WEEK TWO Updates: Main Thread - Brahms could be so charming!

Hello and welcome to the WEEK TWO 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 November 9-15th I hope to be reading your daily updates in this very thread right here!    


Download the music:

Brahms: 16 Waltzes op.39


Please use the following format when commenting (feel free to copy & paste!):    

  • Waltz you worked on:
  • One thing you found easy:
  • One thing you found difficult:
  • (Optional): a video of you performing it!

Sample daily update:    

  • Waltz you worked on: No. 1
  • One thing you found easy: Learning the notes, and rhythms were rather straight-forward, and not challenging!
  • One thing you found difficult: Shifting the Hands was a bit tricky to get smooth!

Feel free to make these updates as short or long as you wish!

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    • Waltz you worked on: still working on number 2
    • One thing you found easy: have worked through the whole piece and no longer struggling to put together the rhythm or the notes
    • One thing you found difficult: still working on the memorization and playing it fluidly at tempo. Going to keep at it for the duration of the challenge and work to feel comfortable posting a video at the end of the challenge 
    Like 4
    • Waltz you worked on: No. 1, 2 , 3 and 9
    • One thing you found easy: I don't find any if it easy as such, I do enjoy finding the music if that makes sense
    • One thing you found difficult: The left hand jumps up the keyboard in 2 are difficult for me, but I'm nearly there. I am concentrating on 2 which I love, and 9, which is such an odd piece of music, it intrigues me... 
    Like 4
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Richard George Littlewood you鈥檙e back, under the sunny skies of Malaga! These waltzes are not easy even after lots of practice: good on you for starting on so many of them! I posted the first five in week 1 and hope to add to them this week. 

      Like 1
    • Monika Tusnady Sunny but cold here in Malaga.!

      Like 1
    • StacyA
    • StacyA
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Waltzes worked on:  refining #1, began #2 and #15

     

    One thing I found easy:  The desire to practice!  When I can squeeze out even five minutes of free time, I find myself wanting to do a run through or just work on a section.

     

    One thing I found hard:  Finding a solid stretch of time to practice is tough, but I have made it happen everyday!

    #1 is coming along well, but there are a few times where I suddenly feel like a deer in the headlights on a transition that previously went smoothly (the repeat of section A and section B 4th line to beginning of final line?!!)

    #2 is so sweet but there are a couple of chords that my fingers like to improvise over the written chords

    #15  I鈥檓 pretty sure I played this as a youngster!  Why do the rolled intervals in the LH sound so great sometimes and other times sound incorrect?  I鈥檓 working on the timing of those!

    Like 2
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      StacyA You are right, those transitions in No. 1 are tricky. When I practice, I practice cueing myself consciously one measure ahead of the tricky parts - that's almost as difficult as practicing the notes. The rolled chords in 15 can feel weird: you can try rolling them faster or slower until you find what's right for you. Personally, the faster rolls work better for me. 

      Like 1
      • StacyA
      • StacyA
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Monika Tusnady 

      Thank you, I will work on your ideas!  Dominic was very helpful this weekend in his live broadcast!  I feel like I want to do them all now!

      Like 1
  • Hello, Roy here.  This first post is to say that I have missed my Tonebase sessions this week because of other meetings that were already in the diary.  However, we heard Sir Andras Schiff yesterday evening at Saffron Hall, which is an intimate setting of 700 seats.  We were in the gallery around the stage with a view of the keyboard and were about forty feet away from him.  The acoustic there is phenomenal.  There鈥檚 a whole story about that!  Sir Andras explained to the audience that there was no programme and that he had decided during the solitude of the COVID-19 lockdowns that he would no longer be providing programmes for concerts as it was hugely onerous on performers to have to provide programmes 2-3 years in advance of a concert.  This may explain why Martha Argerich has a reputation for cancelling at short notice.  Sir Andras played Mozart鈥檚 Rondo in A minor followed by Schubert鈥檚 A major Sonata and commented that they were late works for both composers, who, as we know, died very  young indeed - in their thirties.  He started the second half with Bach鈥檚 Prelude and Fugue in F sharp from Book 2, commenting that Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin played Bach鈥檚 Preludes and Fugues regularly throughout their lives.  He finished the concert with Beethovens鈥檚 Hammerklavier Sonata, saying that the fugues were the connection and that he learned all the notes of the Hammerklavier sonata when he was 13 [or 30 - it was difficult to distinguish] but that he didn鈥檛 understand the meaning then of this sonata from Beethoven but that it was now in the reverse, as he understood Beethoven鈥檚 meaning but the notes鈥.? He joked that Beethoven was mistaken when he said that the sonata would make life difficult for performers for fifty years after his death, as it made life difficult for performers one hundred and fifty years after Beethoven鈥檚 death, which implies that it has not been considered too demanding for the most advanced players for the last fifty years.  Sir Andras played beautifully and he was in the room to do so.  There were moments that were completely transcendental.  It鈥檚 now past midnight in the UK so I鈥檒l write on topic tomorrow, briefly, about the Brahms鈥 Waltzes. 

