be happy to present them to other people.
And so comes my question. I've really tried very hard to employ various techniques to get that slightly muted, slightly leggiero touch when playing Mozart, but I'm met with much resistance. Still, I would like to at least get it to a level where it is presentable to other people, so rather than asking about how I can achieve the sound I want, would you have any advice for how I can instead take advantage of my piano's very bright sound and my drier touch? My own personal attempts have only resulted in making my Mozart sound - well - a little angrier, so to speak. In any case, sorry if this is a vague question, but I'd still appreciate any thoughts you may have. Thanks!
Hi, Ms. Beuchner, I am having trouble finding a balance on the stage. It appears to me that I have been finding myself making a lot of mistakes while performing on the stage, including memory slips which never happened before; also tend to tense up while performing a really exciting passage. Do you have any advise or tips for me during practicing or on the stage? Any help would be really appreciated! Thank you.
I very much enjoy your teaching style, I'm hoping for more Mozart Tutorials!
I'm struggling getting the KV 280 to sound cohesive. It sounds like a lot of skills strung together.
Progress is much slower on the Mozart than other pieces I'm working on, is that typical?
I haven't played Mozart in a very long time but when you said "if you aren't working on any Mozart, you should be" - I took your advice to heart!
Thanks for the opportunity to ask questions and thanks also for an interesting and informative interview about Busoni with Youssef Amin that I saw on YouTube. Busoni's expressiveness and tonality are discussed there and I came to think of scales in the Bach Busoni Chaconne where he changes the melodic line, for example variation 9, measures 73 to 76 but I am not entirely sure especially about measure 74, second quarter left hand. I have an idea to portray and present what seems to me like an argumentative struggle. I'm sure you have something to suggest for the fingering of these four bars to bring it out and would be very grateful if I could get some advice.
Dear Ms Buechner, I'm currently 'honing' Mozart's Rondo K 511. The way i approach the piece is to try express a feeling of pain. I concocted a story of a despairing mother with a baby pleading with a man who for his own circumstances had no choice but to abandon them. She's come back to plead with him. I hear their 2 voices in the music between the LH and RH. Then in the B (or c ?) section they recall happier times as well as rocky patches. Ultimately the woman was denied her wish and in the final bars of the piece after being emphatically rejected by the man I see her turning away hurryimg off down the winding long road and disappearing over hill, never to return again. I created this story after my teacher asked me " where's the pain ??" and I think it has helped in my playing. My question is : would you agree that the piece is about pain? I have heard on YT a number of pianists playing in a lighter even jaunty mood. What is your personal preference?
Could you speak about the historical, scholarly basis for the interpretation of ornaments in Mozart and contemporaries? The preceding generation of composers for harpsichord make use of an extensive array of symbols that designate very specific ornaments, varying by national school (most elaborate amongst the French clavecinistes). However, it appears that in most modern editions of Mozart et. al. only the trill symbol “Tr” appears, and apparently the “turn” appears in some manuscripts.
Historical harpsichord performance practice is informed by multiple explicit sources alive at Mozart’s time or in the preceding generation that presumably established the expectations for his contemporaries, amongst them C.P.E. Bach’s Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen, Quantz’ Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen, Couperin’ L'Art de toucher le Clavecin, Hotteterre’s Principes de la flûte traversière and J.S.Bach’s Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. Is Leopold Mozart’s Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule regarded as the uniquely decisive source for interpretation in Mozart? It’s treatment of ornamentation is lengthy, but (in the edition I have found) the rich notational variety and specificity from the harpsichord literature is discarded. Why does this happen? Many historical harpsichords (mostly French) have longer sustain than contemporary fortepianos, so that is not likely the answer. Even the most elaborate ornaments are easily executed on the fortepiano; and with practice even on the modern piano the possibilities far exceed what is commonly heard.
My cursory glimpse at Badura-Skoda’s work leaves the impression that it is lean on historical sources beyond Leopold’s treatise, and reflects mostly inferences from an intimate knowledge of Mozart’s scores themselves. As someone coming from a background of harpsichord performance, I am often perplexed by the interpretation of ornaments in Mozart’s keyboard works. I wonder if current interpretation represents just the style our generation has fallen upon by looking back from the perspective of subsequent piano literature and the modern instrument, or if it is thought to be reconstructed prospectively from particular, contemporary documentation. Is it just that the preponderance of music written during Mozart’s life persuade us that ornamentation is moribund?
Sara, I am working on the first Brahms exercise of 51. I marked and studied the fingering before I started working on the exercise. I thought the polyrhythms would be my waterloo. Though still working at a snail’s pace with both hands, its fingering mistakes that are hindering my progress. Please offer any recommendations for cementing fingering that can then become second nature. Thank you!