    Like 6
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Roy James-Pike thank you for that anecdote. Really, what does it matter if your favourite pianist plays Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms? Schiff鈥檚 approach is actually wholesome and musical. 

      Like 2
    • Roy James-Pike How fortunate for you to be so near to the stage and to hear live music again - Sir Andras Schiff no less! Thank you for sharing the details of your wonderful evening. It sounds like an unforgettable experience. I have seen him in recital one time, over ten years ago in San Francisco. He was completing his Beethoven sonata cycle at Davies Hall. I was very far away and although I could hear him clearly it was somewhat faint. I really wished I was closer. Nonetheless it was thrilling.

      Like 1
    • Susan Hello Susan, we are very fortunate indeed to have this concert hall about twenty minutes drive from where we live.  The next piano recital is in about a weeks' time.  Its' Paul Lewis and Steven Osborne doing piano duets and we have similar seats for that concert!   

      Like 2
    • Roy James-Pike Wonderful! I had to look them up - I love duets. Enjoy!

      Like 1
    • Waltz you worked on: No.2 && number 3 
    • One thing you found easy: Number 3 is super easy and mellow 馃槀
    • One thing you found difficult: Memorizing everything from 1 to 3

    was stuck for a while in #1, some days can play it at the right tempo but some other days I need to go back to slow.

    Like 3
    • David Bermudez yes #3 is a little relaxing break after #1. 馃槄

      Like 2
  • Still practicing 1-4 over here. They鈥檙e all improving gradually but I鈥檓 still giving the most attention to #1. It is the most difficult of the 4, but also the most addicting to play over and over to see if I can play it better than the last round! It鈥檚 the only one I鈥檓 memorizing so far. I might memorize #4. Piano has really gone out of tune in the last week after finally getting rain here in California. Hope to get it tuned before the end of the challenge before I make a video.. It鈥檚 really meowing today. 馃樅

    Like 4
    • Susan I've got the same problem! My piano tuner is coming round on Monday. I can't record anything at the moment.

      Like 2
    • Susan I understand what you mean by No. 1 being addictive. I like playing it so much and forget to study the rest鈥

      Like 2
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      David Bermudez  Susan Yes! No. ! is totally addictive! You always feel that you could play it just a little bit better if only...? It takes time, lots of it!

      Like 2
  • This post covers weeks 1 and 2.  I am working through the following: 1, 2, 3, 59, and 15.  I am a flute-player so we use all our fingers to produce one note, although the right thumb is supporting the flute not pressing a key.  Also, the fifth finger of both hands is hardly every used.  Therefore, I like to play pieces on the piano that focus on separating the fingers and and/or separating the hands.  The different rhythms in each hand in No 2 is great for me.  I love the sections that sit under the hands, such as the second half No 1.  I am using a Liberace-style flamboyance in my left-hand to create the separation and flicks in the broken chords while playing legato in the right-hand, which is really good for developing my separation between the hands.  Does the swiggly indication to break the chords have a proper name?   It would be really useful to have some suggested fingerings in the sections that move around or do not sit under the hand, such as Bar 3 of No 15.  I am using 1 and 4 on the F# and D, to give 5 and 4 to the grace notes ending on 1 and 3 on the E and C#, then 5 and 2 on the D and B, to end on 1 and 4 on the E and C#.  The issue is whether I should use this fingering, which is aimed at being as legato as possible in the slur   In the right-hand, or use 1 and 5, 1 and 4, etc., and pedal through it? 

    Like 3
    • Roy James-Pike 9 not 59!

      Like 1
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Roy James-Pike The flute is soooo beautiful and has so much repertoire written for it!

      Like 1
      • StacyA
      • StacyA
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Roy James-Pike 

      I asked a similar question (though not so detailed on fingering) of Dominic in his live stream this weekend.  He said the left hand rolled intervals should be played pizzicato or plucked.  I found that very encouraging as it frees up the left hand from potential timing errors and gives fingers more movement instead of being tied to the keys with legato touch.

      Like 1
    • StacyA Thanks.  I heard that too and am trying to do it.  He also said something about the timing of grace notes that I have used too, so I am timing the last of the rolled left hand notes to coincide with the change of note in the right hand.

      Like 1
    • Monika Tusnady Hello Monika.  We went to a concert by Sir Andras Schiff recently and he said that there is no personal opinion about good, bad or quite good music.  He was saying that it's an empirical fact when music is good, like wine! [his words].  It's not a matter of opinion.  This applies to the flute.  There are two golden periods - baroque and early twentieth century, and baroque is now done usually on original instruments.  The keyboards are similar but the wind instruments are very different.  Most of the music in between those periods is fun, but not really considered to be good music!  

      Like 1
      • Monika Tusnady
      • The Retired French Teacher
      • Monikainfrance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Roy James-Pike If the piano is the king of instruments, the flute is certainly the queen and what a monarch she is! I started learning the flute before I retired but lacked the time and energy at that time. I鈥檓 going to a concert at the conservatory this afternoon and will ask about flute lessons! Yes, the great flute repertoire is really great!

      Like 1
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